I Have Seen the Future and It Is Frank Yang
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December 19th, 2020
During the Daniel Ingram session last week, somebody privately messaged me that I should invite Frank Yang to The Stoa.
I usually trust these random recommendations, and that is how a lot of guests get chosen here. I was not aware of who Frank was, but when I started watching some of his videos, I was like: who the fuck is this guy?!
I immediately fell in love, and I invited him to The Stoa shortly after the Ingram session, without even fully watching one of his videos. When the daemon knows, he knows. I knew he needed to visit us, which he did yesterday, and it was an awesome session.
I recommend you watch some of his videos to get a sense of him. He started off in the bodybuilder scene on YouTube, and did wild and provocative videos, dropping lines such as: The only two things I care about in life are pussy and consciousness.
He documented his bodybuilding journey from being a skinny dude to becoming a shredded dude. He then started documenting his experiences with rigorous meditation practices, recording himself on retreats he went on, and “dark nights” he experienced. He now claims to be fully enlightened, and people whose discernment I trust in this area tell me his claims could be legit.
This is all fascinating of course, but the thing that fascinates me most about Frank’s journey, from becoming fully shredded to fully enlightened, is that he documented the whole thing in the spectacle. I was corresponding with him before he came on—code-switching to “brah speak” of course—and told him the following: instead of allowing the spectacle to make you its bitch, you made the spectacle your bitch.
The whole thing with the spectacle is that it is very easy to be in the wrong relationship with it, and it can quickly amplify suffering, and degrade the human experience, as Guy Debord notes: the decline of being into having, and having into merely appearing.
But Yang, a fellow Coyote Man, who obviously has been listening to the daemon for a while, figured out an escape hatch. He leveraged appearing to pop into full being, and he did so in such a beautiful way. It is so impressive.
In a previous entry I wrote about something I referred to as “performative narcissism,” which is basically having good spectacle game:
Let's be fuckable together, physically and spiritually, in a wise way. We all want to fuck, so let’s not pretend that we don’t. Sensing into this, this is not coming from a narcissistic place, despite appearances, but from a spiritually aligned place that has a performative narcissistic quality to it. If we are going to steal the culture we cannot be narcissists, that puts us at risk of getting hijacked by the demons, but we will have to be performative narcissists to be effective in the spectacle.
Of course, this is knife’s edge stuff, as one can have bad spectacle game, and try to leverage status in a way that is not authentic nor healthy. Jack Donovan’s words from The Way of Men are coming to mind:
I’ve observed this in the few brief introductions I’ve had to Brazilian jiu-jitsu, in gyms where everyone rolls with everyone. Men find out quickly who is good, and who isn’t. There is no hiding or pretending and it doesn’t matter whether or not your Internet profile picture looks tough or if you put on a good show—because here is this guy who is choking you out. You are revealed as what you are, and all that remains is to improve.
Being revealed is the key, and Frank’s bodybuilding exploits are informative here. Unless you are a really good actor, and purchase fake weights, you are going to get revealed if you cannot squat X amount of pounds, with proper form. When the camera is on you, there is very little bullshit you can get away with there.
It gets trickier to get revealed with the enlightenment stuff of course, but this is why Frank puts the following up in his recent videos: everything stated can be verified through your direct experience.
It also gets tricky with virtue. When Derek Sivers visited The Stoa, we discussed how I came out as a Stoic since COVID came online. If you’d been reading these entries, you’ll know I do not really care if I am actually a Stoic, but I do like playing one on the spectacle, and I do find playing one on the spectacle has indeed been increasing my virtue.
There are some things that cannot be fully revealed in the spectacle though, and enlightenment and virtue are two of those things. Also, being enlightened or virtuous does not exclude one from becoming a performative narcissist, nor from cultivating good spectacle game.
I’d argue that one would need to cultivate this game, for both defensive and offensive reasons, if one wants to influence the culture for the better. The former is what Pat Ryan calls “noise control,” and the latter is that “seduce the culture” shit. This spectacle game is a separate game from the enlightened or virtuous games, which are also separate games from the seducing the culture game.
This is what the metagame is all about, getting all the games you are playing in the right relationship with one another. Some people have accused me of narcissism in the past, and I am not going to deny I've had narcissistic slips, but I would say these accusations are coming from a poverty of vision, and a crude understanding of what narcissism actually is, and what it could be used for.
I also sense this criticism comes from a lack of skill to be narcissistic in the right way. It is a dangerous game to get skilled at this of course. Having the capacity to influence the spectacle with one's avatar is not something one should foolheartedly rush into, but it seems Frank has played it beautifully thus far.
I sense he will have a role to play in the seduction of the culture, especially thanks to his understanding of pick-up artistry, and his skillfulness in the broadcast medium. Frank also seems to intuit that one will need to seduce the culture before one can heal the culture.
I have seen the future and it is Frank Yang, and I wish my new friend the best of luck.