If you pay attention to thousands of years of history then you have thousands of years of experience at your fingertips. Myths, for example, have had all the dross removed, so we end up with stories about what Russell Kirk called "the permanent things."
If you are smart you learn from other people's experience. If you are average you learn from your own experience. If you are stupid you don't even learn from your own.
Parents are supposed to tell you the things you don't know. Unfortunately these days most of them don't tell you some very important things. Lots of churches don't do their job, either. There is certainly no excuse for their failure, because they have about three thousand years of experience to transmit to you. Some do their job, I suppose, but I certainly don't know where they are.
Here has been my experience:
Infatuation (middle school puppy love) is mostly based on need.
Lust is based on taking.
Love is based on giving.
Father Robert Barron did say that love is "willing the good of the other." He said it gets you of the "black hole of your own subjectivity, your own egocentrism."
Traditionally such love, so described, is a theological virtue.
In love, then, you're supposed to overcome your narcissism.
In the not-so-distant past narcissism was described by the Bible as Pride, which the Greeks called Hubris. The Greeks also had a myth about Narcissus.
Narcissus, Pride and Hubris have all been expanded on, and if people pay attention they can learn some very useful things.
In all of the Cluster B personality disorders (so prevalent today) what they have in common is self-centeredness and a lack of empathy. In other words, they're a combination of infatuation and lust. But love? No.
The worst is Antisocial Personality Disorder (psychopathy), in which the person shows a pervasive disregard for the rights of others, lack of empathy, and (generally) a pattern of regular criminal activity. The worst of these people are the serial killers, and a lot of them are necrophiliacs and sometimes cannibals.
Then there is Borderline Personality Disorder, in which there is extreme "black and white" thinking, instability in relationships, self-image, identity and behavior often leading to self-harm and impulsiveness. Susan Smith, who put her kids in a car and drove it into a lake, was a borderline.
Another one is Histrionic Personality Disorder. These people show pervasive attention-seeking behavior including inappropriately seductive behavior and shallow or exaggerated emotions. These are almost always women - I've met them. I've met all these people.
Probably most well-known is Narcissistic Personality Disorder, in which the person shows a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. It's characterized by self-importance, preoccupations with fantasies, belief that they are special, including a sense of entitlement and a need for excessive admiration, and extreme levels of jealousy and arrogance.
All of these disorders are incurable.
John Douglas, the retired FBI profiler of psychopathic serial killers, found all of them were motivated only by domination, manipulation and control - power over others. They had no consciences. They had no guilt. They were incapable of love. They blamed their problems on other people. They were excruciatingly sensitive to being humiliated. To them everything is about taking, not giving.
They have no respect for you whatsoever. They don't consider people human, just things to be manipulated. That's why serial killers, who say they feel "wonderful" while torturing people, said that mutilating them is like "working on a doll."
Douglas also found that every one of them had a very bad family life and had been horribly abused.
I've been reading the Manosphere for two years. There is a lot of dangerous nonsense in it. One of the most well-known concepts in it is that of the Dark Triad: narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy.
The Dark Triad is supposed to be an admirable thing. It's not. There is nothing admirable about it at all, and those who think it is are clueless because they're not paying attention to the truth and instead are paying attention to lies.
The Dark Triad is all about narcissism and the inability to love.
Heinz Kohut, who studied narcissism his professional life, associated narcissism with the protection of a "radically weak, shamed, or damaged self." This is why I point out that narcissists are wimps who cover it up with bluster. It's why bullies are cowards.
Otto Kernberg, a contemporary of Kohut's, referred to psychopaths as suffering a "total destruction of the super-ego" (conscience). (By the way, if anyone does not know who Kohut and Kernberg are, they have no business whatsoever talking about narcissists and psychopaths.)
As Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) told the gunsel Wilmer in The Maltese Falcon: "The gaudier the crook the cheaper the patter."
"I feel sorry for them in a way," writes Lisa Scott. "Narcissists are not able to experience the joy of loving another. Sure, they think they love you but that's because they are dependent on you for survival, not because they are in love with you in any mature, adult or romantic way. They truly cannot help it. They simply never developed feelings such as love and empathy."
"Laughing as he tortured and raped and killed."
Notice how this psychopathic serial killer runs like the coward he is when caught, then hangs his head when getting out of the van. Some of the deluded have referred to him (with his rotten teeth and body odor) as an "Alpha." They don't know what they are talking about.
The Dark Triad is supposed to be a combination of Psychopathy, Narcissism and Machiavellianism. Whoever came up with this concept didn't know what he was talking about, either.
A psychopath already is a narcissist, but a narcissist isn't necessarily a psychopath. So whoever came up with the Dark Triad doesn't understand what a psychopath or a narcissist is.
As for Machiavellianism, that is a political philosophy. James Burnham, in his book, The Machiavellians, claimed Machiavelli's importance is that he showed how politics worked (although you can pretty much find the same information in the Bible.) If you want to sum up what Machiavelli wrote: politics is a cesspool, and no decent person wants anything to do with it. Why? Because it's full of narcissists and psychopaths, who only destroy and never create.
You cannot turn yourself into a psychopath, and not only that, you don't even want to show any traits. The worst of psychopaths are the serial killers, and most of them - I will point this out again - are necrophiliacs and sometimes cannibals. Often they mutilate their victims and have sex with their body parts, as did Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy.
Some guys (whom I refer to as The Lost Boys of the Manosphere) think if they show traits of the Dark Triad they'll be popular and get the girls. Ask yourself this: do you really want low-class girls like that, who are attracted to those guys?
Most of the women I've know like this have been strippers, drug addicts, whores and groupies, and those who aren't have fucked-up their lives and ended as spinsters without husband, home and children. Every one of them I've known who has been married and has kids has also been divorced.
Women who have this disorder to an extreme are diagnosed as having Hybristophilia - "a paraphilia of the predatory type in which sexual arousal, facilitation, and attainment of orgasm are responsive to and contingent upon being with a partner known to have committed an outrage, or crime, such as rape, murder, or armed robbery." These are the kinds of women who write letters to serial killers.
I was raised in a very bad area. That's why I have no use for the narcissists and psychopaths of the Dark Triad, because I know what they are and what they do. Murders, rapes, a serial killer who murdered a woman I worked with. I saw some drug-addled oaf hold a pistol to a woman's head. A woman I know had her two teenage daughters raped and murdered and their bodies thrown off a bridge. Men I know dead from suicide and drug overdoses. The first time I saw someone shoot up I was 15 years old. I've pulled pistols on thugs attacking me in the street.
The Lost Boys know nothing of these things. They know nothing of life. If they did, they wouldn't support the Dark Triad in the slightest. Instead, they engage in every psychological defense there is: projection, denial and most especially rationalization.
Like everyone else, they seek meaning and importance in life, only they don't know to find it. They desperately seek understanding, including becoming enamored of Evolutionary Psychology, which they grossly misunderstand (none of them know the difference between a hypothesis and a theory, the null hypothesis and Type I and Type II errors. Basic statistics and probability? Regression analysis? Forget it.).
The Lost Boys can't figure out how to talk to a woman, so they seek advice from "the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires." You know the kind - liars and frauds and weaklings such as Roissy and Roosh.
They confuse having confidence in yourself with the psychopath's superficial charm and ability to read people, which they always use to exploit and hurt.
Those who believe in and promote the Dark Triad are afraid they're wimps. They're little men, with poor self-concepts, who are terrified of humiliation. They're trying to protect their "radically weak, shamed or damaged" selves with bluster, insults and claims they are "Alphas" and "Sigmas" and anyone who sees through them is a "Gamma" or "Delta" or "Omega."
Bullies on top; cowards underneath. Men who never learned how to deal with women, so they turn into celebrities some internet bloggers, whose ideas they memorize and whom they attempt to imitate, because they never learned to be men (which is why all of them have problems with women).
As for those they imitate, they confuse their being articulate with being wise. There is an old saying, and it's a true one: "Do you judge a dog wise because he barks well?"
These guys are not role models. They are not models or mentors. Remember what George Carlin said about that. He is right.