Saturday, June 3, 2017

Context vs structure

A reader finds it difficult to distinguish between the contextual and structural elements of rank in the socio-sexual hierarchy:
How do you account for context in your model? For example, one trait shared by your alpha and gamma archetype is narcissism. When someone gets disrespected in real life they change their response depending on who disrespected them, which tells you something about their relative rank - e.g. Check out Bas Rutten's run in with Brian Urlacher (assuming Rutten is telling it like it happened, old mate seems like the kind of guy who wouldn't let the truth get in the way of a good yarn).  On the internet there's none of that so won't an alpha and a gamma look similar - they'll both lose their shit when they think they've been disrespected?
I don't quite understand the difficulty in grasping that while rank is always relative, the underlying behaviors remain the same. Remember, the labels are only descriptors used for convenience to describe existing patterns of behavior.

Even an Omega King is going to behave in socially off-putting manners. Even the most junior Alpha is going to retain his self-confidence. A Gamma is not going to stop being bitter and seeking to ferret out the ulterior motives of those around him just because he happens to be the most popular and attractive man in the social circle. Indeed, some of the great tragedies of history can be traced back to Gammas somehow managing to put themselves in positions of great power.

An Alpha isn't going to lose his shit when he is disrespected by someone he regards as an equal or a superior, on or off the Internet. A Gamma is always going to lose it, although in person he might - might - have just enough sense to conceal it. But you can bet that he will spend the next month plotting dozens of revenge scenarios and concocting even more witty parting shots that would have totally destroyed the offending party.

Consider the very different reactions of dc.sunsets and Casher O'Neill to being publicly called out. Dc shrugged and took it. Casher sperged out in a classic butthurt fashion. Did you really find it terribly hard to distinguish their reactions, or discern their probable ranks in the hierarchy?

The importance of the SSH is in its ability to serve as a predictive model. For example, I now seek to avoid working with gammas, because they simply cannot take criticism without going into lengthy funks and they find it very hard to respect organizational structure. They often try to undermine their superiors and leap the chain of command, and when they quit, they often like to do so at a time when it will cause maximum distruption. By the same token, I don't want too many Alphas, because they end up wasting time on intra-organizational pissing matches instead of actually doing anything productive.


Revelation Means Hope said...

A few alphas and betas, but mostly deltas is the best mix on any team that you either lead or participate in, for getting things done.
The deltas are the engine that makes the vehicle move forward. But you need some lieutenants and captains because the leader cannot be everywhere all the time. They also help you stay on top of your game, if you don't want to be replaced.

Yes, alphas can work under and cooperate with other alphas.

Unknown said...

This caused me to think of the concept of the synthetic "Game" alpha. That is, a man who uses Game in the sexual relationship context to have more successful interactions with women.

Shifting over to the project management context, where success is not measured by the "bang", but by other quantitative factors, it would seem that synthetic alpha traits could be helpful.

Or, more likely, beta traits would be more in demand, and perhaps an alpha might want to use "professional Game" to become a synthetic Beta.

Krul said...

"Indeed, some of the great tragedies of history can be traced back to Gammas somehow managing to put themselves in positions of great power."

Would love to see more posts about the rank of historical figures.

Prof. Spudd said...


Hitler and Stalin were both Gammas. The Bolshevik tendency to always question the motives of everyone they ran into suggests that they were all pretty much a pack of Gammas. It would certainly help explain why they ended up killing most of their own.

As far as heads of state now, Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron are definite Gammas, and I'm pretty sure Malcolm Turnbull in Australia is one too.

Rick said...

Since it might be more useful, as you say, VD, to think of these as ways to identify behaviors, I often think of characters from movies or TV and if this one or that one is alpha or gamma, etc and what would VD think. I think the better written dramas are better for this. Might even be useful, or at least fun, to have a list of characters to help the definitions of the behaviors.
For example, what SSH is exhibited by Pete Campbell of Mad Men? How about Don Draper? The 3 main characters in Jaws? Han Solo? Better Call Saul? Breaking Bad?
Samwise, Frodo...

Rick said...

You could have a field day with Mad Men alone.

swiftfoxmark2 said...

A few alphas and betas, but mostly deltas is the best mix on any team that you either lead or participate in, for getting things done

The Omegas who aren't all that bitter about their lot in life can be useful too. Usually, they focus more on work than on how their genetics and their past have screwed them over.

Koanic said...

It does not make sense to call either Hitler or Stalin gammas.

They were alphas.

dc.sunsets said...

IMO, there's some confusion between status-seeking and respect-seeking.

A self-respecting, confident man looks for opportunities to establish relationships based on mutual respect with those he, by definition, finds respect-worthy.

He does not seek to "out-do" those he respects because it's not a contest. Status is veneer, while respect is based on deeper attributes or accomplishments.

I was treated to dinner by a man who is among the hyper-stars of human accomplishment (IMO.) I was very grateful for the respect such a gesture paid me, but in no way would I feel capable of living his life or accomplishing what he accomplishes. Few mortals bat in that league.

Perhaps trying to force some sort of expression of respect is what defines gamma behavior. If no one recognizes what it is in which you base your self-respect, possibly you're lying to yourself in the first place. You can't build a good you on self-deception. Rooting it out is Job One of self-improvement.

Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Koanic, Stalin was incredibly paranoid, obsessed with previous defeats like the Polish-Soviet War, and purged his circles practically daily. That's not Alpha control; it's Gamma sperging writ large. Hitler's total military incompetence and constant tantrums when contradicted by his generals or stymied by his enemies would strongly suggest the same.

dc.sunsets said...

With the exercise of power comes responsibility. Mass-murdering rulers (and many, many normal people) utilize arrogance to rationalize away an otherwise crushing level of responsibility.

I don't know what label qualifies for that, but I'm suspicious it's alpha (with a dollop of megalomania.)

Stg58/Animal Mother said...

Spending of Hitler, here is a shining example of Alpha vs Gamma. Guess who is gamma.

Unknown said...

What little I know about Adolf Hitler, if true, would seem to me to strongly support "not alpha".

In the absence of political power, could Hitler have walked into a party and walked out with the coolest hottest girl there and banged her in his car?

I think not.

Koanic said...

If Hitler and Stalin were not alpha, men who rose to dominate whole continents through personal will and charisma, then alpha has absolutely no meaning.

Gamma != flawed guy I don't like. It's a SS rank.

dc.sunsets said...

Maybe when you graduate to the level of historically significant you move to a different labeling system. I wouldn't know.

dc.sunsets said...

I can't speak for others; I only notice that I'm best off routing around my faults and stretching my aptitudes. In hindsight I did too little of the latter because I concentrated on a highly unusual aptitude that had too brief a peak.

Complacency is a bitch.

Unknown said...

Alexander the Great? Probably alpha.

Stalin? Possibly alpha. (Handsome in his youth, apparently. Probably got decent pussy.)

Adolf Hitler? I'm having a hard time with the "alpha" label. Seems like a loser that God inflicted on a nation for some strange reason. Reminds of Biblical Jezebel with a testicle and half a mustache.

AustralianIrishman said...

Thanks for the reply mate, appreciate it.

Fair point re: Casher O'Neil's response, seems to be a guy with an axe to grind. dc.sunsets got called an alpha so would probably respond well no matter what else was said.

I see what you're getting at with context vs. structure. I suspect the structural part is less significant than you're suggesting but I'll have to look at it a bit more.

Desdichado said...

Not alpha.

Jew613 said...

While Stalin was an extremely evil man he was definitely an alpha. He was well known for having success with beautiful women, while he was handsome as a young man it was his charm that won them over. As well as rising from Georgian bourgeois to ruling an empire through his will and effort.

Stg58/Animal Mother said...

Stalin was alpha. I'd say a rarety among Connunist Party leadership. The KGB did pioneer a lot of seduction, manipulation and Intel gathering techniques, so they couldn't all have been gammas.

Unknown said...

Stalin was clearly Sigma. Lenin was Alpha. Trotsky? Gamma.

All kidding side, I hope Vox writes a book about Gamma before one of his epigones beats him to the punch.

I'd like to see a chapter about the connection between antifa, thwarted masculinity and gamma.

Elocutioner said...

@Gaiseric I believe Heartiste was using the more simple alpha/beta dichotomy, not Vox's more nuanced alpha/beta/delta/gamma hierarchy. His analysis marks Hitler as a gamma.

AustralianIrishman said...

Alright I've put a bit of thought into it and here's my current opinion on context vs. structure in your model. These aren’t fully fleshed out ideas so take them as such.

I propose that the structure part of your model is very limited and in most cases completely overshadowed by the context part. Take for example chimpanzee society - it is not uncommon for chimp A to dominate chimp B, who dominates chimp C, who in turn dominates chimp A. In this example there is no hierarchy, only contextually dominant behaviour. I propose that humans are similar. The research done seems to support this - most personality traits vary widely depending on the context except for the big 5. A man may display Alpha behaviour in the workplace, Delta behaviour with his wife and Gamma behaviour on the internet. When the differences in behaviour are that pronounced (which I propose they are) you can’t really put a label on him without including the context. I think what you tend to do is label him as the lowest rank his behaviour is consistent with.

If I’m right that doesn’t contradict your statement regarding the importance of your socio-sexual hierarchy model. It still works when the context is stable.

I have to disagree with your assertion that an alpha won’t get angry when disrespected by someone he sees as an equal, at least in public. Alphas are by your definition status aware (at least subconsciously). An Alpha can afford to ignore disrespect from someone much lower on the dominance hierarchy because everyone sees it for what it is. Same goes for someone much higher, although by definition there aren’t many people higher than any individual Alpha most of the time. On the other hand he cannot ignore it from someone at a similar or slightly superior level, he has to respond strongly in order to maintain his status. The biggest blues tend to occur when one person disrespects another close in the hierarchy. Remember I’m referring to disrespect here, something that almost by definition lowers your status when its done in public. The context is also important here – it depends at least in part on how established the hierarchy is.

Some of the apparent disagreement may be because I’ve never come across anywhere you have fully fleshed out your definitions, so I am open to correction if I have misinterpreted you.


Prof. Spudd said...

I'm not convinced that Stalin was Alpha. His marital life is consistent with Gamma -- oneitis over his first dead wife, who was somewhat overweight (a difficult feat in early 20th-century Georgia), a second wife who was certainly no looker (she even eschewed looking nice because she considered it un-Bolshevik), and a daughter who despised him enough to defect to the West and even to become a Roman Catholic.

Gammas in positions of power can rack up high N counts -- with plain janes. Or if they flat-out abduct and rape them (like Lavrenty Beria famously did).

There may have been Alpha Communist revolutionaries, but I don't think Stalin was among them. In fact, Communist leaders were famous for going after ugly women.

Ultimately, I guess we'll have to see what VD says.

Unknown said...

Off topic, but a quote that I thought I would share:

"a social order founded on the blank-slate ideology of egalitarian equalism (serving the Feminine Imperative) regularly, and ruthlessly, quashes any discourse of biological gender differences – unless those factual differences are flattering to the feminine and/or damning of the masculine."

Revelation Means Hope said...

Hitler was tragically gamma. He had some serious oneitis, was filled with bitterness and rage against those officers who were able to speak with and charm the woman that he had crush on from afar (but never spoke with her). Even his relationship with Eva Braun was wack in the extreme. Mate guarding. Complete intolerance of any dissension with his opinion.

I wonder what the 20's and 30's would have been like if Hitler had the balls to approach his oneitis.

Megamerc said...


When I first came across Vox's SSH a few years ago, like most new to the SSH I wondered which label I fell under and described my interactions with other people but neglected to include interactions with women. Vox slapped that down almost immediately by re-emphasizing the sexual part of the socio-sexual hierarchy. What I had been describing was merely a social-hierarchy.

Right now, I think you're doing something similar with structure/context and behavior. Vox is emphasizing the actual behavior involved because that is what is important both contextually and structurally, and because it's already obvious that rank is relative in both cases. The average behavior exhibited is how we must classify rank, because even a beta male can accidentally pass a female shit-test once in a while. In other words, you are isolating a conceptual aspect of the SSH that should not and cannot be isolated without fundamentally destroying the SSH itself. The socio-sexual hierarchy sans socio-sexual behavioral aspects is just an empty hierarchy.

If you read Rollo or CH at all, you probably know that to be an Alpha you don't necessarily need any real power in a social structure, and the frame/behavior you present is what draws the women. That frame/behavior is the context, if you will. The medium is the message. Ergo, an Alpha placed in an organization beneath the command of a Delta/Beta is structurally not an Alpha due to his formally lower rank, but contextually his Alpha characteristics will exhibit themselves and others will begin to naturally follow him (even the Delta/Beta commander!) when they are allowed to do so.

Take the recent example of dc.sunsets, who has absolutely no power structurally in these comment sections or on either of Vox's blogs, yet there are readers who contextually follow him when allowed due to the natural exhibition of his Alpha characteristics in his statements. Vox's status is much higher than dc.sunsets on the blogs that Vox owns, so structurally dc.sunsets must defer, and he did. Outside of these blogs, however, who knows what that interaction might have looked like. It was a near-perfect case of a structural hierarchy prohibiting members from following the contextually natural Alpha behavior of dc.sunsets.

Regarding the question of disrespect between Alphas of approximate equal rank, it is easy to use the military or corporate chain of command as an example of a structural hierarchy. If two equivalent middle-managers or junior-grade officers call each other out, there is little contention unless the call out was unjust. But there is instant push back if a lowly worker or enlisted man calls out the management or officer (even if the peon is correct). It is simply not tolerated from a structurally lower-ranking source. Higher ranks calling out lower ranks is tolerated every time and even embraced, while between equivalent ranks is typically seen as neutral unless obviously unjust, but there is usually tacit agreement to do so privately unless situation requires it to be public. But in order to call out higher ranks, lower ranks must use contextual mechanisms (Alphas) to persuade the higher ranks of their mistakes and correct things from the bottom-up.

Megamerc said...

Slightly off topic: Incidentally, the same is true for the intellectual hierarchy. No wonder Vox gets so angry with dumb commentators on his Periscopes and blog posts. High-intelligence comments and arguments are embraced by Vox, equivalent intelligence comments and arguments are neutral unless unjust, and lower-intelligence comments and arguments are not tolerated. The behavior mirrors the dynamics of the SSH.

AustralianIrishman said...


Thanks for the reply. I just realised after reading your comment that I may have misinterpreted what was meant by "structural elements" in the original post. It was using it in a "structural elements of your personality" context, as opposed to the "part of the structure of society" context that you (and potentially Vox) were.

Regarding Rollo, his definition of Alpha seems more centred around mindset, which makes it simpler and potentially more stable.

For example, by my reading of TRM an incredibly high functioning narcissist who was socially dominant, handsome, ripped, physically competent, rolling in money and banging chicks left right and centre still wouldn't be an Alpha by Rollo's definition, because he never really internalised the mindset. As a narcissist, he was still externally referenced and relying on others to give him his sense of self worth, he had just learned to very effectively simulate the behaviours to get the external validation he craved.

I suppose to simplify my point regarding Vox's definition, it could be boiled down to: if you define Alpha/Beta/Delta/Gamma etc by behaviours, are men's behaviours stable enough across domains that any man can be labelled accurately? I suspect the answer is no, but to reiterate I may be wrong, and there may be a more nuanced definition I haven't come across yet.

Good point regarding me ignoring the sexual aspect of the SSH. I suppose since the qualities men value in a leader (loyalty, mastery, honour etc) and what women value in their sexual partners (genetic quality, provisioning capacity and tendency) are different I tend to view the social and sexual elements as separate. There will be a large degree of overlap, but the extreme cases highlight the differences. Take a dark triad man - these men are very attractive to women for short term mating but they would be drummed out of any male dominance hierarchy worth its salt very quickly. Whether you could accurately label these men Alpha / Sigma / Gamma etc would depend on whether you're defining the terms on mindset, behaviour or a mix.

Prof. Spudd said...

are men's behaviours stable enough across domains that any man can be labelled accurately? I suspect the answer is no, but to reiterate I may be wrong, and there may be a more nuanced definition I haven't come across yet.


You might get something from this article by PA:
Assessing Your Place on the Hierarchy

In regards to synthetic Alphas like TRM, craving external validation is a defining Alpha trait. It's not true to say that this means they don't also have the internal mindset. God Himself wanted external validation, and it's a good thing because otherwise none of us would be here.

dc.sunsets said...

FWIW, it appears to me that values play a role in what men do, too.

Using a different descriptive system, r-selected alphas might bed every available 7+, while a K-selected alpha simply ignores the women who throw themselves at him while sifting the sand for a diamond in the rough.

I see any man who takes advantage of his natural magnetism to whore out other men's future wives as scum to be exterminated in a just world.

Unknown said...

dc I'm going to white knight against your comment about exterminating man sluts.

If a handsome and charming man beds available women, I don't think that he is "whoring out other men's future wives".

I think that the "extermination" sentiment is based on a fictional notion of the sturdy, virtuous yeoman leading a blushing virgin away from her otherwise asexual existence into monogamous wonderland.

Men and women are horny.

Lotharios enrich a culture.

Anonymous said...

Lotharios enrich a culture.

So do highwaymen. But they wouldn't be the cultural icons they are if they didn't hang when caught.


Stg58/Animal Mother said...

DC that's bullshit. Read up on Dalrock 's deconstruction of chivalry. You'll see how the very notion is unbiblical.

Unknown said...

It seems to me that alpha status could be synthesized, or desynthesized, with chemistry.

Suppose an alpha man were to subject himself to estrogen therapy. I bet that the alpha traits would start to evaporate.

Likewise, suppose a gamma male were to undergo testosterone therapy. I bet that some alpha traits would start to manifest.

There would be limitations and barriers of psychological conditioning, or other factors like physical appearance that might limit the movement in either direction.

Also, it occurred to me that Adolf Hitler may have actually been a woman. Like, maybe a dyke set up as a psy-op by the Rothschilds to fuck-over Germany.

Megamerc said...


I think you're beginning to come around, but maybe don't yet completely grasp the differences between ranks, which is fundamental to your question.

I suppose to simplify my point regarding Vox's definition, it could be boiled down to: if you define Alpha/Beta/Delta/Gamma etc by behaviours, are men's behaviours stable enough across domains that any man can be labelled accurately?

Yes. That is, in my opinion, exactly what Vox is saying in this post. Granted, there are likely a few exceptions in more extreme cases, but these exceptions prove the general rule.

Regarding narcissism and the dark triad traits in general, Alphas/Sigmas tend to embody more positive adaptive versions of these traits, whereas Gammas (and possibly Omegas) embody more maladaptive versions, and Betas/Deltas really don't score high for any of the three. Narcissus himself was celibate (despite tremendous physical beauty), which is often the fate of Gammas and Omegas alike. If you take the pleasurable aspects of the dark triad traits and apply them to a man he will be more Alpha, and if you take the nastier aspects and apply them to a man he will be more Gamma than anything else. Remove them altogether and you get a more boring, but more stable version of man in the Delta/Beta.

AustralianIrishman said...

@VFM #7634

Cheers for the link, solid article.

Re: synthetic alphas, the reason I used the example of a narcissist was because narcissists don't just enjoy validation/adoration like most people, they are best thought of as being addicted to it. In much the same was as an amphetamine or heroin addict will go into withdrawal if you remove their drug, the narcissist goes into withdrawal if you remove his validation. His sense of self basically collapses without it.

A good example of the narcissistic mindset compared to a Machiavellian one is in a conversation between Tywin Lannister (more Machiavellian) and Jamie Lannister (more narcissistic) in the first season of Game of Thrones. Jamie has recently fought Ned Stark, but chose not to kill him. I'm writing this from memory so the specific words may be off, but the gist is the same:

Tywin: Then why isn't he dead?
Jamie: It wouldn't have been clean
Tywin: You care too much what people think of you
Jamie: I couldn't care less what people think of me
Tywin: No, *that's* what you want people to think of you (emphasis on that's)

Tywin is more of a Machiavellian - if dancing trough the streets in a pink skirt singing about blowing dudes got him all the power and wealth in the land he just might do it. Jamie is more of a narcissist, he needs people's adoration and, in some contexts, fear to maintain his self regard.

That's why I was suggesting an overly narcissistic man (it's not binary, it's a scale) can almost by definition not have the "Alpha mindset", even if they display a lot of Alpha behaviours in many contexts.

Prof. Spudd said...

Well, G.R.R. Martin is a Gamma, so he'll have an innate tendency to write Gamma characters. That might explain a few things.

Jeremy Cole said...

The same here. I don't quite understand the difficulty in grasping that while rank is always relative, the underlying behaviors remain the same! javascript obfuscator

Jackie Chun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jackie Chun said...

7643: It's more than characters, it's the whole world. People go out of their way just to spit on tyrion, whose intentions are often overly kind. Cf the dialogue between tyrion and Robb in the first book.

John Rockwell said...

What's puzzling about Hitler and Stalin is how as Gammas manages to captivate so many people and inspire fanatic obedience.

Certainly they can get any woman they wanted at this point.

Desdichado said...

@Elocutioner: I know; I didn't post that link because of the label, but because of the story it contained.

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