Metaphysics for Sociopaths and Pickup Artists
So here’s two ways to use language. Let’s say I’m going to pick up a girl in a bar, so I have a goal in mind, and the girl is irrelevant to the goal insofar as she could be another girl, so it’s a psychopathic goal in some ways…It’s like a whole horde of men talking about how to deceive and manipulate women… It’s extraordinarily interesting and extremely psychopathic and it’s also very very very very very unsophisticated and unskilled because what they’re trying to do is to acquire the veneer of sophistication, and that’s psychopathic...
Amorality is merely the first step. As the journey proceeds, Sociopaths progressively rip away layer after layer of social reality. The Sociopath’s journey can be understood as progressive unmasking of a sequence of increasingly ancient and fearsome gods, each reigning over a harsher social order, governing fewer humans. If morality falls by the wayside when the first layer is ripped away, other reassuring certainties, such as the idea of a benevolent universe, and predictable relationships between efforts and rewards, fall away in deeper layers.
With each new layer decoded, Sociopaths find transient meaning, but not enduring satisfaction.
Much to their surprise, however, they find that in the unsatisfying meanings they uncover, lie the keys to power over others. In seeking to penetrate mediated experiences of reality, they unexpectedly find themselves mediating those very realities for others. They acquire agency in the broadest sense of the word. Losers and the Clueless delegate to them not mere specialist matters like heart surgery or car repair, but control over the meanings of their very lives.
So in seeking to unmask the gods, they find themselves turning into the gods.
When they speak, they find that their words become imbued with divine authority. When they are spoken to, they hear prayerful tones of awe. The Clueless want to be them, Losers want to defer to them.”
Physics is the study of the laws that govern the physical world. Metaphysics is the physics of perception. Physics seeks the objective laws of the universe, and in doing so, gives us power over the physical world. Metaphysics seeks the subjective laws of perception, and in doing so, gives us power over the subjective world.
Our senses and our hands are our main tools for studying Physics. We manipulate objects in the physical world and observe the effects, over and over again, and note the patterns. Those patterns that survive the test of time are called the Laws of Physics.
Language is the main tool for studying metaphysics. We use language to manipulate perceptions (ours and other peoples’) and observe the effects, over and over again, and note the patterns. Those patterns that survive the test of time are called, what? I will call these patterns the Laws of Metaphysics.
Perception can be thought of as a filter + transform process for external stimuli. Our senses provide far too much information at any given time, so our brain must filter out most of it, keep the valuable information, and transform it into something usable. This process is happening constantly and unconsciously. If you take any sort of perception-altering substance, you very likely have experienced some sort of overload of your brain when your filters and transformers stopped working normally.
So perception is fundamentally a function of value. Low-value information is filtered out and high-value information is let through. Whatever is let through is what your brain considers “meaningful”, in other words, whatever it deems valuable or has implications for something you consider valuable. Meaning is just an extension of value that covers everything that relates to that which is valuable.
So what does this have to do with Sociopaths (in the Gervais Principle sense, not actual sociopaths) and pickup artists? Both Sociopaths and pickup artists use language as a tool to shape other peoples’ perceptions, the former as a means to money and power and the latter as a way of sleeping with girls.
In order to shape the perceptions of others, Sociopaths must first deconstruct their own perceptions, i.e “progressively rip away layer after layer of social reality”. It is only through this process of deconstructing their subjective reality that they learn the laws of metaphysics, and it is precisely these laws that give them power over the metaphysical realities of others (metaphysical reality = social reality = perceptions). As time goes on, a Sociopath’s command of metaphysical realities becomes second-nature just like any skill that has been practiced over and over again. Their power is widely-application since it is based on the fundamental Laws of Metaphysics, which is in contrast to the pickup artists we will be talking about next.
Pickup artists are, in essence, people who imitate the motions of Sociopaths in order to achieve a very specific aim — sleeping with women. They are imitators because they possess no fundamental understanding of why or how their imitations work, only that they do. Go on any pickup artist forum and you will only find tips and tricks, no coherent, overarching theories. The consequence of this is that their skills do not translate well to any domain outside of picking up women, whereas the Sociopath can apply his skills to any situation that has people.
The one thing that pickup artists seemed to have picked up on (no pun intended) is the importance of “frame”. Frame is best described as somebody’s view on reality. They claim the key to picking up girls is maintaining frame because the one thing that girls are attracted to is a strong frame, hence their “shit tests” and various other methods of testing interested guys. Using your frame to overpower someone else’s is the metaphysical version of pushing someone out of the way to get something you both want. It’s basic, direct, takes a lot of energy and is truly unsophisticated. Sociopaths understand that this works but prefer more sophisticated, subtle ways of operating that require less energy and are less traceable.
So Jordan Peterson is correct when he says that the methods pickup artists use are unsophisticated, not because they are trying to “acquire the veneer of sophistication”, but because they are imitating without understanding. But, as to whether they are psychopathic, this is a reach. Men have been trying to sleep with women since the beginning of time and men have deceiving women in that pursuit since the beginning of time. Just because some guys started a cargo cult community around imitating Sociopath behavior in order to pickup women and started sharing their experiences and ideas does not make them psychopathic. It just makes them slightly more organized than your average Joe.
NB: Calling this behavior psychopathic is a sign of some sort of psychological resistance on the speaker’s part, most likely a conflict between and unconscious desire to sleep with many women (like the pickup artists) and the conscious belief that lying to women to sleep with them is morally wrong and that they (a good person) would never do that. At the end of the day guys want to sleep with women, if achieving that end requires lying, that’s often what will happen. Denying this or calling it “psychopathic” is more of a reflection on you than the pickup artists. Could there be a reason why Jordan’s fascinated by pickup artists and watches their videos but passes this judgement?
Related: The Theater of Existence