Everything Is Transactional

Media and culture tell us that altruism is a high virtue. Using our precious time, money, and energy to benefit others without expectation of return is encouraged and praised in our society. Conversely, our culture emphasizes that a transactional exchange of value supposedly cheapens our obligation to serve others’ interests above our own.

This leads to problems, because transactionality is part of human nature. We are collaborative entities as a species, but our individual survival instinct motivates us to get something out of each interaction. We are only offended by the idea that relationships are transactional because its public repudiation helps to control our behavior. By elevating altruism, our society controls our desires, our output, and our basest impulse to improve our standing. Ironically, the institutionalizing of altriusm leads to a welfare state that gives producers little incentive to create societal value.

Notice the concepts that are used to mask transactionality — “loyalty”,”faith”, “devotion”, “allegiance” — all describe one-sided interactions where a person is expected to provide value indefinitely without reciprocation. Companies expect your loyalty and but will fire you without a second thought if it helps their margins. Girlfriends want your faith and devotion, but are likely to dump you if something better comes along.

Just as a great country cannot sustain itself as a one-sided welfare state, your personal and professional relationships cannot persist if both parties are not bringing something to the table. The happiest people I know embrace this concept, while some of the most miserable fail over and over to realize this ultimate truth. People will assert some higher purpose as a reason for their devotion to a failing cause, all the while allowing others to stomp on their interests and subjugate their lives.

I am perhaps more preoccupied with optimizing my life than most, but periodically I try to ask myself whether each relationship is adding value to my life. And am I adding enough value to maintain a fair exchange? There is, of course, the issue of transaction costs. A girl who previously made you very happy may start misbehaving, or your dream job may evolve into something less desirable. Because of your prior investment it makes sense to attempt to change the circumstances before ending the interaction wholesale. Ultimately, though, most of us are leading the lives of our choosing. If we are being taken advantage of, it is because we are allowing it to happen.

Is this “cold” or “calculating”? Perhaps by the standards of our PC-obsessed nanny state. But I’d rather acknowledge human nature and make it work to my advantage than ignore it and allow other people to control my life. Provide me with value and I will do the same. Cease to do so, and we will end the interaction. It is better to be a mercenary than a pushover.

Read more: The Matrix Is Getting Pissed

91 thoughts on “Everything Is Transactional”

  1. There are two extremes to the value exchange when it comes to people:
    1. Not being taken advantage of (i.e. receiving much less value than what you give).
    2. Being a freeloader (i.e. receiving much more value than what you give).
    People tend to gravitate towards one or the other. The problem is that valuing value is subjective. You bought your friend a drink at the bar, and he later introduced you to a lady friend of his who has a cute friend. Is that equal? Or you helped your friend move, and in exchange he bought you a nice dinner. Is that equal? You will keep a running ledger in your mind.
    Another problem is that once you’re a self-actualized man, a valuable man, you will get diminishing value from relationships. If few have more value than you, how can you fairly receive value? Logically you could argue that relationships are no longer even needed once your value is high enough, but this would be an extreme road to take.
    Human relationships have a strong play component. They exist for no specific reason, and if you only use value as a judgement for these relationships, you do lose that. If you add the value of play and companionship to your overall judgement, I think you’re closer to the ideal path.

  2. I highly recommend a book called “Give and Take” by Adam Grant. He is a social psychologist who analyzes social interactions along a spectrum of reciprocity styles, ranging from Takers on one end, to Matchers in the middle, to Givers on the other end.
    (To this list we can add a variant of Taker who tries to look like a Matcher or Giver. He calls them Fakers. They’re dangerous.)
    His studies are enlightening — Givers tend to be among the lowest-performing and least successful group. Matchers are in the middle. Takers do well until they are discovered, in which case they tend to hit an upper limit of success.
    Who is at the top of the heap, in business or any competitive environment? It’s Givers, again. They appear at the top and the bottom of the success ladder.
    I highly recommend the book. He gives concrete examples in the form of business case studies, and gives several strategies that Successful Givers use to become successful, and thus separate themselves from the Failed Givers who become chumps.

    1. Also, “Games People Play” by Eric Berne, and “Scripts People Live” by Claude Steiner.

    2. Without being too sexist, this is one of the reasons women have never produced anything of real value. Despite all of their “giving”, they are takers. To be truly successful, one needs to truly love something, one needs to produce.

      1. Yep. You’re either a Creator or Destroyer – either adding value or subtracting. Sometimes creation requires temporary destruction, like when the Earth collided with another planet billions of years ago at just the right angle to create our moon, which ended up being absolutely necessary for life to evolve. Be a net Creator for the sheer joy of creating something from nothing and you’ll live a good life and sleep like a baby at night, and look forward to standing before the judgment seat, if there is one, and look God in the eye unashamed and without fear.

      2. That’s not “sexist” — that’s reality. What’s wrong with sexism, anyway?
        right — women don’t produce. For the most part, they are Takers, to
        use Adam Grant’s assessment. They used to be more reciprocal with men,
        before Feminism taught them that they are entitled to everything
        they’re given by men, and thus are being victimized all the time
        whenever they give up anything. So, they stopped contributing as much,
        and became full-fledged Takers. There’s no kind of bitch like an
        entitled bitch.
        After reading the Give & Take book, I’ve
        started to reevaluate my whole pattern of reciprocity. I still believe
        strongly in the importance of Matching — it is the bedrock of
        civilization. It enables cooperation, division of labor, and all the
        rest. Matching also advances society as a whole, since in any trade,
        both sides benefit. Even a Matcher’s trade is a net gain, overall.
        There’s nothing wrong with Matching.
        But Giving is extremely
        powerful. It is the thing that will propel a Matcher to new heights.
        It is what makes artists into household names. It is what makes great
        executives legendary.
        I still think Giving has to be used
        sparingly. (And I’m not talking about charitable donations. I’m
        talking about real contribution to others in your life.) Of course, you
        need to be on guard against Takers who will take advantage of your
        generosity, and close yourself off from them. But until I read this
        book, I never gave much thought to the positive effects of being a
        The takeaway is that being a Giver doesn’t need to come
        at the cost of sacrificing your own ambition. It is possible to
        constantly strive to benefit yourself, while also acting for the benefit
        of others at the same time.
        That’s the kind of behavior that will transform you into the true alpha.

  3. “Using our precious time, money, and energy to benefit others without
    expectation of return is encouraged and praised in our society.”
    The reason this is praised is because the people praising it largely are the people benefiting from your giving with no strings attached.
    Charities and universities are very good at this. They sell feelings of “I am such a good person” when you donate to them so they can avoid making tough resource allocation decisions and pay their administrators fat salaries. I stopped giving money to my perpetually-in-crisis alma mater years ago after figuring out it was all bullshit.
    I’m not saying you should never give to a charity or give your time to someone else. I am saying that you should be aware of when others try to manipulate your emotions in order to goad/shame/cheer-lead you into decisions that cost you and benefit them.
    If you EVER hear someone say “Sacrifices need to be made” or “This is for the good of the company” you can be damn sure that the behavior they’re advocating benefits them and not you.

    1. when you give to charity, especially a larger one, 50-75% of your money goes to paying swanky offices in capital cities, first class airline tickets and or private jets and limos (not to mention lines of coke and escorts paid for with the executive wages.)
      if you really want to give to charity buy a homeless a hamburger… i offer this all the time when bums ask me for money and they hardly ever say yes, because they only want money for booze and smokes…..
      it makes me chuckle how the homeless that claims to need charity, is running pretty much the same con as the executive of a large charity….

      1. Right- I find that the small-scale, local charities tend to be pretty good at allocating donated resources. They are a lot more transparent than the larger 501(c)3’s.

    2. All the knee-jerk cynicism on this thread. You guys are stroking each other like spooked girls.
      Conspiracy freaks find each other everywhere on the net. NOTHING IS AS IT SEEEEMS!!! And when someone comes along with Occam’s Razor, then he’s part of the conspiracy ipso facto.
      You have condemned yourselves to sniffing each others’ farts in perpetuity. The website is called “Return of Kings,” not the “Return of Victims whose Every Problem Can Be Explained By All The Bad People Who Keep Them Down ESPECIALLY Women.”

      1. Return of the Kings : If you think into it logically…. back in the day of kings… resources were scare and people abundant… therefore it was acceptable to behead people and have slaves, whoever controlled the resources was King, whoever didn’t was worthless.
        As machinery enabled better farming and better industry, resources became more abundant. Slavery for example ended because tractors were cheaper, more productive, more reliable and couldn’t rebel…. not because of heart felt emotions and social improvement.
        Now we face a time where resources are becoming more scarce, where humans are more abundant, our technology has not improved enough (aka. star trek) to support the increasing population. Humans are becoming less valuable again.
        Wait until the socialist governments collapse under the weight of their debts and we’ll see how long it will take for slavery to make a major comeback.
        We’re either going to crack the technology barrier, especially getting off burning things like cavemen, and move onto resonant energy sources, warp drives, teleporters and so forth, or plunge into another 1000 years of dark ages, where most of what we have today, (much like the Romans) just becomes a bit of history and little is left of our legacy.

        1. Are resources scarce? That’s only what we are told.
          Also, even before we lived on the ‘prison planet’ we had a society with easy wealth that had abandoned the values that made it strong and thus resorted to degeneracy. I actually felt that the women of yesterday were way bigger sluts than the women of today, who may have moderated it a bit.

  4. “Using our precious time, money, and energy to benefit others without
    expectation of return is encouraged and praised in our society.”
    The reason this is praised is because the people praising it largely
    are the people benefiting from your giving with no strings attached.
    Charities and universities are very good at this. They sell feelings
    of “I am such a good person” when you donate to them so they can avoid
    making tough resource allocation decisions and pay their administrators
    fat salaries. I stopped giving money to my perpetually-in-crisis alma
    mater years ago after figuring out it was all bullshit.
    I’m not saying you should never give to a charity or give your time
    to someone else. I am saying that you should be aware of when others
    try to manipulate your emotions in order to goad/shame/cheer-lead you
    into decisions that cost you and benefit them.
    If you EVER hear someone say “Sacrifices need to be made” or “This is
    for the good of the company” you can be damn sure that the behavior
    they’re advocating benefits them and not you.

  5. When I was blue pill, I always devalued my own needs and wants and was a consumate giver too concerned for the feelings of others, even if they didn’t deserve my compassion. This is because I was raised to be a “nice” boy; whether it be by culture or my parents or a combination of both. Now that I am “red pill”, I take like a motherfucking pirate in every possible aspect of life that you can think of to make myself feel good and only give back to those who have truly earned it. You should see my mother scramble to salvage the last remaining remnants of our relationship.

    1. A super market chain slaps 5% on the price to account for shop lifting…therefore try to steal what you can…not because you can’t afford it, but more for sport and for taking back what’s you paid for anyway…
      the more cunning strategies you devise to do this, the more you force the supermarket to tighten up it’s security, meaning you serve a useful function in the market place.
      this is the amoral logic that a true market price gives you…..

      1. Yeah or they just mark that up to 7% to pass along to the rest of us consumers…
        “Stealing, cheating, lying…” all good tactics to improve society. We can’t be preaching things like this and look upon ourselves as better than the feminists =(

        1. We’re in a dog eat dog world to say the least, the reason guys like Richard W1 and Adam are talking like this is because being ‘good’, ‘nice’ and following the rules gets you nowhere. Unfortunately it seems nowadays that if you’re not shitting on someone then someone is shitting on you.
          I’ve not been a ‘nice’ guy but I was nice to friends and people close to me. Almost every friend I have has screwed me over socially or financially. Not because I was soft or a pushover but because that’s how people behave now. They don’t appreciate what others do for them and take everything for granted. You can’t play the morally superior martyr, getting fucked over all the time but taking pride in it because it shows you are superior, if only in your own mind. To me that shows a lack of self-respect.
          You’ll also note that stealing, cheating and lying is what all governments, politicians, corporations, religious leaders, modern women/feminists, courts, legal representatives and financial institutions do on a regular basis.

    2. I had a very similar experience to yours. The more I gave to people, the more I got shit on. The nicer I was to women, the less action I got from them.
      If only the world really rewarded nice guys, as we are told it does, I wouldn’t have had to turn into the person I’ve become. But there’s one thing that hasn’t changed in the 4.5 billion year history of this rock we live on, and that’s the principle that life is just a really just a test of survival and adaptation: Do you have what it takes to survive and prosper?
      Forget our pie in the sky philosophy and morality. The people making up those rules don’t follow them. Be it the Church, the State, or business and industry. That stuff is for the minions out there. I want to be one of the masterminds, not the minions. Because that’s really the choice one has in life.

      1. There is something to being able to sleep like a baby at night, though, with a 100% clear conscience. Do no harm, I say. Don’t hurt others intentionally. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t allow them to reap what they’ve sown. I am not responsible for saving people from themselves and the consequences of their own actions..

    3. When I was blue pill, I always devalued my own needs and wants and was a consummate giver too concerned for the feelings of others, even if they didn’t deserve my compassion. This is because I was raised to be a “nice” boy; whether it be by culture or my parents or a combination of both.

      And like a good feminist child, you confuse “nice” with “good.” Niceness is harmlessness, a feminine trait. Goodness is often harsh, a standard to be maintained above all else, especially emotionalism and pain. Our culture of feminism needed to create and sustain the confusion between good and nice, and you are one of their success stories.

      Now that I am “red pill”, I take like a motherfucking pirate in every possible aspect of life that you can think of to make myself feel good and only give back to those who have truly earned it. You should see my mother scramble to salvage the last remaining remnants of our relationship.

      “Take like a motherfucking pirate” sounds like an adolescent child on his own for the first time. You really shouldn’t crow about how awesomely you have sabotaged the most fundamental relationship of your life. You brag about how weak you are.
      The only thing worse than an omega male is an omega male who tries so hard to play-act what he thinks an alpha would do. If you had a shitty mom, chances of your ever pulling off the alpha pose is very low. You mimic what you observe. What animates the alpha’s behavior remains mysterious to you. We see through your psychodrama for the maternal revenge fantasy that it is. These are not the problems of men.

        1. One more time, Mr. +1.
          “Is hyperbole [as a substitute for deliberate and clear expression] lost on you, Matt?”
          “Yes. [Hyperbole as a substitute for deliberate and clear expression is ‘lost on’ me.]”
          Or wait. Is the Hyper Bole something like the Super Bole only awesomer?

        2. Look up circumlocution, too, while you’re at it. Maybe it’ll shut you the fuck up.

      1. I take, and I take, and I take. I take from people what I want. And if they deserve it, they get one of the best friends in the world in return. But how I feel matter’s, too, Matt. And my needs and wants are important, too, Matt.

      2. Plus, since I have no idea what your first point is about because it’s not formed well, I want to punch you in the face because I think you’re a dink.

        1. I have a suggestion. Sublimate your outwardly directed, violent self-hatred (I JUST WANT TO PUNCH EVERYTHING I DON’T UNDERSTAND) into this method: rereading till you get it.

        2. No. Fuck you, Matt King. Your writing is stilted and pedantic. I don’t like you and your armchair psychology. Your a doofus.

      3. Also, you’re a prig and pedant. I clearly have to write out my point in 10,000 painfully accurate words because you can’t read between the lines.

    4. …aaaaaabsolutely. I was the same way, and everyone’s at least cordial to you as long as you’re busting your ass for them. As soon as the handouts stop though, look out; you’re just another no-good MAN looking to ruin the feminist utopia by asking to keep a little of what you’ve earned for yourself.

  6. Failure to adhere to transactionalism is why Western Society will eventually collapse.
    Women have promoted selfishness for far too long and men have become increasingly selfish to match the ‘conceitedness’ that women demand. Despite this, men are still far too giving in comparison to the women, who deliver little to nothing at all.
    Despite US men saying that their women are potentially the worst, I believe that there were some fine examples I met over there too; rather, I felt UK women were the worst because of the welfare culture that has permeated this society. It is an easier life when the University was free here; healthcare still is. They expect the world on a plate and use the laws to extract value from men. This has resulted in men become thuggier and leaving employment as a lesser chosen path. They do not for the most part choose to expend energy on improving themselves and their culture; choosing instead to go for the nihilistic path, as this is the only option left that works for attracting women.
    I do not blame all women. However, previous generations have set the groundwork on which the current generation still feels they can ride the coat-tails of. This is despite the fact that the jobs and money are largely gone. In future, we may see a return of transactional relationships for a significant minority. However, the future of the human race in the West for at least the next half century will be of non-comittal relationships rather than lasting ones meant to bring up productive offspring. As such, there will be the increased Balkanisation of the Western countries as people ‘hide’ in their gated communities patrolled by security versus the mob outside, who will be gutting each other for the scraps.

    1. Excellent analysis of the transactional nature of men and women. When you really get down to the bottom of it, modern Western women offer almost nothing (except a well-used vagina) to Western men.
      We break out the old cost/benefit analyzer and find that sexual relations are astonishingly lopsided. Women represent a high risk but a very low return. Occasional sexual gratification (when she decides you can have some, of course) is really all they offer as a return, but they present very high risks of divorce theft and child support penury while also presenting the male with high costs: being materialistic, not knowing how to cook, thinking she’s too liberated to do any housework, constantly complaining about something, often preferring to get a dog instead of having kids, etc.)
      I’ve also seen the Balkanization you speak of already going on in countries like Mexico. Mexico actually has a significant population of Caucasian people, especially in the northern provinces. They mainly live in walled-in, gated communities away from the Mestizos. All this is coming soon to a Western nation near you.

    2. I agree on the UK situation…. France even more so…. there’s an entire generation or two in the UK and France that have no idea about actually taking responsibility for anything other than whether they want coke or sprite with their big mac…

  7. look at the market forces at work here :
    married woman that has had a couple of kids, late 30s, a bit puffy with post pregnancy weight and losing her pretty face, stressed from childcare and not able to maintain her beauty regime, hour of make up and skin care a day, and doesn’t have quite the budget for shoes and lingerie as she used to because the money goes on the kids :
    OK… she has lost value… she knows it, she feels it…. she’s a $100 stock trading in the low $60s…. looking like it might break the $50 mark on a sharp sell off….
    she sees the way her husband looks at pretty girls, she sees him working out and looking good and moving along with his career…. ops…. his value is a lot higher than hers….
    somehow she needs to raise her value….
    what happens in most divorces is …. instead of making herself more valuable by becoming a super sexual beast… (and enjoying her guilt free slutdom as a 40 something housewife).
    instead she with holds sex… limiting supply in theory making it’s value more precious….
    however you can’t limit the supply of sex in a good relationship.. it just happens….
    now the husband feels like crap, because his pussy fix is taken away… she’s lowered his value… but also in the process lowered the value of them as a couple….
    she feels even more miserable and now feels her value declining. to increase her value she has an affair…..
    husband now feels even more miserable….not even understanding WTF is going on……
    she feels confused, messed up and like a total guilty slut, when all she had to do was be a slut for hubby…..
    nuts… teenage strategies for grown adults…..

    1. Relationship Marxism…everyone must align with the lowest common denominator, in this case, the chubby housewife.

  8. I don’t know who originally said it, but it is truth: “A weakness, is a strength that has gone to far (or overextended itself).”
    A net equal transaction is necessary for the world to go around. Like chemistry, what goes in, must necessarily come back out. For example, I don’t think that friends or family relate to this as they get more grace when they mess up. However, work relations are very dependent on fair reciprocation between skills and output. So are feminine conquests; if she does not measure up, you must walk. However, getting what you put into it today is almost impossible.
    Many people in the West have no concept of bartering. Everything we have is determined a value, and only lessons as time goes by and it is put on sale. In other cultures, one barters for a service or ware based on its perceived value. This is why I think, so many of us will settle for a low class woman because we have been told that all women are the exact equivalent of a multi thousand dollar engagement ring, wedding ring after, and the consequence of bitchy suffe’ring” that follows after; then slavery after divorce. We are told she is worth it.
    Relationships of any kind are more like bartering than buying a piece of jewelry over the counter at a predetermined price. In order to not be taken advantage of, one must need know what the value of something is. In India, the Middle East, or South Asia, you determine a price and argue it down. In the West, trying to argue with the entry level worker out of high school will only make him tell you he has a break in 30 seconds.
    Pussy, and the pursuit of it is actually not even the second level product valued here. The journey of getting it, and improving on it is; in other words, game. We barter for pussy, and like Arab salesman, many of us have gotten to be successful businessman or traders. Yet the wise man is after the skilll of bartering, and not the product itself. Once you fill up your house with useless carpets and trinkets; it is the rare “carpet” you will even consider taking home rather than make it wear the floor of a hotel room.
    A woman sees the level of alpha in us, and makes a determination if she is going to buy (fuck you) or walk (relive herself of your pathetic beta presence). Betas are like the low level salesman of carpets in the middle east. As soon as you turn your back and leave you hear “My friend, my friend, come I can make good deal for you.” When you know they are scamming you.
    On the contrary, a beta is still a male, but his strength is weakened over the years by a steady diet of feminist emasculation. When he gets a whiff of potential mating material, he loses it and “spends the farm” so to speak and gets very little value in return for what he puts in; and subsequently gets stolen out from under him in the courts.
    An alpha is different. He knows his product by the gram (you buy gold by the gram not the necklace or ring), and has no compunction for the looks as much as his keen eye for value allows him to even raise an eyebrow let alone sell everything he owns for a worthless piece of ass. He knows his worth, and the worth of the product in question. Rarely does he need to bite the product to ensure it is what it is. He already knows, and does not overextend himself to get what he wants.
    Each “product” is just one of many her purchased for a small fee, his time. No use in getting excited over just anything.

  9. This is a fantastic article, and I have come to realize many of the facts in the article in the last few years. These lessons don’t come easy. For many of us, they come as hard knocks. It took me a long time to deprogram myself from the indoctrination we are all given.
    The bottom line is, in this world you only really have yourself to take care of you. Parents age and then pass on, women come in and out of your life (and behave mainly as users in the West.) Friends and co-workers come in and out of your life, etc. Life is really like a big game of musical chairs when you look at it this way. You never know what people and circumstances you’ll end up with – but change is guaranteed.
    I think Black Knight is dead on when he says companies expect loyalty but give you none in return. The way I’ve learned to deal with this is by becoming a courtier. I act like I’m loyal to them, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth. In becoming a courtier, I’ve found that it gives me more power and control over my circumstances. Because, at his core, the courtier retains his independence and indifference and looks out for himself.
    Younger men in their late teens and early 20s would be wise to study well many of the lessons like this one in the manosphere.

    1. This accidental, asinine anti-moralism is the downfall of the “manosphere.”
      You’d all do well to get past the idea that licentiousness = freedom before it dooms you all individually and as a cause. On every post it seems necessary to exorcise the ghost of that goth-idol überchump Aleister “Do what thou wilt” Crowley.
      Becoming “independen[t]” of the natural law requires something more than declaring oneself to be so, just as one does not make himself eight feet tall by shouting it to the universe. Worse, this pseudoliberty makes a man believe he can cease all the hard work it takes to achieve the real thing.

      1. I see it as simply adapting to the realities of the modern world.
        Why did you bring up licentiousness? I wasn’t even talking about that, nor do I think it equals freedom. Calling the manosphere’s ideals licentiousness is a gross oversimplification.
        There’s nothing wrong with refusing to conform to rules and ideals that oppress us as individuals while choosing not to do harm to others as a matter of doing business because of a personal sense of honor.
        You’re also jumping to conclusions when you assume that people aren’t taking action on the topics discussed on this and other boards.

        1. The bottom line is, in this world you only really have yourself to take care of you.

          Parents divorced?
          You miss the necessary connection between transactionalism and license. What drives you to valorize radical independence is the sense that depending on others will only disappoint you in your quest to get you what you want (license). So you focus on what you get rather than what you give, and this focus makes you ill-suited to receive help freely. It makes you suspicious of charity. Your transactional frame of mind makes you wonder where the hidden strings are.
          When your focus is on giving, you do not obsess over recompense the way a businessman must. Instead you are disposed to a completely different and virtuous cycle. But this requires the calmness of mind to allow yourself to be dependent on others, which transactionalism makes us too paranoid to have faith in.
          In the business world , nobody is going to locate a need of yours and fill it gratis. In the personal world of unconditional love, “gratis” is the entire point. If you do not get a paternal surge of joy teaching your son the valuable lessons in life — giving your time and energy freely to him — then you have a dead soul.
          When a friend helps you move from your apartment and refuses payment for his troubles, what do you think of him? What a deluded chump! or That’s the kind of friend I want to be? But what if he never needs to move and you pay it forward to your brother instead? Transactionalism stands in the way of our instinct, corrupts it, demolishes it.
          I do not “call[] the manosphere’s ideals licentiousness” at all. I say that this tendency to rationalize license for lack of a better philosophy will bring its more high-minded ideals to a swift end.

        2. Somehow I’ll make it through without you and your resentments. Cheers.

        3. Erm….yeah.
          Bullied much?
          Your need to attack and belittle others betrays a gnawing insecurity.
          Move along folks. Just another needy troll here.

  10. Nailed it! Maybe the best point is that resisting the demands for altruism doesn’t automatically make you a self-centered mercenary. But you’re right, a mercenary that can pay his rent is a better life than a saint that depends on charity.

    1. In theory, even a saint depending on charity is engaging in a transaction of sorts. St. Paul was “spreading the word” and the message was of enough value for people to make sure the guy could keep delivering the message by providing for him. If his message was shit, he would’ve been ignored and left to fend for himself. Charity does sell something in return, many times promises of rewards in the afterlife. If that is of value to people, they engage in the transaction. I think it’s no better than snake oil salesmanship, so I don’t contribute any longer, with a clear conscience.

      1. True true. And I think thats the rub. People are being told what they’re getting in return is good karma, riches in heaven, or the “joy” of helping someone out who finally gets outta bed around the time you’re stopping work to get lunch….I don;t subscribe either.

      2. In theory, even a saint depending on charity is engaging in a transaction of sorts. … Charity does sell something in return, many times promises of rewards in the afterlife. If that is of value to people, they engage in the transaction. I think it’s no better than snake oil salesmanship, so I don’t contribute any longer, with a clear conscience.

        Your misunderstanding is willful.
        The “promises of rewards in the afterlife” are incentives for the grubby minded who cannot transcend their transactionalism, like you appear to be. They encourage people to do good by deferring gratification or recompense, rather than eliminating the possibility of them, like you should.
        A scheme of holy reward is hardly the highest ideal. It is functional and practical, a method to get those who would otherwise act selfishly to establish habits of giving — until they realize that the glory is to transcend the need for compensation.
        “Even a saint depending on charity is engaging in a transaction of sorts.” Not at all. The definition of a saint is the one who transcends the cynical transactions caused by the paranoia and suspicion of this world to get, get, get. The definition of a saint is one who lives Matthew 6 and for no reason other than a desire to act in the manner he was designed to act.
        You are not required to be heroic or saintly in this manner. You do not have to transcend your fusty transactional mind. But the assumption that “everything is transactional” makes your life into a distraction. It makes the best possible life appear inexplicable or even insane to you. So you will be constantly tempted to pursue its opposite: radical self-centeredness or even solipsism.
        Therefore the “store up your treasures in heaven” hermeneutic was made for minds just like yours. So that you don’t go too far off the rails. But in your cleverness you seem to believe you’ve exposed the hidden trick, which now opens you to the possibility of a distorted life of pain, attempting to force a square peg perpetually into a round hole, the condemnation of Sisyphus. You are built to give, to transcend yourself, not to indulge your foolish mortal whims.
        Hey, if you are going to make your life into a moral wreck, might as well make it a spectacular one. Get down with your (literally) bad self. We’ll see how that works out for you.
        Because here’s the secret to the afterlife that nobody ever tells you: your punishment begins here, in the misery and paranoia and friendlessness that accompanies the end of a life of monstrous selfishness. No wonder such old men shoot themselves as the deferred consequences begin catching up with them.

        1. …again, declining to be altruistic doesn’t necessarily mean resorting to the rock star lifestyle. If you need to have someone or something else to dedicate your life to because you don’t think you’re deserving of the fruits of your efforts, that sounds like a “you” problem, not an “everyone else” problem.

  11. Fakers truly are the worst. Maximizing their own efforts and value while minimizing everyone else’s – these are the people who have nothing really good to say about anyone else, always tearing others down (behind their back) to make themselves look good. Dealing with people like this should be kept to a minimum. Unfortunately, I have a Faker in my family – my own loyalty towards blood cannot be broken, even as a result of such a lopsided relationship – but after being burned far too many times I’ve adjusted my interaction and do not do anything with or for him unless there is something in it for me, even as small as just enjoying doing the work/project. But expecting any reciprocation whatsoever is a recipe for disappointment and frustration, even when it should be obvious. Rollo talks about relational equity, and there are men who do not appreciate anything done for them either. I believe some people are so narcissistic that to appreciate someone else’s efforts and accomplishments shines a light on their own shortcomings, and to preserve their own ego they just convince themselves that what was done is no big deal and thus appreciation is not warranted. Confronting these people about it is an exercise in futility, especially when a family member, because then the ego preservation goes into overdrive and the efforts to tear you down and build themselves up go to warp speed.
    I have personally come to understand that most relationships are just not worth it. I’d much rather hang out with kids than adults. At least children have an excuse for behaving like children – I’d rather hang out with real children than adults who are nothing more than grown children.

  12. This leads to problems, because transactionality is part of human
    nature. We are collaborative entities as a species, but our
    individual survival instinct motivates us to get something out of each

    Amateur moral anthropology. Commerce and politics are transactional. Personal relationships are not. There is no surer way to misery than to confuse this most important distinction.
    “Business and pleasure don’t mix.”
    “Don’t shit where you eat.”
    “It’s not personal, it’s business.”
    Bad businessmen import personal issues into the business transaction. Bad social actors import transactionality into personal issues.
    Does your mother keep a ledger of how many times she fed and burped you? Are you released from your indebtedness once you give her back a quarter-million dollars’ worth of services?
    Those who believe in quid pro quo personal relationships are expressing the moral perspective of the weak. The strong, rich, and noble have a surplus that the weak, poor, and underclass cannot imagine. To give freely is not a matter of life and death to the strong; it is simple largess. The slave who looks up at his masters perceives the “waste” of such resources as simple foolishness and ignorance.
    Those who lack two nickels to rub together see someone who instinctively gives nickels away as insane or foolish or, like them, weak and in desperate need of receiving value for value. When you have a million nickels, quite a few may drop from your pockets before you notice. This is inexplicable to the poor man who can only see a world of “transactionality.”
    Or to put it in “manosphere” terms, if you are naturally alpha, giving a girl your attention without expectation of exchange is your way of life. You have plenty to give and therefore plenty to get. This informs your attitude toward everything — magnanimity and generosity and aloof relaxation.
    If you are the beta male looking up, you hoard what precious few resources you have and release them only if there is a guarantee of recompense. This too informs your attitude toward the world — suspicious and miserly and mistrustful.
    What separates generosity from white knighting? That’s right, “transactionality.” Expectation of exchange. The alpha can help a girl out because he doesn’t need her attention, and he has plenty to give from his reserves. The beta will help a girl out solely to be seen as a “knight in shining armor,” expecting something in return for his precious “services.”
    This misunderstanding of generosity is among the hardest things to get across to snake-bitten betas attempting to make the leap to alphatude. They are taught to despise all good things as weakness because they’ve never been strong enough to understand the perspective of noblesse oblige.

    1. “Does your mother keep a ledger of how many times she fed and burped you? Are you released from your indebtedness once you give her back a quarter-million dollars’ worth of services?”
      You work under the assumption we wanted to be born.

    2. Yes, my debt to my mother can never be repayed since I owe my existance to her.
      But its very foolish to compare mother to girlfriend.

      1. It was only a comparison between mother and girlfriend in your head.
        The question remains — why is “everything transactional” except your mother’s relationship to you? If that was your mother’s approach, you wouldn’t have existed, knowing she could “never be repaid.”
        One could say your relationship with your dad is similarly non-transactional. And your sister. And your uncle. You know, all the people whose love we take as a given.
        Now how about your friend? The guy you help just a bit more than he helps you, because he’s not as capable or successful as you.
        Soon enough you realize that the very definition of love cannot admit conditions. When it does, it becomes something else. An arrangement of convenience and precise mutual benefit.
        Now push it still further to your child. Who can never repay you. Will you insist on establishing a contract with him? Or will you acknowledge the obvious and agree that no contingencies or codicils or forced performance have any place when in personal relationships.
        Transactionalism is for the weak. It is a game for quantifiers and sticklers and misers who are too cynical, too poor to risk being charitable. One gives according to what one has to give. To give only according to what you get back unites you with your contract partner more intimately than giving out of largess. You are dependent on her performance rather than aloof from it.

        1. The lover gets paid in feelings of love.
          The charitable gets paid in feeling of having done something good.
          You are posting here today because it makes you feel better about sharing your “wisdom”.
          You cannot escape transactionalism. Embrace it.

        2. You labor beneath the romantic definition of love, like some homely woman obsessed about a calculus of feeeelings. Love is an action, not a sentiment or a sensation.
          You “cannot escape transactionalism.” You “embrace it” for a lack of nobility. You are the merchant class of the sexual “marketplace.” The bourgeoisie. Small souled, constricted by your account ledgers. A john. Everything must be priced out before you can examine it, much less understand it. You have no tool but a calculator. “When all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.” Hence “everything is transactional” in your single-dimensional mind.
          See Aristotle and megalopsuchia, Nicomachean Ethics IV.2 (translated as “magnificence” there).
          I’m here to educate you, not to fight you. Moreover, I make these gratuitous efforts to demonstrate magnanimity, not just to make you aware of a theoretical concept. It doesn’t matter to me if your mind remains on the surface of this idea. But I take the time and energy to introduce you to the insight anyway.

        3. Most of the times I am at odds with what you write (appears to me as the same stupid attitude that drove the West to this dire straits and annihilated its religious and cultural heritage) but in this particular situation you are right…transactionalism has no space in vital interpersonal relationships, either with your kin (mother, father, brothers, extended family if you have any, your children, their children…) or with true and loyal friends.
          At the end of the day, largesse is something only someone powerful can afford, and drops of generosity when it is less expected go long ways, specially in some cases with the opposite sex, the secret is you are doing it either because you are in the mood or just because you wanted to, no strings attached like many unfortunate nice guys.
          Many persons here don’t understand pettiness and unnecessary cruelty are not signs of strength, but of weakness.

    3. So you’re trying to psychologically justify why you’re a beta white knight phaggot.

  13. if you love what you do, and you see your work as play… then you see that buffoonery or what most people call play, is something more suited to chimpanzees in the zoo….

  14. There’s no such thing as an unfair transaction. All transactions occur at an equilibrium.
    If you are dying of thirst and I sell you a glass of water for a million dollars, its a fair transaction based on how much you value water at that moment.
    If I hold a gun to your head and take all your money, again its a fair transaction based on how much you value your life.
    If I make you feel guilty and donate money to charity, again its a fair transaction based on how much you value not feeling guilty.
    You get the idea

    1. That is the capitalist method for setting prices or assigning values to things and people.
      It is based on violence:
      1. You have water, I don’t. I am dying of thirst, you are not.
      2. You have a gun, but I have money. You are poor, I am not.
      3. You own that propaganda machine that makes me feel guilty of not giving, whereas you feel happy of taking.

  15. This personifies the age-old dilemma of Right vs Left, self-interest vs communal/moral good.
    In real life, both factors must be considered. However, the reality is that nearly all humans run their lives on self-interest, starting from the individual, to greater circles of people bound by similarities. Tribe, race, nationality, religion, and so on. The failure to acknowledge this universal pursuit of self-interest is what leads unrealistic, utopian, leftist thinking. And worse, persecution against people who fail to live up to these impossible standards. This is the same reason every feminist argument revolves around some kind of moral failing – you’re not nice, you’re not tolerant, etc, instead of reason and mutual interests.
    There are only two kinds of people who base their views on absolute moral altruism: Children, and fools.
    The wise man is kind and compassionate… but only when he can afford to be, and only when it does not demand too much sacrifice to his self-interest.

  16. You mistake “play” for the very purpose of life. Though this may be because you identify yourself primarily as a “player.”
    There are no “specific reason[s]” to love. That’s what makes it love. When you start calculating who has “more value than you,” or “how can you fairly receive value” — i.e., transactionalism — you give up the entry to the virtuous circle above all crude calculation.
    This does not work with money and business. It’s not supposed to work that way! Transactionalism works with labor because its products are measurable, negotiable, and fungible. It cannot work with brothers and sisters and friends and lovers. The reason most relationships end in inexplicable pain is not mysterious at all. It’s because people unconsciously conduct them like businessmen, or more bluntly, like clients and whores: what am I getting out of this exchange?
    When you lose the fear to ask, “What am I giving to this enterprise?” — when you become strong enough to be taken advantage of without fatality — you realize how much more you actually, freely receive from others with a magnanimous attitude rather than the miserly one. If you obsess over the precision of micro-exchanges, you close yourself to the windfall.
    Love means making another’s life better for no reason or no reward. That, not “play,” is why you were born and why you are living and what is worth dying for. That, not “play,” is why we have serious friendships. Almost every successful popular drama, from Casablanca to Titanic to Saving Private Ryan to Star Wars to Armageddon, recapitulates this “greatest story ever told” in its own way.
    We are not meant to live like accountants. We are meant to be explosively generous. And we know this is the deepest truth in our life when we are doing it. Doing it madly, irrationally, and apart from all calculation.

      1. Go on and label what you don’t understand. Helps you to swallow criticism for sure. But digesting it is another matter altogether.

    1. I like the idea that play gives true meaning to life; in my experience, anything else runs you the risk of falling into despair. But your idea of love troubles me – probably because I agree with portions of it. Love and life should be like Dionysus: we squander ourselves with no regard for reality’s limits. Even so, loving the wrong thing can limit our ability to live this way. Being indiscriminate in your (love)-object choice, not only cheapens that value of your love, it can also reinstitute the chains that kept us bound in Plato’s cave. If you love, you love like the sun; your love is an overflow. But if you love the wrong person, your love will never be enough to fill their emptiness; the sun’s light can never escape the gravity of a black hole. Moreover, should you love the wrong person, you run the risk of internalizing their emptiness, or more correctly, being swallowed up by their emptiness thus becoming empty yourself. As narcissistic as it sounds to calculate another’s “value”, such calculations are more than necessary (and in reality, such calculations are instant the moment your eyes meet; even before you are aware of your eyes meeting). Ideally the calculation is done not to sure up a fragile ego or to fill an emptiness (by dominating the other). Ideally the calculation is done to retain your place outside the cave (outside the womb: to be born again), or if you’re a Christian, your place with God. Most sensitive people become very selective of the company they keep. The world for them becomes hierarchical: a hierarchy based not on sociocultural rankings (in reality those rankings tend to fall away more and more), rather the hierarchy is based (if you’re a Christian) on your closeness to God, or (if you’re not a Christian) on your ability to re-present faithfully your inner and outer worlds: your honesty, vulnerability and all around lack of repression.
      Experientially, our will is weakened by associating (beyond goal oriented activity) with those that fall lower than us on our own hierarchy (one major reason marriage is and has always been, especially in today’s climate, a bad idea). Moreover, we tend to frighten or anger or incite jealousy in them with our words or with our silence; with our motion or our stillness. Even when love relationships our established, their love for you is “pretense and weakness”. And the ultimate goal of their love is your destruction/domination.

      1. Worrying about “loving the wrong thing” is a crisis of faith. It makes you too calculating and clever by half. Virtue is not contingent on how effective the giving is or how deserving the recipient; it is inherent to the act in itself. “Virtue is its own reward.”
        Now, I cannot compete with wave after wave of cynicism-mistaken-as-wisdom on this site. I can only suggest you stop being so fussy and try it. If giving can only be understood by you as “white knight” transactional chumpery, you’re just in for a life of abject misery. What do you think of miserly people assigning a price to everything? Are they pleasant? Do you want to do anything with them, much less for them? It is a living hell, and that personal immiseration begins with the erroneous assumption that “everything is transactional.” What appears to be liberation is simply further imprisonment.
        When the feminists said, “The world is all about you, grrrl,” they shoved our culture into the abyss. The solution to that reckless stupidity is not mere reformulation — “No! The world is all about me!” — but rather transfiguration. The world is bigger than both of us, all of us.

        1. Perhaps, giving can be an expression of our own emptiness. We imagine ourselves (as we existed in the womb) perfect and complete, a compensation and denial for the reality of things. We refuse to admit to ourselves our finiteness (even as we are also infinite) to our own detriment, and our giving is an expression of our desire to instill in the other the notion that we are “the good”, like (God) the father – perfect in everyway. Perhaps our secret desire is to give so much pleasure (or turn so many desert rocks into bread), that the other has no choice but to love us; so that the other will never leave us; so that stories are told of our goodness throughout the generations – in short, we give so that we may take the other’s “power”. We dominate the other not by our force or our compliance, but by instilling want in the other for which we gain narcissistic supply.
          Don’t get me wrong, I value giving. But it is a double edged sword. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for life.” As in all things, one must perfect the trade; one must become an expert in the art of giving. The economics of pleasure dictate the net benefit of giving (perhaps this is the secret link to charity and success). Even so, instilling dependency (slavery) on a human being that would otherwise be independent is to me a sin: “too calculating and crafty”. There will always be those who are “dependent” and wish to be dominated by you. Set the rules for your business and keep your distance (so that you are not enslaved via Hegelian dialectics), and reward them for their loyalty or success, or whatever you fancy is beneficial to your business. But if someone comes along that has the potential to become independent, it’s better to groom him to be so: teach him how to fish. This too will better you in the long run, even as it betters him.

    2. Yep. Explosively generous.
      Like the Big Bang.
      That’s my idea of a free lunch.

  17. Thanks for this insightful comment, Roosh. I originally had a section in the post about friendships and other personal relationships that are not necessarily strict “value for value” exchanges, but are worthwhile because of the intangible aspects (recreation, play, camaraderie, etc.) that you are referring to.
    I find that with my closest male friends, we have complimentary and mutually beneficial interests. I am able to learn from them, in addition to enjoying their company and relying on them for support.
    Also, I was perhaps not clear enough about how, in my most valued relationships, I am constantly evaluating how I can be a better friend, mentor, employee, etc. to uphold my end of the implicit bargain.

  18. “The institutionalization of altruism” socializes the risks and costs of supporting governments that serve the interests of business and political elites.
    “The institutionalization of altruism” is possible only because information and education is being produced by corporations and religious organizations interested in maintaining the status quo of rich and poor, literate and illiterate, healthy and ill.
    The strategy is to be purely transactional with the rich and powerful since they are not our friends.
    Freedom and dignity are waiting for us around the corner. We only need to disobey and start to cooperate with each other.

  19. This is extremely American stuff.
    It speaks wonders that the:
    The Australians had the highest rate of survival in Japanese POW Camps;
    The British had the second highest rate of survival in Japanese POW Camps;
    At the bottom was the US POWs who had the lowest rate of survival. It must be a transactional thing, I guess.
    If you do not have a higher sense of you friends and comrades, you are as low as dog shit in my books. Certainly not a man as I understand it.
    But then again I am Australian.

    1. I am American. And you are correct. Our smug bourgeois calculation for want of a posture of greatness gives my countrymen a bad name.
      And for what? Americans stand bestride the narrow world like a colossus. We have much to be proud of beyond our genius for merchandise. It’s a national embarrassment that we have to rely on a foreigner to remind us of the perspective of a man.
      Is this “Return of Kings” or “Return of the Burghers”?

      1. Matt,
        Regardless of my comment, you write extremely well. There is a force, intelligence and clarity to your words that is all too rare.
        Keep it up. The best writers in my opinion are American. When you are guys get good, you are exceptional.
        Good luck!

    2. …so Japanese captors didn’t find interest in killing your countrymen…you can’t get more scientific than that.

      1. Mate, I can assure you that the Japanese were as keen as killing Australians as Americans.
        You only need look at the Bataan and Sandakan death marches for proof of that.
        You are right, there is nothing scientific about what I say. It is history.
        As it turns out, I actually hold Americans in very high regard. I admire deeply many of your national traits – namely, focus, industry and just getting shit done. Believe me, there are many things I find abhorrent in my fellow Australians.
        However, there are certain things in US culture that I do not like. I hate, such as the dog eat dog attitude. I hate the ‘I can shit on anyone who is not up to my standard’ type of stuff. Fuck me you have a term for working class people that is ‘White trash’. That is, sorry to ruffle your feathers, disgusting.
        Many Americans are not like that and probably feel the same way I do. But that is the ruling ethos of many parts of the US.

        1. Depends how you look at it, I think. I can treat other people right and try to be a decent team player, but only because it builds a good reputation and helps form the kind of society I want to live in. But if I try to lift up my fellow man or “sacrifice” my efforts, that only means I’m a sucker who doesn’t know the value of my time and energy.
          Its arguably people who feel entitled to a share of other people’s profits that result in anarchy, not the people who only expect to receive what they earn.

  20. I think a lot of men can read this article and ponder whether or not they are getting the most out of their lives. I think we can all read into this as not being forced to settle as most men do. Question your life always and wonder whether you’re getting the most out of it. I think for a lot of us, the answer will often gravitate to ‘no.’
    Now of course this doesn’t mean we should be simple cold utility calculators of the ‘homo economicus’ kind that neoclassical economics assumes (and quite wrongly), but we should keep an eye out for whether we’re consistently getting the short end of the stick (in whatever way), so to speak. Any relationship that isn’t one between equals is likely not going to be very fulfilling in the long run.

  21. “If few have more value than you, how can you fairly receive value?”
    I think ideally you push others to improve and lead by example at the same time that you’re pushing yourself.

  22. Quoting Andrew Ryan, a genius character from Bioshock:
    “What is the greatest lie every created? What is the most vicious obscenity ever perpetrated on mankind? Slavery? The Holocaust? Dictatorship? No. It’s the tool with which all that wickedness is built: altruism. Whenever anyone wants others to do their work, they call upon their altruism. Never mind your own needs, they say, think of the needs of… of whoever. The state. The poor. Of the army, of the king, of God! The list goes on and on. How many catastrophes were launched with the words “think of yourself”? It’s the “king and country” crowd who light the torch of destruction. It is this great inversion, this ancient lie, which has chained humanity to an endless cycle of guilt and failure. My journey to Rapture was my second exodus. In 1919, I fled a country that had traded in despotism for insanity. The Marxist revolution simply traded one lie for another. Instead of one man, the tsar, owning the work of all the people, *all* the people owned the work of all of the people. So, I came to America: where a man could own his own work, where a man could benefit from the brilliance of his own mind, the strength of his own muscles, the *might* of his own will. I had thought I had left the parasites of Moscow behind me. I had thought I had left the Marxist altruists to their collective farms and their five-year plans. But as the German fools threw themselves on Hitler’s sword “for the good of the Reich”, the Americans drank deeper and deeper of the Bolshevik poison, spoon-fed to them by Roosevelt and his New Dealists. And so, I asked myself: in what country was there a place for men like me – men who refused to say “yes” to the parasites and the doubters, men who believed that work was sacred and property rights inviolate. And then one day, the happy answer came to me, my friends: there was *no* country for people like me! And *that* was the moment I decided… to build one.”

  23. ¨Yep. You’re either a Creator or Destroyer ¨
    Correct, this is why every sub sahara African nation is a wasteland. And Northern Europe and Japan are the penicle of civilization.
    You guys on this forum are half way to enlightenment by being Gender realists. Now it´s race realist time.

    1. Submit your article to ROK and please allow us appreciate the wonders of your political philosophy.

  24. Derren Brown has an interesting take on this subject, emphasising kindness, in his Confessions of a Conjuror. The audio book is on torrent.

  25. Brilliant article. And bookmarked. It solidifies the recent stance and actions I took to defeat , topple and nuke a female/feminist CEO. I won’t go into details here but +1 for the manosphere. What the hell, let’s make it +100. Bravo.

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