Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Game and moral foundations

Roissy enjoys taking pot shots at yours truly and I'm happy to take them since they double the blog's web traffic whenever they land. Game isn't about male-to-male dominance, so what he'd have the cajones to say in person is immaterial. Most recently, he ribbed me for insinuating that the ultimate arbiter of alpha status among men is procreation.

The alpha/beta dichotomy (or alpha/beta/omega trichotomy, to complicate things a bit) strikes me as oversimplified, but the inherent simplicity is in many ways a feature rather than a bug. It facilitates the perception of a state of ceteris paribus in the reader that allows him to evaluate behaviors in a vacuum, the prescribed ones being characteristic of alphas, the proscribed ones being of betas, and the absence of any behavior at all being of omegas. Casanovas can still make bad moves and Aguecheeks are capable of making good ones. Making said good moves and avoiding bad ones is the primary pedagogical purpose of Game blogs, Roissy's being, in my estimation, the creme de la creme.

Digressing aside, beyond the difficulty in treating the terms as nouns given that they function better as adjectives, that's not exactly an accurate characterization. To the contrary, I've merely pointed out, while granting and subsequently employing Game terminology, that betas appear to do a better job passing along their genes than alphas do. Game philosophy is essentially existentialist and nihilistic, so the thought of avoiding ungrateful spawn to tend to and pay for shouldn't upset guys like Roissy, who would rather sit poolside than change diapers. Hard to deny that there's a lot of appeal to aspiring to such a lifestyle. While you may not care about reproduction, though, reproduction cares about you.

Conservatives, broadly defined, however, tend to operate on different premises. Bringing Jonathan Haidt's Moral Foundations theory into the mix, they put a lot more emphasis on the loyalty/betrayal aspect of morality than do PUAs, who tend towards liberalism (for a fuller profiling of alpha demographic characteristics, see here), and what could demonstrate more of a disregard for loyalty to one's own family (or nation, which is was more-or-less a very extended family) than blithely allowing the bloodline to be severed? The concept of duty has beta written all over it. Parenthetically, I've taken Haidt's self-identifying morality questionnaire and scored highest on the loyalty dimension.

Another dimension of morality that is close to the hearts of conservatives but held in lower esteem on the left is that of authority (the absence or undermining of which is subversion). Game operates on the premise that men should insinuate higher status than they are due, obfuscating the social order and creating a free rider problem, the societal costs for which betas must bear. Fake it until you make it. Maybe. Or more realistically, just fake it, period. Game is a way for guys who aren't where they'd like to be in terms of "money/looks/fame" to be (optimistically) or to convince themselves (cynically) 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.

Beyond differences in moral perspectives, the prescription that every man can be king (which, in fairness, Roissy has tempered on multiple occasions, though it's often lost on his legions of commenters) seems to be at odds with biological realities (link via Ray Sawhill).

Game is founded on the premise that 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 as aforementioned, Roissy's assessment is more attuned to reality (they do an okay job, but they're far from precise) than those made by some of his more zealous minions (they basically don't exist)--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 much of anything to influence male detection mechanisms.

Finally, it's unclear to me why alphas should despise betas, since more betas means easier pickings and less competition for alphas (not to mention the fruits of civilization more generally), yet they seem to, quite viscerally. On the other hand, it's easy to see why betas should despise alphas.

Tangentially, Roissy should survey his readers on their political leanings. He's commissioned interactive polls on multiple occasions in the past, and while he's part of the dark enlightenment and presumably wouldn't self-describe as a leftist in any way, I'd suspect that he's to the right of most of his readership.


IHTG said...

I've always felt that the true purpose of teaching "Game" was to trigger and help along the maturation process of so-called "late bloomers".

Viewing it as an attempt to completely change a person's inherent nature is an oversimplification.

asdf said...

"Finally, it's unclear to me why alphas should despise betas, since more betas means easier pickings and less competition for alphas (not to mention the fruits of civilization more generally), yet they seem to, quite viscerally. On the other hand, it's easy to see why betas should despise alphas"

In a democracy betas can vote for things that are bad for alphas. I think overall an alpha would dislike things that punish masculinity or men in general.

"Game is founded on the premise that 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"

I think the argument is that the changes associated with our modern world have happened so quickly and are so dramatic that evolved detection mechanisms couldn't keep up.

Jehu said...

Women's detection mechanisms work on social status, not something tangible and easy like men's detection system. It's hard to optimize something like that at a bone & blood level because societies change way faster than genes. I've written on this before (the elegant design of hypergamy). Essentially women are stuck combining their own really coarse estimate of a man's status with that of their peers. Both are very highly influenced by the status that the man acts as if he possessed. Thus is is inherently very spoofable (although it's a bit of a conundrum---if acting like you have, say, 90th percentile status makes everyone grant you something like 90th percentile status, are you really 'acting'?). Earlier societies had mechanisms to limit spoofing. For instance, in a lot of societies, acting beyond your station was a good way to get your ass kicked, get challenged to a duel, etc. In addition, a lot of societies applied pretty strict sumptuary laws. Lastly, it was much harder to spoof status when groupings or villages were small, making reinvention or anonymity difficult.

JayMan said...


Some guys get all the babes – not exactly | JayMan's Blog


Are you missing out by not having kids? Your DNA sure is… | JayMan's Blog


For every person that doesn’t want kids there are 25 that do. Is that so? | JayMan's Blog

Audacious Epigone said...


What have betas pushed for that has been bad for alphas? I suppose in being less enthusiastic about the welfare state, beta men hinder the ability of women to have children for which the government is breadwinner and that makes it a little less easy for alphas to hit and quit, but that seems like a stretch and anyway betas have done a pretty sorry job in that hindering.

Jehu said...

Betas haven't had their way with the law for a long time. But here are some examples of laws they might pass to promote their interests:

Get rid of all laws that favor women or guarantee 'equality'. Doing so will restore a measure of structural alpha to the betas.
Get rid of welfare and the 'entitled' portion of the social network. Women have two sets of drives, as Athol has astutely pointed out---a desire for steady beta provision and for alpha excitement and the implied capability of emergency command authority over them. Giving them most of the beta provision for free devalues beta providers vs the cad variety of alpha.
Get rid of no-fault divorce and actually punish sex outside of wedlock. This limits the alphas options of serial monogamy or serial LTR.
Get rid of pretty much all immigration, especially that immigration that competes directly with beta providers.
Reestablish a fair number of sumptuary laws, making spoofing the status detectors harder AND
Control the entertainment industry, forcing it to depict the social status economy that betas want depicted and aggrandized.

Needless to say, betas have a really hard time getting leaders to do their bidding, despite their numbers. Thus outbreaks of sanity for their interests tend to be rather bloody.

AWC said...

Game could be adaptive if it helped high IQ white males (including betas) maximize their inclusive fitness.....

Dan said...

The way our economy and taxes are structured in America in 2013 you are either paying for your own kids or, if you haven't got kids, you are paying to support another dudes' kids.

Roissy has made his choice. He pays for another man's kids and not his own. Super alpha, that.

In America, single working men are completely owned. Men who are married with kids have a much lower tax profile and also get a lot more out of public spending (schools, public safety, cheap food due to the farm bill...)

It is nice having Roissy work to help support my kids, but he can be a little lippy at times.

Anonymous said...

Do single working men get Social Security and Medicare when they retire despite never contributing any workers to pay the transfer payments to them?

chris said...

Beta's are seen as white knights, that's why they despise them.

Audacious Epigone said...


Hah, clever 'contrarian' take.


Why is that bothersome? It just means it'll be that much easier for them to clean up the competition, right?

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of PUAs, at least the main evangelists like Roissy, used to be some degree of beta. He's admitted as much. Something like the ex-smoker that cannot stand any smoke.

A bigger part is he's trying to wake clueless betas up by shoving reality in their faces. Cut through the brainwashing etc.

tyrionlannister69 said...

To elaborate in applying the ‘handicap principle’, it tells us that those whose success threshold is lower in terms of ‘game’, are displaying greater indications of genetic fitness, given that this greater effort will allude to a fitness handicap.

This is because fitness signals have evolved to be energetically costly to display, where the quality of signals are handicap limited – where these handicaps can be manifest through differentials in observable ‘effort’(or any other kind of relative energetic liability).

What game really is, is a display of sexual confidence – which is circular to it’s justification(ie. those who are justifiably confident of continued future success, need expend less effort – in terms of handicapping – in trying to embellish themselves through ‘game’).

Furthermore, where mate access is no longer a function of subordinate status concessions in prevailing human populations(compared to the way it works in smaller populations typical of early hominid ‘troops’, and those of other primates), dominance can say nothing about its distribution(given that density dependence means large populations have marginalized mating concessions to a negligible quantity).

It occurs that since there are only two *conflicting* quantities of evolutionary value in consideration of female mate choice(those implied in short-term and long-term mating), then game, even undefined, must address one or the other(but not both).

And, I think it is uncontroversial to say that ‘game’ is popularly appealed to in terms of short-term mating(ie. hook-ups), as the quantity in question. So, a problem occurs in the observation of ‘naturals’ (an accepted premise of game convention) – demonstrating game as a behavioral phenomenon of ‘handicapping’ load (via the handicap principle), rather than some cryptic fitness indicator. From that perspective, ‘game’ doesn’t sound very flattering.

tyrionlannister69 said...


"Women's detection mechanisms work on social status, not something tangible and easy like men's detection system"

Yes, where status is only spuriously correlated with material wealth (ie. rich men may marry more, but of course, marriage frequencies say nothing about mating frequencies – which is the only quantity of any evolutionary concern). I should add that as long as pair bounds (marriage) represents an ideal strategy to reap direct benefits, it will always be coveted, in some measure, by opportunistic and mercenary females.

According to 2012 Census Bureau data, only less than 5% of husbands are 15 (or more) years older than their wives of the total married population. Meaning that most desirable women under 25 (on their peak of beauty) do not marry middle aged men (over 40). Because the financial support is currently no longer a necessity for western women.

The exchange concept assumes that men tried to exchange their socioeconomic resources (such as status or income) against the physical beauty of women and viceversa (in pre-industrialized societies). Nonetheless, clear empirical evidence for this pattern have been waning, mainly after sexual revolution(at mid-twentieth century).

So modern western women are less interested in a man’s money or social status. This dovetails perfectly with the contention that female economic empowerment has led to a sexual market with soft polygamy (serial monogamy), and the clustering of financially independent women at the peak of their fertility (and beauty) around a the most physically atractive males (alpha males).

Anonymous said...

tyrionlannister69 - any chance of repeating that last but one comment in English?

(There might have been something interesting in there, but I couldn't translate.)

JayMan said...

tyrionlannister69, you should write a posting/essay critiquing game wisdom some time. You seem to have some good things to say, you should put them together somewhere.

pat said...

In keeping with my theme of the day, this discussion makes me think of Don Giovanni.

I don't really quite understand "Game" but I understand Don Giovanni very well. DG was of course who we know of as Don Juan - the most successful womanizer in history. Leporello tells us he had hundreds of women all over Europe with a thousand and three in Spain alone.

Surely if sexual conquest is the topic Giovanni is the benchmark alpha.

Yet DG never seemed to hang out in pick up bars. The most sexually successful man I have ever known in real life would be me. And I never hung out in pick up bars either. So tips on how to shine in that milieu always seemed to me to be not worth very much.

The reason many men have trouble getting women is simply that they don't go about it in a businesslike fashion. In the past men might have been distracted by notions of romance. More recently they seem to worry about the techniques of "Game". In fact it is not very hard to get laid. It is much less hard than for example integral calculus.

Getting women is rather like phone solicitation or door-to-door sales. Everyone who has ever done that for a living knows that you have to make a lot of calls or knock on a lot of doors and you can't afford to get upset by rejection.

Don Giovanni does sweet talk Zerlina but he committed outright fraud with Donna Elvira and tried to rape Donna Anna. Whatever works seems to have been his motto. "Game" probably has its place but there is so much more.