For the past 3.5 years or so, I’ve developed somewhat of a routine, every Wednesday night, I pour myself two fingers of Scotch, I collect my notes from that week and I write that week’s essay. I actually quite enjoy writing these because it allows me to elucidate what has been on my mind that week, not just to those of your who read this, but also to myself. It’s not uncommon for me to have concepts, constructs and components circling in my mind, just beyond the tip of conscious thought. That’s why I also enjoyed doing the podcasts, because often times I’d be left with ideas to complete for the following week.
One of the first things I made clear to every man I’ve worked with in this space over the past 3.5 years, is that my association and participation in this space is because I want to be part of it, not because I need to be part of it. This is why I warned them all, “I will work with you, however once the faggotry of the space hits peak 2007, I’ll probably take a few years off again“, simply for the reason that I’m all about the value propositions.
From my perspective, the biggest issue within this space, is specifically that many of the men who participate in it as teachers and guides, do not participate because they want, but because they must. The space is for them perhaps the only space in their life where they can achieve high status and a reasonable high income, for a quite frankly pretty damn low effort. Note, that I’m not saying that many of the content creators do not work hard, simply that if you can build 10.000 twitter followers, a decent sized email list, and start to sell consults at $100 – $200 in hour, plus add some affiliate marketing on top of that, a great majority of the men invested in that particular venture most likely increased their income 10x over.
Richard Cooper, a man I’m proud to call a friend, and a man who does not need to participate in this space, but does it because he wants to, put out a great video last week, entitled “The Problems With The Manosphere” where my primary contribution was “Too many one-eyed men selling glasses to blind men“, I do suppose some of you got that based on the fact that I’ve got somewhat of a habit of speaking in metaphor and analogy. The thought behind the analogy was simply that much of the time in the “sphere” we double up on Dunning-Kruger, a man with a little bit of knowledge tell men with no knowledge what to do, can make a decent income and even build himself his own niche where he acts as the “guru”.
Rich asked perhaps the most salient question I’ve heard and what is probably the biggest contributor to this space in terms of thought this past year “Would you trade lives with this person?” If you wouldn’t trade your life for his, or at least some part of your life for his, why are you listening to his advice, his criticism, or his perspective? I realize this is a bit of a “shoot yourself in the foot” question coming from an anon is it is a pretty ethos-loaded question, after all, how would you know if you’d trade your life for that of another person without knowing and seeing some proof of the life that the person lives?
On the other hand, it’s easy to fake a lifestyle for social media, you post those 2 times a month you go out to a restaurant and have a nice 3 course meal, you rent a car or two and do a photoshoot, you rent a penthouse, cut down to 10% body fat, etc and you got material to build a pretty solid ethos-feed. Once you’ve got that, it’s not overly complicated to milk that content for a couple of years, then do the same thing over again. It reminds me greatly of those people who come to you with investment opportunities who provide you with glossy printed material, great looking branding work, and are wearing a nice suit, but cannot tell you the difference between revenue and net profit if asked.
I don’t mean to shoot down the personal brand guys, but it’s a relatively easy thing to fake, and the value proposition is rather implicit in that. “I can tell you how to life my life” and that would be great if they lived the glossy print material life, however many don’t.
They are the equivalent of the BPD girl who is hot, exiting, amazing in bed and love bombs the crap out of you, only to steal your credit card, file a fake domestic charge and take off to L.A on your cards for a couple of weeks while you’re busy dealing with the cops. The value proposition looks amazing at first, you only notice that it put revenue front and center and said nothing of sustainability, value over time, or nets.
All in all, for me my participation in this space is a question of value propositions as well, you can choose to believe me or not, I know I’m anon and that is much fertile ground for sowing all sorts of doubt. When I decided to come back, it was because the space looked like a great value proposition at the time, The Red Pill subreddit was growing like a weed, a lot of great authors were busy producing great work, including but not limited to Illimitable Man, Heartiste, Rollo, Roosh as the major mainstream guys, there were also a lot of guys producing great niche content within various forms of self-improvement. Plus, the trend was towards classical liberalism, Gamergate had a great deal of momentum, ideologies with little empirical or rational backing were facing a backlash in the mainstream for the first time in many years, and perhaps the most important thing was that “the manosphere” was on the cusp of greatness yet again. Just like it was back in 2005 – 2007. Neil Strauss had published “The Game”, Tucker Max and a couple of other men were producing literature for men that was impacting the mainstream, Robert Greene put out great work, and Mystery’s “The Pick-up artist” TV show was perhaps the first time “Game” and our space made it into the mainstream. Then the faggotry happened.
In 2016 when I came back, this looked to be a new chance for a more mature and ready “manosphere” to make a mainstream impact, the literature had been greatly expanded, and unlike the 2005 – 2007 period, there was empirical backing outside of the pure “We know it works because we tested it”, there was mainstream research being done that supported long-standing concepts and this was why I made my return. My whole first year and a half of writing, including the publishing of Gendernomics was focused on expanding on, and fleshing out the foundations and demonstrating by way of statistics and other empirical data, that the theories were accurate.
It’s very easy to dismiss PUA stuff, and complex theories based in rationalism and small samples, it’s much harder to dismiss a fleshed out theoretical framework backed by mainstream research and data from OKcupid, Tinder, Google, and various other reputable sources. That first year, to two years from early 2016 until mid-2017 was a great time for this space, a lot of new content was being put out and much of it was built on empirical foundations. Then Jordan B. Peterson and Donald J. Trump happened.
I like some of Dr. Peterson’s work, however his focus on the spiritual, non-tangible, and non-empirical sent this space careening off a cliff where the focus was drawn from the empirical and rationalist type of writing, towards mysticism, metaphysics and and more “Non-tangible” subject-matter. This was further exacerbated by the 2016 election that caused many conservative voices to intermingle with the manosphere, because there were and still is some overlap between conservative values and the manosphere theoretical framework. The major issue in my view is that the traditional conservative influx included a lot of religious, and otherwise non-espistemic perspectives that were permitted to intermingle a little too much with the space.
While this was going on, another major trend within the manosphere was “Personal Brands”, you may ask “Carl, why are you bringing up personal brands?” and the answer is simple, the foundation idea behind the “Red Pill” metaphor is that when you take the red pill, you see reality, absent your illusions. A brand is what we in corporate would call “an intangible asset” that does not have to conform to, be measurable or map accurately with reality. In essence, there was an influx of men and the idea into the “sphere” that were advocates for various illusions whether they be MBTI, religion or ideological values or constructs that are not based in reality.
Another factor was the fallout post 2016 election also created a much more hostile media and political climate, that I would argue culminated with the red pill reddit becoming quarantined and that continues to result in increasing degrees of censorship of political and ideological ideas. Lets just say that Heartiste was not taken down because of the 16 commandments of poon.
Summary and Conclusions
This is a bit of a disjointed rant on the state of the space, one of my major issues with it as I outlined with the metaphor I gave Rich is that much of the time, the men giving advice in this space aren’t “Apex level” men, they aren’t the men who are successful with business, with women and in other areas of life. Lets be realistic for a second, if you’re the type of guy who pulls in $100k in real life off a corporate gig or a business, why would you spend your time doing $50 – $100 consults or selling $247 courses?
You would need to sell 1000 consults p.a (roughly 2.73 every day) or 404.85 courses (1.1 per day) to match that corporate income. I get it, “passive income” but selling consults that income is hardly passive, and if the course includes some form of personal feedback, then that’s hardly passive either. You may say that “1000 consults each lasting an hour is 1000 hours, that’s way less work than a full corporate gig” and you would be right. However, think about the time spent outside of those consults, selling them, setting them up, handling the accounting, foreign payments, tax issues, and so on. You’re not “just” working 1000 hours a year.
I get it, when you threaten people’s income or online status, they get upset and they attack, often in packs. However, one of the major reasons why I never saw the need to go after the various unscrupulous people in the space, was that quite frankly, men need to learn how to spot them for themselves. I deal with these types of people in corporate all the time, I’ve dated quite a few of them as well, and once you’ve been screwed out of a few promotions, some pay raises, had a girl almost stab you and so on, you learn to spot the red flags. Learning to spot them is probably the best investment you can make.
To be honest, the funniest thing to me about the “Red Pill” space, is that if it should have one major hangup, it’s wanting to align your world-view as closely with objective reality as possible. Back when I first met Rian he asked me to troubleshoot his diet, and I went pretty hard on him, and pushed him on whether he was accurately tracking his calories and macros. Turned out he wasn’t. However, after I did, I told him “That’s just my perception though, do what you want” or something similar to that, and that’s when he said:
“Don’t backtrack, when I ask a Red Pill man a question, I want the truth”
The truth is, this space is in trouble.
I know, it’s not fun to be “unplugged”, it’s not a great source of enjoyment to feel alone in a room full of people, it’s not a great feeling to hear a co-worker, a friend and a brother sit there and complain about his relationship knowing you could help, but at the same time perfectly aware that they could not hear you speak, even if they so wanted. It’s not fun, to accept your own agency, that you are the source of your misfortune and misery, and I trust me, I understand the impulse to look for something… to look for anything to mitigate those feelings. Part of me does feel like Cypher at times, and I would love to be plugged back in, however, it’s a short-term solution for a long-term problem.
My favorite book on investing is “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham where he says:
“In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run it is a weighing machine.”
The ideas that are most often popular, are those that you suffer from in the long-term. Take a short-term perspective on diet you get fat, short-term perspective on lifting you get no progress, short-term perspective on money you go broke, short-term perspective on intersexual dynamics you get a divorce or BPD girlfriend, picking comfort and complacency over conflict and competency always leads to more pain.
Now that you know, what are you going to do about it?