In Jung’s writing the dichotomy of ego and shadow is perhaps the most interesting one, as this is the split between those behaviors that a man uses as part of his identity and those behaviors he rejects. I briefly covered Jung’s preference for figurative dichotomies in an earlier essay, and perhaps more important than the feminine/masculine is the Dark side and the Light side. Take one of the “Good Boys” for instance, he has adopted those behaviors which society has overly communicated as desirable in a “good man”, and rejected those that he has perceived society and deeming unfit in a civilized world.
However, as I outlined those behaviors, while carrying some benefits also have detrimental aspects to them, as they are a trade-off, where the good boy gets social validation, because his behavior benefits society more than it does himself. Thus, these behaviors are venerated by society in theory, but in practice those that engage in them sacrifice their own best interest for the best interests of the community in which they live. This has been popularized in the meme “You vs. The Guy She Tells You Not To Worry About“, and is very symptomatic of the super-ego completely dominating his psyche.
Perhaps the most famous example in literature is “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson, however a more interesting exemplification comes in the Star Wars series. In this series “turning to the dark side” meant giving in to those emotions that are deemed negative by the Jedi, such as fear, anger, passion and strength, but more importantly determining your own path, rather than the one determined for you by the force. This is an interesting allegory to the ego and the shadow, where the ego are those conscious behaviors that make up much of our identity, such as being dutiful, polite, nice, rule-abiding and various pro-social behaviors that a man has adopted due to social conditioning, and the shadow represents those behaviors that a man has rejected from his personality.
Adopting the Red Pill requires to some extent the negotiation between the shadow and the ego, for the former’s inclusion into conscious identity. A man is incomplete without those shadow behaviors in his arsenal. Yet “The Good Boys” have had those aspects of their personality hidden by defense mechanisms all their life.
Beta Game and the Shadow
Game is a behavioral schema that is a subset of social skills, and as such “Beta Game” is a variant where a man is convinced that the path into a woman’s pants come in the form of sublimating himself to her frame, perspectives and adopting the pro-social behaviors required of a “good boy”. I’ve previously outlined such behaviors in an essay utilizing the five factor model, using content analysis of 3 major manosphere writers, Rollo, Roissy and Roosh, which gave the result in the table below:
If one were to sum up this table, it becomes clear that the Alpha columns are focused on man before group, and the beta columns are focused on group before man. This is perhaps most clearly exemplified in the row that begins with “Do whatever you want“, as this row deals with “self” vs. “other”.
As the core principle of ego vs shadow boils down to a scale with pro-social on one end, anti-social on the other and various shades in between. Furthermore, that I’ve previously described the ego as the part of a man that is the total sum of all his adopted pro-social behavioral traits and the shadow being all his rejected anti-social behavioral traits. It follows that Beta game consists of proving how pro-social a man is by exposition and demonstrations in the interactions he has with a female whom he desires.
However, the old reward system that dictated that pro-social men were to be rewarded for their good behavior and anti-social men punished for theirs has largely been made obsolete in the age of open hypergamy.
If one takes the example of Sparta, within that community a man gained his citizenship and right to marry by being part of the military, which formed the walls of Sparta and by holding the spears that formed it’s borders. Within that social group, the virtues that were pro-social were rewarded, whereas those traits deemed non-virtuous were punished. Various rites of passage ensured that a man had been sufficiently educated by his tribe and had reached a stage of development as judged by his tribe to be capable of starting a family. A man who had not undertaken this rite of passage, that required learning the wisdom of older men, was not considered a man, but a boy.
The “Good Boys” somewhat exist in a limbo between adulthood and boyhood, in that while they have reached an embodiment of virtues required in order to be a productive member of their social group, however they have not learned how to temper that with masculine qualities. To quote Teddy Roosevelt on this dichotomy, “Speak softly and carry a big stick“, which is symbolic of civilized discourse backed up by masculine virtues.
The Role of Shadow
Based on the former analogy of the big stick, one of the major memories from my childhood was being chided about use of violence and aggression, both verbal and non-verbal as a problem-solving tool. According to my socialization at that point, discourse was the only acceptable manner in which one could solve disagreements. The internal message here was that my natural reaction of anger was unacceptable and thus, that I should strive to control it. I did so in a rather unproductive manner in that I never permitted myself to become angry, or ever feel anger. One of the things that I noticed as I started my path down self-improvement years ago, was that anger can serve as a powerful motivator. If one desires to move away from a path, and on to another, anger at one’s present situation is often not only warranted but required. This is also the case with the anger phase of taking the red pill, that in order to eradicate old patterns of behavior and internal messages, one does require anger.
This is not much different from the old message of “Ignore the bullies”, something which sends an internal message to a young person that they should suppress their natural reaction, which is to defend their boundaries. While I’m a major advocate of stoicism, which is centered upon mastering your reactions to the external environment, the message sent by “ignore the bullies” is not one of controlling reactions, it is one of passivity.
Another major message was about sharing and not being selfish, which sent an internal message of “being selfish and self-interested is bad”. While to some extent I agree with this message, the extreme form means neglecting your needs in favor of the needs of others. Reading Ayn Rand while in High School was the beginning down the path of accepting that one must strike a balance between the needs of self and the needs of others. Most people will put their own needs first, and do not require you to do so as well.
The path I had to walk during my first periods of self-improvement and that I must remain vigilant about remaining on, is the one where I embrace and accept those dark sides of me that I know I have. In my writings on Cluster-B relationships I’ve referred to walking on eggshells, which is a state in which a person develops hyper-vigilance about the states of other human beings. For instance, it’s not uncommon for the children of violent alcoholics to be highly focused on spotting the behaviors of the alcoholic that tends to lead to a beating later. This is a form of predictive analysis that seeks to identify the cause so that the person can then neutralize the cause and remain safe.
Those who are hyper vigilant of their shadow turns this perception inwards and constantly monitor their own inner states in order to neutralize the causes of shadow behaviors in themselves. However, the end result is frequently then outbursts as one is attempting to control something that refuses to be controlled. These behaviors will find an outlet, for instance eating, smoking, drinking, or various others that then create a self-reinforcing loop of negative outcomes. The downside being that the more they attempt to control the more they fall victim to, and the more they deny certain parts of them that are required in life.
It was not uncommon for rites of passage to contain pain, humiliation, suffering, and misery, for the reason that one seeks to shield a child from the worst of the world, yet a man must not only be aware of it, but be ready to square off with it. In order to have the capacity to fight the world at its worst, the man must know that he has the capacity to not only take the heaviest hits against him, but to give it back two-fold.
Summary and Conclusions
A part of normal socialization in the West is the widespread demonization of our baser natures. This disconnection of man from nature creates a chasm between what we want to do and what we actually do, an analogy would be the ID, that knows 3 things, eat it, fuck it or kill it. These are the base instincts of humanity, and what we have constructed elaborate narratives to conceal. A man who is largely ruled by his super-ego (social conditioning) is made naturally uncomfortable with his deepest impulses, and becomes hypervigilant in his effort to conceal and control them.
The analogy of the Dark side and Light side is an interesting one, because out of all the problems a Beta man suffers, his major one a distinct lack of passion. This is reflected in the 8th commandment of Poon that reads:
XIII. Err on the side of too much boldness, rather than too little
Boldness, is reflected in willingness to step beyond “Good behavior” (that behavior which is good for the group) towards “Bad Behavior” (that which is good for you), this signals that a man puts himself before the group, and a willingness to do so, shows among others, confidence. A man who deviates from “Good Boy” behavior, is showing that he is willing to accept consequences from the group in order to take from it what he desires, or alternatively that he holds so much power within the group that risk of consequences is non-existent for him. The Dark side represents those who are willing to let go of control in order to obtain that which they desire by any means, whereas the light side those who require control at all times.
A simple example would be the two reactions most commonly seen when a man is caught checking out a woman:
A) He quickly looks away and pretends he wasn’t checking her out. In doing so he denies the very passion that drove him to do so, in part he sequesters away that part of himself in a prison of impropriety.
B) He is open about checking her out, and his desires. In doing so he accepts those parts of him that permit him to appreciate aesthetics and passions.
Within our modern society, where no real threats have existed for the past 2 – 3 generations, and where a steady stream of veneers slowly have overgrown nature, is it any wonder that our grounding to our natures is all but gone? A man checking out an attractive woman is natural, I actually find it more concerning that natural behavior is now viewed as unnatural, and that men are actually ashamed of what would have been a source of virtue in the past.
Instead of entering the physical world, these men find outlets for aggression through watching sports, they find outlets for their lust in porn, for competition in fantasy football leagues and video-games, their admiration in social media.