Jun 11, 2023·edited Jun 11, 2023

That story about the baboon is perfect allegory for the modern social environment with the longhouse acting as the collective mother working to perpetually elevate the status of all those who signal victimhood.

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Breaking Bad was one of the first TV series where I recognized the intent to keep increasing the bad. The same was true for Ozark. Just when you thought you know the baddest character, a new one was introduced that shocked you into the next level of recognizing bad.

I think a victim mindset is often relative and unworthy... and it might be solved by some escalation in either hopeful outcomes or more real tragic outcomes for the victim. They might need to see the next level of bad to "shock" them into realization that they are actually in better shape than they recognized. Or maybe some good outcomes would do the same.

I think this is why my dad used to say "do you want something to really cry about?" Sounds cruel, but the message was clear... things can always be a lot worse, so maybe you should assess real reality and stop feeling sorry for yourself.

In general I think it is very unhealthy to reward victim posturing.

My opinion for why we have reached this point where a victim mindset/posturing is rewarded... is that those that have felt like socioeconomic misfits, regardless if they are truly oppressed and excluded or if they just lack the knowledge or capability to integrate (most, in my opinion... given that everyone has obstacles to overcome)... and considering more of them have achieved higher level education credentials and come from families having achieved a notable level of socioeconomic status... and are bombarded with luxury goods advertising and professional class life-style narratives that would tend to raise their expectations for achieved status and inflame their class envy... is that they have adopted victimology as a "fix" or "short-cut" to gaining a position on the socioeconomic status hierarchy.

Frankly, I see this being driven by angry feminists whom are really socioeconomic malcontents. Within their motivating ideology are nuggets of real socioeconomic issues that need to be addressed but they have gone way too far down the wrong paths. Their direction has been self-defeating as they have elevated their "victim-boss" #MeToo media protection status to be almost untouchable in criticism... and pursue man-hating power instead of working to secure what women in general really need and want. As a result, their victim narrative becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for all women.

Women in general are much more unhappy and depressed these days. But instead of taking responsibility and doing a course correction, the feminists have become even more militant and creative in expanding their victim population to include every group except Christian white males (and Asians?)... and those that don't support current Democrat politics (the political party institutions they dominate).

Because they have trained so many women to adopt their victim ideology through the education system that they also dominate, these women having taking positions in the media, HR, marketing, non-profit NGOs and government... are spreading the victim mindset everywhere. It is toxic and destructive to society.

Every clinical psychologist worth his/her salt has this as their primary work product... helping people get beyond their self-defeating victim mindset, put their shoulders back, enter the mainstream socioeconomic system and perform with the understanding that they are just a normal human having suffered ubiquitous life obstacles.

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Claiming this mentality primarily is generated by angry feminists is inaccurate. Explain Biden and the bulk of his regime. Explain CA’s Governor Newsom. Explain the bulk of the CA Legislature. Great examples of those prizing victimhood and profiting off of it.

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Angry feminists have taken power over the public education system and injected the students with the victim mindset. Those students multiply and modify the prevailing values of the electorate that historically had been one that valued self-determination and rejected a victim mindset. These kids with degrees became adults and flowed to management positions in our institutions where they push this victim mindset ideology on everyone else. Biden, Newsom and the bulk of the CA Legislature are filled with low productive talent charlatans skilled in only leveraging the prevailing mindsets and power structures to fill their own pockets with power and cash.

This all began with the angry feminists.

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this is why it’s a fine line between arguing for ‘inclusion, equity, and opportunity’ and twisting an identity marker into a victim/pity magnet. I find this more common among upper middle class members of subordinate groups. As with elite white (e.g. Trump) they easily resent the slightest slight...our gamified version of networked individualism is the perfect playground for dark triad personalities...because we are always needing to add new people to our network to increase our adaptability to social change and to seek our own goals that are completely anchored in public reputations.

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I recall the Rolling Stone article about the Boston Marathon bombers and the females who wrote to them and fantacised about them. They tended to believe that they were the one who could sooth the poor boys and bring good out of them.

However, having watched how quickly Borderline PD females hook up with Antisocial PD males on a psych unit - I swear they can smell their pheromones at 20 meters or have some other quick and automatic cue - and listen to their discussion of this, I am convinced that the ASD's just turn them on more. Males who are clearly more reliable and better mates just don't do it for them. If they seem a little odd, those women are the first to belittle them. I have seen parallel behavior working with women in substance rehab who have been abused my males, sometimes multiple abusers. These guys just turn them on. It is horrifying to watch a woman begin to get sober and start making a better life, only to fall for the same kind of guy again.

These men know their marks as well. They identify them easily.

What I don't know is if this measured preference for DT traits comes from all women in degrees or if some women, such as the ones I describe above, display such strong preferences for these males that they move the dial for the whole population.

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Interesting Rob - it explains the ‘victim one-up-manship’ so prevalent today. It would be amusing if it weren’t so damn nauseating. Perhaps it’s also why we feel it so keenly when we find out how some have shouldered their suffering and carried on regardless while keeping their struggles to themselves. There is something heroic about such folk that we recognise and admire.

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Rob, a question. Will Stor talks about the three types of power: competence, virtue and dominance. Do you think victimhood (somewhat the opposite of competence) is a fourth route to power?

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Of Storr's three status games (success/competence, virtue, and dominance), victimhood falls under the umbrella of virtue. Research suggests that people believe victims have stronger moral character and are more likely to believe them and confer status to them.

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For those who don’t have a modern claim to intersectional victim status, their virtue signaling is exponentially exacerbated.

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"I know therapy language and everything wrong with my life is because the world is out to get me."

Covert narcissism is very fashionable these days. Keep in mind that these types come in varying degrees. Be careful out there.

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Many fascinating findings, and great integration into a coherent analysis! Thinking a bit further out of signaling for the purpose of receiving resources, I would love to see how this relates to (or is in opposition of) signaling for other reasons.

My intuition is that it is part of the human condition -- if not the condition of life -- that everyone (or everything) wants to "matter". Once the primary needs (Maslow's hierarchy or any other system) are met, people seem to pursue goals that give them the experience of "making a difference." What strikes me as important as a between-people set of variables is the strategies and metrics people apply to this problem.

For some, the allocation (or aggregation) of resources seems to function as a proxy -- whether material resources or immaterial resources, such as social status -- since resources provide greater "power", a sort of means to influence the world writ large, an enhancement of individual agency.

Others seem primarily concerned with an experience of attention itself. They use the amount of (positive and negative!) attention spent on them as a proxy measure for how "successful" they have become.

And yet others pursue a course by which their own experience of "making a difference" in other people's life (the direct individual feedback they receive from others as a function of their actions) is maximized.

Ultimately, I would presume that in an age in which the opportunity of making an actual difference in people's lives is often undermined by the fact that technology has scooped up more and more of that "difference" (medical advice is freely available on the internet, education can be done remotely through YouTube and substack, and those are the two domains in which the US has allocated more and more of the economic output over the past decades!), people will shift more and more in their habitually displayed preference from seeking meaning in "making a (real) difference" to these other proxy measures (collecting resources in the form of wealth or status, or simple attention), since those cannot be as easily scooped up by machines. It will -- at least for a while -- still be humans we think of as "owners" of stuff and status, and we will pay attention to what we believe are humans.

To get out of this "race" (away from productively making a difference towards mere signaling in search of proxies for meaning), we may need either a return to enjoying whatever difference we still can make in others' lives, or we may have to develop and accept an entirely new form of proxy for meaning.

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If I had to choose one of the dark triad, for myself, I would pick psychopath: a callous disregard and lack of compassion. It seems honest and defensible; 59 years of this life and I wear my callousness openly. I been told it can be off putting.

Why so serious? We are a race. We are in a race, not a family. So, accordingly, I will take my advantage. This is not a brotherhood of Man. This is the human race. The cut and thrust of this life is indelible and should be appreciated not vilified. Entropy is our fate, we fight because we must.

The social science’s harm avoidance credo is a red herring. Any faulty starting point can only lead to bad conclusions: yes? Why is harm avoidance the greatest cause? And how does that comport with our nature and circumstances? It doesn’t.

Yes, for me psychopath please, it is appropriate and an accurate response to my experience and understanding. Of course, everything in moderation.

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On second thought, the dark triad is required for success in this world. It is appropriate and necessary, this world requires D3. It is incorrectly vilified by the social sciences, based on their misdirected emphasis on harm reduction. (Again why so serious, maybe I’m a complete idiot and don’t know what I’m talking about, relax.)

Narcissism Machiavellianism and psychopathy: name one successful person who doesn’t show, exploit and win based on these traits and would fail without them. In a world of scarcity and entropy the dark tirade is our human tool kit. What is at issue is moderation and modulation: “ it ain’t what you do it’s how you do it that’s what counts with us”, Fun Boy Three and Bananarama.

If that’s all you are (D3) it falls apart, you are a weirdo or psycho: “cruel to be kind in the right measure”, Nick Lowe.

It’s the way we work. Previous generations accepted this more readily. We’ve been misinformed by the social sciences. Yes, social sciences are correct that the dark tirade is the source of much suffering. That’s not my critique. What I’m saying is it is unavoidable and avoidance should not be lauded as the solution because.... it’s impossible. You’re making people losers by advising thusly. Ya that’s my point.

Have at me .

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I think I get your point. Humans exploit other humans and it’s just dumb to ignore this.

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The basic facts of our corporeal existence, our heteronomy, have to be kept out of view to sustain the liberal picture of the self-sovereign unencumbered choosing self.

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Let’s free associate here. Dark Triad, DT, Donald Trump. Coincidence, yes - that part of it. Funny that Trump IS the absolute personification of the Dark Triad, complete with victim signaling, and Americans want him for President again. Well, if that’s who they want. End of days.

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Silvio Berlusconi died today: he is the Quintessence of the dark triad. Dark triad is our human tool kit. If you want to succeed, you need the dark triad. It’s the way the world works but in the right measure.

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Wow. Lots of religious goggily gook but I get the point: the pursuit of knowledge, of advancement, of getting on with your life must continue even in the hellish theatre of war. I agree, but to my point: 'it's hard to remember that your initial objective was to drain the swamp when you're up to your neck in alligators. The alligators being this silly war in Ukraine and this silly nonsense of global warming. Both of which could lead to another earthly mass extinction.

But heck....let's fool on.


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Well Professor. With the extestential treats of global warming and a war that could lead to A WAR OF THE WORLDS" I find it difficult to focus in on your words.


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The answer to this is CS Lewis's essay "On Learning In War-Time." https://www.christendom.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Learning-In-Wartime-C.S.-Lewis-1939.pdf

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Pitiable you say: true enough. A wretch like me, no grace saving the day. Honestly, wretchedness is never far off.

Grace is my favourite word, but therein, I seem to have been overlooked, or rejected (understandable) or worse maybe we are alone. Hum?

I like to bait people, and I seem to have succeeded. I’m told my position in favour of cold detachment is pitiable, which in this context seems passive aggressive and suggests not sympathy, but superiority.

Liberals are unreliable when it comes to diagnosis. The power of positive thinking creates distortions, they seem transfixed by aesthetics. Weird.

Conservatives do much better at diagnosis, they value accuracy, but spare me their litany of cold, hard realism when it comes to prescriptions. Give me a liberal any day when it comes to a plan moving forward. Positivity is the prescription, a force multiplier.

Our author is very helpful and disciplined when it comes to diagnosis: it seems to be his stock in trade.

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