The idea for this post was one that just dropped into my head as I was putting away groceries and I’m not really sure why. For those who are not familiar with the FOG concept, it is an acronym for “Fear, Obligation and Guilt” which are three primary mechanisms of manipulation. To give some examples, when you see a group of boys playing, and when one of them refuses to do something the group wants, the calls of “are you chicken?” combined with various physical gestures and clucking quickly follows. In this case, they are using the target’s fear of losing social status as a mechanism to get him to do something he really does not want to do.
When you see parents trying to get their children to visit their annoying uncle, and the “he’s family” statements start to come out, they are playing on the children’s feeling of obligation to the family construct, or to wider social values.
Finally, if the parents start to tell the children “remember how your uncle gave you that great present for [insert time]“, they are playing on the children’s feeling of guilt. The funny thing about all three of these is that humans have irrational fears, we feel obligated when we have not accepted an obligation, and some even feel guilty for putting themselves first.
The social FOG
Fear, obligations and guilt have all had their purpose, purposes that are largely adapted to a small group of 20 – 50 people, where every member relies on every other member in order to survive. In this group, fear serves to limit anti-social behavior, obligations ensures you do your duty and guilt reinforces the first two.
There are two primary ways of seeing a society or social group, as individuals or in aggregate. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that any mechanism of manipulation that works individually also will work in aggregate and vice versa. I started to think about how I see fear, obligation and guilt both present in natural form, and used as a tool by various movements to drive policy and society in the desired direction.
If we look at the migration wave in Europe for instance you have many examples of all 3:
There are people who protest against migrants based in fear of losing social cohesion, loss of resources, loss of a country or a culture that are hundreds if not thousands of years old. There are people who fear being called racist if they protest, and people who fear that the modern western world cannot absorb such a large amount of people from cultures that are very different from the western one. On the other hand, there are people who live in fear of a world where people who need help do not get help. They fear what would happen if they ever needed to migrate, who fear that the boom of violance post-migrant boom will be the end of the multicultural project, and that the consequences will be grave enough to end ideologies they have worshiped, and the politicians they have supported.
There are people who feel obligated to their history, their predecessors, and their ancestors to help preserve a culture and a way of life that people sacrificed their lives to build, defend and maintain. There are other people who feel obligated to help other human beings based on that they are human. There are people who feel guilty if they do not help people in need, and there are people who feel guilty if they sacrifice members of their “in-group” to help people of their out-group.
There is little doubt that these mechanisms are employed on a grand scale by politicians and others in order to control the populations they govern. The Church for hundreds of years controlled Europe in the way that Islamic councils do the Middle-East today, with fear of punishment, obligation to God, and guilt for not following the commandments. Even further back, perhaps men have “approach anxiety” because in the tribal days hitting on the wrong woman could get you killed or kicked out of the group. Perhaps we evolved to feel obligation to facilitate a community built on what Professor Richard Dawkins refers to as reciprocal altruism. Maybe we do feel guilt to make us pause, and think through desired actions one, or two or three more times before we do them.
Growing up foggy
Think about growing up, while being constantly exposed to fear, obligation and guilt triggering mechanism, not only from your close knit social group who are trying to raise you, but also from society at large. Feminism as a movement, have destroyed the social perception of masculinity and driven the value of boys down for the last 40 – 50 years. Using rhetoric of “All boys are stupid throw rocks at them” and examples that are much worse. Boys watch their friends get put on Ritalin for being rambunctious. They grow up being punished for protecting themselves with physical force against psychological bullying.
They enter junior high school or high school, start noticing girls and unless they fall into the high value group by accident, they have a few embarrassing moments while clumsily courting a classmate. Get sent to the principal’s office, to be punished for inappropriate behavior. Told that they are obligated to treat women with respect, regardless of merit. Generally, treated as second-class citizens by a school system dedicated to defending female delusions and deflecting any threat to them. They fear losing their social status, the respect from their peers, and feel obligated to earn it back through high risk behavior, or throwing themselves into accomplishments. Then feel guilty when they say no to people, or act outside the accepted paradigm, because they have been conditioned to suppress and deny their male instincts.
This is not accounting for a school system that caters to female behavior and female learning preferences, ensuring that in addition to being told that their gender is what is wrong with this world, they also fail at getting a basic education in their early year.
They finally leave high school, and enter college, where they rapidly discover that they have to sit through consent classes that treat them all as if they are rapists. They find themselves in fear of Title IX complaints, and suddenly being smeared across a nation wide magazine or newspaper. I’m glad that I’m not going through my teens today, being an awkward 14 year old, being called racist, sexist, and every other term, merely for disagreeing with certain sets of ideas.
Conclusion & Summary
Many of the men I talk to both online and out in the real world, are interesting from a scaled perspective. In essence if we imagine psychopathy as one end of the scale and neuroticism on the other end of the scale. Where psychopathy consists of narcissism and sadism, while neuroticism consists of mercy and self-sacrifice. Many of these men fall towards the neuroticism spectrum. Psychopaths are highly resistant to the first form of FOG and actually employ it as their tools of the trade. Whereas neurotics are highly vulnerable to FOG and often display a tendency to be too fearful, taking on too many obligations and feeling guilt very easily.
The trouble for these men is that if they ask for something they want or need, they feel fear that they may be rejected, if they get it they feel obligated to reciprocate in greater amounts than they received, and they feel guilty about imposing on someone. It’s a through and through scarcity mindset, where they rank themselves on the lowest level. They lack the programming for enlightened self-interest, because it has in many cases been beaten out of them throughout their “education”.
The funny thing is that these mechanisms are not needed to keep neurotic men in line, because they do so themselves through their innate temperament, but they are very effective at controlling neurotic men. However, they are wholly ineffective on the men that society needs to control, because these men are immune.
Some may think that this is a post that is written to garner sympathy, but it is a post to highlight how we have developed a society that beats the masculinity and self-confidence out of boys from age 6, then wonder why men kill themselves in disproportionate rates. Our school system has become a giant Skinner box, where boys are rewarded for behaving like girls, which leads to failure later in life.