People Can See Inside Your Heart

Don’t miss an updated version of this post and much more, including podcasts from Ray Coppersmith (aka Master Dogen) at my new site, The Forge Within.


People can and do make snap judgments about others based off of very subtle cues. We all do it.

Fake smiles will be met with fake smiles. When we see a fake smile, inwardly we recoil, but we smile back usually, just for the sake of social lubrication and getting on with the day without confrontation. But we sense the inner ugliness behind the smiling mask.

Conversely, on the face of a genuine and loving person, even a very grave expression can give us feelings of happiness and ease. Even moments of intense and outwardly-expressed anger can make people feel right and good deep inside, if they are coming from a person who has deep love and trustworthiness. If your soul is deeply peaceful and you shout in sincere anger at someone, that person will certainly be startled and perhaps frightened for a short while, but that person will also immediately experience an inner warming of the heart, a slow candle-like ignition that can grow into happiness.

Conversely: fake calm, phony Zen, a desire to appear holy and tranquil in front of other people and in front of oneself — these things rub people the wrong way. It’s so hard to put your finger on it. It’s “pussy brigade” style pop Zen. But people sense it instinctively whether they can articulate it or not.

When you consistently open as love, you begin to look like love. Your face shines. Your eyes sparkle. Your body moves with grace, opening as the tide of love swelling from your deep heart to all—through the day, at work, during sex. Your voice carries the fullness of love rather than the stress of genital need or the exasperation of emotional betrayal. Since every part of you takes on the characteristic of what you feel, if you feel as love you show as love.

—David Deida

Once when I was on a business trip in New York I was staying at a hotel that was almost an hour away from the office via subway. (The office was in the boonies, and I wanted to stay in the middle of the city for the culture, restaurants, nightlife, etc.) When I lived in NYC previously, I had used my subway trips as little mini-meditation moments, but usually they didn’t last longer than 10 to 15 minutes, since I lived much closer to my work then.

I had two weeks in the city for this gig, and decided I would dedicate every single morning and afternoon commute to practicing “shining love” meditation.

That is just the name I came up for it on my own. It’s a basic practice of cultivating radiance. It’s similar to many other traditional love-based meditations, such as dzogchen from Tibet. But since it was taking place on busy, loud, often smelly subway cars, I ignored the formalities and just did whatever seemed most comfortable and efficacious.

This basically meant that between stops I closed my eyes and followed my breath. On the in-breath I pictured universal light entering into my body, my chest, and specifically my heart. (This is like free energy, totally gratis. It’s just floating around for free and all you have to do to fill up your tank is suck it in.) Then, on the out-breath I pictured my heart sending all this energy out in golden beams of loving light, one ray touching each other person in the subway car.

When the train pulled into a station, I gently opened my eyes and glanced around me. People got on, people got off, the car got more or less crowded. Sometimes your posture needs adjusting, and I needed to check if my own station was approaching.

Then I’d gently close my eyes and return to the meditation.

What’s remarkable is that people on the New York subway are notoriously unwilling to make lasting eye contact, and very unlikely to smile at you in a non-creepy, non-crazy way. But when I was doing this meditation, I would always catch at least one or two people just kind of looking at me, and when we’d make eye contact they would just kind of smile, almost sheepishly.

Keep in mind I was not doing anything different outwardly. I looked like anyone else in there. Even more crucially, I looked exactly like my own self when riding the subway in a bad mood, hungover, bitter, or whatever. The only difference was the radiance I was sending out in love-form to the people around me.

Also, during this two week stretch, people started asking me for directions on the street all the time. When I was living in New York before, this rarely happened to me, even though I was a “local.” Then, when visiting as a “tourist”, suddenly people were talking to me at random. (My hair, clothes, body shape, everything else was just as before.)

And finally, when meeting up with old friends during this visit, over coffee or dinner, three different people remarked that I seemed oddly happy, and two people asked (half joking, half serious) if I had become taller.

[The “taller” thing may have been partially true in a physical sense. Meditation tends to improve your posture, so that might have been part of it. But I also believe I was just giving out more presence, which people just intuit as being bigger somehow, even though I clearly wasn’t any fatter or bulkier than before.]

So, trust that people can read your innermost self. If you are being creepy, bitter, closed, strange, or whatever, people will read that on your face — they will practically smell it on you — no matter how much effort you put into your appearance and your alpha body language.

On the other hand, if you are feeling genuine ease and calm inside of your heart, and if you are pouring love out into the world on a regular basis, you will find that people react to you with trust, and instant liking, and even strange little happy smiles. Even when your mind is caught up in some mundane matter like paying your bills, you will catch people looking at you fondly.

Incidentally, it leads to a lot more IOI’s from women, too.

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Take Meditation Back From the Pussy-Brigade

When I was around 16 I started meditating seriously. I never drank in high school or through the first part of college because it was against the precepts of a serious meditator (as I learned them from reading dozens of books about Buddhism, both pop-zen books and “the hard stuff” like the Lotus Sutra or the Gateless Gate).

For a while I went to a Zen Temple twice a week, in addition to meditating at home every morning and every night.

So my point is, I was fucking serious about this stuff. As a result, I made some very rapid gains in terms of concentration and insight, which I can still tap into to this day.

However, at the same time as I was making these spiritual strides — gaining real, if perhaps only novice, insights into the nature of the universe — I was also deep, deep in the blue pill world. I was a self-professed feminist. I believed the crap taught in school and the media about white people being uniquely awful. I actually said stuff like “people who drive gas-guzzling cars are morally no different than the people who ran the concentration camps.” I was a vegetarian.

God, I cringe to remember this crap now — luckily I rarely said stuff that extreme. And despite how pissy and bitchy that description probably makes me sound, I was actually quite fun, social, athletic and outgoing during this time. I did better with girls than almost anyone else I knew, and didn’t think it was a big deal. So I think I was basically a cool dude (I’m sure not everyone would agree, but whatever). But my whole intellectual structure was deeply delusional and blue-pill.

Almost all of the books written by Westerners about Eastern philosophy I read were either implicitly leftist, or explicitly so. This is also when the cult of the Dalai Lama was at its height (still going strong today, but back then you’d see quotes and pictures of him seemingly everywhere). I call these books “pop Zen”. Some of them were quite good, to be fair, but there was always this general patina of mealy-mouthed pussiness about them.

You see, I wanted to learn deeper states of concentration and insight because I wanted to look into the structure of reality and understand it, and to give away any illusions I had. That’s the original, hardcore goal of all the great, core meditation schools from India, China, Japan and elsewhere.

Part of this process, in Buddhism at least, is to live morally and to generate feelings of goodwill towards all beings. But this is done because it tends to foster a nice, clean, unworried mind that can then settle into a peaceful state, which is just a preliminary requirement for really hardcore, expansive, blissful, or sometimes downright trippy states of concentration and insight.

For the Pop Zen crowd though, it was almost the exact opposite: learn meditation so that you can be nice to people. Don’t be meeeeaan. Be niiiiiiiiiiiice. Western culture is so baaaaad. Learn from the wise eastern buddhas and we can all be feminists and build statues to Nelson Mandela and fly rainbow flags and… ugh.

But here’s the thing! At the time I was learning this stuff, I actually believed all that, on a surface level at least.

It is interesting to note in retrospect, that the most fascinating (and difficult) teachings to me at the time were either the few Pop Zen books that were rather agnostic in politics (and sometimes kind of harsh in tone); or the very strange old texts that I dug up in used book stores, like a Tibetan text on dream-meditation, lectures by a cruel-seeming Korean Zen Master who constantly berated his Western students, and of course the really old stuff, the original sayings of the Buddha (written down 500 years after his death, of course).

Very little in those books was about “kindness” or “equality” or “building a healthier global community.” (Actually, there was nothing in there about building healthier global communities; anyone who has this as a serious and central aim of his practice has yet to learn even the first one of the Noble Truths. But I digress.)

Flash forward.

It was in my late twenties that I first started choking down the red pill (via, like so many others, Roissy). And though I never explicitly expressed this thought to myself, I began to associate my meditative/spiritual practices with my old blue pill delusions.

In retrospect, if I ever had explicitly made this statement (“Feminism and global communitarianism are lies, therefore so are the teachings of the Buddha”), I would immediately have recognized how absurd it was to make such a connection.

But it was all going on subconsciously. I was rapidly rejecting “old stuff” and for me, old stuff included all those retarded Pop Zen books.

Well, old habits die hard, of course. And when I got particularly wound up, tight, angry, or just confused, I would still sit down to meditate from time to time. And just like always, it was a great idea. I have literally never, not one time in my life, regretted meditating. Meditation is batting 1.000, with thousands of lifetime plate appearances. Which is more than I can say for getting laid, which I have regretted once or twice the next day!

The irony here, of course, is one you can see coming. True concentration and insight meditation is about as “red pill” as you can get. It’s a slow, deliberate, even scientific method of carefully examining delusions one by one and (hopefully) gradually abandoning them over time. It has nothing to do with any political agenda, and certainly not a blue-pill one.

The other funny (and wonderful) thing is that it really does make you feel happy and loving and just generally open to the world, almost as a byproduct. More than anything (for me at least), I’d say it gives you humor. Good humor, and a sense of humor.

I can still be intense, lift weights till I’m nearly puking, stare down hipsters who disrespect me with snide remarks, caveman a girl and pull her hair in bed and slap her ass and call her Daddy’s dirty slut. I can still let myself get sort of joyously pissed off when someone cuts me off in traffic. I can still get in heated arguments over politics or sports, or whatever.

But when I’ve been practicing, I just have this sense of humor about the whole thing. Space, distance, and also presence, all at the same time. It puts a twinkle in your eye.

Anyway, if there’s anyone out there who associates meditation with the Pop Zen pussy brigade and the smug, faux-at-peace smiles they always seem to have: I encourage you to just ignore all that and give it a try for yourself.

Here are some cool books you might like:

Seung Sahn Soen Sa Nim Unpredictable, funny, and sometimes threatening Korean Zen teacher. (This guy had a “scandal” because it came out that he fucked a few of the many women who came to his lectures, none of whom had any complaints about it whatsoever.)

The Doctrine of Awakening Completely badass book about the originally elitist and austere teachings of the Buddha, by the horrible, awful, very very bad, nasty, mean, fascist, racist, naughty, wowjustwow, and problematic 20th Century übermensch, Baron Julius Evola

Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha Book by a modern Westerner who shares my distaste for “look at me” peacenik Pop Zen, and who is obviously very, very far down the path. No patience for whiners or people who don’t want to do the work.

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Potential Value is Infinite

“What supersedes “game” is the genuine masculine energy that you share with the world. This is how everything trickles down from a POSITION OF STRENGTH. Once you realize your own inner-value, you can project it in a way that fits your true self… After all, the number of styles within the game are as limitless as the cosmos itself.”

Mister Infinite

One of the problems about studying social dynamics is that you can mistake ideas that are generally applicable to humans for ideas that are universally true.

Take the idea of Conservation of Status. This is the idea that status competitions are a zero-sum game. This is generally true in all social groups, whether as large as nations or as small as three friends having a beer. There can be only one President of the United States, and clichés like “The people are the boss! We’re all equally powerful since we all get one voite” are just different ways of saying we are all equally powerless. When a new president is elected, the old one doesn’t stick around in office, he steps down. You can’t have two. Status is conserved.

Likewise in smaller social groups, the higher one person’s status goes, the lower that of those around him. When everyone has the same goal, this isn’t generally a problem. People are happy to submit themselves to the high-status leader, giving up some of their own striving in order to follow the leader. When goals diverge (and they always do, on some level), there is a constant and subtle jockeying for status. This is easiest to observe when the circumstances of the group suddenly change. For example, three males sharing a drink and watching a game on TV might enter into an (unspoken) arrangement by which they all suspend status competition and share equally for a while. (In fact, this is something that men love to do, but which is more and more disallowed in modern culture). However, introduce a sexy young woman into the group, and the temporary status-truce is broken. No matter how much goodwill the three men have for each other, they will immediately re-form a status hierarchy and begin jockeying for position within it.

However, though these tendencies are basically universal in human societies, and the principles are more-or-less unaltering, it does not mean that this idea is a complete and 100% accurate description of ultimate reality.

There are sources of value that can be tapped infinitely. It might be true, in a petty way, that you cannot increase your status without a corresponding decrease in the someone else’s status. However, you can increase your value essentially infinitely. You increase your value by any one of a million ways, but one great test to see how you are doing is to see if you are increasing the value and happiness of the people around you.

You can radiate love, energy, power, and happiness into the world around you without causing any disruption in the status hierarchy.

Value is not a zero-sum game. Discovering this made me truly crave spiritual practice and discipline for the first time in my life.

I used to meditate because I felt I “should,” because it was “good for me.” Even though this is a pretty crappy motivation, the results I got from it were still amazing enough that I kept at it long enough to become pretty good. Still it was a struggle to keep my practice consistent for the same reason it’s difficult to get a child to voluntarily take his medicine. I had framed it as a chore.

Now I feel I get to meditate. Like I’m lucky. I envision myself pulling the Universal Light (the Love of God, if you prefer) into my body with the in-breath, and then exuding it physically into the world from my pores on the out-breath. The in-breath is the accessing of the subtle potential positive energy that exists at all times (but is not currently being fully tapped on the existential plane), and the out-breath is the manifestation of the energy by means of my own mind, body, and intentionality.

If I’m around other people (out and about) and feeling like doing a brief, secret exercise, I breathe in with the same idea, but I breathe out more specifically, directing the love energy into the people near me, specifically. I envision a flare of sun-like energy lighting up their bodies from the heart up to the eyes and above the head. I imagine that as a result of even being near me for that little secret meditation, they will have a more positive, happier day.

Since the energy that I am tapping into is infinite, this can be done infinitely.

It’s like the idea of the money economy. Scarcity theories like naive Communism assume that wealth is finite, and if one person is wealthy, then all the others must be poor. Classical capitalism on the other hand realizes that the process of generating wealth benefits many people at once. In the process of becoming extremely rich, business creators also make everyone around them moderately more rich.

That’s why during the Cold War, America’s “poor” lived wealthier, more-comfortable lifestyles than almost anyone in the Soviet Union.

Unhappy, tight-minded, bitter people feel like if they give positive energy out into the universe, they will have less themselves. They’re the Soviets of positive energy, jealously guarding every little scrap and scrabbling and arguing over their distribution.

The entrepreneur of positive energy (to put it in a clumsy and vulgar way), draws deep within himself for entirely new stores of light, energy and value, and freely pours those love-photons out into the world. He becomes much happier himself as a result, and the people around him become happier too.

So just because the idea of Conservation of Status (status-hierarchies as a zero-sum game) is a powerful and accurate way of describing many human interactions, don’t let it blind you to other realities about the universe. It’s just a model, not some iron law written in the very bones of the universe itself.

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A Man’s Challenge

Can you be completely full of burning passion for woman and the world, while still existing apart, on your own terms, dispassionate and serene?

Can you carry a bowl of oil, filled to the brim, without spilling a drop?

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Staying up all night, smoking, drinking and doing drugs is bad for your health.

But there are differing degrees. Not all “unhealthy” nights are created equal.

Night #1: I went out for drinks with a good buddy of mine. We dropped into a bar that our other friend runs, had some whiskey, laughs, and got drunk. Walking in the busy part of town on a Saturday night, we ran into two cute girls. One of them recognized me from school. We went back to their place, had a couple more drinks, cigarettes, then the cocaine appeared. The girl sat on my lap and we made out. At some point some wankers showed up and tried to start some shit, but we laughed them off and they left. (At some point my buddy called it a night and cabbed it home, I think.) The girl and I ended up in her bedroom, fucking at dawn. She had one of the top 3 best bodies of any girl I’ve been with, just fantastic tummy, tits, and ass. Around 10 a.m. her sister was coming by to take her to some family thing, and we woke up and she had me crawl out the back window. I walked home, smoking one last cigarette as all the healthy Sunday morning people were out jogging with their dogs.

Night #2: A few people from work and I went to my friend’s apartment and listened to his new sound system and DJ set-up that he really wanted to show us. Someone had a bottle of whiskey so we drank weak whiskey/cokes (girl-style) and had some laughs. We played a few video games; someone smoked some weed but I just had one or two hits to be social, since weed’s really not my thing. I went home and got to bed pretty late and had a bit of a hangover from the sugary drinks.

Night #3: With no one to hang out with, and no work to do in the morning, I made myself a drink and decided to start some serious writing. I sat at the typewriter near my window and banged out 2 or 3 pages of single-spaced text about girls, sex and philosophy. I refreshed my drink, lit a smoke, and quickly went to my computer to look up something on wikipedia that was relevant to what I was writing. After a paragraph more on the typewriter, I smoked another cigarette, looked at wikipedia again, shifted my chair fully over to the computer, got sucked  into wikipedia links, then started checking my favorite blogs. What the hell? Have another drink, and a smoke. Hours later, after checking game blogs, politics blogs, sports blogs, etc, I’m looking at some Asian girl-girl spit-swapping porn and wanking away. I think I get to bed around 4 a.m., and wake up at noon feeling like absolute shit.

None of these nights was “healthy” in a conventional sense. But you can see how Night #1 contributed to my life, by letting me have new experiences, meeting new people, bonding with my buddy, fucking a super hot girl, and giving me some funny stories about the coke-desiring wankers and the crawling out the window on a Sunday morning to avoid the little sister. Night #3 gave me the positive of creating a few pages of writing on my typewriter, but it gave me nothing else at all, and the writing was something I could have done sober and focused (Jack Kerouac/Charles Bukowski drunken-writer fantasies notwithstanding, writing drunk is self-indulgent and almost always results in crap that would have been far better written by a sober man with a bit of discipline). And #3 hurt me, too, since I felt like crap, both mentally and physically, the next day, and slept half the day away. I had no work to do the next morning: that doesn’t mean I needed to sleep in. Having no work in the morning could mean an extra long workout; a trip down to the ferries to go hiking on an island in the early morning; or even (if you want to be lazy but still healthy) getting up early, making some coffee, and reading all morning in bed about the history of Ancient Greece.

Night #2 was somewhere in between. The stuff we were doing was kind of lame, but it was at least social bonding, friendly stuff, and much better than drinking, smoking and wanking alone.

In general, it’s unhealthy to drink, smoke, and stay up all night. But it’s totally justified in some cases, and I feel bad for people who have literally never had a few nights like #1. The problem is that, if you are too lax about what constitutes a “#1 night”, you will start spending some “#3 nights”, convincing yourself that it’s still somehow adding value when all it’s doing is squandering away your precious life, energy, and time

Cumming is the same way. Remember that, in general, every single time you jizz, you’re wasting away a bit of your life energy which you can never get back. I know this probably sounds negative and moralistic to some people; but it’s simply true. I’m only phrasing it this way because so few people are conscious of this fact these days.

But this doesn’t mean that you should never jizz in your life. Sometimes it’s clearly the right thing to do. But it’s easy to let your standards get lax. In fact, almost all men have extremely lax standards about it these days. Or no standards at all. In what other area of life do you feel it’s okay to have literally zero standards? The work you are willing to do? Your friends? Your free time? The girls you date?

So why the lack of standards about something that is so important for your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being?

Let’s create some examples parallel to my “up all night smoking and drinking” examples. We’ll use “A, B, C,” to avoid confusion.

Instance A: Married to a perfect girl, beautiful, sunny, feminine, family-oriented, devoted, helpful. Both of you very happy and, having thought it through carefully, deciding to have some beautiful babies together and very excited about the prospect. You have mind-blowing sex with your sexy, gorgeous young wife at her most fertile time, and you release inside her, creating a new life which the two of you together will love, nurture, and educate into a fine, beautiful, young man or woman, adding to your personal fulfillment and the overall goodness of the world.

Instance B: Having sex with a smoking hot girl that you’re monogamous with and who you have no doubt is using the pill. Going all night with her into the early hours, cumming several times on her tits, her stomach, her face, and inside her pussy. Falling asleep happy and exhausted, and waking up to the fresh coffee she just quietly made for you in the kitchen.

Instance C: Fucking a cute girl you met at the bar. Strapping on a condom, going for a few laps around the mattress and cumming after 30 minutes or so, stumbling to the bathroom to flush the condom and clean up a bit. Falling asleep with a vague desire for her to go home, but not having the balls or the heart to just tell her to leave until the morning.

Instance D: Slumming it with a chubby HB5. Getting hard at first, cause there’s a warm body in your bed, but you find yourself getting a little less than rock-hard after a few minutes, so you start imagining your smoking hot ex, or worse, you picture some nasty porn you were watching the other day. Eventually, after some chore-like pumping away at her pussy, you manage to cum with images of a hotter girl in your head. Feeling “relieved” but also rather empty at the end of it all.

Instance E: Having a long, hot make-out with a really banging young thing, but being unable to close the deal for logistical reasons. You go home and try to sleep, but find yourself tossing and turning, with a raging hard-on, cause you can’t get out of your mind the look and feel of that girl’s perfectly tanned thighs in her little white shorts. In fact you can still smell her mix of perfume and youthful, fertile pheromones on your skin. You consider taking a cold shower to restore your manly will of iron, but after absent-mindedly touching your cock with her image in your head, you give in and have a quick, pleasurable wank as you picture her on all fours taking your cock deep and mewing like a cute little kitten. You toss the kleenex on the floor and fall asleep.

Instance F: Making a deliberate choice to “clear the pipes” á la “There’s Something About Mary,” either because your stored-up sexual energy is making you all needy and beta, or because you are worried that it will do so later this evening. You make it quick, using a video of your favorite porn star, watching for just a few minutes until you’re ready to cum, not prolonging it or surfing around for something “hotter”.

Instance G: With nothing better to do on your day off, and not even feeling particularly horny, you start poking around your favorite porn sites, slowly wanking your semi-hard cock. You eventually come across something that almost makes you come, but you’re in that state where you just want to see more, so you keep clicking. Two hours go by and finally you end up cumming without meaning to, and it’s a weird anti-climactic orgasm, cause you were trying to hold back and click another link when you suddenly cross the point of no return. You jizz weakly into a wad of tissue and almost before you have finished, you’re closing all the tabs with an empty feeling and standing up to go wash your hands. You come back to your computer and start looking at political blogs, because you’re trying to erase that vague feeling of shame and emptiness.

Now, if you’re not married and you’re not interested in kids, perhaps you would rank “B” as more “important” than “A”. And there’s a certain argument to be made that wanking to porn stars is more healthy than wanking to a girl you know personally, because wanking off to girls you know creates a danger that you will pedestalize her unnecessarily, so there might be some leeway in how you rank “E”, “F”, and “G”.

But it should be obvious that the further you go down the list, the less excuse there is for wasting your precious seed. The ultimate brahmacharya saint is completely full of manly, spiritual energy. That’s not the life for most men (myself included) and it shouldn’t be your goal to be totally chaste unless you truly feel a deep calling to live that way — there are such people, extremely rare though they may be. On the other hand, we have the typical American loser who exists at the far opposite end of the spectrum, jerking off several times a week, even several times a day. He gets nothing from his seed but a series of weak and unfulfilling moments of pleasure. He wastes away his manly essence and becomes the very definition of a spiritual and physical weakling. By age 40 he is shell of a man; the kind of meaningless nothing-man we meet in every day life all the time.

The most obvious dividing line between “good cumming” and “bad cumming” is whether or not there’s a girl involved. As a rule of thumb, it’s obviously better to be cumming in sex with a real live woman than it is to be cumming all alone in a dark room in front of the pale glow of the computer monitor.

Nevertheless, I’d argue that there are many instances when it would be better to not come with a woman at all. For instance, in case “D” (slumming with a chubby 5) — though I’ve done this in the past — I’ve learned it’s much better to just skip the sex, skip coming, and skip the girl altogether.

And this also leaves out discussion of when you can have great, amazing, mind-blowing sex with an extremely hot girl and still not cum. This is the wisdom of some Daoist schools, for example, and it’s something that xsplat talks about on his blog. This is a very important topic, but since this post is long enough as it is, I will leave it to be addressed another day.

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I’ve updated the “Resources” page on this blog. You can find it at the top of the page. Everything I link to on the right-hand sidebar is good stuff. But some of it requires a caveat. For both caveats and enconia, click Resources. Good luck to you, soldiers of the future.

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Breaking Out of the Hipster Trap

Steven Kurutz in the New York Times complains about how hard it is to be a non-hipster. I certainly understand what he’s talking about. He starts off by pointing out that almost all of male fashion looks hipster-y for a guy his age. Whether you dress up or dress down, you look like a hipster.

Although the point is somewhat exaggerated (he claims the only non-hipster fashions available are Rick Steves dork or sports fan/wigger — obviously he’s not considering custom suits as an option), it’s something I understand and sympathize with. I think suspenders look pretty damn sharp with certain shirt-pants combos, for example, but I rarely wear them because it honestly looks really douchey and hipstery.

Kurutz broadens the argument to point out that all kinds of stuff that should just be plain-old cool are tainted with the stink of hipsterdom: vinyl records, cooking, bicycling, photography, etc. He’s right, all these things are just cool in-and-of-themselves, but there is at the same time a sort of hipster miasma swirling around each one.

But of course, the answer is right in front of him: Who cares?

Mr. Kurutz, despite his protestations, quite obviously is a hipster, because he cares whether or not he seems hipsterish.

Cooking is “hipster”? Really? Fucking who cares? Just cook your damn food. It’s the act of caring, and the act of name-dropping both Williamsburg and Silver Lake, that makes you a hipster, Steven. It’s not cooking your food or owning a bicycle.

A little clue comes early on when Kurutz says, “as a 30-something skinnyish urban male there’s almost nothing I can wear that won’t make me look like a hipster” (emphasis added).

Now, I’m 30-something as well, male, and “urban” and I’m also white, which is implicit in Kurutz’s article but never mentioned of course. But I’m not “skinnyish.” (By the way, that “ish” — what a pussyish way to admit you’re skinny). My body is still not where I want it to be, but I’m 6’0″ and about 200 pounds, about 20% body fat (that last number is one I’m trying to get lower). I’m not super built, and I’m not super-ripped, but I’m bigger and stronger than about 95% of the non-fat guys in my “urban” (hipster-laden) neighborhood.

When I wear slim-cut dark jeans (slim, not skinny (nor skinnyish)), Wolverine 1000-mile boots, and a custom tailored button-up shirt, I don’t look like a hipster. I just look like a neatly-yet-casually dressed man. I also have good posture, I stand up straight, I speak with a firm, deep voice and I look people in the eye. I don’t make snarky comments, and I don’t check my smart phone every 30 seconds. That is why no one considers me a hipster, not because of my clothes.

The essence of being a hipster is being a non-serious person. It has very little to do with musical tastes or clothing or hobbies. If you are a man and you are worried about coming across as a hipster, it’s because you don’t have a deep and driving mission in life, it’s because you actually believe that we live in post-post-post-historical times and it’s all over except the snarky commentary.

I have a spiritual mission in life, and a personal mission; I also have a political mission that I haven’t decided whether or not I am committed to — but it’s a very serious mission if I decide to really dedicate myself to it. I have a mission when it comes to my relationships with women. I also have a ton of things that I love doing purely for the joy of it. Many of these “hobbies” are things that Mr. Kurutz is worried might make him seem hipster-y — writing letters to friends on my typewriter, for example, and becoming a better cook. Who cares?

On a deep spiritual level, if you want to break out of the hipster trap, you need regain your lost humanity. You need to shut off your smart phone (and do not write a blog post about it later, relating wittily to your audience what it was like to unplug — just fucking do it), you need reengage with the grand cycles of history and try to find something that people believed in 1000 years ago that you can get serious about — that you can get humble about. Prostrate yourself before the greatness of history like a novice before the master, and do not write a blog post about it later. Just do it. If you’re open to religion, learn about the religion of your ancestors and find time every day to pray or meditate; if you’re not open to religion, learn about the struggles of your ancestors, their wars, their art, their famines, and their languages. Study an ancient language. Read history books written before 1950 — almost everything published after that date will reek of unseriousness, and yet of pomposity at the same time.

Go outside much more than you currently do. Do hard manual labor. Do hard manual labor and do not tweet about it, do not tell wry stories about it, do not blog about it, do not post anything about it on Facebook. Work so hard your hands have blisters and your back is sore for days. Do it again; and again. Do not blog about it. Do not call yourself “urban farmer” or urban anything. Stop observing yourself doing stuff and just do stuff; it helps to pick very difficult stuff to do, because you will need all the energy you usually put into fretting just to finish the task.

On a practical level, if you want to break out of the hipster trap, lift weights hard and heavy. If you’re no longer “skinnyish,” you’ll find that no one mistakes you for a hipster anymore. I can’t remember where I read it (somewhere on twitter, I think) but a funny quote is, “Can we stop using the term ‘hipsters’ and just go back to calling them pussies?” In other words, hipsters are just pussies. Don’t be a pussy, and you won’t have to worry about being a hipster.

People have essences that we intuit very accurately without even trying. Some people give us the creeps, because they are creepy inside — even if we don’t know the details of their creepy secrets. Some people give us confidence and happiness, because they are full of love and strength inside — even if we don’t know how we know this about them. Hipsters strike us as ridiculous people, because they are truly featherweight souls inside — even if we can’t put our finger on why.

There are physical cues: bad posture, nervous/arrogant body language, adenoidal voices (this is a big one), and just a general lack of presence. It’s hard to explain in words, but you just know it when you see it.

I love all kinds of things that hipsters like — including knit caps, Nick Drake, local food, and gourmet coffee — but no one mistakes me for a hipster, and I don’t even worry about it. Because I’m not a pussy. I’m not trying to claim I’m the toughest dude in the world, but in this neighborhood (and in the neighborhood Kurutz lives in, I assume) it’s not very hard to be the toughest dude on the block at least.

Finally I’d suggest that Kurutz actually loooooooves worrying about whether he’s a hipster. It’s exactly the kind of thing that hipsters do all day long. It gives them a little erotic surge of dopamine to worry about crap like that. Observing oneself being observed for being observationally observed as a member of a group of people observed as being too observational about their lives. Vomit.

I will reiterate my thesis for emphasis: being a hipster is fundamentally about being an empty and unserious person. It has little or nothing to do with fashion, hobbies, or tastes. Become a person of substance — real substance, substance that great men of a thousand years ago would recognize as substance — and you will never worry about this kind of crap again.

EDIT: Here’s another perspective on the same basic question from Bruce Charlton:

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