Advanced Machiavellian Insulting

“Machiavellian Intelligence” is a recent concept. However, it has been practiced for at least 400 million years. What is Machiavellian Intelligence? Any form of intelligence which uses a Theory of Mind to predict, and sometimes, as we will see below, dictate, the behavior of others (this my definition, which generalizes the usual one, which is confined to large social groups).

Any animal with a sufficiently advanced intelligence acts, relative to other animals, with a Theory of what the Mind of the other is. For short, philosophers call that a Theory of Mind.

Elaborated originally when studying primates, the “Machiavellian intelligence hypothesis” (Byrne and Whiten 1988, 1997) is that the large brains of humans grew over the millennia because of intense social competition for reproduction (now of course, food is even more important than reproduction… and survival, more than food… So limiting to a social group is silly.)

However, considered in my much more general sense, Machiavellian intelligence has existed probably since the first fishes ambled on land, if not before (such fishes nowadays, such as Mudskippers spend some time threatening and fighting each other for their piece of mud… It is of such animals and their ilk, we are talking about today).

Insults Depend Upon A Theory of the Mind of the Other. Insults Can Be Noble, Let Alone Well Deserved. However, They Are First A Way To Change Minds, Often For the Worst

Insults Depend Upon A Theory of the Mind of the Other. Insults Can Be Noble, Let Alone Well Deserved. However, They Are First A Way To Change Minds, Often For the Worst

For example the mother crocodile which charges or, actually, any animal making a mock charge, uses a Theory of Mind (they know they may scare away the enemy, because the enemy will be afraid; thus they know something about the mind of the enemy, and they conceive of fear ).  

In human beings, Machiavellian Intelligence can reach heights unsuspected by traditional scholarship.

Consider insults. The very principle of insulting depneds upon having a Therory of Mind. Generally insults are viewed first as the mark of anger, the products of gross and primitive minds. But there is much more to it. Insults can be proffered to change the mind of the adversary in a very deep way.

I got severely insulted on the Internet in recent months. The perpetrators have TDS, Trump Derangement Syndrome, according to which whoever did not agree with what they were injected with, is most evil. The plutocratically owned Main Stream Media (including “public” outfits for sale, such as NPR and PBS) decreted that all heretics were racist, homophobic, anti-Muslim, Lesbian, Transexual hater, “Alt-Right”, “red”, combative and generally atrocious. One did not have to be a supporter of Trump to attract a frenzy of insults. Being a simple supporter of the Truth, in any way, was deemed enough for a deluge of insults.

I must confess that I supported the Truth really a lot, partly in the hope of studying the flow of insulters, and what it was the insulters hope to achieve. The more I supported Truth, the more enraged the insulters got. I found that sad, as a simple human being with simple feelings, for people I used to consider friendly, or, at least, decent, yet, the more I got insulted, the more very interesting I found the entire exercise, as a philosopher trending towards ever more sophistication..

ven by people whom I have known face to face, accused me to be a “racist”, an “antisemite”, or a “racist troll”. Several of these people  know my family is multiracial, from three continents. That my parents and closest family fought the Nazis in uniform or in the resistance, taking huge risks, even hunted by Gestapo. Some even knew that said family has been extremely tight with Obama for more than four decades (and they adulate Obama, whom they never met, as if he was the new Golden Calf).

In spite of evidence to the contrary, and without supporting sophisticated reasoning for hurling such infamy, the insults kept coming, and were widely advertized in “social networks”. Someone important explained to me that the insulters were mostly posing to reassure their allies, and employers (in the “liberal” media) that there was no way they knew a monster such as me.

But then I discovered this:

Something insulters want, and all too often get, is for their preys to become according to their insults.

Facebook friend John Michael Gartland agreed: That’s just what I was thinking. Others I exposed the idea to had an “eureka moment”.

So insults flow from a Theory of Mind. “Fighting words” (a legal notion) are there to incite coming to blows. But what I revealed above is more subtle.

Say you know somebody who is not a racist, not a xenophobe, not a liar. Still, suppose that person is insulted, and called, publicly, a “racist”, “xenophobe”, “liar”, and other derogatory terms, relentlessly. What to do to get out of it if denials only excite the insulters to further abuse? Paradoxically, the natural reaction is to embrace the deplorable condition which is unjustly conferred, is to embrace it: that immediately drops the charge of bad faith and lying.

Also, having received already the punishment, why not enjoy its fruits? And if it irritates so much the insulters, why not to strike back with what infuriates them so much?

Such is one of the infernal loops which foster conflicts. Thus, confronted to insults, replying with just “esprit”, tack to tack, as Voltaire (and many others) used to, is not always the wisest behavior. Insults are how the creeps transfer their inferiority to ourselves. Let’s go higher, to crush the insulters, as the roaches they are.

To the violence haters and insulters propose, impose and live by, we have an alternative: intelligent, honest debate, going boldly where they can’t want to. Nothing infuriates them more.

Patrice Ayme’

 

Advertisements

Tags: , ,

11 Responses to “Advanced Machiavellian Insulting”

  1. brodix Says:

    Patrice,

    I think you have it backward. It would seem more likely they are trying to find a pigeonhole in their own mind that they are trying to fit you into.
    In which case the response is to treat them like children and wait out the temper tantrum, not get into a tit for tat.
    Why do children have temper tantrums? Because they are not strategic thinkers, but only respond tactically, by upping the amplitude and response. This works if they can quickly overcome whatever it is they oppose, but it is also an energy drain. Much like a child will eventually stop having a fit, because it is tiring.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Well, real damage is done. When thousands of people who have never met me, never read me, etc., are told I am a “racist troll”, it’s neither racy, nor droll.

      • brodix Says:

        There is a real polarization going on and people are picking sides. Tread carefully.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          If you knew my life, sometimes even now, you would know that I feed on risk. I was in avalanches twice (once rock, once snow), I was attacked, and even bombed. Now I lay low, with lots of lures planted. However some people who know who I am turned distinctly disgreeable recently (a computer geek in media apparently threatened to shut me down, I guess electronically…)

          Anyway, I will heed your advice. The most hilarious part, is that I wrote against Trump for decades… So the hostility is real gratuitous..

  2. Gmax Says:

    There is no moral code, no tradition, no politeness on the Internet. There is no law either according to social media. They just ban people they don’t like.

    And insults, my god, are you kidding me? Anything goes! It’s worse than primary school. Trump was crafty enough to get it, although he was never as abusive as what those people did to you. That’s general, the Dems have got complete nuts

  3. Paul Handover Says:

    Wow! Read your latest twice, the second time just a few minutes ago aloud to Jeannie.

    But still want time for your words, your ideas, to percolate through my aged brain cells.

    I will return!

What do you think? Please join the debate! The simplest questions are often the deepest!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: