Revenge of the Nerds

I’m a nerd.*  I program computers, like Star Wars, the whole bit.  I spend a lot of time thinking about how to do things smarter, rather than harder.

These days, it’s a pretty good gig to be a nerd.  While most of the U.S. is still struggling with unemployment, Silicon Valley is booming.  And the nerds have been good to us: the Internet is the best encyclopedia/newspaper ever, and caters to the narrowest of interests (I mean, you’re reading this, aren’t you?).

More important but less obvious is the tremendous amount of work you don’t have to do.  Industrialized agriculture means I don’t have to till the ground.  Electric power means I don’t have to chop wood to have light at night (as I write this, at 10 PM).

People like me are busily engaged in automating as many things as we can.  The list of things that require human labor is losing items.

Classical economic theory would hold that that’s totally fine, because instead of chopping wood or whatever, we can spend that time studying the finer points of designing iPhones.  In other words, the list of things that require human labor can gain items too.

And that’s generally true.   But it neglects one important thing: it retards development.  While designing iPhones may be alpha, learning to design them is not.  Learning is inherently a beta experience.  One learns from one’s betters, not one’s inferiors.

“Smart” may be attractive, but “dutiful student” is not.

When you hear “educated, specialized economy,” think “more time spent in school in a beta frame.”  Worse, the frame may be internalized, and remain after school.

Alpha is a societal resource, and the long years of preparation for specialized labor are one of the causes of the shortage of it.

Thanks, nerds.

* Nerd:  a guy who reacts to being a small fish in a big pond by retreating to a smaller pond.

A Way Forward

Dang it, I had this post half-written, then Joseph of Jackson had to go and screw it up by posting his success story.  An hour’s work wasted on my part.

A couple weeks ago I read with interest Donal Graeme’s recent post “All Alone in the Dark.”  He understandably worried that it would come across as a whinefest, but anyone who’s writing a series of posts on actionable items to finding a good wife is probably doing something more substantial than whining.  Most of the commenters got that.

The post needed to happen, because the implied question needs to be asked before it can be answered.  The question is: “If not women, then what?”*

This question needs an answer.  For two reasons: The first is that, unavoidably, some guys are going to be left out.  I don’t know where or why or who or when, but with suitable women in short supply, the math is depressing.  

The second is that women are not and cannot be an end.  The married guy who thinks he’s done fighting through his life, and betas down, will eventually find that his wife has usurped the leadership in their marriage.  “Married” does not mean “done.”  We especially in the LDS church are vulnerable to thinking this way because we believe marriage to be an essential ordinance, but as far as we do so we make the same mistake as those who think they’re done after  a dip in the water and some words said.  Baptism is important because it signifies the beginning of a new life and is empty without that meaning; the same is true of marriage.

The answer to the question, “If not women, then what?” is pretty basic, but not immediately helpful.  “God.”

So what does that mean?

31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

And later:

15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

As Free Northerner has written, men need responsibility and reward.  We thrive on it.  Adam was given dominion over all the earth for a reason.  Marriage is an institution that, properly lived, offers both responsibility and reward.  Mark Driscoll’s (in)famous statement that “men are like trucks and drive straighter with a weighted load” is true—but the weight doesn’t have to be a carousel veteran.  The truck chooses the weight, not the other way around.

If you know much about the LDS, you might assume that I served a two-year mission somewhere, preaching.  You’d be right.  Picture Dropit in some foreign country, the language of which he’s only spoken for a year.  Now tell him he’s responsible for proselyting efforts for the area.  His only friends are other (male) missionaries, working either under him, over him, or in other areas of the country.

I’ve never had a heavier load, and I’ve never driven straighter.  This, when I wasn’t allowed to date.

It’s not women that civilize men and give life meaning, it’s having something to invest in.  

Story Time

Last December, I attended a Christmas party in my friend’s congregation.  There was one girl  in particular that my friend had been pursuing.  My friend is a perfect example of someone who needs the pill—he’s diligent, easygoing, and a bit too nice.  What makes it a pity is that he’s actually pretty good-looking, as far as I can judge.

Anyway, I walk into this party and see this girl there with my other friend’s roommate.  This roommate is…weird.  And not like, “cool, but has weird hobbies.”  Rather, “Socially maladroit, and has weird hobbies.”

I’d been reading manosphere blogs for a few months, and I kind of lost it.  After the party I followed my friend to his apartment and called a Meeting of the Bros.  The topic, as I recall: “Why the !@#$% is she out with him instead of you?” (Game purists would say the results spoke for themselves, and he “had superior game.”  No.  This was a pity date, as future events bore out.  That said—yeah, my friend has zero game.)

Stereotypes of girls notwithstanding, beta guys are just as eager as anyone to hear “relationships” being discussed, and soon I had eleven guys crammed in this tiny apartment, listening to me rant as red-pillish as I dared.  Six of them I didn’t even know—they just lived on the same floor.

At some point, I realized I had a bunch of dudes hanging on my words.  “Huh,” I thought.

* * *

A little over seven months ago, on New Year’s Eve, I was at a party.  I had recently read Frost’s excellent post Getting the Gang Back Together, and, watching a bunch of Mormon single “adults” play various carnival games, I thought, “This is kind of depressing” (Yes, Dropit is just wild at parties).

“Dude,” I said to my friend.  “I have this idea.”

So, over the next week, one by one, I talked to each of my friends privately.  I wasn’t trying to pill-ify them so much as start a group similar to Frost’s.  But one thing I made absolutely clear: no girls allowed.  The idea was that (similar to Frost’s group—seriously, read the post) we’d meet, discuss our goals, present our plans to accomplish them, then let the other guys tear us a new one/approve the plans.  The next week, we’d report on what we’d done (which had to match up with the plans of the previous week).  For those wondering, we called it the “the gang” (seriously: the minutes are all headed “Gang meeting, [date]”).

To be clear: this was not a red pill group.  We didn’t talk about girls at all.  It was mostly about getting homework done and going to the gym.

But it was aimed at creating an honor culture.  I encouraged shaming, and even ceremonial physical punishment for failing to keep commitments from week to week (paintballs to the back).

There is one Saturday I remember in particular: I woke up, longboarded to the apartment of some of my friends, woke one of them up, and we started making waffles.  In 15-30 minutes we’d made enough for everyone, so we woke them up, everyone (six of us) ate, then someone did the dishes while I played video games.  Then it was off to the library to study for a few hours (we’d decided on this in a previous gang meeting—reserved a private room and everything).  I had more to do, so I stayed through the afternoon and into the evening studying with one of the group.  In the evening we left for a soccer game we all played in.  We got some girls to go get dinner with us afterwards, then went to my friends’ apartment (just the men) and watched Last Samurai (honor culture, remember—highly recommended).  Around 1:00 AM, the movie ended, and I elected to sleep on my friend’s couch rather than make the 3-block journey to my apartment.

I never slept so well, or went to bed(err…couch) so contentedly, in my life.

* * *

The original impetus for this post was to present a last-resort solution for Donal’s “Alone in the Dark” post.  The solution is membership in a loving, responsible, patriarchal community—which may involve creating that community.

The second reason for this post was to put the story of my gang into some part of the collective mind of the manosphere.  I’m convinced that this sort of thing is the best solution to the problems that confront us, and this is data from the field on an attempt at it.  I want people to know that this happened, and that they could do it, and that it’s worth doing.  I want them to think about doing it themselves, and hopefully improve on the way I did it.

The third reason is to analyze why it failed.

* * *

Note:  Sorry.  This next part deserves a post all its own, so I’m going to postpone the analysis for now.  This, by the way, is where I’ve been heading both in my thoughts lately and with this blog, so expect a lot more stuff (and stories) in this vein in the future.

*I actually don’t worry that much about Donal himself, mostly because I know someone as smart as Donal is worrying about it for me.  Taking the pill takes some stones, and women like that.  And we all know that all red pill bloggers are heroically** handsome, or, if female, alluringly beautiful.

**Devilishly handsome guys can, for all I care, go to, well, Hell.

Thesaurus Help

I’m looking for a way to express a concept succinctly, as in one phrase (or one word, if possible).  Here is the long version: I’d be indebted to any readers who can come up with a short version.

Someone can be “dangerous to know,” as in Lady Lamb’s description of Lord Byron: “Mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”  As in, keep this person in your association, and you are headed for trouble.

What I’m looking for is the opposite: keeping this person in your association will act as a protection to you.  “Safe to know” doesn’t cover it, because any random beta is safe to know—safe just means “non-threatening.”  The concept I have in mind can be very threatening—but on your behalf.  I’m looking for the opposite of “dangerous to know,” not its simple absence.

Phrases in common use that dance around it but miss it:

—“will get your back” (communicates intent but not necessarily competence)

—“has your back” (better in that it communicates competence, but implies that this is a constant, active thing, rather than a state of competence and willingness)

—“I’m glad he’s on our side!”

—“reliable” is close, but is a term applicable to chumps as well as saviors.

—“makes you feel safer because you know them” is the meaning I’m looking for, but is too wordy.

Anyone has a moment of vocabulary enlightenment, please share.