Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Humans are manipulative -- get over it

I've long had a theory that the whole internet-based men's movement that loosely ties together pick-up arts, men's rights advocates, angry neckbeards, and right-wing "Red Pill" politicos in disguise is ultimately unified by a single thread: autism.

More than anything, I think this entire zeitgeist is driven by autistic individuals coming to the realization that human existence is inherently manipulative. Anyone who works with autistic people in therapeutic situation will tell you that arriving at some understanding that human beings are manipulative is one of the big steps forward that an autistic individual can take.

Where I think thinks turn poisonous in the discussion among these guys is that it tends to be a bit of a half-realization that ends up being exceedingly self-soothing and self-serving. Rather than making the full leap to the concept that, "OK, they're manipulative, I'm manipulative, everyone's manipulative," they tend to lean on the crutch of "women are manipulative because they think its fun, and men are manipulative because women's behavior forces us to be that way."

That's an incredibly childish take on the problem. Even allowing for the idea that women might be more manipulative, there are strong evolutionary reasons why that might be the case. For example, if half of the members of your species are going to have a size and strength advantage against you, it's probably worth your time to develop an asymmetric advantage in order to fucking survive.

Beyond that, it's an astonishingly victim-centered view of oneself to feel that only one of other group of human beings are evil monsters who make you do something that you'd otherwise not do. Exceedingly immature, and worse the political right-wing element that's fostering the men's movement on the internet is leveraging this on a daily basis.

Worse, let's just be honest about autism and manipulation. Autistic people are manipulative. They just really, really suck at it. It's not unusual for males of prime reproductive age to get angry about their own inability to acquire a mate, but this particular subset (autistic, male, internet-heavy, prone to blaming others) is so far the fuck out in left field it's unreal.

The fact that you suck at something and therefore don't do it should not be confused with the idea that you wouldn't do it if you could. I may not be the world's greatest jumper, but that doesn't logically lead to the idea that all people who are good at jumping are engaged in an extant conspiracy to prevent me from dunking a basketball. It's just too much of a logical leap.

Making the whole problem worse is that there's a readership-writer feedback loop of validation. The more times a Red Pill blogger uses the term "hypergamy" (which is just the natural tendency of all human beings to seek the best available mate pairing) the more times he's applauded by commenters and readers for pointing how terrible the women folk are. The readers feel validated, and then the writer feels validated, and that all leads to a feedback loop of circlejerk "hooray for us" crap that doesn't help anyone become a better human being.

At some stage you have to make a bigger leap forward. It's not enough to notice the role that the manipulative behavior of others plays in your life. You have to, in order to be healthy human being, understand that all social existence is inherently manipulative. Anyone who's ever watched a baby cry and then check for its mother to respond knows how much of a bedrock principle this is.

The problem is that ultimately, autistic children with underdeveloped manipulation skills tend to develop strong victim mentalities. There's a feeling of being constantly bullied -- even in situations where it's actually just more normal social interaction. The feeling of bullying is validated by the fact that bullies tend to pick up on autistic kids' lack of social skills and target them. That's all understandable, but if you aim to lead a healthy adult life you're going to have to move beyond that.

It's not enough to glare at the rest of the world saying, "I recognize what all you fuckers are doing." Recognition isn't much. I can recognize that I have cancer, but that recognition hardly is going to save my life all by itself. It takes other steps.

The human ego is incredibly defensive and good at insulating itself from attack. A lot of pathologies ultimately start when an individual lays down that first defensive barrier that's so think that reason will not penetrate it.

There has to come a point where a healthy adult makes the effort look out from their defensive position and see a world that might be worth visiting on occasion. Autistic kids are great at building their own little worlds, and they become adults who do a terrible job of leaving their defensive fortifications for very long -- if at all.

The problem is that if you ever aim to have a healthy interaction with a member of the opposite sex, you're going to have to suck it up and move away from the fortifications. There's more to life than simply defending your ego from harm.

Feeding into an internet monoculture where damaged autistic males sit around discussing how evil women are and how we'll all totally show them is pretty much the worst thing you can do. Yes, there are basic realizations that come with the PUA/Red Pill/MRA ideology that are worth discussing and even incorporating into your worldview.

A lot of it is quite useful on a daily basis. You shouldn't go through life being the bottom bitch to everyone you meet. You shouldn't be cloying in your eagerness to please the opposite sex. You should be aware that other people are trying to manipulate you.

There's nothing wrong with any of that, but it's merely a tool kit. You can't allow yourself to become fixated on the minute details of those working to such an extent that you forget to live an actual life. You have to be bothered to do more than just succeed at approaching a couple girls and maybe get a piece of ass.

The horror of it, at least as far as I can see, is that young men are making a monstrosity out of the very thing that they want.

One of the things the Freud got right -- and despite all the point and laugh factor people have with Freud, he got a lot of shit right despite working at the very dawn of time within his profession -- is that objectifying the opposite sex is an act of aggression toward them. To look at women as monsters because they don't offer you the ready supply of happiness and pussy that you expect is an act of aggression. Like most acts of aggression, it arises from a feeling that active defense is better than taking an ass-kickin'.

If all you feel toward the opposite sex is a need to engage in acts of aggression in order to not be caught defending yourself, you need to get your head straight. No one owes you sex. No one owes you happiness. No one owes you the best mate available. You have to make yourself a person worthy of the things that you want.

Villifying the opposite sex as a bunch of mean and manipulative brutes is dumb. Actively seeking to fuck them as a form of revenge for making you feel that way is creepily Freudian.

You really want to live your life being "creepily Freudian"?


  1. Massive u-turn after 4 years pretty much blogging the opposite of women?

    Or maybe The Aloof Guy finally fell in lurrrve!? ;-)

    1. Nope. Just hit my limit on the more hysterical manosphere stuff. I can only read so many stories where guys pretend they're empowered while also claiming to be victims before i cease to see the distinction between them and the attention whores they claim to be fighting against.

    2. Actually, Aloof has been critical of right wing PUA blogs in previous posts. One that immediately comes to mind is "aloof busy" (what an oxymoron), but I'm sure you can find others if you care to look.

      I think it's good to have posts that are critical of men as well as women. There's probably a fair number of men reading this blog and lord knows some of us can use the feedback. The key takeaway of this post (for both genders) is the "no one owes you anything" bit which, if you'll pardon the metaphor, is a rather hard pill to swallow.

    3. @seraph I have always found the right-wing tilt of the manosphere, while fairly predictable based on the landscape of politics in the English-speaking world, to be a bit much and vastly unnecessary. I guarantee there are horny leftist dweebs who'd like to get laid too.

      "Aloof busy" is more of a dumb concept than an oxymoron. The truth is, rather than faking being busy, you ought to be working on something in your life passionately enough that you don't have to fake being busy and instead just do have shit to actually do.

      Ultimately, what frustrates me the most now is that the conversation has died down and gelled around a particular set of dogmas. There was a post-PUA revolution where everyone thankfully stopped advocating dressing like an androgynous rock star, and then the progress just stopped.

      I feel like the world needs to be measured in lives led, and the Red Pill movement always seems to stop short of really getting anyone to lead lives. Instead, there's a certain point where it has started advocating for people to resign from life and civilization.

      Frankly, it's nice to just occasionally exist without being paranoid about the motives of the people around you. Even if you have to lie to yourself and about them in order to make it happen. Red Pill ideology long ago crossed the line from getting guys laid to being the massive lament about the universe in general. That bugs the shit out of me.

  2. I can actually agree with most of your take on this, however there is a great mental benefit in keeping yourself aware of women's tactics and developing your own countermeasures. People are manipulative, yes, and I intend to be among the best. I can't cough up the redpill, it's been fully digested.

    1. I think there's a difference between "don't be a fucking rube" (good advice) and "omfg there's a grand conspiracy of the Vagina Illuminati to take over the world".

      That's where some of the ambiguity comes from. For the most part, I'm more frustrated with the fact that the Red Pill message is stuck in an unvirtuous loop and not moving in any positive direction. The blogging and social media traffic element of the manosphere rewards building a mindless echo chamber over real thought and progress.

      That bothers me.

  3. People are inherently bad and manipulative. It's the human condition.

    1. Looking at the world from what I'd consider an autistic viewpoint, I think it's harder to appreciate how much of an "us and them" mentality that you build toward your fellow humans.

      To be honest, on a given day I rarely consider anything I experience to be derived from "the human condition."

      In most situations, I prefer to see myself as an alien observer. Not literally, which is a sign of a whole other set of disorders, but in terms of how I feel about the world. I don't particularly consider myself to be much more than a distant affiliate of the human race.

      From that viewpoint, it's easy to distance oneself from a dumb world that's full of rules that you'll never get right. But, when you try to bridge the gap, the basic human impulse to assign blame comes into play. The general rule of a healthy ego is that it just won't internalize too much blame. The problem is that ultimately, in a case like this, it's hard to make progress by fully externalize blame.