Reading Fire in the Belly, by Sam Keen. Great read.
I’m about 25% through this book (and I will read every page), and here he’s talking about the role of work in a man’s life. Not of service, or of developing his craft, or how he spends his time… but about his paycheck. And all that means to us as men in the modern age.
“As the “bottom line” became our ultimate concern, and the Dow Jones the index of reality, man’s world shrank. Men no longer found their place under the dome of stars, within the brotherhood of animals, by the fire of the hearth, or in the company of its citizens.”
A mans world doesn’t have to shrink, but I know what he means here. I’ve been there.
I will get to my agenda right away and say — daygamers know something beyond the paycheck version of “the bottom line.” I have to pay my bills like anyone else, but the “bottom line” I worship is packed into a skirt. As a man, I have greater concerns than women. But as a daygamer, women are my great pastime.
And women provide a measure of manhood that work never will.
Daygame, as I know from my adventures of the last few months, reverses the trend Sam is pointing out above. Daygame, specifically, connects me to my community. I run street approaches during the light of day, not “under the dome of stars,” but my questing as a daygamer brings me back into touch with the natural world around me — even if I live in a concrete jungle, and natural is horn-honkings and congested streets.
The point is… I’m in it. I’m a witness, and more importantly, an actor. A “player,” so to speak, on the stage of my world… and sometimes, I’m the romantic hero. And others, the dastardly villain. And the leading ladies… they know my presence. I’m not locked in a cube. I’m here. In my playground. “Within the brotherhood of animals.” And I make my presence known. A real, living, breathing, and somewhat free member of my community.
“Like primitive rites, work requires certain sacrifices and offers certain insignia of manhood. In return for agreeing to put aside childish dalliance and assuming the responsibility for showing up nine to five at some place of work, the initiate receives the power object – money – that allows him to participate in the adult life of the community.”
Hmmm, so true. I remember, as a young 20-something, willingly walking into this trap. Like a young kid signing up for the military, naïve to the horrors that awaited, and the lies that brought me to that decision. Life is wonderful. Literally, full of wonder (and joy), but this is not the path.
“The implicit message is that manhood can be purchased. And the expense of the luxury items we own marks our progress along the path of the good life as it is defined by consumer society.”
Right? I thought this, also… in my late 20s, as I assumed I was on-track to pleated pants, some success in golf, and my first membership in the country club. Wow… that was a long time ago. Since then, I most certainly could have had those things, but have made other choices.
Since then I know that when I bought my first house, all I got was the first deep line on my forehead. Real joy, real freedom, has nothing to do with a paycheck, however large. In fact, some of my most dear and beloved friends, are serious earners. I make good money, and they make 2X or 3X what I make. Big dollars. And they are not any bit happier than I am. Their money grows, but their world shrinks. In many ways, I see their slavery, and they see my freedom. It’s uncomfortable.
I want us ALL to come out of the darkness!!!!!! But I know this path is just for some of us.
“Schools are designed to teach you to take life sitting down. They prepare you to work in office buildings, to sit in rows or cubicles, to be on time, not to talk back, and to let someone else grade you.”
I thank my punk-rock psychology for always making the “sit down” path hard for me to follow — there’s too much “fuck you” in me for all that. I am a high achiever, but a bit restless. And I don’t care about anyone else’s “grade” as it is applied to me.
But here’s an exception: I like being “graded” by women on the street. How honest! Women’s tests… the great equalizer that strips away the fog of a plastic, consumer-corporate world.
It’s not that I need constant approval (which of course I like), but when I generate compliance through game, I know I have skills that really matter. That’s a little different than a “wallet measuring” competition, isn’t it? And we know that, because there are many, many guys w/ big wallets, and very few that pass the tests of women with real value in the sexual market place.
In fact, the ultimate currency for men with money in not money… it’s women. Women happen to be the ultimate currency for men without means as well. Work was a means to money, money was a proxy for power, power got you women. But men with lots of money still can’t get women, not really. There’s the illusion. Game destroys the illusion, as guys with game — with or without money — can get, over and over, what money can’t buy. Not just women. But their compliance, their loyalty, their love.
And that’s an important point — as much of our wage-slavery is a joke. Existentially, certainly. But money is *not*, in fact, a proxy for women, but men work themselves to death under that illusion. Such a waste of the masculine spirit. All that work, for a new shirt and fresh haircut, but what they really want is a solid makeout. I think we do this, in part, because endless work and pretty lies are preferable to facing our fears around women. That’s certainly true for so many of us.
Krauser wrote this essay I think about all the time. Here’s a sample:
“Modern society has been crafted to allow people to live in bubbles of non-compliance. When they want something they pay for it, demand it from the government, or guilt-trip someone into giving it up. This is unlike traditional society which always had exams to pass, extended families to manage, neighbours to befriend, a neighbourhood to work with. We now live isolated lives where entire support systems exist to feed our delusions. We live in worlds where compliance is absent. A world where we don’t need people to freely associate with us because they like us and want to.”
I love Krauser’s concept of “compliance” as a principle in this piece. That’s a kickass essay and it, in retrospect, had a big impact on the way I think about game, and rejection, in particular. While painful, being rejected on the street (even 15 times in a row) is non-lethal, which means you can practice, and pickup is a “live” discipline. Immediate feedback helps you test, but it also proves you’re right in certain areas, like right now. You’re proving it beyond theory, so you gain competency and trust in your methods, as you can produce results with girls, on the fly, anytime you want – based on nothing else but how fucking charming you are.
Your success at work, to be frank, can be faked to some degree. An impressive title, a pedigree, a fat salary, are still micro achievements, at least in terms of satisfaction. Tenure, or a strong network, or nepotism, or something like that, can afford you great “success” in work, and in particular in “dead” jobs where real feedback from reality isn’t an issue in the day to day. Betas can thrive in that atmosphere, and often do. I once did.
When you step up to a girl and hit on her she will give you a comprehensive and accurate reality check. Daygame is your masculine mirror. When you are doing life right, the girls’ responses improve. There is no quicker way to rebase yourself than trying to get compliance from a girl you are trying to fuck. In daygame you can’t bully her with your seniority at work, you can’t buy her, you can’t out-maneouvre her in office politics. The only way you’ll get her to come on that idate with you is if she wants to. Free association
— More from Krauser
On the street, with real girls, no hiding. You try to half-ass a day on the street and you’ll stop no one. Real “power” yields real results, in real-time. Artificial (non-game) “status” in life gets you the intro, and may score you a gold digger, but won’t help you with real “live” girls. The corporate warrior and his fancy watch are so much “bullshido” (to quote Krauser again) on the streets.
Back to Sam Keen:
“Part of the problem is that work, community, and family are getting mixed up and lumped together. Increasingly, Americans live in placed where they are anonymous, and seek to find their community at a work.”
Here in the Big City, I think of the Google employees, and their daily trip in the corporate “minivan” down to Mountain View, with their in-office gyms, dry cleaning facilities, and cafeterias. You don’t need the “real world” as long as Corporate Daddy approves of you… everything is provided. A safe place to hide.
How much do you want to bet that those boys are meeting their girls at work — of course they are. That’s their life. I was like that too.
The trap is that is that “community” is not under your control. You’re a guest in someone else’s world. A change in profit margin, or the HR policy, or some new MBA prick that’s hired into your department, controls your membership in **your** “community. ”
That’s not how the real world community works. Your place in a real-life community is of degrees… one relationship at a time, more in, more out, that’s normal. And it’s based on you, for the most part, not the CEO’s relationship with Wall Street or anything else. But in the corporate world, when the business is sold or you get a new boss, and your “community” melts around you’ll know you’ve been living in a blue-pill sitcom. Burn that dream to the ground. Being a man is so much more than one’s occupation.
There’s still time left.
You can take corporate dollars, and I most certainly do. But I don’t have any misconceptions about what that world is all about. I work to live, not the other way around. I am here to give my gifts, and I will always make a real effort to contribute in my work. I’m not a “team player,” however, willing to go the “extra mile,” my nights and weekends (and afternoons, for that matter) forever on-call for some board meeting or doucey client, for a fake community. All that boss-talk is propaganda. I’ll date girls that live in that world, but I don’t live in it.
Krauser’s right — to induce real, painless (for everyone involved) compliance is the sign of mastery of your domain. As I become more of a red-pill man, I’m still a producer. I love to work, in the sense of projects I find fulfilling, and filling my time, and giving my gifts. But I want a place in a real community. Community that is truly mine, because I built it. I’m the product… not a startup with some me-too business model and dreams of an IPO or a rich buyout package. I know there’s no “exit strategy” for the street seducer.
In life, death is the only exit strategy. Until then, this beautiful game, or something like it, goes on forever. That’s real. I can live with that. And I plan to live well, while I’m here.
“Companies, with the help of organizational development consultants, are trying to make the workplace the new home, the new family.”
Take your paycheck — earning a living is no crime against your manhood — but start to learn to unshackle yourself. How can you get more free time? How can you control your day? How do you get time to get out on the streets and really test yourself in the way that paychecks never will?
Those are question worth asking.
“Men abandoned the power to define happiness for themselves, and having once abandoned that power, do not attempt to regain it.”
It’s been 7 years since I started studying game. When I read about some guy becoming a consultant and getting out of his corporate slavehood, I remember thinking… that sounds righteous. 7 years later, I’ve been a consultant for almost 6 of them. I didn’t even notice it happening, I was just bad at being a slave, so I “killed my boss” and earned my freedom.
I just did a month in Japan, running daygame 2 – 3 days a week, and loving it. Real-time feedback. A world with a pulse. I get 2-3 sessions per week (weekdays) to run game on girls on the streets here at home. And I happen to make more money than I ever have in my life, but that’s a side effect of me waking up. I know that.
And I know what it’s like to be tested, and even to fail, to get my teeth knocked in with rejection… even recently… but I love it. Real-time feedback let’s me know I’m alive – no hiding behind my business card, or my fake-as-fuck parking spot. I’m “under the stars” when I comb the sidewalk. As free as any other man — if not a little more dedicated and well trained. I’m in the “company of the citizens,” out making friends — and new lovers — in the streets. I feel like a man. And that feels good.
This book, A Fire in the Belly, was something I first heard about from David Deangelo, one of the first men I learned from as I studied game, years ago. Game helped me realize the fire in my belly. And it has nothing to do with a paycheck, much more to do with me growing into a man.
Game helped me reverse a shrinking that began in my life when I first started living “the right way.” Game has expanded my world, my territory, and my rewards.
Viva daygame… and here’s to being the men we were born to be.