Note: This text is a direct transcription from this episode of my podcast, titled 2 Powerful Existentialistic Viewpoints That Will Improve Your Dating Life.
The text has been edited only enough to make it feel naturally readable… so if it feels like an audio transcript, that’s why!
I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it brings you value.
Hello ladies and gentlemen.
Today, we’re going to be talking about a topic that I’ve kind of recently been looking into. And I kind of happened across this while listening to Jordan Peterson’s podcast, and I’m going to link the episode down below.
In this episode, he was talking about existentialism, especially the views of Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, and Kierkegaard.
I’m Not An Expert On Existentialist Viewpoints
You have to know that I’m not an expert on existentialism.
In fact, I’m not an expert on many of these types of topics.
But I am an expert on human mating behavior, and an expert on how to win in your dating life… and as I was listening to these things, I couldn’t help but to be struck by the profound nature and insight of these two viewpoints that I’m about to talk about, and the the resulting importance they could hold for leveling up your dating life, your levels of attraction, and the alpha mentality.
And so, that’s what I want to talk about in this post.
So let’s start with the first one.
1. Our True Human State Isn’t Necessarily To Feel Secure – And This Is Actually Important
The first concept that Jordan Peterson talked about in his podcast episode that I really latched onto and started thinking about was this concept that you don’t really need to go looking for a reason to feel down, depressed, or anxious.
Many people believe, for the most part, that humans who are secure… humans who feel confident, stable, positive, optimistic, and not wracked by mental illness must be that way because they didn’t have quite as much bad stuff happen to them when they were younger.
And so, if you believe this, you would probably tend to believe that your experiences in your formative years could serve as a sort of indicator for what kind of person you will become in the future, right?
This would be true in the sense of things like positive or negative emotion, and even some types of mental illness and things like that.
However, The Existential Belief Is Actually Contrary To That
The first point which I think is really important to make, the first viewpoint to pay attention to, is an existentialist viewpoint (if I dare make that claim) that life is inherently dangerous.
There’s so much going on that could destroy you, kill you, maim you, give you a disease, and wipe you out of existence, that the default state for us to exist in, according to this viewpoint, would be a state of fear, depression, hopelessness, and chaos.
And so, according to this, if we manage to get anywhere past that, and if we do manage to find any kind of security, well… what we’ve managed to do is we have managed to supersede our baseline state of existence… which is essentially to live in terror of the danger around us.
This leads us to an interesting thought process.
You don’t really need to go looking for reasons for why people have negative emotions, anxiety, or depression.
According to this very basic existential viewpoint, there are plenty of reasons to have those things. The fact that you exist is plenty enough of a reason to be scared out of your mind and riddled with anxiety.
Well, When You Step Back And You Think Deeply About This, You Stumble Upon An Interesting Dichotomy
Because when we’re interacting with other people (this especially has to do with the alpha mindset), we want to maintain a leadership mentality.
And you cannot separate the alpha mentality from leadership.
But leadership requires that we empathize with others.
We have to have empathy. We have to try to understand, and we have to try to figure out why things are the way they are.
And the greater our level of understanding is in regards to those things, the greater positive change we can affect as leaders, right?
This also applies to your dating life. And I’ll give you a dating-life example here.
If I’m talking to a woman I’m interested in, and I ask her if she’d like to go on a date, she might say, “I would be interested in going out on a date. However, this might sound weird, but it’s a little difficult for me to overcome my anxiety enough to go out in public.”
Okay, so right here, we see a situation where we might jump to a conclusion and say, “oh, something terrible must have happened to her when she was young to make her not want to go out in public.”
Maybe she endured some kind of terrible trauma or event, right?
And while that may very well be the case, and while it’s probably true that all of us have endured things that could very well cause anxiety and depression in our lives, it is also true that understanding that there doesn’t necessarily need to be anything wrong with someone for them to feel anxiety gives us a little bit of a different perspective on it.
When We Understand That Our Natural State Is To Be Scared And Terrified Of The Potential Hellish Dangers We Face Every Day, Life Takes On A Slightly Different Shade Of Color
Let’s go back to my dating example.
So when I’m talking to this woman, maybe I don’t automatically go to a place of thinking, “oh, what’s wrong with you? Like, what happened to you to make you so weird?”
Instead, if I operate from the base understanding of, “you know, it makes a lot of sense that you’re anxious, there’s a lot that can go wrong. And in fact, the unusual thing is that a human would feel secure enough to leave their home and journey outside and have an adventure… That’s the unusual thing, right?”
Well, that’s quite a bit different.
It causes you to think about that situation from a reverse perspective… and that perspective is significant.
Okay, so, that’s the first thing.
And The Reason For Why That’s Important Is Because It Gives Us A Different Kind Of Viewpoint
It gives us a different viewpoint to measure with, and to look at people with, right?
It gives us a different perspective that I think could be incredibly useful when we’re trying to be empathetic, and when we’re trying to understand why people are the way they are.
Now, the second one.
2. The Existentialist Position Is Defined By It’s Optimistic Pessimism
The existentialists, in some ways, understand that there’s a pessimism and a fear to this life, right?
Life is full of suffering and misery.
That’s the default setting.
And knowing that, we realize that we’re actually a lot like rats in a cage.
I’m going to give you a very crude example of how Jordan Peterson explained this in his speech.
If you put a rat in a cage, at first they’re not usually happy, excited, positive, upbeat or secure.
Usually they’re afraid, they’re anxious, and they’re literally fearing for their life.
That’s the usual state that rats exist in.
Their Natural State Is A State Of Terror. It Is Only Different Once They Grow Secure In Their Environment
And that’s also the usual state that we exist in, right?
And the only reason we’re able to escape that state, or move past it in any way, is if we are convinced of our own security to the extent that we can kind of relax a little bit.
That’s a lot different than to say that our natural state is to be relaxed, and that things then happen to make us anxious. That’s the opposite viewpoint.
So, if you put a rat in a cage, and then you leave it alone, what it’ll do is it’ll kind of sniff around and it will explore. It’ll be very afraid, until it has explored its entire cage, and has come to a point where it’s convinced that it’s NOT in any kind of imminent danger.
And then it will relax. It will feel more secure, and it will change its behavior, in the sense that it won’t be acting quite so afraid all the time.
And As Humans, We Basically Do The Same Thing
We might go into a building, and we might be a little bit nervous.
We don’t know what we’re going to see or find, especially if we’re exploring an abandoned building. We don’t know what’s in there.
There could be animals… there could be other people in there. There could be monsters or zombies, etc.
We just don’t know what we’re going to find, and that makes us feel insecure, a little scared, and a little anxious.
So then we explore it a bit. And the more we explore, and the more we discover, the more secure we get.
And maybe we get to a point where we can feel secure enough that we stop being scared. After we explore it, maybe we become convinced that there are no threats.
Maybe then we board up the windows, lock the doors, and feel secure enough that we can even sleep there without being terrified.
If we continue in this direction, that ‘abandoned building’ may turn into a home… the place where we feel the most secure.
Things Feel Safer When We Seize Control Of Them
That’s what happens when we move into a new home.
At first, it feels strange and foreign.
But over time, we come to feel safer in it.
Eventually, we make it completely out own. We’ve explored all of the little nooks and crannies, and we come to believe that we are safer here than we are anywhere else.
And that leads to a feeling of security.
But we didn’t start that way. We started out being afraid.
Here’s The Thing – Our Natural State Is One Of Terror, And Rightfully So
It really makes sense to me to think about humans in this light.
Because this changes the game.
This gives us a goal of becoming more secure, so that we can move up from that base state of terror… instead of judging ourselves and trying to figure out why we can’t act ‘calm and normal.’
This has pretty big implications really. It makes it seem that someone who is experiencing a tremendous amount of negative emotion… anxiety, depression, fear, terror, nervousness, whatever… it makes that person seem more normal.
So rather than asking what caused this? We might instead ask ourselves what can be done to help ourselves or the humans we love to get past this?
This Actually Carries Very Drastic Implications For Leadership
Because if you want to help the people in your tribe, you need to be able to understand what they’re going through.
I think that framing things in this way is actually very beneficial.
The truth of the matter is that we are inherently pretty weak and prone to disaster.
So, there’s definitely reason enough to be afraid.
At any given time, we could get hit by a car. We could succumb to disease. We could starve to death.
There could be a fire, and it could wipe us all out. We could fall down the stairs and break a bone. Someone could walk into our house and kill us.
There are just so many things that could go wrong, right?
So, the fact that we face all of this danger every day brings a sort of pessimism into the equation.
But, There’s Also A Sense Of Great Optimism… And Here Is Why
I think that it has been pretty adequately demonstrated that humans are not really the type to just remain ‘scared,’ skittering away to the darkest corners of our caves and dwellings.
In fact, the opposite is actually the truth. Despite our seeming frailty, we have this desire and drive to go out and explore things. We are driven to discover things.
Of course, this requires us to put ourselves at risk, to brave the dangers of the dark places that we’ve yet to explore.
But all throughout our history, this is what we’ve done.
We’re actually quite brave, when you sit down and think about it.
I mean, we learned to cook and use fire. We ventured out of our territory and explored new lands.
There was a time when humans built their first boats and sailed to new continents. There was even a time when we dared to fly into space and go to the moon!
We’ve also studied and learned about our world. We’ve studied diseases and medicine. We’ve developed different technologies, and we’ve really done a lot to improve our lot in life.
All of this we did, despite our obvious frailty and inherent vulnerability.
This Is Important To Be Aware Of, Because It Is A Hopeful Viewpoint
It’s a balance. On one hand, we can recognize the frailty of our existence as humans.
But on the other hand, realizing the tremendous potential we hold in the face of that frailty and that danger is very actually encouraging.
Because while it does serve us, to a point, to remain fearful and anxious… The truth is that this is really only a defensive mechanism that keeps us from danger.
It’s also true that we may stand to gain a lot more by being just a little bit braver, and choosing to go out into the unknown.
Now, this has very far reaching implications. But when we reduce it down to simpler things, for example, like being afraid to talk to someone you have a crush on, this becomes really evident.
And so you could choose to remain afraid and anxious and to not take the risk of going out to talk to them.
But then you won’t gain anything. You won’t succumb to the danger of it, which could be embarrassment, rejection, getting your feelings hurt, feeling like a failure, etc.
Those are bad experiences.
But the thing is, there’s also the potential that something very, very good will happen.
And especially in the smaller context of social interaction, the negatives aren’t nearly as terrible.
For example, if you go exploring outside of your territory, you might get killed by a wild animal.
Well, that’s it. That’s a pretty bad downside, because once that happens, you’re done, right?
However, making a move to talk to the person you have a crush on, that’s a bit different. You probably aren’t necessarily at risk of dying if you do something like that.
And so, you actually may stand to have a lot more to gain than you do to lose at that point.
What are you going to lose?
You may feel a little bad, because you got rejected… but that’s not necessarily the worst thing that could happen.
And it’s very, very possible that there’s an argument to be made for the fact that the benefits far outweigh the risks in that scenario.
In Conclusion – 2 Powerful Existentialist Viewpoints That Will Improve Your Dating Life
And so at the end of the day, here are the two things that I take from this… that I think are useful.
Number one is that there’s a lot to be gained from changing our perspective and to realize that the natural state for humans is terror.
Because terror results from chaos.
And then the second realization from this, that I kind of took away from Jordan Peterson’s podcast, was realizing that yes, there is a certain frailty to our existence, and it can be a depressing thing.
However, it’s also very important that we maintain what I would call a highly justified optimism in the sense that humans are actually capable of some pretty incredible things.
We’ve demonstrated this over and over again, throughout our history, and it’s true in our individual lives as well.
And so if we hold onto that belief, and are willing to be a little bit brave while also being a little bit careful… well, there’s no reason why we can’t accomplish a lot of really good things in our lifetime.
That’s all I’ve got for this one.
Go with grace, my friends, and never give up your power!
Joshua K. Sigafus