Here are my thoughts on a recent video making the rounds. I do suggest you watch it as the guy has put a lot of effort into building his theory and then figuring out how to present it clearly. He’s offering value and it is worth trying. However, I think he makes some serious miscues – mainly because of who he is and who he’s talking to. Like Jack Nicholson’s famous line to Tom Cruise: “You can’t handle the truth!” It’s a poster boy for the Purple Pill (a marketing ruse to use the credibility of red pill truths but water them down with blue pill illusions so that the listener isn’t required to stare into the abyss)
So I’m going to skip over the stuff he gets right (which everyone reading this blog already knows and is already amply discussed in my own Personal Map Of The Sexual Marketplace talk with Tom Torero) and fisk the bits I think he gets wrong.
The 21 Convention has always been the Chump Convention. A room full of credible chumps lectured to by a stageful of posturing pseudo-intellectuals and PUA fakers. So, it’s with a shivering unease that I considered giving ninety minutes of my life to watching one of their speakers following a recommendation in the comments. I first skimmed through, clicking along the ninety-minute bar to see if it looked interesting. I’ve been burned way too many times into wasting my time on rubbish PUA nonsense (the brown Wayne brothers, I’m looking at you).
On walks a fat bald guy with bad fashion against a David DeAngelo type background. “Hi, my name is Socrates.”
I initially suspect he’s identifying more with the philosopher than the footballer, and that it’s hardly a modest start either way, but his bio says it’s actually his birth name. Okay, can’t hold that against him. Nonetheless he comes across rather pompous, like a Blue Pill Rollo – this will turn out to be closer to the truth than I first imagine. I’m not really against a bit of pomp in a public speaker (I do like irrationally confident people) but I do find myself asking “What’s his credibility?” I don’t actually know the answer to that. He just doesn’t feel credible. An armchair philosopher.
Nick, don’t jump to conclusions, I tell myself. Give him a chance. His ideas might be good enough to render such initial impressions meaningless. His first slide is a picture of some beta chump kissing some reasonably pretty girl, like the poster photo for a Hollywood rom-com. Right from one minute in he’s setting the prize as a monogamous relationship. Okay, that’s setting the bar low. “This isn’t something easily acheived…. You have to find a partner willing to commit to this.” O…..kay.
As I find over the remaining minutes, the purpose of his talk is to re-affirm to the audience what Rollo calls men’s burden of performance. A man must work hard to earn his right to intimacy. Every day. Sustained every day as a process requiring agency.
We then begin on the meat of the talk, outlining the sexual marketplace and the language continues to confuse. I’m not against a bit of intellectual mind-wank but you’ve got to go somewhere with it. This starts off heavy with the mind-wank and needlessly verbose. He’s just telling us the obvious, dressed up in latin-derived unusual words. It’s just S&R value from Mystery Method made opaque. I can save you the first hour with one sentence: Figure out if you need to boost either your alpha or beta traits, and then do so.
Socrates defines alpha as the traits we players generally consider as “sexiness”, which I agree with. However he wants to sell “provider” / sucker traits too because he’s in the Chump Convention and that’s what his audience wants to hear. So most of the next hour is spent finding ways to redefine the attractive men having sex with hotties as somehow limited or damaged, so his audience can feel superior with their chump traits.
For example he brings out the male-dom/fem-sub dynamic and the importance of conflict in nature as we all struggle to survive and replicate. Great, I agree. But then he poo-poos it as not being a nice place to be. Well, the world is struggle. He knows the chodes in the audience don’t want conflict and dominance, they want to be told there’s still a place for unicorns and rainbows. So he introduces the concept of virtue. This is a go-to throughout the talk to baby-talk the chumps.
“Nature’s a bitch. Nature’s a deadly violent place” he says and I agree. But I don’t agree that “the people who live on this domain are equally brutish and violent.” No. Human tribes co-operate into win-win behaviours in order to lift themselves out of it and create stability. That’s also pretty well established in both the biology literature and the game theory literature. Pretty much everyone has these latter traits, except for the small number of people with outright behavioural disorders. He contrasts nature along the x axis with civilisation up his y axis. That’s where virtue resides.
It’s still very wordy. Simple anglo-derived words are not used when there’s an unweildy latin-derived one that could replace it. I appreciate his wish to stablise language and be precise but it’s sounding little different to the 1950s functionalist sociology – an empty structure of interconnected words devoid of real meaning. The power of the logic comes from it’s tautological nature of carving up a chessboard that only dimly resembles the battlefield it’s meant to represent.
He’s pushing strongly that the “vertical domain” of civilisation is where you have to live, because it’s virtuous. And here we are getting to the main limiting factor of the model – he’s feeding the chodes’ desire to use virtue as a cloak to disguise their low SMV and inability to compete.
Beta traits are NOT virtue. To say they are is a sleight of hand. Beta is SMV failure. Beta is sacrificing yourself for the team because you have to. Hot young women only care about alpha traits. Beta traits exist in another dimension entirely and only become useful in preparing the beta male as the parachute for a woman hitting the Wall. Presenting this vertical domain as a component of SMV is pushing water uphill, literally in his graph. More muddying of waters follows.
“Men and women equally display alpha traits.” I know he is precisely defining his version of alpha for the purposes of the talk, but that’s just misleading. There is no alpha in the female side. Just replication value, which is mostly youth and hotness. It’s wrong to say Beta traits are what makes the world safe to raise families. Alphas are leaders who organise and bring the group together to pacify the land and defend it from outside invaders. Think Donald Trump and immigration. Alpha is inherently important to the whole tribe’s ability to make the world safe to raise families, which is why the whole tribe doesn’t just tolerate alphas but it follows them. Betas don’t have a monopoly on it.
His high beta / low alpha guys have a strength per his formulation: teamwork, stablity, handling relationships etc. I think that’s baby-talking his audience of chodes who reside here. Really, they aren’t there due to strengths, these are just compensations for overall weakness. Team Beta pulls together. Really the beta traits he’s describing as strengths are co-dependence and people-pleasing – weaknesses in the SMP (even if they can be strengths in nation building at times).
His advice is to build everything up so you move yourself towards the top-right quadrant. It’s kinda true that if you’re high in Y (beta) then shifting along right-wards with more X (alpha) is the path to success. What’s not true is that people high in X need to add Y. If you’re already strong it’s bad advice to introduce weakness. I get to this in a minute.
17 minutes in he starts mapping familiar territories to their places on the graph, correctly identifying the friendzone. The problem is that this graph requires the friendzone to occupy one location. The reality is the friendzone is relative to the quality of the girl you’re chasing, your competition, her preferences, and her position in the life cycle. It’s more dynamic than a simple category. In his defence, that’s bloody hard to represent on a graph so I’ll give him a pass. While it’s true that you can always stay out of the friendzone, it’s also true that often you do so by never talking to the girl again rather than by fucking her.
19 minutes in he defines high SMV as “emptiness and charm” and puts it as fuck buddies. This is more sleight of hand, trying to bring virtue in to an SMV calculation. This is the centrepoint of selling his presentation to the weaselling chodes. Women really don’t care about virtue. I’m reminded of Dalrock’s post here:
“this paradigm is almost certainly crucial to his friend’s view of himself as a man with a high Sexual Market Value (SMV) and especially Marriage Market Value (MMV). The twisted thinking goes like this:
– Women are attracted to good and noble men.
– I am better and more noble than other men.
– Therefore I am more attractive than other men.
There is of course one small problem with this line of reasoning, which is that the women around Hank’s friend aren’t acting in a way that would suggest that they find him attractive. At the same time, the women around Hank’s friend are demonstrating attraction for unworthy men. This must mean that less worthy men than Hank’s friend are tricking women, essentially impersonating him. These fakers are getting in the way of women realizing how attractive he really is.”
I think this is where I really disagree. Socrates wants to make the real high-SMV men into sociopaths and psychopaths in order to clear them out the way of the mid-SMV men he wants to elevate into their position. “These are dangerous individuals. I’m not kidding.” he warns.
Ok, I think, he’s never fucked a hot girl. Men who fuck hot women don’t feel the need to disparage the other men who do. They “get it”. They know all women like sex and all will sometimes have casual sex.
The individualist Alphas are not pulling their weight for Team Beta and so he’s calling them genetically damaged: “They can’t help themselves.” I think there’s a tell here about not understanding Game. He’s talking like men only get laid off the back of physical characteristics and dominance – Game is all dark triad and looks. After briefly saying the alphas are charming he later acts like they are socially awkward (putting the “awkardness zone” as the X-axis equivalent of the Y-axis “creepy zone”)….. okay. He later says these people need to learn pro-social behaviours to move themselves further into success.
No, they just need to change objectives – they aren’t lacking the skills.
So he’s subtly letting his chump audience position themselves above these high-SMV alphas. How very gamma. As if getting casual sex with hot girls is evil. With those pesky alphas neutered Socrates can move on to describe his happy place, the dating zone. That’s the happy place because ultimately he’s selling try-hard monogamy to gamma chodes. “This is the natural position of mankind” he stastes and therefore he has to define everyone outside the happy place as damaged. He just doesn’t get r/K as permanent and fluctuating strategies.
Up towards the top-right of the graph – high enough to be badass but not so high as to be unattainable – is the “marriage potential” zone. I wondered if the marriage potential area is so small, how come most people in the history of the West managed to get there? And why is he selling marriage as the goal to a room of men when surely it’s women who are desperate for the ring? It’s because in Socrates’ world the man has a burden of performance and he’s raising the next cohort of suckers.
“If you commit outside this range, you are betraying virtue.”
I press on. I think fundamentally his problem is he’s got a purity fantasy: “I’m here to shame”. He doesn’t get that casual sex is fun and consensual, that it can occur between emotionally balanced people who do it because they like it, rather than from personal dysfunction. That’s not allowed because then the virtue sleight of hand loses it’s power. If you want to tell people to be virtuous, great. Do so. But don’t tell them being virtuous raised your SMV. It doesn’t.
The talk is not all bad, mind. He’s right about where creepy and awkward are located. He’s half-right about creepy is an obstacle right at the beginning of your journey – yes, but only once you start hitting on girls or trying to be taken seriously. You can actually do the groundwork of gym / fashion and general social skills withouth encountering creepy. That only comes once you want to take some value back.
It’s a conceit 29 minutes in that the people having lots of casual sex want to enter the dating zone but are frozen out by lack of beta traits. No, only the women might be frozen out. Men who are having sex can enter the relationship zone any time they damn well please. But he can’t say that because that’s admitting the central truth the chodes don’t want to hear: the guys having sex have higher SMV in every way. All the stuff chodes have (money, listening skills etc) isn’t relevant. The chodes don’t have a single advantage. In the SMP they are simply lower value in every way.
“The work they [casual sex guys] have to do is the same as the other side [the chodes]”. Really? C’mon let that sink in and ask if it sounds convincing or if it’s just part of selling system to chumps.
You can’t derive ought from is, but he’s using ought to hamstring his model of is. He’s smart to say nature locates narcissism in teenage because it’s effective to breed and that’s when you need it. So what’s the obvious lesson? He wants you to fight it. Not harness it, but fight it. I disagree.
This talk is clearly to Team Beta on advising them how to be better betas.
33 minutes in he’s wrong. Hot girls with limited beta traits can get relationships, they just have to revise expectations towards thirstier guys or seek out chumps. And really, “don’t be a cunt” isn’t such a high bar for their beta traits. There are also different niches of relationship, from intimate soul mates to kept woman that a hot-but-annoying girl can use.
Socrates needs to paint alphas with low-beta as damaged. Really he’s talking about behaviour disorders rather than a lack of skill. He uses War Machine as an example – a total knacker (not a “world class MMA fighter”) who is “banging porn stars left and right” – so a bottom feeder. That’s not a guy with high-alpha. War Machine is just a roid monkey with issues. Ironically, he’s right that War Machine had no ground game – but it’s true literally, not in his sense. It’s an enduring manosphere myth that jail is full of alphas. No, it’s full of imbeciles.
By forty minutes I had to turn off. My impression is it’s a half-decent exposition of manosphere truisms twisted to make the Chump Convention crowd feel good with a purple pill. Did I miss something in the rest of the talk? Really, maybe the second half resolves all my issues. I’d like to know, but can’t be bothered to watch it.