Saturday, February 2, 2013

Alpha Mail: conflict and the gamma

Blogreader asks how a gamma can surmount his natural inclinations for handling conflict:
If Scalzi wanted to "grow" as a Man and develop out of Gamma - how should he be reacting to this situation instead? What would show you that he is "confronting reality" and thereby earn your respect? 
Gammas find direct conflict particularly difficult because they don't customarily engage in it.  They habitually engage in female-style indirect conflict, where rhetoric is the battlefield and the sly passive-aggressive shot taken with plausible deniability is the weapon of choice.  This leaves them confused and bewildered when they run up against higher-ranking men, most of whom are highly competitive, accustomed to both winning and losing in direct conflict, and are uninterested in being seen as "the good guy".  This is why gammas tend to fear and hate alphas; they know their indirect weapons are totally ineffectual against them on an individual basis.  It is also why they attempt to reframe the conflict into something that it is not and to strike poses that are manifestly absurd.

For example, Scalzi has been claiming that he finds my "mancrush" to be "adorable", claims to find calling me an RSHD "fun", and professes to be enjoying the whole affair.  And yet, not only is he failing to convince me or my readers of this, he is completely failing to convince his own readers as well.  One of his readers wrote in response to someone who told Scalzi, in his opinion, he was coming off the worse in the various exchanges:

"I realize you think you’re doing JS a “service” by trying to get him to stop calling out RHSD. The problem is that RHSD or his lackeys keep coming here. I’m willing to bet all (checks his pockets real quick…) $22.35 I have in my pocket that JS would like nothing more than for RHSD to stop coming here. If that were to happen, this wouldn’t be happening. When someone keeps coming to your house and crapping on the front porch, just ignoring it doesn’t help."

That isn't true, of course, because I haven't commented there once since August.  I'm not encouraging anyone to comment at his site.  I'm not commenting there myself.  I'm not offended at his existence.  I'm not laughing at the comments people post there; I don't read most of the posts, let alone the comments, at Whatever.  I didn't backtrack on any claims.  Now, why would he like nothing more than for something nonexistent to stop happening, particularly when he claims to be enjoying the shenanigans?

At this point, a pattern should be readily apparent.  Very little the gamma says about the conflict is reliable, either about himself or those with whom he is in conflict.  And the worst part is that over time, the gamma often manages to convince himself that it is, at least in part, the correct interpretation of events.

This is the gamma reality reconstruction instinct at work.  Fighting it and seeing the situation for what it is has to be the first step, everything else depends upon this.  If John is genuinely amused by being known as McRapey, that's great.  If he isn't, he needs to admit it.  If he's only concerned with the purity of his comment threads, that's fine, but if he's actually concerned, as some of the SFWA members are, about the discussions taking place elsewhere, then he shouldn't be pretending that comment trolls are the full extent of his concern.

To the gamma, admitting the truth is seen as a weakness, when actually it is a strength.  So, that's the first step, acceptance.

The second step is submission.  Alphas fight until someone submits.  If someone isn't willing to submit, an alpha will often quite literally kill them rather than stop.  This is why you'll hear a man's friends telling the man who is losing a fight to "stay down".  Staying down is submitting to the superiority of the other.  Breaking eye contact is submitting to the superiority of the other.  Tapping out is submitting to the superiority of the other.

The gamma tactic of plausible deniability doesn't work with alphas.  He takes his surreptitious shot, pretends not to be involved, and then is genuinely surprised when the first punch is followed by a second and a third.  Instead of submitting, he protests his innocence, appeals to the crowd, feigns indifference, scratches, bites, kicks, and basically does everything except the one thing he has to do to make the beating stop.

Scalzi isn't completely stupid.  He knows he can't win.  I'm more intelligent, better educated, more experienced in both dialectic and rhetoric, and more socio-sexually dominant than he is.   But because he has the option of avoiding the direct confrontation involved in a physical fight or a public debate, he thinks he can at least avoid losing.  He's basically playing a version of rope-a-dope, hoping that I'll get bored or the onlookers will lose interest, so that he can maintain his reconstructed reality.  He's not necessarily wrong, (gambling on my boredom is always a live bet), although given how more and more people are finding it interesting and getting involved, the tactic would appear to have failed him.

But if he wants the beatings to end, he has to submit.  What that may involve, I don't know.  I haven't given the matter any thought because, contrary to common assumption, gammas tend to be very nearly as proud as alphas, perhaps even more proud in some ways.  And anyway, submission can't even begin to take place so long as the gamma remains in his own private reality.

The third step is the symbolic salute.  It's the handshake at the end of the game, the hug at the end of the boxing match.  Alphas tend to respect those who fight hard, who fight fair, and who fight to win.  They don't see any shame in being defeated by a superior, so long as the effort was there.  And more than anything, they admire courage.  I felt real love for my fellow Dragons, not because I necessarily liked their personalities or had anything in common with some of them, but because I saw the courage in their souls.  I saw how they pushed themselves up from the ground every time they were knocked down, I saw how they kept fighting when they were in tears from pain, I saw how they met broken bones and bloody beatings alike with a smile.  I wasn't driven to become an excellent fighter because I wanted to be a badass or show off for the girls, I simply wanted to be worthy of being one of them.  I was never the best.  I was never even one of the ten best.  But I earned my place in their number.

There is a moment when a man knows he has earned respect.  It is the casual nod, the hand unexpectedly proffered, the look of approval in the narrowed eyes.  This experience is foreign to the gamma because he has never tested himself, which is to say that he has never permitted himself to be tested by others.  He has to declare himself the winner because no one else will, and he cannot submit because he fears the unknown quantity of honest defeat.  He not only lacks the courage to fight, he lacks the courage to risk failure.  This, more than anything, is why the alpha finds the gamma contemptible and despises him in a way he does not despise the men who freely submit to him.

The symbolic salute is the third step, but it is far from the final one, because respect ultimately comes from the repetition of these steps, over and over again, until one is deemed to merit it.

I once estimated that I was knocked down approximately 200 times before I managed to knock anyone else down.  But after two years of training six days per week at the dojo, the senior sensei bestowed a nickname upon me.  Not long after that, the most dangerous fighter, a hard-living 220-pound janitor who had nothing but scorn for the college graduate with the Porsche and barely said a word to me the entire first year, invited me out for a drink with him and his friends.  Respect seldom comes quickly.  You have to earn it.  And often, to earn it, you not only have to get your ass kicked for a long time, you have to accept that in the absence of superlative skill, pain is the price you pay for it.

55 comments:

Myrddin Emrys said...

I stand corrected.

Problem is I was looking to my combat training (which assumes the other guy won't stop until you stop him, so you may as well try even if you can't win) as a metaphor for social maneuvering.

But preparing for the worst does not prepare one for non-worst-case scenarios. Presumably in even a barroom or schoolyard fight, which is a social challenge, the rules above are more germane than those of my metaphor.

Also, one must not try and force the reality to fit the metaphor where it does not.

Aeoli Pera said...

I don't find any of this funny or amusing, but the illustration of SSMV theory is marvelous. Voxiversity FTW.

Soga said...

Are you seeing this, Scalzi? Submit to your new overlord Vox Day!

Kidding aside, just admit you're his bitch and get over yourself.

Yohami said...

powerful stuff.

JackTheManiac said...

I'm a new reader, so I don't really understand this situation. How did this conflict begin? (Can I call it a conflict?)

Did Scalzi start attacking Vox then got all passive-agressive whiny bitch when Vox struck back?

NateM said...

So scalzi's main mistake is being dismissive and denying he is in a fight at all? Seems hes less surprised that the second and third punch are forthcoming as crossing his arms saying "you look really stupid for insisting on continuing to punch me when I said I won't fight back"

Yohami said...

One problem to the dominance here is that Scalzi has more social power than Vox (it seems), and Vox is annonymous, which gives him a (fake) shield.

I'd pay to see this kind of shit with real people. We dont see real dominance plays anymore. Just scalzi vs scalzi kind of plays.

Yohami said...

JackTheManiac, here's the brief http://onewordtrimnell.blogspot.com.ar/2013/01/vox-day-vs-john-scalzi-echo-chamber.html

Scalzi is the "manboobs" of science fiction

http://www.jimchines.com/Pics/Flandry%20Side%20by%20Side.jpg

for whatever reason he decided to side with the cock-mockers, failing to realize women love cock and he's only mocking himself.

JackTheManiac said...

Thanks Yohami.

I understand now. Basically, he makes himself look like a retard, then whines when people pick on him.

In addition, his whole reasoning about this is wrong, as I saw Vox proved (those are covers of books written for women, sometimes by women).

The guy chooses to act like an idiot, so he get what's coming to him. If he'd accept what he was are and started improving on that, he'd be tolerable.

I've met quite a few people like this. I'm not even certain kicking their ass would change anything, but it would certainly land me jail time, or prevent me from getting jobs in the future due to the criminal record. But boy was I close, those guys were disrespectful, even to polite people expressing their concern to their behaviours.

It's like talking to a wall.

Aeoli Pera said...

It's too bad Scalzi won't engage directly, or we wouldn't need to approach these questioners in the manner of historians parsing ancient records and conflicting accounts. The transcripts of the debate would be the records.

Yohami said...

he's doing a variation of "kick me"

http://www.ericberne.com/games/games_people_play_kickme.htm

Vidad said...

This person must have Asperger's. Obviously their reading comprehension/sarcasm detector is broken:

http://preliatorcausa.blogspot.com/2012/10/27-vox-day-co-dont-get-satire-or-basic-decency-3892.html

NateM said...

Good point, I found a similar experience in practicing martial arts. My teacher in BJJ even told me "who cares is you get tapped hundreds of times, thousands of times, if you are learning" and I am well on my way to the hundreds already. I found I earned more respect from my peers by refusing to quit than any dazzling skill I might show. They know full well the guy who shows up for a few months then quits out of pride will never get as far as the guy who gets his ass whipped month after month, but improves himself, albeit painfully. That being sad, Scalzi appears to have doubled down in his stupidity by thinking if he donates money to charity for each time you mention him it will make you stop. He REALLY doesn't get you...

VD said...

Scalzi appears to have doubled down in his stupidity by thinking if he donates money to charity for each time you mention him it will make you stop. He REALLY doesn't get you...

Say what? How much? Ye cats, even I'm appalled. That's a "hey, let's start a land war in Asia" level error.

NateM said...

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/02/02/solving-my-racist-sexist-homophobic-dipshit-problem/#comments See for yourself, he will add up every mention at 5$ per it appears... so I guess he DIDN'T take your suggestion

jlw said...

What's the difference between Sigma and Omega? Both operate outside of the system and, to some extent, are not part of the system? Now, I initially did not like the Roissy "it's all about the poon you (can/could) pull" fixation on the rankings, but, upon reflection, that's the only significant difference between the two that I can see. Both operate largely alone, but the Sigma could pull non-warpigs if he tried whereas Omega never could. Is that the only difference?

VD said...

What a pity it's capped. But McRapey counts too, so I'm definitely in. It's for the poor gay black little girls, after all. Who doesn't want to help them?

VD said...

What's the difference between Sigma and Omega?

Sigma is ALPHA. Omega is BETA. Sigma wins. Omega loses. Sigma is followed. Omega is spurned.

Aeoli Pera said...

Nevermind what I said, I am beginning to experience genuine humor.

How can we convince him to raise the cap?

Aeoli Pera said...

Dear Lord, most of the commenters are making donations as well. Paltry amounts all around (Scalzi's is by far the highest at $1000), which suggests either a) none of them have grownup jobs or b) none of them are particularly charitable.

Ooh, you donated $100 to the NAACP! That'll pay for one of their lawyers for a whole hour.

Anonymous said...

He's donating to RAINN, Emily’s List, Human Rights Campaign, and NAACP. It's the whole racisit homephobe lie. He thinks you'll be befuddled by funds going to these organizations. The problem is you'd have to mention him 200 times before the end of the year in order to force him to cough up the full $1000. That's a lot of Scalzi posts. But, any time you mention him you take $5 out of his pocket, and out the pockets of some of his buddies, so that's cool.

Aeoli Pera said...

By the rules of the game, all he needs is one throwaway mention per post. (Hi Scalzi!)

Aeoli Pera said...

He thinks you'll be befuddled by funds going to these organizations.

Tell a lie long enough and loud enough and you'll begin to believe it yourself.

Hi Scalzi!

natem said...

The challenge will be seeing how fast we can max him out. And whether that'll happen before he realizes its no punishment

Loki of Asgard said...

I've an amusing notion.

Say you offered to match his donations, save that you make them to charities in direct opposition. For instance, you match his donation to the Human Rights Campaign by donating the same amount to PFOX, and match his Emily's List donation to a pro-life organisation.

I wonder will he still go on with his parade?

Unending Improvement said...

Does Twitter count? Anyways, hi Scalzi! You're my favorite Castrato!

Mike M. said...

A question, Vox.

What of the people not interested in playing the dominance games? Who can't be bothered to respond to the ankle-biters? Alpha? Sigma? Omega? None of the above?

VD said...

What of the people not interested in playing the dominance games? Who can't be bothered to respond to the ankle-biters? Alpha? Sigma? Omega? None of the above?

Delta. They're the normal folks.

Vidad said...

"I've an amusing notion.

Say you offered to match his donations, save that you make them to charities in direct opposition. For instance, you match his donation to the Human Rights Campaign by donating the same amount to PFOX, and match his Emily's List donation to a pro-life organisation.

I wonder will he still go on with his parade?"

Naw. Then you're just playing by his silly rules. There has to be a more hilarious way.

Aeoli Pera said...

Make a kickstarter page for it? We're just trying to be helpful.

Anonymous said...

VD - that post was maybe the single most educational one you've written on the whole social order thing. Instinctively, I knew it, but I am still unlearning all of the programming from spending fifty years in the educational/corporate America complex. Thanks.

Rex Little said...

Loki beat me to the idea of matching McRapey's donations to opposing causes, but I'll certainly second the motion, and suggest VDARE and the Libertarian Party as recipients. (I've never actually seen him disparage libertarians, but his commenters have, and I assume he agrees with them.)

Note to Aeoli Pera: A couple of the commenters did offer to match the full thousand, and several others were in the $200 range, which I for one would not consider "paltry."

happycrow said...

Myrddin:

There's a strength to knowing you've been tested, and even knowing right off the bat that you're not going to win but screw it.

Some of the most successful people around are bloody-minded losers, people who don't really have what it takes but who simply Will.Not.Give.Up.

Rex Little said...

Scalzi appears to have doubled down in his stupidity by thinking if he donates money to charity for each time you mention him it will make you stop.

To be strictly accurate, he doesn't think it (or anything) will make Vox stop, just that it will annoy him. Still an error of mind-bending proportions. . .

Jack Amok said...

Scalzi appears to have doubled down in his stupidity

Ah, but this is Alpha (or sigma, or beta) thinking, this doubling down business. We see Scalzi's response to Vox's challenge as calling and raising - double down on his bet. But Scalzi the Gamma doesn't even realize he's playing Poker. Or at least doesn't understand the rules. That's the gamma mentality - doesn't know what's going on, doesn't realize what the chips he's betting represent.

Aeoli Pera said...

Note to Aeoli Pera: A couple of the commenters did offer to match the full thousand, and several others were in the $200 range, which I for one would not consider "paltry."

Paltry as in useless to the charity in question. If they reach $10,000, which I doubt they will, that's still only $2,500 per charity. One teenager could raise more than that over summer break after withholding for FICA, SS, and Medicare.

We're literally talking children's spare change here. Not big kid money. The NAACP uses big kid money (hint: it's measured in millions and tens of millions). $2500 in legal fees? It's laughable—calling this charity is itself charitable.

There's no way around it. Either a) none of the rabbits have real money or b) rabbits just aren't very charitable.

Aeoli Pera said...

In contrast, The Oatmeal raised $1.7 million for the Tesla Museum fundraiser.

Aeoli Pera said...

One of the commenters (Daniel D.) mentioned that $1,000 seemed incredibly cheap compared to Scalzi's 6-digit royalties. The Rabbit King properly shamed him for such badthink. After all, he says he donates heavily to other charities as well.

Apparently those poor victims of racism, homophobia and sexism didn't deserve his true largesse. Which is totally real. You just can't see it.

NateM said...

Jack-That's what makes it all the more amusing to watch.

Seems despite a number of paltry sums making fun of Scalzi could cost him and his followers up to 26k by his numbers.. so Vox just must insult Scalzi to the maximum of his ability in this upcoming year. For the Children

Shimshon said...

I think Scalzi's move is the equivalent of hopping on one foot. Pretty hilarious, actually.

Carlotta said...

Could this be applied to male/female relationships?
For instance, someone married to a Sigma, Alpha or high Beta gets in a fight with them. He will not apologize, for nothing. Or, she is wrong and he simply will not give in until she apologizes, publically, repeatedly.

I am just wondering if for those who are just understanding all this, maybe this has applications in marriage as well.

I can tell you, I have seen gammas' fight with their wives and everyone is disgusted. You kind of get the feeling that even the wife wishes he would stand the heck up to her.

I am

Kickass said...

Sorry I got cut off.

I am just understanding all of this. I could always seen this, but the femiminst training would overtake reality for me.

Yohami said...

Alpha can apologize if he's wrong. But wont apologize as a way to avoid conflict and release the tension.

Beta strategy is to apologize always even if he doesnt know what's going on. He cant handle pressure or tension, so he gives in first. Actually "giving in" is what he brings to the table.

Alpha accepts apologies when due, and accepts submission always. The offending party doesnt need to know what they did wrong as long as they concede the lead and get out of the way.

Kickass said...

Ok, computer is going nuts.

I will try again here.

I see this type of behavior in the little boys when they play together. There are always the introductions and then the fights and then everyone kind of calms down and plays together.

Growing up you see this, or feel it, and then the feminist training and structures take over. The restrictions would limit things and make it so winning is a "bad" thing. Or liking winning is a "bad" thing.

When you are young, you can see this and even kind of understand it, but the feminist traiing would overtake reality for me. This is why goog Fathers and Mothers who are confident enough in the Fathers to let them raise the Sons are so important.

In a nutshell, when some boys get into a fight mom bails them out and saves her baby. Dad says to finish it and cheers him on.

Unending Improvement said...

Oh hey, that legitimately was me up there, I was just on my phone so it didn't fill in my contact info for me.

Yohami said...

more detail:

"Could this be applied to male/female relationships?
For instance, someone married to a Sigma, Alpha or high Beta gets in a fight with them. He will not apologize, for nothing."

What usually happens is that the woman is trying to dominate the husband, and wants him to apologize as a way to concede power. It's not that the Alpha wont apologize for nothing, is that he wont apologize as long as he thinks he did nothing wrong, and / or as long apologizing means submission.

"Or, she is wrong and he simply will not give in until she apologizes, publically, repeatedly."

This sounds more like humiliation. See. A real alpha... not just a dude who's seating on the throne but doesnt incarnate well the role... a "real" alpha is above you but is leading the way and provisioning you so you can follow his same steps - leading by example. Will kick your ass and call you out when you do wrong. And demand submisiveness when you attempt to put him down. But it's not about humiliation. It's not about hurting you. It's the same mold as when you have kids and they misbehave. You dont correct them and set strict rules and call them out because you want to destroy them, but because it's your responsibility to do so.


Ian Ironwood said...

"Scalzi delendo est"

Run that bitch up until he's writing crappy sequels to his crappy books just to cover the checks his mouth wrote.

And then we can kick in to match it to some of the following masculine-oriented, male issues and causes:

National Rifle Association
Wounded Warriors Project
American Coalition of Fathers and Children

among others.

The one advantage of Alphatude? Disposable income. We should use that.

"John Scalzi raises $1000 for the NRA" - that sounds golden.

Aeoli Pera said...

I was really hoping a couple of people would catch on to what I was doing there.

Better luck next time, I guess.

Carlotta said...

Excellent Yohami.

I think women should be taught this as preparation for marriage. We are taught that men that don't apologize like women do are evil.
I know going into things I would have had a great deal of more understanding and a much better start.

Desert Cat said...

Carlotta/Kickass, are you the same person? Or are we having a co-comment moment here?

Kickass said...

DC, I am usually using a smart phone and was instead using a networked computer. It had a brain fart.

Tim Lieder said...

Wow. Vox Day. You are a whiny little bitch.

Nothing sadder than a whiny little bitch who thinks that he's an alpha. You are like the yippy dog that thinks it can take on a pitbull and doesn't understand why its owner is holding it back.

I suppose if you want to contribute to a "masculine" charity, you can contribute to NAMBLA since that's the only group that takes your shit seriously.

Daniel said...

Oh, Tim. Tim, Tim, Tim. I'll break it to you as gently as possible. Your charity of choice isn't going to benefit in this scenario. Vox isn't tossing his cash around, and Scalzi's bra isn't stuffed with enough ones to make a difference.

VD said...

Wow. Vox Day. You are a whiny little bitch.

Fascinating. What do you believe me to be whining about?

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