April 15, 2014 § 23 Comments
Inspired by this thread I did a little experiment and got the following result:
April 14, 2014 § 18 Comments
Sometimes discussion of essences, nominalism, specific differences, and other metaphysics gets a bit abstract. So I thought I’d bring my most recent discussion of Game further into the realm of the concrete with an example.
Game frequently seems to address generic issues of leadership and masculinity. This makes it appealing, especially for folks with antiessentialist/nominalist tendencies (which includes most modern people), to expand the understanding of Game to include generic issues of leadership and masculinity independent of unchaste male behavior. Folks whose first encounters with certain aspects of social competence were through the distorted lens of Game are especially prone to this tendency. In my view this reflects a basic mistake.
What the perceptive will notice is that in Game, generic issues of leadership and masculinity become sexualized to the point where both the nature of the thing and its applicability outside of the context of sex (generally speaking) become obscured. Once you’ve noticed that this is happening you see it everywhere: truth delivered in a package of inchastity distorts the truth.
Take the idea of a “fitness test”, where a putative follower challenges a putative leader on something specific (lets call it “the issue at hand” or just “the issue”).
What I realized after thinking about it for a while is that, sure, women do this frequently; but men do it even more. That buzzing in my head was the cognitive dissonance between the narrative and reality, running loud enough to be heard over the Voices.
Followers challenge leaders all the time, and if a leader is always giving in to his followers he will lose their respect both because (1) he is wrong frequently enough about substantive matters that this becomes a notable feature of his leadership and (2) he doesn’t stand up to challenges. A leader who has inspired doubt in his followers will receive more of these ‘internal’ challenges, and the “issue at hand” will become ever more trivial. But that doesn’t mean that followers don’t actually want their way when it comes to the issue at hand, as the concept underlying Game proposes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a follower challenge a leader (including a wife challenging a husband) where the follower didn’t actually want her way.
In reality followers need strong leaders and smart leaders; challenges to those qualities will naturally arise when preferences conflict; and followers will naturally lose respect for leaders who fail to exhibit both qualities in the face of challenges. Incidentally to all this women find failure to lead effectively unattractive.
So the concept of the fitness test which underlies some of Game is confused. It has led people to believe that in a fitness test a woman doesn’t really want to get her way on the issue at hand. But like all followers she pretty much always actually does want her way on the issue at hand, however trivial it may be. Fulfilling this short term desire frequently conflicts with the long term need for strong and smart leadership; but short term desires and long term needs are in conflict all the time, and a good leader knows how to navigate that rather than handwaving a leadership challenge away with the notion that grown women instinctively want to be in the wrong and are just throwing rocks like little children.
This gets to a larger point that goes beyond Game as prescribed behavior. In general the ontology underlying “Game” is disastrously wrong because it amounts to “liberalism for men but not for women”. That is, it basically attempts to be against feminism without being against liberalism more generally, and is thus really just a new form of self-castrating neoconservatism. The reason “neoreaction” attracts so many libertarians is precisely because of this: they see something that proposes to let them keep what they want from liberalism, rather than accepting their place in a naturally hierarchical society of men.
As I have pointed out many times now hierarchy among men is perfectly natural: men are natural followers as well as natural leaders, etc.
Coming back around to the fitness test specifically, take note of the incorrect premises: first, that fitness tests are primarily something that women do; second, that fitness tests involve drama invented out of whole cloth the very point of which is to challenge leadership rather than actual substantive challenges to leadership on substantive matters; third, that what matters in responding to fitness tests is implacability rather than leadership (thus this obsession with “frame“). The locus of these incorrect premises is quite precisely an obsession with the accidental feature that yes, women who don’t respect a man will find him unattractive.
So notice the specific difference of Game in action: instead of being focused on the common good of the community under a leader (most notably a father and a family), Game prescriptions when it comes to fitness tests are focused on projecting strength and smarts, leading to a perception of strong leadership by some woman specifically, leading to respect and deference by that woman independent of the common good of the led community, leading to the sexual attentions of that woman. What was about leadership and the common good has been made to be about this man getting sexual attention from this woman; and this manifests itself in the prescribed behaviors and attitudes of Game.
The specific difference between social competence generally and Game specifically, then, is male inchastity.
Note: this post re-purposed from a comment here.
 Folks keep kicking the beehive after I think we are all done, and as long as it leads to interesting discussion with wider ramifications I am probably, uh, game.
 It is true that women are more emotional than men. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t really want to wash the knives in the dishwasher.
April 14, 2014 § 3 Comments
In a nominalist’s world everything blends into everything else. Names are just arbitrary labels that we assign to groupings of similar things for our own purposes: like Humpty Dumpty when we use a word it means just what we say it means, nothing more, nothing less. Getting from one sort of thing to another sort of thing is like navigating a connected conceptual terrain: we cross boundaries from one kind of thing to reach another kind of thing, and in between kinds of things there are either cliff edges or transition zones in shades of gray.
In a world where things have essences, though — that is, in reality — it doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t make sense to propose that if we just go far enough in the right direction on the terrain-of-everything-that-is, this apple can become an orange. It doesn’t make sense to try to make an orange get as close as possible to appleness without actually crossing the line and becoming an apple. It doesn’t make sense to propose that in order to avoid apples we have to understand the boundary where oranges become apples. It doesn’t make sense to suggest that because knowing what apples are and what oranges are is in some sense an empirical question, ‘what is an apple’ can be resolved by taking a poll of how various people use the term “apple”. And it doesn’t make sense to attempt to shut down criticism of apples by suggesting that labels are arbitrary, so when we use the term apple it means just what we say it means, nothing more, nothing less.
April 11, 2014 § 46 Comments
We are constantly being assured that Game teaches men things that nobody else teaches, so that men who want to learn these things specifically have nowhere else to go other than pickup artists. That means that what Game teaches must have a specific difference from what it has been possible to learn elsewhere in the decades before the “Game renaissance” on the web. And Game must be something empowering: even if, according to its best practitioners, it only works as well as a placebo, men would still see results from adopting it.
So what actually is the specific difference between social competence in general and Game more specifically? What empowering techniques can you not learn from any sources other than pickup artists and sluts?
The specific things you won’t learn from sources other than pickup artists and sluts are the things specific to pickup artists and sluts: unchaste behaviors toward the opposite sex.
April 11, 2014 § 3 Comments
Nominalism is all about avoiding the implications of the essences of things, and one of the easiest ways to avoid the implications of essences is to obfuscate specific differences.
Take adultery, for example. Adultery has an essence, and the specific difference between sex acts generally and adultery in particular is that adultery takes place between partners at least one of whom is married to someone else.
Or take a contracepted sex act. The specific difference between sex acts generally and contracepted sex acts in particular is that the latter have been modified in some way which blocks natural fertility.
I myself have concluded, after a couple of years of experience with the subject, that the specific difference between Game/sluttiness and social competence more generally is inchastity.
What nominalists do in order to avoid judgment of the things they support is obfuscate specific differences. That is why we are constantly being cajoled into assent to trite slogans (“social competence is good!”; “psychological knowledge can be used for good or evil!” etc.) and told that that is Game.
April 8, 2014 § 22 Comments
Readers may be interested in this post from The Reactivity Place, responding to my criticism of (some) Christian anti-anti-Game as nominalist.
If this means we never again have to hear from fellow Christians that
- Game is anything and everything a man ever does that is attractive to women or helps him achieve his goals, and that
- Christian criticism of Game is “just a dispute over definitions” and can be dismissively waved aside as mere semantics,
well, that’s something.
April 7, 2014 § 15 Comments
I would suggest that “self-consciously amoral tools for increasing the sexual attractiveness of a woman for whatever her purposes happen to be” is a pretty good conceptualization of slutty behavior.
Amoral indeed. As if Christians should be out there promoting and celebrating sexual amorality.