Who knew that my first beer after a sobriety period of two years would lead me to wake up late, play video games, order takeaway, watch porn, get me back on Tinder, and skip the gym?
As I was tracing back the chain of events that had ignited these three days of decadence, the evidence that the beer had been the trigger did not surprise me at all.
That’s how I found out about the Layer Theory.
1. The Layer Theory
The layer theory is a behavioral theory that explains that how you do one thing is how you do everything.
The principle by which it works is good begets good; bad begets bad.
Phrased otherwise, each thing in one’s life influences the state of all the other things.
Eg: if you eat/work/behave/manage your money etc…well, you probably do most other things in your life well too. And the other way around.
You can measure how well you do in life by looking at your features (appearance, diet, sports, sleeping habits) and seeing how successful you are at taking care of them.
The better you take care of one feature, the better you will take care of the other features. The cursors above (in red) attract each other like magnets.
They’re either all on the right, all in the middle, or all on the left.
Eg: It’s really hard to drink alcohol, eat pizza, play video games, watch porn, and *not* be a loser.
By the same token, it’s really hard to eat well, wake up early, read books, go to the gym, and *not* succeed at whatever you set your mind to.
How you do one thing is how you do everything.
To quote Jung, “we become what we do”.
2. The Radical Intuitiveness of the Layer Theory
The Layer Theory is radically intuitive.
When you meet a vegan feminist, you know she’s also going to be anti-capitalist.
At first view, these three things don’t seem to have much in common. But they do.
Veganism, feminism, and anti-capitalism stem from the same cursors set on the scales of “love”, “inclusivity”, and “ideology”.
We can go further. The anti-capitalist vegan feminist is highly likely to also be “anti-toxic masculinity” and have mental health issues.
Once again, it’s not surprising. These associations make intuitive sense even though we can’t really explain why.
A drug dealer with a face tattoo does not shock anyone. But a receptionist? A flight attendant? A surgeon?
That’d be weird. As weird as a pro-Brexit anti-capitalist vegan feminist.
How you do one thing in your life influences how you do the rest.
That’s why Jordan Peterson told you to clean up your room.
Once you order one area of your life, you will order the other areas.
Eg: Alex Hormozi.
If you’re tall and rich, you’re likely to be handsome too. If you’re kind and generous, you’re necessarily honest.
Hormozi is the clichéest cliché on the Internet and the best example of the Layer Theory in practice.
3. Social Clusters Are Social Layers
People befriend people not based on age and sociological groups, but based on cursors and features.
When two people have their respective cursors standing at the same place, we can predict a positive outcome for a relationship.
Ever felt that you had a “connection” with someone, that you were “aligned”? That’s the Layer Theory.
People with cursors in completely different places from one another are unlikely to be friends at all.
Age, culture, lifestyle, education, background, or style don’t nearly matter as much as cursors for the positive development of a relationship.
Finally, an aggregation of cursors makes up somebody’s vibe.
People create relationships based on vibe compatibility.
4. What This Means
There are several implications.
A. Most Clichés Are True
Clichés are stereotyping based on a few particular features.
When you think about it, it’s guessing which cursors stand where based on a few other cursors.
Tell me where your cursors stand; I will tell you who you are.
One cursor at x place necessarily means that y cursors will stand at x place too.
How you do one thing is how you do everything. The cursors are aligned. They must be.
The more cursors you can spot, the better able you are at guessing where all of the other cursors will be.
That’s how clichés develop.
B. You Improve by Moving Your Cursors and the Other Way Around
We saw how drinking alcohol after a long time sent me down a negative path.
The opposite is also true.
If you don’t want to hustle, that’s likely because your cursors aren’t standing at the right place.
Wake up and go to sleep early.
Stop porn, weed, alcohol, and video games. You’ll quickly find yourself attracted by books and be surprised to google “how to start a side hustle”.
C. The Significance of Red Flags
A red flag is a cursor badly place on a sensitive feature.
That cursor is enough to proceed to immediate discrimination.
Eg: drug consumption; a high number of tattoos; gambling addiction; etc.
5. Why It’s Uncomfortable
There are two reasons why the Layer Theory feels uncomfortable.
A. The need to be inclusive.
B. The need not to be exclusive.
A. The Need to Be Inclusive
Our obsession with inclusivity and the subsequent deconstruction of reality by fear of discrimination has turned us blind to these obvious heuristics.
When we see an ugly and mean-looking person, we force ourselves not to think that this individual is necessarily bad. If we do so, we get angry for being discriminatory.
Unfortunately, most of these intuitive associations the mainstream narrative is trying to dismantle are actually true (the ugly mean-looking person is likely to be bad).
You can’t be cute and innocent if you’re a villain.
Look around. Nice-looking people are nice. Chad-looking people are chads. And b*tchy-looking are b*tches.
People look like what they are.
Yes, yes, there are exceptions, but exceptions by definitions don’t make up the norm (we’ll speak about them below).
In social science, we’re interested in general principles, not the exceptions.
You’ll often hear from the mainstream narrative that the “societal clichés” your brain makes are “false” or “biased”.
99.9% of what you see is true. If it wasn’t, you’d walk into walls frequently.
This forced “deconstructivist” narrative is dangerous.
If you succumb to it, people will literally make you believe anything (“the world is collapsing!”, men can get pregnant, etc).
When you stop believing in what you see, you cease to see reality.
The consequences are dramatic. You divorce yourself from your intuition — from what makes you human.
That’s why some countries invade others, why some turn off their nuclear power plants, and why some spend millions on things like diversity, equity, and inclusion when people are dying from hunger and drug overdose.
Open the newspaper on any page. You’ll see people who substituted reality for ideology.
The consequences are devastating.
B. The Need Not to Be Exclusive
The Layer Theory necessarily leads to exclusivity and discrimination for two reasons:
- It recognizes the objective nature of good and bad practices.
- It discriminates based on the cursors (red flags.)
Let’s get tattoos as an example.
Intuitively, you know that a lot of tattoos are a red flag.
You’re not shocked to see a Harley Davidson biker with an arm full of tattoos because Harley Davidson bikers tend to have their cursors on that one side of the scale.
In fact, you wouldn’t be shocked to learn that the bikers were running a drug cartel all along.
Yet you’d definitely be shocked if you heard the same thing from receptionists, surgeons, or flight attendants.
Social scientists have investigated a few of these links which created predictable studies like this one saying that tattooed people have more sex partners and mental health issues, or this one saying that progressist young women also struggle with mental health issues.
If you’re reasonably ideology-free, these appear evident.
And so you discriminate (unknowingly or not) all the time.
Discrimination is what enables us to choose, move forward, and improve our lives.
Deconstructing discrimination is deconstructing the very thing that makes us humans.
I choose my friends because these are the people I like best. There’s a bunch of people I don’t like and willingly choose *not* to hang out with.
Discrimination isn’t bad. What’s worse is the reason why you discriminate.
The rule is: don’t discriminate based on things people have no control over.
6. Addressing Exceptions (and Nitpickers)
We need to address the exceptions.
Exceptions are individuals who willingly have their cursors all over the place to shock and prevent people from putting them into boxes.
Eg: the doctor with a face tattoo (anyone with a face tattoo, for that matter).
How do I know this? Because I got earrings at some point for the exact same reasons.
The idea was to look like a f*ckboi then quote Peter Thiel in the middle of a convo.
Such is a scream for attention. A desire to shock. A need to mark. Luckily, these people are only a small minority.
Now — and this is where it gets interesting — the opposite of the face-tattoo-person is the individual whose cursors are neatly arranged and perfectly aligned: the NPC.
What’s the difference between a normal person and an NPC?
The NPC is so repressed that he’s not even aware of his shadow.
The shadow is a Jungian concept that designates the unconscious and repressed part of the self. The NPC needs to be pushed very far out for his shadow to surface.
The normal person is somewhat aware of their shadow. As a result, they have one or two of their cursors completely off.
Eg: the surgeon who enjoys the swinger club on Saturday night once or twice a year and still goes to Church on Sunday morning.
Human nature is predictable, but not uniform. It’s not polished. It’s not slick. It’s rough.
We all have our main personality we embody during the day and our shadow we need to satisfy when the sun sets (hint hint, that’s why vampires don’t go into the sunlight.)
Maybe the best quote that outlines people’s shadow without naming it is the following by the fictitious character Virginia Mosby:
Nothing good happens after 2 AM.
2 AM is where surprises lie. It’s when exceptions appear.
Sometimes, the good guy is actually the villain.
Dr. Jekyll turns into Mr. Hyde.
I said above that discrimination was wrong when practiced on stuff people didn’t control like height, gender, skin color, intelligence, or age.
It’s not easy not to discriminate. For example, I discriminate on height by not talking to overly tall people.
They have such an advantage that they don’t really understand what “efforts” mean. They also tend to be selfish and shallow. Not all of them, of course. But most.
Beyond that, the best application of the Layer Theory you can make is to your own life: move your cursors.
- Eat well
- Sleep early
- Be kind
- Study and work hard
- Clean your room.
- Do what’s difficult.
- Don’t eat sugar.
- Get out of your comfort zone.
And for God’s sake, get those tattoos off.
How you do one thing…
For more articles, head to auresnotes.com.
NB: Getting Post-Modernism Out of the Way
This part was at the beginning of the article originally, but I have put it at the end upon editing as it’s not so important.
We’ll begin by asserting that there is such a thing as objective reality, such things as good things, and such things as bad things.
If reality wasn’t objective, Mentos and Coca would not always react. Yet, they always do.
If reality wasn’t objective, repetitive patterns in science and in the environment wouldn’t be observable.
And languages wouldn’t even exist.
So reality does very much exist in the same way that “good” and “bad” exist. They’re not easily defined, but that doesn’t make them “not existing”.
We’ve been knowing this for millennia and this knowledge was embedded into myths and philosophy. Today, we’ve confirmed it with biology.
Murdering a fellow human being, for example, is MUCH more traumatic than being shot at -> murder feels bad and it is bad as it has negative consequences on the psyche of those that commit it.
People who have fulfilling relationships and a solid social network are happier and live longer than people who don’t -> love feels good and it is good, as it has positive consequences on the psyche of those who provide and receive it.
Maybe the reason why we’ve been trying to deconstruct good and bad is that they’re amazingly intuitive — and always go against the progressive theories of human nature (Rousseau etc).
If I say “this person is a bad person”, we all know what we can expect from them. Same thing if I say “this person is a good person”.
Defining the terms good and bad is therefore useless as we all intuitively understand them.
If you believe that nothing can be universally accepted as good or bad, that reality is the result of wishful thinking, or that things are just “too complex to be understood so it’s pointless to discuss them”…this article wasn’t for you.
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