Category Archives: Communication

Omega’s Guide – Body Language

Last week in the Omega’s Guide, we worked on personal presentation through grooming and dress. Today, we will be lookin at personal presentation through something more fundamental, yet more difficult, body language.

You’ve probably heard the little nugget that some improbably high percentage of your the meaning of your communications comes from body language and tone, while the actual words mean little. What the percentage is and whether it’s true doesn’t matter, what does matter is that body language is important.

Body language says a lot about what you and others are thinking. As an omega or lesser beta you’re probably somewhat oblivious to body language, but you need to learn. Others are reading a lot into who you are and what you’re thinking through your body language. Also, by missing social cues from others body language your making your social interactions a lot more difficult.

I can’t tell you everything there is to know about body language, so you need to pick up a book on it. I personally own the Definitive Book on Body Language; it outlines it much of basic body language in a simple manner and has good illustrations. Pick it up and read through it, then apply what your read. Watch other people and identify what their bodies are expressing based on the book. The more you do it, the easier it gets; eventually it will come naturally (most of the time).

While I can’t tell you how to read body language, I will tell you a few basic things to watch out for though in your own body language. Most of this I had (have) to consciously work on to change.

The end goal of body language is ideally is to look confident (in a socially appropriate way), relaxed, and lively in most social situations, and to be able to display appropriate body language in other situations.

The nice thing about this though, is as you learn social skills, learn a martial art, get in shape, compete, become good at things, and otherwise improve yourself, these behaviours and body language will become more natural to you. As you become more confident by being a better man, you will look more confident. As a nice bonus it flwos the other way as well, by practicing proper, confident body language you will naturally begin to feel more confident.

– As a general rule, taking up space and spreading yourself out looks confident and relaxed. Squeezing yourself together, slouching, or taking defensive postures make you look weak and/or tense. Go for the former.

– Get your hands out of your pockets. Never have both hands in your pockets (exception: if it is very cold outside and you don’t have gloves you can put your hands in your jacket pocket). It conveys disinterest, fear, and a lack of confidence. One hand casually resting in a pocket while the other is active and moving can look confident, but if you have a habit of keeping your hands in your pockets keep them both out at all times. Once you’ve broken this habit, you can try out keeping one hand in a pocket to find a resting or movement position your like.

– Move your hands. When talking use your hands to emphasize what you are talking about; don’t make it big and flashy, subtle guestures are fine. Just make your hands/arms look alive. Hands hanging limp at your side are almost as bad as hands in your pockets. Hands folded together in front or behind you are better than poskets or hanging limp, but not as good as hands moving; if you simply can’t think of anything better to do with your hands (or moving your hands would be inappropriate), fold them together in front of you and hold them there.

– Don’t fold your arms. This is not an absolute, but folding your arms makes you look defensive, skeptical, and uninviting. It is off-putting to other people. Occasionally you may want to look this way, but it should not be a default resting position.

– Eye contact is important. When talking to someone look them in the eye; if you are unable to look someone in the eye, you look a coward and a liar (whether you actually are or not is irrelevant, because you will look like it). But do not stare or give a death glare; you want to be looking at their eyes about 70% of the time. So, look into their eyes andoccasionally, look away for very short periods of time. If, for some reason, you want to appear confident, but don’t to look directly into their eyes, stare at the point just between the eyes and just above the nose (the so-called third eye). Be careful, this can unnerve someone and appear aggressive, intimidating, or judgmental.

– Related to this: avoid quick eye movements. You know those characters in cartoons who look evil/suspicious because they quickly move their eyes back and forth? Yeah, that’s what you look like when your eyes dart everywhere. If you do too many quick eye movements you’ll come across as untrustworthy. Kepp your gaze steady and when you move it, do so purposefully and in a controlled matter.

– Keep your head up. Do not look at the ground, you’ll like weak and unconfident. Keep your head up and your eyes forward. Tilt your chin ever-so-slightly into the air for a look of extra confidence; avoid tilting it too high or it will look more arrogant than confident.

– Maintain good posture. When you hunch over you look broken and defeated (not to mention it’s bad for your back). Keep your back straight, chest out, shoulders back. Watch a military movie where all the soliders are standing at parade rest; that’s how your chest, back and shoulders should look. Stand like this, sit like this, walk like this. Always maintain this posture.

– Stand still and stand strong. When standing, don’t pace, don’t shuffle from side to side, don’t swing your hips back and forth, don’t tap your feet, don’t stand with your feet together; every one of these makes you look nervous and weak. Simply spread your legs so your feet are shoulder width apart, bend your knees slightly, and stand firm. This is the power stance; this combined with good posture, will make you look like a confident man. this is how you should stand whenever your aren’t moving to a different spot. If your martial arts instructor has taught you a resting stance, use that as your basic standing position.(For an advanced stance, you can try contrapposto; google it).

– Hips forward. When standing keep your hips slightly forward. It’s almost like your thrusting your member ever so slightly forward and keeping ti there (do not overdo this; it should be subtle). If you have good posture and a strong stance, you’ll should be doing this anyway, but make sure.

– Lead with your dick. When walking you should be leading with your hips; it should look and feel like you’re being pulled forward by your member. (Again, don’t over do this; it’s subtle). Walk purposefully and walk straight, look like you are a man on a mission. But don’t rush, you are on a mission, but you are not worried or tense about it.

– Spread your legs. When sitting (and when standing) spread your legs some. Don’t be an ass about it and take up an entire couch, but do it enough so you look confident and relaxed. If you keep your knees to close together you look weak, tense, and fearful. Spread ’em and look

– Lean back. When sitting lean back a bit, it looks confident and relaxed. How much will depend on the situation. The more you lean back, the more relaxed you look, so don’t lean back too far for your current social situation or you’ll come off looking either arrogant or unreliably clownish. Sitting straight looks professional and/or serious, so it is good in situations where you want to look that way. Never sit slouched, you’ll look weak and unconfident.

– When sitting use your hands to express your points when talking. When you are not using your hands then rest them in your lap folded together (for a more serious, professional look) or rest your arms on the armrest (for a neutral look). If you are sitting on a couch, pew, or or other multi-person seat spread your arms and rest them on the back of the seat for a very relaxed and confident look. Avoid being an ass about this; give other people room to sit without having to sit in your arms. If you want to look really relaxed fold your hands behind your head while leaning back; as a warning, in the wrong situation this can come off as arrogant or insulting.

– A confident smile or half-smirk should be your default expression for most social situations. Your expression should be inviting to others and look like you are enjoying yourself and are fun to be around, but you are not a gregarious clown whose purpose is amusing others. You are strong and confident, but inviting.

That’s a basic primer on body language and how to look relaxed and confident. Try to implement these.

Your Goal:

Your goal for the week is to remind yourself to have confident body posture. Keep body posture in mind and every time you think about it, arrange yourself to to display the most confident and relzed (but appropriate) body language you can.

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Omega’s Guide – Social Skills

The first thing an omega needs to do is learn basic social skills, such as how to hold a decent conversation and speak in front of others.

Before I begin, I should mention, this is not going to be easy. (None of this guide will be) It took me years of hard work and overcoming fear to get to where I’m at, and even so, I’m still nowhere near charismatic alpha. It will be hard work, but it is definitely worth it. The nice thing though, is that even small improvements will have large effects at the beginning. There will be lots of little times along the way when you will say to yourself “I did that? 6 months ago I would have thought that impossible.” Also, it might go faster than you because I’m giving you a guide rather than having you figure it out on your own.

I’m not going to tell you what social skills to learn as part of this guide, because I’d be a horrible teacher. If you want to know what you need to learn for social interaction you can go online and find all kinds of advice on how to do this. How to Succeed Socially, for example, is an excellent resource for building social skills. I’d encourage reading through it.

The problem is, reading alone is not going to help you and searching the internet looking for continually more reading is simply going to distract you. You need to interact with people while you learn, but I know when I say that it sounds stupid; if you could interact with people you wouldn’t be reading this. What you need is a plan and something to push you to interact. But I can’t meet you in person and other people have already made concrete plans that are better than anything I could make.

So, I am going to tell you how to get started to learn social interaction skills.

You are going to join Toastmasters and buy How to Win Friends and Influence People. You are also going to join the Dale Carnegie course, if you can afford it.

I took the Dale Carnegie course (paid for by my grandfather) and it was, with no exaggeration or hyperbole, life-changing. I probably got more out of that one evening a week for three months course than the 6 years of courses I spent in university. If you are socially awkward, I can not recommend it enough. Every week you learn new social techniques and practice them in the class. You are then instructed to test them in real life; the course motivates you to test them because the speaker’s are very motivational and you don’t want to be the only one to not have a story of implementing what you learned the next week. It is an amazing course.

The problem is that it costs a lot. When I took it was about $1300; it now looks to be about $1700-2000. That’s quite a bit of money. If your work has some kind of training fund, see if you can get them to pay for you. If you can afford it on your own pay for it yourself. If there is any way you can come up with the funds join this course.

If you can’t, don’t worry too much, there’s a poor man’s version, but it will require more motivation from you. Most of the actual content in the course can be found in How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, which can be bought for under $10. The problem is that you don’t have the safe practice space and the external motivation the course provides, so its a lot harder because you have to make your own motivation.

It will be less structured, you won’t have the professionals motivating you, and you may miss the nuances training provides, but you can still get the just of it by reading and implementing the book.

So, if you can’t afford the course, buy the book and implement it. However, do not read the entire book in one sitting, you won’t get too much out of it. Each week read a section, then spend a week implementing whatever you learned throughout your normal activities, the next week read the next section and implement, and so on.

Also, join Toastmasters. Toastmasters is fairly inexpensive (<$100/year) and a great way to learn speaking skills, improvisation, and overcome your fear of others. It will provide an organized and non-judgmental environment in which to learn speaking skills.

You can find a club to join here. There should be one near you.  Contact them and, if they are meeting this week, go to the meeting. Not all clubs meet in the summer, so it might be a few weeks before your local club meets next, but make sure to contact them this week, then attend the next meeting. Don’t put it off.

Weekly Goal:

This week you will either sign up for the Dale Carnegie course or buy How to Make Friends and Influence People. You will also contact and sign up for Toastmasters and attend the first meeting if your local club meets this week.

Have this done by next week, so you can move onto the next part of the guide which will go up next Sunday.


Defense of Perennial Philosophy

I found this excerpt from the Trivium interesting (p. 224):

The logic of perennial philosophy presented in this book is scorned in many universities today as outmoded, inadequate, and unfit for a scientific age. Logical positivism admits as knowable only sense experience of matter and the relations of coexistence and succession in natural phenomena; it denies spirit, intellect, and the capacity to know essence. Modern semantic regards as arbitrary and shifting not only words but ideas; it denies that words are signs of ideas that truly represent things. The new symbolic or mathematical logic, which aims to free logic from the restrictions of words and thing, becomes a mere manipulation of symbols capable of being tested for their internal consistency but having no correspondence to ideas or things (and therefore no stability or truth).

Perennial philosophy holds that symbols such as those of the syllogism, opposition, obversion, conversion represent a higher degree of abstraction and more clear relationships than words do, and therefore a more advanced knowledge; they are sound precisely because they represent words that do correspond to the ideas and things. These symbols point the way to a more complete symbolic logic which preserves the basic truths of perennial philosophy, in particular its healthy respect for intellectual knowledge derived from sense knowledge by abstraction.

(By perennial philosophy she’s referring to Thomas’ Aristotalean method of thinking rather than to the universalist form of perennial philosophy).

We can see this today in academe and throughout society; words have become unmoored from their purpose of referring to a concrete idea or object, rather they are meaningless utterances of vague emotions that do not approach the level of rational thought.

The word democracy is an excellent example of this. The word democracy, originally referring to rule of the people, has simply become cant; calling something undemocratic holds no more meaning than ungood.

We can see the bizarre meaningless from this, the first link on a google search of ‘it’s undemocratic’. According to the article, yhe person who ruled due to being elected by the majority of Egyptians is somehow ruling undemocratically. Read this quote from “State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki”:

What I mean is what we’ve been referencing about the 22 million people who have been out there voicing their views and making clear that democracy is not just about simply winning the vote at the ballot box.

It’s pure, unadulterated nonsense, but nobody bats an eye. The label undemocratic is thrown at everything that is deemed ungood, while the label democratic is thrown at everything considered good. Take this quote from Barack Obama:

President Barack Obama on Thursday praised the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage as a “victory for American democracy”…

Think on that for a second: the overturning of the laws created due to a referendum of the people in California by an unelected body is a ‘triumph of democracy’. There is no rational way the word democracy can possibly be used to refer to an unelected body overturning the majority will of the people expressed through a referendum, yet, nobody but John Lott even notices.

The word democracy does not refer to anything; it is has no more, and possibly less, meaning or rational thinking behind it than an illiterate barbarian’s simple grunt of approval.

Of course ‘democracy’ is not alone in this. We all remember Moldbug’s classic example of goodthink:

Improper political influence over government decision-making.

But I’m digressing. We have scorned the reason of perennial philosophy for the irrational thinking of arbitrary definitions. Words are used as weapons or as meaningless emotional outbursts, with no rational thinking behind them.

Not only are definitions arbitrary, and hence meaningless, composition is not unaffected. We can see this in this review of the Trivium. It basically argues for the Trivium, but not because the rules of logic and grammar are good for someone writing in English to know. Rather the restrictions of actually adhering to the rules of reason and the English language are quaint enough and outdated enough that it provides a foreign perspective in composition classrooms. In the authors own words:

For instance, a teacher can use The Trivium alongside [other]… textbooks that use contemporary examples and celebrate more rhetorical and logical flexibilities. This deliberate undercutting pushes students to understand the multiplicity of perspectives; while it simultaneously pushes teachers to embrace multiplicity and flexibility.

“Logical flexibility”, I like it. It’s such as fascinating term. How insane is it that the rules of logic and grammar are so foreign to modern English education that people advocate for teaching it simply to get a plurality of viewpoints.

Welcome to a world where there exists a plurality of viewpoints on the use of logic.

Anyway, I will end with a Chesterton quote:

Since the modern world began in the sixteenth century, nobody’s system of philosophy has really corresponded to everybody’s sense of reality; to what, if left to themselves, common men would call common sense. Each started with a paradox; a peculiar point of view demanding the sacrifice of what they would call a sane point of view. That is the one thing common to Hobbes and Hegel, to Kant and Bergson, to Berkeley and William James. A man had to believe something that no normal man would believe, if it were suddenly propounded to his simplicity; as that law is above right, or right is outside reason, or things are only as we think them, or everything is relative to a reality that is not there. The modern philosopher claims, like a sort of confidence man, that if we will grant him this, the rest will be easy; he will straighten out the world, if he is allowed to give this one twist to the mind…

Against all this the philosophy of St. Thomas stands founded on the universal common conviction that eggs are eggs. The Hegelian may say that an egg is really a hen, because it is a part of an endless process of Becoming; the Berkelian may hold that poached eggs only exist as a dream exists, since it is quite as easy to call the dream the cause of the eggs as the eggs the cause of the dream; the Pragmatist may believe that we get the best out of scrambled eggs by forgetting that they ever were eggs, and only remembering the scramble. But no pupil of St. Thomas needs to addle his brains in order adequately to addle his eggs; to put his head at any peculiar angle in looking at eggs, or squinting at eggs, or winking the other eye in order to see a new simplification of eggs. The Thomist stands in the broad daylight of the brotherhood of men, in their common consciousness that eggs are not hens or dreams or mere practical assumptions; but things attested by the Authority of the Senses, which is from God.


The Bookshelf: The Trivium

I finished the Trivium, part of the Free Man’s Reading List, after a couple of months(with interruptions for other reading), so let’s get to the review.

Now, your first question, valued reader, might be, “why did a book of little more than 250 pages take months to finish?

To which there are two equally correct answers; First, I fall asleep on the bus, my primary reading time, a lot and, second, and far more applicable to this particular book, this is probably the most dense book I have read. There is more information/word in this book than anything I ever read in university or high school.

I learned from the bibliographical notes at the back that it was actually written as a college textbook for a course on the Trivium of logic, grammar, and rhetoric back in the 1930’s for a freshman course that “met five days a week for two semesters.” And this was in the days when a college education actually meant something. So you know there is a lot of information packed in this book.

That this book was a product of a different time shows clearly throughout the book. There is no coddling or hand-holding of the reader/student here; the text is simply ‘this is what is, here’s a couple of examples, you now know the concept’. A concept or word is defined or explained once, then you are expected to know it throughout the rest of the book. There are no gentle reminders: if the word ‘syncategoramic’ was defined in chapter 3, then you damn well better know what it means when used in chapter 6. (There is also no glossary, which would have been amazingly useful in trying to remember what exactly “a distributed term”, for example, refers to; the lack of a glossary would be my biggest criticism on the book).

If this book was written today, I’m sure it would be padded to a good 500 pages (at least) with examples, hand-holding, and explanation and still contain less information. This is not a ‘friendly’ book. Simply following along and understanding the book requires a lot of mental effort. Retaining the terms and concepts requires a lot more more. To get the most out of this book, would require serious study (such as a 5-day, 2-semester course), which I did not do.

I am almost certain I am not going to retain a lot of the information presented, and I will not remember a lot of the terms; I’ve already forgotten what an enthymeme refers to.

That being said, the concepts are far more important than the terms. I might not remember the term that refers to a particular concept, but next time I see the concept being symbolized in words, it will likely get me to think deeper about what I am reading, and I can always look up the term or concept for further clarification.

I found interesting about the book is how it flowed together and built off itself. The book starts with the function of language and moves onto grammar. From there is moves seemlessly into logic, which makes up the bulk of the book. I found it fascinating how the discussion of logic itself is naturally built within and on grammar. The book ends with a small section outlining the basics of rhetoric, composition, and reading.

At the same time I was fascinated, I was also saddened. This book revealed to me just how ruined our education system currently is. I took “English” throughout school, like most did where I learned grammar. I took a logic course in university (although, the isntructor never did teach any formal logic for some idiotic reason). I am highly educated, intelligent, and my writing has always been better than average, yet no one has ever, through my 18 years of education (18? ouch), pointed out the connection between grammar and logic and how the latter is rooted in the former.

This whole book was a walking indictment of our modern education system. These are the very basics of language and thinking, yet little of it is taught in school. I am familiar with most of the concepts in the book, if not the terms and formal laws, yet this I’ve never seen it so systematized and logically presented anywhere throughout the almost two decades I spent being “educated”. Some rules of grammar are drilled into our heads in grade school, and there are logic courses that are offered, but I’ve seen nothing like this.

This book should be foundational to education. They should start teaching this systematically in grade school. Hell, if all six years of grade school focused solely on the Trivium, ignoring everything else to get kids to fundamentally understand it, it would be a vast improvement to our education system. When my future children are homeschooled, this book will be a major component of the curriculum.

As for the writing style, it is clear, analytical, and precise, if rather stark, exactly what you should looking for in a book like this. You are not going to be entertained, but the writing does the job it is intended to do transmit information, even if it gives you absolutely no slack or mercy.

Anyway, to get the most out of the Trivium would require a commitment to comprehensively study it over a decent period of time. Simply reading it through like I did, will help introduce many concepts or solidify concepts you may be familiar with, but you will know that you are missing a lot. You will get out of this book in relation to the time and effort put into it.

Recommendation:

If you want to learn the basics of grammar and formal logic and/or you are looking to better develop clear thinking and clear language, the Trivium will help you understand these concepts directly in relation to how much effort you’re willing to put in.

So, if you are interested in this and willing to put in at least some effort, I recommend the book. Be warned, even if you are not studying it in-depth, it is still a dense read.

If you are planning to homeschool, I would recommend making the Trivium a foundational text of your curriculum.


Words and Meaning

I’ve been going through the Trivium between other readings as a part of my reading list project. The book start with a discussion of grammar, in which this is asserted early on:

A word is a symbol. Its matter is the sensible sign; its form is the meaning imposed upon it by convention. (p.15)

The use of a word as a symbol is asserted throughout the grammar section, and sometimes it is referenced how the symbol may not represent the same meaning to differing people. The symbol may have ambiguous meaning due to different phantasms (mental images) that people have of the word.

Being more cold-bloodedly rational-minded, I’ve generally defaulted to a view of words where having a fixed, objective meaning, but what if words don’t have an objective meaning? What if words have subjective emotional meanings beyond the “objective” definition of the word itself the word itself?

If a word is simply a symbol of meaning rather than an objective definition, it can symbolize different things to different people.

For example, in this conversation I wrote of earlier, one of the things that set someone off was saying, “rape in marriage doesn’t exist”. By this I meant that Christian marriage is a consentual agreement in which the free giving of sex by both parties plays an integral part, so, from a Christian point of view sex had already been consented to simply by being married. Just like continuous mortgage payments have already been consented to simply by signing a mortgage contract.

What I heard back was a strong emotional outburst about violence and sexual torture within marriage. This derailed the conversation. My attempts to reason about the definitions of Christian marriage, consent, violence, and rape proved fruitless.

In retrospect, the word rape is emotionally loaded for some people. Had I used the phrase “non-consensual sex”, there probably would not have been a similar, unintended emotional meaning attached to the phrase, while still having the same objective meaning. The discussion may have proved more fruitful.

Another one that came up in the discussion thread for that post is the use of “men” and “women” instead of “males” and “females”. I never really thought there was much of a difference between the two, other than the latter being broader and including children as well as adults. But it seems to many, that the former are more “humanizing”.

I could probably improve my abilities to relating with people, especially women, by simply keeping this in mind.

The symbols that are words may have emotional meanings attached to them by beyond what I may intend for them to have.

****

Private Man has commented on something similar. He recommends referring to “traditional gender roles” as “natural gender roles” from now on.

I think it’s a good idea and plan to implement it in the future. While there is a slight difference in meaning, in most contexts I, and most reactionaries, would use the phrase “traditional gender roles”, “natural gender roles” would be equivalent.

Haley had a similar suggestion, that we rebrand submission as deference. I’d have to agree with ar10308’s and Deep Strength’s responses:

Scripture says “Submit” as a command. “Defer” implies that you have the choice to do so or not, yet still be aligned with God’s command regardless if you do not follow it or not. “Defer” still places the wife at the head of the marriage as opposed to the husband.

ar10308 has it correct. Deference, at least in colloquial term of the word, means you tend to “know better” or “don’t want to make the decision” and are just letting the other person have their preference. Sounds like feminism to me.

Although the definition of defer has submit within it, it is not a synonym of submission. Submission to leadership is different from this in the Biblical perspective.

The dictionary definition of defer is:

To submit to the opinion, wishes, or decision of another through respect or in recognition of his or her authority, knowledge, or judgment.

to yield (to) or comply (with) the wishes or judgments of another

to yield respectfully in judgment or opinion.

While submit’s is:

To yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of another.

5. to yield oneself to the power or authority of another.
6. to allow oneself to be subjected to some kind of treatment.
7. to defer to another’s judgment, opinion, decision, etc.

This is a case where the dictionary definitions are almost the same, but the real-life connotations of the symbols are too different to be used.

If this took off, I can see it being used as a cover for sin, sort of like the media portrayals of girls who are  “virgins” because they were anally rather than vaginally penetrated.

Would it be good Christian theology for Christians to defer to Christ?

Defer yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Kind of has a different ring to it, don’t it?