Rick Rosner is a friend. We discuss a broad range of topics. One of interest is evolutionary theory and the implications for mating behavior. We aren’t experts but are having a fun conversation between friends, and so decided to conduct some recorded sessions about this in a series on mating strategies. Here is session two, just for you.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Do you think there is an aspect of time perspective in this culture or cultures? Where if you look at the perspective of time that someone emphasizes – the past, present, and future do you think they’re focusing on the present?
Rick Rosner: I’m not understanding entirely.
Jacobsen: If you look at rave culture, these are people experiencing the present in a hedonistic frame. There is a whole psychology of time perspective. If you look at the Guidos, the bros, the guys…
Rosner: …I see what you’re saying. As a successful species, one of the things we have to burn is time. There’s an aspect of time consciousness – that we have time to burn on foolish, youthful lifestyles. No one plans on being a raver or a Guido forever, but, right now, it’s fine.
The cost of time is fairly low. Colleges, to some extent, are holding pens of parties, (depending on which college and what people’s goals are) – to some extent, you can see college as a way to reduce excess productivity.
For hundreds of years, we’ve experienced increasing productivity through industrialization and automation, To the extent that millions of people graduating high school don’t join the workforce to personally survive or to help the nation survive.
Instead, they can spend four years or more learning further skills and/or partying in college, which is an indication that we have excess productivity and that colleges can be seen in some lights as sponges to soak up and squander excess productivity.
College gives many people a place to waste time. (It worked that way for me.) There are plenty of other activities in society that are time sucks that we get to engage in because we have time to spare. You can have entire lifestyles that are time sucks and time-wasters.
You can be a Guido and sow wild oats. And then get your shit together in your late 20s. It’s the same with rave culture. Rave culture is outwardly about everybody being loose and free and at least temporarily not addressing the constraints and responsibilities of everyday life.
But behind that, it is still a demonstration of dominance and fitness. Ravers wear not much clothing. People who are in—
Rave culture is among other things, a competition to look sexually attractive. Take Coachella, which is southern California’s biggest rave-type event. It’s hot. It’s in the desert. People wear super-skimpy outfits. Despite being packaged as a place of freedom, Coachella is a place to display of sexual fitness.
If you ask most people attending a rave, hooking up will not be their number-one stated objective. Nevertheless, hooking up is a huge underlying theme.
Jacobsen: You see these play out in preferences of expression. [Laughing] That is a really abstract way of putting it. Men and their titles; women and their makeup. Typically, women will emphasize their looks; men will emphasize their status.
Also, there’s denigration of competitors. Then there is denigration by men against other men’s status, or women denigrating other women’s beauty.
Rosner: You have straightforward strategies, then you get into ironic, less-straightforward hipster culture, where the criterion is authenticity, about living authentically. People riding antique bicycles, having old-timey facial hair, using old, artisanal technologies.
In hipness culture, you try to arrive at a state of hipness authentically, through having honest interests in throwback handcrafted culture as opposed to being a poser who’s only interested in it because everyone else is interested.
Jacobsen: What about people on the fence who just want to fit in and so adapt to the culture or sub-culture?
Rosner: You can try to choose a culture. You can turn out to not be well-adapted to any niche. You can choose to opt out, and just be adversarial. The 2016 election included all sorts of adversarial groups, like the 4Chan groups, or Pepe the Frog people – people sharing intolerant messages, and a lot of the pro-Trump people – or the more visibly offensive pro-Trump people, or the alt-Right people. A lot of those people belong to cultures of opting out.
Guys who have given up on being popular and getting girlfriends. Lonely basement guys, trolls basically. Troll culture is an opting-out strategy.
Jacobsen: The trolls, the MGTOW, much of the men’s movement…
Rosner: …there are a lot of guys in those cultures who have decided it’s not worth it for them to find a niche to compete to hook up with girls, and so they are going to stay on the sidelines and amuse themselves by trolling.
That points at masturbation culture.
Jacobsen: Which overlaps with porn culture.
Rosner: They’re close to being the same thing, I think. Most everybody in the 21st century is still horny, as humans have always been. But it’s easier than ever to relieve one’s horniness without social contact. It’s easier to get off without social contact.
So, you have people opting out and giving up on social contact, and giving up on productive, positive social contact altogether, and living lives that are pretty solitary except for online interactions. They can be hostile because they don’t have to meet any societal standards to have orgasms.
A paradise of porn.
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