Saturday, February 11, 2012
The Alpha Mystique: Why I'm Not an Alpha And You Probably Aren't Either
So I've received some attention and good reviews from the site In Mala Fide, which has a lot of interesting and varied articles about the nature of modern manhood. (This is a really good one.)
This blog was my introduction to the (rather unfortunately named) "manosphere," the blog groups basically concerned with the idea that modern men are gelded and oppressed by feminists who have become the dominant force in society. (I suppose the name "He-Man Woman Hater's Club" was taken.)
The term "alpha" is bandied around a lot -- referring generally to dominant, confident males. Guys like Tucker Max and Mystery, who have dedicated their lives to randomly fucking as many women as possible, are often considered to be exemplary "alphas." One writer on the subject postulates that an alpha male is all about self-gratification and dominance and does whatever he wants, whenever he wants.
Recently, shockwaves have been running through the "manosphere" -- sex-and-alcohol icon Tucker Max announced in an article in Forbes magazine that he was giving up drinking and fucking around, and had taken up yoga and psychoanalysis and gotten a girlfriend. (I guess he hit his fornicating "max" as I postulated in another post.)
The Forbes article is rather unfortunately couched in self-pitying Oprah-speak, but most of the points in it are valid and can't really be argued.
I thought it was pretty self-evident that running around drunk all the time, fornicating randomly, is pretty much the OPPOSITE of "Alpha" behavior.
It's like nobody every bothered to look up the word "alpha" on Wikipedia.
This is from the Wikpedia article about chimpanzees:
The Alpha male is the highest-ranking male who controls the group and maintains order during any disputes. In chimpanzee society the ‘dominant male’ does not always have to be the largest or strongest male but rather the most manipulative and political male who can influence the goings on within a group. Male chimpanzees typically attain dominance through cultivating allies who will provide support for that individual in case of future ambitions for power.
So basically, if you don't have a "pack" you are leading, you're not an "alpha."
Equally misused is the word "beta," when referring to the submissive, ineffectual modern man -- the beta, in animal hierchies, actually has a very important position:
A beta animal is an animal that is second-in-command to the reigning alpha and will act as a new alpha animal if the old alpha dies.
It's the omega animal that is last in line for food and sex. (But of course referring to "omega males" just brings to mind the fucking awesome Charleton Heston movie OMEGA MAN.)
I quote from the website of former bodyguard and correction officer Marc MacYoung, www.nononsenseselfdefense.com, in the section on alpha behavior:
“Being an alpha has to do with one’s involvement in a group. More specifically, it’s about helping develop and maintaining a group dynamic, hierarchy and the functionality of the group. And this not just for your own benefit.
Being an alpha is about leadership and taking care of others.”
So doing “whatever you want, whenever you want” is pretty much the opposite of being a leader. There are a complex web of responsibilities and relationships that are navigated to get to that point.
You know who does whatever they want, whenever they want? Spoiled Western college kids with absentee fathers.
You know who does what they NEED to do?
ALL people in a position of power or leadership reach that position by navigating a series of responsibilities and relationships with their superiors, their subordinates, their rivals, and their enemies. Sometimes violence and immorality will get to that point, sometimes not; but pure self-indulgence and irresponsibility?
Yeah, sure, once you ACHIEVE a position of power and responsibility, some self-indulgence probably comes with it — of course you get the best women and so forth. But that’s a RESULT, not a CAUSE.
This all has nothing to do with morals, being an asshole, polygamy or monogamy, ruling with an iron fist, whatever; sometimes that’s an expedient to achieving the goals of leadership, sometimes not. They got to their position by dealing intelligently and effectively (perhaps brutally, perhaps not) with threats to the good of the group they were in, not by fucking around indulging their every whim.
Then there's the issue of the fact that it's not really too difficult to LOSE alpha status:
“Before you can understand what an alpha is, you first need to understand something about the nature of power. Namely: Power is granted to you by the group. You don’t have power unless other people give it to you.
Here’s the catch, the group gives you power on the condition that you look out for their needs. That’s the deal. You get extra power to serve them. If you violate this trust then you will be stripped of your power by the group.”
One website mentions Caesar, John Gotti, and Pablo Escobar as classic alpha males, but they're also good examples of guys who lost power by not serving the group. Caesar was assassinated by the Senators. Gotti doomed himself by pissing off longtime lieutenant Sammy the Bull. Pablo Escobar was chased down by police hit squads and vigilante groups when his reprisals became too brutal. Certain sources even have Atilla being murdered by a wife!
And you think those guys spent a lot of time doing whatever they wanted when they were young? Not working hard to establish themselves in their particular spheres?
Too much self-indulgence and not enough leadership will eventually get your ass kicked by the people you used to lead — that’s true of everybody from Tony Montana in SCARFACE to Muammar Gadaffi.
Blaming "civilization" misses the point entirely -- "civilization" is just the order that we have adopted and the power we have given to our "alphas."
Now of course -- the metaphor begins to grind down -- human society is a lot more complicated and stratified than monkey society. And these guys are ignoring the fact that there are "alpha females" in the animal kingdom -- elephants, for example, are a matriarchal society, and it's common in primates like bonobos as well. Female chimps sometimes choose (or oust) the alpha male. Alphas do mate with one female, also -- the concept of the "alpha pair" is common.
We have in human society a lot of unfortunate examples of "insecure alphas" -- betas thrust into leadership positions who clearly have no idea how to fucking lead. (Yeah, you know who I'm talking about. The last two American presidents, and many others.) And clearly, the supposed "alphas" -- leaders of the world, are WAY too busy self-gratifying and not leading. That's why the streets are full of rioters all over the world.
That's why guys like Tucker Max and the PUAs (and me!) are (were?) basically miserable -- they've succeeded at nothing other than getting drunk and getting laid. They only get respect from other fuckups. That kind of rootless fucking never led to any kind of dominance, except over "beta" college-age chicks. (I suppose you could argue that Tucker Max and Mystery have a pack of fans and followers on the Internet, and Mystery has his students.)
Basically, it's beta behavior. Jockeying for position in the pack.
I was kind of the "alpha" in my community in Vodkaberg, at least in the early years -- I had some respect as a teacher, as a foreigner, among the foreigners as a guy who knew the nightlife and lots of girls.
But it was more like a zombie movie -- I was the guy who was leading the group not because I was a natural leader, but because I was less helpless and hysterical than the others.
If we want to define the kind of nomadic, rootless, selfish drinking and fucking that characterizes that behavior and dream life of so many of the guys in this world, we could instead look to the idea of the "lone wolf" --
In the animal kingdom, lone wolves are typically older wolves driven from the pack, perhaps by an alpha male, or young adults in search of new territory. Rather than openly challenge the dominance of the pack leaders, many young wolves between the ages of 1 and 4 years leave their family to search for a pack of their own. Some wolves will simply remain lone wolves; as such, these lone wolves may be stronger, more aggressive and far more dangerous than the average wolf that is a member of a pack. However, lone wolves have difficulty hunting, as wolves’ favorite prey, large ungulates, are nearly impossible for a single wolf to bring down alone. Instead, lone wolves will generally hunt smaller animals and scavenge carrion.
So, I make no bones about it -- I left America because I was scared of responsibilities, and was frightened of the "rules of the pack" and wanted to go out on my own and indulge myself.
That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it sure as fuck isn't "alpha" behavior. Better to be a lone wolf than an "insecure alpha!"
So basically -- any guy with a family or a business is probably a LOT more alpha than a guy with no responsibilities, just by definition.
Take it from a guy who spent many years hunting smaller animals and scavenging carrion.