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Personality Research articles on personality

18Apr/113

Failed Reciprocity: The Psychology of Parasites, Hipsters, and the Irrational Electorate in Politics

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My new definition for objective truth is whatever actually best improves one's actual long term physical functionality without hurting (and in fact best improves) other people's long term physical functionality. A healthy relationship is one in which both individuals improve (or in the case of an individual and a group, or two groups), both parties, not just one. To the degree that a small percentage of our society has gotten so much wealthier during a period where most people have ended up worse off, our society is heading in a less functional direction, veering from the path which best reflects objective truth. The fact that our political leaders are extremely disproportionately representative of the ultra wealthy is a conflict of interest that very likely contributed to if not directly caused the toxic direction of the country.

If making money always reflected what actually has objective value, then it's a great thing that the ultra wealthy run things. But in a world where you can make a ton of money at a lot things of questionable value (as far as improving the functionality of the world): making/selling things that kill people (weapons industry), swinging a bat or shooting a ball (professional sports), pornography, moving money around (finance), building super yachts, high end real estate, etc., the value of money is inherently questionable to some degree. If you don't believe me, look at the children of the wealthy and ultra wealthy and you will find a disproportionate amount of hipsters who on the surface decry the value of money chasing. In reality, most of them are still dependent on their parents to some degree financially. Their shunning of money is a fashion statement, it's not real since they often can't even support themselves (despite elite private educations). Their parents distinguished themselves with money. They are going to distinguish them-self as ARTISTS! They discard achievement narcissism (working hard to make a buck) and take up attention narcissism (working hard to get attention). The battle cry of the ultra wealthy is "look at me, I'm rich". The battle cry of their hipster children is "look at me, I'm special/unique". Both groups are entirely composed of sad shallow creatures who just want you to validate/fill their sense of emptiness. Drink their free wine at art openings and even appreciate their art work (if you like it), but make fun of the meaningless of their seriousness whenever you can and maybe they'll eventually do something actually meaningful with their lives (besides court attention). Example: "Nice painting (insert esoteric/wasp name), how does it improve the world that you painted it while living off your capitalist dad?" or "You seem smart and attractive, why are you so useless?"

Money reflects what people have determined to have value but that doesn't mean people are right in what actually has value. People are faulty thinkers, so market valuations reflect that. If you have a lot of money, all that means is you are good at figuring out and reacting/catering to what other people think has value. (So it's not surprising that I found a high correlation between an interest in money and an awareness of what's popular. Or in the case of artists/hipsters that they don't care about money, but they are obsessed with fame/attention and their own particular sense of what has value.) It's also not surprising that money chasers and hipsters are so superficial and internally empty individuals. Try to have an interesting long conversation with a banker or an artistic person. It can't be done very reliably. When you focus on what's attractive/interesting to others (or only to yourself divorced from what actually improves the functionality of the world), you are less able to develop a well honed internal sense of meaningful value. Yes, certain couture dresses are visually appealing, but the cost and culture that sustains them are inherently toxic (objectively useless bankers, their useless wives, and their useless hipster children who often go into fashion design).

If quality of life goes down on the macro level, than the direction of society is objectively faulty. To the degree sustainability is dependent on everyone, it's not enough to look at the quality of life of America or Western Europe. If overall quality of life is improving globally, then a decline in quality of life in America and/or Western Europe is not necessarily a bad thing (Obama doesn't get that with his state of the union which focused more on American greatness). A democratic electorate doesn't elect the objectively best person, it elects from the a select few anointed by the ultra wealthy (who will likely consciously or unconsciously serve their interests) who best mirror the electorate's collective delusions. If America is great at the cost of the sustainability of the world, everyone loses,  even America. By current technology standards, the whole world can never live like the average American does. The only question that matters: is the world physically healthier than it was last year, ten years ago, one hundred years ago.  If the answer is no (and based on most of the evidence, it most likely is no), that is a problem far greater than waning American economic dominance or the fact that some auto employee in Detroit will lose his job and be unable to pay his cable bill.

Every life strategy (no matter how sinister/toxic/parasitic) can make sense and be beneficial on an individual level. If a con artist is successful and physically healthy hurting others, they are pursuing a beneficial strategy on an individual selfish level. When you introduce the concept of your effect on other people (JS Mill Utilitarianism), the macro, strategies need to be assessed in a different fashion to determine what's objectively best. If the American political system (constitution, political architecture, etc.) is biased towards individual gain (micro good) over public gain (macro good), and there is not enough flexibility in the present model to allow for change, it is ultimately doomed to parasitic collapse caused by ultra wealthy parasites unless/until that bias is fixed. Ultra wealthy parasites are what caused the great depression and they are what caused the recent economic downturn. These parasites are still in power because of the collective stupidity of the American population and the ease at which many intelligent people with sell out rather than do what's best for the macro or drop out into some meaningless hipster/artist community to endlessly  chase an external self serving solution to their individual self esteem issues. "I buy locally made potato chips and drive a fuel efficient car, and I just thrift-ed an awesome cardigan... why am I still so unhappy?" Because, you are a self centered person who is not capable of making yourself happier and/or the world, and you would rather keep chasing selfish attention seeking behaviors than admit that and try a different more rational/functional path. Bankers cling to money like hipsters cling to attention seeking behavior/art/style/etc..

Treating corporations like individuals in one sense (speech, political contributions) but not as individuals in another (liability) is a dangerous situation. Corporations need to carry liability insurance (or have cash reserves) to match the damage they can inflict on society. Any corporation that is too big to realistically do that, i.e. too big to fail should be broken up by law. The existence of too big to fail corporations inherently threatens the macro good. If a corporation or individual cannot self sustain then it is a parasite. But again, it is faulty to look at America or even all first world countries as the Macro, the whole world reflects the macro. So if the collective effect of the political systems and economies of the whole world are, on average, geared towards raping the earth in an unsustainable fashion (a toxic parasite strategy), then the whole world is doomed. Your kid and your kids kid are doomed. If you are religious maybe that's not bad because doomsday is associated with going to Heaven. But for people that live in the real world (the only one that's currently been proven to exist), well than the state of the whole world at least in your lifetime or the lifetimes of anyone you care about are materially important.

I think anyone who is reasonably intelligent and isn't a religious zealot, sports fan, porn addict, hipster, banker, or weapons dealer would agree to much of the aforementioned. So here's where this essay becomes more unpopular. Determining objective truth requires reason/rationality and women are less equipped to do that than men, historically and currently. As the experimental personality items listed below indicate, women don't value rationality nearly as much as men. Some research suggests women perform better verbally. Wikipedia is a user generated encyclopedia that anyone can edit and contribute to, a potential level playing field. However, only 13% of contributors are women (source). If this is cultural, then it needs to be addressed and fixed. If it's biological, then maybe we need to investigate that.

In any case, if women are more likely to support less objectively true / less objectively functional policies (due to a weakness in their ability to reason) then letting them vote results in a society which pursues policies that veer farther away from objective truth, i.e. are more irrational. That's why breast cancer gets more funding than other cancers which kill as many or more people (source). From a different strengths argument, women, on average, may certainly be of equal value to men (maybe even greater value overall). Their strengths just involve different capacities. That doesn't mean certain women can't be scientists or doctors, it's just a waste of resources to train 50% female doctors if anything less than 50% won't end up pursuing life long careers as doctors or they won't perform in certain fields at the same level of competence (maybe a gender percentage that makes the most sense is better than an arbitrary standard of everyone is equal). A rational society values everyone, but values everyone accurately to their actual ability. Certain fields will best function with a gender demographic that swings more male, and others will best function with a demographic that swings more female. It doesn't have to be an either/or, black and white, metric. The ability to vote should maybe require some sort of empirically proven fair standardized reasoning test, that anyone (male or female) can pass who is capable of reasoning at an acceptable level. Telling everyone they are equal and fabulous seems great but when it results in a more incompetent, less functional world, not so great for everyone. It's better to make people feel bad sometimes/momentarily if the result is a sustainable higher quality of life. Now, if it can be proven empirically that letting everyone vote introduces some sort of effect where the collective irrationality cancels itself out (because irrational people are inherently irrational in a perfectly random fashion and number of ways), then I have no problem with irrational people voting. I'm skeptical of that finding.

How does the female deficit in rational thinking effect relationship models. First, I think the ideal relationship model is two independent individuals who mutually come together, the two heads is better than one model. The fact that women may be less rational does not prevent them from being a healthy independent person who can contribute a unique voice to a healthy partnership. There are mentally low functioning adults, men and women, that live independently, so there is no reason to expect that any average female could not do that (provided you lived in a society that ensures workers get paid living wages). In fact more men are low functioning cognitively than women, they're just are also more high functioning men than women (source). Female intelligence has a smaller less variable standard deviation than men (source). In any case, tragedies happen and parents die, and/or become less functional. Relationships composed of two independent parents weather that disaster inherently better, weather all hurdles better. These are partnerships as opposed to dictatorships or dysfunctional dependent unions.

Realistically, though, most people are not independent. We all start off as parasites in our mother's womb, and most of us continue to have a more dependent/parasitic disposition through out our lives. There are two types of parasitic dispositions. A sustainable parasitic disposition and a toxic one. A sustainable parasite is dependent on it's connection to others, people and/or things (romantic partners, friends, parents, work, medication, recreational drugs, alcohol, popularity, money, etc.) but it does not harm other people or things that it is dependent on. If people you have been close to have bad things to say about you, especially former close friends, you and/or they are probably not sustainable parasites (or were not, at a certain point). Not all relationships and friendships work out realistically. But, if you are a sustainable parasite, one should expect, that you never left people worse of then you found them (and ideally you made them better).

A toxic parasite inherently inflicts damage to the things it is dependent on. No one wants to be a toxic parasite most likely, but lots of people are (consciously or unconsciously), dumb and smart, rich and poor. The more capable and talented the toxic parasite is, the more damage they can potentially cause. Hitler and Stalin were probably very talented individuals, but they were also inherently toxic parasites. Toxic parasites are easy to detect if you know what to look for.

Toxic Parasite Traits

1) Self Conscious (concerned with what other people think, whether they are liked, at least by people they value)
2) Paranoid (if you are toxic and out for yourself, you naturally assume everyone else is too)
3) Self Esteem issues (seeks affirmation, indications that others are loyal to them)
4) Controlling (if you are dependent on something, you need to control/possess it)
5) Compulsive (it's a dependency, they have to have what they need, no matter the consequences)
6) Dishonesty (effortlessly)
7) Always Bending the Truth / Half Truths (when total dishonesty fails them, half truths can work)
8 ) Intermittently Nice (random rewards are the most efficient way to control others without having to be nice too often, being nice too often puts you in a position of weakness, wasting your resources)
9) Selfish / Self Centered (external things exist, are only real, if they service the toxic parasite's appetite/emptiness)
10) Materialistic and/or Prestige seeking (money, resources, power, status will save them from their feelings of worthlessness)
11) Depressive History (parasites can't sustain them-self, when they are minus a viable dependency/host/addiction, they will experience diminished functioning)
12) Attractive in some way (you can't get away with being toxic without some advantage/lure)
13) Fears Abandonment (prefers situations with little to no abandonment risk)
14) Scorched Earth History (a past history of betraying people in friendships and relationships)
15) Cold/Dismissive Demeanor (this person is running low on life energy and empathy, what do you expect, friendliness)
16) Addiction history (always in a relationship and/or history of substance abuse issues - alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, etc.)

If you are a toxic parasitic female, the most attractive relationship option is a more dependent male who will defer to you, be devoted to you, and let you control things more often. This solves the fear of abandonment. These relationships can potentially survive, but they are inherently toxic by nature and therefore are not generally very satisfying/happy for either party because they contradict the laws of nature, the law of averages, the law of different gender strengths. Women are on average less functional, more dependent, and more prone to depression than men (source). Selecting a more dependent male than you is an inherently inferior, more dysfunctional choice motivated by a toxic need for control. It forces the less functional female, on average, to have to carry the relationship more and resent / be abusive to her partner consciously or unconsciously. To the degree we are talking about relationships between dependent people, that's an additional unnecessary strike against things working.

To the degree that women are less rational than men, a dependent relationship which is headed by a female, is at best like a quirky eccentric third world dictatorship. More likely, it's a lot darker/crazier, Hitler's Germany or Stalin's Russia at the extreme. If you are of the dependent personality disposition and you are male, find the most capable/functional dependent female that will have you (that's equal or less functional than you), who will defer to you more often (let you be in control). If you are a dependent female, find the most capable dependent male (more functional than you) who you are willing to defer to more often (let them control you).

If you are male and your partner is more functional than you (which in a dependent relationship translates to them having the upper hand), you are not going to be able to make your dependent partner more functional/happy which is the whole point of a non-toxic dependency. They will be inherently abusive to you to some degree until you come to your senses and end things with them (which will only reinforce their toxic need for control with future partners).  All you are going to do is drag them down while they resent/abuse you or sacrifice your own happiness and health to please them. Find a family with male heart disease, and you will inevitably find a matriarchy (female dominant household). Remain alone until you are functional enough to handle an equal or less functional partner. Overreaching (taking on more than you can handle) is never going to work out well for you and/or them.

A dependent male who needs/prefers a more functional partner is basically trying to obtain a mother/partner hybrid. Alcoholic actor David Arquette seems to fit this model. ""[Courteney] said she doesn't want to be my mother. I kind of need a mother right now. I need a girl to come bring me some soup and make sure I'm all right. I like that, and I take care of my ladies, too." The same thing can be said for women who seek a more functional partner than them (i.e. that they are trying to obtain a father/partner hybrid). The difference though is that men are more functional than women on average, so it's not unreasonable for dependent women to expect that, to some degree, in a dependent non toxic parasitic relationship.  In any case, as a male you should try to find as close to an equal as possible.

Dependent situations don't have the luxury of having two heads. Which ever dependent person is more functional must lead, carry things, make decisions, be in control more often. If the less functional person is in control, things just get worse for one or both parties. If that more functional party is a woman, things are inherently unideal and unhappy. Among dependent types, all female dominated relationships involve women that suffer, to some degree, from Borderline Personality Disorder (or what I call attention narcissism / compensatory narcissism) and males that suffer from Dependent Personality Disorder (or what I call masochism/servility). Borderlines fear abandonment most, and Dependents fear being in control most. This is a common toxic dependent relationship pairing/pattern, but it's not the kind of relationship that anyone who has any hope for a happier life should be in.

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The following personality items are based on a sample size of 1500, items were answered on a Very Inaccurate 1-2-3-4-5 Very Accurate likert scale.

item men women difference
My feelings are easily hurt by ridicule or the slighting remarks of others. 2.89 3.47 -0.58
Doing things based on convention or instinct without regard to what makes rational sense, is foolish. 3.33 2.76 0.57
I find submissive types very attractive romantically. 2.8 2.29 0.51
I find dependent types very attractive romantically. 2.8 2.29 0.51
Marriage benefits women more than men. 2.81 2.34 0.47
I don't always know why I like or dislike some things but not knowing doesn't change my like or dislike. 3.37 3.81 -0.44
If I can't come up with rational reasons to do something, I don't do it. 3.07 2.64 0.43
I am pioneering. 3.21 2.79 0.42
I don't like being criticized. 3.38 3.78 -0.4
Being challenged by my friends is more important to me than being supported/affirmed by them. 2.61 2.21 0.4
I expect the other person to put more effort in at the beginning of a romantic relationship. 2.68 3.07 -0.39
Feelings are truths. 3.07 3.45 -0.38
I would not want to have a long term relationship with someone whose happiness was mostly dependent on me. 3.06 3.43 -0.37
I have a history of depression. 2.76 3.11 -0.35
I expect a potential romantic partner to extend themselves and prove to me that they are right for me. 3.32 3.65 -0.33
If I don't like something, I can explain why or am interested in knowing why I feel that way. 3.85 3.52 0.33
I would not want to be in a relationship with someone who always deferred to my judgment. 3.4 3.7 -0.3
I can't handle criticism. 2.63 2.93 -0.3
Whether I like it or not, I care about what other people think of me. 3.6 3.89 -0.29

Here's an interesting interview of comedian Russell Brand, an intelligent artistic narcissist with a history of drug addiction who is somewhat aware of his issues but is still clearly wrestling with them.

Comments (3) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Is this a serious article?
    I say that because it is excellently written, but the content reminds me of a Chris Morris radio program.
    Bring out the spine baps.

  2. Also, one might consider this Parasite-like-behaviour is actually a consequence of an urban lifestyle. City-people just dont have the opportunity and time to really find themselves plus all the advertising that is fogging our perception of what is normal and good. In a village you spend a lot of time with close people without pressure thus have the opportunity to build your own identity (though not in a western society anymore). But thats just something I spontaniously thought of.

  3. I find your assertion that women are less rational than men somewhat perplexing. Your own source, two pages down from the link you cite, states unequivocally that there is no significant difference in general intelligence between men and women. Are you defining “rational” as something different than “general intelligence”?

    I was interested in that Wikipedia statistic too. Might it suggest that women are less narcissistic, less inclined to post their unsolicited opinions to the world, less interested in spending hours writing meticulous descriptions of every episode of “Gilligan’s Island” (cross-referenced by theme and props inventory)?

    Just a thought. (Your site is endlessly thought-provoking.)


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