Weird Stoicism

Tomorrow’s events:

  • 33 Myths of the System w/ Darren Allen. October 20th @ 12:00 PM ET. RSVP here.

  • Reflective Structured Dialogue w/ Jill DeTemple. October 20th @ 2:00 PM ET. RSVP here.

  • Entrepreneurialism as a Spiritual Practice w/ Derek Sivers. October 20th @ 7:00 PM ET. RSVP here.

  • The Dawn of the Metatribe w/ Tyler Alterman. October 20th @ 8:00 PM ET. RSVP here.

Newly posted events:

  • Dharma Gates: Deep Meditation Training for Social Change w/ Aaron Stryker. November 11th @ 12:00 PM ET. RSVP here.

An event to get excited about:

  • High Pitch: Conversations in a New Key w/ Bonnitta Roy, Nora Bateson, Ria Baeck, Miriam Mason Martineau, Ece Utkucan Anderson, and Schuyler Brown. October 22nd @ 12:00 PM ET. RSVP by clicking the click below.

This is going to be epic.


October 19, 2020

I received an email the other day, which made me say to myself: yes, that is totally it. 

It was a comment on masculinity:

This work you're doing is so impressive and deserving of respect. Rock on, dude. I'm hopeful that this brand of 'somewhat weird' masculinity you're presenting becomes a new normal.

Weird masculinity. I dig that. 

I imagine he said this because of my recent writings on masculinity, where I am not shy about showing my violent thumos side. Also, the weird comment is probably in service to how I am reappropriating memes and concepts from all of the memetic tribes, and how I am going balls-out with truthfulness.

The term Weird Stoicism also came to mind, and that also feels really right. I have written about “metamodern masculinity” and “metamodern Stoicism” before, and while the “metamodern” seems descriptively accurate enough, it did not fully resonate with me. Weird Stoicism is hitting that resonant spot. 

I think this is even more descriptively accurate than metamodern Stoicism. I do not think it is fair to call anything properly metamodern, as it seems more of an aspirational movement at the moment. I see the metamodern types currently in the process of hop-skipping away from the culture war, in order to find a temporary home so they can do some meta-systematic work, and avoid being forcefully drafted in the war. The Stoa is one home where this meta-systematic work is happening. 

In the third entry here on March 25th, I introduced my bff: the daemon. This is probably when things started to get weird. In that entry, I even mentioned a term Venkatesh Rao coined, “the great weirding.”

From that entry: We are living in a constantly changing world, which is wildly disorienting, and we cannot rely on experts or previous best practices to guide us. Also in that entry I dropped that famous Hunter S. Thompson quote: When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

Then I did a call to arms: To all my fellow weirdos who may be reading this, my message is: it is time for us to be deployed. We never really fit into the previous world. We are not good bullshiters, we cannot bootstrap our will to the 9 to 5, and we get terribly bored and awkward in polite company. In essence, we did not want to play that game. 

I think why this Weird Stoicism is resonating so much for me, is that this is what we are doing here at The Stoa, or at least what this steward is doing. I am not doing the meta-systematic work like Jordan Hall, John Vervaeke, and Gregg Henriques. Instead, I am chilling in the great weirding, and building a relationship with all the weird and uncomfortable emotions that come up while being in it. I may also be modelling for others how to do this by writing here.

This is basically me hanging out in the liminal, between worlds. All of my “rapid perspectival code-switching to scramble the pattern-matching of memetic tribes” thing, along with the memetic tribal seduction that is happening (aka “steal the culture”), all might be in service to “holding down the meta,” in order to buy the meta-systematic thinkers some time. 

I also think Weird Stoicism will be more accessible to others outside this space, more than metamodern Stoicism will be. I sense others will view the metamodern term as weirder actually, and nerdier. It could also be accessible in a way that could engender a lovingly dismissing attitude: oh, is it just those Weird Stoics being weird again. 

I think this will be a good thing. It strikes me as a good “playing chess with cancel culture” move, and it could also serve as a screening tool to “find the others.” Basically it screens out those who are responding to the “great weirding” by double-downing in a memetic tribe, or escaping into some normie fantasy of “going back to normal.”

So yeah, maybe we should run with this. We can even start a weird indie band, and call it something like Stoic Daddy and the Weird Stoics. What makes this deliciously enjoyable for me, is that there are only a few people who actually would call themselves a Stoic who come to The Stoa. David McFadzean and Stevan Beattie come to mind, but even then I do not think they hold onto the Stoic label too tightly.

I like how weird it is that 99% of the people who come to The Stoa are not actually Stoics. I sense that some of the Modern Stoics are peeved that I just took the name “The Stoa,” which is the name used to signal the place where Stoicism originated from. I basically took this name and repurposed it for something other than a place to talk about Stoicism. If this does peeve them, then I am glad, because it brings me joy when I give my fellow Stoics an opportunity to practice their Stoicism.

I mentioned in a recent entry how I do not “vibe” with the Modern Stoics, and this vibing thing reminds me of a really good article from a post-rationalist (or postrat) Twitter personality called Rival Voices. In the article, he discusses a niche memetic tribal skirmish in the noosphere, which is ultimately pretty innocent, and that skirmish is between rationalists (or rats) and postrats.

The argument is that there are two things going on with the rats and postrats, and that is the content and the vibe, and it is more so the vibe that explains the beef between the two tribes, as the postrats do not disagree with the propositions of the rats. A “narcissism of small differences” thing is going on here, and maybe this vibe thing is the key to understanding that phenomena. 

In regard to how postrats respond to the rat chieftain, Eliezer Yudkowsky, Rival Voices writes: They don’t deny Eliezer’s content, but they very much deny his vibe. In this denial they substitute Eliezer’s vibe with whichever other vibe. There is no coherent doctrine, no issue positioning, nothing unifying other than the criticism of rats - knowingly or unknowingly because of their disembodied aesthetic - and an attention to aesthetics, since that is what was being disregarded. 

The idea here is that you can get people to express the same propositions, but they will do so with radically different vibes. He uses Eliezer, Curtis Yarvin (Moldbug), and Zero HP Lovecraft as an example: They each have a super strong and distinct from one another vibe to their work. Ask each of them to express the same proposition and you get three very different works that feel very different.

I would say all memetic tribes have distinct vibes. The tribes I probably most vibe with, in the order of most-to-least vibing, are: Game B’ers, postrats, metamodernists, and integral theorists. There are things I do not vibe with them as well.

I vibe with the Game B’ers' coherent optimism, which is a nice mix of grokkable high-level concepts of “what is” and “what could/should be,” with a very sweet existential hope. I do not vibe with what I sense is all of the fanboying and fangirling going on there. And yeah, the concepts of Game B are really great, but it feels like a dry instruction manual, and I do not vibe with instruction manuals.

I vibe with the postrats' quirky “let’s lean into the weirding” playfulness, and as I mentioned in a previous Letter exchange on the topic: Ideas and blogs are their paint-brushes and canvases. They do something called “insight porn” though, which is how they affectionately refer to their writings. I do not vibe with porn.

I vibe with the metamodernists' meta-systematic work, and what a herculean task that is. I do not vibe with what feels like their disembodied hyper-intellectualism. I vibe with the integral theorists' emphasis on developmental frameworks, but I do not vibe with the woo-like soft-cultishness I get from that scene.

Okay. Fuck it. For the sake of truthfulness I am going to risk burning all of my bridges and continue to poorly meta neg the entire noosphere. Here is my hot take on all of the other tribes:

I vibe with the New Atheists' fidelity to reason, and their ability to have a calm-head during heated conversations. I do not vibe with what strikes me as their concealed arrogance and lack of intellectual creativity (and not to mention their hate-boner for God). 

I vibe with the rationalists' unapologetic “I have a super high-IQ and I am not going to hide it,” along with their novel approach to be “less wrong.” I do not vibe with their intellectual uptightness, or what in a previous entry I called: ameliorate-my-anxiety-through-control rationalists.

I vibe with the Intellectual Dark Web’s firm refusal to give in to memetic extortion via “-ism shaming” from the woke tribes. I do not vibe with what seems like their resentful “logic bro” dorkiness.

I vibe with the dirtbag left’s fun and sloppy “fuck you” energy. I do not vibe with their hyper-snarkiness that seems to convey the following: I do not really like myself, and you should not really like yourself either.

I vibe with the various woke tribes in their care for anyone who has been systemically disregarded by society, and who falls outside of what the feminists call the “unmarked category,” aka anyone who is not a Christian white heterosexual cis-gendered male (aka the demographic category I belong to). I do not vibe with their daddy issues.

I vibe with the various reactionary tribes in their masculine edginess, which has that “I am not going to follow your fucking rules anymore” energy. I do not vibe with their mommy issues. 

I vibe with QAnon, and other conspiracy and parapolitical tribes, in their disgust for the Satanic pedo elite (or the closest possible thing to it). I do not vibe with their fundamentalism, and the epistemic closure that comes with it.

I can keep going, with all the memetic tribes, as well as Buddhistic types, academic philosophers, normies, alpha males, etc. 

The idea here is not to focus on what you do not vibe with, unless their vibe triggers you, because that usually means there is some “shadow work” for you to do. The idea is to find the aspect that you do vibe with. Basically you “yes/and” their vibe first, which befriends their elephant.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s entry: I have the capacity of not only repurposing mental models from various reality tunnels, but I can jump into the reality tunnels themselves, and be in each one's intellectual architecture in a way that allows me to feel the world through it.

I took a lot of acting and improv courses when I was young, and even acted in an indie improv film; I think the methods I learned from those courses have helped me cultivate this “hopping into other reality tunnels” thing. 

When you can fully hop into a reality tunnel of a memetic tribe, you learn how to “speak their vibe,” and you can cultivate a “vibe diversity,” and you can vibe enough with them in order to trojan horse them into another vibe, maybe into a vibe that is more whole (or holy). 

This is basically what I am stewarding here at The Stoa. If you look at our past guests, and our upcoming ones, you will see that we have a wild diversity going on. I would not be able to pull this off without having this ability for vibe diversity. 

So this begs the question: what is the vibe of the memetic tribe at The Stoa? 

Hah. I set that question up for failure, because there is no memetic tribe at The Stoa. If anything, we have what is a proto embodied tribe. As well, the vibe of this space is changing, and my vibe is changing with it. If you read some of my entries from March-May, or June-August, I think you’ll feel a somewhat different vibe to what I am vibing with now.

If true, then why is this? I imagine it is because we are having vibe sex with all of these memetic tribes that are visiting us. This is what the culture dance is all about, and I sense this is how we are going to seduce the culture.