You should read it.
In our zeal, we sometimes find ourselves saying things like, “The Gospel is not about your personal happiness.” We do this to urge obedience, and, overall, I think we should keep doing this.
However, it’s something of a simplification of the truth. The truth is: the Gospel is about our personal happiness. God loves us, and wants us to be happy. The problem is that this is often rationalized to: “If it feels good, do it.”
Here is the actual, complicated but full truth: The Gospel is about your happiness. However, you are not in charge of it. Your job in the Gospel basically comes down to: obey, and surrender. What happiness you find in the way is yours to keep, and with good will. But you are not aiming for “a full life,” or personal fulfillment. You are to lay up treasures in heaven, rather than on earth.
So, we need to be good at taking long shots.
And since we’re all about learning from the world here at CB, we’ll take a page from those other constant long-shot takers, gamblers. And the first rule of gambling is:
Don’t bet more than you can afford to lose.
Well now. This puts us in a quandary. The Gospel urges us to take long shots, and because they’re long shots, we’ll most likely lose—so how to deal? The answer is: be able to afford it. Turning the other cheek will get you hit a lot—make sure you have some antibiotics and bandages at home.
If you tithe, or give to charity, that does not absolve you from being wise with your finances. As everyone knows, giving money away is not a very good method of holding onto it. The windows of heaven are promised, yes, but they might not come in time to pay the rent. So: save. Be prudent. Have a reserve.
And, back to the sexy focus of this blog (as you can see, I am not above drawing the reader in with sex and money): don’t be nice to women if you can’t do it out of charity. Better to avoid them completely. Rather, you should build your emotional reserves. Sleep enough. Eat well. Save some money. Exercise. Don’t gamble with your rent money.
Because I’m all about bragging, I’ll just say it: Mormons are probably better singers than you.
(What a DHV!!!!!!!!!!!!)
But seriously. We have this whole program for kids 3-12 called Primary (same meaning as in “primary school”) on Sundays, and most of what kids do is sing.
So yeah, I’m an OK singer, since I went through the whole deal. By this I mean: I’m way better than someone who “doesn’t sing,” and way worse than anyone who’s had, you know, professional training.
Anyway, after church today there was one girl trolling around for people to join the (short-term) choir. They’ll perform next week.
“We need men,” she said. ”Come sing with us. We’re practicing right now.”
Unbeknownst to her, I had an agenda. I had to go talk to this one other girl, about this thing. I generally enjoy singing, but, you know, marriage mandate to fulfill.
“I might come, but not right now,” I said. ”I can’t promise anything.”
“C’mon,” she wheedled. ”Come sing with us.”
“Sorry,” I said.
She left in defeat. I left and took care of my agenda. Business thus concluded, I found the choir and sat down, sang, etc. So it worked out for our choirmistress after all.
This sort of thing happens often: we sacrifice something, only to gain it back, or to get something better.
This is certainly a good description of Abraham’s relationship with God. Abraham had been prophesied to be a “father of many nations,” and his wife had conceived a son in her extreme old age. All this must have made it not only heart-wrenching, but it must also have seemed treacherous of God to demand the sacrifice of Abraham’s only son. But hey, it worked out for him.
The willingness to go first is the only thing that will solve the (myriad) prisoner’s dilemma(s) we are all collectively in. It is the right solution; it is also risky and dangerous. Count the cost, and learn from the world, but make sure you’ve got your accounting right.
One of my favorite movies is The Last Samurai. It’s the fictional depiction of a late 1800′s American mercenary who hates himself, takes an assignment in Japan to hunt down samurai, is captured by them, and manages to quell his inner demons and find peace.
There is a lot worth thinking on this movie. But in this post, however, I want to focus on awareness of one’s death.
Katsumoto: You do not fear death, but sometimes, you wish for it. Is this not so?
Katsumoto: I also. It happens to men who have seen what we have seen. And then…I come to this place of my ancestors…and I remember…like these blossoms…we are all dying.
I have been struck lately by how much of the Savior’s teachings, while on earth, could be boiled down to “Accept reality.” To be aware of the distant when contemplating the near, and the near when contemplating the distant. One reality of unknown distance, with which we must all contend, is death. You will die. I will die. It could be later today. It could be tomorrow. It could be in fifty years. But it will happen.
The reason this is so important to understand is that an awareness of one’s death clears the mind wonderfully. It sweeps away any pretense that much of anything we do matters that much.
Accepting death intellectually does not change our fallen, fearful nature. But it does allow for a certain detachment from the world, and it teaches us that the only true hope is in Christ. And it allows us to be grateful for and focus on the present, which is the only time anything happens anyway.
We should be asking ourselves continually: given that I have an unknowably finite amount of time on this earth, does what I am doing make sense?
Whatever we do, we must be willing to accept the consequences.
That’s what you want: a system. Why? Because you’re a nerd who likes and responds to systems and lists.
I’ve talked before about nerds. We’re going to explore nerds for a bit; by so doing, we’ll learn more about ourselves, and about whores.
First: why are nerds male? Or rather, why are males nerds? Why does someone become a nerd? Socially, it’s no fun to be a nerd. So why do it?
The reason is power.
The goals of science have been enumerated, in order: ”Observe, explain, predict, control.” Science is a path to knowledge, and knowledge is power.
There are different kinds of power, of course. There’s physical power, from just being strong. There’s financial power, from controlling a company.
But, in the end, companies fail and the human body is finite. Knowledge is the real thing. God is Omnipotent and Omniscient, and couldn’t have one without the other.
Hence the nerd obsession with techne. A nerd is much more likely to want to learn a martial art than, say, boxing. The foreign suggests hidden knowledge, while the domestic is presumed to be well-known.
Humans in general like to know the rules. We all like power. I am no exception; look at the title of this blog.
The core of knowledge that leads to power is: if this, then that. If we can build a chain of those rules from something we can do (this) to something we want (that), then we have power over that.
This even applies to humans. We are not so free-willed and unique as we would like to believe. I recently talked with a guy whose company installs special software on websites. As customers visit the site, the software analyzes their pattern of clicks, and calculates the precise moment and amount such that if offered a discount, the customer will buy something (as opposed to not buying something). They’ve had fantastic success.
It’s important to note that these customers are not being suckered. They are making entirely rational choices. Their choices are akin to: would you prefer to have $100, or $5? You’d probably pick the hundred. Myself, I would too. And so we find ourselves both a)not idiots, and b) very predictable.
This is good. Our universe has laws, and we need to be good at adapting to them to survive.
However, that very adaptation can be our downfall. Suppose that one morning you awoke to find a bag of money on your doorstep. It contains $1000. You are surprised and overjoyed (I would be). You send a notice to the police perhaps, because you’re a good person, but they can’t find the owner.
Then the next week it happens again. And the next week, and the one after that.
This goes on for years.
Sooner or later, you’re going to start spending it. If it’s reliable enough, you’ll likely start to, well, rely on it. It’s human nature. Perhaps you buy a house and have a mortgage.
Then one day, in the bag, along with the money, is a small package. There’s a note requesting that you deliver it to an address in your town.
Maybe you’re suspicious. Maybe you open the package to see what’s in it (nothing). Maybe you refuse to deliver it.
Next week comes, the bag of money is there like always—but there’s also another package, and a note to the effect that if you fail to deliver this one, the money will stop.
And boom! Now you’re ensnared. Keeping your house relies on keeping the money coming in. But keeping the money coming in means becoming an errand boy for the Mob.
All this without a single gun waved in your face. You brought it on yourself, really.
But that’s what most people would do. This works in the real world, after all.
Just because you’re getting something out of the transaction, doesn’t mean it’s a good situation. Here’s another, cruder one: I wave my gun in your face, and you can trade your wallet for me not blowing your head off.
By behaving rationally, we make ourselves predictable. By making ourselves predictable, we make ourselves controllable.
If the money were given, no strings attached, then there’s no threat to it.
This is the model of how husbands and wives are to behave toward each other in myriad things, but for the moment we’ll focus on sex. Both spouses are to be sexually available to each other at all times, whether the other “deserves” it or not.
This is also the model for our obedience to God. We are to obey Him in joy and sorrow. We are not to use our obedience as a weapon or a bargaining chip (the two are the same), i.e. “if I get that promotion then I’ll tithe.”
A whore is someone who takes a non-transactional relationship—marriage—and attempts to make it transactional. With professional whores this is explicit and has a well-defined price tag; with amateurs there are a lot more emotions and justification going on. But the two are the same.
With their excessive focus on the Law, the Pharisees hoped to control God. When a wife uses sex an a weapon in her marriage, she is hoping to control her husband, just as it says in Genesis.
This is understandable. We try to control God because we’re scared and we don’t trust him; the same is true in marriage. But just because it’s understandable doesn’t make it right.
“But Holmes,” I said. ”What if this—this self-replicating AI he discovered gets out of the lab?”
Holmes looked at me incredulously for a moment, then stirred with an amused cry.
“My dear Watson,” he laughed. ”Whatever do you think we are?”
I don’t often write pure Christian theory posts, but this will be one.
I started this blog with the intent of writing about Game, marriage, and Christianity. It’s grown to embrace neoreaction as well, though I consider myself a neophyte on the topic—although today, I think I have something to add.
Christ taught many things. One concept that He hammered, over and over, though, was making a decision and accepting the consequences. When a man offered to follow Him, but with a caveat, Christ responded:
And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
In the Sermon on the Mount, He said:
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
One could say that Christ was a formalist.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
I also particularly like this quote from Yudkowsky’s Three Worlds Collide:
“I am charged with guarding sanity, not morality. If you want to stay together, do not split. If you want peace, do not start wars. If you want to avoid genocide, do not wipe out an alien species.”
Our Complaints Are That They Don’t Own It
The Christian Manosphere’s beef with Churchianity is that its actions are not in accord with its words. It praises chastity, but turns a blind eye to fornication, adultery, and divorce. It preaches masculinity, yet cuts men off at the knees.
This is also, as far as I can tell, neoreaction’s complaint about conservatives—their words are not in accord with their actions. They talk about responsible government, yet laud democracy. They talk about standing firm on principles, but have been drifting left for…well, centuries, all without acknowledging it. Neoreaction has—correctly, I think—dubbed this insane.
Now, here, for a second, I wish to call us all on an error that I am particularly prone to making — that of pointing toward a better way that is incompatible with the present way, and expecting the benefits of both.
What do any of these parties propose actually doing?
So far, I’ve heard a few different options:
- Revolution. This was quickly discarded, for a number of reasons. The first and most important one is that it won’t work—the masses are all on the other side
- Build new institutions independent from the current regime. The Antiversity, the Plinth, Alex Kurtagic’s “establishment in waiting“—even Sunshine Mary joked that occasionally she imagines everyone moving to North Dakota or something and setting up our own community.
- changing things from within. This is doomed to fail—what have the conservatives been doing? What are pastors for?
So, the only viable solution, to me, looks to be #2—new institutions.
Um, hello? I have a job. Also a family, and friends. Ask yourself, “If I got an email from MENCIUS HIMSELF to the effect that he’d sold Urbit for a billion dollars and had hollowed out part of the Sierra Nevadas, and if you got this email you were one of the thousand people invited…would I go? Would I seriously go?” Now check your email. Assuming that you haven’t gotten this email (if you have, please forward it to me)…what’s the plan, kids? We could probably homestead in Alaska or something. Any takers?
I am perfectly willing to go to meetups and make snide remarks about democracy, Churchianity, and a feminized society, because that’s what hip young people like me do. We’re just cool like that. But, uh…grand gestures? If we all went to MUSC (Moldbug’s Underground Sierra Complex), and looked around, here’s whom we’d see:
—an ocean of nerdy single dudes, many of them very smart and handsome, like yours truly (why yes, I have game)
—a much, much smaller contingent of single women
—some couples, mostly older.
Sheesh. We could name it “Camp Tesla/Shaker.” Come for the gadgets and taste in music, stay for the celibacy. We’d all die out after fifty years.
But, in reality, we wouldn’t even make it to fifty years. Around week two or so (Week one: “Guys, want to hear a joke? Consent of the governed!” *laughter, back-slaps all around*), it would stop being fun. ”There’s, uh, a whole world out there. Are we just going to sit in this mountain?” “Ja!” (That’s mustachioed Moldbug for you).
Now, maybe if we were all Just That Virtuous, we’d create a Loper-OS-powered city on a hill, and all the world would recoil in shock and awe at the Power of Neoreaction, and our shining example would cause everyone to go back to the Great Books For Men, and there’d be a Renaissance, lozzzlzlzllzlzl. Victory by example.
If that were assured, it might just be worth it. If I knew I could pull a Phoenix out of Western Civilization like that, I might just try it.
The problem is that it would not be assured, and we’d all know it. I don’t think we could do it, knowing the whole time that it might amount to nothing.
And so, when I count the cost, I conclude that we don’t have enough resources, will, or mojo to do it.
And this right here is the issue, because we are forced to ask ourselves, “If a new institution is the only thing that will actually work—and we can’t make it work—then what?”
Table that for a moment.
A small portion of the Christian section of the manosphere seems to have come to the conclusion that just about any intimacy, even emotional, before marriage, “is a bad idea,” or at least has negative consequences. I’m particularly thinking of Cane, myself, and possibly Deep Strength. In my ideal, a young man would introduce himself to a girl’s father, they’d go on a few chaperoned outings while they discussed what married life would be like, and they’d get married. Say ages 14-16 or so.
This obviously has, uh, feasibility issues. It’s all very well for me to write that on my blog, but there are no 14- or 24- or 34-year-old women that are down for this (And despite the mindbending I’ve undergone in the last year or so, I still don’t think I could stomach a 14-yr-old).
So, I am left with a choice between the bad (some variation of modern dating) and the likely-impossible (14th-century courtship).
We talk quite a bit about Eve’s curse in the Garden—desiring to rule her husband, etc. Adam had a different curse:
…cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Adam’s curse, in modern language, might be described as:
“You have, in your head, a better way of life. In the Garden you just walked around and ate whatever fruit was lying around (but for those two). Now you will eat by a vastly inferior manner, involving a lot of work, waste, and pain, while knowing that there’s a better way. Further, despite all your efforts to accumulate capital and improve things, you will fail in the end.”
This is similar to the plight of the Apostles, who had seen the Gospel preached like no one else could, were commanded to teach and baptize all nations without being the Son of God, and also knew that most of the world would not accept the Gospel and things would go to pot until Christ returned.*
How do we react to these dilemma, between the bad and the impossible? Here are my thoughts:
- Do what you can, and own it. If you can start an Antiversity and you’re willing to pay the costs, do it. If all you can do is send the Republican Party $20 in hopes of slowing the decline, do that, and take it in stride. If you can marry a virgin, as a virgin, do it, and thank God. If you have to sleep with a guy for him to marry you, you think that’s what God wants you to do, and you’re willing to accept the likelihood that he won’t marry you, then do it, and accept the costs. If that sin horrifies you (as it does me), and you’re willing to be celibate if that’s what it takes to avoid it, do it, and accept the costs. But complaining is counterproductive if you’re an atheist, and ungrateful if you’re not.
- Work on yourself You may not be able to stop the decline, but you can save a bit of money each month, and store some food and water. You may not be able to bring courtship back, but you can keep yourself attractive, personable, and interesting as much as you are able.
- Keep an eye out for serendipity Disaster is in the cards. It just is. But we don’t know when or where it will strike, and until then, good things can and will happen.
- Be a (gentle) hypocrite, (a.k.a., don’t believe your own bullshit) Everything talked about in this corner of the internet is true. Just because you have to make compromises doesn’t mean you have to pretend to other people that they’re not compromises. Go ahead and bore your kids, friends, and neighbors with talk of hypergamy and the Cathedral, to the extent that you think effective.
- Love people Always. If there’s a God He wants you too, and if there isn’t, then they need it all the more.
- Trust in God In the end, it will all work out alright.
- Be of good cheer We’re not in a Mad Max polygamous wasteland ruled by alpha warlords of warring ethnicities yet.
*If you’re a Lisp programmer, this will seem familiar to you: you know about the greatness of Lisp, you have to use some other stupid language in your job, and despite all your hard work, it will be scrapped when the next framework comes out.
I’m a nerd. And I’m excited, because by the end of this post, you’ll understand exactly what that means.*
Paul Graham, in his Essay ”Why Nerds Are Unpopular,” defined nerds as such:
A nerd is someone who isn’t socially adept enough.
But this isn’t the whole story. We know this because we can easily imagine someone who is socially inept but not necessarily a nerd: Richard Sherman, a pro (American) football player who had a bit of a freakout after a game last night:
Another candidate for socially inept non-nerd would be Nelson, from The Simpsons:
Both are just assholes. They’re definitely socially inept, but our “Nerd Alert” isn’t going off.
So, let’s modify our definition a bit and see what we get. Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say:
“Nerd is a derogatory term for a person who is intellectually knowledgeable or bright, but socially inept.”
That definition is better, but is missing something still. We know this because of this guy:
This is intended to be a picture of a gross male gamer. Let’s just assume he’s smart, perhaps like Comic Book Guy:
Now, both are definitely nerdy. And they fit Wikipedia’s definition: smart, socially inept. But they don’t quite fit the bill—because the next two examples are even more nerdy:
These guys are bona-fide, stereotypical nerds. Their nerd cred is unimpeachable. What’s different about them from the gamers, before?
Is it that they’re not overweight? Probably not, because this guy is kind of chunky, and definitely sets off all nerd alarms:
No, the difference is that these new three are all working, or in a work setting. Professor Frink is in a lab coat, so he’s presumably doing science. The next photo has the guy wearing a pocket protector to hold pens, presumably for school work. And our third guy is sitting at a computer, doing some kind of work. In contrast, the gamers are just…degenerating, wasting their time.
Okay, so we have: socially inept, smart, and working.
We’re almost there, except for one thing: Shane Battier.
Shane Battier is my favorite NBA player, period. And he is almost a nerd.
Don’t believe me? From Wikipedia (emphasis mine):
Battier has often been called ”the ultimate glue guy” for playing sound, fundamental, team-oriented basketball, making his teammates more effective without flash or padding his own stats, and for making the most of his skills with discipline and hustle rather than raw athleticism. He’s also known for his extensive preparation in studying the opposing team and the player he is assigned to guard: “I try to prepare for my opponent as thoroughly as possible. I want to know every angle on the man I am guarding to give me an edge. I read many, many pages and go over strengths and weaknesses many times before a game. ‘Proper preparation prevents poor performance.’ That is a motto I like.” The Rockets made him the team’s only player with access to its highly sophisticated statistical data that they compiled on all opposing players; he used this data to become familiar with the tendencies of the players he would guard in each game.
Now, there is no reason to think Shane is socially inept. But imagine he was. He’s certainly smart (almost straight A’s in college), he certainly works his tail off…were he socially inept, would he be a nerd?
The answer is no, because of the final piece of our puzzle: the work a nerd does must not be immediately, visibly useful. And an NBA player’s work is extremely visible: that’s the point! He gets paid to be watched, because people like watching pro basketball.
Even if you came across him sitting in his front room studying the statistics of his opponents, he wouldn’t come off that nerdy (although he’d be closer to it)—because he’s, uh, nice to look at. I’m a dude and I can tell he’s handsome.
So our final nerd definition: socially inept, smart, working, and produces no immediate, visible value.
Nerdiness as a Male Phenomenon
Now would be a good time to address this: why are most nerds dudes? As Cane says:
Nerdy girls are really:
Nerdy boys are:
Why is this? Let’s look at our definition of nerd:socially inept, smart, working, and produces no immediate, visible value.
Imagine this woman delivering an incomprehensible lecture on quantum nanophysics, perhaps with a lot of “ums,” and maybe some racist jokes thrown in for good measure. She would be: socially inept, smart, working, and…delivering a lot of immediate, very visible value. And “socially inept” just isn’t when everyone’s kissing your feet. Anything sounds good coming out of those lips.
The reason few women are nerds is because just what they are is valuable—anything they do is gravy. As I said in an earlier post:
Women are born with inherent middling social status, and their main task is to not screw it up. Men are born with zero inherent social status, and their main task is to claw their way to the top.
I also think girls are less likely to become nerds than boys of equal intelligence, possibly because they’re more sensitive to social pressures. In my school, at least, girls made more of an effort to conform than boys.
This would be a good time for me to link to this post, “What Masculinity and Femininity Are.” Yes, I just linked to it two paragraphs ago, and yes, it could be explained more clearly. But it’s the foundation behind a lot of the thinking in this essay.
Nerd Cred, Male and Female
Earlier, when talking about Pocket-Protector, Professor Frink, and Cigarette-and-Computer guy, I said:
Their nerd cred is unimpeachable.
What does that mean? Nerds are social outcasts. Why would one need cred to be a nerd?
When men get together in gangs, a phenomenon called honor will spontaneously arise. I have defined honor in the past as “one’s eligibility to join the tribe of badass men.” (And yes, nerds are badass, or at least can be. Knowledge is power, and nerds can know a lot of stuff. But they are not necessarily badass. We’ll get to that). Nerd cred is one’s eligibility to join the tribe of, well, nerds.
How is that eligibility attained? It’s bought, through sacrifice. The particular type of sacrifice differs from group to group; for nerds, it’s sacrifice of social value, for something that can provide value to the group. In other words: to nerds, it’s cool (to them) to be uncool (to everyone else). Nerd society, at its most extreme, does not offer dual citizenship: you’re in or you’re out.
For male nerds, (nerds are humans, and groups of humans form tribes, so when I say “male nerds,” I actually mean “male members of the Tribe of Nerd”), the value they provide to the group is usually aligned with the particular nerdy interests of the group. Some esoteric knowledge or expertise. It’s important to note that nerds approach this combatively, like warriors approach fighting skill. As Cane says:
The Nerd wants to win at reading comic-books.
For female nerds, what they bring to the table is…sex. Duh. Haven’t we gone over this? To quote myself a bit ago:
What [women] are is valuable—anything they do is gravy.
For women to be accepted in the tribe of Nerd, they must do what they do to be accepted into any tribe: come to some sort of sexual arrangement. For most groups that means sleeping with one member of the group consistently and otherwise keeping legs and mouth shut, but nerds are usually so sex-starved that they may be willing to entertain alternate arrangements. I have in mind two girls in particular that slept around with pretty much all my old high school friends during college. It’s important to note that just as male nerds sacrifice social status by learning weird stuff that no one wants to hear about as the price of entry into the nerd tribe, female nerds sacrifice social status by sleeping with a nerd.
Understanding the male and female conceptions of honor will help us resolve the conundrum of “fake geek girls.” We’ll look at a few pictures and dissect why/why not they’re nerds or not.
This is the original face of the meme. Nerds will instinctively react somewhat against dubbing her a nerd because she’s pretty attractive. One of the common bonds of the Tribe of Nerd is low social status—pretty girls don’t have that. She could, however, remedy that by sleeping with a nerd, and in one stroke a)lower her own social status, and b) contribute something to the group. On the Internet, the demand for this is phrased very matter-of-factly: “[show us your] tits or gtfo.” Interestingly, though, that’s all she has to do: a girl can hang with the Star Wars geeks without knowing a thing about Star Wars, as long as she’s putting out. She won’t be called on her lack of Star Wars knowledge (except possibly by envious nerds w/whom she’s not sleeping).
This girl is not attractive, and for nerds on the cool side of nerdiness, she will likely not even be able to sleep with them to gain entry to the Tribe of Nerd. However, if she brings whatever currency this particular group of nerds is built around, she may be able to enter as “one of the bros.”
This is Summer Glau, a.k.a. the Nerd’s Social Nightmare. She’s a stunning actress who’s played central roles in several undeniably nerdy films and TV series (Firefly, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and even The Cape) and so handily outnerds anyone in nerd skills, and yet isn’t sleeping with any particular (low-status) nerd. The nerd thus feels slighted because she has not paid the traditional female price to be a member of the Tribe, but undeniably deserves membership in the tribe by virtue of beating the nerd at his own game.
I must conclude that actresses that appeal to nerds—Zoe Deschanel, Summer Glau, and Emma Watson come to mind—are forced to acquire quite a bit of tact to deal with the bruised egos they (even if unintentionally) cause and encounter among their fans.
There is more to explore on the nuances of female nerds, but this is too long already, so I’ll move on.
A Caution to Nerds
A few months ago I threw out a throwaway definition of nerds while writing a post about automation:
Nerd: a guy who reacts to being a small fish in a big pond by retreating to a smaller pond.
This wasn’t a complete definition, as we saw above, but you could certainly do a lot worse. Let’s look at our definition again:
Socially inept, smart, working, provides no immediate or visible value
Our definition begs a question that we haven’t yet addressed: If he’s working, how come he provides no immediate or visible value? What exactly is he working on if it provides no value?
What he’s working on is some form of capital—rather than producing immediate value, he’s trying to find an advantage that will help him produce more value in the future. This may be a skill, or knowledge, or a scientific discovery, or a computer program, or any number of things—the point is, it’s something that’s completely useless right now, when he’s working on it.
Now, it would be nice if all nerds were out seeking an advantage because they were just that crafty. However, there is another possible reason: they’re scared of conflict. Competing in the “big pond” was too much for them, and they’ve sworn off all conflict as a result.
If a nerd has this, then his life may be pretty difficult. The ability to handle conflict—constructively, destructively, any way but avoidantly—is an essential part of the human condition.
Well, that’s the Essence De Nerd, distilled into blog post form for you to analyze to your heart’s content. I would urge any nerds reading this to take a look at their lives and consider how much of their time is producing delayed value as opposed to instantly available value. This time differential can be important even in conversation styles.
Happy nerding (or not)!
Cane Caldo, “The Invisible Horror“
Donovan, Jack “The Way of Men: Masculinity Explained“
dropit_sphere, ”Red Pill Take on Honor“
Honor series, Art of Manliness
“Shane Battier,” Wikipedia.
Cane Caldo, “Take A Number“
*In a kind of Zen way, if you understand this post, you’ll no longer think of me as a nerd.