On The Definition of Alpha

Confusion over the definition of alpha is responsible for many wasted words. With a little more care we can all do better.

Alpha is used in several ways. First, as a objective term describing men with the capacity to sleep with many women. In this sense alpha is a priori value neutral: there is no reason to think that it is good to be alpha, that alphas contribute to society, that alphas are leaders of men, or that alphas are better at anything besides sleeping with women.

Being alpha in this first sense is not an absolute characteristic of any kind of behavior. Women define alpha through their behavior. If the women of a society decide to stop responding positively to a pattern of behavior, that behavior is no longer alpha by definition. Alpha is contingent on time and place; it is contextual. It’s like charisma – you can’t be charismatic in yourself. What determines if you are charismatic is how other people respond to you. It may be that human nature means that certain behavior tends to attract women across all times and places (and game attempts to identify such behaviors) but that’s not the case a priori.

Second, alpha is used to refer to those behaviors, traits, and mindsets that often attract women, at least in our society. Confidence, social courage, social dominance, and so on. Many writers use the word alpha in both of these senses, but the reader can determine which is meant from context.

Third, alpha is used to refer to leaders of men. A basic discovery of game is that while many traits of leaders of men are attractive to women, being a leader of men alpha in no way makes you a can sleep with lots of women alpha. Moreover, men who are in no way leaders can succeed with women if they have a few key traits. The link between type 1 alpha and type 4 alpha is weak.

Fourth, alpha is used as a hortatory term, to refer to what a man ought to be. On the one hand, a discourse that lacks the aspirational is an impoverished discourse, leading to the nihilism of some game guys. However, to be able to attain what ought to be, one must study what is. Science is a great success at this. Game’s empirical foundation likewise. Consider the example of Machiavelli – he is famous for being the first theorist of politics to turn his attention from what ought to be to what is, and to how you can get what you want.*

Still, Machiavelli did have high aspirations (uniting Italy, classical republicanism). Machiavelli’s realist approach came from the exigencies of his time, when many powers warred continually throughout Italy. In times of good order, one can focus on attaining what ought to be – in a crisis, you just need to get shit done. Compare to the origin of game in nerdy guys who naturally repulse women, in a era poisoned by the impacts of feminism. Necessity is the mother of invention. Out of the malfunctions of a broken sexual marketplace was born a real understanding of how to be effective with women.

Game does have its downsides. Its more extreme forms are more effective in disordered, broken societies. With good family values and culture women would respond to men differently; likewise the effectiveness of Machiavellian ruthlessness in politics is greatest in times of disorder. The downsides of such approaches are also greater in better constituted societies. The underlying truth in both domains – their insights into how women really work, by nature, and how politics really works in all times at all places – are strong enough that they will be useful even in the best of societies, but in a more subtle form.

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* Game studies sexual politics in the same way that Machiavelli studied politics.

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About Pechorin

A Hero of Our Time
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