Thursday, February 26, 2015

Don't. Be. That... Thing

And Gammas wonder why higher-status men despise them so deeply. Don't EVER feel bad about kicking a Gamma when he's down. If you do, kick him again by way of penance. It may be the only chance he gets to learn better.

Fortunately, most of these submen are doomed to be dead ends anyhow.

I had a fascinating encounter with a Gamma male yesterday. He was deeply concerned about the possibility that mildly insulting people would be counterproductive in a certain circumstance. When I criticized the notion, he reacted in an angry, over-the-top manner with a long response replete with serious insults that ended with a self-pitying posture of martyrdom. It was remarkable. It was HILARIOUS. As I subsequently observed on Twitter, a moderate is someone who would rather shoot at his allies than at his enemies.

Sans an understanding of the socio-sexual hierarchy, I might have responded in anger. Instead, I simply pointed out that criticism is not insult and that there was no need for any ritual online seppuku, so he blithely proceeded as if nothing had happened. Now, I happen to like this guy, so I was content to let it go, but it was downright textbook, and I remain in both awe and astonishment at the vast gulf between the way in which low-rank and high-rank men are inclined to handle conflict.

To the right, the complete opposite.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Graduating Gamma 3

Step 3: Emotional

The Gamma lives on an emotional roller coaster which goes from anxious repression to emotional outbursts which can accumulate into rage and then despair. A Gamma is effectively out of balance emotionally and which is why they are so obnoxious to people around them and especially to women.

I have a couple of ideas of why this is so, and my guess is that a Gamma was a boy who was just a little more emotionally sensitive and a bit smarter than the average boy, then experienced some combination of the following factors: a Gamma father or father figure, raised by women alone, bullied rather heavily, socially awkward and had trouble knowing how to act, overweight or possessed some other physical trait that made him overly self-conscious. I don’t think it is any one thing, but rather a combination of several influences and events beyond which slowly turns a boy who might have some tendencies towards being a Gamma into a full-blown Gamma in adulthood. If you suspect you are a Gamma you’ll probably find this list or events like this to be still painful in your memory. Take that same boy and surround him with strong, but patient men, and have him enter into a masculine profession or the military, and he’d probably turn out a Delta or a Delta with a few Gamma traits.

Swinging the pendulum

After a lifetime of Gamma reinforcement how does a man turn things around? I suggest for one month swinging the pendulum far in the opposite direction. Almost like an emotional detox, the Gamma needs to completely turn around for a time and get off the emotional roller coaster. I suggest one month of practicing the ancient philosophy of Stoicism. The first step is to get yourself a copy of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. My favorite version is by Everyman’s Library as the language has been updated, but it costs money, so there’s a free version here, and if you want a printed book they are easy to find used or are always at the local library. This is the place to start because it isn’t a philosophical abstract but instead a portrait of an Emperor and how he lives out the philosophy in his daily life. It’s also a damn good read.

As for a definition of Stoicism I’m going straight to the dictionary:
1. the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint.

A philosophy that flourished in ancient Greece and Rome. Stoics believed that people should strictly restrain their emotions in order to attain happiness and wisdom; hence, they refused to demonstrate either joy or sorrow.

You can read more about it on Wikipedia, but for our purposes the above are sufficient. I’m sure there’s someone out there who will take umbrage with this definition and can’t wait to spam the comments with a debate about the true definition of Stoicism and their “oh so interesting” knowledge about Stoicism. Don’t do it because it doesn’t matter here and you will be missing the point. I don’t bring up Stoicism to debate its meaning or to claim it has superiority over all other philosophies or other such irrelevant topics, only that it can be a useful tool to help one graduate from Gamma.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Portrait of a Sigma

I was reading Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman yesterday and was a little surprised to stumble upon this remarkable portrait of a sigma in Haruku Murakami's short story "Nausea 1979", in which he meets a young man who inexplicably begins vomiting every day after receiving a mysterious series of crank calls from a stranger:

I knew this young illustrator from the time he did a drawing for a story I published in a certain magazine. He was a few years younger than I, but we shared an interest in collecting old jazz LPs. Another thing he liked to do was sleep with his friends’ girlfriends and wives. There had been quite a number of them over the years, and often he would fill me in on his exploits. He had even done it a few times while the friend was out buying beer or was taking a shower during one of his visits.

“You do it as fast as you can, with most of your clothes on,” he said. “Ordinary sex can drag on and on, right? So once in a while you take exactly the opposite approach. It gives you a whole new perspective. It’s fun.”

This kind of tour de force was not the only kind of sex that interested him, of course. He could enjoy it the slow, old-fashioned way, too. But it was the act of sleeping with his friends’ girlfriends and wives that really turned him on....

I found it hard to believe that such things could be carried off so easily, but he didn’t seem the type to spout a lot of nonsense just to make himself look good, so I began to think he might be right.

“And finally, most of the women have been looking for something like this.... What they want is for somebody to be interested in them beyond the—in a sense—static framework of ‘girlfriend’ or ‘wife.’ That’s the most fundamental rule in all this. Of course, on a more superficial level, their motives are all over the map.”

“For example?”

“For example, getting even with a husband for fooling around, or boredom, or the sheer satisfaction of attracting another man. That kind of thing. I just have to look at them to know. It’s not a question of learning a technique. This is strictly an inborn talent. You either have it or you don’t.”

He did not have a steady girlfriend himself....

I probably average a little over twenty-three hours a day alone. I live alone, I hardly ever see anybody in connection with my work, I take care of most of my business by phone, my girlfriends belong to other people, I eat out ninety percent of the time, the only sport I ever practice is long, lonely swims, my only hobby is listening to these more or less antique records by myself, and the only way I can ever get my kind of work done is to concentrate on it alone. I do have a few friends, but when you get to this age, everybody’s busy, and it’s impossible to get together all the time. You know what this life is like, I’m sure.”

“Sure, more or less,” I said.

He poured more whiskey over the ice in his glass, stirred it with a finger, and took a sip. “So then I started thinking seriously. What was I going to do from now on? Was I going to go on suffering with crank calls and vomiting?”

“You could have gotten a girlfriend. One of your own.”

“I thought about that, of course. I was twenty-seven at the time, not a bad age to settle down. But I’m not that type of guy. I couldn’t give up so easily. I couldn’t let myself be defeated by something so stupid and meaningless as nausea and phone calls, to change my whole way of life like that. So I decided to fight back. I’d fight until every last ounce of physical and mental strength was squeezed out of me.”


“Tell me, Mr. Murakami, what would you have done?”

“I wonder,” I said. “I have no idea.” Which was true: I had no idea.

“The calls and the vomiting kept up for a long time after that. I lost a tremendous amount of weight. Wait a minute—here it is: On June 4, I weighed 141 pounds. June 21, 134 pounds. July 10, whoa, 128 pounds. 128 pounds! For my height, that’s almost unthinkable! None of my clothes fit anymore. I had to hold my pants up when I walked.”

“Let me ask one question: why didn’t you just install an answering machine, or something like that?”

“Because I didn’t want to run away, of course. If I had done that, it would have been like admitting defeat to the enemy. This was a war of wills! Either he was going to run out of steam or I was going to kick the bucket.

What is interesting is that Murakami accurately describes many of the attributes of a Sigma decades before the concept was articulated. The young illustrator is solitary, but successful with women despite being physically unremarkable, is likable and makes friends easily, but has little interest in a social life. He possesses unusual motivations and preferences, has strong willpower and a high level of self-discipline, and exists almost completely outside the normal social hierarchies. His interests fall on the obsessive side. He understands women on a level few men do, but has very little interest in them beyond their sexual utility and is more inclined to view them with contempt than place them on a pedestal. Relationships, both friendly and romantic, are open to him, but he instinctively shies away from them.

As I have repeatedly pointed out, Sigmas are weird, and usually quite a bit more bent than they are superficially perceived. Needless to say, this socio-sexual profile has virtually nothing to do with the gammas who are dissatisfied with their place in the social hierarchy or the omegas who are largely barred from it. They can be reasonably described as a twisted form of introverted Alpha.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Alpha Mail: Extreme Gamma

FC asks if there is anything she can do about her middle-aged Gamma brother:
I'm enjoying the gamma posts. They explain a lot of behaviors I'd noticed without being able to put them into a coherent frame. I really liked the parenting advice today. It sounds like solid generic parenting advice since all kids indulge in that behavior to some extent. The points concerning the need to be right even to the point of turning a petty matter into a full blown argument  or social embarrassment sound very familiar.  I'm curious how you would deal with a gamma-type in your immediate family who has no apparent inclination to change.

My brother has a very pernicious habit of asking for advice on his life which clearly reflects a fear of changing, being wrong, and taking real risks. He lives with my parents, is in his 40’s, and has never had a girlfriend. He asks for advice about "his problems", and then picks apart your opinions on his circumstances, tells you all about why your advice won't work for him, and why your opinion is wrong. This especially seems to happen while we are having drinks or just watching a movie, generally having a light, good time.  It basically pisses all over the evening.

This is a particular thorn in the side for me because I'm aware I’m needy. I instinctively want to fix people. I feel pained for him and his missed life. It's a conversational bait and switch that caught me for years but now that I recognize it, I don't know how to respond to it because a large part of me would like there to be some response that would wake him up. Engaging him on this topic at all just seems to feed into his sense of rightness. Is there any way I could shut down these types of behaviors and still try to nudge him in a better direction? Or maybe I just need to accept I'm not equipped to do that?
This sounds more like an Omega than a Gamma in some ways, but the attitude she describes is pure Gamma. However, it seems to be very hard for some people, especially women, to accept that not only is it beyond their ability to change another adult, it is neither their responsibility nor their right. FC's brother is content with his life as it is. It may not be what he ideally wanted, he may not be all that he thought he could be, but obviously he is content with it. If he wasn't, he would do something about it and he would be grateful and heedful of advice concerning how to change it.

What he is doing when he asks for advice about his life is simply making himself the center of attention. He doesn't want the advice, he has no intention of changing anything, he just wants everyone to talk about him. FC can either oblige him or she can reject his attention-seeking, but regardless, she needs to stop taking his pretensions seriously. Of course he talks about "his problems", what else does he have to talk about? His property taxes, his kids, or his wife? He doesn't have them!

FC also needs to stop feeling pain for him and his "missed life". He hasn't missed anything he really wanted. He is leading the life he has chosen. God has granted him that privilege and FC needs to do so as well. The man is in his 40s. He's not going to change now. The time to intervene was when he was 9, not more than three decades later. He has constructed his Gamma delusion bubble, now let him live in it in peace. No one is equipped to change a man so strongly rooted in his ways; even if her parents threw him out of the house tomorrow it is unlikely he would modify his attitudes in the slightest.

My practical advice would be to stop offering him advice and to simply offer sympathy if she is in the mood to put up with his narcissistic preening, and to tell him that she's not interested in hearing the same old song and dance if she is not.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Alpha Mail: raising Gamma

Boys Mom in a Girls World is rightly concerned about her son:
My husband and I both enjoy reading your blog, having been drawn in by the economics and intrigued by the sociohierarchy stuff.  We have four boys and we're doing our best to raise them as the upper betas our demographic knows and loves  (conservative homeschooling Christians).   Our oldest, 9, is a total born and bred gamma though.  Extremely social, conscientious, has to be right, extremely defensive, runs in a fight and then justifies it later.  Nothing is ever his fault (something else he loves to discuss in great detail).  He's scared of literally everything. My husband is more the Ron Swanson-type, so neither of us know how to parent this child (who it probably won't surprise you to hear is diagnosed ADHD, and has a slightly autistic looking IQ score...unevenly high and low in different areas).

Any suggestions for helping pre-gammas to develop into something other than full blown adult gamma?  He hates team sports but does well in parkour and is otherwise your typical boy.

He's currently cowering in the corner because he thinks he might have seen a bee, which is what prompted this email. 
All right, that last bit made me laugh. I have to admit, I have no idea what the Ron Swanson-type might be, but given the female contempt for gamma all but dripping from this email, I think it is safe to say that what we have here is a nature-inclined gamma-in-the-making rather than a nurture-bred one. A few suggestions:
  • Always force him to admit that he was wrong when he was wrong. Make him say the words. "I was wrong." Make him explain to you why it was his fault and make him say the words. "It was my fault because X, Y, and Z." Every time he tries to rationalize away his being at fault, refuse to accept it and dissect his excuses. Essentially, refuse to let him construct his delusion bubble.
  • Call him on his revisionist histories. Every time he tries to slide one by, point out what actually happened. Force him to admit that the correct version is what actually happened.
  • Don't shame his cowardice. Instead, praise the courage of his brothers and say nothing about him. When he does take baby steps in that direction, praise them.
  • Don't force him into team sports, but have your husband work with him to determine if he's naturally gifted at any of them. Then slowly bring him around by having him play with one or two of the boys on the local team and point out how much they need him, how much they could use him. Obviously, if he's not good at anything, don't push him into it.
  • See if there are solo sports you can get him to try, the more aggressive the better. Perhaps there are competitive parkour races?
  • Have his father teach him how to fight. If his father doesn't really know, perhaps some father-son MMA classes would be a good idea. And make sure that you let him know that it is okay for him to fight and defend himself, that no matter what the school says, you'll back him up and he won't be in any trouble as long as he wasn't being a bully.
  • Every now and then, let him pick and argument, then brutally vivisect his argument and show him that he's not even capable of operating on the same level. Smart kids, especially boys, need to be intellectually beaten down from time to time in order to develop intellectual humility. Be harsh, the object is to break his pride and it won't be broken easily, particularly if he's prone to historical revisionism. Multiple repetitions will likely be necessary before the lesson sticks.
  • Use his social consciousness as a lever. Don't appeal to his self-respect or his honor, appeal to what other people will think of him.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Alpha Mail: question and answer

Peter wants to graduate from Gamma male:
Now that i am calm, i really need a starting point. At this point i don't care how painful it is. I just need to know what needs to be done no matter what, so i won't feel so lost. Where i should start, what should i study, what i should start doing, what must i gradually change etc etc. Those are the question i am asking here. You could say that i am asking for guidance here.
  1. Stop lying to yourself. Learn to catch when you are revising history and editing reality in order to make it more acceptable to yourself.
  2. Stop lying to others. Stop spinning every story to make yourself look better. Stop exaggerating your accomplishments and minimizing your mistakes.
  3. Stop the drama. Don't go overboard. Whether it is good or whether it is bad, tell yourself: "this is no big deal" and "this, too, shall pass."
  4. Start working out and lifting weights. Start getting your body accustomed to the endorphin release. Within three months, you'll start craving it the way you now crave sugar and carbohydrates.
  5. Don't run from confrontation. Fight or submit. That's what men do.
Jack Amok, meanwhile, relates a confrontation between an Alpha and a Gamma:
Saw an interesting ALPHA-GAMMA exchange at work today. The Gamma disagreed with the Alpha's approach to a problem, and the Alpha responded to the technical details of the Gamma's objections. They went back and forth a bit, and at this point, you could have agreed with either side (it was a problem where each solution had its strengths and weaknesses). But the Gamma apparently couldn't tolerate the disagreement and after a couple of minutes suddenly made a personal attack against the Alpha. He basically said "I don't understand how you can be so incompetent as to disagree with me" and then proceeded to talk over the Alpha's response.

The Alpha perceived a challenge to his position (or at least an unacceptable level of disrespect) and suddenly his voice and demeanor took on massive edge. He is also a huge dude. Looks like an NFL lineman. It was really a rapid change, light-switch getting flipped sort of thing. The Gamma logged off his computer and immediately went home for the day, even though it was only mid-afternoon. He was literally unable to continue working after a confrontation which he himself had provoked.
Notice the various elements of the socio-sexual hierarchy at work:
  • Alpha: doesn't mind straightforward conflict, will not tolerate disrespect, is comfortable with direct and physical conflict. The political is not personal.
  • Gamma: can't tolerate disagreement or criticism, bitchy, cowardly, puts himself in situations he is not equipped to handle. The political is personal, the technical is personal, everything is personal. Runs from direct confrontation.
Now, what sort of man would you rather be? And observe the Gamma is totally unprepared for his disrespect to meet with a dominant response. Unlike an Alpha, he doesn't fight, unlike a Beta or Delta, he doesn't submit. He flees.

The Sigma, of course, doesn't get into that situation in the first place because he neither knows nor cares about the Alpha's problem, let alone his approach to solving it.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Are you Gamma? 2 of 2

The second half of the list composed by the author of Graduating Gamma to help Gamma males identify themselves:
  • You constantly throw out flippant remarks with the expectations they are always amusing, appropriate, and funny.
  • When telling an anecdote to a group and someone mentions they have already heard it you go ahead and tell it again because you aren’t sure if everyone has heard it.
  • You routinely quote movies, comics, and even do the funny voices in every day conversation.
  • When a movie or story is brought up you explain the entire plot and all of the details regardless of if the people you are with asked for the information or even said they liked it.
  • You sit out nearly all competition in a group because you always have better things to do and you’d just rather talk to your friends.
  • At a group event you never voluntarily play any sport if you can avoid it.
  • If you start to lose at any game you find a way to quit if you can and hope to save face by degrading the game or the other players.
  • If someone defeats you at a game or competition you can’t look them in the eye afterwards and try to avoid them if possible.
  • If you win at a competition you explain to your opponent all of the things they did wrong regardless if they asked for the advice.
  • You have at least one good female friend and are always looking for more.
  • You’ll take that 2AM call or text from a female friend who isn’t looking to meet you but rather wants emotional support.
  • You focus on a single “dream woman” and spend weeks, or months planning the perfect time to ask her out.
  • You think women are good and innocent creatures and the ones who do wrong have no doubt been corrupted by the men in their lives.
  • Fixing a woman with a lot of problems is a noble effort and you are always ready to help.
  • You let women use an old mistake or bad choice of yours indefinitely to instill guilt and get their way.
  • You must justify to the woman you are with in excruciating detail all of your actions and thoughts.
  • Fighting back against a violent woman you think is always wrong no matter the circumstances.
  • You know you could be successful with women if you tried, but that means being a jerk or a dude-bro and you respect women too much to do that, and you want to be true to yourself.
  • Feelings should routinely be shared and others should take your feelings into account when making decisions.
  • You routinely lie about small, personal, matters knowing you can get away with it.
  • If you see a couple arguing, your first instinct is to think the guy is wrong and you need to help the girl.
  • If an attractive woman in in a bad state your interest grows, because now that she’s been taken down a notch or two you have a chance.
I would add something I've noticed whenever Gammas start talking, especially about themselves. "You babble semi-coherently and ramble on to a new and tangentially related thought before you've completed whatever it was you started talking about."

It tends to strike me as an attempt to dominate the conversation without seeking to actually engage the other's interest in much the same way women do. Only Gammas do it in public postings and in emails, so that's not necessarily it. All I know is that whenever I'm dealing with a Gamma, in any communications medium, more often than not I'm left wondering "what on Earth is he babbling on about?"

Gammas also seem to have a serious problem providing direct answers to questions. They'll answer five different questions that they think you might have asked, or should have asked, while somehow failing to answer the one question you actually asked.