Monday, April 15, 2013

The Problems With PUA and Game (Part 3)

The last post dealt with the faulty logic supporting PUA and Game, stating that have a fundamental misunderstanding of what manliness is, plus that their Social Darwinist influenced views are obsolete at best and outright presently maladaptive in this world at worst. Now we will look at the implications of believing those misplaced values, attitudes, and mindsets; particularly where it concerns sizing up the true worth of another person:

They start with the assumption that having the ability to score with women if one so chooses is a necessary component of a respectworthy man, if not the most important trait for a man; then build their whole skyscraper on that foundation.  Not only is this simply not true, it outright contradicts oft-stated necessary characteristics of what society considers a “real man”. More detailed aspects of this point are
@ Insists people conform to society’s idealized gender stereotypes in order to be worthy of respect.   The further implication being that true individuality is held in contempt.  PUA/”Gamers” – and seemingly mainstream society in general - sees people first and foremost as members of a gender rather than as individuals with their own will, opinions, consciousness, desires, interests, personality, and so forth. In the case of men, they say that a man has to be bold, extroverted, be a commanding presence, take charge, be dominant, and radiate a sense of confidence; and those men who are not like that deserve whatever disrespect that comes their way - regardless of any other positive qualities they may possess. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that this sentiment qualifies for bigotry, or at “best” bordering on it; which leads directly to the next point.


@ There is a certain level of bigotry present in the PUA/”Gamer” mindset.  It implies that respect-worthy men, by their very nature, can easily and frequently obtain consent from many women to have sex. It follows that a man who cannot easily obtain such consent from a woman is a loser deserving whatever snubbing, mockery, ridicule, or patronization that comes their way for that reason alone. Similar things can and do extent to women whom few – if any – men would sleep with. Also, as discussed above, the same attitude also exists in gender ideal matters well outside the scope of sex and romance. Again, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to see any meaningful difference between castigating the sexually unsuccessful as people second-class-people at best and racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and (to a lesser degree) disdain for the physically or mentally disabled.


All the above means that the reptilian-basebrain-generated desires for short-term gratification and self-indulgence (not just on sexual matters) plus the likewise generated ways of sizing up one’s respectworthiness – the very assumptions driving much of PUA/”Game” itself - are at best incompetent at setting the stage for further progress and overall taking humans beings where they really need to go and at worst  anti-progressive by their very nature. Therefore, anyone who seriously believes either satisfying one’s on reptilian-basebrain instincts is the only way to true happiness or that a man’s very worth depends on his ability to obtain easy and frequent sex certainly needs to question the underlying metaphors and assumptions driving the logic behind PUA, but also the likewise metaphors and assumptions driving our reptilian-basebrain-generated instincts and drive as well – namely to decide whether such drives are both a trustworthy route to true sustainable happiness and whether they’re appropriate behavior and attitudes for this day and age.

The Problems With PUA and Game (Part 2)

In the previous post, I talked about the practical limitations of PUA and Game, within the generous assumption that their methods really work at all.  I closed by stating there are some fundamental flaws in the values, attitudes, and assumptions that propel the logic and mindset of the PUA community, some Game Practitioners - and to add to this list, much of mainstream society in general (if not most of it).  While the focus is on males who adhere to the underlying values, attitudes, and assumptions that enable the PUA movement and "Game" to exist, we should keep in mind that females - even many sophisticated and mature ones - are every bit as likely to believe these underlying values and attitudes as males, even if the females themselves object to Game and PUA.

 While these values and attitudes are not necessarily part of PUA and Game, they nevertheless keep giving life to it. These assumptions, values, and attitudes of the leaders, practitioners, and students of PUA and Game are as follows:

Ultimately, PUA (and a large part of humanity in general) assumes our reptilian basebrain instincts and impulses are better indicators of both people’s worth and even truth itself than the thoughts sourced in the higher level regions of our brain. In effect, PUA perpetuates the notion that we should let the reptilian brain tell our higher cerebral cortex what to think. Problems with this assumption include:

@ It confuses a basebrain reptilian impulse with a substantive need, or a basebrain reptilian “size-up” of a person with the substantive valuation of that person.

@ It also confuses a deep, intense good feeling with a true betterment of a situation, whether personal or societal. Likewise the impulse often exaggerates the threatening nature of imperfections in people; confusing substantive menaces to one’s self, dignity, or otherwise well-being with minor irritations or inconveniences at such undesirable traits or states of affairs.

@ It overemphasizes the need to satisfy the knee-jerk basebrain reptilian impulses at the expense of long-term good, whether for one’s self or for others, or even society as a whole.

@ It does not encourage serious self-reflection about matters having little to nothing to do with sexual or romantic success.

@ Any one of the above, but especially when many of these things are present, encourage promotion of self-satisfying self-indulgence, even if at the long-term expense of personal or societal well-being.

History is littered with examples in which short-to-medium-term-only thinking – impulses and instinctive behaviors generated by our reptilian basebrains – that generated great, even spectacular, short-to-medium-term results later lead to great long-term losses for those individuals and even the greater society (the laws and business practices leading to the 2008 financial crises and the current Eurozone one are the latest examples of this). Which leads to the next point.

@ PUA’s and “Game” advocates do not much respect the totality of human experience; and what little they do draw from beyond sexual success is highly selective in nature (and usually filtered through a strainer of Macho Social Darwinist Survivalism besides).  It ignores the fact that there are other traits of greater importance or long-term value than a man’s virility. The most important among these are preventing and treating suffering in others and ourselves, contributing to the well-being of society in non-sexual or romantic ways, conjuring up new ideas completely irrelevant to sex and romance that - when all is said and done – are vital for human survival or progress, and just plain civility and kindness (the latter allows us and others to devote personal energies to productive and enriching tasks and activities, as opposed to diverting them to face-saving, petty mind games, interpersonal politics, etc that devolve into bickering, drama, and petty quarrels. In the worst cases having to devote our energies to the defense of our very dignity and human rights themselves).  

Anyone who doubts that there are other things more important than one's sexual success - or even that it is a necessary prerequisite for one's own self respect and/or respect from others - should consider that the very ability of humans to (largely) escape from being prey for wild animals, control many if not most diseases and other health threats, and live in relative comfort spring from ideas having nothing to do with sex and certainly could have come from even an incel's brain (incel is short hand for "involuntary celibate"). The most famous example is Sir Issac Newton, whose ideas without which we would not have had any Industrial Revolution to speak of at all, let alone the Information Revolution (which in turn was possible only because of the invention of Industrial Age instruments, machines, and devices that were themselves the prerequisite to performing the original research and development into electronics and physics that enabled us to develop the Internet in the first place).   The same thing goes for the arts, entertainment, philosophy, historical studies, and other endeavors that, even if they aren't technically useful are nevertheless add inestimable value to our quality of life.

Therefore, the basebrain reptilian impluses are no longer a practical guide for everyday living, especially in highly complex societies/relationship patterns. They overemphasizes the value of short-term gratification and greatly understates the value of long-term thinking. This includes not only business strategies, long-term career goals, and such but also sizing up who we choose for our romantic partners and even non-romantic relationships (of whatever gender).

Furthermore, according to J. Wes Ulm, Dutch primatologist Franz de Waal chronicles numerous instances of “robust ape communities” that actually care for their weak, sick and injured; thereby seriously challenging the notion (certainly for primates) that life is merely a dog-eat-dog struggle for supremacy without any hint of concern for another’s well-being. Likewise, it also casts doubt on the popular macho image of how “the real world” works.

@ Adheres to Ideas of “Real Man” that are obsolete at best and counterproductive at worst. These flaws are especially evident when PUA and Game tend to advocate values, attitudes, or otherwise points of view best described as amoral or Darwin-as-ethic (actually, it was Herbert Spencer, not Darwin, who promoted what came to be called “Social Darwinism”, but that’s another tangent. For now, it’s enough to say that “Survival of the Fittest” did not orginate with Darwin, and in fact he objected that his theories are applicable to modern human behavior).
@ Their defintions and ideals of “real manhood” tend to be Social Darwinist in nature. PUA (and much of mainstream society in general, so it seems) simply superimposes animal survival practices and skills onto humans, then uses a person’s competence/aptitude at animal-style survival as the proper measuring stick for sizing up one’s respectworthiness (especially a man’s), without any regard for the unique details of human psychology and essential survival skills that separate our needs from those of every other species.

Even worse, this Social Darwinist model fails to account for the fact that we humans have moved on considerably beyond the time in which muscle power and quick instincts were the only way to secure resources and personal (and mate and children) safety. This likewise renders considerably obsolete our reptilian basebrain original impulses for sizing up the intrinsic worth of other people.

Last but not least, our ways of making a living rely less on physical strength and aggression and more on the higher level cognitive skills (especially interpersonal practices) that enable us to create new ways of obtaining resources (from stone spears to computers and advanced biotech). Therefore, relying on our reptilian-basebrain impulses when deciding who to sleep with (i.e., open the probability of having offspring with) is a risky evolutionary strategy for humans (both individually and species-wide) at best; especially in the long run.

The Problems With PUA and Game (Part 1)

or, Why Self-Respect Won't Allow Me to Take PUA Values and Attitudes Seriously
Proponents of PUA, and perhaps "Game" in general, have a lot of problems.  The first five points are actually only of secondary importance to the point I’m getting at, but I’ll list them briefly anyway

1) PUA / “Game” techniques work, when they do at all, only with a certain subset of women, namely those who highly value action and excitement, attention-and-glory-getting, and charisma over substance and personal content.  Put another way, PUA techniques work only with women  who value photogenic personas and / or tele-videogenic lifestyles over the boring-but-important traits like kindness, compatibility of values, integrity, honesty, responsibility, and so forth. 
2) Tends to emphasize quantity over quality, and therefore is not appropriate for anyone looking for a serious committed relationship, even the kinds of relationships falling well short of marriage.  

3) Overestimates both the quantity and quality of women who do like “jerks” and drama. Not surprising, given the techniques themselves are designed to pick up women, not just at bars (most famously) but in settings where people randomly come and go (malls, shopping centers, etc).  So almost by the very nature of things, the women who tend to go for “jerks”, “alphas”, etc. are – at best, not looking for a serious relationship, at worst drama queens, whores, cheaters, and other types who either have difficulty with maintaining any kind of relationship.
4) Can habituate men to focus on their own needs above those of their girlfriend or fiancĂ©, thereby hurting many mens’ long-run ability to succeed in a committed relationship. In general, PUA . It creates bad habits in the minds of men looking to pick up women.
5) Not surprisingly, young women looking for a serious committed relationship likely know to insist on more controlled settings. Namely, they insist on meeting men through their circle of long-time friends and family members, for she will very likely trust them to help vet a guy’s relationship qualities.

Even assuming I am wrong about all points above, there's still the issue of self-respect.  In short, anyone who starts with the assumption that it's more important to get laid than to be your real self is brainwashed by too much popular culture. If anything, the exact opposite is true.  A true real man puts Principle Over Pussy - meaning he is not going to do a personality purge, personality transplant, "grow" as a person* in order to get women in bed, or even to pay the slightest bit of attention to him. 

In fact, a true real man would necessarily think "I got the hell away from the in-crowd and mainstream society because they're just a bunch of people with overgrown egoes who have the gall to think they have the right to tell everybody else how to live their lives, what to wear, what to drink, what kind of car to drive, what kind of image to have, etc. etc. etc. blah blah blah". 

Which leads into the next part of my blog series, about the values and attitudes that propel the PUA logic.