Monday, April 15, 2013

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.


DIMA SOKOL said...

My only question is who the fuck cares about society, human survival or progress? As an antinatalist I would think you wouldn't give two shits about such empty concepts

filrabat said...

The point is suffering prevention.

Yes, progress - defined as prevention or mitigation of suffering - is only important so long as humans continue to exist.

Yes, society's - if defined as the mechanism through which we organize ourselves into something vaguely resembling a semi-orderly group of people - is only important to the extent people exist

However, for the foreseeable future people will continue to exist whether we like it or not. Therefore, it behooves us to do whatever we can to prevent suffering.If someone gets a new point of view from this blog post, then so much the better. Certainly you don't agree that we should add more suffering to this world.

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