Mailvox: Gammas Never Get It

I can always tell when an email about the SSH is from a “recovering gamma”. Strangely enough, I never seem to hear from any gamma who simply accepts the reality of his behavioral patterns and identifies as a gamma. Anyhow, see if you can spot the fundamental problems in what he describes as his attempt to summarize the concepts “briefly for myself and others.”

I am a recovering gamma currently being purified by becoming a delta. I’m trying to summarize the SSH in one-sentence per role to aid my own understanding.

A gamma is not an alpha because he lacks the necessary abilities to top any hierarchy.

A gamma is not a beta because he doesn’t admire anyone more highly than himself.

A gamma is not a delta because he lacks the humility to realize he is a beginner (a person who lacks abilities), and that a beginner must begin at the beginning of any hierarchy.

A gamma is not an omega because he has enough social abilities to not be rejected as a total outsider.

A gamma is not a sigma because he lacks the necessary abilities to exist independent of any hierarchy, whereas a sigma has enough abilities to not need most hierarchies (except when they are useful to him, in which case he is able to benefit from them by integrating himself into them as needed)

A gamma is therefore defined by the very fact that he is not any other role in the functional hierarchy (delta/beta/alpha or sigma), and refuses to recognize that he must reshape himself into one of those roles and submit to their requirements.

It appears he still has some ways to go, as this would-be-summary is mostly the conventional gamma kerfluffery that seeks to elude the ineluctable: a gamma male is any man or boy whose behavior fits within the parameters of the behavioral pattern described as gamma. And it’s a bit ironic, in that this very attempt to summarize – which is little more than an attempt to redefine and impose the gamma’s self-perceptions on that which has already been defined externally – is very much in keeping with typical gamma behavior.

A gamma is never, ever, going to possess alpha behavioral patterns. Never going to happen. He can, of course, be a situational alpha in a hierarchy of gammas, or in one comprised of mixed gammas and omegas, but his behavioral pattern and his habitual thought processes will remain the same. The “summary” is clearly false, however, because it fails to recognize the fractal nature of the SSH.

As for bravos, forget admiration. Every natural gamma instinct inclines him to contradict the bravo impulse; indeed, the bravo’s primary role is probably cracking down and riding herd on gammas so his alpha doesn’t have to do so.

The omega summary is adequate.

The delta summary omits the key components of competence and the desire for respect. The biggest single observable difference between the delta and the gamma is that if you assign a task to a delta, he’ll get it done with a minimum of fuss. If you assign a task to a gamma, he’ll start telling you why he can’t do it, how it should be done, why it would be better for him to do something else, how he plans to go about doing it, and why you should really just do it yourself; the one thing you can be certain he won’t do is stop talking about it in lieu of actually getting it done.

The sigma summary omits the important element that sigmas are often perceived as, and mistaken for, alphas by others. This is why the gamma pretension to sigmahood is so risible, because even on their best days, no one ever confuses the guys from Revenge of the Nerds for Conan, James Bond, or Hannibal Lector.

But the key point is to recognize that the gamma is not defined by what he is not, but rather, by how others observe him to behave. If you win every argument, if you’re pretty sure that you’re the most clever person in the room, if you think you’ve got a roguish charm, and you believe it is the intensity of a man’s affections that is the prime determinant of whether he deserve their object or not, then you’re probably a gamma.