Saturday, March 30, 2013

Alpha Mail: is sigma the alpha of gamma?

The League of Bald-headed Men posits an interesting theory in light of the discussion of Thrift Shop Game:
An interesting ditty. It shows that the hipster irony culture has filtered down to the proles, wiggers and normals. 'I could take some Pro Wings, make them cool, sell those."

This hipster irony culture is pure gamma, it's the acme of gamma. "You made fun of me for being a geek, and now I'll make geekdom cool."  This goes hand in hand with my theory that "sigma is the alpha of gamma", ie that sigma is what happens when gammas enact their will to power. 
I, on the other hand, have tended to be of the opinion that sigma is what happens when OMEGAS successfully enact their will to power or otherwise transform themselves into sexual dominance.  Let's consider the evidence for the One Man Riot's theory, pro and con:

  • Sigmas often appear to have intellectual interests more in common with the average gamma than those of the average alpha.
  • The gamma-sigma antipathy appears, in some circumstances, to be even greater than the gamma-alpha version. A product of similar traits clashing?
  • Neither sigmas nor gammas tend to be socially dominant.
  • Both sigmas and gammas often appear to be vengeful.
  • Gammas are extremely concerned with hierarchy.  Sigmas and Omegas are not.
  • Hipster irony culture is pure gamma, but it is extremely fashion-conscious and therefore hierarchical. While it may be the acme of gamma, it doesn't appear to have anything to do with sigma.
  • Gammas are bitter, jealous, approval-seeking, and rule-abiding. Sigmas are contemptuous, disdainful, and rule-breaking.
  • Gammas find conflict painful and tend to avoid it. Sigmas find conflict enjoyable and tend to thrive on it.
I'm sure I'm missing a lot of applicable observations; feel free to add more, either pro or con, in the comments.  In summary, while I don't think the League's theory is absurd, I don't think it holds up when considered in sufficient detail. And I can't honestly think of a single sigma of my acquaintance that I would have considered to have been a gamma in the past.

Speaking only of my own experience, I can say that one thing that separated me even as a pre-adolescent proto-sigma from the omegas and gammas alike was my supreme confidence in my intellect and in my athletic abilities.  The refusal of my age peers to value the former and the inability of my coaches to understand and utilize the latter never caused me to doubt either for even a millesecond.

So perhaps that imbalance may be a key to understanding why a sigma develops such indifference towards the hierarchy.  He is aware that he is objectively superior in one regard or another but also knows that the hierarchy is incapable of recognizing that superiority or valuing it fairly.  It also would explain the apparent similarity between the sigma and the gamma that The League has observed, the important difference being that the gamma's belief in his proper social rank is subjective and intrinsically delusional.


Koanic said...

I think you'd be even harder pressed to find an omega who became a sigma.

Weak said...

Game can make a synthetic Alpha out of a non-natural (gamma, delta, whatever). Nothing can make a synthetic Sigma. Sigma's are anomalies that cannot be recreated because they literally play by their own rules. There are observable traits and behaviors that link Alphas, and these can be mimicked. What are the common traits and behaviors of the Sigma? Defining a Sigma is like defining pornography, "I know it when I see it".

tz said...

My take, for what it is worth:

I think there are two axes, inside (cares) v.s. outside (ignores), and high-low. or maybe a triangle On one axis you have the gammas at the bottom, betas (your term, not Roissy) in the middle, alphas on top, but they all care about their position. Along the other axis is the cares v.s. insouciance. Alphas care a lot - Sigmas give alphas a lot of trouble because they aren't playing by the rules, sticking to the script. So do Gammas. Consider the photo of the new McRapey t-shirt purchase - he needs to scream "I'm part of the warren".

Both Sigmas and Omegas - I don't know what word to use, since they see the hierarchy, but don't consider themselves part of it, something like homeschoolers see the pagan and secular culture. The Omegas try to avoid it entirely, the Sigmas engage it and often use the rules against the participants. The Omegas tend to be Gammas without a rabbit warren, a rogue rabbit. Sigmas tend to be more like Alphas or Betas. I'm not sure if the "I dont care at all" is a continuum or a point - is the shape of the graph triangle, trapezoid, or square.

The reason the sigma-gamma (like the sigma-alpha) is worse is that gammas all want to say no one is better than anyone else (who is gamma). They can resent alphas for being on top and being celebrated without being stronger, smarter, etc., but a sigma plays the game but does not grab the trophy. He demonstrates he is above the gammas, but does not fit their idea of "lucky" alpha which they mentally reject to feel superior in their gammadom. Alphas have the same problem. Sigmas cross the line first and ignore the medals and pedestal. Alphas don't know if they won or lost, Gammas are uncomfortable since that is exactly what they SAY they would do if they competed (but would never win).

I was thinking about the new Pope, Francis. He is not playing by the rules. He is shocking both conservatives and liberals in the church. He is rejecting the trappings of office, yet is clearly showing he has intentional humility through his acts. He is showing something different, but not what Tradition says. I would say Sigma. The hierarchy would normally place him in the role of supreme Alpha. The entire flock of Cardinals is all atwitter as he is setting a different standard. He is doing what they don't expect, but anyone who has read the lives of the saints - assuming he continues the trend - expects a rather quick beatification after he passes.

Meekness is strength - power - under control. Francis is running things and doing what he wants and he knows exactly what he is doing. "No! You're supposed to wash the feet of carefully selected men for whom it will be an honor and do it in one of the beautiful chapels, not youth in a prison!" I think I'm going to enjoy this pontificate.

Jesus appeared, and he was God in human flesh, and could command myriads of angels at a moment's notice. Instead what did he accomplish - or more importantly, how did he accomplish it? He had to be the Alpha of Alphas. Wiser than Solomon, Greater than Abraham. Yet he let Herod and Pilate be. He did miracles and forgave sins, yet the hierarchy rejected them from the beginning since he wasn't fitting in - he merely called them names, but that was far more damning (literally!) than if he did actual violence. He sprung every trap they laid back on them.

There is the Natural Law, and Game is not part of it. When you are playing by the right rules you will be despised and rejected by those playing by the wrong ones. But the promise of blessing is for obeying the commandments.

tz said...

It may be a tetrahedron with all the strongly cares along one edge, but with the omega and sigma at the opposite vertices along an "engage" v.s. "ignore" axis.

Old Harry said...

But if sigma and alpha ranking are all about N count, what difference does caring/engage/ignore make? Is this merely an exercise in putting together a field guide of sorts? "Behold, the sigma in his natural state as the gamma rabbits frolick and throw feeces at him."

VD said...

But if sigma and alpha ranking are all about N count, what difference does caring/engage/ignore make? Is this merely an exercise in putting together a field guide of sorts?

They aren't. How can they possibly be when the hierarchy is explicitly SOCIO-sexual in nature? The mere fact that sigma has been mentioned automatically moves the discussion beyond the binary and purely sexual aspect of ALPHA/BETA.

N-count is merely one signifier among many and can't even distinguish between alpha and sigma, much less gamma and low delta. It's an important one, but does not represent the full spectrum.

Aeoli Pera said...

"I think you'd be even harder pressed to find an omega who became a sigma."

I think Vox has this one right. Think of John Scalzi. What is the best form of man he could eventually become? Delta, maybe even Beta if his wife divorced him and he started megadosing on the red pill. But to become a Sigma, he'd have to go through an Omega phase first, probably of the sort where he'd just disappear for awhile (my prophecy seems to be playing out nicely, as his ego won't allow anything else).

For Scalzi to be Sigma, he'd have to return from exile as a Byronic antihero of some kind.

Anonymous said...

The omega who becomes a sigma was always a sigma to himself, and only appeared as an omega to others at the time.

Joe A. said...

It seems like a true sigma is so rare that it hardly has any relevance to Game.

crazyivan498 said...

i have noticed (recently having learned some about game) that through my high school and college years as a gamma I befriended several sigma males. I tended to be there beta like sidekicks. Of course I never managed to land a women through them like a beta could. These are just my personal observations of course if this was true for anyone else

Aeoli Pera said...

It seems that the Sigma/Omega concept is entirely inscrutable to 90-99% of the population. Curious.

"The omega who becomes a sigma was always a sigma to himself, and only appeared as an omega to others at the time."

That's not true. Gamma males have this sort of ego delusion, Omega males do not. And if you'll kindly reread the descriptions, please note that Gamma males are unique in this.

And it's not possible for an Omega to be winning the sociosexual Game by definition.

"It seems like a true sigma is so rare that it hardly has any relevance to Game."

Yes, this is where Koanic is close but not precisely correct. It is very difficult to find an Omega -> Sigma, but it is impossible to find a Gamma -> Sigma. As I mentioned, Gamma -> Omega -> Sigma seems to be possible.

(To answer the obvious question, yes, any man can suddenly fall to Omega status.)

"i have noticed (recently having learned some about game) that through my high school and college years as a gamma I befriended several sigma males."

Unlikely, as they're about 1 in 1,000 at most. I'd estimate closer to 1 in 10,000. You're mistaking Alpha "uncaring" (part of the Game, amigo) for Sigma contempt.

Aeoli Pera said...


"The truly unfortunate. Omegas are the social losers who were never in the game. Sometimes creepy, sometimes damaged, often clueless, and always undesirable. They're not at the party. It would never have crossed anyone's mind to invite them in the first place. Omegas are either totally indifferent to women or hate them with a borderline homicidal fury."

These men do not conceive of themselves as unrecognized supermen. That's what Gammas do, which is why giving them any form of leadership position turns out badly for everyone (it puts the dollar in the jar, Scalzi).

Omegas may feel victimized (and often do), and they may resent the SSMV (and often do), but they harbor no illusions about their potential to move up the ladder.

If any of you are understanding this better, drop me a hint about which sentence helped. I'm not hopeful that I can communicate this to the 90-99%.

Stingray said...


This came out three years ago so maybe it has made its rounds and I somehow missed it. It's not quite as catchy as the Thrift Store song, but it's hysterical (and NSFW).

rycamor said...


Our culture has become so bizarre... Sometimes I wonder what historians in a few centuries are going to think when they unearth a trove of digital media on an ancient hard disk in a post-American burial mound and come across this sort of stuff. I can only imagine the tortured explanations they will come up with.

Yohami said...

The commenter got it wrong. Plus Macklemore is Alpha, not Sigma.

"He is aware that he is objectively superior in one regard or another but also knows that the hierarchy is incapable of recognizing that superiority or valuing it fairly."

Yes. Which opens the door for an omega to rise up on their own scale. If they remain in solitude Sigma, if they generate a following and get social / hierarchical skills, Alpha.

Anonymous said...

It is entirely possible for either and Omega or a Gamma to go Sigma, in my opinion. The journey to Sigma is different for both, however.

For me, I was solidly gamma for a long time. One day something snapped. I had been reading Game theory for a long time prior, and had been obsessed with becoming an Alpha -- something which never worked out for me. I can distinctly remember the moment I just stopped giving a shit.

I was sitting there at a party, watching a pair of hot, self-proclaimed lesbians (read: attention whores) doing their thing on the couch for the benefit of the higher-ranked men. One of the lesbians had been a girl I had known for awhile (read: orbiting). Us gammas had to be content with lesser seats to the show, if you will. Something snapped. I was sick of obeying rules. I decided I didn't give a shit what anybody thought of me, I was going to do what I wanted, and hierarchy be damned. I shoved my way into the front of the crowd... and started going to town on the girl I knew, playing with her boobs... whatever I wanted to do. This was in front of at least a dozen Betas, Alphas.. etc..

They both got off on it, even the Alphas in the room didn't act so brazenly, and I wound up escorting both to a room later that night. I never saw either of them after that night -- and I didn't give a damn either.

So sometimes, I think a Sigma can be nothing other than a Gamma who one day realizes... he has nothing to fear and nothing to lose.

Yet I can also see Vox's Omega argument, too. I don't see any reason why both assertions couldn't be true.

Shimshon said...

This is an interesting question.

Perhaps my own experience with women can be of assistance.

Fundamentally, I was deeply BETA. I was painfully shy to a degree that most men can't understand. I didn't understand women at all. I was utterly clueless to anything but the most obvious interest. Just the idea of approaching a woman cold could cause me to break out in a sweat. And making a move on a woman? Even if she was interested, and I knew she was interested, I was still too afraid to make a move. I was uber-BETA.

And yet...well...the reason why swallowing the Red Pill, for me, was not only not bitter but rather like sipping the finest 25 year old single malt (and I have tried such, so I know just how pleasurable it is). I am perhaps the only BETA living, maybe even in all of history, for whom the advice "Just Be Yourself" actually worked, and spectacularly well.

I attracted women to a degree that would make even Roissy blush, before he regained his composure and sucker-punched me for being such a total fuck-up with them.

My count, before I married, was 2. But, if you just count just the women who made a move on me, and who were quite willing and eager to bed me, my count would have been TEN, and all this before I hit the ripe old age of 23 (I am currently 46). One of them quite unabashedly declared her eternal love for me, the second time we met, in such a way that our extended social circle (approximately 30, roughly split between men and women) all knew. That happened on my 21st birthday.

If you include the count of women who were so obviously interested in me that even oblivious me couldn't miss it, but otherwise didn't make a move on me, that (theoretical) number increases to 15. Again, before 23.

And these weren't uglies or fatties. Even the least attractive was a five, and there were one or two eights in the mix too.

This experience of mine completely mystified and even scared me, and I could make absolutely no sense of it until I discovered Game (for which I give you full credit, Vox; thanks!).

So, fundamentally deeply BETA. Was I a Gamma? I was deeply introspective and certainly unusual. I was somewhat a loner. Certainly used to and comfortable with being alone. I can't remember if I was particularly bitter. I had a tendency towards oneitis and to pedestalize women. And there is an element of stalker in me. Yet, while I was an absolute disaster with them, I was astoundingly successful in generating not only attraction, but raw desire. I also had a lot of Sigma qualities. Total outsider. Disdain for hierarchy and rules, somewhat of a conflict junkie.

Old Harry said...

My "N count" comment was a poor attempt at smart assed humor. But I do have a legitimate question: Some time ago, I recall reading that the primary difference between an alpha and a sigma was that alphas needed followers and sigmas could care less. One commenter I remember even tried to make the case that because of that, Sigmas have more inner strength. Is there merit to this line of thought? I don't recall whether this was on AG, VP or some other game related site. I was still swallowing the red pill then, so could have read that as long ago as two years. I only know on person that functions a sigma though he is a very devout Christian ministry and his n count = 1 (his wife of 25 years).

Shimshon said...

In case it's not clear why I commented...I attracted women like an Alpha or Sigma, and not ugly women like an Omega might. Yet I understood women like a Gamma or Delta. What does that make me? And it certainly seems to have some applicability to the subject.

the league of bald headed men said...

Proposition: sigmas are "just" high-functioning gammas.

Since the SSH was promulgated,it has become a commonplace on AG/VP that the gamma fellows who make up the mass of the readership fancy themselves sigmas on the make. Our host-- perhaps impishly or sadistically, as is his wont-- asserts that you can't get here from there.

I had originally thought to divide the SSH into two parallel lines of development:"the way of the ordinary guy" ie omega-->delta-->beta-->alpha and "the way of the nerd" ie omega-->gamma-->sigma.

The sigma/gamma similarities listed in PROS were the main reason for this division.

"The way of the ordinary guy" is the way of those who play by the rules. It's characterized by an acceptance of the ladder of male primacy.

"The way of the nerd" is best summed up by a quote from "Paradise Lost": "Better to reign in hell/
Than to serve in Heaven." It's characterized by willful rejection of the ladder of male primacy, by bitterness, and by the compensatory creation of a false paradise where the worm is king.

Omega lies at the root of each lineage because I had visualized them as a dark pool of unformed men, capable of development in whatever direction they were nudged by evolutionary contingency.

My remark that "sigma is the alpha of gamma" were made in context of the thrift store thread here VD was holding up the hipster irony culture as a model for sexy rule breakers. I thought it
was interesting (and ironically ironic) that this passive,halber-mensch, worm-turns, revenge-of-the-nerds subculture had successfully colonized and subverted the regular lineage, much in the manner of Christianity and the pagan virtues on Nietzsche's telling.

The urge to re-contextualize the despised/unfashionable and thus to passive-aggressively triumph is pure gamma, as is the mood of judgmental in-group snark that appears wherever you have hipsters engaged in this project.

Commentator Yohami asserts that Mackledore (sounds like a harry potter wizard) is "Alpha not Sigma". Perhaps so, I don't know enough about him to know for sure, but I take it for granted that competition in the tradition of blinged-out, bottle-service, video-ho-banging pop music stars lies firmly on the ladder of male primacy--and, most importantly, celebrates those values in an uncomplicated way-- and that the adoption of hipster irony culture by one appearing on the surface to belong to this tradition is subversive and worthy of note.

There may be levels of irony and play going on that I'm not aware of, since I'm not familiar with his oeuvre.

(There probably aren't too many "real alphas" among the makers of pop music anyhow, if you take"real alpha" to means the likes of President Andrew Jackson, not skinny, successful wimps like Mick Jagger or Kanye West who possess vast wealth and cultural influence and who inseminate hoards of nubiles based on their dominance of a creative field rather than direct mano-a-mano competition on the field of battle.)

the league of bald headed men said...

Part 2....

The "CONS" do pose a problem for my version of the theory.

Is gamma an evolutionary dead end by definition?

What-if anything- happens when gammas enact their will to power?

The key gamma/sigma difference seems to be the avoidance by gammas of conflict-confrontation-competition and humiliation. This was my main takeaway from the scalzi wars.

Gammas know the ladder of male primacy is there but in their bitterness, pride and most importantly, fear of (further) humiliation they refuse to climb. Amusing tension lies in the collision of their inflated sense of self with the brutal reality of the male primacy ladder which everyone discovers for himself as soon as he gets out amongst his peers in the hurly burly of the recess yard.

As per the SSH gammas are "intelligent" and "unusual". They are talented in some way and have a sense of themselves as worth more than their lowly apparent ranking. As VD says in one of the
scalzi wars threads, gammas and sigmas are both known for strong will. What becomes of the spirit of a willful man who shrinks from humiliation/confrontation/competition/conflict? This is the
path that leads to Dostoevsky's underground man: the finest portrayal of gamma bitterness and spite in literature. Or is The Underground Man an omega? Can we get some comp-lit dissertation proposals in here?

VD has asserted in here somewhere that a key characteristic of gamma is Pride, I would add "wounded" . Their bitterness and touchy, wounded pride makes them easy targets for mockery and fun, thus the scalzi wars. The contempt of sigma for gamma as epitomized by VD in the scalzi wars is poignant; because gamma and sigma are brothers under the skin in wounded pride.

Since sigmas are a rare breed--I've seen various figures bruited about, but the consensus seems to be that one man in a million can claim the status of sigma--their existence is mainly of note as a locus for the yearnings of men of lowly rank: "I'm not really John Cusak as Craig Schwartz, I'm really Clint Eastwood as Frank Morris"

Can a passive-aggressive man unlearn his history of avoidance of conflict-competition-confrontation? If not, the evolutionary pathway from gamma to sigma is closed. In my opinion however the similarities between gamma and sigma are far more important than the differences.

(It seems that much more study is needed of omega, especially for those who would undo a lifetime of gamma compensation and turn gammas into gamers, Omega: the wild card. Omega: the raw potential.)

David deBoisblanc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David deBoisblanc said...

Clint Eastwood's "man with no name" is Sergio Leoni's painting of the Sigma archetype. Rugged, individualistic, cynical of both sexes to the point of eschewing to influence men to gain prestige and goals.

He is introverted knows and takes what he wants. He does cynically sometimes aid the downtrodden but without a trace of desiring praise or needing to feel good about himself. There is mystery to the motivation.

Perhaps the difference is introvert with unflappable confidence as opposed to more extroverted alpha, but this just a matter of degree not of core substantive difference.

Interesting to note that several of the bad guys he defeats are prototype alphas. He seems to quietly enjoy defeating them while still profiting. Despite the very quiet enjoyment you get the impression he won't take them on if there is no money.

The essential difference from Alphas is a disdain of ALL meaningful relationships. This he shares with the Omega, hence the proposed theory. But the Omega isolates in defeat and creates a lesser reality for himself, full of rationalizations (hamstomegations) Contrastingly the sigma is fully in reality and dominating it without the bother of caring for any humans save maybe a very, very select few.

Finally, all true Alphas have sigma traits at sometime. Even when leading people they can often hold them cynically in contempt.

Yohami said...

Batman, Wolverine, Green Arrow are sigmas

In the real world, Steve Jobs, maybe Zuckerberg in a few years

Superman, Iroman are Alph

Spiderman is Omega

The Alpha owns and is celebrated by for his game, the sigma is a lone wolf often feared and misunderstood as a criminal (he's out of the order and hierarchy = feared), the Omega has no game.

zeonxavier said...

It seems to me that Sigmas and Gammas both subscribe to an internal rule set and are primarily introverted. The primary difference would be that the sigma shook off social intimidation through increased competence/confidence.

Most likely, sigma/gamma types retain areas in which they display lesser or greater degrees of competence/confidence, and display greater or lesser dominance accordingly.

VD said...

The contempt of sigma for gamma as epitomized by VD in the scalzi wars is poignant; because gamma and sigma are brothers under the skin in wounded pride.

Good insights in general, except here. Sigma pride is not wounded. It is untouched. It is essentially untouchable by the hierarchy.

Jestin Ernest said...

video explaining the importance of peacocking and the feminine imperative reaction to refusal to engage in it-

tz said...

The thing for Gammas is they are on the low end so need to have the commune (or warren), so their need to belong is only met by losing their identity to the group. That is why if someone says something heretical he is excommunicated and thus effectively executed since he is cut off from his psychic friends support network. That is why they are also "liberal" and subservient to career women. They care, and are at the bottom, so form herds of mutual protection or admiration, or validation, or something.

Sigmas don't have contempt for Gammas as Gammas, they have contempt for pusillanimity, stupidity, and idiocy. However most of the categories involve the liberal collectivism so are mis-perceived as a threat to their gamma-hood. Technically they are the greatest validation as they are being recognized for being gammas, only with the proper labeling of the side-effects.

To reprise the Vox-Scalzi conflict, approximately:

Vox: Scalzi is acting stupid and pusillanimous.
Scalzi: Vox is a RSHD.
Vox: Quod erat demonstratum, it isn't an act.
Scalzi: Fellow gammas, I present Gamma Rabbit, bow down and worship. I need validation.
Vox: "This would have killed [Bane]". Several Ilk pass out from laughter induced hyperventilation. Vox is in better physical shape.
Scalzi: Fellow Gammas, validate me by buying T-shirts
Vox: [image of a big gamma] QED, squared.

The text accompanying GR's debut manages to capture the spirit:

Yes, Gamma Rabbit, who likes people as they are, fears no one no matter how they live their lives, and who is comfortable with himself and his own personal values of kindness, tolerance and diversity[unless you are a sigma blogger who really does fear no one, doesn't care how they live their lives because he is a libertarian, and is really satisfied with himself]. Sure, there are some who look down on him and his ways, but you know what? Gamma Rabbit knows that those people are kooky, silly, wacky racist sexist homophobic dipshits[kind and tolerant people don't do insults, especially in passive aggressive form], and aside from looking forward to the day when they might pull their heads out and join the rest of the human race [human race or become fellow rabbits?], lets them alone to do their own thing [except for a constant stream of "I'm ignoring you" blog posts]. Because Gamma Rabbit has other, better people and things to think about [but would rather give into pettyness].

tz said...

Too much exposure to gamma can destroy your ability to have children.

Alpha particles are the nuclei of He-lium, not She-lium.

Myrddin said...

Even prior to game theory I held to a tangentally related three-vector theory, based on the Biblical notion of Christ's roles as prophet, priest, and king. The idea was spawned by Debbi-Perl's division of men into provider/supporters, innovator/explorers, and leaders (she makes some stretched comparison to the trinity, even though the parallels to Christ's roles are more obvious on first glance). This was further influenced by some philosophy lectures on the concept of the relationships of p Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.

Anyhow, my idea was/is that each of this vectors is (or should be) present in all men, but humans being imperfect, one would predominate.

Once I came across the SSH, it slotted in quite nicely. The leader/king - Alpha translation is pretty straightforward. I fancy Sigmas will tend to be prophet/idea guy vectors, but the prophet vector may also fit into Beta/Deltas. And the steady guy/priest vector is pretty much the Beta when at its apex.

This theory sort of fits League of Baldys' "Sigma as the Nerd Vector" theory.
Dunno. Thoughts? Comments? Short stories?

Old Harry said...

I'm with you on the prophet and "nerd" vector for sigmas. My missionary friend operates very much as a prophet evangelist and doesn't give a rip what people think of his method or message. He is 100% sold out to Christ. And he is a nerd to the church folk because he looks like Denver Pyle in "Jeremiah Johnson" and doesn't care if they disapprove because he doesn't wear a tie to preach. Again, he doesn't map totally to sigma because of his n count = 1 and will stay that unless he becomes a widower and remarrys.

David deBoisblanc said...

I just realized everything I said in my Clint Eastwood comment above that I compared sigma to omega. I meant sigma to gamma. So his rationalizations would be "gamsters".

Interestingly gammas have much in common with past the wall female cougar wannabes. Denial of reality/redefinition, hostility coupled with desperation, etc.

Wounded pride affects all at some level sooner or later except for the true sociopath. It is just a matter of degree and response to it.

I propose that the sigma is portrayed in art and media, but hardly exist in a purely unadulterated form in reality.

In certain situations an alpha may appear sigma. For example, when out of his element and in potentially hostile circumstances.

The gamma may come off temporarily sigma as well, when circumstances create the illusion. Though in the presence of a high SMV female that bubble well be burst.

Also, sigmas often possess very strong defense capabilities, either physical or mental. This puts them at relative ease when in alien waters.

Jacob Ian Stalk said...

The Alpha/Sigma/Gamma/Omega relationship is interesting. The Alpha, Sigma and Gamma all have will to power but Alpha and Sigma differ in means while Gamma and Alpha differ by degree of success. If I've understood the system correctly, the Alpha is successful by conventional means, the Sigma is successful by unconventional means and the Gamma uses conventional means but is rarely successful. The Omega, on the other hand, is characterised by failure irrespective of means. Thus, the Gamma follows the Alpha but does not follow the Sigma, while the Omega follows neither.

Picture Alpha, Sigma and Omega pulling against each other in three equidistance directions, like three arrows drawn outwards from the center of an inverted equilateral triangle to its vertices.


Anonymous said...

All I can say for certain is that I have never seen a hipster Sigma. This has to be something like a Bigfoot sighting. And this meme garbage that gets parroted around, some bullshit image we've seen a thousand times already paired with a slightly humorous message, is pure gamma shit too. I don't see Sigmas as giving two shits for any of that gamma garbage.

Jacob Ian Stalk said...

"Jesus appeared, and he was God in human flesh, and could command myriads of angels at a moment's notice. Instead what did he accomplish - or more importantly, how did he accomplish it? He had to be the Alpha of Alphas. "

On earth, Jesus was the Alpha of Sigmas, not Alphas. In the heavenly places, the Son is Beta to the Alpha Father, although the grading system is meaningless to the Trinitarian.

Anonymous said...

VD-Scalzi conflict seems like two gammas arguing. Vox's long diatribes about how his blog's readership is bigger than Scalzi's hardly seem like indifference to me.

VD said...

Vox's long diatribes about how his blog's readership is bigger than Scalzi's hardly seem like indifference to me.

That is because you are probably a gamma yourself and can't fathom paying attention to something for its own sake and not due to how it looks to others.

I haven't written any long diatribes. I simply responded in the necessary detail to many false assertions concerning the larger size of Scalzi's readership, assertions which I myself accepted as true for years until an anomaly caught my attention.

I wouldn't be surprised if my readership turns out to be 50 percent larger than his by the end of the year. And I wouldn't be at all surprised if he is afraid to post his 2013 numbers.

Anonymous said...

"That is because you are probably a gamma yourself and can't fathom paying attention to something for its own sake and not due to how it looks to others."

I can fathom it easily. Just saying your posts about Scalzi dont come across as "paying attention to something for it's own sake".

Jack Amok said...

Sigma and Alpha both have a strong will and desire power over their environment, but they are willing to make different sacrifices to achieve that power.

Alphas will sacrifice depth of control for greater scope (e.g. will make compromises to retain the effective lieutenants necessary for a large span of control), while Sigmas wil sacrifice breadth of control for greater depth (e.g. will refuse to make compromises even though that limits the scope of influence they can wield). Perhaps it is simply a difference in their respective tolerance for other people's crap.

I don't think Sigma and Gamma have anything in common. I firmly believe Gammas are men who did not fully develop certain brain structures critical to masculine thought patterns.

Anonymous said...

@Jacob Ian Stalk: The problem I find with your "force" diagram is that gamma is not the result of a balancing out of the sigma and alpha force against the omega force since the forces are not the same type, as you are dealing with two categories: inside the hierarchy and outside the hierarchy.

I would personally show the game in two spectrums:

Outside the hierarchy: Omega <=> Sigmas.

Inside the hierarchy: Gamma <=> Beta <=> Alpha.

You can move up and down your respected spectrum. I would say that it is easier for someone inside the game to move outside than for someone who is outside to move inside, because your personalty dictates largely how you interact with other people.

Koanic said...

I don't get this omega to sigma transformation thing. Other than say massive external confidence boost from being in a rock band. But does that translate to inner game? Take away the fame again and can he still get laid? An example would clarify.

Aeoli Pera said...

Sorry, I probably can't answer this until Monday afternoon.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the alpha is at the top of the tree only because of the hierarchy below. The betas seem to need an alpha and the alpha needs the betas. The gammas are at the base of the tree - they find themselves there because they believe in the hierarchy. Their delusion of moving further up the tree or thinking they belong higher up keeps them in their spot. The sigma - who seeks the truth in things doesn't naturally understand the whole hierarchy as he sees it for what he believes it to be - rubbish.
He believes in equality and seeks the truth and there fore he thinks he can call the alpha on his bullshit as he doesn't believe in the hierarchy and doesn't place himself below the alpha - which causes friction as the sigma can more than compete with the alpha. But he is cut out of the hierarchy by the others.
As the sigma believes in equality he some times interacts with gammas on intellectual points - but the gamma bristles with jealously and because he is delusional he rejects the sigmas play for a minor interaction because he thinks he is above the sigma in the hierarchy which is totally laughable to the sigma.
The sigma might look like an omega only because he tries to fit into the hierarchy with out having any respect for it - because although he doesn't get it he is some times forced to operate in it - school, work.

realmatt said...

Why would Sigma's pride be hurt? He doesn't want to be the center of attention or have a bunch of people he despises follow him. The only thing that would hurt is a direct attack and that should be met with an immediate response, preferably violent. It's offensive as a personal slight, not an attack on his place in the hierarchy. The beating given to the Alpha and all who intervene followed by a desertion is evidence of his operating outside the hierarchy.

The hierarchy is necessary for most people because they're largely bordering on being completely worthless. For someone who doesn't care at all, it's meaningless. It's just another tool that can be utilized.

It's amazing to me that something explained in detail in simple terms is still grasped so poorly by so many of the readers on both blogs.

Batman, Wolverine, Green Arrow are sigmas

Wolverine is an Omega. He's like Rambo. No one really wants to be around him at all until they're about to be killed and need help. And even then they're just glad he's around. They weren't hoping Wolverine would show up. The poon he gets is just poor writing and wishful thinking on the part of the writers. Especially the way they've written him lately..

realmatt said...

I think you'd be even harder pressed to find an omega who became a sigma.

Yes it's been mentioned more than once it's rare a loser manages to not only become sought after as a leader, but feels such contempt for the sycophants that he wants nothing to do with them or the power they offer him.

Alphas are insecure and pitiful. They'd go nuts without attention and the power they imagine they have. They're desperate for it, just like the lower ranks are. They just happen to actually be good enough to warrant the affections and praise they receive.

Yohami said...


Wolverine is an Omega [..] The poon he gets is just poor writing and wishful thinking on the part of the writers.

lol. I was thinking more about the character from the movie. But, yeah. And the Spiderman from the animated series is a gamma white knight, not an omega.

MattN said...

I've always been curious what famous people would be considered sigma. Alpha's are easy to recognize and clearly more prevalent. Steve Jobs is an interesting candidate. I have two possibilities for Sigma.

For starters James Woods. He fast talking, quick witted, and seems to do whatever he wants. He doesn't seem like he would back down easily. He's also very successful with women.

My second choice might seem like an obvious Alpha on the surface, Tom Brady. He's obviously had beautiful women and is the star athlete. Going back to what Vox said about being supremely confident in his athletic ability despite coaches. Brady being a lightly regarded sixth round draft pick telling the owner Robert Kraft, "I'm the best decision this organization has ever made". He had that supreme confidence in his ability when no one else did. That might be said of many athletes that make it, but the extreme nature of his situation I think amplifies just how confident he was/is.

Those are my two candidates, I'm curious what everyone thinks.

realmatt said...

You just..don't...get it.

Jack Amok said...

Not every "it" is... worth... getting, realmatt.

Inane Rambler said...

"I can fathom it easily. Just saying your posts about Scalzi dont come across as "paying attention to something for it's own sake"."

If you really thought anyone cared what you have to say, you would have used a name, any name at all, something that would have allowed us to find you elsewhere and know your general positions.

Koanic said...

To be clear, I agree with the point that omega -> sigma moreso than gamma -> sigma on the status conscious dimension, but I just don't see how it could actually happen. It would require a truly epic transformation.

VD said...

I can fathom it easily. Just saying your posts about Scalzi dont come across as "paying attention to something for it's own sake".

You're moving the goalposts now. My posts about relative traffic are precisely that, which is to say, paying attention to the topic for its own sake. You might see, for example, previous posts about the traffic at Pharyngula as well as the sites belonging to Helen Smith and Ann Althouse. I don't mind admitting that Scalzi has done a service to everyone in this regard, as without his posts we would not know how Wordpress numbers translate into Google and Sitemeter terms.

Of course, it's hardly surprising that he always talks about his traffic in terms of the most favorable possible metric rather than simply making his Sitemeter numbers available to the public....

Anyhow, your basic assessment always had to be wrong because open conflict is antithetical to gammas. What I think you're mistaking is a habit of thoroughly beating dead horses with being emotionally caught up with the dead horse. It's just what I do; if I'm going to bother starting something, I'm going to go until the end. It shouldn't surprise you that a sigma will behave in ways that don't make sense to most people; that is, in itself, an identifier of sorts.

Anonymous said...

"Anyhow, your basic assessment always had to be wrong because open conflict is antithetical to gammas. What I think you're mistaking is a habit of thoroughly beating dead horses with being emotionally caught up with the dead horse."

Well, my initial impression was that you started to post about the readership numbers in order to prove your blog is more popular than Scalzi's. This seemed like gamma(or alpha?)behavior to me. But not sigma.
On the other hand, if Scalzi brought up the readership question first, I could imagine sigma posting about it in order to destroy his arguments.

VD said...

On the other hand, if Scalzi brought up the readership question first, I could imagine sigma posting about it in order to destroy his arguments.

It wasn't Scalzi, it was his fans repeatedly claiming that his blog was much, much more popular than mine. A claim which turned out to be completely false, but no one realized it because when he was talking about "readers" he meant Wordpress views while everyone could see my Sitemeter statistics.

Then he mentioned his Google Views and suddenly everything became convertible. As it turns out, Wordpress views run around 150% more generous than Sitemeter visits.

Aeoli Pera said...

I don't get this omega to sigma transformation thing. Other than say massive external confidence boost from being in a rock band. But does that translate to inner game? Take away the fame again and can he still get laid? An example would clarify.

Before returning to your example of a sudden reframe from Omega to rockstar, I'd like to clarify the conceptual frame a bit.

The SSMV theory is not analytical. I don't expect Vox Day, Rollo, or Roissy to someday release a Grand Unified Theory of human interaction. SSMV is subjective observation patched together with an approximate descriptive theory.

This means, unfortunately, that our discussions are dependent on our intellectual goodwill and mutual understanding. (I'm not worried about you, personally, but I want to establish this for anyone else who finds this commentary helpful.)

Aeoli Pera said...

I'd also like to clarify something else: I believe that the most common source of the rare Sigma is the ranks of Alphas and Betas. This is because it is fairly easy, if exceptional, for a natural who is already winning the Game to stop playing. It will happen more often in a dying civilization where polite society is at odds with the natural meritocracy. The score is what it is, and yet the losers are declared the winners.

Because our civilization is crumbling, I can give examples from specialized fields other than the Game. A renowned teacher like John Taylor Gatto can leave the reservation and thenceforth criticize the public school system. In cybersecurity you have Bruce Schneier. In politics, you have Ron Paul. In martial arts, you have Marc MacYoung. These men command respect within their fields, and yet the hierarchical authorities would like nothing more than to ignore them forever.

This form of Sigma is the king lacking a kingdom (or judging it unworthy). It's no wonder Alphas aren't too fond of their presence. Tends to unbalance things.

Aeoli Pera said...

Now that I've described Alpha -> Sigma and, to a far lesser degree Beta -> Sigma, I have to justify Omega -> Sigma.

Omega and Sigma have only one thing in common: neither is playing the Game. They are both outsiders. The difference, of course, is that Omega couldn't win if he wanted to. If he joined society (which doesn't want him around), he would have to work his way up from near the bottom. Sigma would be given a spot next to Alpha so Alpha could keep an eye on him.

This is where things get a little tricky. A person can be Omega for a lot of different reasons, some of which can be cured and some of which can't. Schizophrenia, castration, serial homelessness, imprisonment in the Chateau d'If...the label is a catch-all for those men who are outcasts from society. A small fraction of those that can be cured will be cured of their particular malady. Of these, most will join the traditional hierarchy and try to become "productive members of society".

But a small fraction (of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction) will possess such ability that they would have been Alpha if not for their Omega handicap. And of this fraction, a small fraction will not be further handicapped by the preconceptions of society. To illustrate this, I'll take a small detour and explain why Gamma cannot become Sigma.

Yohami said...

Aeoli +1

Aeoli Pera said...

A man's SSMV is more situational than his SMV, and more still than a woman's SMV. It is partly dependent upon the individual evaluations of his tribemates, and then upon the group consensus of his tribe. It is complex because an individual's evaluation can depend (often heavily) on the opinions of his fellows and on the group consensus. (SMV is observably less durable to the opinions of society as a whole.)

These evaluations are also partly dependent on previous evaluations. A Gamma may give a perfect first impression to a stranger with his charisma and, given a post-interview questionnaire, the stranger would have no qualms rating his charisma as "Excellent". But after the same performance, a familiar person who had previously rated the Gamma "Poor" would hesitate to revise the rating to "Excellent" and would instead split the difference.

In this, there is also an amount of downward pressure in any familiar group of people. In the same way that parents tend to downgrade status of their children, so do superiors in the SSMV tend not to recognize the discomfiting rise of their inferiors. Particularly, they will resist their own displacement even in the face of overwhelming evidence. This additional downward pressure is sometimes enough to keep low SSMV people in their place.

There is also an introspective component to the Gamma's inability to simply become Sigma. Part of this is the neurochemical imprint that forms throughout cognitive development. There is a genetic component that cares not at all for the opinions of others.

I unfortunately don't have time to properly emphasize these aspects of inner Game. Suffice it to say that most of them can't be changed overnight.

Aeoli Pera said...

Thanks, Yohami.

I have two more comments planned (on the element of time, Gamma -> Omega -> Sigma, Alpha/Beta -> Omega -> Sigma, and Edmond Dantes as an example of the latter), but they'll have to wait until tomorrow.

Yohami said...

I grew as an omega, but I had leadership traits. I was the leader of the outcasts, or when I was not I was doing machinations to landslide over the hierarchy, and due to those I had peaks of situational Alphaness from time to time which really disconcerted me.

Later I took the damsel in distress trope to heart and became the best beta I could be (Gamma in Vox's ladder), I played that with obsession and dedication. You know, tried to master how to please others and put myself second for a greater good, namely a woman.

Then red pill and game, plus my already learned hierarchical insight = Alpha all the way.

If I retract from society though, for long enough, be it work or creating art or whatever the Omega crawls back, the disdain and the misantropy. It's like oscillating between Superman and Batman, or Batman and Bruce Wayne.

I can see how a guy could go from Omega to Sigma without the middle phase. From Gamma to Sigma o Alpha though... I suspect there's not enough contrast or insight to perform that jump.

Dr. Jeremy said...


Given all of the descriptions, I wonder whether we are indeed dealing with two separate variables here. Perhaps something along the lines of

1) Dominance/Status - The relative level of social dominance and power each individual holds.

2) Conventionality - Whether the individual follows normal rules of conduct, roles, and social norms or not.

Given those two variables, we could then map the hierarchy out as follows:

^ Alpha Sigma
D | |
O | |
M Beta ?
I | |
N | |
A Delta ?
N | |
C | |
E Gamma-----Omega


Within that framework, the Alpha to Gamma hierarchy all exist along one dimension. All of those groups are playing by "conventional" rules and respecting the social norms and roles. The only difference is how much they are winning/losing, while playing by those rules (i.e. how much power and status they have in the conventional system).

When we get to Omega, however, there is a switch. Omegas are "socially deviant" and rejected from the conventional ranking system entirely. Thus, they are both unconventional and low dominance/status.

Sigmas, in contrast, have somehow "hacked" the system in an unconventional way. They have found a way to have high status and dominance outside of conventional means. Therefore, while they hold power and influence equal to an Alpha on one dimension, they are also "bucking" the system on another. They "cheat" rather than struggle to win within the socially dictated rules.

If the above assessment is accurate, then it might be easier for an Omega to go Sigma than a Gamma. The Omega has already been shunned from the conventional system and is existing outside of it. Therefore, he only has to move along one dimension, gaining dominance/status outside of the system, to be Sigma. Gammas have to both 1) reject the conventional system and 2) amass unconventional dominance and status, to be Sigma. Hence, the stories above about "falling" from Gamma to Omega before climbing back up to Sigma. The "falling" is just a misnomer, as the move from Gamma to Omega is lateral along a different dimension and "out"...not "down" to a worse position in the hierarchy.

Overall, this might make for a useful framework to explain the situation. It can shed light on the Omega to Sigma problem. It can also shed light on the struggles between Alpha and Sigma, and how Sigmas sometimes temporarily "transition" to Alpha status.

What are your thoughts?

Dr. Jeremy said...

Here is the chart again...


Unknown said...

Comparing a Sigma and a Gamma is like comparing a tiger with a weak cast-out chimpanzee. One lives alone by nature but is independent and strong, while the other is warded off by the alpha chimp because females don't prefer him. Completely different species.

Unknown said...

Comparing a Sigma and a Gamma is like comparing a tiger with a weak cast-out chimpanzee. One lives alone by nature but is independent and strong, while the other is warded off by the alpha chimp because females don't prefer him. Completely different species.

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