Hell hath no fury…

I had planned on putting out the next part of my Theory of Mind series, but there have been a few things brought to my attention that necessitate further research and synthesis. While I let all that simmer, I figured I would once again turn the lens of this blog towards pop culture. The value of art and culture as a teaching tool is significant, and so it pays off to keep an eye on what our culture is trying to teach us. Let’s dive in!

Hey look, beautiful people in the setting of classic southern aristocrats! What a great aesthetic! I’m sold! Sure, it’s a bit ridiculous at times, but I think we can suspend our disbelief long enough to allow for Taylor Swift to keep her horses and deer inside her mansion (with interesting implications depending on how we choose to interpret that symbolism).

As it turns out, this song is a treasure trove of important lessons. There is much to discuss here, but let’s start off by just looking at the lyrics.

Nice to meet you, where you been?
I could show you incredible things
Magic, madness, heaven, sin
Saw you there and I thought
Oh my God, look at that face
You look like my next mistake

Looks don’t matter. Looks matter. Looks don’t matter. Looks matter. Post-hoc rationalization or a perfectly human reaction to stunning good looks? Can we ever really know? Can the singer tell us? Does she even know herself well enough to answer?

Can any of us know ourselves well enough to be able to comprehend the machinations of our unconscious?

You can’t underestimate the effect a first impression has on how people perceive you. I chalk it up to 50% of the way they view you. Forever.

What impression do you give off?

Love’s a game, want to play?

And what a game it is, but beware of any woman who knows that it is a game. If they’ve figured that out, they probably know how to play it better than you. If this intimidates you, you’re normal.

If this excites you, then maybe you’ve got the balls to play this game right, but you’ll need more than balls alone. Balls without anything else are soft and easily crushed. It is only when attached to something dangerous that they count for anything.

New money, suit and tie
I can read you like a magazine
Ain’t it funny, rumors, lie
And I know you heard about me

Illusionism and divination. Two sides of the same coin. Absolutely instrumental in playing the social games that require intense theory of mind.

People who deal well with ideas spar with each other in the realm of the abstract (i.e. philosophical discussions). People who are good with people spar with each other in the realm of social engagement, sizing each other up and testing their social savvy, trying to see if they can find cracks in the facade or make the mask slip a little bit. Charisma, cunning, and dissimulation oft go hand-in-hand, and people who possess these traits are very good at figuring out who is on their level and who isn’t.

Most of the time, this is unconscious, automatic behavior. At higher levels though, a good deal of conscious effort is put into it, supplementing and guiding the instincts and behavioral patterns that are being relied upon.

So hey, let’s be friends
I’m dying to see how this one ends
Grab your passport and my hand
I can make the bad guys good for a weekend

You can’t change people, but that doesn’t stop us from trying now, does it?

So it’s gonna be forever
Or it’s gonna go down in flames

Either/or thinking. Very easy to fall into. Very dangerous if you do.

You can tell me when it’s over
If the high was worth the pain

No. You can’t. No matter how much time passes, no matter how many years go by, you can’t tell. You never figure out if it was worth it, and you realize that you’re afraid to make the call either way.

 Got a long list of ex-lovers
They’ll tell you I’m insane

First off, it definitely sounded like she was singing “Those lonely Starbucks lovers”, which led me to initially write this: “If some dude at Starbucks tells you that a chick is crazy, proceed from the assumption that you have no reason to doubt him.”

Having checked the official lyrics, I present them without comment.

‘Cause you know I love the players
And you love the game

Reality 101.

‘Cause we’re young and reckless
We’ll take this way too far

“We”? What’s this we? Sure, it takes two to tango, but in this situation, you really only need one person to drag things into dangerous territory. What happens next though, does rely on the actions of both people.

It’ll leave you breathless
Or with a nasty scar

Who says it has to be one or the other? These kinds of relationships are the kind of wild ride that becomes addicting because the highs are higher and the lows are lower. Women especially can get addicted to these cycles, but you’re a fool if you think it doesn’t happen to men as well…and more than you might think.

Got a long list of ex-lovers
They’ll tell you I’m insane
But I’ve got a blank space baby
And I’ll write your name.

A scary thought, but also a titillating one. This is exactly the sort of thing that Nietzsche was talking about when he said that to man, woman is both danger and play.

Every man needs a little bit of both from his woman (and vice versa), but the level of danger that will elicit the strongest emotional reaction is higher than either is willing to admit. Perhaps this is because they do not know this about themselves. Perhaps this is because they are unwilling to admit it to themselves…

Cherry lips, crystal skies
I could show you incredible things
Stolen kisses, pretty lies

Not exactly the foundation of the healthiest relationship, but definitely the foundation of a passionate, mad whirlwind of a relationship that will make you feel out-of-control emotions and leave you changed forever. In other words, a dangerous potion indeed.

Combine this with the tumultuous cycles of insanity depicted in the video and you have an insane maelstrom of every emotion humanly possible. The brain cannot help but get addicted to this kind of stimulation.

Add in a cycle of abuse to make the ride even more extreme, and you have a powerful emotional connection that most people will never have the strength to break.

When you muse on this, you realize the dark truth. People do not stay in tumultuous, abusive relationships despite being abused. They stay in them because they are tumultuous and abusive and nothing else can give them the kind of stimulation and satisfaction they’ve become wired to need.

You’re the king, baby, I’m your Queen
Find out what you want
Be that girl for a month

So soon into the relationship? Warning sign. It is easy to say you want a girl who will submit to you and act for your pleasure, but this is not the way you should want it to happen. Very, very bad things will occur if you let this be the case.

Wait the worst is yet to come, oh no
Screaming, crying, perfect storms
I can make all the tables turn

“…And will blame it on you. It’s your fault you put me in this state. How can you do this to me? What’s wrong with you? Look at what you’re doing to me!”

Hey look, there’s that abuse that is painful to hear at first, but becomes soothing and comforting if you don’t out of that relationship right then!

These situations are tricky because the angrier person is usually the one doing a better job of holding frame, leaving the less angry one in a situation that the overwhelming majority of people are incapable of handling. This is not very conducive to a successful extrication.

Rose gardens filled with thorns

Blatant symbolism with a dangerous message. Does true beauty necessarily have to come with pain? Yes? No? If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, even partially, and the dangerous pattern I described above is fairly accurate, well…

Careful you don’t trip down that rabbit-hole.

Keep you second guessing like
“Oh my God, who is she?”
I get drunk on jealousy

That rush of jealousy. It can have…unpredictable effects. What’s the old saying? The dose makes the poison.

But you’ll come back each time you leave
‘Cause darling, I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream

How easy it is to find yourself enjoying a nightmare. The rush of adrenaline…the relief when the tension dissipates…it’s the same mechanism that make people enjoy riding roller coasters or watching scary movies. How easy it is to take pleasure in it. How easy it is to get addicted…

So it’s gonna be forever
Or it’s gonna go down in flames
You can tell me when it’s over
If the high was worth the pain
Got a long list of ex-lovers
They’ll tell you I’m insane
‘Cause you know I love the players
And you love the game
‘Cause we’re young and we’re reckless
We’ll take this way too far
It’ll leave you breathless
Or with a nasty scar
Got a long list of ex-lovers
They’ll tell you I’m insane (Insane)
But I’ve got a blank space baby,
And I’ll write your name.

I think I’ve said all I need to about the chorus.

Boys only want love if it’s torture
Don’t say I didn’t, say I didn’t warn ya
Boys only want love if its torture
Don’t say I didn’t, say I didn’t warn ya

A male artist saying this about women could never get away with saying this, but truth finds a way to slip out. Particulars often mask hidden generalities.

It’s very easy to call this projection, but the truth is a bit more complicated than that. Just because it’s projection, doesn’t mean that it’s entirely wrong. Just because it’s projection, doesn’t mean it doesn’t cut both ways.

So it’s gonna be forever
Or it’s gonna go down in flames.
You can tell me when it’s over
If the high was worth the pain.
Got a long list of ex-lovers
they’ll tell you I’m insane.
‘Cause you know I love the players
And you love the game.
‘Cause we’re young and we’re reckless
We’ll take this way too far
It’ll leave you breathless
Or with a nasty scar
Got a long list of ex-lovers
They’ll tell you I’m insane
But I’ve got a blank space baby,
And I’ll write your name.

In recent days, the words of the Marquis de Sade have weighed heavily on mind: “The way to a woman’s heart is along the path of torment. I know none other as sure.” The “red-pill” guys think they know what that means. They have no idea how much they underestimate what de Sade meant by that.

On top of that, a lot of the neuroses and psychological quirks that manosphere and red-pill guys attribute to women apply in significant measure to men as well. Anyone who says otherwise is a fool lacking in either honesty or self-awareness…if not both.

Granted, it takes slightly different emotional triggers to elicit the same reactions, but the fundamental principles that underlie human psychology aren’t that different between men and women.

People tend to fool themselves into thinking silly things. It’s how we deal with the world. To assume that to be wise means inverting foolish beliefs is equally mad. People are rarely 100% wrong, and when they are, it is very easy to convince them of this. It is when they are part wrong and part right that the process becomes tricky.

Think of the aggressive, amazon-type women who think that only a “real man” can handle them and that people who avoid them do so because they are afraid. They’re not exactly wrong on the first part (though roughly 90% wrong on the last bit). It really does take a Frank Underwood to marry a Clarie Underwood and make it work. If a good, quality woman to raise your children is your only end, you are more likely than not going to be better served by staying away from that type. If your ends are slightly different, though, it’s not necessarily not a bad idea to get wrapped up with that type…especially if you can handle it.

The men who fantasize about such alpha women are actually governed by the same dynamic behind fantasies of banging a lesbian: the idea that your woman will submit to no man but you. Marrying a meek wife who is loyal and chaste is one way of ensuring that this happens. Taming a true amazon is another.

Make your bed and lie in it.

Perhaps this is the bit where I’m supposed to tell you to avoid ball-busters, crazies, and other kinds of “wrong” women. Perhaps this is the bet where I tell you to avoid toxic relationships with unstable people. That’s a good moral. It’s certainly what “Blank Space” is telling us to do.

That’s what I should tell you. That’s what I should say.

So why can’t I bring myself to say it?



4 thoughts on “Hell hath no fury…

  1. walderschmidt 11/25/2014 / 2:56 AM

    I really enjoy your analysis of songs.

    Keep this up.


  2. Dark Psy-Ops 11/25/2014 / 6:09 AM

    In other words, I’m addicted to the love-acid.

  3. disenchantedscholar 12/08/2014 / 4:38 AM

    Reblogged this on Philosophies of a Disenchanted Scholar and commented:
    Like attracts like. Manwhores attract their female counterpart, there is nothing wrong with this. Generalizing to the entire sex or assuming one’s own behaviour is a virtue, that is too far. Pick your poison.

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