Some men go through life in a very predictable pattern, always seeking validation for their pro-social behavior. Whether it be as children when they follow the directions of parents, teachers, other adults, or when they grow up and adopt the familiar narratives that so many men fall victim to in their journey through life. In my time in academia I saw many of these men, often seeking predictable safe degrees in engineering, business, accounting, that they had been planning to do for most of their life. Their time prior to college had often been spent getting the best grades possible, maximizing their extracurricular activities, keeping up their perfect attendance scores and otherwise maximizing their chances of getting into a “good” college.
A majority of them had a life-plan laid out that went something along the lines of get into a good college, get a solid degree with good grades, intern with one of the top companies available, graduate, get a job with this company, work their way up the corporate ladder, be rewarded with a beautiful sexpot wife, 2.4 kids and a beautiful home. This goal was their motivation and they put their nose to the grindstone every single day to make it a reality. However, as is often the case with plans, in their meeting with reality few if any hold up.
As Mike Tyson once said “Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.”
The trouble that such men often face, is that rather than designing their own path in life, they accepted the various narratives that they had been presented with while growing up and then permitted their super-ego to govern their life, for years if not decades. The “Good Boys” are convinced that there is an inner morality to the world, and that the social narratives present the good way to live, thus if one lives according to the narratives, one will be rewarded for one’s good behavior. This world-view is embodied in the concept of karma, where good things come to good people and bad things happen to bad people.
Perhaps the most obvious narrative is related to behavior that is a benefit to the social group that the man lives within, for instance being a hard worker and tax-payer is pro-social. This is because the man is not only producing the product of his labor for society, his salary also helps finance public goods regardless of his need for these or not. These public goods are intended to increase the overall happiness within the social group, in an ideal world, perhaps this man could utilize the money he pays in taxes to obtain goods that would cause an overall increase in happiness for him.
One could take two men, one is the worker outlined above, the other earns money to live through a life of crime. The former will help contribute to maintaining the rule of law through both law-abiding behavior and assistance in financing law-enforcement. The latter will negative affect the rule of law through breaking it at his leisure, and as one does not pay taxes on ill-gotten goods, he is not financing law enforcement.
Thus, social narratives are largely based around pro-social behaviors, children are encouraged to say their prayers, eat their vegetables, listen to authority figures and follow the rules. The “Good Boys” do this and frequently go above and beyond in the way they conduct their lives. The social narratives are in their most reduced form, a set of guidelines for how to live a morally correct life, with the promise of rewards following those who are “good boys”. A society that explicitly encourages anti-social behavior is one that will not last very long, as the basic social contract is based on advantages gained through organizing in a social group.
The “Good Boys” are very often classic Beta males who buy into the various intersexual narratives that society seeks to ingrain in them from birth. These narratives historically served the same purpose as the pro-social narratives, as there is such a thing as a pro-social intersexual dynamic. Our ancestors recognized that the family unity, and on a slightly larger scale, the tribal unit was the foundation of any group. In a way any nation can be broken down into component groups ending with the family as the smallest unit. Pro-social intersexual behavior is the foundation of the family unit and thus it was encouraged and rewarded throughout history.
Such pro-social intersexual behavior includes the principles that are central to most religion, such as fidelity, loyalty, honor and duty, by ensuring that a great majority of men could have a wife, one ensured that they would have children, by ensuring that men had children one secured their future investment in the social group. After all, it was widely recognized and enforced that a man had a duty to support his wife and his children. Likewise it was enforced that in exchange for the man’s labor, the wife and the children would follow his lead. When a man was seeking to marry a woman, he would ask her father for permission prior to proposing, and if permission was granted, the wife would move from the house of her father to the house of her husband.
This helped ensure that future families be stable, and in the best interest of the involved parties as the wisdom of both extended families carried much weight in the process. However, as we depart our history, the changes that in many ways began with the first wave of feminism, and have been part of an ever increasing feedback system, started to take on dramatic effects. First, divorce became much more commonplace than it had once been, where a woman or man in an unsuccessful marriage could seek a divorce if certain conditions were filled. This was then replaced by no-fault divorce, where no conditions must be met except “I want a divorce“. Sexual freedom went from the ability of a woman to not be damaged goods if she had a long-term relationship or two, to what the manosphere today refers to as “riding the carousel” and an epidemic of single-mothers.
However, one thing that didn’t change much were the narratives presented to the “Good Boys”, the soul-mate myth is still sold in our culture through what has been called “The Disney Narrative”, that encompasses “Happily ever after”, that consists of both building the foundation for oneitis, that elevates a woman onto the pedestal, but also the idea that marrying the “right woman” is the key to a fulfilled life.
The “Become a man” narrative, that has changed from the old order where once a man married he was expected to also take care of the best interests of his wife and children, to a narrative in which the man must put his own best interests last in a hierarchy that he enables through his labor and duty. A man would in history be expected to be responsible for his wife and his children, to do the work required in order to fulfill this duty, and in exchange he would be the family patriarch. This is the narrative that is still presented to the “Good Boys” yet the reality differs, as the husband has become the source of comedy in our popular culture, and little more than the enabler of his wife’s delusions.
Nature, Nurture and Rewards
In the present debate about “Biology Vs. Social Constructs”, it is often ignored that society itself is a social construct of sorts. Human drives towards reproduction, resource hoarding, loyalty to blood, nutrition and security can exist independent of a society, however a society cannot exist independently of these drives. As with most drives, they can be exploited towards positive gain or they can lead to the downfall of civilization. Thus, there is a need to curtail, control and channel these drives towards pro-social ends, which is how various narratives are born.
Morality is a social construct that through defining behaviors, thoughts and actions as good or bad, form the foundation of the narratives. Nature is vicious, the strongest organism or genes survives, through being better adapted to their environment. An organism that requires something that no longer exists in it’s environment will have to either adapt or die out. An organism that has an incremental advantage over other organisms will slowly defeat them in the game of evolution until the other organisms are either dead or adapted.
Nature cares little for “fairness” as it’s core value is “competitiveness”, a non-competitive organism or set of genes is what evolution deems evil, and a competitive collection of genes or an organism is what evolution deems good. Evolution constantly experiments with various mutations and changes, thus it is never finished.
In comparison, human systems of morality are often based around “fairness” and by extension that which is just. However, justice or fairness are human conceptions, not natural conceptions. Even though one can often observe human children as having a strong sense of fairness early in their development, and that this most likely is part of our construction as social animals, it is often concentrated on fairness in terms of outputs not inputs.
If one views human systems of morality, the major systems are duty, consequence and virtue, where the narratives to the “Good Boys” are very much centered on the first. This system asserts that good behavior leads to rewards, perhaps the most obvious one being that Christianity rewards good behavior with a seat in Paradise. This is typical incentive theory at play, where a person behaves in a certain manner with an expectation that this behavior will be rewarded in a fashion that he desires. This is the very dynamic that is the foundation for many married men who more or less ask their wives “What do I have to do to get laid more?”
However, this view of morality is at odds with the manner in which nature works, nature doesn’t care about intent, it cares about consequences. Did or did not a given set of genetics have positive consequences or negative consequences?
Summary and Conclusions
The narratives the “Good Boys” adopted as their guiding light in the world are not necessarily wrong, it merely means that along the way there was a schism between the behavior society requires of humans in order to function well, and the institutions that it utilizes to reward or punish those behaviors. Society is quite Skinnerian, in that it seeks utilize narratives in order to encourage pro-social behavior and a set of rewards and punishments in order to further encourage “Good” behavior.
The fundamental problem many recovering blue pill men and blue pill men in general tends to face is “I did everything right, why didn’t I get the rewards I was promised“. Many find themselves awakening when they realize that despite behaving accordance with “best practice” as told to them through the blue pill narrative, Chad Jerkboy is getting laid more. Despite being conscientious, dutiful and loyal workers, Patrick the Psychopath who started years after them is in the corner-office and despite being the perfect husbands and fathers, their wife hit them with a surprise divorce.
The most basic level this can be reduced to is a cause-effect hypothesis. The “Good Boys” are following the hypothesis that if they act in accordance with the narratives that society raised them to believe in, this will cause them to be rewarded with good jobs, good marriages and good lives. However, as the social mechanisms that governed this cause and effect relationship have reverted to an earlier form, which is arguably a form closer to nature, this hypothesis is now an erroneous one. Our societies in the West has changed from one based in deontological ethics to one based in consequentialist ethics.
What this means is that no longer are rewards and punishments doled out on the basis of following rules, but rather the consequences of actions. We have gone from a society where status, esteem and other rewards are not based on “What is good” but on “What works”. After all, what good is following a rule if the results of following it are not to your liking?