What “Public Enemies” Taught Me About Pack Mentality

Michel Houellebecq is rightly considered by many to be the godfather of the manosphere. His novels Whatever (1994), Atomised (1998), Platform (2001), and The Possibility of an Island (2005) all deal, to a greater or lesser extent, with the impossibility of love in a world where sex has become commoditised. Initially a controversial figure who scandalised French literary society with his nihilistic writings and his habit of drunkenly hitting on female interviewers, he has been accused of racism, misogyny, and Islamophobia while his books have been dismissed as pornography and poorly-written polemic.

More recently, though, his reputation has fared better with his last novel The Map and The Territory, winning the prestigious Prix Goncourt in 2010. He is now the subject of a new film called The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq (2014). Here he is on the inequalities of the sexual marketplace:

In societies like ours sex truly represents a second system of differentiation, completely independent of money; and as a system it functions just as mercilessly . . . Just like unrestrained economic liberalism. . . sexual liberalism produces phenomena of absolute pauperism. Some men make love every day; others make love five or six times in their life, or never. It’s what’s known as “the law of the market”. In a totally liberal sexual system certain people have a varied and exciting erotic life; others are reduced to masturbation and solitude…

I have read and loved all of Houellebecq’s novels (as well as his pictorial novella Lanzarote (2000)), but it wasn’t until fairly recently that I picked up a book called Public Enemies which he published in 2008 with French intellectual and author Bernard-Henri Levi. A series of letters between the two men where they discuss everything from literature to sex to politics, family and fame, it is a fascinating insight into Houellebecq’s philosophical views.

But I was particularly struck by a section written by Levi. Houellebecq had at the time been suffering a lot of negative press and public attention. The backlash against his international popularity was at its height, and worse, his estranged mother had just published a book publically denigrating him as an “evil, stupid little bastard . . . who alas came from my womb . . . a liar, an imposter and . . . a petite arriviste ready to do absolutely anything for money and fame.” The knives were out for Houellebecq, who confessed to Levi that he was feeling embattled and cornered. Levi’s advice on pack mentality and how to deal with it has, I believe, wider application, particularly for those who are vilified for holding views that run counter to the mainstream. Here are his four insights.


1. The Pack is Afraid

Levi writes that it is “easy to forget when you see [the pack] advance with such fury and ferocity, so hungry and driven” but that “it is much more afraid than we are.” They have an “all-encompassing fear of life, death . . . their inescapable mediocrity and their ruined ambitions.” Knowing this, “you yourself are less afraid and better armed to resist and fight.”

He recommends going on the offensive. Somewhat incredibly, he relates a personal story about threatening a journalist who was planning to write a negative story about him with violent repercussions. The journalist grumbles but backs down and doesn’t include the contentious details in his article.

Always stand up to bullies—they are scared and they will retreat in the face of resistance.

 2. The Pack is Weak

Levi argues that the pack is weak not only because it is afraid, but also because:

It’s driven . . . by fear, mockery, resentment, hatred, bitterness, spite, anger, cruelty, derision, scorn, all of which Spinoza called the negative emotions [which] . . . make you weak, not strong, are a sign of impotence, not power, which diminish the ego and reduce its capacity to act, indeed profoundly debilitate it, making it unworthy and unintelligently aggressive.

Spinoza, he says, notes that “with negative emotions you may succeed in the short term, but, by definition, in the long term you’ll lose.”

It is better to be busy and single-minded in the pursuit of worthwhile projects:

Those who, not so much out of virtue as through their make-up, self-discipline or just because they have something better to do (e.g. a new book to write), manage to escape this merry-go-round of poisonous emotions . . . Joy makes [a person] intelligent and strong, whereas spite is a poison and sooner or later poison kills.

This mirrors a key tenet of manosphere thinking: that each man should have a mission he is passionate about.


3. The Pack is Stupid

The pack is “like a great lump of an animal that can’t see beyond the end of its nose.”  You outsmart it by

Moving, just moving. When the pack attacks, the tendency is to curl up, bury yourself in a hole, to freeze. But you need to do the opposite. You need to spread yourself out . . . move as much as you can. Put the greatest possible distance between yourself and the pack. Increase your sidestepping, springing forward, strategic withdrawals, surprise attacks, pincer manoeuvres, counter-attacks or simply diversions and avoidance.

Levi notes that Baudelaire “proposed two new entries to the list of human rights: the right to contradict yourself and the right to leave.” Use them. By being nimble and supple, and by moving in unexpected directions, you will outsmart your enemies.

platform ass

 4. The Pack Is Never Entirely A Pack

In my book about meeting women, I argue that there is no such thing as consensus. Guys are naturally nervous about getting rejected publically. Say you approach a girl in a busy station and she rebuffs you. You will likely feel embarrassed because you imagine that everyone around thinks badly of you. But human beings are all different, and there is no uniform point of view. Some will think you are very brave for having approached. Others will be envious of your lack of inhibitions. Levi talks of the readers who have corresponded with him over the years and supported him through controversies and arguments, and the bloggers who similarly continued to support Houellebecq.

In those times when you are facing seemingly widespread public or social censure, it is helpful to keep in mind that this is never the full story. To some extent, the notion of the pack is a myth—people are individuals and all differ in their opinions, even if they claim otherwise to fit in. The best course of action is to remain true to yourself regardless of feedback and trust that there are others out there who think the same as you do.

To learn more about how to reject pack mentality and attract beautiful women click here

Read More: The Most Important Quality All Players Have

44 thoughts on “What “Public Enemies” Taught Me About Pack Mentality”

  1. Great quote about the market. As with Roosh’s quote about paying full price for a used car. Economics is the safest way to view the male situation. I view beta males and white knights to be sexual scavengers. Looking for cheap quality products at rock bottom prices. They don’t care about the quality of women they invest in as long as there are more cheap products.

  2. Good article, Baruch Spinoza doesn’t get mentioned in the ‘sphere, and he’s long been a favorite thinker of mine. Going to search for this book…

  3. The biggest myth of the pack, at least as it applies to political issues, is that a pack exists in the first place. Feminists are a prime example of a pressure group that uses the non-pack “pack” myth. Witness the NFL, where had they told the feminists to pound sand over their recent transgressions they would have suffered zero repercussions. The average man doesn’t give two shits, except as a side diversion, what happened with Rice & company. The event would have passed in one ear and out the other, and football would have lost neither viewers (that mattered) nor revenue. In tromp the feminists with their indignant outrage and claims of representing every woman in the universe, which they clearly do not, and suddenly the specter of a mighty all powerful and financially consequential mega-pack is created where in fact none exists. The NFL then buckles under the pressure of what turns out to be maybe ten to fifteen women, thinking that they are in fact millions.
    Other leftist pressure groups use this exact same strategy (for example, Bloomberg’s astroturf “Mom” groups that are trying to ban guns). They announce that they are advocates for a larger massive pack, then demand changes ‘or else’. The best defense is a hearty laugh and a thrifty middle finger, but the myth of the pack is so easily accepted these days that nobody thinks to do this.
    Fantastic piece as always Troy, thanks again for your contributions.

    1. Our society and all societies function on this collectivist understanding of deals. It’s the exact way with which terrorism and law enforcement operate. Make a huge deal out of an issue and claim to be the representative for all. Don’t offend MRAs they will fly planes into buildings, sell your daughters into sex slavery and behead those that insult patriarchy. Lol.

      1. No doubt, but perhaps it is time to expose the fraud behind the curtain.
        There are representatives of large groups who can have an impact if they manage to vote/contribute in a monolithic manner or nearly so. The NRA for example has its power precisely because it’s member roster, a very real and open metric containing millions of dues paying and verifiable voters, does in fact vote rather as the NRA suggests and donates (or not) as the NRA suggests. On the other hand, a shrill manjaw with a butch haircut on ESPN/CNN no more represents all women than Tony the Tiger represents all felines.
        Calling out the fraud makers claiming to represent groups is a wonderful strategy. It’s how we’ve managed to push back many of the Bloomberg groups here in my stomping grounds. Wish more would do so.

        1. Bloomberg continues to lose in the races he throws his money at, so enjoyable to watch!

    2. The NFL buckled – like many corporations. The fear of losing any potential (or perceived) revenue is of the highest concern.
      Funny, because the NFL may start losing it’s male viewers with all of the breast cancer awareness bullshit going on. I, for one, am sick of seeing it and how the NFL is nothing but one big “white knight”.

      1. Not only that, but, the left is screwing with a very important bread and circus, that indeed, has been effective in occupying the attention of men from the backroom maneuvers of feminists and the broader leftist coalition for years. Now, thier treachery has been outed…this is akin to denying the sedation that is used to keep the host asleep, as with all addicts, the reaction will be no different.

      2. It has zero to do with revenue. No one normal cares.
        It has to do with the fact that 95 percent of journalists are cultural Marxists who wield the power to whip up a media and corporate frenzy. Social pressure.

      3. I would love to see the NFL players in full kit doing the “Walk in Her shoes” bullshit…..fukin high heels Manolo, Le Boutains n all that shite….

      4. I’ve always found American sports to be the arena of two types of men: betas and fat bafoons.
        I have never found the appeal of sports. Sitting around with a bunch of loud drunk drones (both men and women) yelling at a TV screen rather then actually playing sports seems like insane.

        1. There is beauty in watching the best-of-the-best square off in an athletic competition.
          That said, the fan base of all sports is supremely unattractive and as noted above by Towgunner77, it is very much the ‘circus’ part of the bread and circus’ equation.
          For my part, I admit to still enjoying watching an NFL game, but along the way, the desire to dry heave is nearly overwhelming from fan behavior, to over-hype to obvious and pathetic attempts at marketing/paying blackmail (the pink)…much of it is a wasteland.

  4. Wow… people are threatened by Houellebecq’s locker room level humor. I bet they also dislike Philip Roth, who mixes it with racial jokes.

    1. Feminists will try to shut down anything (fiction or non-fiction) if it has a scent of something they don’t like (or something that shed a little light on the truth).
      Women are after power and control…..nothing else. Those women who saying anything else need to be laughed right out of the room. They have no idea that the reason why women are paid less (vs. men) is because they accept the salary (or another woman is waiting to fill the role at a cheaper price).
      But, as usual, it’s easier to blame men (or corporations) and “unite” under one banner.
      Remove men from the equation and let women tear each other to pieces. We’ve all seen it happen.

      1. Cyborg sexbots and artificial wombs (and “egg banks” – there are sperm banks setting the precedent so no court order shall be able to stop an egg bank now) will be what takes men out of the picture.
        It’ll be men leaving the picture on their own. Thereafter it won’t matter what a woman says or thinks.

      2. They put a bullseye on anything that either depicts male happiness or simply makes men happy. NFL, watchout! They do this because it’s the one thing that they can’t simply demand (happiness). It enrages them that happiness is out of reach thanks to their ideologies (which require unhappiness) and the image of dumb old men smiling with their buddies just drives them up the wall.

  5. Sometimes I feel like RoK mulls over the same old stuff but this is a really fresh article. Will be checking this philosopher out.

  6. The pack today is largely liberal feminists who mob and attack men for not going on with feminism and trad con Christians who mob men for not Manning up and marrying sluts and single mom’s. Most men are being sandwiched between two angry packs today.

    1. Agree. And at the same time, women are shouting how men are trampling on all of their freedoms and rights. It’s hilarious to hear this double standard…but then again we’re talking about using logic and being rational with women.

  7. I hope Sam Pepper reads this, the mob is upon him and no one is supporting him. He even got a fake rape accusation (where the girl claims he raped her in a hotel, went to a concert with him, then back to the hotel to be raped again…Sounds legit,right?)and accusations of “inappropriate touching”, all anonymous from internet commenters. Of course Jezebel, The Sun, and Gawker are treating these as fact and he has lost all his sponsors, and is being publicly shamed. He could use the info in this article, he likely feels like a man on an island presently.

  8. The rudest awakening any boy every had that turned them into men is the ultimate realization that most people follow because they are afraid. Nobody is really out to spite anyone or do anyone harm intentionally…most people are just out there trying to get their slice because they are afraid to think for themselves. Apply game to your life and you will quickly see just how fraudulent modern western society can be. I like to call it a beautiful lie.

  9. @disqus_UA39JK1Bbs:disqus Next time you could write about Eric Zemmour and his Book “Le premier sexe”. Nice reading.

  10. One thing I notice about the herd is how resentful they can be towards your youth, good looks, body, wealth, sexual success, and conversational wit. There is nothing as toxic and violent as the underlying hatred of a beta male bogged down by his Americanized bitch of a wife and mediocre accomplishments.

    1. “There is nothing as toxic and violent as the underlying hatred of a beta male bogged down by his Americanized bitch of a wife and mediocre accomplishments.”
      YES. Especially if you remain single and enjoy your life. You are looked at with the same darkly glinted eyes as the young men in good health who didn’t take off for WWII.

    2. I disagree.
      Men like that are Eunuchs.
      The dangerously violent normally have absolutely nothing left to lose. It’s certainly worse being a tramp with zero access to women.

  11. For any normally developped Frenchman, putting Bernard Henri Levi, and “intellectual” in the same sentence, makes you instantly lose any credibility.
    And Levi is not French, by the way. That’s also an oximore. The guy hates France as much as he loves Israel.

      1. Well, not really. Sarkozy was his little bitch, just like the new one Hollande and the angry puppy Valls.
        People underestimate the power of BHL. They think he’s just a dumb pseudo-philosopher.
        He’s a dumb pseudo-philosopher alright, but he’s also a billionaire, who inherited his fortume from the exploitation of the African Wood (which probably means that his ancesters were using slaves).
        He has a finger in every French major politicians and newspapers butthole.

  12. Thanks for the fascinating article. And for guys who have mothers that would say something so cuntish as “evil, stupid little bastard . . . who alas came from my womb” -as they say you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family. We no longer live in a culture where women are taught to give their children absolute unconditional love. Society is lessened because of it.

  13. The Levy quotes show a broken clock is right twice a day. There are words of wisdom but it is difficult as a Frenchman to dismiss the thousands he has written the past 40 years actively destructive to my nation. A man that advocates the French being a minority group in a balkanized nation state bearing our name does’t get off for figuring out the hordes are largely powerless.

    1. He’s actually exposed his own “game”.
      It’s a surprise that Levi still draws breath.

  14. This is truly an amazing article. In general Bernard Henri Levi is a complete tool, but these views on the ‘pack’ and how to deal with it are really interesting.

  15. This goes beyond pick up. It’s almost ruined by using that example.
    It made me think of breaking up and finding a fresh person. A sort of openness to yourself.

  16. For a good read on the feebleness of pack and mob mentality read the section twain wrote in “Huvkleberry Finn” where Col sherburn kills the local drunk and then fends off the mob.

  17. I did not think that any anglophone would be interested in Houellebecq’s books. However you’re right he played a big role in the emergence of the manosphere. Plateforme was one of the most courageous works of the XX° century. Ennemis publics is a mediocre book… Extension dans le domaine de la lutte and Les particules élémentaires are also fantastic novels.

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