Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Mailvox: maintaining rank

RL asks about the way in which old tendencies periodically resurface:
I've seen a number of Gamma-related posts on AlphaGamePlan lately, and it got me thinking. I used to be very Gamma. Now, partly through following a lot of your advice, and that of some good people in my life, I've turned a lot of that around. Thank you for that. I truly appreciate what you do, and I doubt I'm alone in that gratitude.

These days, I have a good woman in my life. No, not some stunning supermodel.  You and most of your readers would regard her as rather plain, no doubt. Probably a 5 or 6, tops. But I went from having a lot of trouble attracting women, to attracting average women very easily, and pretty girls on occasion (but that was harder and never lasted long). She is feminine, loyal, and we've been together a long time now. On our second child. My income has tripled, I've become stronger physically, though again, nothing terribly impressive. Just went from wimpy to normal.

But every now and again, the Gamma side reasserts itself temporarily. Or at least it tries to. Old habits just don't want to die completely. Usually when the episode passes, I tell folks (truly) that I was just temporarily crazy, and if I wronged anybody I try to make amends for it. Most of the time I keep a lid on it, but other Gammas might want to know that this may be a lifelong battle, if their experience is anything like mine.

Is it ever really possible to move up a rank permanently? Because at times, I start thinking that though I've come a very long way, and I probably look Delta-ish (with just some weird quirky behavior once in a while) to most people, there's always a part of me that's always mired in that Gamma crap. Gamma is almost like Jungian Anima possession, in that way.

Does anyone ever fully expel that garbage? Do you know anyone who did? And if so, how? Just keep trucking? Or is there something else a man ought to do once he's seen as generally Delta-like?
Delta is good. Delta is, for some, a wonderful achievement. But I don't think anyone ever completely outgrows their old psychological habits. My suspicion is that it's rather like working out and physical fitness; the more you use your new habits, the stronger they are, the less you use them, the weaker they become.

If you think about it, even old Alphas far past their prime tend to show a flash of their confidence and swagger from time to time, so it should be no surprise if an ex-Gamma should revert to his previous form on occasion. The fact that you've learned not to make use of certain psychological channels doesn't mean they don't exist anymore.

It's certainly all too easy for me to revert to Omega patterns in social situations and retreat into a quiet corner, or better yet, another room entirely. Spacebunny has long known that if she can't find me at a social engagement, she only has to locate the library.


Stg58/Animal Mother said...

I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was.

RL, good job and congrats on the self improvement. Happy to hear you've been able to achieve success.

Aeoli Pera said...


By analogy, I wonder what is the preventative maintenance schedule.

dc.sunsets said...

We are who we are, IMO. We don't eliminate weaknesses, but we can identify them and then route around them. I discover their antecedents and then avoid them, leaving more time for amplifying strengths.

Self-improvement is a lifelong path, not a destination in my experience.

Githyanki said...

Yes, the Gamma side. Could use some advice on keeping the lid on it myself. Blew my top today dealing with government red tape. Fortunately nothing too offensive, and I was able to salvage the situation.

And good job RL, I guess at a certain point one is as good as it gets. The hardest for me to deal with is that attitude of "I have a right to my resentment because I was wronged in the past by others."

I am less interested in gaming a 7 ish girl than I have in getting some peace with myself and the past. At 57 that is simply priorities. Having mood swings due to co morbid depression and stress issues does not help either, but I get by.

I do meditation btw, and it does help if I don't let the habit slip. I would have preferred a gentler wake up call than the red pill and recognising the gamma ness from vox days posting.

While VD is not gentle on us, I hope that my fellow gammas simply use the info for some honest introspection and get to work.

As regards the lack of social awareness that haunts us so much, now that is a hard one. And I for one always need time by myself to recharge after relating to others

The best advice I can give in a nutshell:
Active listening is as simple as:
"Listen to what is repeated". (But note the exception).

This repetition may be pretty much anything, such as basic beliefs, tropes and attitudes that come up time and again in conversation. The socially acceptable side of people is actually fairly easy to read.

The exception comes on the dark side of a persons character. You are not likely to see this in action more than once, and should take note for self protection.

When it comes to making body language more reliable: Use the rule of three.

Any single tell that occurs three times in a row is fairly reliable and accurate. Should 3 single negative tells occur at the same time - Do not sign that contract, do not propose, get out as fast as you can and do not look back. You have a red flag there.

If you need to follow up, you can try the following: Ask 5 times why 5 different ways. You should get a read on the situation by the 3rd try, actually.

If you have 3 positive tells at the same time - double check, then chill it. You are most likely good to go.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I don’t know your beliefs, but I think wisdom should be sought and found in the Bible even by the secular. Paul can shed some light on this subject. Here he is in Romans 7, describing the problem:

“I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.” (Emphasis mine)

He brings up and addresses these tendencies in several of his letters, but I think his solution is the most articulate in Colossians 3:

If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Emphasis mine)

The answer to our self destructive nature, from the perspective of a Christian dealing with sin, is that we obtain and embrace a new identity, and we perceive the reemergence of sin as from a past life which we have deliberately put to death. The new identity is Christ himself, and in fixating on him, his life, and his teachings, we become transformed in our thinking and our actions.

It sounds to me like you are on the right path for overcoming those habits, so this ought to be an encouragement. I don’t think we ever escape the law of evil being close at hand, but I do believe in transformation when a person truly believes he has died to his old ways and has a model to pursue for a new way of life.

I hope you were able to find some insight in this analogy, and that you continue to find success. I also think that the Christian virtues Paul continues to describe later in Colossians 3 are an anti-gamma way of life, in a manner of speaking, so he is worth reading further in this matter.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the lure of a library away from the party, I almost always have a book with me at social events. When I need a break from interacting with people, I will politely retreat and dive into the book for awhile. I also found, unexpectedly, that the book can draw the attention of some intelligent and interesting people and serve as a conversation starter.

If anyone complains about it, I simply tell them, "Is it my fault that C.S. Lewis is the most interesting person in the room?"

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Unknown said...

When I'm at a party and feel awkward, I like to get a plate and spin it on the floor and flap my hands up and down. Alternatively, I will squat in the corner and act very excited and intrigued by some object on the floor, and if somebody comes over to inquire, I then launch into a highly technical monologue about some topic that they are unlikely to know about.

It's critical to establish rapport with other party-goers by insulting them. Retreating to a mental zone of self-circumscribed superiority, and praising some long-deceased author as "more interesting than anyone in this room" is a great way to do that.

Seriously though, I do agree that it is a beneficial thing to evaluate oneself in the context of the SSH and it's related traits.

Furthermore, the spam comment above by "Mechanium" reminds me of the word "meconium", and that could be a funny name to call someone, in the context of its attributes.

Matt said...

Vox, did you notice yourself losing the Sigma hedonist killer instinct, once you got married, or Spacebunny kept you on your toes?

Mr.MantraMan said...

Ditto on Delta is good

Zarathustra's Bastard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zarathustra's Bastard said...

Vox, your 'delta is often a good path to happiness' doctrine is a great relief. I like the ruthlessness of the discourse over at Chateau Heartiste, but damn if 'synthetic alpha' doesn't sound like a hard life. For a lot of us who've had Gamma and Omega tendencies, learning just not to self-sabotage with stupid Gamma shit makes a massive difference.

I've known several men who are definitely not alphas in that they don't aggressively compete for social rank, and aren't sigmas in that they're happy to be part of the group, and not really betas in that they're also quite happy to be doing their own thing - they're average joe deltas, just deltas who are good at their jobs and unquestioningly comfortable with who they are. I've not known a man like that who's been a real player, but most of them marry young and to pretty women, maybe 6-8's. I wonder if it's worth distinguishing these 'delta primes' in the hierarchy.
June 6, 2017 at 7:29 PM

Anonymous said...

RL here. I appreciate the advice, and it definitely makes sense. Not much more to say, I suppose, except I'll just keep trucking as before, then. Seems to be the best way forward. There's really little to complain about it anyway. I mean, I wish I could eliminate all the last vestiges of gammaness. If there was a surefire way to be rid of it, I'd take it in a second. But either way, things are so much better these days than before.

You are right, Delta is good. And that was a big hurdle, admitting that Delta truly is a higher rank than Gamma. Once firmly embedded in the Delta world, that seems so obvious. But when mired in the gammatude? Much harder to see that.

As you put it, I'll keep myself in good mental shape. The analogy of working out is a good one. As always, thank you for the advice, and the work you do.

If I obtain some more SJW skulls, I will be sure to pay tribute to the Supreme Dark Lord. I imagine one can never have too many.

Megamerc said...

Spacebunny has long known that if she can't find me at a social engagement, she only has to locate the library.

For those who are accustomed to thinking about and discussing greater questions of personal interest, listening to friends or acquaintances talk of more banal things is nearly unbearable. Uninterested in the conversation, retreat is mostly necessary to relieve boredom for the more intelligent, and relieve discomfort for the less socially adept (and many times both).

Whenever I see someone retreat from a social group for no apparent reason I assume they are either a) bored, b) more comfortable alone, c) both a and b.

I've had some incredible conversations with options a and (to a lesser extent) c, because it's just a matter of finding the interests.

With option b, you can start to draw them out in one-on-one conversation because they are less nervous than they are in the group. Made some clingy friends that way.

It is a good way to identify Omega/Sigma tendencies in other people, although a bored Sigma is more likely to leave the party altogether than find a corner to himself. Someone is always following the Sigma, usually a girl, and unless he wants to amuse himself with that follower, he'll just disappear or make a bold exit. The thing with the Sigma is people look up and wonder where he went, sad that he left. But with Omegas, people wonder where he went and start to worry about his mental health

Unknown said...

On the subject of social situations, I think an important thing is to stop worrying about how you yourself feel about (i.e., bored, awkward, etc.), and think about how the other people are feeling, and take it upon yourself to engage others and make them feel better about themselves. For example, find an alpha and act interested in his pompous bluster, or find a gamma and try to help him feel less paranoid. Feign interest, and you might unlock or discover something interesting. Basic cheesy dale carnegie stuff.

Also, identify the hottest, most intimidating woman, and say hello and make some small talk.

With an objective, an agenda, of discovering an interesting human connection, you have traction for the interaction.

phunktor said...

O library! As a fucking Yankee (as seen from the Deep Deep South - my actual roots are in KY and NC) in a strange land, the library at Auckland Grammar school was my Omega refuge. The 50 years of back issues of Scientific American (back when it was both) probably shaped me as much as anything else that happened in that fine institution.

And one day I came out of that library, challenged a tormentor. and in the unofficial official blind spot behind the library, educated him in the biophysics of a left jab. I was expecting to get beat up, but I had had enough. Good times, good times.

phunktor said...

O library! As a fucking Yankee (as seen from the Deep Deep South - my actual roots are in KY and NC) in a strange land, the library at Auckland Grammar school was my Omega refuge. The 50 years of back issues of Scientific American (back when it was both) probably shaped me as much as anything else that happened in that fine institution.

And one day I came out of that library, challenged a tormentor. and in the unofficial official blind spot behind the library, educated him in the biophysics of a left jab. I was expecting to get beat up, but I had had enough. Good times, good times.

phunktor said...

"Identify with hottest woman".. All time best line "Tired of puppies yet?".

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Anonymous said...

@Dedd Sirius

It is possible you haven't fully grasped the dilemma facing those of us who truly do not enjoy or have no interest in parties and social events. They are a significant part of life for most active people, and the problem does need to be dealt with. I have not found that ignoring my feelings of discontent leads to success. Paul may have wished that all Christian men could remain unmarried, like he did, but he was wise enought to acknowledge that ignoring lust is not a long term solution for most men.

The reason I bring a book to parties is not to escape from the party. If I wished to do that, as others have pointed out, I would just leave. The reason is to maximize my ability to be social and enjoy the people around me. If I am able to detach for just a few minutes in a good book, I can let any feelings of annoyance and frustration subside and then start another conversation. Not only that, but as I said, a book is an excellent topic of discussion, which many people are grasping for at parites.

I don't look down at anyone at a social gathering, and I don't blame anyone for being uninteresting during them. It is just a fact of life from my perspective, and the book is the best solution I have discovered. The irony behind your statements is that you clearly look down on the people who struggle to enjoy social events.

slarrow said...

Another thing to keep in mind is that you're always going to struggle. You're going to struggle against your body and its habits (see the apostle Paul, or Mike Cernovich, or Scott Adams). You're going to struggle against your training you received growing up which may or may not work well in your modern context. You're going to struggle against the countervailing culture that's always trying you to get you to be someone it wants, not necessarily what you want.

It doesn't stop. But that's okay, because life is struggle. That's where great things come from.

For reference, I consider myself a natural Beta (traits and abilities) with Delta training from my dad (work hard, provide for your family, sacrifice) and Gamma influence from the larger culture (deference to women, caution, frowning on direct conflict.) At any time, it's a question about what pattern I'm following: one I've chosen, or one that's been instilled in me. Cernovich talks about being filled with other people's thoughts; Jordan Peterson talks about sub-personalities competing for attention. People are complicated creatures.

That soup isn't going to go away. As Vox says, though, the key is establishing the habits that you choose to navigate your way through the confusion. It makes it easier to become yourself and not just a collection of other people's desires. (Not easy, just easier. I've got a long way to go myself.)

Unknown said...


I respect you and I think your technique is clever and useful. I understand what you are describing.

I was just being sarcastic and jerky for a cheap laugh.

Feather Blade said...

Re: libraries as refuge VS hamming it up to draw attention.

Sound like a perfect description of introvert VS extrovert to me.

Anonymous said...

@Dedd Sirius

Bless you, my friend. I enjoy this weblog and all the commenting immensely. For the sake of your amusement, I'll have you know that I brough Lewis's "The Weight of Glory" to a dinner party last night, and struck up a fantastic conversation about how Christians perceive Heaven.

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