On American Psychos
“Power is the near neighbor of necessity.” - Pythagoras
Man is his own star; and the soul that can render an honest and a perfect man, Commands all light, all influence, all fate; Nothing to him falls early or too late. Our acts our angels are, or good or ill, Our fatal shadows that walk by us still. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Chaos vs Order
When was the last time you woke up, had a cup of coffee, exercised, and then did something absolutely Machiavellian? For most people the answer is probably never, but there are those amongst us that toe the line of chaos and order every day. Being that the majority of us live in a society built upon rules and principles, going too far to the chaotic side is often detrimental. That is why bounded expectations and rigorous self analysis are so vital to one’s success. They set ones reality and allow one to self regulate, be more ordered, and eventually become an upstanding citizen. Sounds quite boring, no?
So, for those of us that are smart enough to understand the rules that govern society and are also cunning enough to bend them on one’s favor great things tend to happen - especially in America. Why is that? Because America was founded by sociopaths (I’d argue many were psychopaths as well). If you didn’t know James Madison and other founding fathers were fans of Machiavelli due to his views such as effectual truth.
Effectual truth is practical, it’s pragmatic (American’s philosophy par excellence), it’s the way things actually are. It is not the Aristotelian virtues, it’s the principle that although you may be virtuous and wise - most aren’t. This is true, actual Aristotelian virtues are only studied and applied by the very few - the elite…
This modern environment is ripe for psychopaths and sociopaths to thrive. Essentially a man should practice Machiavellian Virtu not Aristotelian Virtue to be most effective. The difference is subtle, but important. Virtu is synonymous with manliness - win at all cost, the ends justifies the means etc. While virtue follows a certain line of excellence that does not waver.
So, when a man of Virtu is competing against a man of Virtue, the man of Virtu is going to do whatever it takes to win. This might not be a long term optimal strategy, but it allows a person to be quite successful in finite games. And the way the world is currently evolving, finite games are becoming more prominent. Who needs a reputation, when an avatar can be changed, a profile can be created, or a change of address can be done with ease?
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Psychopaths or their close cousins sociopaths - are what separates Americans, in large part, from the rest of the world. Get that WEIRD (high willingness to trust others)notion out of my face. We play each other better than an escort in Vegas.
Not to mention Americans are wealthy, beautiful, and athletic. All collective planes that make America breeding ground for psychopaths. Why? Because psychos win! And winners get the spoils - money, women, notoriety etc.
Regardless of ones sense of morality, America is a place where a psychopath can really succeed. And if one is discreet enough, many people around them will never know they don’t feel empathy. Empathy can be faked, a cunning mind cannot
Its an interesting dichotomy, that of a psychopathic individual, they see the aesthetic beauty in a Monet, in a chiseled jaw, and in wide hips, yet at the same time, they also find excitement in breaking things, being deceitful, and promiscuity. A person with this nature is likely beautiful on the outside while being quite disheveled on the inside. And yet, this might be the description of the most successful person you know.
Patrick Bateman is not the idol… Paul Allen is the one to envy, but we were lost in The News. I had to reference the book/movie once. Don’t be fooled by surface level aesthetics - true power lives below. Lucifer is a fallen angel, heed the wisdom of the Bible. We all contain good AND evil. So, learn both sides of humanity to be most successful. One does not need to practice evil, but it is imperative that one understands its power and pervasiveness.
The best of the best from the crazy nest… America leads the world not because of its prudence, its discipline, or its sagacity. America leads the world (yes leads the world, all culture is downstream of America) because it is structured in a way that allows for chaos, competition, and carnage. Dionysus rejoice! Ah, the destruction of what is familiar for the possibility of what sublimity lies ahead. Economists call this creative destruction, to others it is simply progress. Progress requires one to crack a few eggs and care little for externalities.
Apollo is only one side - the sun. The moon is needed for balance - Dionysus. For beauty is most admired when splayed over detestable carnage. One feels best after being sick…
And more - China is often lionized for its commitment to discipline, equality, and authority. Why do some Americans gravitate towards this or to a lesser extent Islam? Because they are weak and they want someone or something else to govern over them.
The weak minded and the weak willed struggle with the idea that some people are truly operating in the world differently than themselves. Some want to oppress others want to be oppressed.
While one person feels empathy for those around them and often forgoes worthwhile opportunities for others, those that are more sociopathic push ahead with no regard for others - their personal success is of chief importance not the other person’s well being.
Because so many Americans are like this, those that aren’t, feel as if they are at a disadvantage and push for the state to be more powerful. Please protect me government - and The Leviathan is born. So, the struggle continues between those that wang power over themselves and others an those that are powerless and want everyone who isn’t to be the same way.
Machiavelli is the godfather of modernity. Western society is shaped by war, christianity, and Machiavelli. In Chapter 15 of The Prince Machiavelli writes:
Since it is my intent to write something useful to whoever understands it, it has appeared to me more fitting to go directly to the effectual truth of things than to the imagination of it…many have imagined republics and principalities that have never been seen or known to exist in truth…he who lets go of what is done for what should be done learns his ruin rather than his preservation.
Machiavelli shifts elite thought from virtuous to practical. I.e. one will be more successful in life if one is more realistic about how people actually are, rather than being overly idealistic, by hoping people are virtuous and doing their best at all times. This is a major shift in thought from the virtues of antiquity to the necessity of modernity.
Most people want their conflicts to be settled by some outsourced authority. Which leads to the only people who have true agency in such a system tend to be dark triad types - Machiavellian/narcissistic/psychopathic.
Growing up, I remember teachers would sometimes say “It doesn’t matter who started the fight, everyone is responsible.” Some kids heard that and thought, “Okay, I have to avoid fights at all costs.” Other kids thought, “Okay, I can kick anyone in the back and it’s not totally my fault.”
The former would avoid fights, get beat up, and run to teachers after the fact for help. The latter didn’t care about the rules and would fight with anyone.
Because of how we have structured our society and raised kids, most people now feel powerless. They want an omnipotent entity to act for them. Which means only a small number of extreme personality types who have no inhibitions will act on their own.
Machiavellianism is a tendency to be manipulative and deceitful. It usually stems from a lack of respect or disillusionment for others.
Every human has power to varying degrees, the potency of one’s power is gauged by their value, value is discerned by material wealth, genetic fitness (such as physical beauty and strength), “valuable skills” (which can be subjective culture to culture) and specific behavioral traits.
90% of Wall Street has read 'The 48 Laws Of Power'
33% of Wall Street is using at least 1 performance enhancing drug (Testosterone Cypionate, Modafinil, Ritalin, Adderall). Giddy Up.
0% of Wall Street will publicly admit any of this
At its crudest, Machiavellianism is calculated thinking applied to social strategy as a means of survival, at it’s most beautiful, it is the beating heart of a studious enquiry into the art of power.
Skilled Machiavellian’s are very good at creating the illusion of being more powerful than they are and thus regardless of their actual power, are usually perceived as more powerful/cunning than they are in reality. They don’t just possess power but they project the image of having power to those around them. A machiavellian will run rings around the average person, to the uninitiated the machiavellian’s grasp over psychology and their ability to wield manipulative cognitive tools so effectively can seem almost esoteric due to the amount of control it commands, but it’s like anything – if you can stomach the inherent amoral nature of machiavellianism and apply your intellect to study it and actualize it, you can ascertain it for yourself, it is only beyond the grasp of the incredibly un-intelligent and the morally indignant and self-righteous.
One who cannot master a Machiavellian competency will never gain power, and should power find them, it will be tasted only so briefly as to escape the bestowed. The unwily man who inherits power intuits he is quick prey, outclassed by those covetous of the trappings of a position he knows not how to defend. Vulnerable to predation, paranoid of it, unable to stop it, the unworthy man loses his power to the more competently cunning; be that a rival, or as is more typical, a beautiful woman.
Individuals only possess a position they are strategically competent enough to defend, therefore it stands to reason that regardless of the aestheticism of one’s morality, individuals in positions of great power are highly Machiavellian. Power draws attack from all directions, as such where one was not sufficiently Machiavellian, power would escape them. Power respects the ruthless and despises the clumsy, it clings to the cunning and evades the obtuse.
For a machiavellian, reputation maintenance means everything, and its this illusion of amplifying your power so that it works for you which is at the core of every Machiavellians agendas, examples of this are people simply not even challenging you on things of a controversial nature, or say groups of women wanting to have sex with a man because they perceive said man as so incredibly high value within the social circles they all frequent. This results in a positive feedback cycle where the Machiavellian in question almost constantly has the home-field advantage because of the insane amount of pre-selection he or she enjoys from their environment. Constant validation, constantly desired – it’s part of what fuels the narcissistic part of the dark triad.
This however is not an active deployment of Machiavellianism, it is but a passive effect, a “rolling-on bonus” of a Machiavellians power manifesting.
One lets people assume things about oneself without revealing information, you guide their assumptions by being playful but refusing to confirm something because a gentleman never tells.
A Machiavellian projects power by having some semblance of credibility, but when questioned or tested deliberately allows a certain space for speculation and error, people, out of ego, like to believe their own conclusions more than they do other peoples because it makes them feel valuable or with the extremely insecure even “special” to get something right, so by allowing them to fill in the blanks for you not only can they grant power to you but they can validate themselves by proxy of discerning something about yourself.
If they fill in the blank with something that demonstrates high value you can agree with it and because the person thought that in their own mind, believing it’s their own device of thought, they are thus more likely to believe the otherwise untrue notion. This also gives one plausible deniability to rebuff any backlash “it was your idea, not mine.” Such is the power of ambiguity and mysteriousness, you can activate the cerebral human hamster which is typically far more profound in women.
This phenomena inverses into what I’d term “egotistical machiavellianism” if you’re willing to agree with someones incorrect poorly reasoned conclusion not because you actually agree, but because you want to appeal to their ego, win their validation or have a sense of closeness with another. Reddit call this phenomena “a circle jerk” but it happens in real life all the time EG: delusional women all band together and go out to a restaurant together to support each other in some irrationally insane session of delusional approval seeking where everyone gives out copious amounts of unwarranted and unsubstantiated validation in order to “Get everything off their chests” which is more legitimately known as “diffusing all personal responsibility onto third parties who aren’t present” in order to gouge on and embellish a tidal wave of simultaneous emotional catharsis and egotistical titillation.
If narcissism is the egotistical fuel which imbues Machiavellians with its inherently risk-taking and audacious choice of delivered behavior, then Machiavellianism is the computation of said behavior, the solidified strategy, the psychological chess-board incarnate.
Narcissism is an egotistical preoccupation with self. Because of all their experience with maintaining their self image, people who score high for narcissism will often appear charming but their narcissism will later lead to extreme difficulty in developing close relationships.
Narcissism is ego, a projection of confidence, self-importance and grandiosity.
Narcissism is ego, a projection of confidence, self-importance and grandiosity. Histrionic theatricism is optional, not necessarily present, but oft prevalent. The positives of grandiose narcissism consist of relentless ambition, entitlement, high motivation, strong mental resilience and an unwavering sense of conviction. Grandiose narcissists demand the very best that life has to offer, they are quality rather than quantity focused and embody the compulsion of a perfectionist.
Machiavellianism is at its most rudimentary the refinement of cunning, a vocation anybody can learn. In the contemporary age of ever creeping moral decay, the amorality of Machiavellianism becomes ever alluring. Be you a powerless individual seeking to survive in an increasingly cold world; a powerful individual looking to safeguard their assets, or a social predator looking to appease their sadistic urges. Machiavellianism is highly adaptable based on the individual’s needs for it is an art form, and thus like all art, fluid in application.
People who are elite in some manner become narcissistic due to success, this creates self-belief, feeding into success, fuelling further confidence in a self-perpetuating cycle. Narcissism is based on a consistent supply of affirmation, success, and one’s acceptance and belief of their success.
Positive feedback loops form from success as well as other’s respect and desire for you. Narcissism is in effect, a natural by-product of high value. The value can be given (highly attractive, great genetics) or earned (worked hard, became the champion) narcissism doesn’t care how you became successful, simply that you are.
Wherever reputation matters and money flows, there is politics. Analyse the politics at not only your place of work, but likewise your place of play. Understand socialising is a game of chess, not an organic randomness in which you are passive and acted upon. Some games have higher stakes than others, but the principles remain the same – this is a game.
justifying yourself is anti-cunning and weakens one’s social power” – internalising this idea deeply is key to effectively battling a jester. Never take a jester’s questions seriously, assume every question to be nought but an insincere trap, and you will do well to avoid the pitfalls the jester so effortlessly and ravenously sets.
the Light Triad. This is a constellation of three prosocial traits:
Humanism (appreciation of the successes and creations of others)
Kantianism (tendency toward behaving with integrity and honesty rather than deceit and charm)
Faith in humanity (believing that people are generally good and worthy of trust)
Test: This makes you 30.24% darker than the average person. Low compassion and empathy
family instability in childhood appears to lead to an increase in deception, coldness, impulsivity, and aggression. Conversely, instability in childhood is linked to a decrease in kindness, trust, generosity, and honesty. If we want less psychopathic behavior and more humanistic behavior, then promoting stable and secure families for children would be a good place to start.
Psychopathy reflects shallow emotional responses. The relative lack of emotions leads results in high stress tolerance, low empathy, little guilt and leads them to seek extremely stimulating activities, resulting in impusivity and a disposition towards interpersonal conflict.
The more you like power, the more you are likely to engage in behaviors such as narcissism (playing yourself as a character), Machiavellianism (manipulating others), and psychopathy (not minding if you hurt others, or even liking it).
Their ultimate cause, your power drive. Of course, since you are a monkey, you want status and importance and attention. You want to be proud and strong and independent. You do not want to be weak and humiliated and controlled.
Generally, anyone who desires power feels very strongly that he does not have enough. This could be because he is indeed powerless. Or it could be because he is powerful, but insecure—creating a feedback loop in which power grows only stronger.
The power drive is a neutral emotion. It can lead you to want to do things that are bad for yourself and/or bad for others. It can lead you to want to do things that are good for yourself and/or good for others.
Americans are psychos and this is a good thing. One will be better served to remember this fact during day to day interactions with other Americans. While Americans are on average a very trusting people, there are enough Machiavellians in the mix to make one stay on their toes. It is highly likely that the person staring in the mirror is ruthless and the person you are talking to doesn’t care about you and your oculus rift. So, dominate the world by being strong and cunning - let the weak suffer what they must.
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