Monday, October 15, 2012

Pity? Or mercy?

Assumptions can be costly, I am finding out.

If I hadn't made a certain assumption, my 'eureka' moment would have come a lot earlier than this, and this post would have been written perhaps 6 months ago.

What was my 'fatal' assumption?

That I knew the difference between the above two words.

Sadly, I did not.
But knowledge of this (important) difference could have saved me a tear or two :-)

I hate to look up English words in a dictionary. Because it is an admission that I don't know my own language well enough. Ridiculous, I know.
But, (and I am sure the multilingual among us will confirm this bizarre belief system) this is in fact a great coping mechanism for me. Having the 'assurance' (even if it is false) that I am 'done' with one language 'frees' me up to tackle the next. I have had to do this all my life. So my hamster has had an awful lot of practice dismissing words in English that I actually don't yet understand, in favour of foreign words I am actually yet to encounter at all...

But how paradoxical that foreign words improve my English :-)
It's a kind of linguistic equivalent of the Red Pill, so to speak.

My city's cathedral has different language Masses. I usually stick to French, of course, it being the local language where I am. But last Sunday, I got flummoxed by an unexpected (at least by me) event.
The Bishop was in town. No-one told me he was coming.

So when I rolled in for my usual Mass, it was quite the surprise to find the church full (um, it appears there are people who will only go to Mass when the Bishop is around, lol) and the old Mass still going on at the time when my Mass should have begun.

Due to logistic issues I ended up having to go to an Italian Mass. Which is fine.

During the Mass, I was suddenly interested in the word 'pietà'.
As in:
Signore pietà (Lord have mercy).
Cristo pietà (Christ have mercy).
Signore pietà (Lord have mercy).

I wondered if in Italian, the word 'pietà' which I assumed meant 'pity' was the correct translation for the word 'mercy' in English, in the way 'intimité' translates into 'privacy' in French.
(Um, OK, I should have been paying attention to proceedings at Mass rather than having an intellectual debate with myself as to the etymology of the word 'mercy', but we all know that I am not normal :-)

So I looked up 'pietà' when I got home.

It means both 'pity' and 'mercy' in Italian.

Hm. This made me think about something.
Then PVW sealed it for me by commenting thus, in response to my previous post about Sandra Fluke (bold type mine):

"On the other hand, I was bothered by Limbaugh's handling of this, especially as you said, he has some bones in his closet as well. In his attempts to fuel support for his side, he garnered a whole lot of support for hers. He could have done the same, but in a different manner."


I hear all the time from certain women that 'men are cruel'.
I don't disagree, because to female ears, men can be incredibly harsh. As harsh as....us :-)


One need only peruse Manosphere blogs to find evidence of 'harshness'.
At least to female sensitivities.

I am beginning to work out why it is that I lose converts to 'Manospheristianity' when I encounter Blue Pill women who I feel could learn a trick or two courtesy of The Manosphere.

I have learned that I am rather tactless in dealing with such women.
One thing about The Red Pill is that it needs to be ingested and digested... slowly. I forget that sometimes.
I ram it down someone's throat and then I am surprised if I am not invited to their next party:-)

So now I try to be more gentle, at least towards women.
There is a reason women like validation. It softens the rough edges of life for us.

One cannot and should not treat a woman as one would a man.
I think this might be where Limbaugh made a mistake.
He 'attacked' Fluke with the worst word possible when dealing with a woman.
Slut!

Hell hath no fury like a woman labelled a slut...

Even if 'technically' her behaviour may be construed as that of one.

She will unleash all kinds of unpleasantness on the utterer of that word, aided and abeted by her hamster.

Now, I am not saying that shaming is a bad tactic per se.
But public shaming combined with humiliation combined with choice words that make women see red, is perhaps a failing strategy when it comes to 'correcting' women.
I think I 'get' this now.

Limbaugh showed neither pity nor mercy.
And it is increasingly dawning on me that most men don't do mercy, but if pushed, they might show pity.
Che?

I looked both these words up in English:

Pity:
n. pl. pit·ies
1. Sympathy and sorrow aroused by the misfortune or suffering of another.
2. A matter of regret: It's a pity she can't attend the reception.

Mercy:
n. pl. mer·cies
1. Compassionate treatment, especially of those under one's power; clemency.
2. A disposition to be kind and forgiving: a heart full of mercy.
3. Something for which to be thankful; a blessing: It was a mercy that no one was hurt.
4. Alleviation of distress; relief: Taking in the refugees was an act of mercy.


Mercy is so much more than pity. Pity is just more or less an acknowledgment of another's pain. No more than that.
Mercy involves going an extra mile after you have felt the pity. Definition number 4 is particularly apt. Removing the pain of the pitied from him or her is consistent with showing mercy.

Pity is well within the range of emotions of a man. Given that men's emotions are usually short and 'strategic' as in celebrating a victory (triumph), delving into the depths of despair (sadness), expressing displeasure (anger) and experiencing ecstasy (um...) pity from a man is also necessarily short and sweet.

NB: Allevaiting pain of course comes naturally to a man as well. I am not suggesting otherwise. But perhaps it is not immediately preceded by the emotion of 'being moved to pity' in a way that women can be 'moved', emotionally. A man could do untold acts of kindness, but this could be compartmentalised and distinct from emotion, for instance, as an act of duty or honour?



Women on the other hand are quite capable of both pity and mercy, as we are endowed with a wider range of emotions. (Some choose not to explore both ends of this spectrum but most can :-)

But!
When men accuse women of being 'cruel' or 'harsh', it is, I think, because a woman has dished out 'pity' where 'mercy' was required.

Pity from a woman must be incredibly startling for a man. That's what he dispenses.
He does not expect that from a woman. Especially not one he loves and who he expects to love him back.


I am quite sure that women know the difference between pity and mercy, instinctively. Even if we cannot verbalise it.
Therefore, (and perhaps men believe this erroneously - I am not quite sure, please correct me here) 'pity' from a woman where 'mercy' would have been more appropriate feels like contempt to the man. And he might therefore feel insulted, his masculinity 'tainted' in some way.

I am also sure, by the way, that some women deliberately show contemptuous pity when they are upset with a man. Because they are reacting emotionally, and all gloves are off...

Perhaps a man expects mercy from women. All women. But he knows he can only get pity from another man.


One of the best ever posts I have come across was when Bellita said 'Our Lady implores all women to be like her - a face of mercy.' I think that's a great motto for all women, Catholic or not. I won't forget this post of hers.

Notice Bellita did not say 'a face of pity'.
I don't really know what that would look like, but I am sure I wouldn't like it if I saw it on a woman. And I daresay, most men wouldn't,  either.

I know of women called 'Mercy'.
I never heard of a woman called 'Pity'.

And at least in English, when we say at Mass 'Lord have mercy' or 'Lord have pity on us', we mean, in both instances, have mercy. I am pretty sure of that.
Because although God is 'male', (if we must describe Him in human terms), He is capable of even typically 'female' emotions or sentiments.


The following statement is hard to make. But I think it is necessary as part of so called Red Pill wisdom.

Women should not expect mercy from a man. That is a woman's emotion. It's like asking for a man to 'nurture'. Not going to happen.
Sometimes, even pity may be lacking. Just ask Sandra Fluke.
It is not because the man is a bad man per se. It is because he is a man. Full stop.
His function does not include 'mercy'.

This is the nature of men. It just is, no?
Would we want them any other way??

The only ones who would answer 'yes' to this question are those who want the fearless protection a man offers, as well as 'mercy'. Yes. Santa Claus really does exist :-)



Elisabeth Laurier, in this scene from 'Firelight' is getting 'hives' from Charles Godwin's overindulgence of his daughter Louisa.

When she says "feel for her Mr.Godwin, but don't pity her", she has made the classic mistake I made, by confusing pity with mercy, as per the dictionary definitions above, and she actually means, "pity her but don't show her mercy".

In other words, "accept that she is going to hurt because you are going off to work, but do walk away from her nonetheless. Acknowledge and go. Don't try to take away her pain. She doesn't need that right now. She's a spoiled brat who needs a different parenting style from now on."


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7RiF-v0JvM&feature=relmfu

From 08:00 onwards...


I think women want and need mercy from men, because women have it in them to dispense this when needed and they know of its value.
But unfortunately, men can only do pity at best, and even so, the receiving woman has to be a blood relative or 'the chosen one' :-)

Some women have realised this, and know that the only 'man' who can do 'mercy' is God.
Hence the whole 'I am a daughter of God' phenomenon so fiercely characteristic of a certain brand of 'Churchianity'.

Men see 'mercy' as a crucial part of femininity. 'Mercy' includes forgiveness and compassion.
Enter the male locker room...complete with locker room parlance:
If I mess up, will she show some compassion?
If I f*** up, will she forgive me?

They don't know what shape this takes, because it doesn't come naturally to them.
But they delight in it when they see it in a woman.

It just is...

23 comments:

Ceer said...

On Mercy...

I find this insulting to men. Female "mercy" as I have experienced is limited to them having bad feelings about the evil things they do even as they keep doing them. By your definition, this would mean I have seen female pity instead.

You're right to ask all this in the form of a question because it implies you're still open to ideas. I'd like to remind you of abortion. Women are so merciful indeed...

Some boy said...

Pity is disagreeable to men because it carries within it a notion of superiority, even contempt.

Mercy, on the other hand, acknowledges a commonality as in “Today I am triumphant but, tomorrow our positions may be flipped.”

Pity stays you hand by emphasizing the asymmetry in states. It is saying: “You are down and I am up, you may go but deal with it”.

Mercy does it by showing magnanimity and grace.

I can, of course, not even begin to approach W. Shakespeare in eloquence, so I will just let him take it from here:

PORTIA: The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.

The Merchant of Venice, 1596

This Old Man said...


When my opponent lies prostrate at my feet, defeated, if I do not step on him, I show him pity. I show him mercy if I bend down, grab his arm and show him to his feet.

Pity is primordial, gutural, unelevated. Wolves can show pity and so can cats, though they are not much inclined to do so.

Mercy, is compasionate, even magnanimous. It acknolwedges a common bond and bears no grudges.

Mercy forgives and even tempers justice, being a virtue of kings and even God himself (as the bard said).

just visiting said...

Some Boy said
Mercy does it by showing magnanimity and grace.

This Old Man Said

Mercy, is compasionate, even magnanimous. It acknolwedges a common bond and bears no grudges.

Mercy forgives and even tempers justice, being a virtue of kings and even God himself (as the bard said).

Great answers! Not sure that I can add to that, lol.

ST, you've just made me realize something. I don't think that I've ever been on the receiving end of mercy by a man. Close..once..with my ex husband. Forgiveness was involved,but not mercy as a woman would understand it or give it.

Notice how both Some Boy and This Old Man refer to magnanimous. I think this is key. I suspect that mercy is expressed in the masculine way by being magnanimous.
And, yes, not shown except to a chosen few. Seldomly.

ST, do you suppose that it feels like pity to us because for a man to be magnanimous to a woman, it's generosity or forgiveness toward someone less powerful than themselves.



just visiting said...

Which brings up compassion. God is compassionate. If a man feels passionately about a woman, I think he's going to struggle with the compassionate part IF SHE REQUIRES FORGIVENESS. Generosity and forgiveness, yes. Compassion....I'm not sure. Could depend on the transgression. It seems that men are compassionate toward a woman they care about if she has been wronged, or hamster it if she has wronged someone else. Not if she has wronged them.

just visiting said...

It's funny that you mention Bellita's "Face of Mercy" Post. I was thinking of it today. The sphere seems a bit dark of late. I'd wondered how many had ever sought "the face of mercy" in a woman and been found wanting. If they could see it even if they encountered it. Or if they'd stopped entirely, and hardened themselves to ever seeking it in mortal form.

In religious blogs, there seems to be a lot made of how a man is suppossed to lead. That her submission to her husband is likened to submission to god. But , and I may be sacreligious here, but what of the redemptive mother? In some archtypical part of the male mind, I suspect there is a compliment. And if so, mercy has not been a consciously cultivated trait in the modern woman or wife.

Spacetraveller said...

Ceer,

"On Mercy. I find this insulting to men."text

Not intended this way, Ceer. Promise.

"Female "mercy" as I have experienced is limited to them having bad feelings about the evil things they do even as they keep doing them. By your definition, this would mean I have seen female pity instead."

I suspect so, Ceer. I think "modern woman" does 'pity' so much more than 'mercy'. But she is capable of both. The 'mercy' part needs to be dragged kicking and screaming to the surface :-)

"You're right to ask all this in the form of a question because it implies you're still open to ideas."

Believe you me, I am! I don't claim to be an authority on this. I am just beginning to clarify my thoughts on this subject. I am definitely open to further ideas on this. If I sound at all 'authoritative' about this, consider it bravado lol.

Seriously, the motive behind 'putting it out there' is to develop a discussion about it, because I know that I will never fully understand this concept on my own.
And it seems that already, my instincts were right!

Like JV, I am impressed with 'Some boy' and 'This Old Man'!
(Are they a double act, by any chance? LOL).

"I'd like to remind you of abortion. Women are so merciful indeed..."

Well Ceer...
I think we would all agree that in the case of abortion, there is zero mercy to the unborn. There is no pity even.
Both women and men subscribe to it. But in the case of a woman, it is doubly unmerciful, because she is killing a part of herself too. Even if she doesn't know it at the time.

You know, there are many women who consider abortion as a knee-jerk reaction to whatever social reason may push them to consider it (and most reasons for abortion are indeed social - only a small percentage are because of truly medical contraindications to a pregnancy. This is because women for whom pregnancy would be lifethreatening due to a medical condition - including married women - are either celibate or are experts at Natural Family Planning, or use contraception - and I think this is one area where contraception is not frowned upon by The Catholic Church - but I am not sure - need to find out...).

Many women who were hellbent on abortion DO manage to stop themselves at the last minute. I have seen this happen many times. As I am sure you have too.
I guess it helps to picture a baby in one's mind... If you think of it as just a collection of 'growing cells' then of course you have no 'connection' to this lump of cells...
Terminology is everything in this case...

Spacetraveller said...

@ Some boy,

I won't say the usual 'Welcome to The Sanctuary' to you :-)

You sure know how to make a woman swoon. (Um, are you Danny's brother??)
You crash through The Sanctuary gates in blazing glory as you quote Shakespeare at me, all the while explaining to the readership something I wish I had the skill to explain!
You are clearly not just 'Some boy'.
You are 'The boy' :-)

Thank you.
I think you may have added an important dimension to (male) mercy
that I was clutching at straws at. I think my clutching at straws may have offended Ceer somewhat, because I wind up being a little 'clumsy', especially where I try to relate it to men. But you have stepped in and helped me out! Thank you very much! :-)

"But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;"


I had thought of God as showing this kind of mercy. You are right, kings and other 'über-men' also have this capability as a result of their 'magnanimity' which I think This Old Man describes brilliantly.


@ This Old man,

You too! You burst in with a flurry of smooth words that I wish I had at my disposal :-)

Are you the father of 'Some boy'?
You two certainly seem to be 'birds of a feather'. Interesting that you both make your debuts on The Sanctuary at the same time ;)

By the way, is this you? LOL.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFZhL92W6TE

"Mercy, is compasionate, even magnanimous. It acknolwedges a common bond and bears no grudges."

As JV also noticed, that word, 'magnanimous' is the PERFECT word to describe how men can show mercy to women.

I am not entirely sure women require 'magnanimity' to show mercy. I'll have to think more deeply about that one...

But men do. This is why God and kings and other 'über-men' can easily do mercy perhaps.
But as JV says, I think it also depends on the woman.
If it's your little 5 year old daughter, you as a man are in a position of 'über-man' to her :-) so you can show mercy.
If it is a harpy grown woman who is running you down constantly, not so much...
It also depends on the crime that requires mercy.

If a woman accidentally steps on your big toe when you are dancing the 'samba' together, I guess you wouldn't even feel it.
If she just told you your 27 year old son is not biologically yours, you would need all the magnanimity you can muster to forgive that one I guess...

I think the more masculine a man is, and the more feminine a woman is, the higher the likelihood of him showing her 'mercy'. And even then, it would be infrequent, lol.

We don't see this kind of mercy because we are far from this utopian state of maximal femininity, so I (who can blame me) drew the conclusion that it was impossible indeed to see this kind of mercy. I guess I am only half right. It IS impossible...but only in this current clime. Correct the variables, and we might see male mercy again, at least in daylight hours...

But...

Someone makes me eat my words.
Here is a man showing what I believe to be something VERY close to mercy.
To a woman who is a stranger.
Or at leaast, was. In the saddest sense possible.

What M3 is displaying is not common in The Manosphere. Not that this is a bad thing. There is also a small caveat that women will be freaked out by too much (and certainly, undeserved) mercy shown by a man. This is what is killing 'nice guys'.
But I think we all agree that M3's sentiments are highly appropriate in this setting...

http://whoism3.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/feeling-a-little-dead-inside/comment-page-1/#comment-1100

Spacetraveller said...

@ JV,

"ST, do you suppose that it feels like pity to us because for a man to be magnanimous to a woman, it's generosity or forgiveness toward someone less powerful than themselves."

Ah JV, now you hit on something that would require a bit of 'action' on the part of a woman...

If a woman wants a man to be 'magnanimous' towards her, perhaps it would help her to act the part. Be less powerful in relation to him, to allow him to be more powerful. This involves an incredible amout of humility on the part of the woman, and I won't blame anyone who accuses me of 'misogyny' here.
I hope someone can refine better what I am trying to say.
I know I am being way too clumsy with my words, but I don't have the required skill to steer myself in the right direction...
Anyone care to chip in?

"It's funny that you mention Bellita's "Face of Mercy" Post. I was thinking of it today. The sphere seems a bit dark of late. I'd wondered how many had ever sought "the face of mercy" in a woman and been found wanting."

Oh I have no doubt that this is the case!

"If they could see it even if they encountered it. Or if they'd stopped entirely, and hardened themselves to ever seeking it in mortal form."

I suppose if you look for something long enough and you don't find it, you stop looking for it, and sadly even if it comes up and sits on your face, you wouldn't even notice it.
Yes, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that some people have given up on this life, and hope that God is for real, and that they would have a better time of it after this life has ended.
Whilst this is a good general philosophy, I think life on Earth is not supposed to be 'pain all the way'...
And I feel bad for those who do feel this way. Including young Ms. Todd, who incidentally is a good example of someone who got neither pity nor mercy in her young life.

From nobody. At all. It seems.

just visiting said...

One of the reasons slut shaming doesn't sit well with me. The other thing that doesn't sit well with me is her being so hungry for approval and attention that she would flash a stranger when asked. The culture and social media is literally grooming girls for this kind of thing. Doesn't indicate an involved father. I suspect mother didn't raise her to value chastity. Hard to say. I used to know girls who admitted to sleeping with guys in the hopes of just being held. I'd feel cruel shaming someone like that. The sphere assumes that all sluts are narcissists. In which case, they'd get off on the drama anyways.

Ceer said...

If a woman *just* wants to be held...all she has to do is ask a beta. They're EVERYWHERE. What she wants is alpha attentions. I'm a-okay with shaming someone like that.

@Spacetraveller

If a woman wants a man to be 'magnanimous' towards her, perhaps it would help her to act the part. Be less powerful in relation to him, to allow him to be more powerful. This involves an incredible amout of humility on the part of the woman, and I won't blame anyone who accuses me of 'misogyny' here.

I think of this differently. Imagine two kings struggling for power. The first king stumbles, and the second lays off due to his honor not allowing him to strike a humbled enemy. The first one sees this as weakness, and as he gets up off his knees, strikes at his opponent. To me, feminism is like this first king.

Women are trying desperately to be kings over men. In such an environment, it really is impossible for true mercy to be interpreted as such. A kind young man helping out a young woman is hamster-turned into "he just wants to get in my pants".

Spacetraveller said...

@ Ceer,

"Women are trying desperately to be kings over men. In such an environment, it really is impossible for true mercy to be interpreted as such."

Yes Ceer, I agree with you here. I think this was what JV was getting at. In the situation you describe, even if a magnanimous man is showing true mercy, the woman is not in a position to see it as such because she is in competition with him. And therefore she is not even in a position to see him as 'magnanimous', which as a few people are making clear to me in this thread, is a requirement in how women 'see' male mercy.

So I agree with you wholeheartedly that feminism is killing the natural relationship between men and women by goading women to be 'in the face' of men.
This unfortunately leads to a weird 'tit for tat' duel that sours one to the other.

"A kind young man helping out a young woman is hamster-turned into "he just wants to get in my pants"."

Mais bien sûr!
Once the 'souring' has taken place, any old excuse will be used to justify the impending fallout.
The 'he wants to get into my pants' is a standard put-down. I can see that it's annoying if you happen to be a man who is NOT trying to get into her pants...

In many ways, this all makes sense in light of the discussion we have had above about this topic.


But I don't think the (natural) self-protective stance that women take in dealing with unfamiliar men should be used against them.
Some women are (and all should be) trained to be 'suspicious' of male intentions, at least at the beginning of any social/romantic encounter, so if a woman is thinking this thought, I am not sure it is necessarily a bad thing. But of course if this is not a private thought of hers (to be mulled over in her own mind until she is sure one way or another about the unfamiliar male) but rather she is busy broadcasting her suspicions to the world, perhaps ruining his reputation in the process, then I agree that this is indeed wrong.

But alas...I seem to have strayed off-topic a bit - you are referring to a different situation...aye.

:-)



Grasshopper said...

@JV… “…I don't think that I've ever been on the receiving end of mercy by a man…not mercy as a woman would understand it…”

I think this is an unintended consequence of females sh*t testing men so much.

In a situation where mercy may be an appropriate response from me in the back of my mind I am thinking ‘is this a sh*t test of some kind?’

I do not want to risk her thinking she can get away with anything and be able to walk all over me because I’ll just forgive her again and again. On the other hand people make mistakes and do dumb things sometimes and it’s likely not worth tossing her away over it.

I learned that when you forgive you have to set boundaries. For example, OK I forgive you but that really hurt me so don’t do it again. She just may not have known how whatever she said or did would impact me. But if she does it again – forgiveness is almost impossible then.

Grasshopper

just visiting said...

@ Grasshopper

I could see this.

@ Ceer

Teen girls aren't the wisest bunch. This is why I also agree with ST about allowing for a certain distrust that a girl might have toward males. Feminism has targeted and shamed this response, but it's actually a natural response in young girls that protects them as they gain understanding of men. It's tied into demurity. To shame the response or over ride it is to shame and over ride demurity. That's great for the sex pozzie slut walking crowd. But it leads to situations like the friend who over rode it to sleep with guys in order to be held.

Demurity is cautious. That caution would weed out certain types allowing her to see differences in types. (We aren't given a manual that says this is an alpha and this is a beta and the differences in behaviour) She would just understand it as "This boy must reaaally like me because he's more forward with me than the other boys are." This forwardness will also lead to her attraction to him. A lot of girls will end up falling for a boy emotionally as well if he kisses her. The problem, is that this isn't the case for the boy. And unfortunately, a lot more can happen before a girl learns this.

Anonymous said...

Hi, ST, PVW here, thanks for the acknowledgment!

I find interesting your discussion of mercy and pity here in the Limbaugh situation.

I don't see their connection as personal enough to justify use of both words. I saw him as being incredibly tactless, just incredibly undiplomatic.

It is interesting, but I read the works of conservative commentators who were equally critical, men included, but it did not get into the realm of the crass. I was more likely to read their works and ignore Limbaugh's.

Although her testifying before Congress was embarrassing, it wasn't crass in any fashion. She behaved like a highly trained and articulate lawyer. Thus, she gained more sympathy?

But I do understand your use of the words in the more personalized context. As for me, mercy means an acknowledgment of one's power, but it is not hardened by contempt and lack of recognition for another's humanity.

It is an acknowledgment of power and respect. Men and women can both do this, whenever they realize they have the upper hand with another, and it need not involve some type of competition. It need only be an acknowledgment of a power dynamic at play.

Examples, the husband with a submissive wife who is merciful in dealing with her because he knows he has the upper hand financially. He doesn't abuse his power. The same goes for a woman who has the upper hand.

As for pity, there is a contempt underneath it, a lack of respect. You feel sorry for a person, or not, but you feel superior to them and a measure of contempt as well. It need not arise in a competitive situation, but need only arise in situations where people are comparing themselves to others.

Ceer said...

@JV and Spacetraveller

I understand your point in regards to young women being wary of men they don't know yet. From what I've seen, this defense works AGAINST chastity. Let me explain.

There are three basic ways for guys and girls to meet:
1) Cold approach
2) Common activity
3) Introduced by someone else

Type 3 is very uncommon because it is seen as "uncool" for parents to be involved in their children's (even adult children) social lives.

Type 2 is unlikely because men and women typically segregate along lines of interest. Try taking a man shopping, or a woman to a nerd festival.

Type 1 is where the action is with regards to this idea. Remember that the job of alpha is to lower the defenses of women so they care less about the problems with said alpha. In other words...alphas don't have to follow the rules. Betas do. They run head first into the chaste girl's protection shield because they lack charisma, etc.

What ends up happening is women fall for the alphas, cry that they were duped, and wonder why the betas wouldn't come talk to them. Answer is...protection shield weeds them out. Men learn early on whether they have the charisma to push through the shield. If not, they don't approach. Remember, they don't want to be THAT GUY who hits on every girl. You only get a certain number of approaches in a social group before that happens.

So...counterintuitively the answer is to...lower the shield. Go on a few dates with guys who ask...in full view of the public (or group of friends) the entire time. Then use the forebrain to pick, and try to build a relationship from that. Beta type attraction takes longer to develop than a daygame pickup attempt.

Remember, the most powerful selection is the first selection.

This is why ALL game guides stress alpha. Because women are either actively taught to select for it, or put the shield up so only alpha can get through...thinking they'll be chaste.

Anonymous said...

ST, I think this ties into some observations I made here before and which you made in your post on voice. I spoke once about "tone."

Is it a matter of men's voices being lost in the public sphere, I think you wondered, or is it a male tone of voice, ie., the type of "in your face" style of Limbaugh that is becoming lost?

Is it that women, in listening to men, don't listen unless the male voice is in a form they find palatable?

As I think about the recent presidential debate, I found both men's voices to be firm, masculine, and "in your face," but without being obnoxious.

I could understand their approach, I could listen; but in anonymous internet conversations where the typical tone and nuance of in-person conversation is lost, I find I can be more sensitive to that type of voice, because it feels off for the context....too jarring.

Oh, and as for Limbaugh, although I didn't imagine the merciful/pitiful connection apparent in their interaction, his criticism can be described as merciless, not only because of how he described her, but he is an older and more powerful man who seemed to abuse his position in an instance where it was not called for. So, again, more sympathy for her? Does he pity her? I don't know.

PVW

just visiting said...

@ Ceer

I agree that its good advice especially with grown women. But it might be a bit much for young girls still muddling. This is one of those things that looks good in theory, but in practice, doesn't follow the script. This is why in my earlier comment, I referred to sex pozzies. Over riding demurity in ones teens ends up creating promiscuity that does not necessarily include beta's. (I suspect this contributes to why the smp is so screwed up)

Figuring out attraction as a young girl is different than for boys. A boy sees a pretty girl next to an ugly girl...he knows what attracts him. Though most men will never beleive this (Too many high school scars)High school is the most level playing field that a beta could hope for when it comes to competing with alphas. But the shields are through the roof!! Boldness favours the beta who can break through it just as easily as the alpha. More so than in adulthood. Attraction is not set at this age. The parameters are still being created.

@ Anyone

Pity seems to trigger some rather uncomfortable feeling. Some will detest having others feel pity for them. Others seek it. And yet others use it as a manipulative weapon. Some of the most convoluted situations that I've found myself in are situations where my pity was used to manipulate me. It doesn't happen very often, but still.......






Anonymous said...

love this site – it's a great blog – may i suggest you get an rss feed.

This Old Man said...

ST:

Pity, mercy, etc. we can put them in a hierarchy:

When you see suffering and it makes you feel bad, that is pity. When you feel the suffering yourself and wish for some relief, that is compassion. When you are in a position to do something to relieve the suffering and do, that is mercy. When you embrace the suffering as if it were your own and do whatever is in your might to relieve it, that is charity.

The fellow in your link was showing compassion. He cannot longer show mercy in this instance. That girl, Amanda, is beyond the mercy of all but the Almighty. Except, perhaps, for prayers for her soul.

Mercy requires the ability to do something, withhold a penalty or grant a boon, which is why it is often associated with the mighty and the rich. It is why Portia beseeches the court for mercy, as they hold power of life and death. But mercy is not just only for the mighty. A small and momentary advantage can be enough. We all can bestow mercy upon each other in large and small ways: Alms to the beggars, forgiveness to those who trespass against us… The seven (x2) works of mercy of the Catechism…

As to who does what, pity, mercy, etc. are universal human responses, not specifically male or female. Though I suppose pity may have different connotations for men and women, as it can denote helplessness. We do use the word shame to denote pity, after all.

But it is not all negative, after all. You are aware that pity and piety have the same etymological root, aren’t you?

Spacetraveller said...

@ Grasshopper,

"In a situation where mercy may be an appropriate response from me in the back of my mind I am thinking ‘is this a sh*t test of some kind?’"

This is a very valid point, Grasshopper!

To be honest, I approached this post purely from the point of view of the 'giver' of mercy or pity, but you and a few others have made me also think of the behaviour of the 'recipient'. It is of course equally important that one's mercy is not taken advantage of. In fact, I personally find it CRUCIAL.

@ PVW,

Yes, I agree with you that Limbaugh was particularly merciless, especially in view of the observation that he is quite an influential figure and therefore possesses (at least in theory) that 'magnanimity' that we have been discussing here.

The point is that although he is technically right in what he says about Fluke, if we are to call a spade a spade, (she is morally wrong on a lot of levels to be demanding free contraception!) he however went a little too far, I think, in his criticism of her, and in such a public way.

So in many ways, perhaps she was backed into a corner and felt the only option was to retaliate in the manner she did: with all guns blazing.
Which, I feel, paradoxically, only helps to perjorate her cause, and not ameliorate it.
What a shame for her.

@ Ceer,

Might I confess something to you?

I was initially alarmed by the first two sentences of your comment.
Hence, I was really glad you clarified further down :-D

My response is two-fold:

1. And this ought to be some kind of confession...
When I describe women in the manner I do, I sometimes have a specific type of woman in mind. Certainly the type of woman I think is ideal.
Perhaps this type of woman is heavily idealised, but I stick with her in my attempt to convince (read: hamsterise!)myself into believing that she exists, or can exist.
And then you, like many men here hit me with reality :-) and I find that we are talking past each other because we are talking about two different types of women, even if I use the generic term 'all women' or 'most women'.

I should perhaps revise my style. I can see how annoying this can get for you men who are out there meeting (over and over again) the type of woman I refuse to acknowledge exists.

But perhaps in my defence, I really do know that the woman of whom you write exists. I just choose to ignore her (ejected from my herd, so to speak) so to me she no longer exists on planet ST (to borrow Danny's phraseology).

2. I get what you are hinting at. Women have natural shields that they lower or dispose of when the 'alphas' are around.

Well, I cannot fault your observation. I know you are right, afterall.

But let me draw your attention to something if I may:
(And I credit someone else for this piece of insight):
It is NOT the shield's fault if a woman uses it unwisely. Not that you say it is, but I get the feeling you are suggesting that the shield could lead to her failed attempt at chastity.
The shield, is 'f you like, a 'knee-jerk' response.
How it is maintained and lowered depends very much on the woman's character, values, morals, environment, etc.
This is totally distinct from the shield itself, which is (or at least should be) present in every woman.
Those who are giving in (in the wrong way) to alphas are effectively bypassing the house alarm system to literally open the door themselves to the burglar (again credit to a wise woman for this analogy).
The shield is not to be blamed if it is rendered useless by its owner.
The woman who has matured correctly (and I agree with JV that teenage girls may have not got there yet lol, but that's why human life is a journey - one cannot expect the young to have it together) knows how to use her shield to her advantage, and if she chooses to lower it, it is usually a decision she is happy with (even if it is the wrong decision in the end). The worst thing is to feel regret about how the shield was deployed (or not, as the case may be).

Spacetraveller said...


@ This Old Man,

May I rename you 'This Wise Old Man'?

This latest comment of yours is just awesome. Beautiful summary.
It really explains this topic for me. Thanks.

"You are aware that pity and piety have the same etymological root, aren’t you?"

Sadly, I wasn't!
But it does make sense now to connect the two...
And now I am not at all surprised to learn that the word for 'piety' in italian is also...you guessed it...pietà.

Can't make this stuff up :-)
I am showing my geekiness, but this stuff really fascinates me!
Thanks for indulging me :-)

Spacetraveller said...

@ Anonymous,

Thanks for your nice words and also for the suggestion.

Due to a combination of ignorance and laziness, I am not really sure what an rss would add to this site...
Any tips/further explanation?
Much appreciated.