MALE SEXUALITY APPROACHING THE SINGULARITY
By Isaac Simpson
Illustration by Barak Hardley
This story originally appeared in Issue2. Click here to buy the print edition
MALE SEXUALITY APPROACHING THE SINGULARITY:
The Fighters, The Withdrawers, and The Pluggers-in
There is a blog called “The Futurist” which is mostly complex economic predictions authored by a man known only as “GK”. The articles found on the Futurist are esoteric, inaccessible, reeking of male, mother’s-basement B.O. and neck-beard conspiracy theories. This blog is updated rarely, overtly self-celebratory (despite being often wrong), and has never achieved much notoriety, outside of one major exception.
On January 1st, 2010, out of nowhere, this benign, anonymous little blog published a 16,000-word article that spread like wildfire across the Internet, sparked a movement, and may have, ultimately, changed the world.
Like many future-predictors, GK believes that the "technological singularity", or the birth of autonomous artificial intelligence beyond human control, will occur sometime around 2050. Before the singularity, however, GK postulates that another force will push society to the breaking point. That force is, more or less, third wave feminism. The article in question is titled; “The Misandry Bubble” and is full of charts and statistics.
The "Misandry Bubble " is about how the mores of the modern Western World have fully tainted the interaction between men and women. It claims that the state has forcibly transferred resources from men to women to create various perverse incentives for otherwise good women to inflict great harm onto their own families. "The Misandry Bubble" says that we have allowed our society to become one where male nature is vilified but female nature is celebrated. It contends that this is unfair to both genders, and is a recipe for a rapid civilization decline and displacement, the costs of which will ultimately be borne by a subsequent generation of innocent women, rather than men, as soon as 2020.
GK argues that marriage and traditional gender roles are the underpinnings of Western society and that eroding them will result not in progress, but regression. By eschewing marriage, we are returning to an animalistic state where only Alpha males (the top 20% of the male population, per GK) have any chance at procreating, leaving the other 80% out in the cold. Further, GK argues that males and traditional male sexuality are denigrated by systemic misandry. The existence of gender-slanted divorce and alimony laws, inequitable gender representation in military roles and other dangerous professions, and the media’s inconsistent promulgation of negative male stereotypes, paint a picture of male oppression—a “misandry bubble,” that GK predicts will burst in the year 2020.
Interestingly, GK does not argue that the bubble will burst due to revolution or any organized male rebellion. Rather, the effects of the bubble will be so economically harmful to Western society that it will have no choice but to correct itself or crumble.
“The Misandry Bubble” went viral and spawned hundreds of male-centric blogs, forums, and mini-movements sometimes collectively referred to as “The Manosphere” or “neomasculinity.” This indicates that in the computer age, male sexuality has become reactive. Beta males (that 80% left “out in the cold” by a marriage-less society) must deal with the fact that they are no longer guaranteed a mate in exchange for participating in society. They’re coping in a variety of ways, all of which are reliant on computers.
Some are rebelling by gathering in online forums such as “The Red Pill” on Reddit, where Beta men plot to turn themselves into Alpha men. “Men’s Rights Activism” (MRA) which mirrors the third-wave feminist practice of identifying, and railing against, structural inequality. Other Beta males are entirely checking out of the courtship ritual. “Men Going Their Own Way” (MGTOW) refuses to engage with women on anything but an “as-needed” basis. Their Japanese counterparts, so-called “Herbivore Men,” are meek, passive, and apparently too sensitive to rise to the courtship challenge at all. A third group, perhaps the most disturbing, are those who cope by entering fantasy worlds where they can sleep with women they would never dream of approaching in real life.
“Teledildonic Fleshlights” allow users to have sex with plastic replicas of their favorite porn stars’ vaginas while watching pornography featuring the same porn star. For these men, sexual necessity is all but removed, allowing for a “cockpit life” spent perpetually plugged into the digital world.
Regardless of whether you acknowledge their validity, it is undeniable that these strange new sexualities are symbolic of an unhealthy societal gender dynamic, exacerbated by computers, that must be corrected in order to avoid catastrophe or a self-imputed Matrix-like future. I will examine each of these expressions of the new masculinity as our society moves closer to total computer domination.
Please keep in mind that, though they are presented as distinct, these are in fact fluid, embryonic categories with a great deal of overlap and ambiguity between them.
THE FIGHTERS: The Red Pill and MRA
Exploring neomasculinity online comes with an abundance of strange terminology that can make it seem cultish. This is partly because there is substantial overlap between neomasculinity and the Pick Up Artist world (PUA), which employs seduction strategy shorthand like “negs,” “peacocking,” and “day game.” It is important to distinguish the two so as not to get confused. PUA can refer to a man who quite simply likes getting laid, and uses a set of prescribed tactics to do so. The stars of Neil Strauss’ non-fiction book, The Game are this sort, those who aren’t particularly interested in the sociopolitical underpinnings of their seduction methods, and are just happy that they work.
While PUA is certainly androcentric and anything-but-feminist, it is socio-politically agnostic. Neomasculinity and its strongest online manifestation, a 150,000-member Reddit message board called “The Red Pill,” are, on the other hand, rooted in something much deeper—the awakening caused by the publication of, “The Misandry Bubble.” The belief that what young Westerners are taught about gender relations is a lie.
The Red Pill
Eric Vidal is a former tech entrepreneur who was a pioneer of live streaming webcam content. He was one of the first people to have sex on live web camera, though, he admits, it was accidental. Since leaving tech he has become a Red Pill writer, a staunch believer in “The Misandry Bubble,” and a practitioner of Neomasculinity.
He is working on a memoir titled Five Years of Sober Dating in New York and Los Angeles, in which he—a lost, sober, shy Beta male—discovers The Red Pill after six frustrated years of trying to find love. The problem, as Vidal describes it, was a fundamental lie he had been told since birth—that if you’re a nice, hard working guy, you will meet a woman and fall in love. “I knew something was seriously wrong, and I knew it had something to do with the overabundance of choice,” says Vidal, about his “blue pill” days, before he became “situationally aware” via The Red Pill.
The Red Pill gets its name from the scene in The Matrix where Morpheus offers Neo two pills. If Neo takes the red one, he will see his dystopian world as it really is. If he takes the blue, he will return to happy ignorance, but never shake the faint notion that something is amiss. When Vidal found The Red Pill, he “felt like a guy in the renaissance who was questioning God, but couldn’t do it out loud because he’d get burned alive by the Church. Privately he’s thinking, ‘maybe there’s no God?’ and then suddenly he comes across all these laws of physics that explain everything.”
So what was Vidal’s revelation? “That society had fucking fucked me,” he says. “They all told me, if you work hard, keep your nose to the grindstone, study, and you’re a good citizen, and you pay your taxes, the awesome chick is going to throw her arms around you and you’ll have a happy Disney ending. I thought that if I showed a woman how much I wanted her, how much I cared, that would be enough. But it doesn’t work like that. In fact, it’s the exact opposite.”
The Red Pill ideology has grown into a tree with many branches, each of which is its own line of theory with its own principles. For example, one popular maxim is Briffault’s Law, developed by British surgeon and social anthropologist Robert Stephen Briffault in 1931. "The female, not the male, determines all the conditions of the animal family. Where the female can derive no benefit from association with the male, no such association takes place." - Robert Briffault, The Mothers, Vol. I, p. 191
Without going too deep, there are two key Red Pill principles that serve as the foundation for all the others. The first is “hypergamy,” the evolutionary tendency of human females to mate for status. The second is the “Alpha/Beta” distinction, the idea that there are certain “high status” men that are valued over others by society at large.
The Red Pill blames the disintegration of the relationship between the sexes on technology, beginning with birth control and home appliances and culminating in smartphones and mobile dating apps.
Technology has freed women from certain institutions, like marriage, and risks, like pregnancy, that used to restrict their hypergamous nature by limiting their ability to mate for status alone. The vast majority of women (the number most often cited by The Red Pill is 80%) are attracted only to a small minority, 20%, of men who have the most “sexual market value” (SMV) in the “sexual marketplace” (SMP).
This idea makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint: why would women want to incubate anything besides the choicest genes? It is also supported by concrete archeological evidence, which suggests that, in caveman times, only about 40% of men managed to reproduce, while 80% of women did. The 60% of men who could not reproduce in primitive society would know by Red Pillers as “betas.”
That 60-80% of the population who cannot reproduce becomes quite problematic when trying to form a civilization, as do the older, unattached women who, once past their own sexual prime, are no longer desired by the alpha men. These are two huge, extremely dissatisfied populations who will not cooperate and play nice as society tries to build itself up. “At first they check out and they don’t do anything,” says Vidal, of Beta men in the state of nature. “Then they start getting restless and unruly, and they burn it all to the ground. You can’t invent skyscrapers that way. Marriage fixes that problem.”
Indeed, from this perspective, the institution of marriage is, literally and figuratively, a Godsend. It is sexual Communism, a re-distribution of sexual wealth. It satisfies the Beta men and the older women by bringing them together—not only does it ensure Beta men have mates, but it provides protection for older women who can no longer easily attract an Alpha mate. It’s not for nothing that traditional conservatives call marriage “a building block of civilization.”
However, then came birth control, and sex no longer involved a high risk of pregnancy. Women no longer had to only sleep with men with enough resources to take care of the potential child. Where a stable, hardworking but sexually unexciting Beta man would have once been a catch, he was replaced by a more animalistic, and more rare, Alpha man that appealed to a woman’s baser tendencies.
Appliance technology further freed women from their traditional gender role by drastically reducing the domestic workload. Finally, apps like Tindr turned dating into a virtual video game based on superficial status indicators like attractiveness and money. Women today face a constant onslaught of ever-improving options. There is always a guy on Instagram with slightly better abs, or with a more expensive car, or with a few more followers, than the last guy.
Vidal, as a gamer and developer, predicts that in the future all sex will be a simple calculation carried out via app. “It will have a guy’s total attractiveness rating, and the app will search for the man in your area with the highest rating, and that’s who you will meet. There will be no conversation, the woman will simply click the highest rated man available in her area and sleep with him. It’ll be called ‘Alpha Fuck.’” A similar mechanism was imagined in Gary Shteyngart’s futuristic novel Super Sad True Love Story.
Red Pillers are men like Vidal who gather online to figure out how to raise their SMV by gaining and adopting Alpha traits such as big muscles, confident attitudes, and high-status jobs. They are almost entirely self-described “former Betas” that wondered, like Vidal, why they could never attract a permanent mate. It’s not that they couldn’t get laid; the lack of women willing to have sex isn’t the gripe of Red Pillers per se. Rather, it’s a sort of gendered conservatism that begrudgingly accepts that marriage is dead, and seeks a solution through self-betterment.
Where Red Pill men fight misandry through individual improvement, Men’s Rights Activists seek gendered political change and, in that sense, are remarkably similar to the feminists they abhor. MRA pundit Milo Yiannopolous, who is gay, articulated the position of MRA in his now famous debate with feminist Rebecca Reid at University of Bristol. “We’ve overshot the age of gender equality, and the men of your generation are going to be the primary victims of this era,” says Yiannopolous in the 80 minute YouTube video of the debate, which has nearly 200,000 views. “Straight white women are the most privileged class in the history of our species.”
Sure enough, most of MRA’s beefs with society are rooted in “The Misandry Bubble.” Here’s another passage from “The Misandry Bubble”. "All of us have been taught how women have supposedly been oppressed throughout human existence, and that this was pervasive, systematic, and endorsed by ordinary men who did not face hardships as severe as what women endured. In reality, this narrative is entirely fabricated. The average man was forced to risk death on the battlefield, at sea, or in mines, while most women stayed indoors tending to children and household duties. Male life expectancy was always significantly lower than that of females, and still is.
GK’s harshest example of misandrist gender bias is no-fault divorce and alimony proceedings, which are initiated by women 70-90% of the time. They also overwhelmingly favor women in result, 94% to 6%. Failure to pay child support payments can land men in prison or in debt for life, even if the man wanted to terminate the pregnancy.
MRA can be seen as a secondary correction resulting from breakdown of the female gender role. If a hard working man can no longer count on a wife for life, antiquated laws that operate on that basis, like alimony and child support, should be eliminated as well. They view third wave feminism as a force that wants to maintain the status quo, not change it. “Neomasculinity is the backlash against third wave feminism, and the environment and conditions that it has created for dating and mating,” says YouTube neomasculinist Paul Joseph Watson in one of his most popular videos. “It’s about rejecting the attack on traditional masculinity and reasserting the ethical foundation and self-respect of what it means to be a man.”
However, while MRAs have taken a lot from the “Misandry Bubble,” they left out one of its most important predictions: that there will be no organized Men’s Rights Movement. “Alpha men have no incentive beyond altruism to act, as they benefit from the current climate... Instead, all that exists are Men's Rights Authors (MRAs) that run a few websites and exchange information on their blogs… Hence, there will be no real Men's Rights Movement in the near future. The misandry bubble will instead be punctured through the sum of millions of individual market forces,” writes GK.
Indeed, MRA events are often cancelled or fizzle from lack of attendance. One recent “MRA International Meetup Day,” organized by prominent MRA advocate and PUA writer Roosh V, was supposed to bring together thousands of MRA men in different locales across 43 countries. It was cancelled at the last minute due to “security concerns.” Historically, successful movements do not shy away from counter-protests that present potential security concerns, as they could generate beneficial press.
Furthermore, a central tenet of MRA is the idea that feminism has commoditized victimhood and is using it as a weapon of oppression. The MRA movement seems to have hypocritically adopted the exact same tactic, mimicking feminism’s cries of victimhood at the slightest double standard. “The Red Pill is amoral. It just says ‘here’s the tools, use them if you want’,” says Vidal, “whereas MRA plucks at your heartstrings by showcasing all these injustices, but there’s no call to action. And in that they sort of become the kind of victimhood they’re railing against.”
Thus, for the moment, it looks like neomasculinity will stay behind the computer screen and Beta men will not gather to tear down society, as least physically, any time soon. However, that might be a far deadlier proposition than live rebellion.
THE WITHDRAWERS: MGTOW and Japanese Herbivore Men
In July 1968, a scientist named John B. Calhoun conducted a behavioral experiment on mice at a large facility in rural Maryland. The goal was to examine the effects of overpopulation on social structure. Four pairs of mice were introduced into a “utopian” universe, where food, water, and nesting materials were easily available. There were no predators. The only limit was space. At first, the mouse population grew rapidly, doubling every fifty-five days, but by day 600, the female mice had stopped reproducing and the mouse tribe quickly went extinct. The findings of Calhoun’s experiment became a legendary fixture of behavioral science.
Here’s what happened. The mouse population in “Utopia” reached 620 by day 315, and then the birth rate began to drop. The last surviving birth was on day 600. The period between day 315 and day 600 saw a breakdown in social structure and aberrations in normal social behavior.
Among the aberrations were an increase in homosexual behavior, inability of dominant males to defend their territory, aggressive behavior of females, and passivity of non-dominant males. These non-dominant males stopped fighting or interacting with females. They only ate, drank, slept, and groomed themselves – all solitary pursuits. Sleek, healthy coats and an absence of scars characterized these males, and so Calhoun called them “the beautiful ones.”
Japan is facing just the sort of gender-based socioeconomic crisis that “The Misandry Bubble” warned against. Not enough babies are being born to support an aging population. In 2014, 1.001 million babies were born in Japan, while 1.269 million people died. It’s not hard to figure out what happens to a country that loses almost 300,000 people a year. To remedy the situation, the Japanese government has instituted an official “matchmaking” policy throughout the land, which encourages men and women to meet and have sex.
One major factor contributing to the problem is the rise of sōshoku-kei danshi, or "Herbivore Men," a term coined in 2006 by pop culture columnist Maki Fukasawa. Surveys have revealed that about 20% of the Japanese male population reports no interest in sex or courtship with women. The behavior of these men mirrors the “the beautiful ones” in Calhoun’s experiment to a terrifying degree.
Not only do Herbivore men spend their lives on solitary pursuits, mostly living at a home with their parents and playing video games on their computers, but they display the same tendency towards beauty as the Calhoun’s beta mice. They do not fit the traditional conception of nerds. “They take a lot of pride in their appearance,” says Vidal, who studied Herbivore men whilst living in Japan for a year. “They look like Final Fantasy characters, with crazy hairdos and their Dolce and Gabbana outfits. They’re not gay. They’re just kind of like ‘why?’ They see no value proposition in real life women.”
Herbivore men are not known for being angry or politically motivated. They remain separate from Western neomasculinity in that there is no critique of feminism involved, no reaction to an unfair system, no theory about hypergamy or gender roles. They simply checked out.
Their Western counterparts are not so quiet. An offshoot group of The Red Pill called Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW, pronounced “mig-tao”), is promulgating a more ideological type of herbivore-dom that has them avoiding women entirely, and being quite loud about it.
MGTOW has four “levels” of commitment, as reflected in their manifesto, which appeared online in 2005 (well before “The Misandry Bubble” was published and The Red Pill was born. The original manifesto is quite different than the one shared today, and lacks all the Red Pill lingo gleaned from “The Misandry Bubble”).
The four levels begin with “situational awareness,” which means adopting the hypergamy/beta/alpha view at the foundation of The Red Pill. The next two levels are rejection of long and short-term male/female relationships. The final level, extremely rare amongst MGTOW advocates, is total, Unabomber-style rejection of society and a refusal to participate in an economy that caters to women.
As for day-to-day dealings with women, MGTOW acknowledges that they are inevitable (unless you are a Stage Four), but most members only interact with them on a “as-needed” basis. If you work with women, you only talk to them about work. If you need sex, you robotically employ PUA and Red Pill methods to get it, or hire prostitutes. The fundamental tenet of all four levels of MGTOW Is a focus on oneself above all else, with an implicit rejection of other priorities including engagement in society for the purpose of “fitting in.”
Despite gathering in two fervently active online communities, MGTOW Is quite small compared to MRA, The Red Pill, and Japanese Herbivore Men. The Reddit MGTOW forum has about 10,000 subscribers, and MGTOW.com, a snazzy, highly developed site with its own logo, boasts about 14,000 members. Nonetheless, the movement has garnered lots of media attention, including an expose in VICE in which the writer managed to denigrate the entire MGTOW community while including only one actual quote from an MGTOW member. We are not going to make that mistake here.
I spoke with two prominent members of the MGTOW movement who couldn’t have been more different from one other. One, who we’ll call “Bob”, is a co-founder of MGTOW.com. He came off as angry, suspicious, and incredibly passionate about MGTOW. The other was an Australian who goes by the online moniker “Solaris”. Solaris, mistakenly identified by VICE as one of the writers of the original MGTOW Manifesto, is merely an early adopter and facilitator.
Solaris was Bob’s total opposite. Calm, positive, not in the least bit angry—he mostly dedicates his MGTOW efforts to mentoring young straight men that are having a difficult time in school or in their careers. Opposites Bob and Solaris represent, you could say, the poles of neomasculinity.
Both, like Red Piller Vidal, found The Manosphere after bad romantic relationships with women and both have, more or less, sworn off seeking such relationships in the future. Their discourse, nonetheless, reflects the two opposite and balancing approaches present in any substantial movement: the hate approach and the love approach.
On the MGTOW lifestyle:
“The most fundamental thing is a refusal to listen. No one tells us what we’re supposed to do as men, you know, ‘You’re a man you should pay; you’re a man you should open the door; you’re a man, you should die or go to work. MGTOW doesn’t listen to anyone who tries to say what a man is or should do, or how he should be, an ATM, or a human wallet, or even a soldier.” – Bob, co-founder of MGTOW.com
“I’m pretty big on self-improvement and also mentoring other young men to be independent thinkers and doers. As for women, it’s on an “as needed” basis. I had a gathering with some of the guys for Christmas—around 20 of us, and one of the girls that one of the guys knew asked if she could come along and I said yes, and she had a nice time, I’d met her before, but that’s about it. When I interact with women now it’s on my own terms. I’m not sure what to say other than it’s not a focus of my life.” – Solaris, part of MGTOW since it’s founding in 2005.
On whether MGTOW is a movement:
“NO! NO! Absolutely not! It’s a lifestyle. It’s the non-action, not the action. Now, feminism and gay pride: those are movements. That’s a funded, hugely funded inconvenience on society. It’s a, “let’s battle forward, march together for the same goal,” and they’re trying to accomplish something by marching down the street—a redirection of traffic. MGTOW has no funding, no public advancements, no conference calls, no meetings, no organized events, no hotel seminars, none of that shit that feminism and gay pride get. It’s wildly successful only because a large population of men have decided to do it.” – Bob
“It’s a lot of guys with YouTube channels. At the moment, there’s this massive influx of guys who are still very angry, understandably, out making vids, explaining their lifestyle, but what’s probably going to happen, is that there will be some sort of consolidation. Getting out of the anger phase, putting out something practical, saying, ‘this is what I’m doing now’ rather than simply focusing on women. I would like to think that that would happen.” -- Solaris
“The Patriarchy is a myth and we’ll prove that right now. Say you’re living in a society on an island of 10 men and 10 women. One man invents an airplane, one invents the Internet, another compiles a symphony like Mozart, another builds a road and an automobile and builds a condominium or whatever that everyone lives in. Is that society patriarchal? No. It’s a society where men take the initiative and create stuff. It’s not a male dominated society; it’s just the real world. Orville Wright said, ‘I don’t have time for a wife and an airplane,’ so he dedicated his life to planes. That man and his brother are the reason why a woman can book a flight from New York to LA and be there in a little over 4.5 hours. And you have Campbell’s Soup commercials where a woman throws the remote at her husband saying, ‘make it yourself.’ And you have singers going on stage singing, ‘Girls run the world.’ Its such bullshit.” – Bob
“I think feminism is a factor, but it’s not the whole story. We’ve become increasingly risk averse more as a culture which means that anything that might involve any kind of male-oriented “risky” play has been stomped on. All those things were natural expressions of young boy’s enthusiasm and passion, and they’ve been stepped on. You don’t need feminism for that; all you need is a risk averse culture.” – Solaris
While these two clearly men take different approaches to their MGTOW lifestyle, there is one thing neither can deny. Life as an MGTOW, or a Japanese Herbivore Man, would be a hell of a lot harder without computers. If you’re going to swear off women, there’s nothing quite like pornography and video games to ease the pain.
THE PLUGGERS-IN – Teledildonics and Cockpit Lifers
Vidal admits that, while he started as a Red Piller, he’s beginning to move towards MGTOW. He’s become so focused on self-betterment, so adept at mechanistically getting sex when he needs it, and so disenfranchised by the possibility of finding a good female partner, that he’s beginning to drift away from the idea of love altogether. There is also another more sinister force pushing him the same direction.
Vidal recounts a recent experience involving a video game called "The Witcher 3". The game has hyper-realistic graphics. As you complete difficult missions, one of your rewards is sex, or at least soft-core sex scenes like you see in R-rated movies. He was playing the game when he received a text from a “fuck buddy” asking him directly for “no strings attached” sex. “And I’m looking at my phone and I’m looking at the video game. And I’m kind of like, hmmm. And maybe that’s because the girl gave it up so easily, whereas in the game, I had to go through all these quests. So in my mind, the girl in the video game had higher value, because I’d invested more hours in her. So I texted the real girl back and said, ‘not tonight,’” he laughs, “that’s when I knew it was over.”
Whether he was talking about the relationship being over, or his interest in real life women, was unclear.
Any society where only twenty percent of the men get to have sex is a society destined for failure, as the remaining 80% won’t play along. But what if those 80% could somehow be placated? What if they could feel as if they were having sex, even if they weren’t? Vidal’s experience with "The Witcher 3" demonstrates that the conquest urge can be satisfied digitally. But what about the physical experience of sex?
"Fleshlights" are artificial vaginas (or mouths or assholes) with a handle. The sheer variety of "Fleshlights" and accessories is astounding. There are vibrating and non-vibrating Fleshlights, “orifice warmers,” a line of lubes, a line of cleaners, shower mounts, and pillows that allow you to fuck your Fleshlight in missionary or doggy-style positions. The Fleshlight Girls series features sleeves molded from the orifices of your favorite porn stars. The Fleshjack series is the same for the anus cavities of your favorite gay male porn stars. The website even features a slider to measure how far your dick will reach into the ass of your favorite gay porn star.
On the Fleshlight website, there is also an interactive section that offers two products. One is called a Kiiroo, which is for couples in long distance relationships. It’s a Fleshlight and a dildo connected via Bluetooth. Each device sends a signals to other, mimicking to the motion of both partners. The other is called the "Vstroker", which allows you to become the star of your own porn adventures. It works with porn videos made especially for the "Vstroker," that react with the speed of your action. The website advertises, “thrust slowly and listen to her moan, fuck her hard and hear her scream!”
Kiiroo and Vstroker are just two entrants in the growing field of teledildonics. Teledildonics began as science fiction, dreamed up by an Internet philosopher named Ted Nelson in his 1974 book Computer Lib/Dream Machines. It refers to computer controlled sex toys that, in combination with video, provide a totally interactive experience of sex, from the visuals down to the body.
VirtualRealVideo already offers porn for the Oculus Rift personal virtual reality device, but has not yet integrated with teledildonics. Pornographic video games haven’t achieved the popularity that might be expected, due to extremely small budgets, and aren’t integrated with teledildonics yet. But the chasm between the three is rapidly closing.
One central tenet of Japanese Herbivore Men is “Cockpit Living,” maintaining a lifestyle in which everything you need is within arms reach. This was something Vidal ran into frequently in Japan. “Cockpit living is when the men refuse to leave home. The idea is that you can have everything you need in life without moving your ass an inch. So you’re sitting in your chair/bed and there’s a big flat screen in front of you, and you’ve got your cell phone here, and mom slides food under your door, or you have your hot plate where you can make ramen. Maybe you go out once or twice a month to have beers, and maybe shag a prostitute once a month. That’s your whole sexuality.”
It is estimated that 3 million Americans between the ages of eight and eighteen suffer from “video game dependency,” nearly 10% of all American eight to eighteen year olds. The makers of video games are well known for intentionally programming in addictiveness by playing to our psychological need to make progress and achieve goals.
Video game addiction, in combination with increasingly interactive porn and powerful medications that treat depression and anxiety, contributes to a mosaic of forces driving young men towards cockpit living. The image in Wall-E of the fat pink humans sliding around in flying wheelchairs, living in an endless cycle of controlled stimuli and response, is a cautionary bit of science fiction, but one that’s already shockingly close to reality. In The Matrix, post-singularity artificial intelligence has taken over the world, and has won peace by relegating humans into distraction pods eerily similar to cockpits.
So far, however, computers seem to only be assisting humans in guiding ourselves into the cockpits. Shattered gender roles and the apparent impossibility of attracting viable human mates are pushing these young men in the same direction. From The Red Pill to Herbivore Men, throngs of men are refusing to participate in the mating marketplace in the way that has sustained civilization for millennia.
We are becoming Calhoun’s “beautiful ones,” checking out of a hostile, overpopulated society and spending lots of time alone, preening and staring at ourselves on social media. Perhaps the scariest part is that technology is both the cause and the solution to our problem. If we regress to a state of nature in which only 40% of men reproduce, computer technology could provide, for the first time in history, enough distraction to prevent the 60% Beta men from tearing down civilization. It’s possible that cockpit living could, technically, work for everyone.
It is unlikely, however, that a society lacking the participation of 60% of its men could support itself. Plus, would we really want it to? In all of this cold, impersonal, birds-eye economic analysis, is there any room for human free will? After all, a self-imputed, Beta-male Matrix feels wrong. That’s because it would amount, more or less, to slavery. A slavery of manipulated inaction, instead of forced action, but slavery nonetheless. We’ve come too far to enslave ourselves again. For that reason alone, I’m betting that love, marriage, and traditional male sexuality will survive the computer winter.