Friday, June 28, 2013

Scapegoating and the Manosphere

I once caught my four-year-old nephew stealing change out of a cup in my car. When he saw me walk out of the house he turned and ran. He made it about ten feet before he fell down. Then he jumped up, pointed at me and yelled, "You made me fall down!" I just smiled. I used to steal change, too. And cookies.

What my nephew did is called projection. It's the first psychological defense children engage in. It's the first one adults use, too. Most don't even know they're doing it.

Projection is when people blame their problems on other people. Sometimes it's called scapegoating. The late psychiatrist M. Scott Peck called scapegoating "the genesis of evil" in the world. He's right.

Whatever word is used, they mean the same thing: I'm good and and you're bad. Because you're bad, you're the cause of my problems, so you must be insulted, mocked, humiliated, denigrated, devalued, ostracized, and at worst, killed.

I see projection all the time among what I call the Lost Boys of the Manosphere. They're the ones who think Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Sigmas, Omegas really exist.

Of those who really think they exist, here is what happens (I predicted this): the insecure ones are going to insist they are Alphas/Sigmas. Anyone who disagrees with these silly terms is going to be insulted as an Omega, Gamma, Beta. It's happened to me.

I'll repeat again: that's what scapegoating/projection is. I am good and you are bad. I will idealize myself and devalue you.

It's based on our inborn narcissism: either idealized or devalued. Grandiosity covering up insecurity. Those who claim they are Alpha/Sigma and scapegoat those who disagree with those terms are themselves terrified that they are the Gammas, Betas and Omegas of the world. They're projecting their own "badness" onto other people. Onto men, and onto women.

They are using grandiosity to cover up their feelings of humiliation and insecurity.

If you want to use those terms, every man is simultaneously an Alpha, a Beta, a Gamma, a Sigma, and an Omega. That's what I am, as is every man.

The Manosphere is a needed, in fact inevitable, reaction to the evils of feminism, which itself tries to humiliate and devalue men. And in fact has. But it's making a detour into some bad places.

Some of those in the Manosphere are doing the same thing to women that women have done to them: you are loveless, greedy, rationalizing, gold-digging whores with no self-awareness whatsoever, and you are the cause of my and society's problems. You can't devalue women much more than that. They're devaluing women and blaming their problems on them so they can make themselves feel better ("I am an Alpha! I am a Sigma! You're a gold-digger and a whore!").

These Manosphere concepts are the mirror image of feminist concepts such "patriarchy," "oppression," "sexism," "lookism," ad infinitum, ad nauseum. They're just as deluded and just as dangerous.

The ancient Greeks, even though at times utter shitheads, were terrifyingly intelligent. They understood what Hubris is: thinking way too much of yourself until you lose your sense of what's right and wrong. They understood the opposite of it: Sophrosyne, or understanding yourself and realistically assessing yourself and your strengths and weaknesses. Often it's described as "Nothing in excess" and "Know thyself."

And you know what? Almost all the people in the Manosphere know of the concepts of Alpha, Beta, etc. but don't have a clue about Hubris and Sophrosyne. They don't have a clue as to what they are really doing.


Wyowanderer said...

You've been writing some good stuff lately (to be fair, I've been following the blog for less than a year), and this post is a hit out of the park.
I'm amused, then saddened, by the crap the self styled "alphas" write on their blogs, and this post identifies their problems pretty well.
Nicely done.

Pulp Herb said...

Of course they don't know about Alphas are just a concept that combines the Cad and the Patriarch based on their outward confidence.

Consider your earlier post on reading. By being disconnected from reading and literature they have lost one of the two common ways people learned the constancy of human nature. So many were raised without active fathers they lost the second common way, direct instruction and example.

So, as a group they are trying to recreate the wisdom of the ages, a wisdom they don't even know exists beyond some abstract "people knew better".

Similarly their lack of engagement and knowledge of history (because again it is not taught) mean for them history begins when they can remember, 20, 30, or 40 years ago. Camile Pagila points out feminist suffer from the same blindness in her MIT speech from 1991.

The result is much of the Manosphere. To me it resembles nothing more than a class of high school students who, having be deprived of the basics of mathematics because "they need to discover it for themselves", struggling to create classical algebra and calculus.

The time from Euclid and the first mathematical system in The Elements to Newton and Leibniz creating the Calculus is 2000 years. The general solution of the Fundamental Theorem of Classical Algebra is another century and a half.

The time from the oldest know still extant story (Gilgamesh) to the Classic Greeks you cite as having come up with a more much complete taxonomy of human behavior is about 1500 years and thus on the same order of magnitude.

Expecting young people to independently recreate the work of millenia on the time scales of their lifetime is foolish. They (and all of use) suffer for it.

So, while I don't disagree with your assessment I suspect I find it something to evoke sorrow more than frustration. We have systematically robbed our children of wisdom of which they are the rightful heirs.