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Push Narcissist’s 4 Secret Buttons: Gamma Man or Agent of Chaos, Madness?

Uploaded 3/15/2021, approx. 34 minute read

Last time I checked, my name was still Sam Vaknin, which shocked me and surprised me no end. Plus, I am still the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited, many other books and e-books and videos and so on about narcissism and personality disorders.

Today, we are going to discuss the four secret buttons of the narcissist, the buttons that you need to push if you want to survive the so-called relationship, if you want to manipulate the narcissist or if you even want to detach, break up and say goodbye in a manner which would be somehow, somewhat amicable and not acrimonious and destructive and threatening.

These are the four buttons that activate the narcissist. These four buttons put together, this is the operating system of the narcissist. This is his internal landscape. These four buttons comprise all the introjects, all the internal objects, all the modes of interrelatedness, interpersonal in the workplace, towards physical and natural reality in the human environment.

Put these four together and you have a one-page leaflet which summarizes, actually, the much bigger user manual.

My book Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited has 720 pages and you can reduce all of them into these four sentences, four operating principles, four organizing principles and four buttons to push.

Before we go there, I would just like to clarify yet again that the videos online are either lectures, university lectures and therefore highly academic and rely on studies and research. Even the videos that are not university lectures, they rely on a relatively big database of people diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorders, almost 2,000 of them, and they rely on hundreds of studies in scholarly literature going back all the way to 1914.

So my material, the lectures, the books, everything is not autobiographical. It's not about me.

You keep ignoring the fact that I'm a professor of psychology and a published author in the field and you keep attributing everything you hear and everything you watch and everything you learn from me to my personality.

Now that's bad for you. It has no effect on me, but it's bad for you because you would sometimes tend to reject a lot of information saying, well, that applies to Sam. That's not the case with all narcissists. That would be wrong. That would be fallacious. That would mislead you because whatever I'm saying applies to the vast majority of narcissists, many of whom have nothing in common with me actually.

If you are interested in autobiographical view of narcissism, there are a few narcissists online and they offer literature and videos and they are not professors of psychology and they're not scholars and they're not academics and a lot of the information they give you is highly idiosyncratic, highly specific to them, highly autobiographical. A lot of the information they give you is not applicable to all narcissists, only to them.

So if you care to see one narcissist's point of view, there are others online who give you this vantage point.

I myself had published my own personal diary. It's called The Diary of a Narcissist and it's available on Amazon. It's available, I mean, the chapters are available online free of charge on my website and that is my personal point of view, but all the rest is academic and the equivalent of a textbook.


Okay, last two points before we get to the four buttons.

There's a debate, can IQ tests measure an IQ of 190 because my IQ is 190, can it be? Is it possible at all and so on?

Well, here's the answer.

The most commonly used test is known as WAIS. There are various variants of this test and this commonly used test can measure anything up to 230.

However, any number above 160 is suspect because it is not normatively validated. In other words, the number of people with 160, 170, 180, let alone 190, the number is so tiny.

For example, there are only nine people in the world with 190. The number is so small that this is not a representative sample. We cannot derive any valid information from this tiny group of people.

So when someone is diagnosed or tested and scores 180 or 190, which can happen, definitely can happen with any IQ test, it's a problem because there's no one to compare him with. And when there's no one to compare him with, the number is suspect.

Now, there are other IQ tests, highly matrix tests, for example, highly specific IQ tests, where the result is normatively validated. In other words, even 190 or 200 is in a way normatively validated because the engine, the statistical engine at the core of the test is such that all the results are validated, well, at least up to 200 or 210.


Okay, watch a video. I made a video about 12 misconceptions of 12 superstitions in psychology and one of them is IQ tests, which I personally, I think IQ tests are bordering on scam, if you ask me, and they're very misleading because IQ measurements only reflect your analytical capacity, not your synthetic capacity, not your emotional intelligence, nothing else.

So that you have a high IQ means nothing. It maybe predicts your intellectual or academic achievements, but that's all. So don't be too impressed with IQ.

Now, at the end of the video, I'm going to discuss the gamma men, the construct of the gamma men and the social sexual hierarchy. It's going to be the end of the video. And at the end of the video, I'm also going to read to you an extended excerpt from a wonderful book. And this excerpt demonstrates how and why narcissists are agents of chaos, agents of madness among us, which would explain the fraught relationships between narcissists and normal or healthy people.

But we'll come to it at the very end.

And let's get now, finally, to the topic of the video.

Narcissists, four secret buttons.

Why is the narcissist? Why are some narcissists sexless, while other narcissists are hypersex? Why some narcissists objectify people, while others implement a shared fantasy, where actually they act as hyper-romantic and so on. Why some of them avoid intimacy and others seek it? Why some of them are schizoid and others are gregarious and very sociable? Why some narcissists engage in incest and others do not, etc.

Narcissism is such a spectrum of behaviors that sometimes people feel that anything can fit in under this single word. Anything and anyone could be a narcissist.

Well, that's untrue, of course. Narcissism is a very clear clinical construct. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Committee deliberated for well over two or three years on the issue of whether narcissism is a real thing or not. Is it a clinical entity or not?

And they had reached the conclusion, having reviewed reams of literature, interviewed dozens of experts and so on. They had reached a conclusion that it is by all means a real, very real thing.

But narcissism is the totality of the personality. Narcissism is not like cancer or tuberculosis. Narcissism is not like, for example, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Narcissism is the totality of the person. That's why the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual uses the word all-pervasive. Every field, every area, every behavior, every recognition, every lack of emotion, every negative emotion, all of them are imbued and imprinted with narcissism. So that's why there is such a diversity and variety of behaviors affect emotions, cognitions, reactions when we look at different narcissists.

But all these can be reduced to four organizing, explanatory, motivating, effective, cognitive principles. Only four.

And if you learn these four, if you get acquainted with these four, if you really delve into these four, you will easily know how to coexist with the narcissist, obtain favorable outcomes or leave the narcissist, abandon him in a way which will not have long-term repercussions.

So here are the four.

Precocious child, conquering hero, father guru and divinity.

Now immediately some of you will say that it's very reminiscent of Jung's archetypes. It's even reminiscent of tarot cards. In tarot cards, you have these characters and it's very true. Tarot cards, of course, reflect deep unconscious archetypes, as Jung called them, deep unconscious constructs. That's why tarot cards and other forms of divination, unfortunately, are so effective and so successful because they do reflect something profound and deep in the human psyche.

Same with Jung's archetypes. Jung had created, as was his habit, a whole ideology, psycho history and went bonkers because he was bonkers. He was psychotic.

So there's a lot of nonsense around these archetypes. But the core is true. Each one of us has these ways of relating to the world, modes of existing and being, which are highly stereotyped, highly structured, highly and conform to symbolic representations of operational principles. And the narcissist has these four.

Let's deconstruct them one by one.

As child, the narcissist considers himself to be precautious. In other words, he believes that his accomplishments are way outside his age range. Even when the narcissist is 60, he would say, I'm like a 200 year old man.

The narcissist always infantilizes by comparison. So he's always an eternal child.

Where I tell you, there's always a Peter Penn syndrome underlying and underlying the narcissist personality and embedded in it. And it could be a child by comparison, even compared to history, compared to older people. But it will always be an element of I'm younger. And because I'm younger, my accomplishments are dazzling, amazing, spectacular, unprecedented.

Now these accomplishments, let it be clear, can be intellectual.

And then we get a cerebral narcissist.

But these accomplishments can also be physical. And then we get athletes, we get bodybuilders, we get hypersexed narcissists known as somatic narcissists. They are focused on social conquests.

But whatever they do, they believe themselves to be unique. They believe that the way they do things, the energy that they invest, their mind when it gets intermingled and enmeshed with the action, renders the act unique.

And so uniqueness in the narcissist mind, one of the pillars of his grandiosity and sense of superiority, hotiness, uniqueness, lies squarely, relies squarely on his infantilization.

For the narcissist to be unique, he needs to feel that he is a prodigy, precautious, either via his body or via his mind.

In many cases, both, because as you know, there's no type of constancy. The narcissist switches from cerebral to somatic and back.

Now this gives you an important key.

Because if you want to gratify the narcissist, if you want to coexist with the narcissist, survive with the narcissist, manipulate the narcissist, all you need to do is reaffirm this button, push this button.

And you can push this button into ways to confirm the prejudice.

In other words, to broadcast to the narcissist, to signal to the narcissist, to somehow convey to the narcissist that you also see him as a child or that his accomplishments are amazing and timeless, that he is too young to have accomplished what he had accomplished, that there is a discrepancy between his chronological age and the mounting weight or the mountain of his achievements, that he is amazing, that he is unprecedented, that he is unique in terms of the discrepancy between what he had secured in his life and his age.

So you can push this button or you can push the button in another way.

And that is when you wantto break up, when you want to dismantle the shared fantasy.

You desperately want to exit and you don't want to betray the narcissist. You don't want to cheat on him, as many partners do. You want to end it amicably and not acrimoniously and not violently and not aggressively. And you don't want to prolong the process of break up, to render it into a multi-decade opera.

So there's another way to push this button.

You push this button by insisting that the narcissist behave his age, acts his age, becomes age appropriate.

You impute to him adult chores, adult responsibilities. You broadcast your expectations of him. You bargain, you enter the bargaining phase.

That's essentially the bargaining phase. It's when you give up on the pretension that the narcissist is a precocious child, a prodigy child, an eternal adolescent. You give up on this pretension, you give up on this shared psychotic narrative and you insist that the narcissist becomes what he is, an adult, a mature adult, not only an adult.

And so you are beginning to make a series of demands. They're all reasonable. They're all common demands.

You don't ask for anything outlandish. You don't ask for anything that is unheard of. You're just asking the narcissist to be responsible, to be reliable, to be present, to not be deceitful, to act his age, to be tidy, to be neat, just to be a mature adult, to have hobbies and preoccupations which conform to his age, to have a job, take on a job, to bring money home, to take up his share, to contribute to daily chores.

And so this bargaining phase pushes the narcissist away because it vitiates, it negates the shared fantasy.

A critical element of the shared fantasy is the narcissist's infancy. The narcissist is a toddler. The narcissist is a spoiled brat, is the axis and pivot of the shared fantasy.

Nevermind if the narcissist is cerebral or somatic or even covert. In all these cases, the narcissist needs to be a child.

Confronting the narcissist with adult demands renders the shared fantasy moot and dead. And he cannot survive outside the shared fantasy.

It's a little like fish and aquarium. Fish out of water. The narcissist's water is the shared fantasy.

And no wonder the shared fantasy is very fishy.


Okay, Soshanim, this is the precautious child button and the two ways of pushing it. Each of these buttons has two ways of pushing it.

If you want to maintain and preserve the shared fantasy with the narcissist, there's one way of pushing the button. And if you want to destroy the shared fantasy and thereby exit it with a narcissist blessing, there's a second way of pushing the button.

Let's talk about the next button.

The next button is the conquering hero. These are all stereotypes or even archetypes. The conquering hero, Superman, Batman, Spider-Man.

What do we know about these comic Marvel heroes? They transform. They are one thing during the day and another thing during the night. They are fully human in private and fully inhuman or partly human in public. They are in private. They are people, just persons with foibles, with fallacies, with shortcomings, with limitations when they're in private, when they're in public, they're heroes, they're saviors, they're rescuers, they're infallible, they're mighty, they're invincible, they're omniscient, they're omnipotent.

So you see the narcissist is a public face and a private face.

When the narcissist is alone with himself, he experiences, he experiences this inferiority complex. He experiences his lacks and deficiencies and shortcomings. He needs input from the outside known as narcissistic supply in order to restore himself.

Because when he's alone with himself, he's alone with his worst enemy.

We now think, the new thinking is that all narcissists are compensatory.

So all narcissists have covert faces. Even classic and overt narcissists have covert faces.

This is the new, the newest thinking about narcissism. It's reflected a distant echo in the alternative model of narcissistic personality disorder in the DSM-5, page 767.

Applause. Now, conquering hero is Janus, the God with two faces. This is the narcissist.

So he wants to be considered Superman. He wants to be considered by everyone as a good person who is out to save and rescue, as someone who is, whose powers are infinite and communal and pro-social.

All narcissists want that, by the way.

So, but when they're alone, they're insecure. They feel unsafe because they never had a safe base as children. They are re-traumatized. All the old early childhood conflicts, the ancient traumas are provoked when the narcissist is alone, are triggered, and he needs other people to soothe him, to restore a reality testing that is actually grandiose and fantastic. He needs other people to reaffirm his grandiose fantasies about himself. He needs other people to tell him, yes, you are a genius. You are amazing. You are a hero.

And so this is a button. This is one of the narcissist buttons.

And there are two ways of pushing it. One way of pushing it is to go along for the ride, to convey, communicate, to the narcissist that he is indeed a savior, a rescuer, all-powerful, amazing, of unique potentialities and capacities. X-Men, this is one way.

By massaging his ego, by catering to his infantile needs for reassurance and reaffirmation and narcissistic supply, you can, of course, manipulate the narcissist or, at the very least, preserve the peace in the relationship, reach a kind of modus operandi within the relationship, which is essentially calm and peaceful and tranquil and long-term. A homoheostasis and equilibrium.

The other way of pushing the button is narcissistic injury or, in extreme cases, narcissistic mortification. It's by challenging the narcissist self-perception as a conquering hero by not allowing him to conquer, for example, the somatic narcissist.

Somatic narcissist needs, desperately needs, subsists on sexual conquests, deny him his sexual conquests, and he disintegrates like a vampire exposed to sunlight. Same with the cerebral narcissist. The cerebral narcissist needs adulation and admiration and affirmation and applause when he displays like a peacock. His intellectual tale is pyrotechnics, intellectual pyrotechnics. Denying this supply and he disintegrates as well.

So the second way of using this button is gray rock, the famous technique which I had not invented, regrettably. It's a great technique, possibly the strongest technique, most powerful technique after no contact.

So gray rock is this pushing the conquering hero button by ignoring or by rendering yourself an interesting, dull, boring, anxious, stupid, pseudo stupid.

So when you gray rock the narcissist, you're pushing his conquering hero button in all the wrong ways.

Here he is, a spectacle, displaying himself, trying to amaze you into submission, to shock you and fascinate you into addiction, and you are ignoring him and ignoring all his spectacular feats and manifestations and exploits.

And the narcissist cannot survive this, he's likely to dump you.


Okay, the next button, the father guru.

Again, we see two elements here.

As a father, paternal figure, the narcissist would tend to gravitate towards women who have daddy issues, of course, thereby create a kind of compatibility. He would be a father to their missing father. He would be the father they never had. He would be a father who is not as abusive as the original father they've had.

So this is the father element, but he still dispenses tough love, discipline, strict discipline, rules, boundaries, regulations, rigid expectations. That's the father part.

Now with most narcissists, the father part is actually rare. In cerebral narcissist, it is triggered when the cerebral narcissist is asked for advice. When you solicit the cerebral narcissist's advice, he becomes a father guru.

Similarly with the somatic, he is likely to present himself as far more experienced than you sexually. He's going to teach you what is real sex. He's going to introduce you to new worlds and universes of sexuality that you had only seen in the movies or heard of. I don't know, BDSM or whatever.

So the father guru is intermixed. The paternal figure, the avantilism figure, paternal figure that the narcissist cuts in his relationship with you has elements of superiority, sexual superiority, intellectual superiority, superiority of knowledge, superiority of experience. He has something over you and that's the guru element.

He also has the right, which any father has, to discipline you, to tell you how to behave, to instruct you as to what constitutes misbehavior, a displeasing misbehavior. He assumes this role and it's very disconcerting and disorienting because he can switch very speedily with alacrity between the child and the father, the engineer, the naive and the guru.

And these pendulations, these oscillations and vicissitudes are such that you're thrown off balance. It's extremely disorienting and dislocating and it is of course the core technique in gaslighting. It underlies gaslighting.

As the narcissist changes his reality, who he is, his identity, because he has no core identity, he shapeshifts, he's chameleon and he shapeshifts and sometimes his shapeshifting is a reaction to internal processes. As he shapeshifts, everything around him shapeshifts as well.

Reality itself is warped and distorted and this is what we call, this process is what we call gaslighting. It may drive you to the point of madness or at least to the point of believing that you are crazy, that you're mad.

Again, there are two ways of pushing this button, the father-guru button.

One way of pushing the father-guru button is to seek advice, to cater to the guru and paternal side. In other words, to infantilize yourself, to agree for stretches of time, periods or events, where you are the one who becomes the child in the relationship. You switch roles in effect. It's a role-switching game.

First, he's the child, you're the mother. Now, you are the child, he's the father. So, you play along. You pretend that everything he says is the 11th commandment, that is the new reincarnation of Jesus and Moses combined. That is the reification of the principle of wisdom, that he is truly a unique unprecedented guru and you're lucky to be in his presence and breathe the same air that he does. You're at his feet sometimes, literally, if he's a food fetishist, you're at his feet. So, this is one way of pushing the button. It guarantees bliss, marital or relationship bliss.

Let me tell you, the other way of pushing the button is, of course, if you want to exit the relationship, destroy the shared fantasy, challenge and undermine this shared psychotic space.

So, the other way is to challenge both roles. When he tries to be a guru, you dispute what he says, you disagree, you criticize, you provide alternative sources of information which don't sit well with what he's saying. You mock him, you doubt his credentials, you ask him openly to prove what he's saying and to prove that he has the authority to say it, etc. So, this undermines the narcissist's grandiosity and nothing is more precious than the narcissist's than his grandiosity. He's going to dump and sacrifice you just in order to preserve his grandiosity.

Similarly, when he's trying to act the father, the second way of pushing the button is to refuse to act the child, to remain an adult, to maintain your adulthood. So, he's trying to be the father, you're the adult in the room, you disagree, you contest, you push back, you insist on your boundaries, on your personal autonomy, your agency, you become self efficacious so you don't need him, you don't ask for his advice and if he tries to push it on you, you inform him that you don't appreciate unsolicited advice and tips and help, etc.

So, this pushes the specific button the wrong way and this is one of the possibly the crucial button, the father guru button.

The last button is divinity but it's not divinity of the Olympian sort, it's not divinity of like the Greek gods because the Greek gods were essentially anthropomorphized. The Greek gods were human, they copulated with beautiful human females, they had offspring with these women Hercules for example.

So, the Greek gods were around a bunch, there were drunkards, there were alcoholics, actually many of them were alcoholics, they were somatic narcissists, they were I mean they were narcissistic grandiose, the Greek gods were mental illness writ large.

No, the narcissist divinity is not like the Olympian Greek gods, the narcissist divinity is old testament divinity or new testament divinity.

Some narcissists, all narcissists regard themselves as god-like. Remember that narcissism is a religion, there's a god-head, the false self, it's the Moloch, the false self, the child sacrifices, the child makes a human sacrifice, the child sacrifices his true self to the false self, the idol, and the false self then takes over and there's a religion of one god and one worshipper, a cult where the narcissist fulfills all the roles. He is god, he is the worshipper, and he is the cult.

So, this is the structure of narcissism and some narcissists fashion and mold the false self to be like the old testament god. It's an aggressive god, a vindictive god, petty, pretty petty, it's a micromanaging god, it's a control freak god, it's a god who is sometimes absolutely sadistic, it's a grandiose god, highly narcissistic, and so on. So, that's the old testament god, not someone you would like to spend a few hours in the pub with, trust me.

The new testament god is the exact opposite, it's a loving god, compassionate god, caring god, an empathic god, but still psychotic and grandiose.

So, the narcissists can choose to enact or reenact the old testament god, the god of thunder and brimstone, or the new testament god, the victim, the martyr, the saint. In either capacity, he self-imputes, he attributes to himself divine powers, divine attributes.

You can push this button in two ways.

As usual, one way of pushing the button is worshipping the narcissist. He's a god, you're a worshipper, you have a two-man cult, a two-man sect, or a two-man religion, two people, religion, I'm sorry, you're not a man.

So, one way is to worship the narcissist. Simply conform to his religious rituals, use his theological language, regard the false self as unassailable, infallible, the epitome and reification of perfection, perfection, brilliance, and rightness, moral righteousness.

So, this is one way of pushing the button. If the narcissist chooses the new testament god, you push the button by catering to his need to feel victimized, martyred, and so on and so forth. Ironically, by mistreating him, the more you mistreat him, the more attached he will be to you, because the more you mistreat and abuse him, the more you cheat on him, the more you betray him, well, up to a point, and that point is the modification, the singularity point. Up to that point, the longer your torment and torment and torture this kind of narcissist, the new testament narcissist, the more gratified he is, he is in his Jesus comfort zone, he feels crucified for a good cause. So, this is one way of pushing the button. The other way of pushing the button is, of course, challenging the self-imputed alleged self-proclaimed divinity of the narcissist, pointing out to him mistakes that he had made, inconsistencies, discrepancies, sheer nonsense, stupidities, wrong decisions, failures, defeats, etc., and doing so repeatedly, like, you know, the Chinese drop torture, water drop torture, I mean, drop by drop, until finally he would walk away.

His divinity, the father guru, and the divinity buttons are the two important ones, because they are at the core of the grandiosity. These are the four buttons, and these are the ways to push him.


Now, why do we feel so uncomfortable with narcissists and so on? Why, when we come across narcissists, there is this dis-ease, your ill-ease somehow. It's like something's missing, something ambient, something is in the air, as though the atmosphere had been instantaneously polluted or poisoned, even when you're in love with the narcissist, even when you're irrevocably inexorably attracted to the narcissist, even when you find him amazing, and humorous, and funny, and witty, and stunning, and super intelligent, and drop dead gorgeous, the stillest, tiny voice whispering in your ear, your intuition, actually, your gut instinct, your survival instinct, whispering in your ear, beware, be careful, either it's too good to be true, so it's probably not true, or some of the behaviors of the narcissist don't sit well with the way he represents himself.

The mask sometimes slips, and you get a glimpse of the alien beneath.

So, one of the things that narcissists force you to do, which healthy normal people don't, is this constant self-scrutiny. When you're with a healthy normal person, you don't keep asking yourself, is everything okay? What am I doing here? Why am I here? What's going to happen?

Then what is this behavior? Why is he not behaving in a way that I predicted? What's wrong with me? What's wrong with him? What's wrong with us?

And so, this constant background dialogue, monologue, trying to make sense of your experience, essentially a senseless, nonsensical experience, as Cleckley had observed in his masterpiece, Mask of Sanity.

This is what psychopaths do, and many of the psychopaths that he described were later renamed borderlines and narcissists.

So, that's what psychopaths do. They discombobulate, they introduce chaos and madness and uncertainty and discomfort and wariness and hypervigilance and sensitivity into the situation.

And you don't have this with normal and healthy people.

On the one hand, it is precisely this, the fact that you have to be on your toes, you walk on eggshells, it's precisely this that heightens, amplifies, emphasizes the experience. The experience is like nothing else. It's like being 10 times more alive than normal. Everything falls into sharp relief.

You know, when you're in an accident or when you suddenly get sick and taken to a hospital, everything falls into sharp relief. When there's a global calamity, like assassination of JFK or 9-11, you remember every moment and every second. You remember erroneously, by the way, but it doesn't matter. The memory is imprinted.

The narcissist heightens, heightens your experience, colors it, brings you into a permanent, excitatory state. You can't relax on the one hand, but on the other hand, you feel more alive than ever.

And the reason the narcissist does this is because he's an agent of chaos. And he's an agent of chaos because he forces you to think.

This is the book Escapism by Yifutuan. Yifutuan. Y-I-F-U-T-U-A-N. He was a cultural geographer. This is an excellent book called Escapism.

And I would like to read to you an extended excerpt from the book about chaos and order.

Remember, the narcissist forces you to think, where healthy and normal people do not.

So he starts with a, because he's a cultural geographer, essentially a kind of anthropologist.

And a wachow father instructs showing how it connects human life to the constellations as prelude for telling the coyote tale. The game and the tale may be entertaining in themselves, but they have a deeper purpose, which the father explains.

He tells his children, we need to have ways of thinking, of keeping things stable, healthy, beautiful. We try for a long life, but lots of things can happen to us. So we keep our thinking in order by these figures. And we keep our lives in order with these stories.

We have to relate our lives to stars and to the sun and the animals and all the nature, or else we will go crazy and get sick.

Essentially what the father is telling his children, don't overthink. And if you do think, think in a rigid, structured, dictated, predefined manner. Don't think independently.

The narcissist forces you to think outside the box. The narcissist takes you out of your comfort zone, introduces you to unsettling, sometimes harrowing and always discomforting and frightening and threatening, menacious experiences. He forces you to think independently.

And so, to innovate, I continue quoting.

So happy people, I'm sorry, let me continue with the accent.

The Navajo father commends thinking for its power to produce temporary stays against disorder.

Many societies, however, recognize that thinking without some immediate practical end in mind can cause unhappiness and that indeed it is in itself evidence of unhappiness.

Happy people, happy people have no reason to think. They live rather than question living.

To Inuit, thinking signifies either craziness or the strength to have independent views. Both qualities are antisocial and to be deplored.

One Inuit woman was overheard to say in a righteous tone, I never think. Another woman complained of a third woman because she was trying to make her thing and this way shorten her life.

Even in modern America, thinking is suspect. It is something done by the idly curious or by discontented people. It is subversive of established values. It undermines communal coherence and promotes individualism. There is an element of truth in all these accusations, says the author.

In an Updike novel, a working class father thinks about his son reading. It makes him feel cut off from his son. The father says he doesn't know why it makes him nervous to see the kid read, like he's plotting something.

They say you should encourage reading, but they never tell you why.

The author, again, to remind you, I'm reading from Escapism: A Book by Yi- Fu-Twan.

So Yi- Fu- Twan says, I have chosen the words isolation and indifference to capture a fundamental human experience. Other people may choose other words or concepts.

One of the most common is chaos, which invokes the ultimate in disconnectedness, isolation and indifference.

Even as the Navajo father uses a string game to show his children how human faith is tied to the constellations, he feels and fears the undertow of chaos.

Likewise, Hawa, an Iglulik Eskimo, says the same. When the Danish explorer Knud Rasmussen tried to get Hawa to articulate a coherent philosophy, Hawa replied that it cannot be done.

Moreover, it is presumptuous to do so, presumptuous and futile as to build elaborate material shelters and camps. Whatever people may say, whatever they would like to believe, they know through the shocks of experience that nature is indifferent and can be chaotic.

To hunt well and to live happily says Hawa, men must have calm weather. Why this constant succession of blizzards?

In other words, why think? Thinking is a blizzard. You need calm weather to hunt well and live happily.

And he says, why must people be ill and suffer pain by thinking?

Personal misfortune seems to be quite unrelated to good or bad behavior.

Here is this old sister of mine, says Hawa. As far as anyone can see, she has done no evil. She has lived through a long life and given birth to healthy children. And now she must suffer before her days end.

Why? Why?

You see, says Hawa to Vaknin, you are equally unable to give any reason when we ask you why life is as it is.

And so it must be.

In a world so full of uncertainty, the Iglulik seek comfort in the rules they have inherited.

To quote Hawa again, and what he says is remarkably similar to the Navaho father, we do not know how. We cannot say why, but we keep those rules in order that we may live untroubled.

Reflective individuals may be defined as those who suspect that the order and meaning they discern and strive hard to maintain are little more than a measure of their desperation.

Hawa was such an individual.

Another also in Iglulik was Okutagu. Okutagu inspired to become a shaman, but changed his mind during the period of training.

To his kinsmen, he said, that he was not good enough. To the friendly outsider, Knud Vaknin, he explained that the real reason was that he had come to doubt his master's claims to reading the signs of nature and to establish contact with helpful spirits.

He saw such claims as lies and humbug, well-meaning perhaps, but manufactured to provide reassurance to timid people.

The anthropologist Monica Wilson asked the women of an African village why they set such a store by their ceremonies, where the ceremonies are so important. And they answered, and she asked them, was it because they exerted real power over the external world, these ceremonies?

Their answer was always the same. Such ceremonies were conducted for inward rather than outward effect. They served to stop people from going mad.

I'm reminded of W.H. Oden's gloomy poem, Death's Echo, in which he says, echoing the ancient Greeks, that not to be born may well be the best, but there is always a second best, which is formal order, the dance, the dancer's pattern, to make some sense of life, to prevent ourselves from going mad.

We have one ready means of escape, and that is to dance while we can.

An ironed handkerchief could lead to madness, writes Iris Murdoch. People must opt for order somewhere down the line.

A touching confession of helplessness before the world's bewildering complexity comes from the distinguished anthropologist Claude Levistraus. He has been accused of reductionism, of suggesting that structural analysis has the power to illuminate human experience and social reality.

Levistraus denies this as outrageous. The possibility, he says, has never occurred to me.

On the contrary, it seems to me that social life and the empirical reality surrounding it unfold mostly at random.

As Levistraus expressly puts it, disorder reigns in social life's vast empirical too.

He, for his part, chooses to study only its scattered small islands of organization.

Moreover, these islands refer not to what people do, but to what they believe or say must be done.

This is an extended excerpt from Escapism by Yifat.

And this is what the narcissist does.

He introduces chaos. He introduces madness by forcing you to think, by forcing you to reflect, by forcing you to doubt and question, by introducing the unpredictable, the incomprehensible, the senseless, and the cruel into your lives.

And this leads me to the last segment, and that is the gamma male.

Gamma male is borrowed from a typology known as the social sexual hierarchy produced by the far-right activist Vox Dei. Vox Dei was his pseudonym. I think his real name was Beel, B-E-A-L-E.

According to him, gamma males are intellectual, highly romantic, ideologically driven men who hold a low status position in the social dominance hierarchy, though they desire to be leaders and are envious of the rank and privilege that comes naturally to alphas and bettas.

This is one definition, and there is a list of attributes or traits of the gamma male. They are highly intelligent. They are kind and empathetic. They are hopeless romantics. They believe that the depth of their love should hold value to the women they pedestalize.

They struggle to succeed on the dating marketplace. They adopt secret king delusions of grandeur. They are conflict avoidant. They are failure avoidant. They lie to themselves. They fail to understand women.

It's a good description of the cerebral narcissist, actually.

Here is another definition from the urban dictionary of the gamma male.

The gamma male is a person who rejects status and authority, believing that thinking for oneself is possible and desirable, and valuing for freedom the most.

The orientation puts gamma males at odds with most people in society, so gammas tend to be perceived as outsiders.

But outsider status may or may not be important to their identity. Gammas tend to be comfortable alone, but they have material, sexual and social needs like everybody else.

Their attitudes towards society tend to alternate between disdain for the hurt, the bettas, and their cattle wagons, the alphas, and a struggle to just accept people as they are and give up bitterness.

Often they find a small group of other gammas and proud bettas to hang out with.

In relations with strong alphas, the outcome is usually mutual dislike that sometimes develops into grudging respect.

In sexual relationships, they can be clingy towards the few people they can relate to, use those they don't respect, or be very detached if they have found happiness in their personal pursuits.

Socially, gammas are usually nice, but they can turn vicious if their personal space is threatened.

They reject prevailing morality and can be extremely cynical and manipulative, or else find their own way, often drifting towards quasi-boutistic worldview.

Gammas tend to derive satisfaction from their private sense of all beauty and mystery rather than social acceptance of material things.

The ability to find satisfaction in these things is often what keeps them going while being misfits in society, and there's a good description of the schizoid narcissist.

Schizoid cerebral narcissists are probably what these people call gamma males.

Gamma males is not a clinical entity, nor is it accepted in academia, but it's an interesting classificatory system, and gamma males correspond very closely to schizoid cerebral narcissists.

I hope you enjoyed the tour and the Wagnerian Horror Show, and I invite you to the next episode if you're still alive.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

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