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Sunday, July 05, 2015

A descriptive model

Keeping in mind, of course, that Rao is not talking about literal sociopathy here, it's merely the term he's chosen for his Gervais Principle model. Here he provides a useful distinction between the two types of Sociopaths:
[E]ffective Sociopaths stick with steadfast discipline to the letter of the law, internal and external, because the stupidest way to trip yourself up is in the realm of rules where the Clueless and Losers get to be judges and jury members. What they violate is its spirit, by taking advantage of its ambiguities. Whether this makes them evil or good depends on the situation. That’s a story for another day. Good Sociopaths operate by what they personally choose as a higher morality, in reaction to what they see as the dangers, insanities and stupidities of mob morality. Evil Sociopaths are merely looking for a quick, safe buck. Losers and the Clueless, of course, avoid individual moral decisions altogether.
This is why I find the Clueless of the SF world to be so mind-bogglingly stupid. While they correctly recognize me as a Sociopath who is dangerous to the system, they don't understand that I am the proverbial Good Sociopath. And because they are so Clueless, they completely fail to recognize the Evil Sociopaths already well-ensconced within their midst.

I mean, how hard can it possibly be for anyone conversant with this model to identify a specific Evil Sociopath who has repeatedly taken advantage of ambiguities in the science fiction world's rules in order to make a quick, safe buck? You'd think Rao was describing that individual.

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56 Comments:

Anonymous George of the Jungle July 05, 2015 9:13 AM  

Lots of checklists for this, not all of them exactly the same. As an aside, the first Thai woman I ever dated was diagnosed as a sociopath by my shrink, to whom I went AFTER she burned me into a state where I was literally crying every day from random external associations/stimuli. In short, I had a nervous breakdown, and it was not fun. Unless you have actually had a relationship with a true sociopath as defined by most of the traits below, you have no true understanding of the damage they will do to you, and how you can easily become a victim. (BTW, Thai culture is almost a precursor for sociopathy in extremis... read some things about Thai women, and don't ever marry one: Why I Never Married a Thai (Woman) )

- Glibness and Superficial Charm
- Manipulative and Conning: They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
- Grandiose Sense of Self: Feels entitled to certain things as "their right."
- Pathological Lying: it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis.
- Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
- Shallow Emotions: Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
- Incapacity for Love
- Need for Stimulation: Promiscuity/infidelity and gambling are common.
- Callousness/Lack of Empathy
- Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature: Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim.
- Irresponsibility/Unreliability: unconcerned about wrecking others' lives and dreams.
- Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
- Changes their image as needed for the situation, ie. situational "truth".
- Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them
- Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them
- Conventional appearance
- Goal of enslavement of their victim(s): Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim's life
Ultimate goal is the creation of a willing victim: needs to justify and therefore needs their victim's affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)

Blogger Mr.MantraMan July 05, 2015 9:28 AM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Blogger Aeoli Pera July 05, 2015 9:51 AM  

George, your information is both useful and (appears) sound. But that is not the sort of sociopath we're talking about here. You would be well-advised to read the article because the technical definition is quite useful.

Blogger Aeoli Pera July 05, 2015 9:58 AM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Anonymous George of the Jungle July 05, 2015 9:59 AM  

@Aeoli Pera...

Thanks, good advice.. I have now read it. I understand I was off in the weeds a little. Thanks for your patience.

Blogger Aeoli Pera July 05, 2015 10:05 AM  

George,

You're welcome. Our host has been an instructive example in this regard.

Blogger luagha July 05, 2015 10:13 AM  

Really good article. Made me realize I learned my Good Sociopath skills such as they are, in roleplaying games. One specific time I was bantering with another Good Sociopath at the table and an awakening-Clueless asked us what we were doing just as in some of the examples above.

Blogger VD July 05, 2015 10:20 AM  

The comedy gold is that even the troll openly recognizes that it is John Scalzi being described from nothing more than the quotation of the behavior of the Evil Sociopath.

Nevertheless, as always, all comments in response to or about him will be deleted.

Anonymous Giuseppe July 05, 2015 10:21 AM  

And so we come to the crux of the matter which is most disturbing to rational, sane, decent men Vox.
Why are the losers and cretins so incapable of seeing objective reality? Yes MPAI ruled my view since I was about 4 and began observing people, but behind it, honestly I am really starting to think the only answer that makes sense on the SCALE we are looking at here is a religious one.

Blogger dc.sunsets July 05, 2015 10:36 AM  

Evil sociopaths are not always just looking for a buck.

Power over others or inducing them to worship the sociopath are time-worn goals as well.

Blogger Aeoli Pera July 05, 2015 10:39 AM  

"Nevertheless, as always, all comments in response to or about him will be deleted."

Oops.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet July 05, 2015 10:41 AM  

I suspect they don't recognize it among them for the simple fact that it benefits them. It is to one advantage to ignore a broken system that rewards so directly.

Blogger Doom July 05, 2015 10:55 AM  

Once the wolves are among the sheep, and the sheep have been properly trained to not notice them feasting, it is much easier to point out the long teeth and aggressive nature of the sheepdog.

Blogger Jack Ward July 05, 2015 11:13 AM  

@VD [9]
Uh, is that any thing to or about johnny con is to be deleted or, better, never said? Or, Obvious his/her/itself?

With all this talk of socio's I may add another, better, lock to the front door. And, bring another nasty gun into the house.

Blogger Jack Ward July 05, 2015 11:20 AM  

Went to the Rao site and was impressed enough to drop the 2.50 and get the ebook. Will start enjoy of same after the last of the Hugo reading is done.

I've taken some time from the Hugo effort to read something called (R)evolution. Its on Amazon. Its a kinda scary story, circa 2026 to 2029 about the first AI derived from an actual human. The insights there are particular to the mindset of the Singularity and trans human crowd. I suspect that the stuff in that book may already be happening, thanks to your tax dollars, somewhere 200 meters below the desert floor; in Utah. Or, wherever. Those people?, need to be reigned in.

Blogger VFM bot #188 July 05, 2015 11:28 AM  

Takeaways from the article: (1) Sociopaths exist; (2) sociopaths concentrate on power-relationships; (3) sociopaths are dangerous; (4) it takes good sociopaths to counter evil sociopaths.

Sociopaths exist. This is an unfortunate fact that points to an ugly reality, a trait at the very center of human existence. It was put there---probably of necessity---by the heartless, soulless operation of evolution. It is also repulsive. Some of the most consequential human beings in history have grappled with it, including Jesus of Nazareth, Siddhartha Gautama, Confucious, and others.

The writer of the article appears to celebrate it. Which indicates he understands nothing.

Anonymous The other robot July 05, 2015 11:35 AM  

The first and second shoes have dropped. Still waiting on the third.

Blogger VD July 05, 2015 11:42 AM  

Uh, is that any thing to or about johnny con is to be deleted or, better, never said? Or, Obvious his/her/itself?

Any response to any troll. They do it for attention and to divert the discourse, so all the idiot heroes who rush in to do battle with them are entirely missing the point. They don't care in the slightest what you tell them, as by responding to them you have already validated their trolling.

It's like seeing someone jabbering in English, then running up to them and "setting them straight" in Chinese. It's never, ever going to work, and it only encourages them. That's why I've started spamming comments of those who repeatedly respond to the trolls, since apparently some simply can't resist charging a windmill that is waving at them.

The alternative is requiring registration, which I will not do.

Blogger Jack Ward July 05, 2015 11:43 AM  

OK. Its obvious now that its Obvious. Thank God; If I could not jump on johnny now and again it would be a dreary life.

Blogger Shimshon July 05, 2015 12:07 PM  

"The alternative is requiring registration, which I will not do."

Another one is moderation. Which I also hope you will never resort to. Moderated comments suck the life out of comments. I just don't get why fairly big libertarian blogs moderate. There's no discussion. 20 comments on a post is a lot.

Blogger Jack Ward July 05, 2015 12:20 PM  

As for registration: some time back, I found I could not get into comments here. Nothing worked. I finally registered and no problem. I don't really care that anyone one knows my real name. Come on over if you're pissed and we'll settle it, etc. etc.

I though I had been banned for some reason but could think of nothing I had said and then threw it on my Vista machine and microsoft. Anyway, its worked out.

Anonymous The other robot July 05, 2015 12:34 PM  

I don't really care that anyone one knows my real name. Come on over if you're pissed and we'll settle it, etc. etc.

However, if there are SJWs where you work, they might try to get you fired for posting on VoxDay ... because after all he supports throwing acid in women's faces and hates Jews and black people and all those other feelbad things.

Anonymous BGS July 05, 2015 12:54 PM  

because the stupidest way to trip yourself up is in the realm of rules where the Clueless and Losers get to be judges and jury members.

Does this mean I am wrong about the worst lawyers ending up in govt jobs as judges, and lawyers seeking the stupidest people for juries. Every time I have been called for jury duty one side is looking to eliminate healthcare workers, veterans or crime victims from the pool. Its annoying that you can't avoid wasting the day with a note from a medical director if you are simply not going to be picked.

Anonymous grumpy July 05, 2015 1:36 PM  

"read some things about Thai women, and don't ever marry one"

Hey buddy, the Supreme Court has spoken. Thai marriage is now the law of the land.

Blogger Groot July 05, 2015 2:58 PM  

Fun read. I'd always conflated the Losers and Clueless. I would re-label one group, though: I'd change the Evil Sociopaths into King/Queen of the Clueless. They seek a safe win, so they develop a skill at herding the Clueless with what Vox refers to as Point and Shriek. The actual content of the Shriek is like the verbal content of dogs barking or sheep baa-ing, so facts don't matter, just the feels.

An example is someone at File770, name of Adam-Troy-Billy-Bob Castro-Breen (maybe a couple too many hyphens, I'd have to check). Don't you dare call him a false friend telling Brad that "he has his head so far up his own ass that he can’t see daylight." Then he lists the usual lies about Vox spurring mass murder, spilling acid on women, bathing in the blood of babies, whatever. But he's allowed to lie because of his feels (mis-labelled Conscience), which is "the one troll [he] cannot block." Sit back and revel in the echoes.

Blogger bob k. mando July 05, 2015 3:12 PM  

i actually agree with ribbonfarm that the Gervais principle is a pretty accurate description of how modern middle and upper management work.

i just find it absurd that sociopaths are considered beneficial in a business sense ( apart from, say, Marketing / Sales where their emotional manipulation skills work to goad sheep into buying things that they wouldn't otherwise ).

there is nothing beneficial to productivity to convince the 'Losers' ( that is, those actually involved in Production ) that management is just there to fuck them. this is how you maximize production? this is how you get good, corrective feedback from the people who ACTUALLY SEE AND UNDERSTAND what is happening on the production line? this is how you find efficiencies?

further, from an inter-management competition perspective, how does it benefit the company seek to employ people who's primary abilities are the ability to facilely appropriate credit for the work of others or to deflect responsibilities for your own fuckups onto people who had no authority or responsibility for the mess?

A: it doesn't.

but it is the kind of business culture that sociopaths ( and other abusive personalities ) attempt to create.


of course, the whole MBA / Human Resources / never spend more than 2 years in any management position system all work to the benefit of sociopathic personalities.

one of the first principles is that THE MAP DOES NOT EQUAL THE TERRAIN. ie - paper production goals / metrics DO NOT EQUAL actual effective management.

when you're constantly shuffling management, how do you evaluate their performance? welp, you've got a bunch of paper metrics by which you attempt to evaluate their 'efficiency'. but the paper metric is the only way by which upper management can evaluate lower management because they're all MBAs and very few of them actually understand the specific production environment that they are involved in.

however, almost all production tasks have all sorts of housekeeping and organizational work which REALLY need to be done ... but which do NOT lend themselves to easy quantification.

well, if you can't quantify it, you can't use it for a metric. BUT THESE TASKS STILL TAKE TIME. which detracts from work which IS used to generate metrics ...

and if you're jumping position / division constantly, you aren't staying still long enough for the entropy accumulation to start to catch up with output.

i noticed this at Miles, Inc when i was there.

new manager would come in, sweep a whole bunch of stuff under the rug so HIS numbers looked good, then jump to another position.

this leaves the subsequent manager holding the bag for the actual cleanup UNLESS he can find a way to hide the problems for even longer and he can bail out of the position.


Radio Shack was another good example. store employees were ranked on $ / hr sales, stores were ranked primarily on year-over-year percentage gain.

economy goes in the tank, local unemployment doubles.

regional manager is hassling us because ... our store sales and $ / hr sales ( per employee ) are down year-over-year. you point out to him that your geographic area is experiencing a significant economic downturn. RMs answer? fuck you, get your sales up.

he didn't much care to hear it when you asked him to come out and show us what we were doing wrong.

Blogger overcaffeinated July 05, 2015 7:12 PM  

bob k. mando: "i actually agree with ribbonfarm that the Gervais principle is a pretty accurate description of how modern middle and upper management work."

As someone fresh out of grad school, I'm curious how much of this Machiavellian scheming really goes on. Perhaps I am naive. And I am not talking about lawyers, politicians, and their hangers-on where obviously it's all Machiavellian scheming all the time.

In industrial/technological businesses, is it really all that common for these pathological management structures to exist? In, say, a software company, it seems like it would be strongly in the interests of upper management to take measures to ensure that employees do not spend most of their time on internecine power struggles, but instead on improving the product they are going to have to try to sell to people in order to generate revenue. That's pretty much what you say.

So maybe I have been lucky -- I have generally worked in old, established, mid-sized, regional non-publicly traded companies. The quarter-to-quarter short-term thinking of being publicly traded probably adds to this.

Blogger Josh July 05, 2015 7:31 PM  

i just find it absurd that sociopaths are considered beneficial in a business sense ( apart from, say, Marketing / Sales where their emotional manipulation skills work to goad sheep into buying things that they wouldn't otherwise ).

From the link:

The Sociopaths enter and exit organizations at will, at any stage, and do whatever it takes to come out on top. They contribute creativity in early stages of a organization’s life, neurotic leadership in the middle stages, and cold-bloodedness in the later stages, where they drive decisions like mergers, acquisitions and layoffs that others are too scared or too compassionate to drive. They are also the ones capable of equally impersonally exploiting a young idea for growth in the beginning, killing one good idea to concentrate resources on another at maturity, and milking an end-of-life idea through harvest-and-exit market strategies.

What the sociopaths can do that the clueless and losers cannot do is make decisions. And that is vital for any enterprise.

Blogger Groot July 05, 2015 7:42 PM  

Don't read to much into his choice of the word "sociopath." Actual sociopaths like what bob k. mando describes above, and they are very destructive. Rao is (unfortunately, IMO) using the word in another sense, just to distinguish from the Loser and Clueless. The Clueless do a lot of posturing, but don't really know how navigate in building long-term relationships and alliances. The Losers can be productive but are individual contributors, and only function as team members in teams that are run by others, the Good Sociopaths. These latter know how to build trust, when to give someone slack to prove themselves as reliable or not, etc. The Clueless posturers seem flighty, unreliable, incompetent poseurs to them. The Mask he talks of is simply thinking before you speak.

Blogger RobertT July 05, 2015 7:50 PM  

I have come to the conclusion that very intelligent people with the confidence that kind of intelligence fosters, are considered sociopaths by the murmuring crowd because of their reluctance to countenance foolishness in their dealings with people. They've heard it all before and don't have the patience to sit through another session.

I've been emailing back and forth with a startup ceo who is trying to get me to take his struggling startup and turn it into a legitimate business opportunity. I realized after I hit send, he will probably think he'll probably decide I'm a sociopath, but then again, somebody had to tell him.

Blogger RobertT July 05, 2015 7:51 PM  

whoops. failed rewrite.

Blogger bob k. mando July 05, 2015 10:48 PM  

27. overcaffeinated July 05, 2015 7:12 PM
it seems like it would be strongly in the interests of upper management to take measures to ensure that employees do not spend most of their time on internecine power struggles,



you've already misapplied the principle.

coders / programmers are, in the Gervais heuristic, 'Losers'. you ARE the actual producers. to be the most effective 'Loser' you can be, you should be trying to take a long as possible to produce as little code as you can get away with.

AND, you're also *not involved* in the management hierarchy games.

there may be one or two coders trying to play the 'game', but if so they're going to be fairly obviously concentrating on trying to break into management or sales as soon as possible.

social manipulation is almost diametrically opposed to the whole coder mindset.

coding is also a highly individually productive job ... so it's probably somewhat insulated from some of this stupidity.

it is not, however, immune. as perusing many of the stories submitted to The Trenches will demonstrate.
http://trenchescomic.com/tales/post/filenames-fallacy

sociopathic / clueless management is also where most of the Dilbert material comes from. and how long has Dilbert been a thing?

and remember, i didn't even really know what a sociopath or borderline was until ~2010. i was already picking up on the chickenshit they were pulling 20 years earlier.


27. overcaffeinated July 05, 2015 7:12 PM
In industrial/technological businesses, is it really all that common for these pathological management structures to exist?



the primary public face of Miles, Inc ( which was bought out by Bayer AG ) was Alka-Seltzer. but they were in all kinds of hospital test equipment, glucometers ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glucose_meter#History ), Flintstones vitamins, Agfa film, etc.

i saw all of this going on back in 91-94.

the Radio Shack stupidity was 91 and earlier. i see that they've actually driven themselves into bankruptcy.

i know several people who graduated from as MBAs from the IU business school in the late 90s ... yes, this is how several of them act. don't get me wrong, they're good at glad handing and back slapping.

but after they slap your back, make sure you don't have a knife sticking out.

Blogger bob k. mando July 05, 2015 10:50 PM  

27. overcaffeinated July 05, 2015 7:12 PM
The quarter-to-quarter short-term thinking of being publicly traded probably adds to this.


yes.

also the fact Boards of Directors now tend to be staffed by Affirmative Action ( what the fuck was Michelle Obama doing on a BoD? ) and backscratching ( cocaine using Hunter Biden is on multiple BoDs ) instead of, you know, people who actually understand the industry that the corp is competing in.



28. Josh July 05, 2015 7:31 PM
What the sociopaths can do that the clueless and losers cannot do is make decisions. And that is vital for any enterprise.


NO.

only an idiot thinks that non-sociopaths are "incapable" of making decisions.

hell, only an idiot thinks that a company is forever trapped in the industry in which it started and can never expand, diversify into or create new industries.

many of the oldest companies in the Dow or Fortune 500 no longer have anything to do with market sectors in which they originally began. 3M and GE have made diversification into their corp success strategy.

sociopaths seek to destroy the company BECAUSE IT'S THE EASIEST AND FASTEST WAY TO LINE THEIR OWN POCKETS. that's the only "efficiency" they are concerned with.

work? work is for suckers and losers and the clueless. and it takes WORK to figure out how to break into or create a new market.




30. RobertT July 05, 2015 7:50 PM
They've heard it all before and don't have the patience to sit through another session.



no, that's exactly backwards.

you're describing someone who is bored to tears AND not interested in playing the social dominance games.

ie - me.

all sociopaths DO is play social dominance games. sociopaths have no empathy and no concern for how their actions will harm other people, no matter how close to them those people are. but they are VERY superficially charming when you first meet them. it's not until later in the relationship that you realize that the only thing you get out of it is more bowls of shit to eat.

a sociopath would be a husband who got caught banging his side chick in bed by his wife ... and got "out" of it by just continually telling the wife that she had hallucinated the whole thing until she gave up and got tired of accusing him of sleeping around.

which i've seen happen.

Blogger Josh July 05, 2015 11:36 PM  

all sociopaths DO is play social dominance games. sociopaths have no empathy and no concern for how their actions will harm other people, no matter how close to them those people are. but they are VERY superficially charming when you first meet them. it's not until later in the relationship that you realize that the only thing you get out of it is more bowls of shit to eat.

From Vox's post:

Keeping in mind, of course, that Rao is not talking about literal sociopathy here,

Blogger Josh July 05, 2015 11:42 PM  

only an idiot thinks that non-sociopaths are "incapable" of making decisions.

they drive decisions like mergers, acquisitions and layoffs that others are too scared or too compassionate to drive.

I think you're too hung up on the sociopath label.

Blogger rycamor July 05, 2015 11:44 PM  

Yes, the term "sociopath" here just means someone who is comfortable manipulating others for whatever reason, good or bad. Someone who has achieved the self-mastery not to be an open book. Someone who can keep the explicit rules while understanding the unwritten rules by which modern society operates (I.E. above all maintain the fiction that we all are equal).

Blogger Josh July 05, 2015 11:48 PM  

Yes, the term "sociopath" here just means someone who is comfortable manipulating others for whatever reason, good or bad. Someone who has achieved the self-mastery not to be an open book. Someone who can keep the explicit rules while understanding the unwritten rules by which modern society operates (I.E. above all maintain the fiction that we all are equal).

To translate to a related model of human behavior, the sociopaths in this model are those who have game.

Blogger rycamor July 05, 2015 11:54 PM  

Yes, it's all about the fact that human behavior simply cannot operate via simple, logical transactions. To the aspie geek, it would be perfect if he could just walk up to a girl and go "you appear to meet my attractiveness threshold--do I meet or exceed yours? Well perfect! Why don't we make plans to have sex?"

To a clueless office worker, the scenario would be "I have followed all your orders without deviation, and produced all that is expected of me. So when can I begin moving up the ladder?"

Blogger Groot July 06, 2015 12:02 AM  

This is where Rao's too-clever terminology introduces unnecessary ambiguity. "Loser" is also unnecessarily antagonistic, as many individual contributors can be both productive and successful, within their terms, as bob k. points out above.

Blogger rycamor July 06, 2015 12:06 AM  

It's just a logical convention. But I think he chooses it for exactly the reason that it gets everyone's juices flowing a little.

Blogger rycamor July 06, 2015 12:07 AM  

I mean, it really insults each party equally. Corporate leaders may be narcissists but they don't like to think of themselves as sociopaths.

Blogger Josh July 06, 2015 12:11 AM  

I mean, it really insults each party equally. Corporate leaders may be narcissists but they don't like to think of themselves as sociopaths.

Do you think the way someone reacts to these terms indicates which one they are?

Blogger Groot July 06, 2015 12:36 AM  

@rycamor:

That's why I say "too-clever." It's good at getting the juices flowing, I agree, but any water-cooler discussion about it is going to be spent mired in the ambiguity, as we see here, and the meme will wither.

Anonymous Dave July 06, 2015 12:54 AM  

@Groot

The only way this might ever be a water cooler discussion is if you're in a psychiatric ward otherwise you need to find another water cooler.

Blogger Groot July 06, 2015 12:55 AM  

Which, come to think about it, is a pretty elementary error of "game" for someone writing about it, somewhat emitting an odor of Clueless.

Blogger Groot July 06, 2015 12:56 AM  

Ah, hi Dave, how's NoMetaphorLand nowadays?

Blogger Groot July 06, 2015 12:58 AM  

Say hi to Drax for me.

Blogger rycamor July 06, 2015 1:10 AM  

42. Josh July 06, 2015 12:11 AM

I mean, it really insults each party equally. Corporate leaders may be narcissists but they don't like to think of themselves as sociopaths.

Do you think the way someone reacts to these terms indicates which one they are?


Makes sense. The Losers will take a little schadenfreudian delight in the depiction of the other two groups, for sure. The Sociopaths will be a little stung because everyone except a true sociopath likes to think of themselves as Good People, but they obviously know the score for the other two. The Clueless ones are in for the worst wake-up call if they ever come across these ideas, but they tend to insulate themselves with self-indulgent memes and self-help books rather than undergo any real introspection.

Anonymous Dave July 06, 2015 1:19 AM  

Drax says hello, Groot. We were imagining yourself standing by a water cooler dixie cup in twig? in limb? trying to engage other flora in conversation concerning sociopaths. Drax couldn't help himself.

Blogger rycamor July 06, 2015 1:29 AM  

Groot, you're going through one of the stages of grief that occurs when part of the veil of daily life is ripped away. It happens to any of us who delve into how humans really, actually work. The best question to take away from what this guy portrays is: how can I be more than just a manifestation of the basest of motives, no matter what category I'm in?

The guy's depictions of organizational life are spot-on, but he's only explaining one facet of life. Let's put it this way: If you are a standard hourly or salaried employee (IE someone who produces an actual product, or who applies a skill) you can be a LOSER Loser, or you can be a person-of-exceptional-skill-who-stands-above-the-crowd loser. Whenever I was an employee, I tried to exemplify the latter. It didn't necessarily result in being paid more in the shot term, but I had my own respect, and the respect of both bosses and co-workers. And it did pay off in the long run.

I've worked every sort of Loser job from the lowest to the highest. I've done hourly manual labor, and I've done IT contracting for top military projects. I've taken the same attitude into each. And this is why the one led to the other.

And I'm not saying I was always happy to be in the Loser seat. Most of the time I prefer to play Outside Game or whatever you call it, where you are self-employed and living by your own resourcefulness and ability to network. I like Nassim Taleb's aphorism "The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." But even so, my ability to take joy and pride in my work led to being able to go freelance. If you can't be a self-starter as a regular employee, you won't be one on your own.

Blogger Groot July 06, 2015 3:30 AM  

@Dave:

You are funny, and fun company. In real life, I am Groot-like, and rarely get shit from anyone. Little people scurry but I am nice.

@rycamor:

No grief in my life. I consider my narcissism a character flaw, and have fought it my entire life, but a side effect is happiness and outlandish self-confidence. I know and react to the sociopaths in my family, though, and grieve for the damage they cause. Sort of, though, because they are truly beautiful and smart and cool, but they are not nice. I am nice. So I guard the Losers, for they are not losers, and I worry for the other little ones, for they are little.

Blogger VFM bot #188 July 06, 2015 7:56 AM  

One of the most successful companies in the tech revolution of the past half-century has a standing rule: If any employee is found withholding information or otherwise taking actions designed to benefit himself at the expense of the organization, he's instantly fired.

That is, anyone displaying Gervais sociopathic behavior (they are out solely to benefit themselves, as defined). I can't remember the company. Does anyone know?

Blogger VFM bot #188 July 06, 2015 8:04 AM  

I should have said "anyone exhibiting behavior designed to benefit himself at the expense of others in the organization who needed or could have benefited from such information." That would be more accurate.

Blogger Josh July 06, 2015 10:59 AM  

From part 6:

So the process of ripping away masks of social reality and getting behind them ultimately turns into a routine skill for the Sociopath: game design. Once you do it a few times, it becomes second nature, a sort of basic power literacy. An understanding of the processes by which the fictions of social reality are constructed, and growing skill at wrangling those processes.

Blogger rycamor July 06, 2015 11:36 AM  

Groot July 06, 2015 3:30 AM

@Dave:

You are funny, and fun company. In real life, I am Groot-like, and rarely get shit from anyone. Little people scurry but I am nice.

@rycamor:

No grief in my life. I consider my narcissism a character flaw, and have fought it my entire life, but a side effect is happiness and outlandish self-confidence. I know and react to the sociopaths in my family, though, and grieve for the damage they cause. Sort of, though, because they are truly beautiful and smart and cool, but they are not nice. I am nice. So I guard the Losers, for they are not losers, and I worry for the other little ones, for they are little.


You're still missing the point, rather entirely. This isn't about what is regularly called sociopathy, or people who are regularly called "losers", etc... This is a theoretical model designed to explain organizational dynamics... and only that. Ergo in this system a "loser" could be someone earning $250K/year. In terms of real life, someone earning a quarter mil is not a career loser. Likewise an honest and completely straight-dealing businessman (I have indeed met such a creature) who runs a small company, treats his employees like family, and makes under $100K/yr still falls under "sociopath" within this model. So it's not about excoriating or humiliating anyone. Just enlightenment. You have to admit the guy has put his finger on the core dynamic of modern career interactions.

Blogger Groot July 06, 2015 3:00 PM  

You're entirely right. You caught me on my last drink, just before staggering up to service the old lady. Now that I've actually read your post, I'll agree by saying you're echoing what I posted above in this thread.

And though I sympathize with the perspective of the "Loser," that perspective doesn't really resonate with me, I'll confess. Sort of an awkward point, but I agree with the SJWs on white privilege. Or, to rephrase, civilization is racist, just from the disparate impact perspective. I look, and talk, and think like management, so I've been management all of my life (except for, literally, two weeks on my first job). By nature an introvert (I like to read), but not finding interaction painful (just usually boring: MPAI), they just move me up. Even though I've always done start-ups, guess what, you need employees, and you're still management.

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