I always like to see my “original insights” clearly explained by other people, well before I’ve written them out. It confirms my idea that basic human nature is cross-cultural. Most anything you can notice about how people work today, somebody else noticed 50, 100, or 2000 years ago.
Althought that’s not quite right. Daniel Dennet attributes the Flynn effect of constantly increasing IQ to memes. Memes are ideas that are culturally exchanged that act as “intuition pumps” and the software with which we think.
According to Dennet, it would take a genius such as Da Vinci to think up concepts that in his time were novel, whereas today his brightest ideas would already be known young children.
One very powerful meme that has yet to be broadly assimilated is the idea of developmental-psychology. The idea that humans progress through stages of clearly distinct types thought organization. There are several overlapping versions of what these stages are, proposed by many different researchers, however there is wide agreement on the nature of the lower stages, at least. And all theorists agree that not all adults reach the same final stage of maturity. Most people, in fact, are still childish. The interested reader can google his way to enlightenment on the subject.
Unfortunately, people at lower levels of thought organization are not able to conceptualize the higher levels. This can make communication quite impossible. You can’t reason with the unreasonable, and there are several levels of reason – each out of reach of the level below.
here’s the way it works:
* there are alpha traits, and there are beta traits. a beta trait is NOT just the inverse of an alpha trait.
note the final sentence above: yes, kids, that’s right, alpha and beta are actually two separate concepts. in the context of a long-term relationship, as we will soon see, it’s quite possible for a man to be both an alpha and a beta. (most PUA sites are justified in ignoring this distinction, since alpha and beta traits become mutually exclusive if the timeframe is short enough.)
* there are no binaries. each trait lies on a continuum.
this one is a mindfuck for lots and lots and lots and lots of people.
in particular, most people think of these things in terms of binaries — one/zero, on/off, etc. — because binaries are soft, warm, fuzzy, and easy to understand. this is the reason why children’s literature never develops characters beyond good guys and bad guys, and it’s also the reason why kids are taught the words hot and cold before learning more finely differentiated terms, such as tepid, warm, cool, and frigid.
note, however, the terms “children’s literature” and “kids” in the above sentence. these terms are not an accident; they are there because, when it comes to human personality traits, binary thinking is juvenile thinking.
* alpha and beta are not opposites, nor are they negative spaces, like yin and yang. they are entirely separate clusters of behavioral traits. (in extremely compressed timeframes they can take on some aspects of opposition, which is why the PUA community is so obsessed with contrasting them, but in longer timeframes it’s ridiculous to continue the charade of contrast.)
The rest of his posts talks about different aspects of behavior, on a sliding scale from uber-wimp to sociopathic-monster-alpha. I don’t agree with the details of his scales, but the overall concept is sound; if all your sliders are set to the same number, you have congruence. If you are only sexually aggressive but try hard to fit in and not rock the boat in social situations, for instance, that’s incongruent, and your girl won’t take you seriously. Her alarm bells will go off and she won’t believe that you are “just being yourself”.
Then his last post talks about balancing alpha traits with beta traits, in a 3/5ths ratio, plus calibrating how much alpha to use based on the drama requirements of the girl. Similar to what I’ve been saying for years also; the more dominant you are the more you can afford to be romantic.
My hope is that over the coming centuries, better cultural memes will move the average center of psych development for all populations. Just as with the Flynn effect, we’ll get a developmental-psych effect.
Meme wars make a difference for that. Memes are important; ideas are important; the truth and HOW we think is important.