Oh sweet Cthulhu

Andrea blogs about her dream:

I learn there’s a kidnapping plot against me, so I email Vox to enlist his help and let him know that I’m going to try to make it out to his place, which is a sprawling compound (natch). This place is in the middle of nowhere. I’m driving down a dirt road in my beat-up old car. Soon the road becomes too rough to drive on, so I have to abandon the car and finish on foot. I make it through woods, brush, and shallow gulches, and then I finally reach the edge of the compound. There are several nondescript buildings and many security stations. Next thing I know, I’m in his personal residence. (I don’t exactly know how I got in, but it was kind of implied that the guards knew me and let me in without hassle.) His house was light and airy, kind of like a seaside condo, but stark and stylish. What little furniture he had in there was ultra-modern, Italian leather stuff. The floor was slate or tile. I checked his computer and saw that he had left a message for me – it said that he knew about the plot and was on his way to pick me up. Suddenly he comes roaring up outside in a shiny black car, flings open the door and jumps out looking like Neo without the trenchcoat. The thumping beats of European techno come pouring out of the car. I dive into the backseat. There are tons of buttons and gadgets inside (I also gather that the car is armored and bulletproof). He jumps back in, glances back quickly and asks if I’m ok, then stands on the gas. And we take off, screeching around corners, busting stuff up…off into the sunset, I guess. I don’t know, the dream ended there. It was all very James Bond.

Actually, it’s marble… and haven’t you been paying attention? NOBODY TOUCHES THE COMPUTER! If I’m going to leave you a message, there’s a perfectly good pad of Post-Its right here.

Looks like I’m going to have to get that electroshock keyboard after all.

Mailvox: extrapolations and explanations

Ken dislikes the paradigm:

It seemed to me, however, that you were arguing something more significant than a transitory deference. Moreover, if you are arguing for a transitory phenomenon, I still think it’s more complicated than you would have it (and this is where animal psychology provides an incomplete picture)… you said, e.g., that there aren’t many of these alpha males. But most men have had the experience in their lives of commanding the attention of a whole room or particular conversation.

It seems to me that it depends on the social and intellectual makeup of the environment. In short, I just don’t think your alpha male paradigm works very well except to describe fluid situational dynamics of social interactions. You are incorrectly applying the attested social phenomenon and you’ve incorrectly linked it to a particular stereotypical carciature… and, incidentally, Spacebunny this applies to your response to me too.

Finally, if character isn’t an issue as you claim, why is your description of alphas, betas, and gammas so clearly value-laden? If character isn’t an issue, you would not try to label me as a gamma as a means to argue your point. This tactic is especially amusing in light of the fact that you just said alphas, such as yourself, “would have been to state that the argument is clearly bogus because of X, Y and Z, and he’s got a PhD from Stanford in Animal Psychology saying so, Column Boy.”

Of course it is transitory, being situational. The whole phenomenon is clearly relative, being social, as one should have been able to discern from the example provided of Donald Trump and Henry Kissinger. No male is an Alpha in diapers at two, or rambling incoherently with Alzheimers at 92.

How it seems to Ken is totally irrelevant. It is a model that works quite well and is far superior to that used by most men, especially Gammas, to understand the social situations in which they find themselves. It also helps many of those men who are bewildered as to why they constantly find themselves out of the game when it comes to office politics and women.

I could not care less if the quietly competent engineer whose name no one knows, but upon whom the entire operation depends wants to call himself a “stealth Alpha”, “Spock” or “Tinkerbell”. It makes no difference to me, although I note the engineer’s typical paradigm of the importance of excellence in performance doesn’t get him anywhere with regards to social interaction. If this archtypical Gamma is not interested in that, fine, he should happily ignore this entire topic. But the fact that numerous women have indicated an appreciation for the model would tend to indicate that it is not, in fact, entirely useless.

Character isn’t a relevant issue, because character isn’t synonymous with value. Ken simply can’t keep his concepts straight. But I do assign value because I despise the passive-aggressive behavior of the Gamma males. Even the interminable conflict-resolution dialogue of the Betas is preferable. I saw Ken as a likely Gamma because a) he appeared to take the paradigm personally, and b) his first two responses were typical Gamma attacks, indirect and designed to undermine rather than confront. I have never met Ken, so obviously this snap judgment could easily be incorrect, but the fluidity of his subsequent responses tend to support it.

Also, I am not a true Alpha, not being much of a pack animal in the first place, though I happen to possess enough dominant qualities that when drawn into social situations – usually by necessity and often against my inclination – I find myself in that role. And of course, I did find those qualities to be useful in the days BSB. But I was not thinking much about my own experiences when writing on this topic, I was actually thinking about the two men I have known who most powerfully project their dominance. What I find interesting about the phenomenon is that with the exception of above-average intelligence, these two Alphas have nothing in common – they are extremely different in terms of size, wealth, character, looks and accomplishment – and yet I tend to think of them as being fundamentally similar.