Saturday, September 25, 2010

Roissy on HBD and Game

I've been critical of the assertion that the Game movement is an ideal vehicle for HBD to hitch a ride in on its way to popular acceptance. Roissy just posted on the subject. This excerpt gets at the most important part of that post:
So HBD nerds need to get over the obvious “money/looks/fame” box within which they argue and constrict themselves, and begin to see that, like human differences in general, there is room to remake ourselves into better versions of who we are. To deny this is to deny there is any reason to put forth effort into anything of note after birth. There is more than one way to pierce a pussy. Women love game-spitting charming assholes as much as they love resource-providing stoic captains of industry. There is no contradiction in this observation.
As I point out below, the condescending attitude directed at those who aren't sold on the narrative isn't something to get caught up on. It's part of the game, er, Game. I suppose I could seriously argue that Game is a way for guys who aren't where they'd like to be in terms of "money/looks/fame" to convince themselves that they are at least on par with, if not superior to, those who have more money, better looks, and greater fame than they do, but who tend to excuse themselves to use the restroom in casual conversation rather than just leaving mid-sentence to heed nature's call like PUAs do. Yet even though it's said that status is everything, there is no concrete evidence that this is the case, and even if it were, it does not speak to the veracity of the narrative. Ideas, not the people who promote them, is what we're after, right?

I left the following comment:

Great post. The errant idea that Game somehow epitomizes the realities of HBD needed to be tempered. That Game takes down the feminist myth about gender being a social construction by illustrating that there are differences in what men and women are attracted to (the primary point of difference being how on the guy's pie chart physical attractiveness also covers all the space that is devoted to social status on the girl's chart) is, from an HBD evangelist's perspective, solid gold.

However, the fact remains that Game is founded on the premise that all the female detection mechanisms that have been honed by selection (natural and sexual) throughout human evolutionary history do a pretty crummy job at what they're commissioned to do. The degree to which they fail is open to debate--and your assessment is more attuned to reality (they do an okay job, but they're far from precise) than those made by some of your most zealous minions (they basically don't exist) are--but it's axiomatic that they are significantly flawed.

This is in contrast to the detection mechanisms of men, which are far more perspicacious than those possessed by women are. Science has thrown a few wrenches into man's well-oiled machine with plastic surgery, breast enhancement, and the like, but prior to World War I, women were almost powerless to do anything at all to influence male detection mechanisms.

HBDers like OneSTDV and Randall Parker (both of whom I have great respect for) would be wise to acknowledge this. That by no means implies that either HBD or Game is bunk--genetics and ancestry aren't everything--but they aren't natural bedfellows. Using one to push the other is akin to using geology to sell people on the wonders of chemical engineering--there's a bit of overlap, but we're not talking accounting and finance here.

I don't take any offense at the slights directed my way, either. The atmosphere is such that to question any aspect of Game is to tacitly admit to being unsuccessful with women, much like questioning the idea that discrimination is the reason for the black-white achievement gap is to tacitly admit to being a racist. Conveniently enough, my recent tangling of tongues and limbs with a voluptuous black girl serves as a refutation two-fer, but I don't get bent out of shape when my anonymous pseudonym is disparaged as being piloted by a 40 year-old virgin who leads Klan cross-burnings on the weekends!

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Roissy is correct.

HBD: Despite what blank slatists say, genes matter -- but they aren't the only thing that matters.

Game: Genes (enabling one to be good looking, smart, successful) matter -- but they aren't the only thing that matters.

FuturePundit said...

Aud, You say:

However, the fact remains that Game is founded on the premise that all the female detection mechanisms that have been honed by selection (natural and sexual) throughout human evolutionary history do a pretty crummy job at what they're commissioned to do.

Males and females in nature in a variety of species constantly try to fool each other with varying levels of success. They wouldn't be trying to fool each other if they didn't succeed at least part of the time. So deception is well established as a useful technique in the animal kingdom. Do you dispute this? If so, it would not be hard to dig up lots of scientific reports of deception in the animal kingdom around the act of mating.

If you do not dispute this for animals then why dispute it for humans? We are animals after all.

FuturePundit said...

We are no longer in what evolutionary psychologists call our Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness (EEA). Our instincts no longer fit the conditions we find ourselves in. The extent to which our instincts fail us in this new environment vary. That a new environment can cause us to be less reproductively fit or less fit in other ways (e.g. obese) indicates that our current environment differs from the EEAs in ways that matter.

If our new environment confuses the hell out of our instincts (and I think it obvious that it does) then we should be able to confuse the instincts of each other. Well, we do this on many topics. For example, politicians do this with the drum beats of war, their supposed concern for our welfare, and their general intentions. They full lots of people. So do TV ads. So do bosses and their employees. Lots of deception going on. Lots of maladaptive reaction to instincts too. Look in prisons for examples of severe cases. Look at junkies too. The precision of our instincts looks pretty unimpressive to me.

Women use cosmetics, clothing, plastic surgery, bariatric surgery, and other methods to boost their appeal. This works in many cases. These techniques do not turn a 6 into a 10. But they do help. Surely you've found women more attractive in sexy dressses, stockings, and make-up.

Men are attracted to fertility signs in women. Women manipulate those signs. By contrast, females have a bigger set of markers that appeal to them with body and facial shape weighed along with a longer list of other factors. This longer list creates a larger set of possibilities for manipulation of reactions and triggering of instinctual desires. That's what Game is all about.

Does Game work? It depends on how you define success. Roissy has never defined success as turning any guy into a super Alpha. He says:

True, the beta with game may never reach the exalted heights of the natural born alpha, but he can improve his lay rate and the quality of women he dates.

Do you disagree? Or are we just arguing about how much a boost Game will provide?

Audacious Epigone said...

Randall,

No, I don't dispute that animal detection mechanisms are perfect or that humans don't try to fool other humans for their own benefit. Women are more beholden to the luck of the draw than men are in this regard--I'm apprehensive about the apparent idea that Game somehow represents some new paradigm shift (in agreement with Razib), but I don't dispute that it is at least as helpful for men as lipstick and mascara are for women.

I doubt we even have much of an argument about how much of a boost adopting Game techniques provide (the fact that Game has been around for two decades is pretty strong circumstantial evidence that it is not snake oil)--I think Roissy has asserted it will allow men to reach a point or two higher than they otherwise would be able to reach. That, of course, is contingent upon the guy in question--some guys (especially sports types) are naturally about there already.

The point of my post is to show that the strategy of selling HBD using Game is perilous to say the least, because Game is in large part about negating HBD. The only part of Game that highlights HBD at all are insights into female sexual desire, but those are generalistic and base, essentially boiling down to women wanting men who are of high social status because they instinctively want their children to be of high social status as well. Really basic, universalistic stuff as far as HBD goes, while the rest of Game is about squelching HBD and adopting educationally-acquired techniques.

OneSTDV said...

I wish I could respond longer, but I'll reiterate what I said in a recent e-mail exchange.

I'm honestly not sure how much Game can help as far as getting hotter women. Will a natural beta start pulling the hottest girl in a soriority - I doubt it?

I think it's extremely useful in long-term relationships, meeting girls initially, getting out of the friend zone (or more appropriately, never entering it) and, yes, raising a man slightly above his natural sexual value.

If we accept that women merely react to concepts of Game (the neg being the primary tool), then that says something very insightful about sexual evo psych.

I find Game fascinating not because it's an applicable skill in sexual consequests, but rather because it evinces evo psych and the intrinsic underpinnings of female attraction. If Game works at all, especially in the context of common appeals for "why can't I find a nice guy", then sexual attraction represents yet another aspect of human constitution still present from our pre-historical past. (see FP's Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness (EEA)).

FuturePundit said...

Aud,

We are raised and educated to believe a lot of nonsense and mythology about human nature. What I like about Game writers is that they are so unsentimental and so not driven by assorted ideologies.

Whether Game and HBD writers make natural bedfellows, whether Game helps sell HBD: It all seems besides the point to me. What I like about Game writers and practitioners is their irreverence and willingness to toss out conventional wisdom and experiment with human attraction and mating. They look for methods that improve their success and look for theories that might support trying new methods.

The proper way to measure Game is by whether it works. If it works at the margin then it tells us something about how females are wired for evaluating men.

Audacious Epigone said...

Great points, both of you. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

AE, you apply game, badly in my opinion - not that you aren't necessarily effective with it, but a person of your refinement ought to reject the coarser half of game and the coarser half of the surrounding worldview. After all, you ought to be relatively real with your girl in order to experience, oh, sincere feelings and other little minutia of the good life - no one is 100% real but you ought not to be all that much less real that the average man. What would Msgr. Stendhal think of you, he who proclaimed the entire French nation to be far too vain and machiavellian in love. Do not increase your burden of artifices, only substitute pungent (but not excessively insincere) artifices for lame-o ones.

But anyway it's confusing that you then doubt the efficacy of game, despite using it. Well, whatever. I am not certain that it works either, of course, partly because I do not associate with women, Mandrake. I deny them my essence.

Assuming game does work, the paradox is not so hard to resolve.

Mr Pundit says that the sexes often deceive one another, in various animals. I doubt it. Something like the thin human female waist, or deposition of fat on the sides of the hips, probably serve(d) to make the pelvic aperture seem larger, by contrast in case of the thin waist, and by deceit in both cases. It is better for a male to get a babe with a wide pelvis than it is for a female to have such a one herself - the male doesn't have to pay the price, while the female does have to pay the price of reduced energy efficiency in locomotion.

However, I suspect that the amount of deceit that ever happened on this front was limited. If we adhere to Dr. Fisher then we may think that the thin waist and well-fatted sides of the pelvis started as a real deceit but remained, after the male evolved to catch the deceit, because of a 'sexy offspring' positive feedback loop of sexual selection.

Anonymous said...

Thus, the paradox of game probably withstands Mr. Pundit's efforts. But the true solution is simple: in the past, you would have lived with the same people all your life, even if you lived in a city. Having know you, all your friends, and all your antagonists since forever, they would know your true strength with appreciable precision, ie there would be limited scope for deceiving them by acting macho or cool. The women
would know you deeply. The men would know you deeply, and would also tend to resist your efforts to move yourself up in the status hierarchy, and would know exactly which other males to coordinate with to that end. Not that you could never change rank, it's just that it would be very difficult. You probably couldn't move up in the world just by aping high-status behavioral tendencies - more likely, moving up in the world would require an actual significant increase in the accuracy of your social perceptions, or a real increase in daring, or physical prowess, or a favorable change in your relative amount and depth of alliance relationships to powerful living persons. Or a big improvement in your nutrition or parasite load, relative to others (which might be causes of some of the foregoing).

Obviously none of those things is true anymore, in anonymous mobile low-violence living. So, today you can get far more out simply aping high-status behavioral tendencies. Your allies won't tell anyone that you are merely mimicking. Your non-allies or enemies don't even know you in your personal life - you have some at work, but they aren't around when you ain't on the job.

A second partial resolution of the paradox is that men are estrogenized so to speak by the present cultural matrix. Hence the modern flip-flops + courier-bag herb. If you manage reject these influences, viola un homme: you move up vis-a-vis those who keep on sucking down the delicious blue pills. Easy.

Of course, lower-class people have more intact communities more prone to enforce hierarchies, and are less open to modern wussification. I predict game should be less effective for them. But someone like us is generally not pursuing girls who dig lower class men at all.

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

I don't consciously apply game or any other dating strategy--what you see is what you get when I'm on the hunt. I act when I have to (which is most of the workday), like most men in modern Western society do.

Re: the inability to BS in the past compared to the relative ease with which it can be pulled off today, why wouldn't detection mechanisms keep up with the increasing histrionics. In other words, as BS gets better, shouldn't the BS detector get better, too? That's more-or-less one of the things I gleaned from Miller's The Mating Mind.

Your explanation speaks to why men who are actually successful are often irritated by Game, because the wannabes artificially try to hoist themselves up to a spot they'd have been clubbed over the head for trying to take 10k years ago.

Dahlia said...

"However, the fact remains that Game is founded on the premise that all the female detection mechanisms that have been honed by selection (natural and sexual) throughout human evolutionary history do a pretty crummy job at what they're commissioned to do."

This makes perfect sense and my own experience with a man running game on me showed this to be true with me. We never ever hear from the women who experience "game" and their reactions so perhaps I can help...

I'll keep it brief. I'm a married woman. Last year, I went to a meeting having to do with children and a journalist was there. He came up and said, "I *will* talk to you". I was "interviewed" for forty minutes after the meeting adjourned. During this time, remember I'm taking everything at face value and that he's being truthful about his mission, I began feeling psychologically worse. My self-esteem began to plummet and I had no idea why. I also, inexplicably, felt the need to please this guy and want to be liked by him, feelings I hadn't felt since middle school and wanted to be in the popular crowd. I sat there so meek and quiet, afraid to even tell him it was getting past my children's bedtime lest I upset him.
As time went on a war began between my subconscious intuition and my conscious mind. I discovered I was scared and would berate myself, "why are you scared!?" I wished my husband was there and didn't know why I had such a strong desire for protection when I was only talking to a harmless guy (he did 90% of the talking). The longer this went on, the worse I felt internally, the contradiction between the two minds. I even started getting dizzy: my heart racing, my body screaming "danger!" and the other screaming "what's wrong with you for being upset!" At some point he boldly dismissed my children to play at the opposite end of the room.
Suddenly things got better and he became nicer not that he had been mean. The moment occurred when I made a comment that I liked organization x because they respected boys for who they are rather than trying to turn them into girls. I didn't realize the significance at the time and only recognized that I felt a little more at peace (he felt guilty and couldn't continue). The damage was done and I was afraid of this man despite my conscious mind's best efforts. I vividly remember leaving and asking myself, "Why are my legs running?!" and throwing the stroller in the back of the car, noticing him heading my way and muttering a curse word out of fear, something I don't even do in my head; he had forgotten something and was only headed to the classroom.
I felt horrible when I got home with my self esteem in the toilet and couldn't figure out how such an ordinary evening could leave me feeling like this. My husband asked why was I out so late and I told him. He raised his eyebrow and I responded, "Oh no, it was nothing like that at all." Of course not, I reasoned, the guy seemed to hold me in a low opinion which I didn't tell my husband as it wasn't flattering. My husband wasn't convinced and, come to find out three weeks later, for good reason. That's another story.
I figured out the following: the guy was subtly negging me which I didn't pick up on because I wasn't familiar with the concept or what it was. He kept on doing it, I think, in vain hope because it wasn't having some magical effect. It did successfully manipulate me into wanting his approval, but attraction? Definitely not. It felt more like "cult leader" and less "Don Juan".
The big take-away is that he fooled my conscious mind, but couldn't foil my subconscious which literally took over and I was on autopilot at the end (like when I found myself running and didn't know why). One of the most surreal experiences in my life.

How can it work then, ever, against a woman's intuition? Alcohol is my guess.

Audacious Epigone said...

Dahlia,

Fascinating. It would be interesting for Roissy to montage women who are aware of having been targeted by PUAs and get explanations of their responses/reactions.