So, Saturday, Dalrock commented on my post and had the exasperating gall to repeat exactly what I said I don’t want to hear:
“Game is a toolbox, or if you prefer a form of applied psychology.”
“Sheesh!”, I mentally expelled. “Toolbox, toolbox, toolbox!”
I decided this was a good time to go outdoors, and do something with my hands. There was a hatchet I’d bought that had yet to be sharpened. It was an impulse buy from this past winter. Some friends and I stopped at a Home Depot on the way to our campsite and since I didn’t have one I picked it up. It was only ever used once, and that was after I warned my friend that I hadn’t sharpened it yet. He quickly came to the realization that $20 axes are not usable off the rack. Still, at the time, I’d thought it was a pretty good deal for an American-made axe. The handle said, “US Hickory”, but I should have looked closer.
While I was gathering up my file and whetstones I continued my inner dialogue. “Ok, Cane. Why do people I respect keep saying that Game is like a toolbox? Is there anything to this that you’ve missed? Alright…let’s back up: What are tools?”
I took the hatchet and sharpening implements into the backyard and finally took that closer look at the hatchet. The edge was chipped in several places from its encounter with my friend, and as I ran the file over it I prepared myself to be doing this for awhile. Chips in the edge mean I’m going to have to remove a significant amount of metal from the blade before the profile is smooth again.
“Is it reasonable to call Game an applied psychology? Probably…certainly the underlying concepts; hypergamy, koreogamy, etc. What do we mean by “applied psychology”? Back up further: What is psychology? Psychology is a science, based on one or more various philosophies about how the mind works and behaves. Actually, psychology is often a set of rehearsed tactics, semantics, and even pharmacology to bring about some preferred state within the object of its ministrations.”
Fortunately, I have a decent file made of American steel, and it chewed through the axe…too well. Twice while trying to re-profile the edge I chipped it further, but I kept at it and thirty minutes later I had a decent blade, if not yet truly sharp. I took the whetstones to it, but I just kept moving the burr back and forth across the edge and never getting it to come off, and therefore never getting the edge sharp the way I like.
“How important are these philosophies? They can be very important, right? The Christian knows that psychology is tinkering with spirituality; so any philosophy that is opposed to Christian precepts–what God has revealed to us about His nature, our natures, and the nature of sin–is extraordinarily important. Does that mean, say, the Jungian philosophy of psychology is bad? Not necessarily. Even some of Freud is very insightful. On the other hand, we need to stay away from any spirit animals, totems, and stuff. Pagan beliefs are full of psychology; even if the word didn’t exist when they invented them. So, crystal-charged transcendental meditation as a form of psychological therapy is definitely out…”
First the blade was too hard; too brittle. Now that I’d removed that troublesome section, I found the next layer of metal too soft to hold an edge. Finally, I was able to (roughly) strop the burr off with some cardboard, and though the edge wasn’t as sharp as I like, it seemed serviceable.
“If I went out to the garage and reached into my toolbox, what would I get? Based on averages: Either a screwdriver, or a socket for a socket-wrench. What is the philosophy and applied science behind a screwdriver that makes it a screwdriver? Of course there’s gravity, and the properties of steel and plastic, but those things are in hammers, too, and in a pinch I have hammered with screwdrivers. Really, the screwdriver just doesn’t exist without screws; and a screw is really just an inclined…
I have a go at a three inch diameter log from an oak that was cut down in May. It remains, I am sorry to say, one very tough piece of wood, and the US Hickory handle broke when the axe was half-buried in end of the oak.
“…plane, like an axe. Hmmm. I could say it as: An inclined plane is the philosophy behind a screw; or: A screw is a tool created by the application of the science of inclined planes. “
Man, that hatchet gave me fits! The hunk of junk is just really bad for an American-made product. Sure: Handles break, but that axehead was ridiculously bothersome, and it is a good part of the reason that the handle did break. I wondered again if it really was made in the USA. The sticker was still on the side of the axehead, and at the end, in very small print: “Made in India”. Sonuvagun. This explained a lot: The low cost; the poor presentation; the poor tempering and uneven carbon distribution that gave chips and burrs.
“So let’s move that back to Game. If Game was an applied science, then an inclined plane of Game would be, say, hypergamy. Teasing, then, is a screw-like tool of Game that operates on principles of the inclined plane/hypergamy. The Neg is just a really big teasing/screw…and sometimes a really big screw is useful.”
Also, because of hypergamy, sometimes a really big screw is useful.
So it came to pass that Saturday, in the backyard, I decided Dalrock and all the other folks saying “Game is a like a toolbox” were right; and I was wrong.
What threw me off was a combination of a few things:
1) There is a difference between a science or philosophy, and a tool. Hypergamy is not a tool. The Neg is not a science.
2) Most of the tools that are described by people who write on Game are actually complex tools. Typically, you don’t reach into a toolbox and pull out a computer. A computer is a tool, but if someone pointed to a workbench with a Macbook and a phillips-head on it and then asked me, “Hand me that tool”, I’m going to reach for the screwdriver. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t pick the wrong one, but the human mind runs on habits.
3) Too many of the tools out there are cheaply constructed, and they simply break down, or force the user to do more work than is really required; continually sharpening an edge that will never hold; never getting any actual work done. Irrational self-confidence is one of these things. It is the cheap knock-off of actual confidence (con-fide–with faith) which is a mixture of real accomplishment and social approval mixed and pounded in the right quantities, and purified and tempered with extreme heat.
Better is a dry morsel with quiet
than a house full of feasting with strife.
A servant who deals wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully
and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.
The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
and the Lord tests hearts.
Nevertheless: I was wrong. Game is like a toolbox.