GABlog Generative Anthropology in the Public Sphere

February 29, 2016

The Androsphere, or the Return of the Big Man (Who Never Really Left)

Filed under: GA — adam @ 8:21 pm

I’ve been meaning to continue my discussion of the hidden infrastructures of civilization that the victimocracy has been seeking to suppress all memory of while in fact facilitating their unrestrained resurgence. There is a region within the alt-right that usually refers to itself as the “manosphere,” i.e., an unabashedly phallocentric online community that repudiates the “feminine imperative” dominating modern life. I prefer the “androsphere,” and I would hope that term would catch on—it’s got more of a social sciency rather than pop/therapeutic culture sound to it. The androsphere actually straddles the social scientific and the pop/therapeutic: it is a discipline aimed at helping men discipline themselves so as to restore proper patriarchal relations between the sexes; a form of discipline, though, that in its own way offers a rigorous study of the fundamental, enduring structural elements of sexual relations. I don’t see many footnotes in these discussions, and their discussions don’t seem to rely upon any of the traditions within philosophy and the social sciences that I am familiar with, so I assume that much of this discipline is the work of genuine autodidacts and original thinkers.

In thinking of how to think through the androsphere in originary terms, I considered Marshall Sahlins’s notion of the “Big Man” whose accumulation of wealth lies at the origin of social inequality, and whom Eric Gans has given a central place in his originary theorization of the succession of social forms from the egalitarian hunter-gathers to the modern market economy (perhaps the most important discussion is in The End of Culture). I’ve been thinking for a while that the tension between the irrepressibility of Big Manness and the declared equality of modern life was a source of many of our crises. The Big Man is the Alpha, a term central to the socio-sexual hierarchy constitutive of androspheric thinking. As I was thinking about this, just this very morning, I came across the following post on Vox Day’s (the author of SJWs Always Lie and Cuckservative) Alpha Game blog:

A Portrait in Alpha

Ironically, both primitive tribesmen in Papua New Guinea and anthropologists appear to understand the true art of Alpha better than most men in the civilized West today. I came across this in book I was reading today:

The New Guinea Big Man, for example, gains his status primarily as an organiser of feasts and dances in which his own group competes with others, and as a public orator on such occasions. He attracts followers by his force of personality and his political skills as an organiser and diplomat in dealings with other groups, and can certainly behave despotically to those at the bottom of society, the ‘rubbish-men’. But while he obviously enjoys his status, he is accepted and regarded as a legitimate leader because he is seen as an essential asset by his group of followers, and in my experience tends to be gracious and polite.
It’s not about being a bully. It’s first and foremost about being an asset to his subordinates and being a man they want to follow. Everything else flows from that.

It is interesting to note that even primitive societies have developed the concept of the Omega as well.

I believe the book Day is quoting from is Do We Need God to be Good?, by C.R Hallpike, about which I know nothing, but from VD’s brief mention on his Vox Populi blog seems to engage the science/faith (non) dialogue in a way that might be interesting to GAniks. At any rate, this clearly confirmed for me the link I was considering. Needless to say, questions of “firstness” are implicated in this discussion as well. My concluding discussion in Gans’s and my recently published book (The First Shall Be the Last: Rethinking Antisemitism), which Eric mentioned in today’s email to the GAList, argues that the resurgence of antisemitism (as resentment of Jewish firstness) derives from a crisis in firstness, which is to say an all out attack on and repudiation of decisiveness, authority, a willingness to take responsibility, even to dominate, which is to say an ongoing attempt to kill whatever remains of the Big Man among us. The Androsphere is an attempt to restore and find a proper place for the Big Man, the Alpha.

Sperm is cheap, eggs are expensive; women are hypergamous, men are polygamous. These seem to be the founding axioms of the Androsphere. I’m sure they’re not new, but on websites like Alpha Game, Return of Kings, Rational Male, Chateau Hartiste and, I am sure, others, the implications of these axioms are explored in great detail, with an inventive, colorful and often profane conceptual vocabulary, and through numerous examples taken from contemporary social life. I’m not going to work through the whole system—instead, I’ll enter it from one particular angle, and suggest its relevance to some of my recent posts. One thing the Androsphere makes clear (and these writers seem to be quite aware of this) is what a difficult and monumental achievement monogamy has been. The natural state of male-female relations involves, roughly, women craving sexual relations with the Alpha males (the top, I suppose, 10% of males in terms of—well, in terms of all the things that characterize the Big Man, referenced by Vox Day above) while maintaining long term relations with Beta Males for the sake of raising their children (which is uninteresting to the Alpha) in security. Here, already, we have the roots of all manner of male-female mistrust, misunderstanding and dissatisfaction, cuckoldry, dysfunctional power games, and so on. (We will leave aside the very interesting categories—employed regularly by Day to discuss politics—the ultra-Alpha status of Donald Trump being a major source of his appeal to this corner of the alt-right—of the Gamma, Delta, Omega and Sigma, familiar to all from high school days and, perhaps, honest introspection.)

Without monogamy (which must therefore be considered a central category of civilization), and all of its discontents, 10% of the men would possess something like 50% of the women, leaving a very large minority of men with no access to sex and family life at all. This would obviously pose a constant threat to any social order organized around the direct rule of the Alphas, while stalling any ethical, cultural or economic progress by letting the talents and effort of those men (who have no incentive to exert themselves) go to waste. The Republican Party founders knew what they were doing when they raised the banner of opposition to the twin barbarous evils of slavery and polygamy. In monogamy, the male sacrifices his polygamous desires, the woman renounces her hypergamous strivings. There are still Alphas, and they are still emulated, followed, and resented, but they must prove themselves to be “legitimate leaders” in the public and economic spheres rather than monopolizing the available women (while, of course, reaping the rewards of possessing the most desirable women). The current fraying of monogamous norms is therefore an event of world historical consequences. The androsphere diagnoses this ongoing event, and tries to teach and train men to resist and, in some cases, it must be said, to exploit it.

Feminism, for the Androsphere, is the attempt to install the “Feminine Imperative” as the dominant social principle. The Feminine Imperative is the repudiation of the woman’s side of the monogamous arrangement, to which men are nevertheless to be held, within even more restrictive terms. The abolition of the sexual division of labor due to the liberating effects of modern technology and civilization is what has made the victory of the Feminine Imperative over Patriarchy possible—but we could add the general advance of victimary logic, on which feminism has hitched a ride and to which it has added an important dimension, that of feminizing men. The writers in the Androsphere can be very insightful and hilarious in analyzing the logic of feminism and its pop/therapeutic spinoffs in these terms. You can really see how commonplace the notion that men should defer to women’s desires and judgment in all manners regarding women’s sexuality has become—what, for example, is the campaign against “slut-shaming” if not the insistence that women should have the right to experiment freely with relationships with a series of Alphas without their future (or, eventually, some suggest, even present) Beta husbands factoring that into their marriage “market value”? What is the entire legal and institutional apparatus for continually expanding and more restrictively applying the rules regarding sexual harassment if not a capitulation to the demand that women should never have to suffer the indignity of having to even entertain so as to reject the advances of a man of lesser market value than herself? As Vox Day put it in a post on a sexual harassment charge that ruined a male scientist’s career, (I paraphrase) nothing—nothing—not science, not sterling personal accomplishment—is more important than that women not be touched by men they find unattractive. (One can also find some startling socio-sexual analyses of the leading role played by European women in welcoming the current wave of “refugees.)

The Androsphere is an outright defender of firstness and enemy of the victimary, both symptom and diagnostician of the crisis in firstness, in particular in the sexual sphere. It serves as yet another example of the actual infrastructures underlying all the bleating about “equality.” For the Androsphere, feminism has never been about “equality,” and it’s easy enough to see their point—has feminism, in any of its forms, ever admitted to having won a single victory, and thereby being able to relax some of its demands and reparative asymmetries appropriate for an earlier stage of sexual relations? In demanding equal employment opportunity and equal pay, have feminists also demanded a reform of divorce laws that were predicated upon a woman’s inability to support herself without a husband? If, instead of taking feminist resentments at face value, we see the feminist wars as attempts by women and men, all specifically placed within the socio-sexual hierarchy, to seize terrain abandoned with each diminution of the territory covered by the monogamous arrangement. Even more, we can add an important dimension to our understanding of the victimary: its effectiveness in the sexual sphere lies in the greater value any community, necessarily and instinctively, places upon (contrary to feminist complaints) its female members. Eggs are expensive, sperm is cheap: a community of, say, 100, that loses 40 men in a war could get itself back up to its previous population within a generation through emergency polygamous arrangements; if 40 women are lost, it would take many generations. Feminism exploits these tacit calculations in constructing a double bind represented as “equality”: men who resist the introduction of protected feminine spaces within male dominated institutions (i.e., the breakdown qua parody of the traditional sexual arrangement) are shamed as, implicitly, failing in their (traditional) role as protectors. Here, therefore, as in issues regarding race, we may find that probing a bit below the surface of discourses of equality we find a very different drama playing itself out. This insight might save us the trouble of trying to figure out how these initially benevolent movements for equality somehow went wrong. And it might aid us in avoiding the debacle of trying to “balance” equality against other “principles,” rather than trying to preserve what is left of the monogamous arrangement and maybe winning back some lost territory. (It would be very interesting, for example, to imagine the possibility of a coalition of beta male and medium sexual value females—probably the majority of the population, and the ones who benefit most from the monogamy deal—for eliminating no-fault divorce.)

The Androsphere presupposes permanent hierarchies, which it wishes to make more explicit—at its best, in order to provide models for self-betterment. As we can see from the description of the Big Man above, there is a kind of ethics and reciprocity built into the socio-sexual hierarchy: the Alpha, in his own way, serves the community. But the Alphas by themselves certainly wouldn’t have promoted the transition to monogamy—that surely came from some kind of, most probably, gradual revolt of the Betas. What the Alphas, and the writers of the Androsphere, who take Alphaness as a model, lack, is what Gans calls the “ethical monotheism” of the Hebrew Scriptures, which forces an awareness of the ways self-interested actions carried out in disregard of an ethical order can generate unanticipated resentments and thereby self- and other-destructive consequences. The Alpha can’t really recognize any source of action other than those set by his own desires and values—he is Nietzsche’s natural aristocrat. So, it’s not surprising that the same kind of casual antisemitism found elsewhere in the alt-right permeates the Androsphere as well. (It should be said, though, that many in the Androsphere are Christians, and my remarks here would not apply equally to all.) After all, if the Jews are resented for their firstness, that firstness is the system of insights that ruins the unself-conscious freedom of the Alpha, i.e., an earlier and equally authentic and durable (and probably co-dependent) form of firstness. And, indeed, modern Jews bear some responsibility for the deconstruction of modes of firstness such as nationality, masculinity, and Western civilization. It might be better if the dialectic between the socio-sexual hierarchy and an ethics attuned to a wider range of possible resentments and that can therefore reach beyond the Alphas and even the Betas were to be internalized within all individuals rather than represented by differing ethnic groups in potential conflict. Maybe that will happen, if firstness is ever restored through a generalized immunity to the victimary. But we don’t get to choose how the dialectics of civilization take shape.

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