Mailvox: Gamma Struggles

An Australian Gamma asks for advice:

Hope you could give some advice for a 19 yr old gamma. I have read “graduating gamma” several times over the last few years and have mitigated most of my gamma behaviors and thoughts. The articles were very helpful.

While I am much less annoying now, I am struggling socially. I was forced to take a gap year (Victoria vax mandates), so all of my school friends are at university while I am not yet. I’m working minimum wage jobs until February when university starts. My self-esteem is poor thanks to this and because I had no-one to take to my senior high school dance last year (the final nail in the coffin for years of delusion about my social abilities).

I am okay at small talk with colleagues, but am fairly socially incapable in large group settings. I was immensely uncomfortable at a recent work Christmas party held at a bar.

I seem to have a resting depressed-looking face. Work colleagues, not infrequently, ask “Are you okay?” for no apparent reason. I am struggling to form new friendships after high school and am fairly black-pilled and reticent thanks to vax-related ostracism I’ve received in the last 2 years. I do not talk about political or social issues except with close friends. I understand that despair is a sin and hope is a virtue, but this is difficult for me.

I lift, but not as often as I used to or should. I pray, but also not as often as I should.

I was reading Panzer Commander recently, and this quote from the brilliant tank commander’s book seems to be relevant. He’s addressing the challenge facing soldiers in wartime, and how they are able to keep themselves from falling into despair when routinely faced with situations far more ghastly than young men face in peacetime.

Every war brings with it, through the shifting of theaters of action, longer or shorter pauses, the “periods between campaigns.” These pauses are of great value, both for the individual soldier and for the community. Everyone tries to mobilize his mental forces and is ready to suppress negative experiences and assimilate even the slightest positive ones.

People encourage each other and strengthen one another in the hope that at some point in time they will be able to escape this constant mortal threat forever.

Probably every soldier finds out in the course of a war that he can only bear the “having to kill” and “being killed” over long periods if he adopts the maxims of the Stoics: learn to endure all things with equanimity. He can only do this if he builds up an immune system of his own against the feelings of fear and sympathy and probably, to a certain degree, even against matters of ethics, morals, and conscience. He cannot afford to question the whys and wherefores of the things that happen around him and in which he, himself, has a part. He must act and apply his whole concentration to that.

Panzer Commander, Col Hans von Luck

The key there, in my opinion, is “to suppress negative experiences and assimilate even the slightest positive ones”.

In my experience, it is not low self-esteem that is the reader’s problem. To the contrary, it is the contradiction between his high self-esteem and objective reality. It’s not the peasant who is depressed, because he knows his place. It is the peasant who imagines he is a secret king forced to endure the life of a peasant who is depressed. But self-esteem is irrelevant. No one cares what anyone thinks about himself. Esteem has to be earned, it cannot be assumed, postured, or cajoled by imposters.

The good news is that there is steel at the core. The reader didn’t submit to the narrative. He didn’t take the vaxx. That means he has it in him to succeed, and what he needs right now are some small victories upon which he can build. So, my prescription is relentless positivity. Focus on making each interaction with you, no matter how small, a positive one.

The reader should NEVER talk about himself. He should always steer the conversation to the other person: “I’m fine, how are YOU doing? What have you been up to?” And then actually listen to what the other person says; since so few people actually listen to anyone else – most people simply wait, impatiently, for their own turn to talk – just being perceived as a listener will elevate the reader over most other people.

There is no answer, but there is a process of transformation. And that process is a slow one that takes shape one interaction at a time. It starts when the Gamma applies two concepts to his behavioral pattern:

  1. Get over yourself. Everything isn’t about you.
  2. LISTEN. Just shut the fuck up and listen! You learn SO much more when you listen than you do when you talk.

As an aside, it might surprise a lot of readers to learn that I’m a reasonably good listener in social situations. Granted, it’s more about intellectual curiosity than any personal interest in the conversations taking place around me, but even my mother didn’t realize I’d been paying any attention to anything that anyone had said until my second novel was published.