I was challenged on something a while back, which was the red pill and empathy. I always find empathy to be a questionable topic to engage in because most people have an internal picture of what constitutes empathy, which if we drew up a Venn diagram would overlap greatly with sympathy and compassion but also with less desirable emotions such as pity. This on it’s own is a recipe for getting off to a rocky start, but such discussions are further complicated by the simple fact that when discussion emotions people will tend to be self-referential, thus there are substantial ego-investments that lay the foundation for non-productive discourse.
Empathy is often divided into two subtypes, cognitive empathy and emotional empathy, where the latter is what we often think of when someone mentions empathy. Cognitive empathy is covered as part of theory of mind, which is the ability to cognitively understand and put oneself in the position of another without necessarily being affected by their emotions. Emotional empathy is the ability to feel the emotions of another person, and in a sense mirror them. This is distinct from emotional contagion where one is swept up in the emotions of a mob or another person.
The reason why I draw this distinction is that in my conceptualization of Red Pill Theory and Game, cognitive empathy plays a very central role, in that you have to be able to understand the woman you are interacting with in order to run solid game. Part of the reason why scripted game became so popular, was that it was a crutch for men with poorly developed theory of mind, they didn’t have to understand why a woman reacted like she did, they simply knew what to look for and what puzzle piece to put into place to influence it.
Cognitive Vs. Emotional Empathy
The problem that most men face in their relationships with women is not that they lack in emotional empathy, in fact most of their relationships with women are entirely governed by the woman’s emotional frame, and the man’s reactions to said frame. The woman feels sad, the man runs to fix it, the woman feels elated the man basks in the light, the woman is pissed the man does whatever he can to get her back to happy and so on. This is the classic relationship pattern that the blue pill encourages and suggests in order to make relationships work, empathize with the women on an emotional level, be emotionally expressive and explicit. Feel her inner states as if they were your own. In this situation the man is not the anchor that keeps her at bay during strong winds and heavy storms, he is the sail that catches both the brunt of the storm and the brunt of the ship’s motions.
The reason why we have bullet point lists of shit-tests is that many men are unable to adequately step within her frame and understand that it’s a test and for what she is testing. One takes things at face value, rather than attempt to interpret the context, thus ending up with a flawed analysis of the situation. Just because we tell you maintain frame, doesn’t free you from having to understand her frame. This is where the “MOAR ALPHA” guys come in, they are men who do not understand that in order to truly make this work, you have to be able to not enter her frame or let her control the frame, but understand very clearly what her frame is based on cognitive empathy.
In my essay on the various cluster-b iterations of women, I outlined the fact that psychopaths in particular often have amazing cognitive empathy, meaning that they show a highly developed ability to not only understand, but to predict which people make easy victims, which actions people will take, and what approach will work the most effectively to manipulate them. This is based on being in the rather unique situation of being able to see the signal without all the associated noise. What I mean by signal and noise, is that most of us are capable of both emotional and cognitive empathy, the cognitive empathy is the signal, and our emotional empathy is the noise. Our ability to put ourselves in the situation of another allows us to understand their perspective, behavior and potentially future actions, however our ability to put ourselves in their frame with reasonable objectivity hinges on minimizing emotional contagion or empathy.
In essence, a psychopath can empathize with someone on a purely cognitive level, that means without feeling any of their emotions, meaning that they understand what the other person is feeling and why they are feeling it, and they have the ability to predict and influence how they can impact and influence other people’s emotional state. A person with Asperger syndrome or an autism spectrum disorder can empathize with someone on a purely emotional level, meaning that they feel what the other person is feeling, but do not know why, nor do they have the ability to gauge how to they can impact other people’s emotions.
In reference to shit tests, if one responds with amused mastery, agree and amplify or by blowing it off, one passes, this is based on an underlying understanding of the fact that the woman is trying to provoke a reaction, and will base her judgment on how you respond to the stimuli. This is no different than when one shocks a group of caged rats every time they hit the food button, to see how different rats respond to electric shocks on variables such as “How many shocks until they stop hitting in the button“, “Are there individual differences“, “How fast does the average rat take to learn not to hit the button” and so on. This is cognitive empathy in practice, understanding her motivation and desired outcome, then utilizing that knowledge to achieve your own desired ends. In practice, a game of chess.
If one responds by getting emotional, getting in her emotional frame, or be altering one’s behavior, then one fails the shit test, because the woman now knows which buttons to press to get a given reaction. For instance, if she throws a tantrum, and the man’s response is to agree with her, try to talk her down and so on, that means that she was able to control his behavior and he is entirely within her frame.
What the red pill teaches is that you need to cognitively empathize with the woman, meaning that you need to understand her emotional states, and be able to read the signs of them, which is encapsulated in the statement “The Medium is the Message“, you need to understand what her behavior is telling you, and in order to do that you need to empathize with her cognitively. Meaning that you are able to step into her frame and view the world from her perspective, without being swallowed up by that gaping abyss.
Empathy and The Red Pill
If we go into what The Red Pill implicitly says about empathy, it does not discourage use of it, or suggest that all men should train themselves into sociopaths. What it tends to recommend is a philosophy such as stoicism, often combined with something akin to exposure therapy in order to build up a resistance to being emotionally affected by female behavior.
For instance, when a man grinds out his 100 approaches, the goal of this is not to get great at game, hell you can do 1000 approaches and still be bad at game. The goal is to reduce approach anxiety. When I used to play the game with my friends back in the day where the man with the most spectacular blow-out of the night would drink for free, this was to build up a tolerance to rejection. If you’ve had a woman throw a drink in your face in a full bar, and have had 200 people watch it happen, you pretty much don’t worry about rejection again.
The goal is not to become free of empathy, but to lesson the effect your emotional empathy, and your own emotions have on you. To be frank, a man who practices game actively cannot be an open nerve, just in the past 6 weeks, I’ve probably been rejected by on average 1 – 2 women per day, some of them 2 or 3 dates in, I’ve dealt with girls who got back together with exes, girls who threw tantrums, girls who were emotionally manipulative and every other variant of woman that has a potential to affect my emotions. If I empathized emotionally with all these girls, plus the ones I’m dating, plus had to deal with a full onslaught of my own emotions, lets just say half of that alone would drive a man to insanity.
Think of a medical doctor. A medical doctor at a hospital may have to walk into a room 5 – 10 times a day and tell a patient and his family, that the patient is going to die, or that the patient did die. After doing that, their family is not going back to work that day, the medical doctor is, thus he must build an emotional shield. This does not make the MD a psychopath, it is a requirement for him to fill the role that he has taken on.
In the same regard, when you date a woman, especially in an LTR, part of your job description is to be “Her Rock”, meaning that when she spins out emotionally, you are not there to spin out with her, you are there to anchor her back back. When she tries to emotionally manipulate you with tears by crying in the bedroom for a few hours, you are not supposed to be in there crying with her, you are supposed to show her that she cannot emotionally blackmail you.
Summary and Conclusions
I’ve spoken of my experience with BPD women before, and the key they use to manipulate you is your empathy, a person who has empathy will always be in a weaker position than a person who does not. A person with strong cognitive empathy will always be in a stronger position than a person with only emotional empathy.
To utilize an analogy, if one conceptualizes a relationship as running negotiation between two parties, this would be no problem if both parties shared the same understanding and prioritization of the desired outcome(s). However, in reality the case is often that both parties will differ in significant areas, this may be regarding which outcome(s) are desired, the best way to reach those outcomes, the timeframe for achievement, or many other things.
However, in the end, I think much of what some men think is an empathy for the girl, is in fact fear, obligation and guilt in themselves. Fear of being alone, being rejected, losing social position, losing their esteem in the eyes of others and so on. An obligation to old social contracts and codes, to their own code of honor, and sense of duty. Finally, guilt about finally putting themselves and their desires first. Instead of owning up to it, and being honest with themselves, they put it on the girl, and frame themselves as sensitive, empathic, and kind men who are acting in the best interest of the girl, instead of what they really are.
It also liberates them from having emotionally control of themselves and owning their desires. For instance, if you are the type of man who would say something like “I would cheat, but I don’t want to hurt my wife” or “I would get a divorce, but I don’t want to hurt my wife” then you are making her responsible for you not doing what you want to do, instead of having a talk with her about an open relationship, or that you are not satisfied with the life you share, you elect to put it on her, and frame yourself as the good guy. It’s all about you and maintaining your image of yourself as “A good man”, that’s not empathy, that is a covert contract.