Societies change, and therefore Game must change. This leads to an interesting return to our Stone Soup storyline. Is it necessary to have a stone to use the Stone Soup method? Or is the stone a mere prop for a person who is a master at motivating others. Consider that the stone worked because it was a new tactic. If half a dozen SSAs (Stone Soup Artists) in the same village started using that process to get a free meal from time to time, the efficacy of the method will diminish. Eventually, a Neil Strauss equivalent will write a book called The Soup, chronicling his road from hunger to satiation. Meanwhile, a diligent curator of human behavior from the capitol will write STONE, and then eventually DAY STONE, along with additional literature on making stone soup in Columbia or Poland. Many will hate him for his success, even as they fail to understand that his partners in soup-making do so willingly, even happily.
The excellent discussion got me thinking about the mental framework in which game operates. Much discussed has been rules of game, such as heed women’s actions and not their words; don’t take dating advice from women; don’t buy women drinks, and no dinner dates early on; approach quickly and often; always be escalating; withhold commitment except for very deserving women; and so on. There are explanations and justifications for the rules, which range from pure empiricism (what works and what doesn’t) to biblical and biological explications.
But the rules aren’t the core level of structure to game. When you talk about any system of knowledge or a strategy or process for accomplishing something, there are subtextual assumptions in the framework that can get lost in the discussion but are important to recognize as the movement progresses. Think about, say, geometry or ontological mathematics, which has postulates and axioms that are taken for granted in general use. While those same postulates are the subject of endless and intense debate among philosophical mathematicians, your basic contractor or surveyor or football coach just needs to be able to apply the basic rules to his field. Likewise, a good number of guys who want to improve their lot with women are not going to get into the deeply-fleshed discussions we have in the Manosphere. They want practical discourse that will benefit them in the field. But let’s not lose sight of what drives the discourse in the first place.
CHANGE IS POSSIBLE
The – THE - key subtextual assumption of game is that a man can take action to change his results in the sexual arena. It doesn’t have to be romantic Roulette. You don’t have to pray for a soulmate. YOU can affect WHOM you attract, WHOM you engage with romantically, WHAT sort of relationships you enter into and HOW your partners treat you. In other words, by acting differently we will get different results.
We get into so much debate about HOW we change our results that we lose sight of the fact that compared to society at large, positing that we CAN change our outcomes is a radical proposition. It becomes clear how radical it is when we try to expose a new, plugged-in guy to the world of game: “no way, that totally doesn’t work on women.” “A girl either likes you or she doesn’t.” Challenging his delusion only makes it stronger.
This sort of learned helplessness is so anathema to the self-reliant gumption that men are supposed to be exhibiting. To judge from reading single-girl blogs and women’s magazines (not to mention surveying our own dating lives), women have made a first-class art form out of constructing victim narratives casting themselves as flat actors without agency, buffeted by the people and events around them.
Meanwhile, men seem to just throw up their hands, and sigh “I don’t know man, women are fickle and capricious. You just gotta deal with it.”
SKILL IN THE VENUSIAN ARTS IS WORTH IT
A secondary assumption, one that is as much if not more often opposed by critics, is that game is worthwhile and adds value to a man’s life. Raise your hand if you’ve ever read something like this on a game forum or blog comment section: “I can’t believe what a bunch of losers you guys are, don’t you know there’s more to life than getting chicks?” It’s easy for a woman (who never has to wonder how she’s going to get her next spurt of attention from the opposite sex) or male naturals (who have never been thirsty in the desert) tell guys trying to get better with women that what they don’t have isn’t really important.
But we who have been on both sides know that the journey and the destination are worth it – for the adventure, for the increased fitness and self-confidence, for the feeling of power and influence, for the sexual satisfaction, for the formation of relationships on our terms, meeting our emotional needs instead of as scaffolds of sexual blackmail.
A variant of the “game isn’t worth it” chorus is the finger-wagging warning from busybodies that game makes you miserable, directed at men who have through their expanded experiences grown cynical and disappointed with the large swaths of low-quality offerings in the sexual marketplace. Let’s put aside the fact that a lot of this criticism is projection from women whose own casual-sex experiences were disastrous (and also put aside that game can be productively practiced without entailing a casual-sex lifestyle). The truth is that game didn’t make these guys cynical, in fact it’s just the opposite; realizing that women respond to game (polished and practiced) ahead of responding to real value in a man, seeing the craven social tricks you can pull to make people like you and trust you that have nothing to do with your actual personality or character, is what induces the nihilistic ennui. Game only gave them the tools to discover the emptiness of the mine. Of course, game can also be the tool that gives you a way out without becoming an ascetic. Because going back to sexual irrelevancy is hardly a solution.
A third assumption is that the changes in behavior that change the results we get in the SMP can be practiced and learned. One doesn’t have to rely on a spiritual change, or a shift in monetary or power value, to effect change in his luck with women. Thousands of men have honed the learning and practice process before him, and a handful have inscribed their methods in print. They know how to teach and coach the game. Trust them. Danger & Play has a great post on jumping in. Trust him.
REDUCTIONISM AND SKEPTICISM
Commentators who lose sight (or never knew) the axioms can criticize game as a sort of shapeshifting concept, since rote definitions of game change depending on who you’re talking to and the explanations for social data (i.e. who’s attracted to whom) changes with environment and the people involved. They seem to be desperate to get a hard and fast definition so they can immediately begin “debunking” it, or to discredit it as a field of empirical study and claim they are just repackaging someone else’s self-help material.
A chunk of commenters, writers and critics say that game is simply rediscovering “traditional masculinity.” This is especially common among those who have an irrationally optimistic view of humans and try to deny what we see in the field with our own eyes, for example denying that girls dig jerks, or saying that you don’t need game, you just have to be confident. It’s also popular among those who don’t want to really grok that there is a large casual-sex environment out there. Confusingly, I see a lot of this from Christian writers, whose faith explicitly and intrinsically acknowledges mankind’s proclivity for wickedness.
But game is different than a paeon to masculinity. To start with, “traditional masculinity” is an archetype, a big-picture concept, and a cartoonish one at that – not a code or manual of male behavior (except in the self-parody “man law/bro code” meme), and certainly not synonymous with a set of behaviors that are effective in attracting women.
Secondly, the normal connotations of “masculinity” are simply outside the realm of dealing with women. Your traditionally-masculine father or grandfather might very well have little constructive advice for you when it comes to women – he came of age in an era of different roles and expectations, his constitutional commitment to said tradition itself being a barrier to his understanding the brave new sexual world we have wrought. The structures of his day, in which he was expected to pursue women in his “league,” and they were expected to say yes lest they fade into spinsterhood, doesn’t exist today, which requires a order of magnitude more male effort to actualize his romantic desires. Teaching you to fish and hunt and go to work on time is different than teaching you to approach, converse with, attract and date women. Imitating the man’s behavior thinking the interested women will just appear may do little more than get you a reputation as an obtuse relic.
Conversely, no one would ever call the dandy (emo) a masculine frame, but the dandy act has been effective with women for centuries.
I suppose to the degree that “traditional masculinity” contained an element of presumptive chauvinism, it could be likened to modern game which seeks to back off on female pedestalization. But the fact we’re splitting these hairs shows the weakness of the reasoning.
You might also say that “game empowers males.” But that’s too shallow an analysis. Game IS male empowerment, integrally. Ipso facto, game has as a core principle of itself that men can and should become empowered – see axioms #1 and #2. That men DO become empowered is a not a cause-and-effect outcome of practicing game, it’s simply the seed of of game’s axioms.
THE AXIOMS AS META-GAME
These axioms provide an existential value to the concept and practice of game, without which the concept and practice would be a dinner-party discussion between the dessert and the cheese plate (and in fact would be a uniquely non-threatening discourse).
Going back to Ashur’s post, my point here is that while the outer shell, the tactics and schemae, of game will change (just as girls get wise to certain overdone shticks as they got wise to what’s your sign and can I buy you a drink, and other routines and personas just fade into cultural irrelevance and anachronism), the basic postulates will always be there and need to be re-emphasized with every tactical refresh. And internalizing those postulates is what makes a man able to “roll his own game” – he has the raw materials to construct new skills as his environment and the social landscape change.
Descartes wondered if he actually existed, and eventually developed a heuristic that defined existence as a lucid dream – the fact that he could think proved his existence, “cogito ergo sum.”
We men who are thinking about game go a step further and wonder if we can actually affect the micro-world we’re living in. The answer is yes. We’re already doing it. Never lose sight of the core axioms; you can always go back to the basics.