This counter-feminist appropriation is mandatory reading. Maybe the Ivies can come around after all.
I lay out a few of my thoughts in Nick Land’s comments section, 3 comments down. As per Ellul, I believe increasingly centralized organization is mandatory; as per Hobbes, that abuse is a foregone conclusion, and as per common sense, that this is mildly terrifying.
A lot of neoreactionary thought touches on the reading I did in college, when I called myself a Christian anarchist and a radical anti-modernist. I believed very deeply that the progression of complex civilization subverted human morality, and I still do. My political opinions changed when I encountered Durkheim and his brilliant analysis of organic and mechanical solidarity — the different systems for maintaining social cohesion in tribal and complex societies. I understood that total moral cohesion could exist only in the extreme of a 50 person society, but unlike the anarchists, understood that we clawed our way out of the wild for a reason. Maybe human alienation was worth it to fend off the excesses of precivilizational savagery. Now, I can foresee the reforms which will inevitably accompany the opposite extreme — total civilization, total economic integration, total efficiency of ordering. And I can’t quite tell which seems worse.
Will I start blogging here again? Tough call. I’ve been flirting with the Dark Enlightenment for the past 5 months, along with everyone else. From the beginning, this blog was always a meditation on the overlap between game and political power in the immediate and interpersonal sense, and I may find a way to merge this with the political concepts explored by the neoreactionaries. If so, I’ll continue.
For the time being, however, too many objections to the basic preoccupations of the movement seem self-evident, and too few of the participants seem to be genuinely engaging the works of its true luminaries. There are an enormous amount of contradictions implicit in the neoreactionary program that nobody seems remotely interested in addressing, and most of the fanatics seem interested in its more middle-brow elements.
A few points of contention:
- Clearly, democracy has, by its nature, subverted the seminal American value of equality of opportunity in favor of legislating equality of outcome through affirmative action programs. I’m opposed to the latter, but I feel most reactionaries are fairly hasty in accepting the dissolution of equal opportunity. Most of those writing probably come from middle class backgrounds, and that middle class didn’t exist in the 19th Century — which everyone agrees was the closest America ever came to true, unfettered capitalism. My family was around in the 19th Century. Half of them were wealthy Mexican landowners, half started the Yale legacy 4 generations back. Most were dutiful, self-sacrificing professionals; some were extremely wealthy. No disrespect intended, but when you start extolling the virtues of a radically inequitable distribution of resources, do take into consideration the overwhelming likelihood that you would be on the losing end — and how ridiculous you sound to those of us who wouldn’t be. Does this sound arrogant to you? Get used to it — humility isn’t a virtue in rigid class hierarchies.
-It does little good to point out that science supports the concept of population level evolutionary adaptation, and that this results in stratification of groups along a number of metrics relevant to success in contemporary society. The question of how to handle the inequality that proceeds from innate differences between citizens is still a subjective decision, and it bears questioning which values should inform it. The progressives advocate “social justice” as a guiding principle in making these decisions; the conservative objection is typically that this results in policies which disadvantage citizens of greater ability, and that this is unjust in its own right. The neoreactionaries, however, take the argument one step farther and commonly argue that we should “acknowledge reality” by discarding all mitigating EEO policy. It’s refreshing to hear anyone tell the truth about the world we live in, but this hardly helps when it comes to producing actual policies to pursue. Looking to “Gnon” (i.e. nature) as an ideal to be accepted and restored is a slippery slope. Look at the issue from a different perspective: in a state of nature, women use collective bargaining to negotiate for power and resources, and create networks in which nepotism, not ability, determines success. In other words, there’s a strong argument behind the feminist mafia being a completely natural phenomenon and any assortative hiring systems being artificial and unnatural. In other words, this is nature. Your imaginary world where only the best and brightest achieve positions of power and influence is not.
-As far as I can tell, Moldbug may be the only human being to ever address the issue of declining human usefulness in the face of growing technological efficiency with any real seriousness. He also touches, at times, on Marx’s central contention that unmitigated markets naturally distribute resources with such unfathomable inequality that the future of industrial capitalism, from any vantage point, makes the medieval feudal system look like a socialist utopia. Marxism is responsible for a good portion of the suffering undertaken by history’s human population over the past 200 years, but I can’t overlook that it was obviously a response to legitimate observations about the social structure intrinsically produced by industrial capitalism. Most seem to view the reaction as categorically opposed to redistribution, but I think Moldbug leaves the possibility open of a non-democratic corporate state in which citizens collect dividends from the state’s product. I’d be interested to hear more about this in the future. My primary objection to redistributive economic policy comes from Angelo Codevilla‘s emphasis on the inevitability of highjacking when forces of economic might are capable of influencing the policies to which they are subjected — i.e. in any democracy. Moldbug has found a way around this in his non-representative neocameral system. Seems to me that most other reactionaries oppose redistribution altogether out of their own unfounded sense of ”nature” or “justice”. Not that a reactionary would ever do that.
-Most political fringe movements share one thing in common, and it’s always the element I take greatest issue with. That common element is a belief that this is not the natural world, that the current order is an aberration from reality, and things would be fine if people just followed the rules. Anarchists believe the state is an aberration. Socialists believe capitalism is an aberration. Reactionaries believe the Cathedral is an aberration. I regret to inform you that it is not. In fact, we are in a state of nature right now, and human beings have very naturally created this unnatural order. There’s a great deal of emphasis on who ascends to a position of power in our society and the means by which they do it. I said earlier that half my family are Yankees, and I can personally verify that Moldbug has identified the latter day puritan culture with greater accuracy and insight than anyone before him. I feel strongly that Massachusetts came to rule the world – much as the jews did – because there is an ethic within their culture that predisposes them to success. This ethic is likely indivisible from the unitarianism, from the puritanism, from the very values of the cathedral that so many take as an aberration. Similarly, the historically underprivileged classes of society who benefit so greatly from appealing to the guilt which produced Puritan wealth have very naturally negotiated for positions of privilege in today’s society. That’s what humans do. It’s not an aberration. So I’m all for being pragmatic about how to put capable people in positions of power, but we may have to take into account that we’ll be counterbalancing a very natural assertion of self-interest by other people, and that it’s somewhat pointless to write this off as a massive conspiracy theory.
Frankly, I’ve been consistently amused by the percentage of neoreactionary rhetoric that revolves around some notion of justice or right order in the world. The natural order is savage, the comfortable order is corrupt, and I’m only really interested in addressing these issues because they are clearly detracting from the West’s capacity to function. Whether or not it’s functioning fairly is, to me, a preposterous question to even be asking.
I’ve been studying r and K selection in earnest, in greater depth than most of the manosphere wonks who toss the terms around. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I consider the teaching of game little more than the reorientation of western men to r-selected mating strategy, nor have I concealed my opinion that high-K people are clearly happier. I’m posting the end product of this research, with a few notes:
1. The terms r and K actually refer to different forms of environmental pressure which selected for short and long term mating strategy in the ancestral environment. There is no denying that high and low-K life history strategies exist within the human population. There is controversy surrounding the assumption that, a.) this selection process was density-dependent, which it may not have been, and b.) that high and low-K mating strategy were produced by natural selection at all, which I have generally sided against at the end of the day. For this reason, I advocate the manosphere start using the terms High and Low-K instead of r-selected and K-selected, because these terms tie it to established suites of life history traits instead of a 50 year old theory in evolutionary biology that most academics reject — without sacrificing what you’re really trying to say.
2. I think there is some correlation between race and life history strategy, but that was not the focus of the paper so I avoided the topic.
3. There’s a strong argument for passive, evocative, and active gene-environment interactions which ultimately produce an individual’s life history strategy, but I did not go into detail.
The Behavior Genetics of Life History Strategy
Humans, like all organisms, pursue mating with an eye towards maximizing their reproductive success – passing their genes on in the manner which affords them the greatest likelihood of survival. To that end, individuals unconsciously pursue a wide variety of reproductive strategies, wherein differences in mate preference and sexual behavior produce significant variation in the qualities of their offspring. One woman may pursue the long-term commitment of a man with qualities that suggest protectiveness or an ability to provide, while another seeks only the genes of one with good fitness indicators like masculinity, attractiveness, and muscularity (Buss & Shackleford, 2008.) Each of these reflects a preference for long or short-term mating and each can be understood as a selective adaptation to the environment into which their children will be born. The question this raises, however, is why individuals tend to pursue the strategies they do across different stages of the fertile periods of their lives. Beyond the immediate context of mating decisions themselves, what accounts for the seemingly consistent mating preferences of individuals?
A number of researchers have proposed both genetic and environmental explanations. None are more notorious than J. Philippe Rushton, who has appropriated E.O. Wilson’s r/K selection theory of life history as a means of understanding biological predilection in terms of ancestral evolutionary adaptation. By this theory, individual differences in strategy are subordinate to between-group variations, which developed over thousands of years in response to widely varying ancestral environments. That the various approaches to reproduction evoked by these environments live on in the genotypes of their descendants is the basis of Rushton’s work. Much of this revolves around the capacity of the evolutionary r/K approach to explain population-level differences in life history strategy along racial lines, and for this reason he may be better known for the bitter controversy surrounding his publication than the actual strengths or weaknesses of his writing. Suffice it to say, both strengths and weaknesses are present and each seems to be conveniently obscured by the biases of those writing in support or in violent disagreement.
Criticisms of Rushton’s theory tend to take three forms: first, that the categories of race examined by Rushton are functionally non-existent and offer no real value as a means of studying the genetics of life history strategy; second, that the r/K theory itself has no application to intra-species variation in life history strategy; and third, that genes do not significantly influence where individuals fall on the spectrum of mating strategy. Upon examination, the bulk of the evidence seems to confirm the first criticism, refute the third, and allow for some degree of subjectivity when considering the second. Contrary to the opinions of both Rushton and his critics, race may not be a valuable lens through which to consider genetic variation in life history strategy, but genes do seem to play a significant role in determining the predilections of individuals. Nonetheless, Rushton fails to meaningfully consider the role that environment plays in influencing both present-day choices and relevant physiological developments earlier in life. Thus, while the various traits evolved in response to ancestral environments appear to have an impact on individual life history strategy, they are only one factor in a complex gene-environment interaction that influences mating behavior.
At heart, Rushton’s “differential K-theory” attempts to employ the biological theory of r and K selection to explain intra-species differences within humans. First articulated by Robert MacArthur and E.O. Wilson in 1967, r- and K- selection provides a model of how species adapt to static or fluctuating environments through the development of differing life history traits (MacArthur & Wilson, 1967.) These traits include age at sexual maturity, number of young, reproductive effort, length of inter-birth intervals, and a host of others, but the basis of life history theory at large is that inter-species variation on these dimensions occurs as a direct result of differing environmental pressures (Stearns, 1977.) Should one species be subject to heavy predation, its environment may select for a lower age at maturity, higher numbers of young per litter, and greater reproductive effort expended by its members. By these means, they could evolve to devote more energy towards reproduction and persist despite a life-threatening environment.
Where MacArthur and Wilson broke new ground was in their assertions that certain groups of these traits tend to be correlated, that there are two dichotomous extremes of life history strategy, and that they correspond to differing levels of population density and environmental instability. This dichotomy and these traits were referred to as r- and K-strategy, shorthand for the maximum rate of population growth and the environmental carrying capacity. By their theory, initially applied to populations of fish colonizing new habitats, organisms in low-density environments naturally pursue reproduction more aggressively than those who have reached their environmental carrying capacity.
Beyond this temporary response to environmental conditions, however, MacArthur and Wilson postulated that species subject to wide fluctuations in population density – whether due to density-independent mortality or regular colonization of new habitats – will evolve permanently towards life history strategies which enable them to repopulate more rapidly. The life history traits attendant to this strategy include earlier ages of sexual maturity, greater reproductive effort, lower parental investment, and higher birthrates. On the other hand, species subject to Malthusian environments of high density-dependent mortality will be better served devoting energy to the survival of their offspring than the production of new ones. These species are more likely to experience competition for resources and thus require greater non-sexual abilities. K-selected species tend to have delayed ages of maturity, smaller litters, greater parental investment, and more restrained sexuality. A useful comparison can be made between rabbits and elephants, one of which matures quickly and reproduces often while the other pursues the opposite strategy. The central question Rushton has posed is whether life history theory accounts for human variation in these traits, and if so, what accounts for variations in individual strategies.
A substantial amount of work has been done in this arena by Alejandro Figueredo, a psychologist at the University of Arizona who has turned to the study of correlations between relevant personality traits in an attempt to identify consistent life history strategies within human populations. His focus falls on within-group rather than between-group variation, but it nonetheless goes a long way towards establishing a link between genetics and mating strategy. Given that the two extremes of r- and K- selection revolve, in effect, around effort devoted to reproduction versus effort devoted to parenting, it seems logical that not only biological traits but personality and psychosocial traits as well would develop to facilitate one or the other strategy by influencing the dispositions of individual humans.
In this regard, a large number of relevant traits exist which directly influence one’s particular style of mating and attachment – the sine qua non of human life history strategy. Figueredo takes cues from some of Eysenck’s work, which demonstrates the association between extraversion and less restricted sexuality, and points to work by Howard Friedman showing the relationship between conscientiousness and long-term strategies (Eysenck 1976; Friedman et al., 1993). It is Figueredo’s belief that broad life history strategies will underlie functional behavioral composites of correlated behavioral traits, and each strategy will appear as a latent factor correlated with a suite of personality traits which facilitate either greater reproduction or greater parenting abilities. In identifying these composites and searching for the factors that function beneath them, he attempts to both associate them with life history strategies and argue in favor of their heritability. (Figueredo, Vasquez, Hagenah Brumbach, Sefcek, Kirsner & Jacobs, 2005)
Figueredo’s suspicions of a single latent factor underlying the suite of traits associated with life history strategy were ultimately confirmed in a 2005 study (Figueredo et al., 2005.) Specifically, they examined the covariance of mating effort, risk-taking attitudes, Machiavellianism, adult attachment to romantic partners, and childhood attachment to and parental investment from the biological or non-biological father figure. What resulted was a single latent variable associated with reduced mating effort, increased familial attachment, and fewer risk taking attitudes – effectively a latent variable underlying a functional composite of traits associated with K-selected life history strategy. Referred to by Figueredo et al. as the K-Factor, they found it loaded, “0.36 on childhood attachment to the biological father, -0.36 on childhood attachment to any non-biological father figure, 0.38 on adult romantic partner attachment, -0.51 on mating effort, -0.58 on Machiavellianism, and -0.41 on risk propensity” (Figueredo et al., 2005.) Moreover, multiple subsequent studies conducted both in Mexico and the United States found that the common K-Factor accounted for 92% of the variation in life history traits associated with a K-selected strategy ((Tal, Figueredo, Frias-Armenta & Corral-Verdugo, 2006; Figueredo 2005.) Cumulatively, this evidence suggests strongly that the traits considered part of a K-selection strategy have tended to be inherited together and that this can be attributed to a consistent underlying life history strategy.
Given the likelihood of a consistent and cohesive K-selection life history strategy, at issue is the role genetics play in determining variation between high and low-K traits. On the subject, Figueredo and company have continued down this path and worked out heritability coefficients for a number of behavioral indicators of a high-K strategy (Figueredo 2004.) Analyzing archival data on monozygotic and dizygotic twins from the national MIDUS survey, the study found a moderate heritability for most of the life history traits examined. Foresight and anticipation, for example — a trait logically correlated with a long-term, survival-oriented life history strategy — had a heritability estimate of 0.55; Father relationship quality registered at 0.51 and marital relationship quality at 0.42. Of all the traits considered, most had a heritability estimate of between 0.30 and 0.50, establishing a moderate heritability for the various behavioral indicators of a high-K strategy.
Perhaps more interesting were the statistics regarding the proportion of genetic covariance between psychometric scales that were accounted for by the K-Factor. In addition to finding that the heritability estimates of the individual measures were substantial, the 2004 study found that most of the lower order genetic factors loaded highly on the genetic K-factor, ranging between 0.60 and 0.90. Moreover, the K-Factor was responsible for 82% of the genetic variation among the lower order factors and was itself 68% heritable. This suggests that not only do the lower order factors covary both phenotypically and genetically, but that there is a strong genetic basis to the higher-order factor which underpins their correlation. Nonetheless, Figueredo acknowledges that the behavioral traits examined in conjunction with the K-Factor are at best genetically mediated, with regulatory genes interacting with environment to produce personality or psychosocial traits. While strongly supportive of the role genes play in the development of mating strategy, the evidence herein does not seem sufficient to verify the total primacy of genes Rushton implies in his interpretation of life history theory.
In response, Rushton turns away from the study of the personality traits surrounding K-strategy and towards the physiological. His reasoning is reminiscent of Turkheimer’s theory of strong and weak biologism, and he accepts that life history strategy, like all behavioral traits, can only be truly attributed to additive genetics when there is a physiological basis for it which is itself subject to the direct influence of specific genes (Turkheimer, 1998.) To do so, he identifies a number of physiological traits upon which r- and K-selected species consistently differ, finds meaningful approximations of these in humans, and looks to between-group differences for signs of variation in life history strategy. In this case, he argues that life history events like gestation, ovulation, and menarche are themselves biological events which underlie suites of behavioral traits and which are largely ordered by genetically heritable life history strategies. This forms the basis of his argument that human variation in these behavioral traits can ultimately be attributed to genetic differences produced by natural selection.
In illustration of this point, Rushton points to a number of main physiological traits associated with life history events which vary between human groups. The most concrete of these seem to be age of menarche, which Rushton equates with age of sexual maturity, and rates of ovulation, which he considers akin to litter size, differing in degree rather than type. The latter he examines in terms of differential rates of dizygotic twinning, which suggest that in some small sense, certain women ovulate more frequently than others. That this is an adaptation consistent with a low-K life history strategy, in which survival is best guaranteed by increased rates of reproduction, is the central presumption of his argument.
As usual, Rushton’s preoccupation is with phenotypic consistency within racial categories, and as evidence, he holds up differences in rates of dizygotic twinning between races. Rushton reports that, per 100,000 born, Asians give birth to fewer than 4 dizygotic twins, Caucasians approximately 8, and Africans over 16 (Rushton 1995.) Ignoring the obvious controversy of Rushton’s racial obsessions, it bears acknowledging that, should rate of ovulation qualify as a legitimate indicator of life history strategy, this revelation certainly provides evidence of intra-species variation. Compounding this evidence is the case for the heritability of spontaneous DZ twinning, and a good deal of research suggests exactly that. Bulmer deduced that the risk of dizygotic twinning for relatives of mothers with DZ twins is between 1.8 and 2.6 times higher than the general population, and suggested a recessive gene with low penetrance and a gene frequency of 50% that could be responsible. Surprisingly little work exists concerning the component heritability of twinning rates, but linkage scans have been conducted which identify a number of candidate loci associated with the tendency to conceive dizygotic twins (Painter, Willemsen, Nyholt, Hoekstra, Duffy, Henders, Wallace & Healey, 2010.) It suffices to say that, despite not having firm figures of heritability, rates of DZ twinning have been shown to cluster within families, which suggests some degree of genetic influence.
Comparatively more work has been done to demonstrate the influence of genes on age of menarche, and heritability estimates tend to fall consistently around 0.50 (Towne, Czerwinski, Demerath, Blangero , Roche & Siervogel, 2005.) Establishing a genetic basis for age of sexual maturation could go a long way towards substantiating Rushton’s theory that intra-species differences in life history strategy exist, and that the physiological developments indicative of different strategies originate in the genes. Rushton consistently pays only lip service to the significance of individual variation and the role played by environment, however, and it is difficult to argue that a 0.50 heritability estimate justifies this.
While a good deal of evidence exists to support Rushton’s claims about these biological traits and their basis in genetics, his theory begins to unravel under closer scrutiny. He fails to address the question of whether biological traits like age at menarche or rates of ovulation covary consistently with one another and thus never substantiates his assumption that there is a latent variable connecting them that we can reasonably identify as the K-Factor. In fact, race is the only real factor he holds up to link them together, and he seems to make the circular argument that racial minorities are low-K because they have higher incidences of these biological traits — which are themselves low-K because they are collectively found in racial minorities. His reasoning rests on the assumption that, for example, rates of ovulation are genuinely akin to differences in litter size — a legitimately biological life history trait — but this remains an unfalsifiable assumption, and without actually demonstrating a correlation between twinning rates and some sort of higher order factor, an assumption is all it amounts to.
Beyond the error of relegating substantial within-group variation in mating strategy to a concessionary footnote, Rushton’s great fault lies in ignoring more recent evidence that the physiological traits he considers incontrovertible evidence of genetic determinism are in fact heavily subject to environmental influence. He addresses variation in ovulation and age of menarche, but prefers to attribute it to tectonic evolutionary shifts over individual adaptation. The capacity of individuals to adapt is considerable, however, and a number of studies confirm the short-sightedness of Rushton’s approach. A good deal of work has been done to show that pubertal timing is fundamentally responsive to numerous ecological factors, whether related to health, familial stress, or the social environment. Findings show that both parental supportiveness and time spent by the father in child care are statistically significant predictors of a daughter’s pubertal timing, each correlated positively with later ages of menarche (Ellis, 2004.) Similarly, girls raised in the absence of their fathers tend to experience menarche earlier. This may well be an evolutionary adaptation to uncertainty of environmental stability, but if so, it serves only to confirm the capacity of individuals to adapt their life history strategies and counters the argument that these adaptations have their root in additive genetics.
If we accept Rushton’s argument that genetics affect life history strategy indirectly through the direction of relevant physiological events like menarche, ovulation, and gestation, then the revelation of a strong environmental influence obliges us to concede that environment can affect life history strategy through exactly the same means and possibly to a greater degree. If individual mating decisions are a product of both contextual decision making and biological predilection, then this biological predilection is subject to the influence of not only additive genetics but of the developmental environment, which strongly affects a number of the factors examined. It certainly bears mentioning that several of the social predictors for later pubertal timing (e.g. strength of relationship with a biological father figure) were themselves indicators of Figueredo’s K-Factor, which suggests a complex interaction between genes and environment in determining life history strategy.
This interaction would seem to make sense in light of the historical data, and Rushton’s insistence on a biologically hardwired life history strategy falls apart when confronted with the obvious reality that strategies change dramatically across generations in genetically consistent populations. Historical records show a birth rate of 49.2 per thousand in the newly founded Bay Colony of 17th Century Massachusetts, beating out today’s Niger, Mali, and Uganda and outpacing any country currently in existence (Anderson & Thomas, 1973.) An average family size of 7.13 children would certainly seem indicative of an r-selected mating strategy, and all that remains is for Rushton to verify the inborn criminality, low-IQ, and unrestricted sexuality of the Brownists who stood behind the Salem witch trials. More likely, ancestral environments selected for an adaptive life history strategy, whereby the physiological and behavioral life history traits of individuals are capable of developing in response to changing environments. This could explain the apparent gene-environment interaction responsible for the physiological traits that underlie life history strategy, and could be an area of potential future study.
The most significant lesson to be drawn from the realization that both genes and environment influence this strategy, however, is that it must now be subject to intervention. Rushton seems preoccupied throughout his work with the role played by the K-Factor in the production of complex civilization, due to its emphasis on sexual repression and encouragement of long-term planning. Whatever his motivation for saying this, there may be some wisdom in developing a collective awareness of the importance of parental investment and future time-orientation to the maintenance of civilization. A casual observation of American society suggests that participation in the post-industrial economy requires ever-increasing degrees of K-strategy, while the collapse of a common dogma surrounding sexual mores has produced a public which is increasingly r-oriented with each generation. Ultimately, Rushton’s work comes off fatalistic for its belief in the immutability of genetic predisposition to underlying life history strategy. The conclusion that environment plays just as strong a role in the formation of these strategies contradicts this belief, and may well be cause for optimism.
- Anderson, T., & Thomas, R. P. (1973). White population, labor force and extensive growth of the new england economy in the seventeenth century. Journal of Economic History, 34(3), 634-667.
- Bulmer MG (1970): “The Biology of Twinning in Man.” London: Oxford University Press, pp 113-137.
- Buss, D., & Shackleford, T. (2008). Attractive women want it all: Good genes, economic investment, parenting proclivities, and emotional commitment. Evolutionary Psychology, 6(1), 134-146.
- Ellis, B. J. (2004). Timing of pubertal maturation in girls: An integrated life history approach. Psychological Bulletin, 6(130), 920-958.
- Figueredo, A. J., Vasquez, G., Brumbach, B. H., & Schneider, S. M. (2004). The heritability of life history strategy: The k-factor, covitality, and personality. Social Biology, 3-4(51), 121-143.
- Figueredo, A. J., Vasquez, G., Hagenah Brumbach, B., Sefcek, J. A., Kirsner, B., & Jacobs, W. J. (2005). The k-factor: Individual differences in life history strategy. Personality and Individual Differences,2005(39), 1349-1360.
- MacArthur, R. H. and Wilson, E. O. 1967. The Theory of Island Biogeography. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
- Painter, J., Willemsen, G., Nyholt, D., Hoekstra, C., Duffy, D., Henders, A., Wallace, L., & Healey, S. (2010). A genome wide linkage scan for dizygotic twinning in 525 families of mothers of dizygotic twins.Human Reproduction, 6(25), 1569-1580.
- Stearns, S. (1977). The evolution of life history traits: A critique of the theory and a review of the data.Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics,8(1977), 145-171.
- Tal, I., Figueredo, A. J., Frias-Armenta, M., & Corral-Verdugo, V. (2006). An evolutionary approach to explaining water conservation behavior. Medio Ambiente y Comportamiento Humano, 7(1), 7-27.
- Towne, B., Czerwinski, S., Demerath, E., Blangero , J., Roche, A., & Siervogel, R. (2005). Heritability of age at menarche in girls from the fels longitudinal study. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, (128), 210-219.
- Turkheimer, E. (1998). Heritability and biological explanation.Psychological Review, 105(4), 782-791.
That’s it. Any feedback welcome.
In keeping with a long tradition of covering shit nobody else comes close to writing about…
The ongoing exploration of social power has taken me away from the study of group dynamics and the manipulation of status, towards the nature of submission, the personal psyche, and the deeper (benevolent) manipulation of individuals. Do you believe women are naturally submissive? I believe humans are naturally submissive, and some outgrow it. Consciousness itself is a burden, and submission to external directives frees us from the concerns, anxieties, and uncertainties of daily life. There’s a grain of truth to the idea that “work will set you free”, and one of the requirements of adulthood is being able to order yourself when nobody else will do it.
Even still, there are levels of dominance that can be attained. What does dominance mean to an American? To the manosphere bloggers who seem so enamored with the concept, it seems to be little more than aloof independence, propped up by the improbable desire of female underlings to submit to one’s self-interest. But genuine leadership is more than that. It is acting as a personification of someone else’s superego, the externalized working memory. It is an art, and it requires a higher level of consciousness. It requires you to infer the mental state of the person you are dealing with, assess their motivations and needs, gain their trust, and persuade them to follow you to satisfy their desires. This is leadership, and it is by far the least studied of the female attraction triggers, because so few understand it themselves.
As with any other piece of female psychology, men look at it in a Plato’s Wall scenario of analyzing the symptoms without understanding the reality. As with any other piece of female psychology, it is more valuable to look at the subjective emotional experience of it than what it looks like from the outside. This is not impossible. I believe everyone has a level of submissiveness inside of them, because everyone spends the first 18 years of their lives passively obeying the orders of one authority figure or another. For most, this continues long after age 18, but as is often the case, men are permitted to behave like children far less than women are. Women have society’s permission to submit, to relieve themselves of responsibility, to genuinely trust. And if you believe that anyone is naturally submissive, you will understand what this means — that deep down, they want nothing more than to let go and follow your direction.
This presents a number of requirements. The agreement must be 100% voluntary and you cannot assert leadership over anyone against their emotional will. You can entice someone to follow your direction only by offering them something, but putting conditions on it and requiring them to follow you. This requires them to operate on an emotional, rather than rational level of consciousness, because the job of their rational mind is to scrutinize whether or not it is safe to follow their emotions. For this reason, the #1 prerequisite is trust. When someone follows you, they are abandoning their need to think. To experience concern or anxiety, to cease the questioning and doubt that plagues their mind. But this requires them to suspend the critical brain, and they will do this ONLY if they trust the voice which commands them. Your greatest job is to allay their fears and then focus on stimulating their emotions — and both of these require total clarity in YOUR mind, total certainty, total lack of fear and doubt in yourself.
More on that later.
At the highest peak of direct, animal status — at the level of a legitimate king — there is no thought whatsoever, there is only awareness of external reality. No self-reflection. No doubt. No fear. No anxiety. Scanning the room slowly with warm, fearless eye contact and casual engagement of everyone around you. You think you know what this means, but most do not. They aren’t reading literally. They cannot comprehend the idea of no thoughts running through your head. Of total silence and clarity as you take in the outside world and act on pure, native instinct. People pay you tribute out of biological reflex — buy you drinks, offer you girls — and you can’t believe this level of status disparity exists in a society you used to think was staunchly egalitarian.
Hold a dollar in your hand and ask which is more real — the dollar or the economy? The room or the nation? Your social circle or America? We live in an evolved, complex society, but the process is cumulative — you live in nation, a state, a city, a tribe, and a crew, all at the same time. Marriage is the process of family replacing crew; as patriarchy breaks down, the crew will become the central organizing unit of male social life. As complexity breaks down, the tribe will become, once more, the central organizing unit of political life.
Is the process of deteriorating complexity and its replacement with smaller, more direct units of social organization reversible? I don’t think so. But can the complex institutions continue to exist without the participation of the great majority of retribalizing humans? Can individual men sit on the fence and have it both ways? I think they can. I think I’m doing it right now, and working my ass off during the week while wrenching out total animal indulgence on the weekend. It requires me to live in two completely irreconcilable worlds, and any man who wants to maintain class must do the same. Because the great divide is widening and we’re all choosing sides. You vote with your feet. Every time you go to the bar, every time you log on to read a pickup website, every time you treat sex as a priority, you’re deciding which world you want to live in. It started out on the weekend but the weekend is gaining ground. Go to the hood. To to the trailer park. Go to the train yard. Every day is the weekend, because that is our biological heritage and our biological future.
The central conflict in every contemporary man’s life is this: That those two worlds require you to be opposite men. You can’t win in the animal world without being alpha, and you can’t participate in the complex economy without being beta. One requires the total absence of thought, anxiety, internal reflection, and self-referential thinking. The other relies on rational, logical, linear, compulsive thought in order to function. You can be the king of both worlds, but you must learn to turn your brain on and off and become two different people at the drop of a hat. Who else lives like this? Who could take on this life? But this is what you have to do if you want to be king, and the time is coming when kingship is mandatory.
In the early stages of game, most men are fixated on the question of what to do or say in order to win success with women. But one of the most important things you can learn early on is that these are the wrong questions to be asking in the first place. Why? Because what you say only accounts for 10% of your actual success. There are two sides of real communication, and the content of your interaction is only a fractional part of it. Beyond content, there is context, which informs how that content is interpreted by giving people cues about who you are and how to treat you. It may be fair to say that game is nothing more than the manipulation of how people interpret your words and actions: saying the same shit in different ways to suggest that you are a source of value instead of a social liability.
Fortunately, there is already a classic game concept to describe this phenomenon. It is the concept of frame, and it is the single most foundational idea in social dynamics. What does a woman want? She wants joy, she wants love, she wants emotional novelty. But more than anything, she wants to play a specific role, burned into her mind in youth, that nobody allows her to play. It is different for every woman, and your job is to figure her out and give her the opportunity to be herself. To become a man with whom she can be herself. And this requires both the insight to read her and the ability to craft a frame from the emotionless void of casual conversation. It is a fundamentally creative act and you will be unstoppable when you’ve mastered it.
This is the sheer and undeniable genius of the female mind at work. Women see the world in shades of gray when it is really black and white, but men see the world in black and white when there are really shades of gray. A boorish woman will rationalize that a man is threatened by a strong woman when in reality the man is just not attracted to her. But a man will determine that a woman is rejecting him, when really there are a hundred reasons she did not return his call! Did she take too long to respond to a text? How do you know she wasn’t driving? How do you know she wasn’t mid-conversation? It is crippling to interpret rejection where there is none, but most men refuse to think creatively when presented with complex human action. Considering that being emotionally threatened by a woman is the fount of 90% of beta behavior, nothing could be more important than interpreting reality in a way that affirms your status. These are only 10% of the benefits that come from hamster-like thinking and the ability to create your own frame, though.
I will say AGAIN that Julien’s drama game has legitimately changed my life. At heart, it revolves around the deliberate and reckless assumption of a fearlessly emotional frame. This is liberating enough in itself, because 99% of men communicate in a way that minimizes emotionality and drama, and especially limits their personal vulnerability. But expressing even vulnerable emotions — pain, sadness, jealousy, anger — from a position of confidence can actually serve to strengthen emotional bonds and demonstrate your willingness to make emotional demands on others — an extremely alpha trait that is extremely difficult to achieve. To a woman, this is like crack cocaine.
The manipulation of frame can be as simple as playing a game. I stumbled into a random party this weekend. Before going inside, I worked the crowd of 20 or 30 people in the backyard, greeted the people I knew, laughed and drank. Ended up by the doorway, saw a cutie heading inside with a group. Told them to go ahead, go ahead, go ahead, then stopped her and said, “Hey, wait — who do you know in there?” “Oh I don’t know…i’m just with my friends…is that okay? Can I still go inside?” Told her, “Yeah, you’re okay, go ahead just don’t dance on the tables or break anything.” She came back out 10 minutes later. Stopped her and said, “Hey, wait — who do you know out here?” She cracked up. Flirted for a while, told her I didn’t even live there and got that “what the fuck!”/playful shove. The point isn’t what was said. It’s just some dumb shit I did for 10 minutes one time. The point is that I invented roles for both of us to play, and got her to play along. And in every social interaction, the person with higher status sets the frame for both of you.
Take it one step farther. I went inside myself and found out it was my ex-girlfriend’s birthday party. Asked her best friend, who still hates me, if she was going to kick me out. She said yes. I said, “Whatever, I was here first. Actually, you’ve got to leave Catie. I’m kicking you out. All right, let’s go. Come with me.” Ended up hitting on her and now she doesn’t hate me anymore — probably because 90% of the time a girl hates you it’s because you threaten her self-image. Saw my ex, who I haven’t seen since she dumped me over 2 years ago. Told her, “Hey, you look great and I want to formally apologize for being such a dick to you. Happy Birthday.” Was I a dick to her? No. But I set the frame that I was apologizing to her, and that means I had the upper hand. She accepted it and responded accordingly. She was now the one who lost me.
Take it one step farther. I was there with another girl I met at the previous party. Looked bored/ chilled with her while my ex stared on. Ex gave proximity numerous times, kept making eye contact. Ignored her and left the party. Sent her a Facebook message the next day saying, “Happy Birthday I’m glad I saw you, I was bummed that you didn’t want to talk but whatever, that’s all history now so oh well.” Now there’s a frame of emotional conflict. Now we’re two people with a complicated past who don’t know how they feel about each other (which is true.) Would that be the case if I simply followed her cues and accepted the frame she gave me? No. We would be two people who knew each other 2 years ago who are now having a conversation about work and school. I created the frame between the two of us, and that’s the difference between nothing and something.
So take it one step farther still: This isn’t limited to interactions with females. It informs your entire fucking life. When you go to work, you accept your employer’s frame. When you go to the same bars because “that’s where people go”, you accept a frame. When you went to college to study what they taught you, hoping for a job, to go down an established path, you accepted a frame. Every time you follow the steps set out for you by other people’s experience and prescriptions, and look to the past for cues instead of engaging reality in a novel and spontaneous way, you are accepting a frame. Success isn’t a reward for going through the right motions. It’s something you create for yourself by looking at nothing and building a frame. It is a fundamentally creative act, and now more than ever it is a necessity if you want to be successful at anything.