I try to be an easy-going chap, holding my frame and my positive mood above all the life’s little attempts to chip away and drag it down. Life is a constant struggle of maintaining order against the
first / second / third* law of thermodynamics that leads to atrophy and chaos. Writ large in society barbarism is natural. Civilisation is but a whim of circumstance and in the end barbarism always wins. In microcosm your personal life is a never-ending struggle to maintain standards against constant woppery and inertia. So when I’m walking through a crowded underground platform in rush hour I don’t let the grey misery of my fellow man pull me down. When a train is two minutes late I don’t mutter and curse. If I get caught in the rain on my walk home I just hold my head high and enjoy the refreshing drizzle. Happiness is an internal state that (barring extreme outside intervention) is entirely within your control.
But some things annoy the fuck out of me. Today it’s the Guru-Acolyte dynamic.
Men are social animals designed to fit into hierarchies. The sorting princple in the Excel spreadsheet of life can be column A (expertise), column F (power), column G (social status), column Z (age) or whatever. Yes, I just made that up. The point is we have an innate need to serve a higher cause and an innate coping strategy of slotting into our position in the hierarchy to faciliate the smooth operation of the social machine. A big part of taking the Red Pill is recognising a different position entitles you to different rewards and then wrenching yourself out of the structure for reinsertion at a higher point (or for sigmas, permament outsider status). Beginning from childhood you look up to the older kids and accept instruction from them. Nothing wrong there, social conditioning is an effective shortcut to learning and if the older boys avoid Mad Norman’s back garden because he shoots his air rifle at pesky kids then you are better off listening to them rather than risk a few pellets in the torso by going it alone. It’s natural to look up to the guy in your office who is more experienced than you. He has knowledge, you want it.
Like many natural and useful social conventions this one can mess you up and in the self-development community we have gurus. Consider a normal path in Game.
A guy learns about community. Before long he becomes aware of the big names (Mystery, AFC Adam, David DeAngelo, Vince Kelvin etc) but lacks the judgement and experience to make his own assessment of who to listen to. So he timidly agrees with community consensus and buys the usual material, learns the familiar tropes of the community. Chances are he’s in a bit of a vulnerable way when he entered the community so he’s a bit of a sucker for the charlatans selling impossible dreams on one side and the denialist haters on the other. A rudderless ship. Eventually he’ll find some way of reaching a decision to discriminate between ideas and then likely decide to follow one particular guy for a while.
Oh dear. The guru trap.
It’s an irony of expertise is that by the time you’ve figured out which expert to listen to you’ve already learned enough that you needn’t bother. Life is full of wannabe gurus seeking to vacuum money, attention and validation out of unsuspecting acolytes. Each side to this co-dependence has their own goals. The acolyte is ostensibly seeking knowledge but emotionally is seeking reassurance and approval. Striking out on your own outside your comfort zone is a lonely job, a foreboding wander through desolate lands as you seek meaning, direction and nourishment for the soul. It’s far easier to turn back to your warm bed in that comfortable spot in the matrix you already know and love. So the acolyte attaches himself to a guru who fulfills his emotional needs without forcing him to recognise the ego trap he just set himself. The guru gets his own ego payoff. He thinks he’s near the end of his journey but hasn’t really filled that empty hole inside, which he believes he ought to have filled by now. Ostensibly he’s found his zen inner peace but emotionally he’s fraught with doubt. So the guru procures acolytes who will mirror his idealised self image of how awesome he is without forcing him to turn inward and confront his own doubts. Another ego trap.
The PUA industry is set up to reinforce this mentality. A wannabe guru can widely advertise his skills and while remaining coy about details and evidence he can lure in the acolytes. Watch for it when at a bootcamp. The guru will stand infield like the Pied Piper with a phalanx of little pushovers around him waiting expectantly for leadership. The same little pushovers will approach coach for him and big up about how much he’s changed their lives and how awesome he is (just like in traditional martial arts all the senior grades gush about sensei being the toughest guy in the world). These pushovers will invade forums to defend their guru’s honour against any slight. Consider forum hierarchies. There’s always a load of gushing pushovers struggling to elbow each other out of the way to win access to their guru’s attention. They’ll reference him in their field reports, giggle excitedly when he posts, and just generally supplicate in a sickening manner.
Never put another man’s judgement above your own. If you go through life readily accepting other men as your betters then you’ve already lost. You’re another brick in the wall. By all means seek advice from men who are further down a road than yourself but the responsibility to assess their advice is yours and yours alone. Feel free to reject it. I’d happily seek out Roger Federer’s advice on how to play tennis, how to stay fit as a professional athlete, how to handle success or any one of a number of topics where he has proven success or (if failure) hard-won experience. But I won’t ask him how to street stop girls, and if he gives me retarded advice within his own field of expertise I’ll park it in the holding cell until I’m better able to assess it. I won’t be downloading my opinions from him. By all means seek out mentors, or if you’re an expert wishing to pass on knowledge find yourself a protege. But never surrender your own responsibility for thinking. And never seek another man to surrender his.
* I haven’t a bastard clue which one it is
September 28, 2012 at 7:04 am
You want the second law for the analogy where, roughly speaking, the entropy of a closed system not in equilibrium almost always increases.
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September 29, 2012 at 5:47 am
These pushovers will invade forums to defend their guru’s honour against any slight. Consider forum hierarchies. There’s always a load of gushing pushovers struggling to elbow each other out of the way to win access to their guru’s attention.
But it needs to be acknowledged that pua gurus can and do change mens’ lives for the better – hence why they would want to support them. I link to David D and a range of gurus I’ve trained with because of the value they’ve brought to my life. I don’t agree with lots of what they say, but I’m very willing to support those things I do and acknowledge them for the role they’ve played in my development. [I think you didn’t get my concept of guru as someone who seeks acolytes. K.]
September 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm
This makes a lot more sense once you have a deeper understanding of what Marketing is all about.
In Marketing, Seth Godin calls this “Tribes” (He’s written a book about it under the same title)
In short, it’s your tribe that ends up following you, buying/promoting your products and what you have to say.
Successful PUA’s are nothing more than very good marketers who overestimate and exaggerate their skill levels in order to seduce people into thinking that buying their stuff will make them become better with women.
They know exactly what their followers want and use their pains weaknesses to capitalise and make a profit.
Granted, there are some out there who are genuinely looking to help. But the majority are simply out there to simply cash in.
Ironically, it’s no surprise that most successful PUA’s end up with the best women. It’s simply because they’re living off the very same money that their followers are giving them in order to live the lifestyle that women coincidentally find attractive.
It’s not Game that gets hot girls… It’s your money and status. That’s the facts.
I won’t mention any PUA companies but if you’ve been in the community long enough, you can probably tell which ones hey are.
September 30, 2012 at 11:11 pm
Hi Nick Krauser,
Thank you again for your generosity in sharing your knowledge and your deliberations. Specifically, thank you for every recent article from “Deep Conversion” through to this article. I believe that you are making a major contribution to men’s lives with these articles. I have read and re-read them several times now and I find them informed, thought-provoking and very valuable.
This article and the previous one on the value of Ego, have helped me crystallise some of my own thoughts on the subject. Deida talks about each man finding his mission and making his own authentic life. However he does not discuss the need for an unshakably strong frame, though it seems to me that to be successful a man has to have that. Your articles acknowledge the difficulty of achieving one’s goals, in the face of life’s ability to (as you put it) “chip you down”. I think that is why the ego death of losing a women one loves deeply can be beneficial, though it sure as hell does not feel like it. One can reform around the damaged Ego and see how to improve one’s own behaviours to one’s own benefit. You can build a self which is less affected by the world.
Another commenter here says that money and status are all there is, when it comes to getting women. I do not agree. I think that an unshakable frame (I have watched your work in your videos) such as yours, is the key to attraction and deep conversion. I cannot remember who said “women want men with absolute certainty in themselves” but I think that he was right. My own (recent) experience is that if I cold-approach a woman with certainty, she will (most times) respond positively. It helps to remember Game is a map, and that there may be a million reasons why a woman will not engage with you, which are nothing to do with your approach. Your “Amused Mastery” is really useful here, it shows a practical way to approach women with warmth and humour, which makes the interaction more fun (for me at least).
You are really developing something special for men at your site, thanks again for your work, and I am keen to read what you have to say next.
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October 2, 2012 at 10:28 pm
I like this a lot – especially as it’s such a common trap. Marketing needs to hold a lot of the blame though – it’s much easier to sell someone an idea (…or a product…) if they are portrayed as the original and the best.
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October 12, 2012 at 2:33 pm
When I read the first half of this I was thoroughly confused; because I always saw you as a guy that reached out to seek mentors (RSG, Yad, Skeletor, etc)…
But I guess you covered that a bit at the end of the post… [Yes. Mentors = Good, Gurus = Bad. K.]
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April 21, 2015 at 3:29 am
Excellent read. I could personally relate to just have been escaped from the ‘guru trap.’ I couldn’t properly phrase how I felt after until you used the term ‘guru trap,’ in this post.