There’s a philosophical divide on the quality of “responsiveness” that I described in the previous post, evaluating whether it’s a virtue to be cultivated or a vice to be mercilessly crushed in favor of the ability to deep focus. It’s godly to sperg out on topics of great earthly importance and practical value which also refine the spirit, so I’ll start us off.
Most of the existing self-help literature is written for middle class people who are trying to achieve success, which Paul Fussell informs us means getting into the upper middle class (FYI that’s what would make your mom happy). So that’s been the traditional audience for self-help books. Unfortunately, that means some of the advice isn’t going to apply to the new underclass: overly intellectual white NEETs with no skills, experience, or social networks trying to break into the lower middle class. We can still keep about 80% of it (e.g. work hard, network—most good advice is good for everybody) but the aspirations, goals, and practical systems need to be adjusted for our situation. We shouldn’t be talking about how to become a highly paid consultant before we establish how to become a junior developer and survive the first five years of corporate life.
It’s foolish to suggest people should try to jump from Losers to Sociopaths when they haven’t even shown they’re cut out to be Clueless. Frankly, the middle class has it pretty good. Hell, they’re FAT! On their wives’ cooking, no less. (Admittedly fat and entitled wives, but White Children are White Children, and we have Le Chateau whereas most Clueless don’t.) If everyone here gets fat on corporate stress and largesse, we’ll have exceeded my wildest expectations. More likely, half of us will achieve a lower middle class lifestyle and the other half will die on the street of malnutrition, social anxiety, and crippling mental illnesses. Sad! But also true, and it’ll be worse if we don’t get serious about getting our shit together. We must become more normal than the normies, indeed, more normal than the platonic neurotypical himself.
We’ve all black-pilled before, so let’s turn that acquired realism into something good and constructive, like God intended. Deep focus is a virtue of content creators, reality-oriented Losers, and big men talking big money. The Clueless are none of these things. At the best of times, we are competent process operators. Let that sink in for a moment. We don’t make things in the West. We import goods made by Asian slave labor and sell spreadsheet entries to each other using software patched together by Indian hacks desperately pasting code fragments together from Yahoo Answers. Fuck your anarcho-capitalist ideals, we have to navigate the real-world economy in all its horrifying absurdity. That means cultivating the traits of the perfect bureaucrat.
See, things have changed since I went to college in the ’80s. Everything has gotten much more intense. You have to do much more now to get into a top school like Yale or West Point, and you have to start a lot earlier…
…So what I saw around me were great kids who had been trained to be world-class hoop jumpers. Any goal you set them, they could achieve. Any test you gave them, they could pass with flying colors. They were, as one of them put it herself, “excellent sheep.”
…That is exactly what places like Yale mean when they talk about training leaders. Educating people who make a big name for themselves in the world, people with impressive titles, people the university can brag about. People who make it to the top. People who can climb the greasy pole of whatever hierarchy they decide to attach themselves to.
This is what “success” looks like. Is this the way it should be? Of course not. It’s downright Luciferian, tbh fam. But I’ll tell you right now that following the orthodox advice to follow your passion and turn your hobbies into businesses are going to put you in an early grave, and ain’t nobody gonna give a shit. People who become doctors are “successful”, and between the distractions and 30-hour shifts they can barely read their checklists, much less solve problems or create value.
Note the adjectives: commonplace, ordinary, usual, common. There is nothing distinguished about this person. About the 10th time I read that passage, I realized it was a perfect description of the kind of person who tends to prosper in the bureaucratic environment. And the only reason I did is because it suddenly struck me that it was a perfect description of the head of the bureaucracy that I was part of, the chairman of my academic department—who had that exact same smile, like a shark, and that exact same ability to make you uneasy, like you were doing something wrong, only she wasn’t ever going to tell you what. Like the manager—and I’m sorry to say this, but like so many people you will meet as you negotiate the bureaucracy of the Army or for that matter of whatever institution you end up giving your talents to after the Army, whether it’s Microsoft or the World Bank or whatever—the head of my department had no genius for organizing or initiative or even order, no particular learning or intelligence, no distinguishing characteristics at all. Just the ability to keep the routine going, and beyond that, as Marlow says, her position had come to her—why?
That’s really the great mystery about bureaucracies. Why is it so often that the best people are stuck in the middle and the people who are running things—the leaders—are the mediocrities? Because excellence isn’t usually what gets you up the greasy pole. What gets you up is a talent for maneuvering. Kissing up to the people above you, kicking down to the people below you. Pleasing your teachers, pleasing your superiors, picking a powerful mentor and riding his coattails until it’s time to stab him in the back. Jumping through hoops. Getting along by going along. Being whatever other people want you to be, so that it finally comes to seem that, like the manager of the Central Station, you have nothing inside you at all. Not taking stupid risks like trying to change how things are done or question why they’re done. Just keeping the routine going.
This is what success looks like. It’s not about creating value, it’s about showing up and doing enough to meet expectations. I’m not saying you have to embrace the nihilistic void and become a monster to make money, fuck your waifu, and hatch a brood of neanderniglets. But I am saying that to achieve your vision, you have to sacrifice your ideals. Understanding the nobility of realism is one of those tricky paradoxes, like charity.
What it comes down to, in practical terms, is that you need a few years of experience, a professional network built from contacts around all those jobs, and a fancy certificate before anybody is gonna hire you for a contract job. But if you show up, operate your process faithfully, and take the lumps then you can go your own way and make some real $$$MONEY$$$ fixing the shit your old company broke.