Thursday, September 20, 2012

Why solipsism matters

There are a number of issues that have been raised by Susan's challenge to the concept of female solipsism and my response.  First, I'll begin with citing a comment by Dr. Jeremy at Dalrock's place:
[I]f the concept of Female Solipsism is an important one, further clarity is required. Some questions to consider:
1) What are the range of behaviors and concepts we are trying to explain and define? When one uses the term “Female Solipsism”, what specifically do they mean? What is the definition and operationalization of the term?
2) Can the behaviors/concept above be fully encompassed within a more commonly-used, already existing term? Having a full view of the behaviors involved, would a different term choice be more clear and informative to convey the set of ideas?
3) Is the desire to claim power and meaning internally for the group by coining a “unique” word, or to convey a set of ideas to those outside the group?
It's not my intention to address the follow-on questions at this point, but rather the primary one.  Is the concept of Female Solipsism an important one?  To which I answer yes, because mastery of the concept has the potential to be a tremendous aid in anticipating, understanding, and manipulating female behavior.  Consider Ian Ironwood's tremendous adventure in female solipsism, which he explored by the simple device of writing in a notebook in the presence of a number of women.
The lesson of the story is that every single aspect of the response from a group of 14 women (13 co-workers and a boss) was based on a) her solipsistic belief that I was writing about her based solely on the fact that she didn't know WHAT or WHOM I was writing about  b) her belief in the absence of evidence that my stubborn silence was proof that I was writing about her and c) the belief that every other woman in the group was conspiring against her over the imaginary book for some reason.
Read the entire thing.  It may sound absurd, but speaking as a published author, I assure you that you could easily replicate his experience in very nearly any group of women today.  And this is where the hypothesis becomes provable, as unlike Milton Friedman's ideal rate of money supply growth or anthropogenic climate change, it is easily put to the test by the individual.  I'm still working on a Solipsism Quotient test, which is designed to distinguish between the solipsistic, the narcissistic, and the less self-absorbed, but in the meantime, here is a little pop quiz that can be easily applied to the women of your aquaintance in casual conversation.
  1. Bring up the evil consequences of the 19th Amendment, including the national debt, the economic crisis, and the housing bubble, to a woman.  Does she a) challenge the legitimacy of the linkage of the 19th Amendment to one of the consequences, b) agree and express her opinion that women should not be permitted to vote, c) question the practicality of overturning the amendment, or d) immediately start talking about how the prospect of not being permitted to vote makes her feel?
  2.  Make critical comments about a behavioral trait that you know the woman possesses without making any reference to her.  E.g.: telling a fat woman that obesity costs the healthcare system more than $150 billion every year.  Does she a) question your data source, b) point out a flaw in your reasoning, (for example, how the system also saves money due to the shorter lifespans of the obese), c) ask if you are indirectly criticizing her, or d) immediately start explaining why she possesses that trait?
Answers in the vein of (d) indicate that the woman is probably egoistically self-absorbed to such an extent as to merit the label "solipsistic".  She literally cannot imagine that the topic does not concern her as the central subject. The angrier her reaction, the more strongly solipsistic she is.  Not all women will answer in such a manner, but I would estimate that three in every four women will.  I expect that similar male-oriented questions would get solipsistic reactions from one in five men or less.

But don't take my word for it.  Test it out in casual conversation and report your results here.  This isn't scientific methodology of the sort that will stand up to professional peer review, but it is a fundamentally scientific approach of testing the hypothesis and could prove the basis of a useful predictive model of female behavior applicable to a broad variety of intersexual scenarios.

81 comments:

Grit said...

Now would be a good time to remind your audience of 80mph girl...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qhm7-LEBznk&feature=youtube_gdata_player


paulmurray said...

But, but - in test 2, your bringing up the topic is precisely all about her. You chose that topic *because* the woman you are speaking to (or in the presence of) exhibits the trait. She is quite right to suppose that you are speaking about her. You are!

Cail Corishev said...

There's a common occurrence in Internet discussions. Someone presents a theory that some people aren't comfortable with. The uncomfortable ones claim that terms need to be defined or proof needs to be offered -- reasonable-sounding requests -- and they divert the thread to a quest for perfect definition and proof, throwing up complex requirements and bulleted lists of points that must be satisfied before the theory itself can be discussed. By the time that's done (if ever), everyone's gotten sick of the discussion and moved on. This can happen in real life too, but it's especially prevalent on blogs, where comment threads rarely stay busy for more than a couple days.

I don't know how often this is conscious, versus an unconscious defense mechanism, but either way, it derails many discussions. It's happening to every one of these solipsism threads that I've seen, and Dr. Jeremy and Mrs. Walsh have now set a bar high enough that we'll never touch it.

Empirical data has its place -- I'm certainly not anti-science -- but so do intuition and gut feeling. A guy comes into the group and says, "Hey, there's this term that really fits something women do that guys need to understand," and the other guys slap themselves on the forehead and say, "Holy crap, that's it! I kinda understood that, but I didn't have a way to think about it better than, 'She be crazy.' This really helps me understand how to deal with women/my woman." A discussion begins as they explore the new concept.

Then someone says, "Wait, wait, you're using that term wrong. Everyone go take a semester of philosophy and come back. Also, I want proof that this really occurs and that no part of it can be explained away by other forces. Also, men are bad too and NAWALT."

Discussion derailed.

If someone wants to prove that water is wet and develop a method for measuring its wetness, that's fine. But when the rest of us just want to accept that it's wet and go swimming, he shouldn't be allowed to stop us.

Anonymous said...

It's clear from comments in your previous post that people are operating under very different definitions of female solipsism. How much longer are you going to present on the topic without providing a concise and explicit definition for what you are discussing?

Your pop quiz questions are flawed. The questions themselves directly personalize the issue for the subject and therefore a personal reaction to it is to be expected for both men and women. In my own experience talking to scores of men who smoke, noting the potential drag on the healthcare system of widespread cigarette addiction results almost exclusively in c/d type answers - "don't tell me I can't smoke", "you can take the cigarettes from my cold dead hands", "don't stand near me if you don't like smokers", etc. I would expect similar results if I were to raise the same issues with female smokers, and for neither gender would I chalk up the reactions to "egoistic self-absorption which occurs to such an extent that the [subject's] behavior makes it appear as if [they] subscribes to some form of philosophical solipsism".

A more accurate indicator would be discussing a policy related issue, like the healthcare impact of smoking and obesity, with a subject that doesn't smoke and isn't obese. Even better if they have no close relationship with someone else who smokes or is obese. In the absence of a personal connection with the policy issue, it would require substantial "egoistic self-absorption" for the subject to reframe the discussion as one in which they are the center of the universe.

VD said...

You chose that topic *because* the woman you are speaking to (or in the presence of) exhibits the trait.

Of course. But the fact that you have chosen the topic because she possesses the trait does not mean that every and all discussions of that topic are about her. More importantly, the fact that her solipsistic assumption happens to be correct for once means that she must be solipsistic. Otherwise, she could not be correct.

What you're missing is that your motivations are opaque to her.

Athor Pel said...

This morning I was reminded of a question that tests for certain character traits. I thought it up when I was a kid after I noticed there were two kinds of reactions that kids displayed when they knew they about to get physically disciplined by their parents. The question is simple, "Did you as a child run away when your parent's were about to spank you for your misbehavior?"

Either they ran away for as long as they could to avoid the spanking or they immediately stood still and took what was coming to them. I've postulated the reasoning behind both decisions. I am more certain of one than the other by virtue of it being how I reacted when I was a kid. The other I can only offer an educated guess.

Those kids that stood still knew there was no way they were going to avoid the spanking so they didn't even try. Where were they going to go? There was no other place, at least no other place they wanted to be. The other part of their decision concerned their relationship with their parents. They were ultimately more interested in reconciliation than they were with avoidance of punishment. These kids have already formed a long term view of reality at least with respect to their relationship with their parents.

The kids that ran seemed to not see things that way. Their running and continuance of running, even when being held by the hand so they ran in a circle around the parent attempting to spank them, seems to be proof of a lack of foresight. They may not have been thinking logically but emotionally.

But assuming there was some foresight being exercised, the behavior provides evidence the child had no real desire for reconciliation. They may have even viewed it as impossible, at least for their part. They seemed to be incapable of repentance. It's almost as if they couldn't comprehend forgiveness or the possibility of forgiveness. These kids seem to not have a long term view of reality at least with respect to the relationship with their parents. They are all about present circumstances.



I imagine how someone acted as a kid would not be something that an adult would attempt to hide if asked about and it can serve to illuminate a core part of their character, something they may not even be aware of.




VD said...

How much longer are you going to present on the topic without providing a concise and explicit definition for what you are discussing?

I already have. What part of this definition do you find hard to understand: "an observed predilection for egoistic self-absorption which occurs to such an extent that the woman's behavior makes it appear as if she subscribes to some form of philosophical solipsism." Especially since you subsequently quoted that definition.

The questions themselves directly personalize the issue for the subject and therefore a personal reaction to it is to be expected for both men and women.

No, they do not directly personalize it, they are merely formulated in a manner to permit the respondent to personalize it. And this is precisely why a difference in the male and female reactions to that choice would be informative.

Smoking is a bad metric because smokers are rightly paranoid about the decades-long campaign by non-smokers to forcibly prevent them from smoking. That's not solipsism, that's rational paranoia.

A more accurate indicator would be discussing a policy related issue, like the healthcare impact of smoking and obesity, with a subject that doesn't smoke and isn't obese.

That's only going to catch the more extreme cases, like the girl who somehow transformed her husband's question about MPH into how fast she could run a mile if she was in shape.

Anonymous said...

"Consider Ian Ironwood's tremendous adventure in female solipsism, which he explored by the simple device of writing in a notebook in the presence of a number of women."

Two observations:

1. Anecdotal evidence gathered by making accurate real-time observations of women without telling the subjects they are being observed yields results that are consistent with what many in the manosphere have been saying about female behavior, particularly when it is corroborated by others. Therefore, such evidence DOES have value in evaluating, assessing and predicting female behavior.

2. Once again: Give greater credence to what women do, rather than what they say.

deti

Stingray said...

Answers in the vein of (d) indicate that the woman is probably egoistically self-absorbed to such an extent as to merit the label "solipsistic".

The angrier her reaction, the more strongly solipsistic she is.

Something to note, even if a woman does not answer (d) it is not evidence that she is not solipsistic (the definition commonly used here). All women are solipsistic to some degree. If one goes with quiz number 2 and she answers with (a) or (b), it does not mean that the question was not filtered through her own solipsism. It is a reaction that cannot be controlled. It acts as a filter that all information goes through. We will have an emotional response. The question is whether or not a woman can push past that emotional response, realize it is not relevant, and then analyze the topic in a way that is relevant.

Rollo Tomassi said...

VD, as noble as your intent is, I think you're going to have a really tough time creating an objective test to measure feminine solipsism for one basic reason: Observing the process will change it.

Anonymous said...

Appreciate the clarification on the definition, yes that was your working definition from the first post, but it still references philosophical solipsism rather than explicitly describing the behavior.

Smoking is a bad metric because smokers are rightly paranoid about the decades-long campaign by non-smokers to forcibly prevent them from smoking. That's not solipsism, that's rational paranoia.

Either it doesn't matter why a subject leaps to personalizing the topic and responding as though they themselves and/or their own behaviour is the center of attention, or your definition of solipsism is already being bent to include exceptions to explain away equally solipsistic reactions that, inconveniently, aren't congruent with the thesis that females are substantially more solipsistic in similar scenarios. In other words - is that your own rationalization hamster speaking?

That's only going to catch the more extreme cases ...

Extreme cases are exactly what your definition of solipsism is calling for. The behavior must make it appear as though the subject "subscribes to some form of philosophical solipsism" - in other words, that they believe "that only the self exists". This is why I suggested you clarify your definition and replace the reference to philosophical solipsism with a more explicit description of behaviour that qualifies "to such an extent" beyond mere "egoistic self-absorption".

Anonymous said...

Rollo:

"Observing the process will change it."

Yes, but only if the subjects know they are being observed/tested/evaluated.

Another thing here: It's difficult to assess what a woman says. Take for example this:

To average female: "What do you want in a man?"

Average female says: "I just want a nice guy who will treat me right."

Average man thinks all he has to do is be nice and treat her well, and he will be what she wants and will find him attractive.

What Average Female actually means is: "I just want a hot, alpha, attractive, dominant man who will be nice to me and treat me well to the exclusion of all other women."

deti

VD said...

it still references philosophical solipsism rather than explicitly describing the behavior.

Fair enough. I will revise it in a future post in order to avoid recursion.


Either it doesn't matter why a subject leaps to personalizing the topic and responding as though they themselves and/or their own behaviour is the center of attention, or your definition of solipsism is already being bent to include exceptions to explain away equally solipsistic reactions that, inconveniently, aren't congruent with the thesis that females are substantially more solipsistic in similar scenarios. In other words - is that your own rationalization hamster speaking?


No. Paranoia isn't solipsism. The fact that some non-solipsistic behavior can superficially look identical to solipsistic behavior doesn't render the latter nonexistent.

Extreme cases are exactly what your definition of solipsism is calling for.

I think you're putting too much weight on the appearance of philosophical solipsism. The point is to distinguish it from garden variety narcissism. If something doesn't involve the narcissist, he has no interest. The solipsist, on the other hand, will find a way to relate the topic to her.

Which is why I think your suggestion about unrelated subjects is potentially useful. But that doesn't make use of related subjects inherently flawed.

Josh said...

Another example:

My sister just got married at the beginning of the month. I'm getting married next spring. Several months ago, we were at dinner or something, and the topic of weddings came up. I made the off have remark that when couples write their own vows, it never works and usually sounds ridiculous. My sister immediately got furious at me, because she and her fiancee were writing their vows. I didn't know that before making my general statement about wedding vows. Of course, she thinks I was attacking her. Solipsism.

Anonymous said...

Observing the process will change it.

That shouldn't matter at all. This is a relatively simple exercise and I appreciate that VD wants to rise above anecdote and opining to advance the extant subject matter with something more rigorous and formal.

1. Define (female) solipsism. Done.

2. Define a set of behavioral ques and (re)actions that accurately indicate solipsism given the definition. Work in progress? Particularly if there will be exceptional cases where reactions and ques are identical to solipsistic reactions but which are not actually solipsism.

3. Define a test protocol aimed at generating response that can be compared with 2 to determine whether the subject was or was not solipsistic - or, as it sounds, to map the response to a solipsism quotient.

Observation taking place in 3 shouldn't affect outcome unless the person following the test protocol makes it obvious that they are testing for reaction. While I assert that the preview pop quiz questions are fatally flawed, the general construction of the questions - opening a discussion of policy issues - can be accomplished while keeping the intent covert.

Finally, addressing the thesis that approximately 3/4 of females are strongly solipsistic while 1/5 or fewer males strongly solipsistic, just requires time and effort in carrying out the protocol. Effort, mostly as regards to obtaining a representative sample of females and males.

Markku said...

By the way, someone lamented at Dalrock's blog that Bardamu's Eternal Solipsism of the Female Mind is gone. Not true. WayBack Machine remembers all

Anonymous said...

My sister immediately got furious at me, because she and her fiancee were writing their vows. I didn't know that before making my general statement about wedding vows. Of course, she thinks I was attacking her.

You made specific value judgements about couples performing an activity that your sister/fiance had also performed. It's irrelevant whether you knew she engaged in that activity prior to making the judgement.

Assertion: "The set of all persons who perform (activity X) fail and usually look ridiculous". Subject performed (activity X). Why is it any surprise that subject reacted? You were, in fact, including them in your assertion.

Try declaring this loudly in the season ticket section at the next professional sporting event you attend: "Fans of (home team X) don't do a damn thing to help their team and the clothes they wear look ridiculous". See if subjects calmly and logically debate the efficacy and fashion of fans as opposed to reacting as though you made a value judgement about them.

Josh said...

You made specific value judgements about couples performing an activity that your sister/fiance had also performed. It's irrelevant whether you knew she engaged in that activity prior to making the judgement.
You're missing the point. My statement wasn't about her. It was actually about my wedding. It had nothing to do with her or her wedding, and yet she made it all about her.

VD said...

VD, as noble as your intent is, I think you're going to have a really tough time creating an objective test to measure feminine solipsism

You're probably right. But if it was easy, it wouldn't be interesting.

Anonymous said...

This is why its impossible to have a rational debate about abortion, birth control or really anything else that directly affects women. Its maddening. If you would have asked me (not to get solipsistic) 2 years ago I would have told you that repealing the 19th amendment would have been ridiculous but now I'm not so sure.

It would be interesting to see some social psych research on this although I can't imagine it getting published if it showed a statistically significant solipsistic bias amongst the female population as compared to the male.

Jimmy said...

What you said as a general statement about vows is true, but you're sister is still writing her own vows. Thus, she falls under the category of sounding ridiculous. She probably already knows that she will sound ridiculous to anyone other than herself and her fiance. Or maybe just to you.

Under such circumstance, I know this will not come as a shock, when you make statements to a mixed audience, the woman will always find something to feel offended. Many times, I went to anonymous discussion groups, Slate.com in particular for their Double X columns, and make general statements. Women will easily take offense and cry about being judged.

Maybe there are some lessons here. Men can be different so they are never lumped together. No man can be offended if he doesn't take it personally. (Nonetheless, there are times when the insults are personal and I took the jabs when I should have taken offense.) Women think you are taking about them despite their claim that everyone has a choice and they are different. Why else do they have the "war on women" meme or they get offended by the word Slut when it only applies to some women.

Stickwick said...

If something doesn't involve the narcissist, he has no interest. The solipsist, on the other hand, will find a way to relate the topic to her.

That's a helpful distinction. And it means Carly Simon got it wrong:

You're so solipsistic, you probably think this song is about you ...

Jimmy said...

"If something doesn't involve the narcissist, he has no interest. The solipsist, on the other hand, will find a way to relate the topic to her."

This is a good definition, but why did Dalrock add "lack of empathy" as a solipsist trait, when it is actually a narcissist trait. This confuses the definition.

Anonymous said...

You're missing the point. My statement wasn't about her. It was actually about my wedding.

This is how you described the scenario:

I made the off have remark that when couples write their own vows, it never works and usually sounds ridiculous.

You were talking about "when couples write their own vows". So your assertion actually wasn't about your wedding, it was about couples who write their own vows, a group that included your sister. At least if we're to take you for your word - do you want to revise in order to make your anecdote congruent with a more rigorous definition of solipsism?

Cryan Ryan said...

I tested my neighbor this morning.

I told her we had just driven 4200 miles across America and I was amazed at how fat the young women are these days.

She asked "Do you think I'm fat?"

Anonymous said...

Would an example of solipsistic behavior be a female coworker in my office interrupting every conversation regardless of topic and ruining it by injecting her own thoughts about it? It's been going on for years and to the point where I stopped talking to my coworkers and now just listen to my ipod. She means well, but ruins everything because none of what she says is of particular interest or value.

Josh said...

You were talking about "when couples write their own vows". So your assertion actually wasn't about your wedding, it was about couples who write their own vows, a group that included your sister.

In the context of why we were having traditional vows. Probably should have put that in, but was trying to keep things brief.

Giraffe said...

What the hell Josh, you're getting married? You fool! Or congratulations, whichever applies.

Josh said...

Thanks giraffe.

Daniel said...

I got better than 3/4ths. 6 out of 7 picked d) twice.

I actually used the example question from question 2, even though 4 of the ladies are thin. It didn't matter. Only one of them agreed that obesity cost healthcare a lot of money. The other 3 thought I was telling them something about their weight, just like the heavy ones did.

I tried test #2 on two fat guys, too. The first one said "Damn straight" and the other said, "But we die sooner, so that's like a balloon discount!" and laughed so I think guy #2 was solipsistic in his response, at least to a degree. He identified with the question, although as a member of a class, not as an individual.

I thought it was funny that you anticipated his response.

Stickwick said...

... the other said, "But we die sooner, so that's like a balloon discount!" and laughed so I think guy #2 was solipsistic in his response, at least to a degree. He identified with the question, although as a member of a class, not as an individual.

Here's something to consider. When you ask a question about obesity to an obviously obese person, he may feel the need to indicate he's aware that he's fat so that he doesn't come across as oblivious to it. Same if you ask a question about people with huge noses to someone who has a huge nose. People who feel self-conscious about obvious flaws often want you to know they are aware of it -- it's a way for them to relieve tension in a social situation. So this complicates the results of the experiment. However, if you ask such questions to people who don't obviously fall into the category of whatever it is you're asking about and they still identify with it, then you can be confident you're dealing with solipsism.

Stickwick said...

By the way, congrats, Josh. Best wishes to you both.

JCclimber said...

This entire set of responses is why so many men dislike working on teams with women, and will avoid it when it is possible to avoid it.

Codifying it and learning how best to manage it are actually good for both men and women. Men can use it to better manage their relationships (for good or ill), and women to manage themselves and their relationships.

But currently, this is not taught to most people at a young age when it can be most useful.

Feh said...

"This entire set of responses is why so many men dislike working on teams with women"

I don't like it because they expect you to do their goddamn work for them and cover up for their mistakes and laziness like an obedient little beta. And the hotter they are, the more they expect this.

LL said...

Bane's favorite response to this was, "Don't put your foot in that shoe unless it fits." That would pretty much make women crazy. haha

Daniel said...

Stickwick
However, if you ask such questions to people who don't obviously fall into the category of whatever it is you're asking about and they still identify with it, then you can be confident you're dealing with solipsism.

Holy crap. I went to my fat joker guy and said "Smoking rates have declined a ton since the 60s." He made a joke about me being Rain Man today.

I did the same to one of the skinny ladies who thought my obesity question was about her. She's a runner and does not smoke. She said, "Oh my God. Do I smell like smoke?"

Achievement unlocked.

Josh said...

Thanks stickwick

Stickwick said...

I did the same to one of the skinny ladies who thought my obesity question was about her. She's a runner and does not smoke. She said, "Oh my God. Do I smell like smoke?"

!!! That qualifies as a 5-sigma result. Well done.

Emma said...

Hmm. I dunno, I would have seen something in it, if I haven't seen men react the same way to negative statements about men in general. "hey, i'm not like that..." On Dalrock's blog, someone also noted that black people react like that too. I have a hypothesis - people who identify with some "victim group" or "a group people often have a problem with" do this. Women have their feminism, which tells them men have a problem with women.

AnonymousManosphereBlogger said...

This whole topic is getting ludicrous.

First, we went through this with the concept of hypergamy, now it's solipsisms turn.

Some people use it as a pejorative. It's not.

Like hypergamy, solipsism is a feature, not a bug.

Once you learn to recognize it, you'll see it in nearly every single interaction with the female gender, young and old.

The character of the women and her level of selfishness is the primary factor in how the solipsism expresses itself.

For example, I recall a recent conversation with a long time high school friend. I was telling her about a scary incident involving children.

"Oh my god! If that were to happen to my children, I would lose my mind! Thank goodness it all turned out alright for you all...I'm so glad you guys are alright!"

This is standard solipsism...but at least it was expressed as a sentiment of empathy for my tale of personal fear and harrowing of a close call with my progeny's mortality. Her immediate reaction was to immediately contemplate how my experience would affect her.

This is what Ferdinand Bardamu was writing about when he penned The Eternal Solipsism of the Female Mind.

It's not debate-able. It's not provable. It just is...and if you know what to look for, you'll know it when you see it.

Vox said...

It's not debate-able. It's not provable. It just is...and if you know what to look for, you'll know it when you see it.

If it is observable, it is provable.

AnonymousManosphereBlogger said...

Ok Vox, I'll agree to that,
as you were my gateway to the study of Austrian Economics based on praxeology, I concede the point.

I simply meant it as in: not provable in the sense of putting forth incontrovertible, physical evidence that cannot be refuted.

SarahsDaughter said...

She said, "Oh my God. Do I smell like smoke?" - Daniel

Winner winner chicken dinner.

I'm curious if this woman would agree solipsism is a trait. If she, like most women would feel insulted and deny its existence. The explanation for her having said what she did would be comedic gold (sans solipsism).

Mule Chewing Briars said...

I used to work as a correctional officer in a maximum security prison. The prison management had more officers than functional radios so as a result, there were always two or three officers who were obliged to go out onto the yard without a radio.

Of course, the inmates noticed this. The inmates noticed EVERYTHING. When a correctional officer has no radio, he has to depend on his own resources to maintain order in an environment where there is very little allegiance to anything besides naked self-interest. I hit upon the idea of carrying a small notebook with me onto the yard. When I got to a place where I was certain that the inmates could observe me, I planted myself, opened the notebook, and began writing in it.

I was writing a novel, but every inmate thought I was writing about him.

"Hey! Boss! Whatcha writin' about?"

"That's my business. Your business is this lawn detail, Bo."

"Who you writin' up, Boss?"

"You'll know when the Disciplinary Reports are handed out tonight."

I don't know if this was a reflection of the Eternal Solipsism of the Inmate Mind, but the behavior was similar enough to Mr. Ironwood's experience to provoke the comment.

Now, I have noticed a tendency when talking to women that they take remarks I make generally personally, either to themselves to others in their personal universes. It is like the joke about a man and a woman grilling a steak. Ask the man where he got the steak and he will tell you 'I got it at the IGA'. Ask the woman where she got the steak and she'll ask 'Why? What's wrong with it?"

It goes to a root difference between the way men use language and women use language. Men use language mostly to convey information. Woman use language to create social connections. When I get home, I know I am going to have to suffer through sixty minutes of my wife describing her day to me while I attempt to listen as empathically as possible.

I budget for it and it has always paid benefits in intimacy both emotional and sexual. I just have to remember that she is not attempting to INFORM me about anything. She wants to feel close to me. I have also told her how difficult this is for me (she comes from a family of six girls - no brothers), so that she appreciates these times as I appreciate the fact that she throttles back her need to accompany me when I want to go do man shit .

Once again, I believe your talking about a feature, not a bug, unless your ideal woman is a dude with boobs.

Markku said...

I budget for it and it has always paid benefits in intimacy both emotional and sexual. I just have to remember that she is not attempting to INFORM me about anything. She wants to feel close to me. I have also told her how difficult this is for me (she comes from a family of six girls - no brothers),

C.S. Lewis noted in The Screwtape Letters that fatigue makes men less talkative and women more talkative. There has to be a reason for this. The brain wouldn't spend energy that it has already exhausted in something that didn't help it in some way.

I think women actually process their thoughts by talking, like both sexes do in sleep.

Markku said...

Perhaps their mind is like a sea of half-baked thoughts in constant tumult. Only verbalizing one of them can bring it above the others, to be processed with added mental resources.

Markku said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mule Chewing Briars said...

Perhaps their mind is like a sea of half-baked thoughts in constant tumult. Only verbalizing one of them can bring it above the others, to be processed with added mental resources.

Like particles emerging from the subquantum foam of potentiality

Feature, not bug.

Stickwick said...

I think women actually process their thoughts by talking ...

This is true, especially if a woman is agitated about something.

I think it's difficult for men to understand, because they process things internally. A man usually doesn't present a problem or an idea to his wife until he's identified it in his own mind and chewed it over. A woman often hasn't identified the problem when she approaches her husband to talk -- she identifies it by talking to him.

Markku said...

It may be that men also go "is this person insinuating something about be? No, that's totally f*cking ridiculous..." in their minds before responding.

Before that point, the woman has already opened her mouth. And man, if he is very drunk.

Markku said...

...about me.

Stingray said...

she identifies it by talking to him.

Absolutely. I think it has to do with the man leading and the woman following. It helps her think when her leader is hashing things out with her.

rycamor said...

I think women actually process their thoughts by talking, like both sexes do in sleep.

There are two types of conversations. Call them A and B.

A. Men usually talk to achieve a purpose. For us, it is an expense of energy that could be directed elsewhere, That doesn't mean a man can't sit for a couple hours over cigar and a beer having an aimless conversation with a friend. But, the discussion invariably goes somewhere. We want to come out of the conversation with knowledge we didn't have, a co-conspirator for our plans, testing or validation of our ideas, a customer for our goods, or having won someone over to a viewpoint. But most of us feel at least somewhat drained after a conversation, whereas I have noticed the reverse seems to be true for women.

B. For women, talk is one of the ways to relieve stress. Just about every quasi-educated woman in the West now uses the word "vent" when talking about this need: "Thanks, I just needed to vent for awhile." There need be no conclusion at the end of it, nor any substantial decision made, nor even any real transfer of information. It is simply an exchange where someone is invited to pay attention to her for awhile. I have noticed that when two women talk, they seem to tacitly agree on which is the attention receiver and giver for the conversation, depending generally on which one has the greater stress or excitement level at the time.

Now, women can indeed have purposeful type A conversations also. My wife is always engaging co-conspirators and winning people over (especially to homeschooling), but she is just as likely to have a venting conversation. Men rarely need the venting type B conversation, and if we do, it is usually because something terrible has happened, and even then, someone has to practically hit us on the head first.

My wife teases me that there are a couple of male friends whom I will have long phone conversations with. "You two talk like women!" But she misses the point that these conversations are type A: we are either exchanging information or analyzing some interesting set of problems (philosophical, technological, business, etc...). Even if we digress to tell a funny story, it is not an "about me" story usually, but something that illustrates the point we are discussing.

Jimmy said...

Women talk in an indirect manner; thus what we call solipsism might actually be their communication style. Perhaps there should be another way to test solipsism that omits gender differences in communication styles.

Doorstop said...

Someone else has probably observed this somewhere already, but I'd say an excellent argument for the existence of female solipsism is the plot to the "Twilight" movies that so many women love to live vicariously through (and that I only endured to try to understand why). Kristen Stewart's character Bella is absolutely the center of her world. Nearly every character is either fighting for her, fighting to protect her, or fighting to kill her, and not because she's close to developing a cure for cancer, but because of some intangible value that her snowflake self possesses. Even when Edward breaks up with her in the 2nd movie, it's only to create distance for her own protection...and even then she has the power to somehow summon forth his spirit by intentionally putting herself in harm's way whenever she feels especially needy. And during this time, she pursues temporary, substitute attention from a young underage Beta named Jacob...being too self-centered to care about the unfairness of exploiting his his energy and emotions while placing him in the friend zone. And in an ultimate act of female triumph, after she finally marries the Alpha, she manages to creates a child so important that everyone fights about it too. She even gets the Beta Jacob (or Delta, depending on your point of view) to swear to protect her child with his life, and forgo all other women as payment. Hell, she's even the center of attention in death...but like some sort of female messiah who laid down her life for her mutant child rather than for all humanity...death has no sway on her. "Hey boys, I know you couldn't live without me, so lucky for you I'm back!"

Anonymous said...

Here one hypothesis: Women tend not to confront an interpersonal sticky area head-on; they instead often obliquely hint about a problem. Hence, they have a much broader, more sensitive radar about potential "incoming" veiled complaints from others. They are on the lookout for camouflaged criticisms. This calls to my mind anecdotes my father had about his business trips to Japan in the '60s and 70s; he was frustrated at the lack of explicitness, and the smiling and nodding and rituals instead of just getting down to business. It made him wonder what was going on, and made him have to really open his radar to the possible meaning of probably innocuous words and actions.

Anacaona said...

I told her we had just driven 4200 miles across America and I was amazed at how fat the young women are these days.

She asked "Do you think I'm fat?"


This makes me wonder. Women are afraid to "hurt their friends feelings" so when they want to make their friends notice a flaw they usually make indirect comments to bring the subject to light. So a woman that thinks her friend is too fat will make an indirect neutral sounding comment hoping she get the hint. So is only natural that many of them assume the same of similar interactions with others specially if there is no reason for the theme to arrive. Coming out of the blue and talking about obesity does sounds like a planned subject...would that be considered solipsism?

Cail Corishev said...

"How much longer are you going to present on the topic without providing a concise and explicit definition for what you are discussing?"

Right on cue. Now we're supposed to stop and hold symposia around the manosphere until we've settled on a definition -- and not just any definition, but a "concise and explicit" one!

Never mind that we're talking about the human personality, about which nothing is concise and explicit. Ever read the DSM and its criteria for conditions like BPD and NPD? These definitions can be used to prescribe medicines and institutionalize people, yet there's nothing concise and explicit about them at all (...if 5 of these 8 attributes seem to appear...). If degreed shrinks don't have to be any more explicit than that, I don't see why a bunch of bloggers kicking around ideas should be required to do so.

SarahsDaughter said...

@Anacaona,
Yes, this is an aspect of inherent solipsism. It is an example of how we actively recognize other female's solipsism and deal with them with that knowledge in mind.

The difference with men is displayed in Daniel's example. The fat man thought Daniel was having a Rain Man moment. It would have taken a more direct approach for the fat man to personalize Daniel's comment.

We innately know that is not true about women.

It really can be used as an advantage once we get over being offended and defensive. For example, a salesman that proposes his product to female decision maker can go over his pitch with his wife. She can help him understand what the decision maker will first think and tweak his pitch to better the potential outcome.

I can imagine men read your example and think:
1) Why do you want to make your friends notice a flaw in themselves?
2) Why do you think it is your responsibility to let her know your judgement that she is too fat.
3) Do you really think your friend is that stupid that she doesn't know how fat she is? And if she is that stupid, you think she's going to "take a hint?"
4) How can you possibly think this will turn out well?
5) Would you want someone to do this to you?

Men already know the answers to all of these questions. Really, they don't even need to be asked. These are the questions that women should answer honestly before preceding with something unnecessary that they know will not be positive for their friend. Solipsism keeps women from asking these questions.

Anacaona said...

These are the questions that women should answer honestly before preceding with something unnecessary that they know will not be positive for their friend.

Why it has to be negative? I mean if a man knew his male friend is not getting laid because he has a terrible breath (and some people actually don't notice this) he will probably directly tell him while a woman might just hint at it. Isn't that a positive thing to do for her?

SarahsDaughter said...

Your statement: women are afraid to "hurt their friends feelings" - indicated a less than positive interaction.

Your question: would that be considered solipsism? - was answered.

Anacaona said...

Your statement: women are afraid to "hurt their friends feelings" - indicated a less than positive interaction.

True, but then this is subjective, I guess that is the solipsism part too if you are sensitive about something you are likely to imagine other people's are, that is why I was confused.

Your question: would that be considered solipsism? - was answered.

True as well. Thank you for getting back at me.

Badger said...

"I assure you that you could easily replicate his experience in very nearly any group of women today."

No no no - what you have to do is take a survey of women and ask them "if a man was writing in a notebook, would you assume he was writing about you?" and analyze THOSE numbers.

/sarc

I wrote a post about it, and I'm even more committed to the idea than I was when I wrote it - surveys that ask people to predict their responses/reactions, or use the verb "would", are guaranteed to have almost-useless results.

http://badgerhut.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/dont-pay-attention-to-psych-surveys-that-amount-to-self-fortune-telling/

Dr. Jeremy said...

@ VD

Your questions helped me to think about this issue in a different way. Could we conceptualize this Solipsism issue as a thinking versus feeling, or logic versus emotion difference? Your questions seem to tap those processes.

There is certainly evidence that, on average, women initially process more emotionally and men process more logically. It isn't a far stretch for those cognitive differences to mean that most women also take things more emotionally and therefore personally. Processing primarily through emotion would necessarily inhibit abstraction (a "thinking" logical process), whereas emotional processing would be very "me" centered.

Given that, can "Female Solipsism" be a special case and expression of women's greater emotionality in general? A specific manifestation of their emotional processing? That could help to theoretically situate the concept in the general gender differences men need to learn about women (i.e. Manosphere teachings). In other words, something like "women initially process the world more emotionally than men, as evidenced by greater emotional volatility, greater concern about the opinion of peers, backward rationalization (the hamster), female solipsistic tendencies, etc". This could help new men understand the "big picture" (men and women are different) - then get a handle on the specific observables and terms that are concrete manifestations of those differences (rationalization hamster, female solipsism, etc.).

Couching it in logic/emotion gender differences also offers some empirical support (if that is desired).

Markku said...

In other words, something like "women initially process the world more emotionally than men, as evidenced by greater emotional volatility, greater concern about the opinion of peers, backward rationalization (the hamster), female solipsistic tendencies, etc".

We would still face the same practical problem: Perhaps the workaround was supposed to be the man informing her that she is acting like a child. In modern times, the overwhelming majority of women would reject this claim out of hand. So, the only short-term solution would seem to be to avoid LTR's with women. Total societal collapse might solve it in the longer term, if you manage to stay alive.

Dr. Jeremy said...

@ Markku

I think part of the problem is trying to use a logical solution for an emotional issue. "Informing" a woman about her behavior is asking her to take part in logic. The "rejection" is her inability to process what you are saying through emotion. In essence, you are speaking the wrong language to her, so you don't get the desired results.

The solution, if you agree with my premise, is to influence her emotionally, not appeal to her logically. To my understanding, this is the essence of large parts of Game anyway. Instead of "telling" her (logic) that she is being childish, simply make her feel bad (emotion) for the behavior. Freeze her out, punish her, tell her that her other friends would be embarrassed if she acted that way, etc.

If you focus on changing a woman's emotions, you can certainly have LTRs. I do. But, you have to manage their feelings, not appeal to their logic. In fact, that solipsism and emotional processing are part of the reason why game, persuasion, and compliance principles work so darn well.

Markku said...

I think part of the problem is trying to use a logical solution for an emotional issue. "Informing" a woman about her behavior is asking her to take part in logic.

By informing I mean very vocally informing, not reasoning. Shocking her out of it, not reasoning her out of it.

Markku said...

These days they would call it emotional abuse and whatnot. And since the government is such a strong enemy, we come back to my original short-term and longer-term solutions.

Dr. Jeremy said...

Markku

Indeed. I think this discussing we're having is also one of the differences between some Gamers and MGTOWs. That is one reason they don't see eye to eye. It appears to me that MGTOWs tend to conclude it is now too dangerous to deal with women at all and not worth the risk. Gamers are still willing to develop new tactics and try to beat the odds.

I could personally come up with quite a few techniques that would be both emotionally influential and not (currently) considered emotionally abusive. Nevertheless, there is still SOME risk. It is a grey area. After all, a woman doesn't really need a legitimate reason to send you to prison anyway. You could be a saintly Beta and she could still make up a story and call the cops.

So, the choice is up to the guy. Some men think it is still worth it. They try to learn skills to minimize the huge power differential and get their way. Others think that is stupid and playing with fire. That's why there are both Game and MGTOW communities for men...

Aeoli Pera said...

I didn't even have to try the experiment. The anecdotes came to me:

"Somebody made a mess here. Do me a favor and grab a mop so I can clean it up."
"OMG it wasn't me, I think."
"I was being facetious, it was me. That's why I'm cleaning it up."
"It probably was me, I'm always doing stuff like that."
"No, I'm serious. I did it."
*She loses interest and leaves to clean it up.

I similarly lost interest in correcting her :-).

I got two more where that came from, just from work yesterday. I've found you can have a lot of fun mocking these girls to their faces because they don't register it. It's not like she cared what I'm saying in the first place.

Aeoli Pera said...

I want to invent an urban sport to stretch solipsism as far as it will go. Here's how it works.

1) You invent a study or a news report about women.
2) She assumes it's about her.
3) You add disgusting details details (slowly) until she can no longer identify herself as the protagonist, or she goes comatose from ego-failure. Either outcome ends the game.

I call it "Boil the solipsistic frog". I need to think of a scoring system.

Markku said...

I was just thinking about another distinction between solipsism and narcissism. There was an oldish Finnish song in the radio. The narrator's sister died, and soon after that, his mother.

Now, how would a solipsistic woman react to this situation, if she were at all religious or believed in fate? Almost certainly with "What have I done to merit this?" Now, that is a very stupid question, but it is not a narcissistic question.

Phronesis said...

Dr. Jeremy, my hunch is also that this is a thinking/feeling distinction. While 'solipsism' is a great term to describe the reality, I don't think it does much to explain it. I also think explaining it in terms of emotional responses makes the concept easier to explain to those who are in the process of swallowing the Red Pill. It's a stepping stone from the better understood to the less understood.

Anonymous said...

There's female solipsism, rampant narcissism and then there's the CIA handbook: The art of disinformation.

Excerpt:

Alice-in-Wonderland strategy: Accept only facts that support your preconceived position, ignore all other arguments....

sounds familiar?

Nate said...

Asked the wife about the 19th amendment... she said, "I'd give up my vote in a heartbeat if you could get it away from those other moronic bitches."

Justthisguy said...

This is why I love the Aspichix. If an Aspie chick asks you, "Does my ass look fat in these pants?" she expects an honest answer, with maybe some constructive criticism as to how to make her ass look less fat, maybe by wearing looser pants, or something.

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viv said...

Here I go, ever the solipsistic female, sharing a personal story. Can't resist. It's a doozy.

A longtime acquaintance (and hyper-solipsist) related a story to me. Her son came home from school with a self-made Christmas card that said "Merry Christmas Mom and Dad." For which she shot off a furious letter to his teacher. Why, you ask? Because she and the boy's father are divorced, that's why. Now I'm not sure if the teacher was aware of this fact. Regardless, what is she supposed to do? Keep track of the relationship status of every single parent of every single student in her class? Furthermore, what was she supposed to tell the poor kid? "Sorry, dear. But your mommy and daddy are divorced. So you can make a card for only one of them." As for any child, the thought of a two-parent intact family unit was obviously a comforting one. Perhaps one he still dreamed of. But instead of focusing on that, his self-centered mother couldn't see anything beyond her own stubborn point of view. In this case, one based on her hatred of her ex-husband. And how dare the teacher not see it that way as well?!!

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