Sunday, March 22, 2020

Are You F'ing Kidding Agnes?!?!?! (School Starts at 1:53:20)

Sincerity is the key to success. Once you've learned to fake sincerity, then you're in the game. The fundamental rule of the game is to "sincerely" believe and behave as if power holders are superior. You are expected to pretend that power holders are better than you. The problem for a great many objectively smart people is that they can't fake sincerity or mask their own objective and demonstrable superiority. When the only way to survive in a hierarchical environment is to lie, fake, or cheat, then everyone is complicit in the fraud and its accompanying narratives. And so, everyone has skin in the game of protecting the fraud and its concomitant beliefs and behaviors. If the next generation wants to rise they have to become complicit in protecting the fraud that their predecessors have institutionalized. THIS is the rot now pervasive in American institutions that has resulted in the hollowing out of innovation and achievement.

Pleasing white light at 1:53:00 and cleansing blue fire at 1:55:48

thepointmag |  In the Importance Game, participants jockey for position. This usually works by way of casual references to wealth, talent, accomplishment or connections, but there are many variants. I can, for instance, play this game by pretending to eschew it: “Let’s get straight down to business” can telegraph my being much too important to waste time with such games; or your being so unimportant as to render the game otiose.

The other game is the Leveling Game, and it uses empathy to equalize the players. So I might performatively share feelings of stress, inadequacy or weakness; or express discontent with the Powers that Be; or home in on a source of communal outrage, frustration or oppression.

A player of the Importance Game tries to ascend high enough to reach for something that will set her above her interlocutor, a player of the Leveling Game reaches down low enough to hit common ground. The former needs to signal enough power to establish a hierarchy; the latter enough powerlessness to establish equality.

The advanced games really are advanced, in the sense of being harder to play than the Basic Game. This is due to the fact that one must, while playing them, also pretend not to be playing them. It is not okay to approach a new acquaintance with: “Let us set up a contest to figure out which of the two of us is smarter.” Nor would it be reasonable for me to say to my colleague: “How the administration oppresses us! Let us unite in self-pity.” Or to an undergraduate who enters my office: “Let me tell you how overwhelmed I am, that will put us on equal footing.” (“Stars: they’re just like us!”)

Players of the Basic Game are permitted to come pretty close to explicitly saying “Let us see what places/people/interests we have in common.” With the other two games this kind of explicitness itself violates one of the rules of the game. Call this “The Self-Effacing Rule.” Why does this rule apply to the advanced games, but not the Basic Game?