Towards a theory of nerds... who suffer.

by [anonymous]16 min read2nd Mar 2015115 comments

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Summary: I will here focus on nerds who suffer, from the lack of self-respect and sexual, romantic, social success.  My thesis this stems from self-hatred, and the self-hatred stems from childhood bullying, and the solution will involve fixing things that made one a "tempting" bullying target, and some other ways to improve self-respect.

Motivated reasoning and offense

SSC wrote we don't yet have a science of nerds. http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/09/25/why-no-science-of-nerds/ My proposal is to use motivated reasoning and focus on the subset of nerds who suffer and need helping. I am mostly familiar with the white straight male demographic and in this, suffering nerds are often called "neckbeards", or "omega males".

One danger of such motivated reasoning is giving out offense, because problems that cause suffering and in need of helping have a huge overlap with traits that can be used as insults, many disabilities are good parallels here, it is possible to use disabilities as insults mainly for people who don't actually have them, especially when using emotionally loaded language like "cripple" or "retard". Any helpful doctor needs to be careful if he wants to diagnose a child with low IQ, parents will often be like, "my kid is not stupid!" and we have a similar issue here.

The solution to the offense issue is: if you are a nerd, and you find what I write here does not apply to you, good: you are not in the subset of nerds who need helping! You are a happy, well-adjusted person with some "nerdy" interests and preferences, which is entirely OK but also relatively uninteresting, I simply don't want to discuss that because that is mostly like discussing why some people don't like mushroom on their pizza: maybe borderline curious, but not important. I focus on nerds who suffer. Human suffering is what matters, and if I can help a hundred people who suffer while offending ten who do not understand that I am not talking about them, it is a good trade.

I am largely talking about the guys who are mocked and bullied by being called "forever a virgin", those whose traits cluster around interest in D&D, Magic: The Gathering, fantasy, anime, have poor body hygiene, dress and groom in ways considered unattractive, have poor social skills, very low chances of ever finding a girlfriend, and not have any social life besides teaming up with fellow social outcasts.

Self-hatred


I propose the core issue of suffering nerds, "neckbeards", "omega males" is self-hatred. I see three reasons for this:

A) Engaging in fantasy, D&D, discussing superheroes, Star Wars etc. can be seen as escaping from a self and life one hates.

Against1: every novel and movie is a way to that. Not just fantasy or superhero comics.

Pro1: have you noticed non-nerdy people like movies and novels that are more or less cast in the here and now, with heroes that are believable contemporary characters? While nerds are often bored by "mainstream" crime novels, Ludlum type spy novels, by stuff "normal people" read?

Against2: this can simply mean disliking the current, real world, but not necessary their own self.

Pro2: admittedly, unreal, magical adventures can have an allure to all. Our modern world really is disenchanted, as Max Weber had put it. Things were more interesting when people believed stone arrow heads found are from elves, not cavemen. Still, people who are happy with their own self are happy enough with seeing an improved version of their own self overcoming realistic obstacles in a "mainstream" crime or war novel or movie. Dreaming about being a fireball caster wizard or a superhero with superpowers means you do not trust yourself you could ever be like a guy in a "mainstream" movie, throwing punches, shooting guns and kissing models, it does not inspire you to become like that, it rather frustrates you  that you could be something like that and you are not, and thus you want your heroes and idols to be safely non-imitable. Nobody will give you shit why you cannot cast a lightning bolt spell. It does not remind you of your inadeqacies and the shit you were given for them. Instead of a real-world fantasy that gives you a painful reminder of your inadequacy, a magical fantasy allows you to fantasize about a completely different life, being a completely different person, someone you could never expected to be. Instead of these dreams painfully reminding you to improve yourself, in your fantasy you basically die as your current self and be reborn as someone entirely different in an entirely different life with entirely different rules.

Against3: so everybody who enjoys LOTR movies and the GoT series is hating himself?  Have you not noticed fantasy went mainstream in the recent years?

Pro3: indeed it did. But a version of it that lacks the unreal appeal. Game of Thrones is almost historical, it is just normal medieval people fighting and scheming for power, with very little supernatural thrown in. LOTR got hollywoodized in the movies, much more focus on flashy sword fighting against stupid looking brutes, less about supernatural stuff. They are to fantasy what Buck Rogers was to sci-fi.  And non-nerds just watch them, maybe read them, but do not obsess about them.

B) Their poor clothing and grooming habits suggest they do not think their own self deserves to be decorated.

Against1: maybe they are just not interested  in their looks.

Pro1: life is a trade-off. Time you invest into looks is time you take away from something else. How could people who spend their time fantasizing about Star Wars think their time is that important? Eliezer Yudkowsky thinks his time is invested into literally saving humankind from extinction and still takes time away from it to invest into grooming and dressing in an okay way and finding eyeglasses that match his face, because he knows otherwise his message will not be taken seriously enough. It is a worthy investment. People don't want to listen to someone with a "crazy scientist" or similar look. He knows he needs to look like he is selling software, kind of. I don't think anyone could seriously think the social gains from a basic okay wardrobe and regular barber visits do not worth taking some time away from D&D. Obesity is often a neckbeard problem too, and it is also unhealthy.

Against2: Okay, but maybe they either do not realize it, due to some kind of social blindness, or lack the ability to figure out how to look in a way that society approves. Chalk it up to poor social skills, not self-hatred?

Pro2: The heroes suffering nerds fantasize about actually look good in their own fantasy world. Often even in the real one. In the sense that Superman was a good looking journalist when he was not Superman and even Peter Parker being borderline okay, and most fantasy heroes look like someone who is appropriate in that social circumstance (simplified/heroized/sanitized/mythologized European middle ages). First of all they are not fat and rather muscular, they are well groomed, and so on. Suffering nerds don't even imitate their own heroes. Although someone trying to look like Aragorn would be weird today, basically being a tall and muscular guy with a long hair and short cropped, well groomed beard and maybe leather clothes would look like a biker rocker, which is leaps and bounds cooler in society's eyes than an obese neckbeard with greasy hair and Tux t-shirt with dirty baggy jeans and dirtier sneakers. If nerds would really try to look like fantasy heroes, the would be more popular. But they look more like, they feel don't deserve to improve their looks. But there is also something more:

C) When they sometimes improve their looks, this does not come accross as improving their real selves or finding something that matches who they are, rather as a symbolic imitation of an entirely different person. A good example is the fedora, which symbolizes an old fashioned gentleman in 1950 which does not match the rest of their clothes or the fact it is not 1950. This suggests self-hatred.

Against1: Doesn't it contradict the previous point?

Pro1: I think it strenghtens it. Any guy with a fedora or something like that cannot be said to be uninterested in looks, and misjudging what society considers to be attractive cannot possible mean you wear Dick Tracy's hat but not his suit, muscles, lack of paunch, and lack of neckbeard. I think it is more of a symbol that I don't want to be me, I want to be someone totally different.

A-C)

Against1: fine, neckbeards hate themselves and dream about being someone else. How do we know it is the source of their problems, and not an effect? How about lack of socio-sexual success making them both suffering and self-hating and they react to this like that?

Pro1: we don't, and it is a good point, something like autism may play a role. Socio-sexual success, being borderline "cool" or at least accepted is something not exactly bright high school dropouts can figure out, how comes often highly intelligent men cannot? Indeed, autism or Asperger may play a role. However there are charming, sexy people on the spectrum, this cannot possible be the cause. Besides certain symptoms overlap with self-hatred: if someone avoids eye contact, how to know if it comes from their Asperger syndrome or from self-hatred making them afraid to meet a gaze directly and rather wanting to hide from other people's eyes? Cannot obsessive tendencies be a way to avoid thinking about one's own self? It is entirely possible that many men on the spectrum developed a self-hatred due to the bullying the received for being on the spectrum and much of their problems come from that. One thing is clear - whatever other reasons there are for lacking socio-sexual success, the above characteristics make the situation much worse.

Against2: Satoshi Kanazawa argued high IQ suppresses instincts and makes you basically lack "common sense". Maybe it is just that?

Pro2: Yes. But the instinct in question is not simply basic social skills. I will get back to this.

Against3: Paul Graham wrote nerds are unpopular because they simply don't want to invest into being popular, having other interests.

Pro3: This seems to be true for non-suffering nerds. Primarily the nerds who are into this-worldly, productive, STEM stuff. Why care about fashionable clothes when you are learning fascinating things like physics? Slightly irritated about the superficiality of other people, the non-suffering nerd gets a zero-maintenance buzz cut and 7 polo shirts of the same basic color of a brand a random cute looking girl has recommended, so that he does not have to think about what to put on, and has a presentable look with minimal effort. Of course we know "neckbeards", "omegas" don't look like that. Much worse. Suffering nerds seem to have deeper problems than not wanting to invest a minimal amount of time into their looks. Besides, look at their interests. STEM nerds are into things that are useful in this today's real world. D&D nerds want to escape it.

Against4: Testosterone?

Pro4: Plays a role both ways, see below.


The cause of self-hatred

Other people despising you. Sooner or later you internalize it. There could be many causes for that... sometimes parents of the kind who always tell their kids they suck. Some people hit walls like racism or homophobia... some people get picked on as kids because they are disabled or disfigured.

Actually this latest is a good clue and a good proof of we are on a good track with this here. I certainly have seen an above-average % of disabled or disfigured youths playing D&D. It seems if you are a textbook target for bullying, if other kids tell you you are a worthless piece of feces in various ways for years, you will want to escape into a fantasy where you are a wizard casting fireballs burning the meanines to death. So we are getting a clue about what may cause this self-hatred.

However in my experience simply being a weak or cowardly boy causes the same shitstorm of bullying, humiliations, and beatings. Kids are cruel. It is basically a brutal form of setting up a dominance hierarchy by trying to torture everybody, those who don't even dare to resist get assigned the lowest rank, those who try and fail only slightly higher, and the bravest, bolderst, cruelest, most aggressive fighters being on top. And intelligence may be an obstacle here by suppressing your fighting instinct.

Being bullied into the lowest level of social rank basically destroys your serum teststerone levels. It also makes you depressed. Both depend on your rank in the pecking order. Low-T combined with depression is probably something really close to what I call "self-hatred", since high-T is often understood as pride and confidence, so the opposite of it is probably shame and submissiveness, and SSC wrote depressed people who are suicidial often say "I feel I am a burden" i.e. you are not worthy to others, a liability, not an asset. Shame, submissiveness and feeling worthless is precisely what I called self-hatred.

Thus these two well-documented aspects of getting a low social rank already cause something akin to self-hatred, but I think it is also important how it happens in childhood. If it would be simply kids e.g. respecting those with higher grades, or richer parents more but still behaving borderline polite with everybody, the way how adults do it, I think it would be less of an issue. Kids, boys, however, establish social rank with brutal beatings, humiliation, bullying, and making sure the other boy got the "you suck" message driven in with a sledgehammer. A textbook example of the "wedgie" which Wiki calls a prank: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedgie and perhaps it is possible to do it in harmless pranky that way, too, but when four muscular boys boys capture a weak, scared, squealing one in the toilet, immobilize him, and give him an atomic one then force him to walk out like that so that everybody can laugh at his humiliation, this is no prank. This is the message hammered in: you suck, you are worthless, you are helpless, you are no man, you got no balls, we do whatever we want to you and you have no "figther rank" whatsoever, you did not even try to defend yourself.  And I have seen many such events when I was a child.

Against1: Ouch. But is this really about fighting ability? Don't you think other ways how kids rank each other, rank their popularity matters, especially in modern schools where fighting is strictly forbidden and surveillance is strong?

Pro1: not 100% sure. After all they do it teaming up. It is perfectly possible that if a brown skinned boy and a bunch of racist classmates interacted it would be the same for him even if he is strong and does MMA. Still... in my experience, it was usually about that. I mean, not about what karate belt you have, it was more like testing your masculinity, like courage, aggression, strength. If you are "man enough" they would respect you and leave you alone, basically assigning a higher rank. The whole thing felt like testing whatever I later learned about testosterone levels, both prenatal and serum. It seems bullies were trying to sniff out weakness, both emotional and physical, and T is the best predictor to a combination of both.  For example, the worst thing was to cry, you got called a girly boy and bullied even more, get the lowest possible rank. Surely boys being raised in patriarchical and homophobic cultures had something to do with it, but the whole thing still reminded me of something biological like reindeer "locking horns".  I think if there is ever such a thing as males establishing a dominance hierarchy largely through  testing each others prenatal or serum testosterone i.e. manly courage and strength and fierceness, it was that.

But I also find it likely being "different" in any way, race, sexuality, disability, must have made you much more of a target.

Obviously this reflects the values of society, too. In Russia even grown up soldiers and prison inmates do this, which probably reflects the highly toxic-masculinity values they have or the oppression they themselves receive from officers, or even formerly from fathers. Two fascinating links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dedovshchina http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thief_in_law#Ponyatiya so you can imagine what goes on in schools. And yes, on the other hand growing up in a textbook NY liberal community must be a lot easier in this regard. Most of Europe will be somewhere in between.

Against1: So, your argument is that bullying destroys your self-respect much more than any other way of achieving a low social rank, and this leads to self-hatred, which leads to fantasy escapism and typical nerd-neckbeard behaviors, which then adds up and results in the lack of socio-sexual success? Isn't it a job for Occam's razor?

Pro1: well, the argument is more like, whatever happens with you in your childhood is very important, boys tend to establish rank by bullying and fighting or even in the best case, by testing each others courage and masculinity by other means, daring each other to climb trees etc. My point is, not simply that bullying or even childhood bullying matters so much, my point is rather that bullying or courage tests in childhood make you realize the fact that indeed you are lacking in important masculine abilities like courage, fierceness or strength, so probably low prenatal T, and low social rank established via this cuts much deeper in a man's soul than simply low social rank because you are poor or get bad grades. It affirms you don't worth much as a man and this makes you hate yourself much more than simply internalizing that you are poor or something like that. This alone - such as the depressed T levels and general depression due to low social rank - could explain the suffering and lack of later socio-sexual success of nerds, but the fantasy-escapism as a coping method makes it worse. Without that, nerds, neckbeards would not be a noticable and much ridiculed type - without that, all you would see is that some guys are kind of sad and timid, but otherwise look and behave like all the other guys!

Against1: do you think anti-bullying policies could solve "neckbeards" for the next generation ?

Pro1: Trying to make people behave less cruel is ought to reduce the suffering of the victims and a good thing. Having said that, while this demographic I am talking about would suffer less victimization as a child, I am not entirely convinced they would end up with much less self-hatred and better socio-sexual success, thus less adult suffering.  Why? Because my thesis is not that victimization hurts, obviously it does, my thesis is that being truly, indeed, actually less masculine than other boys and having your nose rubbed into it so that you realize you are indeed not much of a man is what generates self-hatred, perhaps partially due to biology and partially to patriarchy, I don't know why. I mean, the bullies are ethically wrong, but truthfully right - they bully you because you are indeed weak, in emotion or body, and you hate yourself for being indeed, truly weak.  So for example something as light as not daring to climb a rope during gym class and the other boys giving you a contemptuous look could destroy your self-respect here, especially if afterwards you are interacted with as a low-rank social pariah. And this is not something the anti-bullying teachers can solve. Perhaps you can try to pressure boys to not judge each others for courage, not express it so, never treat anyone like a social outcast etc. but it would be a lot like trying to destroy their masculinity too, trying to destroy that competititve, dominant, judgemental spirit that is so strongly linked to testosterone. I don't think it can succeed and I don't think it would be ethical to try do so. This is what they are. You can teach them to express their views in less agressive ways, but human freedom means if you want to frown because you think another guys suck, you can. Nevertheless, still it is good to not tolerate bullies, it is better to force high-To boys to express their contempt in more civilized ways, to reduce the suffering of their victims, just don't expect it prevents later "nerd problems".

Against1: I am still not convinced other forms of discrimination or low social rank do not generate more self-hatred.

Pro1: Well, just look at those American blacks who are both poor and black, both giving them a lower social rank at school, and end up being gangsta-rappers or even criminal inmates, but still strong, tattooed, masculine as hell, really the opposite of neckbeards-nerds who typically have characteristics that are considered unmasculine. It seems you could be bullyed for many a thing, but apparently nerdiness, neckbeardery tends to be formed when it is specifically your lack of a masculine fighter spirit that made you a target.

Against1: Any ways to easily test all this?

Pro1: Yes. Ask your neckbeard friend to consent to a test that will not be physically harmful but may cause emotional triggering. Then pretend to slap or munch him in the face. Do you get a panicky, nervous reaction, like turtling up and blinking, or you get a "manly" one like leaning back and catching your hand? This predicts if he is used to fighting back, or used to getting beaten and not daring to fight.


The cure

How to fix all this? Well, I have found that some neckbeards have managed to fix themselves to a certain extent without really even planning to, via the following means:

- Career success giving you a certain sense of social rank and self-confidence. Being higher on the social ladder increases testosterone, which also gets you the feedback from others and yourself that you are less unmasculine now, which makes you hate yourself for being unmasculine less.

- During career, many neckbeards did the same thing as Eliezer and opted for a simple, easy smart-casual wardrobe and better groomed in a low-maintenance way. This improved feedback from others and thus their confidence.

- It seems sports, martial arts, to some extent even basic body building helped many a man.

- All this led to better self-acceptance.

But let's try to go deeper here.

Neckbeards need to find self-respect WHILE accepting they are intellectuals. The goal is neither to accept yourself the way you are - they way you currently are sucks - nor to hate yourself so much that you do not feel you deserve to be improved and thus projecting a false public image. The goal is to self-improve WHILE accepting you are an intellectual.

Step 1 is to realize that it is not intellectualism that makes people marginalized, ridiculed, and unable to find girlfriends. It is the lack of other skills than intellectual ones, largely, the lack of masculine virtues. Here the idea of a writer is a useful mental crutch: you as a neckbeard are probably a voracious reader, thinking you are made from the same material writers are made from is not entirely wrong, it is realistic, it is close enough to your real self or essence. As a voracious reader, you are as to writers what power users are to programmers. Close enough. It is not a fake persona for you if you make some writers your role models: you both are intellectuals in essence. And yes, sexy, masculine, socially and sexually succesful male writers exist: Richard Dawkins, Robert Heinlein, Albert Camus. Shaping yourself after them is both true to your real self and a way to improve yourself.

The basics are not hard.

- Sports (more about it later)

- Smart casual wardrobe, nice low maintenance haircut, facial hair probably to be completely avoided until you learn more about style. That is an advanced level milestone, postpone it.

- Dropping a nuke on your social shyness by joining Toastmasters - a writer should be able to give a speech on a podium? Toastmasters International (and the later is not just a name, they are in Europe etc. too) says on the can that they are about public speaking skills, which is true, but public speaking is simply the hardest kind of speaking for introverted, shy, or self-hating people, go through the Comm manual giving the 10 speeches, participate in table topics, and compared to that 1:1 socializing or chatting will be easy.


- One more thing you need to learn there, namely to develop a genuine interest in other people and not just obsessively talk about your interests to them, but also be interested in their stuff, or even in small talk. This is annoying,  but once you get a bit used to it, you realize that you are gaining validation from respectable looking people choosing to discuss the weather or similar stupid topics with you. If they "wasted" a minute or two on a worthless topic with you, then perhaps it is your own person that is not worthless for them. This helps with the self-hatred issue. Toastmasters tends to be very good at this. Old time members are happy to chat with newbies just about anything, because these meetings are marked as communicate, communicate, communicate in their calendar.

- Therapy, focusing on your childhood bullying for being perceived weak and cowardly, or general feedbacks about being less masculine. Well, this is one of the advices that is almost useless, because if you are the type of guy who goes to shrinks you have did it long ago and if you are the type who would not go near a shrink unless borderline suicidial you won't take this advice, but it simply had to be given, for the sake of my conscience more than for your benefit.

- So, back to sports. Yes, you need to get in shape. But also you need to convince your inner boy that you could not be bullied, beaten, your masculinity brutally challenged and your self humiliated and oppressed anymore. You need to compensate, and do it hard.  There are three schools of thought here. Many people recommend gym type body-building, weight-lifting. On one hand it is good, on the other hand it can make you feel fake: you feel you look like a fighter, but you feel you are still a timid, cowardly boy inside and it makes you feel faking it. It works better at 17, when you are more superficial, it does not work at 40.  A second school says martial arts, and indeed there are many a neckbeard in the local karate dojo, the issue is, that doing katas and kumite of the kind that stops at the first succesful hit is still not fighting. It is not going through figther moves that you need. It is to awaken a raw sense of masculinity in you, to face your fears and overcome them, and feel courage and fierceness. You need to get in touch with your inner animal a bit, and that is not karate. I recommend boxing. A light boxing sparring - done after about 6 months - is the closest thing to simulating someone really trying to beat you. Not at full force, but your opponent is really lauching a hundrend punches right in your face. This is why boxing has this rules. This is why it was a primary way to teach British intellectual boys to man up. It is not supposed to teach you street fighting techniques. It is supposed to help you conquer your fears and find your courage, your inner fierce animal with bared fangs, by focusing on the kinds of attacks that are most fearsome: punches right into your face. A grappling lock or MMA thigh kick may immobilize or hurt you, and they are effective at fighting, but they are not as effective at scaring people. This is the whole point. You need to get scared many times, until you learn courage. Boxing is courage training. And courage, not strength or skill, is what makes a man - and what makes an ex-unmanly-boy not hate himself.

 

Socially speaking, anti-bullying and reducing the worst aspects of toxic masculinity or highly patriarchical values should help but be careful! Natural born high-T bullies fly under the radar much more than bullied nerds who are trying to man up and thus doing spectacularly manly things. Do it the wrong way around, and you end up handicapping precisely those you are trying to help! Anyone who obsesses about guns, MMA or choppers, while wearing fatigues and Tapout tees are not the masculine bullies: they are the nerds trying to cope with not actually being or not having been masculine. While this is a questionable way to cope, it is not them you want to handicap, so if you want to fight toxic masculinity or patriarchy, do NOT focus on its lowest hanging fruits! The true bullies don't do these, they don't need to.

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A pop-psych mind dump that is in bad need of editing to about a quarter of its current size, maybe less.

And that's before substantive issues -- I am not quite sure that "try hard to be a normal" is good advice.

1[anonymous]6yI totally know I suck at editing. Or writing. Yes, my posts are dumps of internal dialogue, a "save as" on my brain set. Can you recommend an e-book or something that would teach me this? At some level this is the issue with the Internet: everybody can publish, but most of us do not have access to a professional editor. I wonder if I could find an editor on Fiverr. It would totally worth me $5 per article. Pop-psych, well, the issue is, 1. people suffer 2. there are basically NO ideas kicking around why. Any beginning is better than none. Even if the only result is someone disproving the whole thing in a good way gets us a step closer to some kind of a solution. I see my role here as a non-scientific shaman healer trying to treat diseases by random herbs. It may work, out of pure luck, but even if not, you have to start your medicine somewhere, a real doctor executing a professional takedown on the shaman could accidentally solve the problem.
3Lumifer6yI would recommend practice. Take your text and cut in it half. Make decisions about what to keep, what to discard, what to compress -- don't worry too much whether these decisions are "correct". Evaluate the results, but if you feel you must put something back, figure out what you'll discard to make space for it. Repeat this process frequently and you'll get better at editing (and writing, too). I don't think this is true. There are LOTS of ideas why -- you might follow the academic guidelines and consider doing a literature review (if only for your own knowledge) first. That's not necessarily true. Making Jesus your personal friend and Savior is also a beginning, to give an obvious example. Let me reiterate that you are not the first person in the world to have discovered this problem. Start by reading a bit, maybe consider doing something a bit more scientific than "random herbs"? :-)
0TheAncientGeek6yStarting point: the problems of high school bullying etc that US nerds complain about are fairly US specific. Idea why [http://www.amazon.co.uk/No-Contest-Case-Against-Competition/dp/0395631254]
2[anonymous]6yI have seen it in (mainly Central-Eastern) Europe. Why should it be US specific? Actually the US tends to have a lot of surveillane in schools. In e.g. Budapest or Prague you can easily spend your breaks without teachers watching you or anyone else who is not a student. However I should also say it was NOT high school, actually by 14-18 these kids were mainly beyond the need to torture other kids. It was elementary school - and most prominently between 10 and 12. After puberty bullying got a LOT lighter - they wanted to fuck the girls, not to torture other boys. Pre-puberty was worse. I am familiar with Alfie Kohn's online essays. He is an interesting fellow, a whole category of his own - he is that compared to US liberals what US liberals are compared to US conservatives. Terms like "optimistic" or "believes in the goodness of human nature" does not even begin to describe the idealism of his views. He believes e.g. students need NO motivation to study whatsoever, not even the nicest kind i.e. catch them doing well and praise them, he says no "doggie biscuit" is needed, because everybody has internal motivation. However in the online essays he never explained why - my impression was that he simply expects you to trust everybody's internal goodness 200% or else you are not a good enough person or something. I don't know what this specific book is about, but I know his general ideas. I don't think competing for grades caused bullying in Central Europe as I saw it. Nobody who was not an adult gave a shit about grades, kids thought getting good grades is shameful, it suggests you kiss the ass of authority, the teacher, like some snitch. It was way, way more "ghetto" than what Alfie (I think) suggests. Having a teacher ask a question, telling him to fuck off, getting an F grade, was a source of pride, it showed masculine defiance and strength and torturing weaker kids unfortunately too. At least for some kids at least.
0TheAncientGeek6yKohn wasn't suggesting bullying is literally and directly grade competition.
1[anonymous]6yBut probably suggesting a non-accepting value system is instilled by teachers insisting on grade competition?
0Emile6yMaybe practice editing more? If you suck at it, rewriting /editing your posts will only make you better at it. It might be a bit of work, it might take a bit of time, but it's nice to take ten minutes of your time to save thirty seconds to a hundred readers (and more importantly to save all the time wasted by comments who misunderstood part of what you said and the ensuing back-and-forth). (I personally don't have much time to spend reading long preachy walls of texts telling me about my supposed self-hatred; I didn't downvote your post but skipped to the discussion because the post itself wasn't very engaging and seemed to get things wrong fairly quickly)
0[anonymous]6yI just don't know what to delete...
2RichardKennaway6yAll of it. Then start over at the other end. Write the thrust of the article in one plain sentence. I don't know what it is at the moment. Write it in bullet points. Write it in exactly 100 words. Never write a sentence when one word will do; never write one word when none will do. Think only about what truth you are trying to present, and why the reader should agree. Also, while I don't want to speculate about your life, it does read like an autobiographical ramble driven by unhappy memories. My personal reaction to it is just, "I don't care about these people."

I predict this post will attract a lot of negative comments, but I want to give it the most charitable reading I can. That, of course, is the Straussian reading.

What DeVliegendeHollander is really saying is that nerds are right to hate themselves, and that they deserve to suffer, because they are not truly men. By turning away from the traditional masculine skills and values of leadership, rhetoric, and prowess in combat they (and by extension, Western society) are unworthy of respect. Note in particular the distinction the OP draws between the Western spo... (read more)

3[anonymous]6yI sincerely hope I am seeing an excellent parody of extremely irrational SJW attitudes here. For what it worths, or if it is not the case, the central idea here is self-help for people who suffer. This is certainly missing from this reply. If this is a seriously meant as an SJW response, then I would translate it to that lingo as being hurt by patriarchy, and learning to undo this hurt by adapting to it. A social, political response, New Athens or New Sparta is NOT a major point here, because for some people like me adapting to society is more important to changing it because we have one life, thrown into society (Heidegger). But actually what little I wrote about a social-political response was less patriarchy, less toxic mascuilinity and less bullying, so it seems to be a misresponse at that. I think I am being pretty progressive here as a far social change is covered except that I simply don't care as much about social change helping future gens rather than self-help, adaptation for people who suffer NOW. I think I am in a community of people who don't have very high fertility rates. I actually have a daughter and I have this impression - parenting hardly ever discussed on LW - that most of the community has no children. From this it seems logical to me that social change is way way less important than self-help. We are not making many people to live in a future society where everything is right. People with 4 kids may sacrifice their happiness for their sakes. For no-children and few-children people and I think it is the case for us, adapting to society must be more valuable than changing it. The East vs. West aspect sounds valid but only superficially so - relevant only to the letter, not the intent. Obviously it is about Westernized karate - and obviously to everybody who knows these stuff Muay Thay works just as well. One could raise the same parallel with Greek wrestling not training self-confidence (courage) enough and MT yes.
4Normal_Anomaly6yRe the no kids thing: as of the latest survey, LW is 81% childless but with a median age of 27.67. It's possible that a lot of the people on here today will be parents in 10 years.
2asr6yLet me give you an alternate explanation. Being a parent is very time-consuming. It also tends to draw one's interest to different topics than are typically discussed here. In consequence, LW readers aren't a random sample of nerds or even of people in the general social orbit of the LW crowd. I would not draw any adverse inferences from the fact that a non-parenting-related internet forum tend to be depleted of parents.
0[anonymous]6yThis isn't adverse. I don't really care much what is the actual reasons of other people's reproductive choices, my point is simply that after having made them, and it is like 0 or 1 kids, it makes more sense to adapt to society than to change it. (BTW not actually that time consuming. Only if you believe fashionable bullshit that throwing gigantic amounts of attention to kids is necessary for them to turn into succesful and well-adjusted adults. In reality if every second evening is like "shut up and read a book and leave dad in peace to write one", that is not actually harmful in any way. 50% of the outcome is genes and 50% is outside-the-family environment.)
2skeptical_lurker6yDeVliegendeHollander writes a post on how nerds could be protected from bullying and you interpret this to mean that: ? This is the exact opposite of what he is saying.
9Viliam_Bur6yI guess this is what "Straussian reading" means. Something like postmodern reading -- the text always says exactly what you want it to say, regardless of what it said originally -- except that with postmodern reading the resulting interpretation is always left-wing, while with Straussian reading the resulting interpretation is always right-wing. :D
2Lumifer6yUm, no, he writes a post on how nerds can become "real men" X-/
2[anonymous]6yThat is actually only a subset. The core thing is to solve self-hatred, to love one's self well enough to retreat from the fantasy world and inhabit the real one. My martial arts solution is only a part of gaining self-respect. I also mentioned communication skills etc. Having said all that, why is this "real men" thing even wrong? Why do intellectuals tend to hate it? I remember how intellectuals hated it around 1910 or so (at least in Europe, see Stefan Zweig etc.) but today science backs it up better - there are all sorts of casual relationships between prenatal and serum T and various other traits. To put it differently, things like courage and not being depressed seem to be related, although the causal chain is not clear. Still, courage training, conquering fears, should not be something intellectuals should laugh on as something uncivilized, reactionary or barbarous. And yeah, courage training, by its very nature, looks like that. One more though and maybe I should put that in as an edit: basically nerds need to learn from feminists, it is basically the very same ideas for the very same set of problems - the lack of self-respect, confidence. The whole feminist stuff about how to feel empowered and confident and speak up and all that is 100% valid for nerds too. In fact I know women who do exactly this, who conquer their internalize suppression by communication training (Toastmasters), dressing professional, yes, even things like boxing, I know women who gain a feeling of empowerment and confidence from this kind of courage trainig, and it works. So yeah, nerds need to become "real men" in the sense feminist women aim to become "real men" - or rather, "real persons", who are not afraid, do not feel suppressed, but feel empowered and brave.
4Viliam_Bur6yMen die younger because testosterone is harmful to health. See, even nature hates real men. We are just accepting the discoveries of natural sciences. :D Okay, more seriously (still I feel that this topic inspires me to come up with crazy theories, some of which might incidentally point towards something profound), maybe it is a consequence of game theory and fragmentation of modern society. Think about it this way: if a random person X gains more strength, who benefits from this, and who loses? The person X and their allies benefit, their enemies lose. Maybe it is the structure of the society today that we have very few personal allies and a lot of competitors. Therefore, anyone gaining power is perceived as a loss to most people. In such environment, memes like "do not get stronger, that's evil" flourish. (Maybe this is not necessarily the culture as a whole, just the subculture of social-science intellectuals, that has few friends and a lot of backstabbing.) It was different in the past where people were divided into tribes, so when your neighbor become stronger you felt your tribe is becoming stronger, which was a good thing. It is different for women, because feminism is a powerful tribe today, and when feminists speak about "women", they usually mean "women who accept (or will accept) feminism". -- To explain this: imagine the last time when you heard feminists speaking about how we need more women in politics. Did anyone mention Margaret Thatcher or Susan Palin as positive examples of women in politics? Probably no. But they probably mentioned Hillary Clinton. Just saying that "women" in certain contexts does not include literally all women, only those belonging to the tribe. Of course there are also situations where meaning literally all women is the convenient Shelling point, e.g. letting women vote. Shortly: It is all about selfish motivation. If other people believe they will benefit from you getting stronger, they will support you to become stronger.
1[anonymous]6yNo, frankly, this is a much older story, not something from the recent decades. Strains of European humanism rejected "macho" attitudes as far back as 1900-1950, I know it from reading authors like Stefan Zweig (E.g. The World Of Yesterday) or Erich Fromm (The Anatomy Of Human Destructiveness). The issue is, largely, that back then the problems to ponder were not the relatively peaceful ones pondered today, but major war and genocide was attributed to a rather bull-headed gung-ho spirit - and I actually think it was correctly attributed so. The European attitudes were basically so in this period that the world around you is full of spilled gas and you do NOT want any sparks to go into it. So it seemed there is so much aggression trying to break out, in major conflicts killing millions that all the sparks better be extuingished - so it is better for everybody to be a bit of a "limp dick" rather than to risk that. And this influenced European literature and intellectualism a lot. The story was different in America where simply these attitudes were not so dangerous, however, the latest in the 1960's this strain of European literature also hit America and influenced "hippie" attitudes - Vietnam played an important role in this, the desire for pacifism generate a desire to do away with traditionally masculine attitudes. Meanwhile, from the 1970's - 80's on, there is the opposite trend. During the late Cold War it was understood that traditional war is not much on the table but either pressing the launch buttons or not, and probably nobody will be stupid enough to press those just to play macho. Thus, the world started to seem less dangerous and these attitudes were allowed to come back. Hippie music gave way to punk and Metallica, road movies to action movies, and so on. However, intellectuals still resist it, because all they see is what Fromm saw - that it is hardly more than a celebration of destructiveness. So there is this apparent rule that to create is good an
3Viliam_Bur6ySo, essentially it is the reverse stupidity [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Reversed_stupidity_is_not_intelligence]. We have seen that one extreme is harmful, therefore we must go to the opposite extreme. Yet there are situations which require someone being on the middle of the scale -- not a bully, but also not someone scared of conflicts. For example, when people are doing things wrong, someone has to tell them. If everyone is avoiding conflicts all the time, then one incompetent employee can ruin a company, or one incompetent government official can ruin a country. The conflict doesn't necessarily have to be personal; one possible way of saying "your company is horribly inefficient" is to found a competing company. However, it is not true that all aggressivity is frowned upon by intellectuals. The taboo applies more strongly to men, and covers only physical violence plus speech that feels like it would incite physical violence. Other forms of violence are tolerated. -- For example, if you hear some guy saying something politically incorrect, it would be unacceptable to slap him, but it is acceptable to call his boss, make him fired, and let his children starve. (That is: physical violence = not okay; social and economical violence coming from the right kind of people = okay.) Actually, if you were a women with the right kind of credentials, it would probably be even acceptable to slap him; and he would be frowned upon for fighting back. By which I am saying, that the idea of "let's make everyone unable to fight", although it leads to some negative consequences, is actually just a facade for something more complicated, roughly "let's make people unable to fight, unless they are members of our tribe". Disarming your opponents is not a new idea; the original part here is the one which also calls for disarming everyone neutral. (People mostly don't care about neutrals, they focus on their enemies. But it is more strategical to first disarm everyone using the memes
1polymathwannabe6yI'm puzzled by your fixation with testosterone. It may be the thing that gives you and me our nether parts, but testosterone does not a man make.
0[anonymous]6yIt's a hypothesis. If there are any hormones or other biological pathways that are better predictors for being a "hero", like, courage, confidence, emotional strength, fierceness in situations appropriate, then I am happy to use them.
1TheAncientGeek6yWhy the interest in heroism?
0[anonymous]6yBeing the complete opposite of the neckbeard who hates himself because he was a coward to bullies and thus does not have the confidence to find a girlfriend - I think this is the primary reason of the suffering of nerds. But hey, isn't it exacty what I explained in the article?
1TheAncientGeek6yWho being the opposite? You?
0[anonymous]6yMe 20 years ago, I am 37. I sorta-kinda solved it about 70% during 20 years. Not efficient at all. Room for improvement. And yes, all the other "neckbears" we played AD&D with and obsessed over videogames - back then it meant Champions of Krynn - with. And their currently 17 years old versions. Mr "euphoric of my own intelligence", if you seen the photo, if not google it.
0TheAncientGeek6yBeing the complete oppositse of a neckbeard is of interest to others because...?
0[anonymous]6y... it can "fix" neckbeards who suffer, to become someone who does not suffer. This is also called compassion. Also, I suppose that on an intellectual forum like LW, even if the majority is not nerds/neckbeards I think almost everybody has many acquaintances who are, because intellectuals cluster together. Maybe the typical LWer was the high school kid who was interested in physics and Linux, and the neckbeard guy was someone who was interested in superhero comics and D&D and they ended up hanging out together because it was less bad than hanging out the majority oafs who were only interested in fucking and fighting and sports on TV.
0TheAncientGeek6yAre you saying that the only way to fix ones neckbeardism is to become the complete opposite?
1[anonymous]6yHm, not necessarily, but it is not like I am Prometheus bringing the perfect solution from the gods. I direct attention to the problem. Propose an solution. I hope to get other people thinking to come up with better ones. Well, so far I only get objections, hardly anything along the lines of what I expected like "wait I am actually a psychologists I have a better idea!!"
-1TheAncientGeek6yThere's already quite a lot of self help material on this site.
0[anonymous]6yOf this kind?
0TheAncientGeek6yNo, but that cycles back to the question of who this is aimed at.
0[anonymous]6yIntellectuals who personally may not be neckbeards but probably know some.
0TheAncientGeek6yYou've switched back to talking as though you are only offering generic advice, not a very soecific scheme for becoming ultra macho.
1[anonymous]6yI did skim this post and it caused me to spend some time thinking... but what I can't escape is the way the whole speculation is framed is entirely missing the point. I mean, "Merely by asking the question you show you couldn't possibly understand the answer." Let me try 3 ways to illustrate my point: 1) I wrote a short story some time ago about an unattractive girl who was lamenting her unpopularity. She was crying to herself, and out loud she wished she could go somewhere where people loved her for her mind, where appearance didn't matter. So out pops her Fairy Godmother who transports her to an island filled with people who want the same thing. They are all immediately loving and accepting of the girl, but she's still miserable. Her fairy godmother reappears and asks why she is so unhappy on the island. The girl says, "Because they're all so ugly!" 2) Even neckbeards (your term) do not find each other attractive. 3) The neckbeard wants his sexual appeal to be based on the beauty and purity of this mind and his thoughts and his character, and not on his physical appearance. But the only people he really cares about viewing himself that way are hot, sexy, young girls. As a final thought, I have concluded (from experience) that my right hand gives me 99.8% of the pleasure I could ever hope to get from a woman, without all the baggage. The question you should be asking is not why isn't the girl interested in you, the question is why should you be interested in the girl at all? As an aside, I joined this website within the past 2 days. I am almost to the point of abandoning it. There is a clear environment of intellectual inbreeding here. Groupthink. I long for a place where people are devoted to individualism. This place isn't that. It has a collectivist feel. Original thoughts are not tolerated here. Rather, conformity is a requirement.
9buybuydandavis6yBrian: Look, you've got it all wrong. You don't need to follow me. You don't need to follow anybody! You've got to think for yourselves! You're all individuals! The Crowd: Yes! We're all individuals! Brian: You're all different! The Crowd: Yes! We're all different! Man in crowd: I'm not... Man in crowd: Shhh! Brian: You've all got to work it out for yourselves. The Crowd: Yes! We've got to work it out for ourselves! Brian: Exactly! The Crowd: Tell us more! Brian: No! That's the point! Don't let anyone tell you what to do! Brian is wrong about about a few things. We're not "all different". We have differences, and we have similarities. And it's simply stupid to try to work everything out for yourself. Other people have brains too. Why not leverage them? Yes, the intellectual influences here tend to be a subset of what is generally available. That's why I came here. Intellectual influences like Jaynes, Kahneman, and Korzybski are in good taste. That's the shared epistemological influences. There is some inbreeding in the sense of a history and culture that has developed over the years on top of that. Is that surprising? Would it impress you more if being a member of the list had no discernible effect on members? If you're looking for devotional prayers to individualism, you've come to the wrong place. Though I and others will take our individualist hobby horses out for a jaunt every now and again. There are a pretty high percentage of individualists here, and something like a third of the list self identifies as libertarian. I'm of the Stirnerite egoist variety myself. But there are plenty of collectivists here. You've got that right. I'd say they're the majority. Ideological utilitarians, no less. But they can have good ideas too, and it's actually interesting to get a peek into their alien minds, to be in a culture where ideological individualists and collectivists actually interact. If you instead want everyone singing from the individualist hymnal, you've
5[anonymous]6yThere are some other forums that complain about a certain "SJW takeover" of LW. I think it is not entirely true, still, reading e.g. Star Slate Codex comments, who are generally from the LW community, sometimes make me go "holy fuck". The issue is, the whole SJW thing has little influence here in Europe and I swear it had little influence on the English-speaking, American-majority Internet before 2009. But I think around that date basically liberal college students decided that their former collective political hobby, namely: hating Bush, is no longer relevant and hating religious conservatives is a too low hanging fruit, and basically decided to hate each other as a new hobby, and thus even people with good liberal/progressive credentials got called stuff like transphobic or not a staunch enough feminist ally or whatnot, and it is a death spiral of hate, posturing and small-team squabbling. Resembing the groupuscules, mini-groups of the French student revolutionaries in 1968. I don't think this takeover happened entirely, still the fact that Scott Alexander has to fight against the worst, least compassionate, least understanding, and least intellectual honest aspects of SJWism suggests that even the LW community cannot entirely shut out this new social phenomenon, is not entirely waterproof to it. The "entryism" some right-winger babble about seems to be unfortunately and surprisingly, true. There are SJWs entering "neutral" institutions and generate hatred and faction inside. And I think I do see some "entryism" in LW. Look at what "entryism" in science fiction in America. When shit like this deserves a Nebula and is nominated for Hugo then yes, SJW "entryism" does lower quality: http://www.apex-magazine.com/if-you-were-a-dinosaur-my-love/ [http://www.apex-magazine.com/if-you-were-a-dinosaur-my-love/] And it is IMHO sad, because I do think causes like feminism or trans-acceptance have very positive aspects to them. However SJWism is not that, it is rather
2skeptical_lurker6yI don't think that story got a Nebula - the author won a Nebula for this: http://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/summer_2010/fiction_the_lady_who_plucked_red_flowers_beneath_the_queens_window_by_rache [http://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/summer_2010/fiction_the_lady_who_plucked_red_flowers_beneath_the_queens_window_by_rache] [EDIT: My mistake, both stories won Nebulas.] Nevertheless, that the same author would write a story which can be partially summerised as saying "Wouldn't it be awesome to be a T-Rex! You could kill homophobes! I'd laugh so hard!" is pretty disturbing. But its not as disturbing as the people who decided that debating using logic is racist, and first rap should be allowed in formal debates, and then the US national debate championship was won by people screaming incoherently. This is how civilisation dies.
-1seer6yEntryism isn't new it's been around for at least a century (possibly longer): Look at what entyism did to non-speculative fiction (or the visual arts) in the western world. That's your problem right there. What do you mean by "bigot"? Do you even have a coherent definition for that word, since in practice it means whatever the SJW's say it does.
2[anonymous]6yIMHO real bigotry is largely understood as trying to either increase one's status or feel better about one's status by undermining the status of others. A classic example is when people use excuses like "not enabling unhealthy habits" to be a huge prick to fat people online, largely to feel better about oneself comparatively. This is obviously a facade, "haha look at that hippo" is not really about worrying about the health of others but more like "I am better, I may be unemployed and single, but at least thinner". Sometimes it is about real status - using discrimination to undermine competition. I think it is not hard to understand. For example, my non-bigotry about gays is plain simply not having the slightest interest in them their either way, not spending a second of my time on them. Let them marry a car for all I care or adopt an ox, it is no skin off my back. I am selfish enough to not be hateful - means, largely focusing on what I want, not really being much interested in loving or hating people who don't really have anything I want. And I don't need to crutch up my masculinity by calling some else a sissy. I am fairly certain in it anyway. With women, it is largely trying to evaluate coworkers etc. by their actual individual merits or faults. I don't need generalized heuristics. I don't to wonder about theories whether women in general make good leaders. I can just give a temporary leadership to every individual for two weeks and try them out. And in relationships I don't try some kind of exactly measured equality, I am not ideological, but I am simply trying to pay attention to the desires and views of my partner and not dismissing them thinking it is just woman-talk. That is all really, I consider it common sense, not ideology. Non-speculative fiction: I am confused, isn't Ludlum, Clancy etc. actually kinda borderline conservative? Visual arts: another name for bullshit, yeah, but I think they did not get ideologized, they got simply colonized by talen
-3seer6yThis is a useless definition. Since status is more-or-less zero sum this means that anyone trying to increase his status is being a bigot. In practice of course, this definition is applied selectively, i.e., you're not a bigot if you're raising your status in an SJW-approved way or a member of an SJW-approved group. For example, isn't the above sentence technically bigoted by your definition since you're raising your status by lowering the status of people who engage in "fat shaming"? I meant high-brow fiction, e.g., Finnegan's Wake. It was ideologically while the takeover was happening, i.e., in the first half of the 20th century. A lot of modern artists justified they're "art" by arguing how they were rebelling against bourgeoisie respectability.
2[anonymous]6yI think the main issue is assuming that outside SJW groups nobody cares about things like bigotry, homophobia or sexism. I think they do - in obviously lower-profile, less incisive, less loud, unfortunately less noticable ways. But more functional and saner ways. I agree that my definition of this later may not be very good, because ultimately it is not really an ideology outside that, just a sort of a common sense and common decency which is hard to nail down exactly. One thing is certainly style and manners. I used the fat-shamer group as an example because the basic philosophy does not come accross as very wrong ("don't enable unhealthy habits by uncritically approving them") yet the style is both abrasive and puerile at the same time. One weird thing I recently realized that 2-3 generations ago people may have had worse ethics, but better manners. For example a lot of people were racists but less obvious ways than today because they were still able to talk with POC in a polite way. They would not let their kids harass POC kids because in their mind being born so was something sort of a disability and a "well bred" kid would not harass e.g. people who were born blind either, right? At least not in 1950 or so. So, weirdly enough, I think a large part of non-SJW non-bigotry is not even ethics but just resisting the poor manners of these times, just the common old-fashioned idea to not insult and offend people if you can avoid it. Terms like "tact" that somehow went out of fashion. There is one other aspect I could identify. One, trying to treat people as individuals, not representatives of groups. In this sense, non-SJW non-bigotry is actually centrist, because both extremes seem to not do it, some folks dismiss the views of women in STEM, while SJWs dismiss the views of white straight men in politics. So this centrist attitude is simply giving everybody a chance or two to prove themselves as individuals. I would say, it is working from an experience of pl
-2seer6yWhat do you mean by "just a sort of a common sense and common decency"? You yourself later admit that until extremely recently no one considered these ideas to be "common sense". What you are thinking of as "a common sense and common decency" is nothing more then SJW (and their predecessors') memes that you've acquired by osmosis. What on earth are you talking about? You appear to have no idea either what the USA was like in the 1950's or what it's like now. The above statement has so little relation to reality I don't even know where to start. Really, you might want to look for sources of news about what's going on in other countries that don't have an absurd level of "left-wing/SJW" bias. Except the groups people are members of is correlated with their properties as individuals. Thus, someone who treated people based on merit would still wind up treating members of different groups differently. What evidence convinced you of this? That they oppose "women in STEM" initiatives? That they wind up hiring fewer women then men and when asked to justify this point out sex differences? The former would seem to be the kind of opposition to "treating people as members of groups" that you seem to condone, the latter is a consequence of the kind hiring people based on merit you also claim to approve of. (Incidentally here is another case where it is useful to have true, as opposed to "non-sexist", beliefs in order to see what's going on.) How are tests any less heuristics than what you dismiss as "prejudices"? For example, why aren't tests bigoted for treating people as members of the groups "passed" and "failed" rather than individuals?
3[anonymous]6yBut a large aspect of it is actually very old. Look at how a gentleman talks to a lady in any old movie. Politely etc. Or in novels from the 19th century. Monte-Cristo, whatever. Concepts like tact, polite and gentle behavior, and taking other people's feelings into account stems from much older times than SJW stuff. Imagine an old novel or movie hero like Monte-Crisot meeting a gay person. Likely he has a very, very negative opinion of it but he still does not go "lol look at the faggot, did you suck many dicks today lol" because that 4chan level behavior is not allowed to an old fashioned gentleman. Most likely he keeps a stiff upper lip, discusses the weather politely and does not say anything directly at all, although later on he may whisper in his friends eye "the Viscount is apparently practicing unspeakably unnatural vices". I am still fairly "well bred", not on that 19th century level, but I was taught to be polite way before I ever heard about any other left wing or progressive idea than socialism. And I don't understand the confusion here. What are we even talking about? Isn't it obvious that for example Vox Day has the kinds of manners and style any people who were raised to be polite in a conservative family who never subscribed to progressive ideas still find repulsive? I am confused what is even the issue here. The other way around. I am not from Internet Default Country (I actually hate the defaultism) and probably this is why we may have a misunderstanding of manners. Recently America got overally poor manners, e.g. calling places people eat burgers with their hands, not using utensils, still "restaurants". But I think this was not always so. William F. Buckley Jr. had acceptable gentleman manners to my standards, i.e. my parents could invite him over dinner and he would fit in. Would Buckley be anything but polite to minorities? Would he let his kids go all 4chan on POC kids? Contemplate this please. That is theoretically acceptable - he is not
-2seer6yThose are two very different social registers. 4chan/8chan is the analogue of what people say in say a wild west saloon. (Keep in mind most westerns you saw cleaned up the language to be kid-friendly). Outside of the chans there is very little overt "bigotry" in America. Heck careers have been ended because someone said something the could be interpreted as "racist/sexist/etc." if you squinted enough. Except universities aren't actually doing this pre-filtering [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirmative_action]. Also, what if your job requires 120? 1) Would you mind actually answering my question. 2) Assuming you mean that trying people out for 2 weeks gives you more data then just the gender, I agree. Of course, it also takes 2 weeks per person and you might have problems under some of the less competent test-leaders, not to mention potential for drama. In particular, he's using all the information available to him, including gender, in determining how to treat the person. This is what I'm advocating. Of course if he leads her to believe she'll ever be as strong as the typical man, that's borderline fraud [http://www.unz.com/gnxp/men-are-stronger-than-women-on-average/] and I wouldn't approve. In another thread you mentioned that merely knowing how race and sex correlated with other important characteristics constituted being a bigot. Here you seem to be trying to back-paddle.
2[anonymous]6ySince I am trying honestly, I probably did not understand your question fully. I suspect a methodology / epistemology issue here? I am vary of statistical decision making when it comes to judging individuals. I would use them for judging things. For example many heuristics predict my marriage is not supposed to be working and yet it does. The reason is that we are not typical people. Atypical people cluster and this why groups of atypical people generate a statistics-distorting gravity field :) I think if I posted a job ad about a LISP programming job, that would such attract such atypical people that all statistics would be near useless. Now, posting a job ab about a bartender job, they would be way more useful. Let's just say I am not very interested in typical people and what they do. So if statistics works for evaluating them, great, but not interested. Watching purplepilldebate.reddit.com gives me precisely this impression. The RP side is largely about "how to be attractive for statistically typical women" while the BP side is "we are atypical, stop generalizing over us". That is obvoiously a good idea. However the point is, gender info is like 10-20% of the picture, and actually empirical individual features like being clumsy at the sandbag make up 80-90%. My point is simply suspending judgement until the most of the information available is individualized. "Prejudice" IMHO literally means "too fast judgement, not waiting for the individual data to roll in".
-4seer6yTaken literally the above sentence is anti-rational nonsense. Great, another Special Snowflake(tm). What do you mean by that. That it's impossible to do statistics on the people who show up for a job ad about LISP programing? Hint: "using statistics" =/= "assume everyone is average". And yet the Red Pillers have more success then the Blue Pillers. Furthermore, people routinely overestimate their "specialness". Something like 75% of people believe themselves to be above average intelligence. What I suspect the Blue Pillers are really objecting to is that people are using the outside view [http://cc.bingj.com/cache.aspx?q=outside+view+lesswrong&d=4703317022807252&mkt=en-US&setlang=en-US&w=s2AjTpHbP51a0jDyJyJae9tFEquPWAcD] on them. That's what the word originally meant, but that's not how it's used today. Today "prejudice" is the proverbial reason what police arrest blacks at a higher rate then whites. The fact that blacks commit crimes at a higher rate then whites is considered one of those "statistical" things you aren't supposed to apply to people.
3[anonymous]6yI think you are turning a bit hostile now and not being as constructive as before. Please try to do it again, you will rarely get with your kinds of views a debate partner who is disagreeing and yet non-dismissive, so I may be kinda useful for you. Yes, there are "special snowflakes" and statistics about average people are poor predictors of them. In fact the very fact you are here at LW instead of upvoting pictures of cute cats on Reddit makes you a bit special, too. Special snowflakery is an expected and rational outcome if we take the Maslow pyramid seriously (I not always, not sure if it is well evidenced, but it is so accepted that I will use it now) and see the last 50 or so years in rich countries as collectively moving up on it. A "collapse" could kick people down to the lowest level of it, but as of currently, more and more people travelled to the self-actualization peak (or esteem subpeak) and yes, it made them different. So due to this societal pyramid-climbing, there are more atypical people now than a few decades before. Interesting anecdotal evidence: I remember when everybody was a "rocker" or "raver" in Mitteleuropa. Now it seems people are into this band or that band, building up an individually customized musical taste, not joining one "army" or other. Customized stats are perfectly right, if they are done at all - but that is my point. "Prejudice" is usually average stats, uncustomized. I suspect people who spend too much time complaining on Reddit about women are probably not that successful: the succesful ones must be the "silent" ones who learn the methods but do not waste much time about this online bitterness-fest. In fact, besides the time wasted, I suspect bitterness alone must be a success-inhibitor. Specific example:I have the impression that while Vox Day's bio shows all the high-status checkmarks and he looks handsome, he is simply too bitter to be an efficient seducer. I don't think a startpoint of resentment can efficiently
-3seer6yYes, as people ascend Maslow's pyramid they desire to express themselves, in our culture one way of doing that is by chanting in unison about how unison about how unique you are. So, sort of like the standard Blue Pill concept of love based on that "special feeling" and being confident it will never disappear. Well, Vox Day is now happily married with a beautiful wife and a son. Didn't we (generalized we) have this debate last century about capitalism vs. socialism. How did that turn out? That's because anti-white is the only explanation consistent with the anti-racists' actions. That's because your country's government and state apparatus hasn't been taken over by them to extent mine has. Speaking of definitions. You still haven't said whether your definition of "racist" includes believing true things about how race correlates with things like IQ or criminality.
1[anonymous]6yUnconstructive snark. You can do better. No, don't confuse it with Disneydiots. More like the mutual respect and support based on admitting our own weakness and forgiving the weaknesses of the other, because it is mutually beneficial and also develops an attachment, is stable. It is more like two incomplete people making one more functional whole, where they can make up for each others faults and so on. That is a far easier achivement than "spinning plates". Any BP can do it, in the worst case compromising on the beauty aspect which is not necessarily very important. Very well. We learned socialism does not scale up to whole societies, but it works well enough in a small enough scale, if people have a strong attachment. Conservative societies practiced this mini-scale socialism all the time. Extended family etc. For a unit of a whopping two people it is supposed to work. For two million, not. To be fair it gives me a shudder that you even doubt two-people socialism or ten-people socialism. Obviously I doubt million-people socialism too, but if you are unable to form such kinds of bonds even with family, spouse, or blood-brothers in the Donovanian sense, it comes accross as almost pathological to me, like narcissism, sociopathy or reading too much Ayn Rand. Do you have children? There is no way in hell a person can be anything but socialist with his own kids. To determine that, first race needs to be real thing. The issue is, race is largely a grouped model developed in the colonial era to deal with a suddenly huge number of of ethnicities and nationalities. So English and Dutch were grouped into white, Yoruba, Hausa and Ethiopian into black and Han and Japanese and Vietnamese into yellow. Except when you look at a world map of IQ [http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/92/AverageIQ-Map-World.png] you see a sharp drop between China and Vietnam even though they are the grouped into the same yellow race. Things like this suggest racial categorizations not bei
-4seer6yI was being serious. How about you try taking my arguments seriously rather then dismissing them as snark. My point was that when you see "a bunch of selfish (as defined above) people insisting that a bunch of unselfish people are totally like them", the 'selfish' people are generally correct. Two-people socialism can work under the right circumstances. Ten-people socialism can sort of work (for small values of work) under extremely special circumstances at best. Then you would insist it does makes me wonder to what extent you're dealing with reality there. Yes, and the colonial-era model more-or-less cuts reality at the joints as modern genetic analysis confirms. Do you have more information about the data for that map? It certainly doesn't agree with the data I've seen, at best it appears to be trying to show data on "indigenous populations". Here [http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2008/05/iq-and-wealth-of-nations.html] is a map that I found after a little searching. I can't vouch for it's data source either, but it certainly seems a lot more believable. And frankly your argument amounts to a version of the fallacy of gray. I am not interested in your concern trolling. Yes, anything is easy to argue if your willing to dismiss contrary evidence as "racist". Sure, restrict to murder. You still get extremely strong correlations with race. There are two separate issues here: 1) Is it "racist" to observe that race correlates with propensity to commit murder. 2) Investigating the cause of that correlation. One explanation is different rates of poverty. This explanation can be tested by comparing black and white populations of the same economic status. (Spoiler: the correlation doesn't go away.) Of course, in order to investigate the cause one must first admit that the pattern exists.
1[anonymous]6yI am trying, but "chanting in unison" is simpy not constructive. It is a fact that human interests and identities in rich nations multiplied beyond counting [http://flatrock.org.nz/static/frontpage/assets/info_and_tech/its_all_geek_to_me.jpg] . I don't know what is so chanty or unisonic about it. Also, it probably comes from having basic needs met a lot of free time. I think we should be understanding it instead of dismissing it as chanting, snowflakery, or that famous scene from Brian's Life. But it seems you are trying to judge it hard or dismiss it instead of engaging with it. I mean I understand your dislike for it - you like to be in surival mode [http://slatestarcodex.com/2013/03/04/a-thrivesurvive-theory-of-the-political-spectrum/] and I respect that - I am in between, hedging my bets for the need for that but also preparing for a world beyond scarcity. But it is useful to set that aside and try to understand society as it is, without judging it quickly. Yes, because "unselfish" ideas in the last 100-150 years were crazily beyond the Dunbar number: world peace, socialism for all, and so on. But this is no reason to dismiss it within that number, simply that habit of correctly dismissing universalist unselfishness is not useful for that. It is simply a different thing. Is this so special? [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extended_family] Which analysis? I think the genetic distance between 2pac Shakur and Haile Selassie must be [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:World_Map_of_Y-DNA_Haplogroups.png] fairly big. Let's get real here. How high is a chance that pre-scientific categories based on mere looks would just magically happen to be true? What would make them so? Do you think behavior genes move together closely with UV-protection (or D-vitamin uptake) genes? Why would they ever? Specifically for the US, it would be more useful to think in terms for ex-slaves rather as blacks: it could have more explanatory power on both sides, social prejudice and discr
-3seer6yThe extended family isn't socialism, as seen by the fact that it's members own most things separetly and cooperate on a more-or-less reciprocal basis. At least as reciprocal as the Red Pillers you're calling "selfish". Wow, inpresive conclusions from what is effectively a single gene. What do you mean by "mere looks", no the victorian era categories weren't based only on skin color, they involved other things including behaviour. No, but they move together with having antcectors from the same continent, thus being in the same gene pool. It's relevant, it's just not the only relevant thing. Then make your objections in your own name. Don't try to disguise them as tactical advise about how by telling the truth I "make the lefties' job easier". Note the conclusion you're jumping to, on apperantly no evidence besides highly distorted ideas filtered through pop culture. And yet for some reason poor whites don't kill other poor whites at the same rate. Also, the black on black murder rate was much lower back during the Jim Crow days when the niches available to blacks really were more limited. What do you think I assumed is true? Could you point me to where I assumed it. I'm not sure what causes this correlation, or rather how much of it is genetic versus culture. You seem to be agreeing with the SJW position that says we souldn't even be allowed to think about explanations other then "white racism". So you'd do away with all science except physiscs and parts of chemistry? Or do you only apply this standard when the conclusions make you uncomfortable? So since temperature is the aggregate of the movement of the molecules in a substance, we shouldn't investigate what causes temperature changes? To say nothing of investigating, say the causes of diseases.
2[anonymous]6yThe earliest succesful migration out of Africa is 60K years ago, that is calculation with 15 years 4K generations. The rest is largely the math how much evolution is even possible in such a timeframe. Not really, that is an equally bogus one, because that kind of explanation assumes there is something uniquely bad about whites. Really is closer to a shitfest of all the tribes against all the tribes and then some are winning. The most likely explanation is - I am more or less a Fukuyamaist, I tend to think just about everything comes from social capital i.e. trust - trust, cooperation, coordination breaking down when people look or act to alien to each other. What? No. It is perfectly doable in social science. E.g. experimenting with throwing better schools in this hood, more police in that one, jobs in a third one, rewards for snitches in the fourth etc. I think I should explain it in longer detail in a post... but in a nutshell going back from effects to causes is always way harder than the other way around: you can easier observe what a lighting strike causes than what causes a lightning strike. With aggregate effects it becomes even harder and it is easy to err, and thus it is easy to mislead intentionally ("there is a correlation, most common causes A, B, C can be ruled out thus it must be my pet idea D!"). If the goal is to improve, not blame, you are better off playing with individual variables and see if they improve things.
-3seer6yOr when the system to punish defectors breaks down. We've been doing that for the past ~60 years (WRT black achievement), things haven't been improving.
1[anonymous]6yI have a theory for that, just don't know how to test it. The idea is that the community the defection seems like happening from is not the actual community. It is based on what Theodore Dalrymple experienced in East Africa, I think Tanzania, which rhymes with some of my experiences near the underworld of Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Basically what they do or did there is villages sacrificing a lot to get 1-2 guy educated and into a government job, who will then use corruption, bribery, pull to divert resources into his village. Being corrupted is a community duty and virtue with regard to his village. It looks like defection, but only as long as you think the nation-state and its rules and laws are his real community. If the real community is the village, it is not a defection. I think e.g. the oligarchical gangsterism in Russia after the Soviet collapse was not defection: there was nowhere from, the state and nation/empire as a community, in the consciousness sense, stopped existing. The actual community these people operated in was the nomenclature's Old Boys Networks and they did obey the rules and laws of that community e.g. remember a repay favors, deliver the service you were bribed to deliver and so on. I know very little about the situation in the US, but the anecdote that studying well may be seen as acting white and thus defection from the black community is something you should be investigating. Are the people defecting from the white / national community even parts of it, in their own eyes?
0seer6yThe reason the nation/empire stopped existing as a community is because so many people were defecting from it. The "nomenclature's Old Boys Networks" was a substitute community that developed among parts of the elite, and my understanding is there was a lot of defection and back-stabbing even within it.
0JoshuaZ6yThis is part of a very complicated set of issues. Note that although almost all drugs (with the notable exception of crack) are used more frequently by whites than blacks according to anonymous surveys. See for example data here [http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/quicktables/quickconfig.do?34481-0001_all]. But blacks are more likely to be arrested for drug offenses than whites [http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/related_material/8%20Fellner_FINAL.pdf]. The entire racial crime issue is really complicated. I recommend reading Yvain's piece on race and the judicial system [http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/11/25/race-and-justice-much-more-than-you-wanted-to-know/] . Any simple explanation of what is going on really doesn't easily meet all the facts.
1Jiro6yI suspect a Simpson's paradox here. To avoid this you would have to show that drugs are used more frequently by whites than by blacks of similar socioeconomic status. Otherwise, showing that whites use more drugs may just mean that whites can afford more drugs.
2Lumifer6yReally? :-) As to LW, all self-selected groups show some signs of groupthink, but I think you're mistaken that "conformity is a requirement". I would recommend not paying much attention to your karma and up/down votes.
3[anonymous]6yNice suggestion, that I not pay so much attention to my karma and up/down votes. However there is a simple flaw: I have to care if I want the freedom to initiate an article, don't I? This recent exchange sent my karma from +10 to -9. What am I supposed to learn from this? That I am expected to conform to this community's agenda, otherwise I'll be shunned. OK, this is my last post. I accept that I have been shunned from this community. And I am now leaving. And I am very, very pleased with myself that it only took me 3 days of occasional attention to determine what a complete waste of time it would be to invest time here. Have fun, all!
5Lumifer6yThat trolling is not a particularly rewarding activity.
2[anonymous]6yTo be fair, I have some fears of losing the privilege to submit posts to Discussion. Currently at 39 and I think the threshold is 4? I could fuck it up with one unpopular post. Other than that, I would not care.
3Viliam_Bur6yI guess the implied strategy is: post comments first, articles later. Posting comments will usually bring you positive karma quickly. (Note that this strategy works slowly when you mostly comment on old articles.) Other possible strategy is: post an uncontroversially good article. For posting controversial articles you should get some karma capital first. Don't take this personally.
0Lumifer6yGaining karma is not difficult. If you ever feel the need for more karma, recall that you are smarter than an average bear and should be able to figure out simple karma-acquisition strategies.
1[anonymous]6yYes, but I need to be smarter than the average LW user for that and that sounds hard. I don't think Reddit-style "look at that cute puppy" would work.
4Viliam_Bur6yTo keep positive karma? Absolutely not. Upvotes are more frequent here than downvotes. Articles are judged more harshly than comments, because there is the "does this deserve to be a separate article, instead of a comment in Open Thread?" factor. And karma gains/loses from an article are greater than from a comment. Let me put it this way: You wrote an article with strong questionable claims, ...that you admit are just random stuff which would work only through chance, ...and you also admit it is poorly written and edited, ...touching a politicized topic, which is kind of a taboo here, ...and your total karma is still positive, despite the losses from this article. To me it seems that getting negative karma requires a lot of work. (Okay, we have a successful example in this very thread, but that is a rare situation.)
0[anonymous]6yWait a bit please - is nerdiness politicized now? Or is rather, you mention anything related to social gender (terms like "masculine") and it is automatically politicized? This really raises the question to what extent you want the personal become political. I rather would not want this. There was a man who said "anything that affects a lot of people is political". But that man was Janos Kadar, a bolshevik dictator...
3Lumifer6yNo, you don't -- it's neither a zero-sum game, nor competition for a limited resource. The average LW user has a lot of positive karma.
0dxu6yNow you have me wondering what a zero-sum game for karma would look like on LessWrong. (Or on Reddit, for that matter.)
0Lumifer6yMy guess goes to "pretty ugly".
0dxu6yCould be interesting, though. Maybe if we made it clear that the karma didn't actually stand for anything... No, who am I kidding. We're humans; Pavlovian conditioning is a thing. In our society, numbers going up are in and of themselves a reward. It'd probably get pretty tribal, I'd imagine; LW's claims of rationality notwithstanding, we seem to devolve into heated arguments quite frequently. (And speaking of of LW's "rationality": I registered an account here last November, but I've been a lurker long before that, and it seems like the signal-to-noise ratio of LW has dropped significantly since the "good old days". Any ideas on why? Is it because of people like Eliezer and Scott having mostly deserted LW? Or is it the influx of new users causing an overall decrease in average quality, because the gems are getting buried in heaps of dung, so to speak? Do we need more people going around downvoting everything, thomblake-style [http://lesswrong.com/lw/c1/wellkept_gardens_die_by_pacifism/93t]?)
0CellBioGuy6yAre you sure it was what you thought it was in the good old days rather than the dazzle of the new (or at least newly phrased)?
0dxu6yIt's possible that it was the "dazzle of the new", as you put it, but there seemed to be a genuinely higher quality comments section as well, in the sense there were less heated discussions. I mean, compare the quality of discussion here [http://lesswrong.com/lw/1pz/the_ai_in_a_box_boxes_you/] versus that of the discussion, say, here [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/lus/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/c4b3] . Now, you could argue that there's a qualitative difference here--abstract thoughts about AI versus feminism, a highly politicized topic--and I would agree that that's a legitimate distinction to make, but still: there used to be a time when LW wouldn't really bring up political discussion at all unless it was strictly relevant. And even when politics was brought up, like, say, here [http://lesswrong.com/lw/134/sayeth_the_girl/], there was a genuine effort to remain polite and on-topic which, frankly, I'm not really seeing as much in the newer threads. Maybe I'm just imagining things; I don't know. But even if I am, I can only describe my own impressions--and right now, in my impression, there really does seem to have been a definite drop in the quality of discussion.
1Kindly6yHow about "Look at that cute quote of Paul Graham"? (Terry Pratchett might also be a good bet.)
0[anonymous]6yI really hope there is not much over overlap with Hacker News... I find Paul Graham's essays, at least outside his domain (software engineering,investing, "startups") tedious and boring, with very little insight. Read this and count how many times you feel like you are being subjected to vacuous windbaggery: http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html [http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html] I mean, if LW needs heroes outside LW I would recommend Steven Dutch for starters: http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/pscindx.htm [http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/pscindx.htm]
3seer6yZero. Also given your hangups about believing anything that could be perceived as "racist" you would do well to study that article more carefully.
-1[anonymous]6yWell, if it is zero, then we are not on the same page. My issue was that there are different reasons to censure speech, sometimes people are just puritans, sometimes they want to prevent very real psychological damage, triggering, depression, felt repression, instilled self-doubt and low self-esteem to others. Not understanding this, looking at it from a lofty "free speech and brave enquiry vs. puritans" angle is the textbook case of "blinded by privilege". I mean privilege is abused 99 out of 100 times by SJW types but this is the precise case where it applies. There is speech that is jus too sassy to puritans, and there is speech that hurts like a knife, right in the self-esteem. How is it hard to understand that? Yet PG is almost sweating from the effort to avoid understanding that and basically advertising "here I have no vulnerabilities". Much of PC is bullshit, but much of it is just basic compassion, a desire to not damage others emotionally. PG does not understand the difference at all.
0Lumifer6y:-D
  • Dropping a nuke on your social shyness by joining Toastmasters - a writer should be able to give a speech on a podium? Toastmasters International (and the later is not just a name, they are in Europe etc. too) says on the can that they are about public speaking skills, which is true, but public speaking is simply the hardest kind of speaking for introverted, shy, or self-hating people, go through the Comm manual giving the 10 speeches, participate in table topics, and compared to that 1:1 socializing or chatting will be easy.

Am I the only one who's not exactly the least shy person on Earth in two-way one-to-one or one-to-few interactions and yet has never experienced stage fright?

0dxu6ySame here, I must say. My dominant hypothesis right now is that for people like us, having a huge audience actually dilutes the our sense of shyness, in the sense that the more people there are, the more it allows for the shyness to "spread out" across those people, whereas with a one-to-one interaction, there's little to no dilution since you're focusing all your energies on this one person in front of you.

Pro1: Yes. Ask your neckbeard friend to consent to a test that will not be physically harmful but may cause emotional triggering. Then pretend to slap or munch him in the face. Do you get a panicky, nervous reaction, like turtling up and blinking, or you get a "manly" one like leaning back and catching your hand? This predicts if he is used to fighting back, or used to getting beaten and not daring to fight.

This doesn't have anything to do with self hatred. Your writing isn't focused. You make a lot of points but don't commit to making any in ... (read more)

0[anonymous]6yI know, because this all is very introductory. The whole set of problems is not studied yet at all, so I am just doing the scope-work basiclly i.e. what may play a role. It is a definition issue. I don't mean STEM-geeks, I mean people who use escapist-heroic fantasy. That is a clear sign. People who hate themselves usually find a way to fantasize about being a hero. There is the table topics and the fact that in the breaks people 1) try harder than usual to socialize, even when they normally the type who does not do this, but they understand that these evenings are dedicated to communication 2) they are super nice at it, non-judgemental, non-competitive, it is not like going to a party where everybody is basically bragging and trying to undermine your status to raise theirs. Yes, we did kyokushinkai and there was hardly any kumite, moreover it was always stopped at the first landed punch or kick. From online articles, I can copy weak-middling evidence, clearly it would take offline research to make it better evidenced: http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/comment/articles/2013-09/06/tony-parsons-boxing-mike-tyson-carl-froch/viewall [http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/comment/articles/2013-09/06/tony-parsons-boxing-mike-tyson-carl-froch/viewall] "Boxing was once taught in British state schools. Contrary to what you might think, it was never ­actually banned, but simply died out around the time of the Beatles' first LP." " Boxing is the martial art of the West, as integral to our sports culture as kung fu in China, karate and judo in Japan and taekwondo in Korea." "And although the state schools gave up teaching boxing in 1962, in the great private schools they never stopped believing in the healing power of boxing. And that is why the only men I know who boxed at school all went to Eton." Argentine: http://www.irlandeses.org/mccarthy2.htm [http://www.irlandeses.org/mccarthy2.htm] " Cashel-born Paddy McCarthy (1871-1963) went to Argentina in 1900 and worked as a teacher, co
0ChristianKl6yI don't believe that's the case. I don't think that self-hating isn't studied at all. There are many ways to escape reality besides fantasizing being a hero. Having a hero that serve as a role model can also be valuable. How much time have you spent at toastmasters? I have spent 4 1/2 years. I know how it works. Empirically in the years I spent at toastmasters my 1:1 interaction skills didn't improve as much as they did in the last years.
0[anonymous]6yMore like its coping strategies and the social effects thereof not being studied. The issue is, people just thing they like e.g. D&D, they don't know they are doing it to cope with self-hatred. On the other hand, psychologists study self-hatred but do not look into the hobbies it causes and the social response of them. Such as drugs, but the point here is not the escaping the reality of circumstances but ones own self. TM: Not much, about 6 months. Still it helped me ease up. I accept the argument that it is only an initial boost if you are very tight to begin with.

the solution will involve fixing things that made one a "tempting" bullying target

So a nerd, according to the OP, is someone who:

  • lacks empathy and interest in other people
  • lacks self confidence
  • has unconventional interests, ideas, and appearance

But even if take for granted that this is a correct description of a nerd, these are very different issues and require very different solutions.

The last problem is simple to fix at the level of society and ought to be fixed there. A hate against specific social groups should not be acceptable, not ... (read more)

1[anonymous]6yI need to write clearer. That is not my main thesis. My main thesis is my OMFG-level striking, shocking relevation that surprised by out of my mind, namely that e.g. obsessing over D&D is not merely a hobby or interest, but a desire to escape from a life and self you hate. This filled up with compassion and made me remember my former self who was not far from that. That hobbies and interests, in this case nerdy ones, predict problems. You can diagnose certain issues by looking at people's hobbies and interests. This is my main thesis. The rest is digging deeper trying to figure out the reasons, and less important. I think you misunderstood the group-hate thing. The kids are talking about were not yet groups at the ages of 8 or 10 when this happened to them, and actually I think it is a dangerous bias today to see every social dynamic as group relation, ignoring individual relations. It seems after it was discovered that racism is a thing and a bad one, now everybody who was individually oppressed wants to invent their own "race". So for example gays went from just being individuals who like gay sex and get hated by other individuals for it to inventing their own group and identity, essentially inventing a "race" and thus re-casting the hatred they get from individual hatred to group hatred. I am quite puzzled by this. Is there a rational reason for this? Are humans hardwired to hate groups more than individuals? At any rate I think your point is adult nerds being another "race", which is a problem itself, but my real problem is that these kids were not yet nerds. Seeing this as a group level oppression dynamic is very wrong at this 8-10-12 year old age. It was individuals, who were perceived as weak, and thus got oppressed for it. There was no identity of a weak-boy-group, it was not invented as a "race", although later on they became adult nerds and then yes they some extent invented themselves as a "race". So it is not that nerds were hated as kids. Weak ki
2Lumifer6yI know a few people who obsessed over heroic fantasy (D&D, Dragonlance, Warcraft, etc.). None of them hated themselves, suffered much, or felt a great need to escape real life (except that when it was boring). They all grew out of it after a few years -- still play, but do not obsess any more. I don't think your thesis is empirically correct.
2Normal_Anomaly6ySo your thesis is that kids who get hated on by other kids become interested in SF and DnD for escapist reasons, rather than already being predisposed to those hobbies. This is testable/falsifiable and potentially interesting. Observations that support your theory: * fiction is a really excellent way to escape and lots of people do use it for that. * all the stuff you say in your post: nerdier, more outcast people like weirder and more magical fictional worlds Observations that don't support your theory: * escapist-nerdy interests correlate with other interests that aren't useful for escapism, like math and taking machines apart. What these sets of interests do have in common is that they use the same abilities. * Dungeons and Dragons is actually a highly social activity. You need at least four people, one of whom is confident enough to extemporize an interactive story. Other questions that would be good evidence: * Do children whose lives really suck (poor kids, kids from abusive families, kids with disfiguring illnesses) become bookish/gamers/nerds more often? If so, evidence for escapism. If not, evidence for predisposition. I would bet on no, but don't have a source. * Do nerdy interests correlate more with IQ, or with what you call courage? Again, I would bet on IQ.
0[anonymous]6yThe first truly excellent reply. Not all fiction is a good way to escape, but you need to look at what kind of fiction I am talking about. I would call it heroic fiction. LOTR, SW and so on. This suggests being unhappy with one's self. The math and machines and even software and Linux part: this is IMHO only partially true. I know many non-STEM nerds. Most STEM nerds have some interest in fantasy but not the other way around and IQ may be one of the factors. I know more people who read and fantasize about D&D rulebooks than people who gather the courage to play it socially. Having said that, a "social alliance of social outcasts" is a non-typical kind of socializing. STEM-nerdy interests correlate with IQ, escapist-nerdy ones not. Have you ever read the Dragonlance Chronicles, the No. 1 fantasy of my youth? Point is, it is not actually difficult or complicated. Watching Game of Thrones is leaps and bounds harder, so many names and faces. Further confounding: indeed children from poor broken families are less likely to do this. What escapist-nerdiness perhaps correlates with is not IQ as such but more like family background where reading books and related activities are respected and pushed by parents. Intellectualism, in a way, bookwormery, but not necessarily IQ as far as escapist-nerdiness goes. STEM-nerdiness is indeed IQ. Interesting: in Europe, families with a more or less secular Jewish background went from worshipping The Book to worshipping "books". Literature, reading, intellectualism. Kids of this background were over-represented in this in my experience, because of the family being very approving of bookish stuff. This is intellectual, but yet not necessarily high-IQ. It is closer to liberal arts than hard-sciences, and indeed the most typical career here is historian - a certainly lower-IQ-requirement one than math.
0Normal_Anomaly6yThis sounds plausible and I'll take your word for it. I know primarily (exclusively?) STEM nerds, so my typical mind fallacy may be inflating the percentage of Star Wars and LOTR fans who also like STEM. To whatever extent escapist-literature-fandom is caused by either high IQ or intellectual parents, it's not caused by self-hatred, bullying, or lack of manly courage.
0[anonymous]6yGood point - it is the subset of specifically using heroic fantasy is what caused by it. And some other things... like heroes who are socially excluded or self-excluded. The books summarized by this painting were the biggest deal when I was young. Spot the character nerds assoicated with the most :) http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/99/Dragonlance_Characters_around_a_campfire_by_Larry_Elmore.jpg [http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/99/Dragonlance_Characters_around_a_campfire_by_Larry_Elmore.jpg]
1gedymin6yFunny, I thought escaping in their own private world was not something exclusive to nerds. In fact most people do that. Schoolgirls escape in fantasies about romance. Boys in fantasies about porn. Gamers in virtual reality. Athletes in fantasies about becoming famous in sport. Mathletes - about being famous and successful scientists. Goths - musicians or artists. And so on. True, not everyone likes to escape in sci-fi or fantasy, but that's because different minds are attracted by different kinds of things. D&D is a relatively harmless fantasy. I'm not that familiar with it, so I'm not even sure whether it can be used to diagnose "nerds", but that's not the point. Correlation is not causation. Regarding "jerks", we apparently have disagreement on definitions, so this is an issue not worth pursuing. My point is that your self-styled definition of a "nerd" is bit ridiculous, as in fact you're talking about three different groups of people that just happen to be overlapping.
0[anonymous]6yExcellent point. The defining characteristic is here escaping into heroic fantasy. LOTR, Star Wars, Dragonlance Chronicles (in my youth), superhero comics. What does that suggest? A person fantasizing about superpowers does feel disempowered, don't you think? Yes, the overlap is an issue, nerds don't fully self-identify as a group, the Linux guy will not high-five the anime guy saying "we are bros". It is not really a clearly defined one group. And I am thinking of the second guy. However nerds who suffer are clearer. See: http://www.reddit.com/r/justneckbeardthings/ [http://www.reddit.com/r/justneckbeardthings/] Focus on the suffering subgroup and you get it clearer.

You keep mentioning overweight/obesity as evidence that "neckbeards" don't care about their bodies or see themselves as worth improving. Given the current state of our knowledge on obesity, eg this I think there are much better explanations for why some nerds are fat. It's possible to love yourself and think you deserve to look great and still have a slow metabolism. Also, do we even know that being nerdy correlates with being fat?

0[anonymous]6yIn my youth it correlated with being rail thin. But today neckbeard is a fattish stereotype. (Hiding chin.) I would say obesity is not a key factor here, head and facial hair alone, or clothes, or hygiene are better predictors. But the point is, today the world has changed. Today it seems to be almost everybody who does not consciously work hard against it are obese. Today basically obesity is the default shape for all who do not have it in their to-do list things like exercise 3 times a week, pay attention to food and drink etc. So it is neither a predictive nor a typical trait. Almost everybody is obese today who does not give it high priority to not be one. The reason is the current social normality to derive hedons from snacks and when adult, booze. I know this - at 36 I do care, do pay attention, and am still borderline obese, because of too much free time being bored, especially socially. Uncle comes over. What do? Oh, lets have vodka or two. Beer. Eat something. Etc. time gets passed. Even if you pay attention, the "bored, no idea what to do" -> snack up, pig out or get drunk gets you fat. Because today it became normal. I think it takes a special sort of discipline to not be fat today. Or, like, really, really being good at being the opposite of depressed, like, always-having-fun: so much time to fill out and so little challenge.
0ChristianKl6yAre you aware that obesity highly correlates with genetics when you make such a statement?
0Lumifer6yLook how quickly genes change [http://www.data360.org/dsg.aspx?Data_Set_Group_Id=196]!
0ChristianKl6yDoesn't change anything about the claim. Studies that measure the effect of genes measure how much of societal variation is due to genes.
0Normal_Anomaly6yIf you believe everybody is fat and it's not because of self-hatred, why did you list neckbeards' weight as evidence of their self-hatred?
-1[anonymous]6yIt is an evidence of not simply not caring about looks.
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