More Criticisms of Nerds

Some more on Bardimu’s criticisms of nerds-

“Nerds can’t understand nuance”- this is closely related to defensiveness. A very basic rule of dealing with women is not to react too strongly to anything they do, good or bad. A woman may have a very negative reaction to you; you don’t really know why, much of the time. You may have said something inadvertently offensive to her; you may remind her of an ex; or it may be your pheromones. If you have some idea what it was, it’s a lesson for the next time, but if not, shrug it off. You may have a great second date, and be mentally preparing yourself to get some. But you may never get any response from her again. She got back with an ex, or met some other guy, or some friend of hers told her you were totally the wrong guy because she’s a Capricorn and you’re a Scorpio, or some shit. The point is a bad experience with one woman is no guarantee of a bad experience with another, and a good experience with one does not mean you will have more good experiences with her.

This rule applies to people in general as well. Things they do or say have a wide context, of which you are only a small part, and without understanding the whole context you can’t put a lot of weight on it, good or bad. Normal people have an easier time of this, because they have more social experience and can appreciate the meaning of different kinds of behavior better, and more relationships, so they do not put a lot of weight on any one.

The illusion of control- that you can do something, and make people like you or respond better to you- is comforting but dangerous. If you like somebody’s behavior, spend more time around them, if you don’t, avoid them to the extent possible, and when you must deal with them keep the interaction polite and distant. This is a good application of Skinner’s black box- you don’t care what’s inside it, only what comes out. Apply a filter to the behavior and a damper to your reaction to it.

“Nerds are obsessive”- this isn’t an entirely negative trait, but how much is too much? And what are you obsessed with? Being obsessed with video games is probably unhealthy. Being obsessed with working out can be unhealthy, but it’s probably a much better thing to be obsessed with. Some guys watch too much sports; that’s unhealthy, but it at least is something to talk about at work. I spend way too much time reading about politics on the internet, which I’m trying to cut down on. Healthy and relaxing hobbies are an important part of a quality lifestyle; time in front of a monitor or TV should be limited.

“Nerds are herd conformists”- this relates to a certain kind of nerd, which I don’t really relate to. I’m not a joiner, but if you are a member of any kind of a large group, you can decide if it applies to you or not. Are you looking for security and belonging? If the group is enjoyable, it’s probably beneficial, but if not, it may be a net negative.

“Nerds are lazy and cowardly”- Bardimu says that nerds stay strictly within their comfort zones, but this is true of most people. The problem a nerd would have is his comfort zone is usually small and restricted. Normal people get involved in activities with other people, particularly sports, or their parents share hobbies with them. If you did not have good parents, particularly an involved father, you may not have learned sports or other activities. It’s easy to leave a child alone with the TV, books or these days a computer. But these are not healthy activities, outside or quality content or small doses. (Some nerds love “Speed Racer”, which had to have been the most god-awful cartoon ever made. ) I think I will talk more about sports and hobbies later, but expanding your comfort zone is important.

The other part he mentions in this is the “butt-kicking babe” phenomenon, such as with Lara Croft. I think this is just strictly a fantasy; you can’t relate to women on this basis, as they won’t permit it. A butt-kicking babe, to the extent they exist, would only associate with guys even more butt-kicking, not any nerd. Seeking dominance or even emotional validation from women is indeed a dead-end, but it’s not quite the same thing.

“Nerds aren’t cool”- or specifically he means nerds don’t appreciate aesthetics. This is a handicap of a rationalist personality. On a simple, practical level this might be a problem with clothing or grooming. If you don’t see the point in wearing nice clothes, at least go by some guide like “Dress For Success” and be presentable. Clothes should fit, but better to be a little too loose than a little too tight. Hair for most guys should be short- few guys are willing to take the time necessary with long hair. A lot of what are typically called “hipsters” are really nerds, and self-expression through clothing and facial hair is a risky proposition for most people. As far as things like home decor go, if you can afford it you should have real furniture, not particle board stuff from IKEA.

The “nerd lifestyle” is something more fallen into than chosen. The point is not to adopt the lifestyle of normal people in toto, but to avoid displaying abnormality in ways that will make your life uncomfortable, and to expand your life into areas that will provide you with more enjoyment.


6 Responses to More Criticisms of Nerds

  1. Felix says:

    “Nerds aren’t cool”- or specifically he means nerds don’t appreciate aesthetics.

    Sure, nerds aren’t that appreciative of trivial aesthetics, eg nice clothes.

    But they appreciate deep aesthetics, eg good music, a profound math proof, or a neat chess problem.

  2. Paul112 says:

    I wonder if Ferdinand is a reformed nerd who’s lashing out at his past. That’s how it reads to me.

  3. MQ says:

    Agree with Paul112. A huge fraction of the man-o-sphere guys are nerd/beta types who have painfully taken a few small steps up in social dominance and are now driven half mad by seeing living reminders of what they hate about themselves. Freud called this the narcissism of small differences. In general when you put a lot of energy into hating something you are still tied to it — e.g. when you hate your ex you’re not over her, when you’re indifferent you’re past it.

  4. raddark says:

    In my case it wasn’t so much that I didn’t appreciate aesthetics. I remember when I was young I had a very sharply defined sense of aesthetics. But being smart also I “figured out” that aesthetics shouldn’t matter and deliberately suppressed it. In fact, I started feeling guilty any time I cared about how I looked because I took it as a matter of integrity to live what I believed, ie. function over form, substance (personality – but of course, what I saw as good personality turned out not to be the same as what other people saw as good personality) over looks. But I knew I would be judged badly by pretty much every other person for not “looking after myself” and the internal conflicts contributed to anxiety in social situations. I became a “nerd”. I think most “nerds” developed this way.

    These days now I can live with putting some effort into my appearance and body language as a matter of social necessity without feeling guilt. Understanding that humans are not rational agents but talking animals is the first step to being able to get along with them well. And I include myself in not being a rational agent.

  5. […] Man – “Ferdinand Bardamu – Appalling, But Instructive“, “More Criticism of Nerds“, “Expanding Your Comfort Zone – Sports and Hobbies“, “Female Sexual […]

  6. Steve says:

    “I spend way too much time reading about politics on the internet, which I’m trying to cut down on”

    Same here. Politics is fascinating but such a complete waste of time.

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