Opening to the Poetic w/ Brooke McNamara. March 4th @ 11:00 AM ET. RSVP here.
March 3rd, 2021
I tweeted out an epic quote recently that received over 300 likes: The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools. I thought Thucydides wrote that, but apparently it was from Sir William F. Butler, a British Army officer from the nineteenth century.
Why is this quote so epic? Well, it seems pretty true for one thing, as it does seem like the characteristics and skills of the scholar and of the warrior do not intersect much. To bring the cardinal virtues into this: the scholar could have prudence but they may lack courage, while the warrior could have courage but they may lack prudence. I want to have both of course, and I imagine the 300 plus people who liked that quote want both as well.
Prudence is that calm and slow reasonable deliberation about what matters most at the knife’s edge of what is happening now for you. Journaling helps for this, so do nice leisurely philosophical walks, as well as getting into dialogos with your friends of virtue. Courage is important as well, because it is about doing the shit you do not want to do but know you need to do. You can reason all you want, but if you cannot actuate that reason, then what good is that reason?
You need both virtues of course, as courage and prudence—along with the other two cardinal virtues, temperance and justice—balance each other. I am not saying I am super prudent, courageous, tempered, or just, but I am saying that I want to be all of these things.
This got me thinking about how the cardinal virtues are showing up in various aspects of people’s lives, and how they can be influential in unforeseen ways. This eventually got me thinking about how mating strategies influence one’s way of philosophizing, in the Stoic sense of the word, which is about manifesting virtue. I will be writing about heterosexual men and heterosexual relationships in this entry, because I am a heterosexual man in a heterosexual relationship.
Which virtue is hotter in a man? Prudence or courage? On a visceral level this seems pretty obvious: courage. I could be biased because of the non-academic anthropological research I have personally undertaken in the sexual marketplace, as well as the many evolutionary biology books I have read. While I do think there is flexibility in sexual desires, and there exists a diversity of kinks, I am not a blank slatist, and I am not into scientism either, but I do think my former therapist is right when he said: women are not attracted to the man who has the gold, but the man who can get the gold.
On a physical level, if we agree with the evolutionary biologists, and books like “Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty,” then physically attractive males, on average, are tall, have a swimmer's build, with a lean muscular physique. Basically a man who looks like they can get the gold. On a personality level, the cliché of “confidence is an aphrodisiac” is basically true, because confidence is about self-belief, and one needs to believe they can get the gold before they go for the gold.
Regardless if these things are inspired from immutable biological realities or intersubjective narratives constructed from patriarchy, the thing is that these beliefs currently do exist, and belief has influence on how reality manifests. One needs to be aware of the contours of the belief space that currently exist, and have the capacity to operate effectively within it, in order to find the borders between belief and reality.
In the pick-up artist literature they often use the dichotomy between alpha males and beta males, to crudely delineate those who are successful in the sexual marketplace and those who are not. The latter often engages in concealed mating strategies, such as: being a nice guy, getting friend zoned, and being a “white knight,” which is the manosphere term for when a man jumps to a woman’s rescue for disingenuous reasons.
And those disingenuous reasons are this: they really want sex and they think that coming to their rescue will inspire sexual relations. It might be uncharitable to reduce this—along with the nice guy and friend zone positioning—to machinations for getting laid, but these machinations are a real thing, with humans and non-humans alike.
This is similar to what zoologists apparently call kleptogamy, or the “sneaky-fucker strategy,” where low-status males use sneaky means to mate with the females. As mentioned in a previous entry, I pretty much read every book in the pick-up artist scene, even more obscure ones like “Mode One: Let the Women Know What You're Really Thinking,” by Alan Roger Currie.
Currie detailed the sneaky fucker strategy in his four mode model. I’ll describe each mode below ...
Mode 1: A man expresses his desires directly, without neediness. Strong, and effective.
Mode 2: A man expresses his desires indirectly, without neediness. Weak, but effective.
Mode 3: A man expresses his desires indirectly, with neediness. Weak, and ineffective.
Mode 4: A man expresses his desires directly, with neediness. Strong, but ineffective.
The ineffective modes, Modes 3 and 4, can be seen as the wimp and misogynous according to Currie. The effective weak one, Mode 2, is what Currie refers to as the gentlemen, and the effective strong one, Mode 1, can be seen as the Stoic … well no, Currie did not bestow that name on this mode, but it is the mode he advocates men to learn.
I think his Mode 3 nicely describes the sneaky fucker strategy. Currie also describes the mindset of those who adopt this strategy: when you hide, deny, and/or ‘camouflage’ your true, honest needs, desires, interests, and intentions from women. Your behavior is usually phony, hypocritical, wimpy, deceitful, and ‘wishy-washy.’
The sneaky fucker strategy, especially when it manifests as the nice guy approach, does not engender attraction from women. Reactionaries in the manosphere dunk on these guys, and feminists dunk on them as well. In feminist circles, the mental model of the Nice Guys™ exists to describe the phenomenon of a man who feels entitled to women just because he is nice.
I am not here to dunk on Mode 3’ing Nice Guys™, trying to sneakily fuck in the friend zone, but yeah, I am kind of dunking on them. The signal in the dunking is this though: I do not trust guys who do not know what they are doing with women. I also do not trust guys who know what they are doing with women, but are manipulative, controlling, and Cluster B’ish.
I notice the type of heterosexual man I am homosocially drawn to usually know what they are doing with women, which means they have the capacity to wisely code-switch between Mode 1 and 2 in Currie’s model. In essence, they are attractive men. They also have the capacity to hold space for women, and perhaps the divine feminine herself, and all the wildness she contains.
These are not men who seek validation from women and collapse to the power of the feminine, nor are they men who are resentful towards women, who try to collapse the feminine into their own power. The kind of men I like has the capacity to firmly hold space, in the right way, which is the way that allows the holy sluts to emerge in their full glory.
I am glad that I am aware of these sexual dynamics, because they really help me have better homosocial relationships. I am usually on guard with men who are Mode 3’ing with a sneaky fucker mating strategy. I find there is something consistently untrustworthy in my dealings with them. I also get the sense they do not like me, on a vibe level, especially now that my beard is huge and overflowing with thumos.
And I am cool with this. I am happy for my virtual Stoic Daddy scent to be a screening mechanism to flush out the sneaky fuckers, or inspire them to change their ways. This might be too spicy to say, but whatever, I will speak truthfully: lots of intellectual spaces are full of heterosexual men who unconsciously have a sneaky fucker mating strategy.
Awareness of this strategy helps change this strategy, and yeah, courage is indeed hot. More men need it, because thinking can no longer be done by cowards. A Nietzsche quote comes to mind now, which is provocative, but there is signal in the provocation: Untroubled, scornful, outrageous - that is how wisdom wants us to be: she is a woman and never loves anyone but a warrior.
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