Before I start what is going to be a really long post (which is why this place exists, is not read, and uses markup: you have to occaisionally explore ideas over a few thousand words).
We need to ask about two terms of utility, and then interconnect them. The first is the bugman: also called trenchantly by Taleb intellectuals but idiots.
This person always makes sure that he has no skin in the game. He does not place himself at risk. He comments: he writes (well I do that) but he lacks any commitment.
Without commitment he is a man going his own way: atomized, and relying on the pleasures of his vices, of which pedantry and smugness predominate.
Even lechers, now damned in the #MeToo movement, are better.
"small-souled bugman" implies that the person has been cut off from their cultural roots, and totally subsumed into consumerist neoliberal hive. they are totally lack any sort of sympathy for their ancestors folkways, higher spirituality, or passion. if they do engage in activities that are somewhat human, they still are heavily tinged by global capitalism. if they are a sportsfan, they will participate heavily in fantasy sports(which is obsessed with statistics, 'scientific' analysis of performance). if they exercise, it will be all cardio, and tracked by fitbit and then uploaded to faceberg. tastes in food, art, music, movies are predetermined by review aggregator sites like yelp, metacritic or rotten tomatoes. political views only appeal to them if they seem 'rational,' and derived from the sort of conventional wisdom, economics influenced worldview seen in works like 'moneyball', nate silver's 538 blog, and 'freakonomics.'
My thesis is that these men become this way because they know that they are unable to lead, but want to. There is a heirarchy among men when it comes to attractiveness to the opposite sex, just as there is with women. The Gamma is creepy, and low status. The original classification notes.
Gamma: The introspective, the unusual, the unattractive, and all too often the bitter. Gammas are often intelligent, usually unsuccessful with women, and not uncommonly all but invisible to them, the gamma alternates between placing women on pedestals and hating the entire sex. This mostly depends upon whether an attractive woman happened to notice his existence or not that day. Too introspective for their own good, gammas are the men who obsess over individual women for extended periods of time and supply the ranks of stalkers, psycho-jealous ex-boyfriends, and the authors of excruciatingly romantic rhyming doggerel. In the unlikely event they are at the party, they are probably in the corner muttering darkly about the behavior of everyone else there... sometimes to themselves. Gammas tend to have have a worship/hate relationship with women, the current direction of which is directly tied to their present situation. However, they are sexual rejects, not social rejects.
The problem is that these men (and we are talking about men) want to be in charge. But they are not prepared to accept the responsibility of leadership: to protect those who are dependant on them, provide for them, defend them, and lead them. Leadership requires loyalty and that has to flow downhill before it is returned.
And leadership may not be consistent with the table of organization, because Gammas are held in contempt. Most men, who have limited beauty and charm, are respected as honest players. Gammas are not.
A delta can be an engineer who can lead a technical team. He can be a Marine in a “band of brothers” combat unit. He can be a middle manager who keeps a department running, a competent foreman or a mechanic, a successful musician, a waiter who does his job well. Most men who are trusted, whose judgment is respected by other men, and who are satisfied with their place in this world are deltas. The difference between deltas and the minority of men who are higher on Vox’s socio-sexual scale (alphas, sigmas, betas) is that deltas are not gifted with a dominant personality or extraordinary sexual charisma.
And now, on to gammas. The dividing line between a delta and a gamma is that other men respect deltas but not gammas. Likewise, women are comfortable around deltas (sometimes too comfortable) but are uneasy around gammas.
So what the hell is this gamma? My shorthand for them is “alpha ambition without the alpha goods.” They are restless, depressive, introspective, sarcastic, snarky, visibly bitter, passive-aggressive, cowardly in confrontation, and deluded about their rightful social status. You will find gammas among condescending nerds as well as in high places like law and politics.
These two descriptions intersect. One is seen in most workplaces: gammas are tolerated only if they are talented, but they are generally not trusted. Otherwise, they are forced to develop some empathy and social skills to survive.
The number of gammas who live on the charity of their parents and friends because they lack talent, muttering about the lack of appreciation of their intellectual talents is increasing since their spiritual forefather, Karl Marx, sponged off Engels
It is worth looking at this relationship a little more. Engels was the socially skilled, rich, but cosmopolitian and somewhat alienated sybarite who relied on Marx for a rationalisation of his lifestyle, while Marx was fomenting a pseudo scientific method that reliably predicts in the wrong direction. If Marx was a gamma, Engels is a bugman.
Friedrich Engels was indispensable to Karl Marx. He provided essential funding from the profits of his father’s Manchester cotton factory – amounting to roughly half his annual income in the 1850s and 1860s – to keep Marx and his wife, Jenny, in the bourgeois lifestyle to which they aspired “for the sake of the children”, as she put it defensively. He even stepped in when Marx managed to impregnate both his wife and their live-in housekeeper in quick succession, obliging both women to endure their pregnancies together in a squalid two-room flat in Soho. This ghastly situation was eased only when Engels gamely accepted paternity of the housekeeper’s boy and arranged for young “Freddy” to be adopted by a foster family in the East End.
Cash and cover aside, the most enduring contribution made by this sybaritic socialist – Engels plotted with the radicals of Hyde Road in Manchester but hunted with the Cheshire Hounds – was to Marx’s writing. In correspondence and conversation, Engels helped tease out his friend’s complex ideas and straighten his often knotty prose. He provided many of the government reports and official statistics about working conditions and public health on which volume one relied. Engels also helped educate the intellectual hermit ensconced in the Reading Room of the British Museum into the real world of factory capitalism. “Since practice is better than all theory,” one of Marx’s many begging letters began, “I would ask you to describe to me very precisely (with examples) how you run your business.”
So, yes, there is a difference. The Bugmen exist: they are the chattering class that justify the current narrative. They may, indeed will, perform socially accepted sports. They will be more attractive, less scary, more reasonable.
But their mates, if not in life in cyberspace, will be weird. They will disavow the bonds of blood, of tribe. They will consdier that they can live in an urban enclave, where they can be, if not secret kings, OP in their games, and consider that their twitter verification matters.
But this is a delusion.
Life is more visceral. If you are odd, learn social skills, get fit, gain confidence, and be content in yourself. Use what is real as a guide.
For there are many fantasy worlds that are lies.
But in this life, we are accountable. The measure is not our fitness trackers or weight or Fran time. It is how the people around us are influenced. For good, or for ill.
And the bugman and gammas reliably ruin everything.