Tuesday 23 April 2024

Francis Berger on the "Socio-Sexual Hierarchy" discourse

I would recommend reading Francis Berger's recent analysis of why the "Socio-Sexual Hierarchy" discourse is so abhorrent - especially among self-identified Christians. 

Berger captures most of the many reasons why I find the whole thing so stupid, and embarrassing! 

Embarrassing, because I don't think those who write this kind of material realize how unintentionally and unflatteringly self-revelatory their stuff is. 

In one sense because "real men" (of the kind being hyped) don't go-on in this way, and indeed would find it "gay". 

It is so excruciatingly whiny, short-termist, hedonistic, unrealistic, and entitled. 

And so very un-Christian! They state that it is all about finding a wife; but everything about the actual discourse howls a craving for maximal promiscuity, with low cost and no strings.



The Continental Op said...

Always-online people, endlessly generating clickbait content, with endless cycles of always-online commenters opining and arguing. Some pathetic hapless "gamma" enters in and gets chewed up, shoved head-first into a wood chipper, to the cheering of the throng.

The potential for spiritual growth here is mind boggling, is it not!

Hagel said...

The discourse in question is cringe

Bruce Charlton said...

@COp - "shoved head-first into a wood chipper"

That phrase makes me think of a corny movie that made me laugh A Lot: Tucker and Dale vs Evil.

William Wildblood said...

It seems a materialistic concept, basically defining us in terms of apes. There may be an element of that about us but, as you say, for Christians to make an issue of it is odd, to say the least. Good article by Francis.

Francis Berger said...

Thanks, Bruce. I made a point of focusing almost exclusively on the "socio" aspects becauseI couldn't bring myself to comment on the "sexy" side of the discourse, which, as Hagel notes above, is cringe.

Ingemar said...

Lawrence Auster had these fools' number 16 years ago.

The manosphere and sociosexualsphere was so transparently captured by a carnal spirit, a spirit of fornication and adultery, that its subsequent appeal to "saving Western Civilization" felt as hollow as the excuse that Playboy enthusiasts read that magazine for the articles.

And now, those same fools are clamoring for Western Civilization to fall.

I'm glad at least Roosh saw the errors of his ways and has quit the internet.

DiGi377 said...

I don't think Mr Berger or Mr Charlton understand the concept correctly & have picked up a blurred idea of it from other people who are not the originator of the concept. There is definitely no obligation to take it seriously or view it as a rigid system that must be followed & is always correct. However until something better is developed it does have some usefulness.

The social sexual hierarchy is a simple observation of typical heterosexual male behaviors when men are in groups & how they intuitively form hierarchies. The concept is easy to grasp and observable in real life - but it's not especially deep or the most perfect description of group dynamics or male psychology. It is a shallow assessment of what dynamics may be present. It isn't related to the manosphere, those alpha/beta pick up artist goals of how to be a playboy with women. However, some of the descriptive labels overlap & this has caused confusion.

The concept was formulated by Vox Day back in 2011. The summary is here:

If it seems shallow to you - well that's because the explanation is simple. It uses cliche tropes from popular culture movies etc to illustrate the categories (see also Vox's Voxiversity videos which discuss the categories using movie characters.) Note that the label "beta" was changed to "bravo" because of the alpha pickup use of "beta" which has a completely different meaning & context.

The terms have trickled into online discourse & are easily misinterpreted. Are they useful? Somewhat. Dealing with coworkers for eg, potential mates, male family members - it's useful for women needing to understand their Delta husbands but it's not the sole means to understanding male behavior - group or individual - nor would you want it to be. Is it advocating promiscuity (the pickup artist type) - not really - unless that's your primary goal as a man. It really is more a guide to understanding dynamics between men in groups and between men & women from the woman's perspective.

Probably the most useful information is to do with the gamma category - a man with neurotic traits & female emotional responses who is often dishonest and manipulative, as he thinks way too much about himself and constantly takes offence. Such a man is bound to be unhappy & difficult in relationships.

In 2015 someone wrote a 4 part series on the same blog on how to recover from being this way (gamma) and become a more disciplined and emotionally mature man. Search for the phrases "graduating gamma 1", then parts 2 through 4 for this man's advice on renovating the dishonorable aspects of his character via physical, mental and spiritual habits. Obviously noone has to agree or be forced to follow this approach & it may not work for everyone.

Lastly, the opinion that this hierarchy has no place for Christians is misguided. The hierarchy is neutral - & presuming the hierarchy is observable across diverse situations then it would be found in monastic communities as much as it would be seen in a military community - or workers in a factory. The need for groups to have leaders and leaders to have followers doesn't dissolve because it's a christian or atheist group. In fact it would be better for the natural leader alpha type to cultivate sincere christian faith as promiscuity is easier for this type and likewise it would be better for the gamma type who wants to improve, to practice christian virtues as part of his character transformation journey.

The argument of why would you want to be successful in a system that's inherently corrupt misses the point that the hierarchical behaviors exist regardless of the system. If the analysis of hierarvhical male behavior is correct, then the types should be recognizable across time and culture. Although to me, trying to figure this out for historical figures would be taking up too much of your time. A fiction writer though, would probably find it a useful addition to his or her etiter's toolbox.

Bruce Charlton said...

@DiG - I don't think you have grasped the critique - since you don't address it; you are talking past it.

BTW - The SS hierarchy is not neutral, because there is no such thing as neutral - but especially when it comes to people, and especially in these "end times" when things have come to a point.


Bruce Charlton said...

Fargoth has left a comment:

"The SSH discussion... is most definitely not about "finding a wife". Certain behavioral patterns just tend to arise when men form groups or teams, and the point is to observe and take advantage of those patterns which arise repeatedly...

"Knowing this ahead of time can prevent resentment and facilitate group cohesion in high-testosterone environments. It's not about what rank you are, it's about how certain roles tend to get filled when men come together, and certain men gravitate to certain roles. Is there a danger in classifying living men by such categories? Probably. However, the SSH discussion has utility for both self-analysis and group performance."


BC replies:

Two things: You have addressed one specific point, but not other and more relevant critiques.

There is also the matter of explicit statements, and the implicit or inferred actuality of the discourse.

To spiritual discernment, beyond a pretty minimal statement, and as a subject for continued and intensive human interaction, to me and many others: It Smells Bad. And not in a subtle fashion.

And there is also this matter:


If a *discourse* is to be Christian, then discourse that seeks to enhance material/ worldly-*success* in terms of status/ wealth/ power/ popularity etc. very likely requires clear and explicit repentance - IF it is not to make matters worse, and discourage repentance.

Ron Tomlinson said...

Well, the SSH *has* accurately described some of the behaviours in organisations I've belonged to in the past including school and workplaces, which was interesting. I'm looking forward to reading Vox's book.

But, as you and Francis have pointed out, 99% of organisations have by now been corrupted by evil, so there are more urgent spiritual matters to attend to.

I've been wondering recently whether there's a True Hierarchy which isn't situational or transient. After all, there's no such thing as equality. It would have to be a spiritual hierarchy if it existed at all, with Jesus at the top. But then one comes up against, "So the last will be first, and the first will be last”, from Matthew 20.

Which leaves Bruce's contention I think that the only place where any meaningful group activity or progress can now be made is among friends. Which would be not a hierarchy but a network of dyadic relationships.

A recent semi-illustration of this is at Catholic Unscripted on YouTube. Three friends who chatted together in public have now started receiving funds, formed an organisation with branding etc. Already something seems to have been lost, though I could well be mistaken about this. Hopefully so.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Ron - There are Many typologies of personality (We discuss the issue in The Genius Famine, and on my old blog: http://iqpersonalitygenius.blogspot.com/.

All are valid, to Some extent - because past behaviour is a better-than-random predictor of future behaviour.

Only Eysenck made a serious attempt to link such behavioural measures to a more distal biological cause in terms of brain, evolution etc. - but he wasn't successful overall.

"formed an organisation with branding etc. Already something seems to have been lost, though I could well be mistaken about this. Hopefully so."

I would not invest much hope, if I were you!

Bruce Charlton said...

Note to would-be commenters: I don't want to convert the comments section to this post into yet another example of that interminable SSH discourse and debate which the post is critiquing!

Evan Pangburn said...

As you said yourself, Dr. Charlton, without religion, sex becomes the primary motivator.

I would suggest that these people calling themselves Christians while simultaneously espousing this sort of... stuff, are using Christianity as a sort of national symbol and not a spiritual path. They are Nationalists first and foremost.

Christ and God as idols, paradoxically enough.

No different from the neo-pagan Nationalists, just with crusaders instead of vikings.

Epimetheus said...

The socio-sexual hierarchy hardly matters any more. Men have stopped giving a damn about all that - it hardly seems relevant when one's homelands are giant open-air concentration camps. Go look what happens to alpha male lions at the zoo. These days, whatever hierarchy exists is increasingly determined by hope vs. despair, not "sexiness" or status.

Bruce Charlton said...

Comment from Inquisitor Benedictus: I agree. It's a bunch of false metaphors and skewed generalisations.

Who's the "alpha male" on the bus? The bus driver. Who's the "alpha male" on a football pitch? The coach or the captain. Human societies are too complex and too layered in overlapping values, that the attempt to reduce it to some latent manifestation of sexual prowess is as crude as any Freudian or Darwinian fable. It's a cop to the degenerate post-Darwinist landscape of a debauched culture of courtship; and these animal metaphors only compound that ongoing debasement of the decaying romanticism in western culture.

It's strange that VD promotes the concept, because he's anti-Darwinist and this is basic social Darwinism. The Darwinian imagination is so philistine and barbaric.

George Stanley said...

This post has significantly more comments than most posts on this blog. That is sad in itself. Even Christians who are trying to free their souls from "the world" get more animated about grimy matters of sexuality and status competition than about spiritual things.

Bruce Charlton said...

@George - True. And I did not publish several other comments - because they did not respond to the critique, but instead just wanted to talk more around and about the SSH.

It's like an addiction for some people. It's one of those ideologies that - when once you start experiencing the world in that kind of way - soon becomes the burning topic in your life.

NLR said...

When analyzing modern life in terms of socio-sexual dynamics, often there's a background assumption that all this is natural. But the sexual revolution never was natural; it was initiated in an unusual historical situation and it would have already fallen apart had it not been increasingly sustained by technology and propaganda.

For example, the "free love" Oneida community lasted 33 years, while the celibate Shakers lasted around 200.

Bruce Charlton said...

@NLR - Yes, that's a common and major error, from an evolutionary perspective.


The fact is that none of us are instinctually adapted to the kind of society that has only existed for 2-300 years. But the biggest maladaptation of all, is that "the world" has decided to delete god/s, spirits, creation etc etc (all of religion and spirituality regarded as the primary life motivator) - and consequently the whole world is insane and self-destructive - the sexual behaviour of modern Western women being only one of innumerable instances.