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Jack comments on Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge - Less Wrong

138 Post author: lukeprog 20 January 2011 08:44PM

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Comment author: Jack 25 January 2011 06:43:22AM *  14 points [-]

Something I think a lot of people don't understand- particularly the type that stay in on a Saturday night to write critiques of PU- is that your average urban bar scene isn't anything like the real world. It's night time. Everyone is dressed and made up to look about as good as they will ever look. Everyone is drinking. In other words, nearly everyone is in costume and on drugs! The preferences people have in such circumstances only vaguely resemble the preferences they have during daytime hours. The whole affair is perhaps best described as a collective game of make believe where we all pretend to be sexy and cool and fun for four hours. It is theatre.

Of course viewing this near-mode orgy of cool and constant stream of negotiations to fulfill base desires is going to look perverted under the cool gaze of far-mode ethics. The denouncement of PUA deception under these circumstances feels a bit like denouncing self-awareness. Everyone sometimes pretends to be someone a little bit sexier and cooler than they really are- PUAs seem unique in that they do so systematically and self-consciously.

Now of yes, there are those who criticize the entirety of nightlife culture- often calling it 'rape culture'. And indeed, we should have well-embedded mental constraints on our hedonism to avoid doing things that are actually harmful. In this regard though, the sub-surface self-awareness that distinguishes the pick-up artist from the natural would likely be a boon.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 25 January 2011 12:55:20PM 7 points [-]

I've never heard "rape culture" applied specifically to bar culture. I've always heard it applied to the whole culture-- the implication is that there are pervasive ways of thinking which facilitate rape.

Comment author: Jack 25 January 2011 11:57:33PM 2 points [-]

Usually when I see criticisms of bar/party culture it is done under the umbrella of a rape culture critique. But yeah the term is very broad.

Comment author: HughRistik 25 January 2011 07:25:32AM *  7 points [-]

Something I think a lot of people don't understand- particularly the type that stay in on a Saturday night to write critiques of PU- is that your average urban bar scene isn't anything like the real world.

Right. And the people who regularly hang out in bar scenes are a different phenotype than people who don't. I tried to get this point across in discussion of pickup on a feminist blog, without much success. I ran into the silliest sorts of sophistry:

The big problem here, Hugh, is that PUAs don’t disproportionately meet women of any characteristic because people are not interchangeable.

I answered:

Of course PUAs meet women of particular characteristics more often! PUAs don’t meet women randomly. Do you really think that women who PUAs run into at clubs are psychometrically identical to women who stay home and read books?

and got this response:

I do. Most women enjoy both. We aren’t divided into the neat little category boxes PUAs like to put us in.

Statistical thinking fail.

Back to you:

In other words, nearly everyone is in costume and on drugs!

Yup. It's not only people with the most extraverted and primal phenotypes, it's those folks at their most extraverted and primal.

Now of yes, there are those who criticize the entirety of nightlife culture- often calling it 'rape culture'.

Could changing certain cultural norms around consent be a good thing? Yes. But I don't agree with scapegoating PUA in particular merely for copying prevalent norms, just because they were the poor fools to expose how the system works and how to operate within it.

Comment author: Jack 25 January 2011 11:59:54PM 2 points [-]

Could changing certain cultural norms around consent be a good thing? Yes. But I don't agree with scapegoating PUA in particular merely for copying prevalent norms, just because they were the poor fools to expose how the system works and how to operate within it.

In case it wasn't clear before: I agree and actually think the fact that that PU makes existing norms explicit is a really essential first step.

Comment author: HughRistik 26 January 2011 12:27:24AM 0 points [-]

Yeah, I was quite sure you would agree; I was just elaborating.