Incels are becoming more common, they are violent, and that will continue

A new article came out claiming that involuntary celibacy (incel) in on the rise among unmarried men. This is dangerous because this has been quoted as a reason for some of the high-profile mass shootings in the recent news.

The problem with involuntary celibacy is it is a result of a man failing in the sexual market, where so much of our value is determined, and where so much of our psychology is dependent. We are programmed to reproduce. If we fail at that, or are incapable of that, we are genetic failures. Plus, it feels good, and we don’t get those good feelings we don’t get when we want. Plus, sex with beautiful people is associated with status. So, if you’re not having sex with beautiful people, you are both low-status because you can’t have sex, and you are low status because you aren’t and aren’t seen having sex with beautiful women.

When people have no value, and that lack of value manifests in the the sexual market, and these individuals see others as having no value, then we get the mindset conducive for a killing spree. It’s dark. And it’s becoming more common.

Sex is everywhere. When someone can’t have sex when they want to (this is a male problem), seeing sex around them reinforces that others are having sex and they aren’t. It’s a constant reminder. They see this in marketing with sexual ads, with women wearing provocative outfits (leggings), and on TV, movies, and social media. It’s the girls with the least clothing getting the most likes.

Social media has made it much harder for the average man to get sex. By showing some skin and acting slutty a girl can quickly rack up followers and “likes”. Women get an ego boost out of this and become dependent on social media for attention and good feelings. So they continue to publish more content in less fabric.

When a woman increases the amount of attention she receives, her perceived sense of her sexual market value increases. 6s think they’re 9s because so many men “like” their picture. When 6s think they’re 9s, they don’t have sex with 6s. Nor do they have sex with 7s or 8s. It takes a man who’s a 9 to have sex with the 6.

Guys that are 9s are absolutely crushing pussy. They have their pick of the litter, and the sexualization of women has made it easier for 9s to have sex with more women, rather than settling down with one good one. While it was never hard for a 9 to have sex with a beautiful woman, now they have more women actively looking to have sex with them, and no one else.

Guys that are nines are becoming more rare and its becoming harder to become a nine as a man. For one, a lot of men’s sexual market value used to be tied to how much money he makes. These days, that’s not the case. Women are in the workplace, especially young women out of college, and they are making just as much money as men. They aren’t financially dependent on a man, and they aren’t looking to start. That’s actually another way men have less perceived value than they used to. Not only do men risk the increasing chance that their actions or words will qualify as sexual assault of some kind, but they are not rewarded by the sexual market for their efforts in the workplace. Which, again, reinforces negative perceived value of the individual.

Men have to be sexy. They have to be charismatic, bold, confident, and have advanced social skills to manage any social situation. Throw in good looking if they are going to have a chance with online dating.

The problem with being attractive by building social skills is that this is becoming more and more difficult for men. #metoo, which has great intentions of stopping abuse and harassment, if it grows too encompassing of behaviors and actions of innocent-intentioned men, can have dire consequences. In addition to getting people fired from their job or industry, strict harassment rules can decrease the opportunities for men to try to develop the social skills that are needed to have sex in the modern world.

Anti-harassment rules and laws discourage men from trying to flirt with women. That’s great – it means women won’t be uncomfortable because they won’t be hit on by uncomfortable (creepy) men. This doesn’t apply to men that are attractive (not just physically) – they will always be able to flirt and converse and touch as they please – as long as they are still seen as attractive.

Men who aren’t skilled socially are just as uncomfortable approaching women as the women being “creeped out”. It’s scary for these guys. They are taking a chance. They are trying. When guys are told not to try because they are creepy, or will be fired, or will be shamed on social media, they won’t develop experiences to become better and more socially equipped.

What is the result? Men will stop. They will back out of the workforce because their efforts aren’t recognized, and their lack of value will continue to be magnified for their failures in the economic and sexual markets.

How do we turn this around? Few things.

  1. Honor the man. It’s important that we recognize the efforts of men in both the workplace and the sexual market. We are all sexual beings, even men who only work and play video games and don’t venture outside. Let’s accept that and celebrate that. Don’t go have sex with a dude that’s nerdy and unattractive, but don’t shoot him down hard for being creepy.
  2. Glorify marriage and parenting. Marriage and parenting are foundational aspects of every religion for good reason. They provide meaning. They aren’t results of being someone of value. They have value in and of themselves. Disincentivize divorce by changing alimony structure, removing the punishments that fall largely on the man, and punish those who leave for no reason or poor reason.
  3. Get off social media. You’re a six.

Badass Buddha

I wrote the following essay for a homework assignment for a class called “Buddhism and Modern Psychology” on Coursera. It’s taught by Robert Wright, evolutionary psychologist an author of The Moral Animal, which is a great book and I recommend if you’re interested in learning more of evo psych.


 

Badass Buddha

According to the Buddha, suffering is part of the human existence. The first two Noble Truths of Buddhism spell out that suffering is not only found everywhere around us – it is a part of us. The first truth, dukkha, tells us that suffering is a lack of satisfaction and that pleasures are fleeting and are therefore not a path to lasting satisfaction. The second truth is that because pleasure is fleeting, we cling to these pleasures as our source of satisfaction. We chase their return. I agree with the Buddha that suffering is part of the human existence, and I will give two examples to show this.

The first example comes from principles in evolutionary psychology. We did not evolve to not suffer. Not suffering was never a goal in evolution. Instead, we evolved to survive and replicate. The traits we developed are in some way related to our evolved need to accomplish these two goals. According to Professor Wright in the lectures, feelings of pleasure are among the traits that developed to incentivize people (and our animal ancestors) to survive and replicate. For example, we describe food (survival) as “tasting good” and sex (replication) as “awesome.”  

Natural selection doesn’t care if you are happy. If we must suffer in order to accomplish natural selection’s goal of surviving and replicating, then that is still the priority of natural selection. According to evolutionary psychology, it is this natural selection that drives our psychology. When natural selection is what drives psychology, then our default behavior will be whatever most increases our likelihood to survive and reproduce. This is what Professor Wright meant when he said that Buddhism is a “rebellion against natural selection” – Buddhism seeks to end suffering, and that can only be accomplished by not giving in to urges that we are designed to feel.

My second example is a more recent, more practical application of our evolved psychology steering us to suffering. Social media preys on our psychology and leads us to feedback loops of chasing pleasure – these feedback loops which the I argue on behalf of the Buddha that lead us to suffer.

Social media exploits a lot of the behaviors that we developed as ape ancestors way back in the day. To increase our likelihood to survive, we evolved to be tribal – to stick to those close to us and to feel a sense of connection. By increasing the size of his tribe, a man had less enemies and more people to fight off enemies, therefore decreasing the likelihood he would die in attack. We evolved to experience pleasure when we make connection with someone and to seek friendship to encourage us to grow our tribe so we would not die in an attack. Social media exploits this reward for growing our tribe.

Social media exploits the reward for growing a tribe by rewarding an individual with “likes” or retweets if the user posts content that other users find appealing. We get our pleasure feeling when others click “like” or “retweet.” The downside is that, as Wright explained, when pleasure is routine and then removed, dopamine (pleasure sensors) goes negative and we actually feel less happy than our neutral state because we fail to reach expectation.

When a user fails to reach expectation our pleasure expectations, social media users generate more content in hopes they will get those pleasure triggers. It is this clinging the Buddha warned against but on an immediate, constant scale. Social media users, and there are a lot of them, are constantly creating and seeking this fleeting pleasure. Ex-Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya warns against this (link), I warn against this, and the Buddha would warn against this. It is unhealthy to constantly worry about these pleasures inspired by the action (click) from others.

In conclusion, suffering is part of human existence. The very things we are designed to do are sources of our desires that lead us to unhappiness. The need to survive and have children shaped our psychology to seek pleasures, and these pleasures are short-term. We become addicted to the pleasures, like a drug user (which probably also has evolutionary roots).

The Buddha says to acknowledge that these pleasures are fleeting, and that we can end our suffering by removing the search for these fleeting pleasures. This is easier said than done, especially in our modern world where social media creates not only a recurring source of pleasure from “likes” and “retweets”, but also serves as a more common means of finding sexual partners. To be free from the suffering found in seeking pleasure, we must rebel against our default psychology and remove the need for the pleasure that gives reason for us to suffer.