On The Regulator

(Epistemic Status: HEY BITCHES I BET YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE DONE WITH ARCHETYPES. Slight dissociative risk, except this one is kinda meant to be anti dangerous.)

On the last post I made about archetypes, I thought I was down to five because I couldn’t figure out what The Analyst was for. I have since made several discoveries that have corrected this error. The first is the most mundane. I have Bipolar Disorder, Type II. It’s not terribly surprising, but I’ve basically been creating a lot of upper feedback loops, and didn’t think there could be any reason to go back down, so my tongue-in-cheek comments about how The Analyst is there to give me, “idk, anxiety or something” were an oversight of my dual nature. The second is that, things get weird when you get too up, and reality stops seeming really…real; right about that point is when something needs to intercede. The third is that, I have wonderful friends who are really looking out for me.

The Regulator is a specialized archetype that I don’t really aim outward. It is meant to be aimed inward, to break down the mental artifices I build up when they get too heavy. It’s the part of me that, when I start extrapolating competencies from a sample size of one asks “Really? And how, exactly, will that work?” It’s the part of me that stops a meaningfulness spiral by asking “But what, exactly, does this do?” It asks questions and brings me down when I’m starting to spiral away from reality, getting high on meaning, connection, and how amazing I am. I call the thing it does frame poison, because rather than completely breaking magical thinking frames such as “I’m a sparkly person!” it dissolves them step by step gently so I can rebuild the frame if it’s helpful in the future. The Regulator is basically why I haven’t had a psychotic break yet.

I realized the need for this archetype after a conversation where I distinctly changed because I got very excited about the discussion topic (postrationality). My speech became more pressured and circumstantial, my thoughts were more jumbled and loose, and my pupils were more dilated than usual. I was warned I might be at risk for going manic and should try to come down if I could and get sleep. I took this advice and thankfully did stay sane that week (though fairly anxious). During that process, I built The Regulator off of these grounding principles and the mental template I had for The Analyst.

Now, the weird trippy symbolic part is when I try to go to sleep while I’m really up. When there aren’t any stimuli to distract me. Before, I could feel like I was really close to unraveling and I’d kind of have a visualization of myself, coming to the fore of my mind very, very rapidly, like, flying up like a rocket towards my mental lens. That self would have wild eyes, disarrayed hair, and a crazy amount of energy. After I invented The Regulator, another actor would show up in this symbolic visualization, almost like a giant robot gatekeeper type thing, which would stop manic!me in her tracks.

Overall, this is another step in the balancing act of dangerous technology and trying to exploit what is, in the end, a mental illness. The Regulator is the thing that actually asks the real questions of how, rather than why and what. Previously this construct was overactive and inhibited action on my part but now it’s a much healthier part of my mindscape.

Discussion: Do you have your own personal Regulator? Do you have certain mindsets you would like to exploit more but might bring you to the edge of being less integrated in society?

On The Demon Queen

(Epistemic status:  Part of the Archetypal Filter series, actual pragmatic thing I am doing with my life, probably the only post in this series that will interest anyone, slight dissociative risk herein, possibly NSFW I filter sexual dominance this way; manipulation cw, amorality cw, glamourizing being a shitty person cw)

The highest risk archetype that I have is, predictably, The Demon Queen.  It started becoming a comfortable archetype when it was pointed out to me that I can, on occasion, exhibit Dark Triad traits (Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy).  So there are three things about this:  One, those traits are actually useful in some instances.  Two:  It feels good to indulge those traits.  And three, those traits are a great way to really do cool things in the short term and then be really confused why your long run involves a lot of burned bridges.  This is not a nice archetype, it is not a good archetype.  The utility function of this archetype is quite simple.

To win.

The Demon Queen is an archetype meant to be deployed as social offense.  It is not really meant for friendly interaction except for those that want to be treated with this level of selfish disregard.  It is a high dominance archetype, focused on maximizing the aforementioned Dark Triad traits.  Machiavellianism makes winning feel like winning because it’s intricate, planned, manipulative; it feels like being the player at a chess board, with other people as pieces.

Narcissism mostly means that self interest is the core principle which tends to weight other people’s concerns as less relevant.  Turns out this expands the space you can work in quite a bit.  Lastly, psychopathy means not having to be concerned about collateral damage or feeling guilty.  These aren’t traits that are sustainable interaction wise but they can give a short term boost in one off situations where I’m in zero sum social conflict. 

The other fun thing about The Demon Queen is that I am extremely sadomasochistic in that state.  Suffering is just good.  It’s good to personally experience, it’s good to inflict on others, it’s good to just see others suffering it.  This actually is a huge drawback to the social advantages but very helpful in the bedroom, so to speak.  It can be kept in check but sometimes it’s nice to know how a move executed by The Demon Queen has ruined someone’s day.  The suffering aspect also helps with pain management considerably.  If I am in pain and it won’t go away, I can usually specifically notice it and just…focus on it, upcycle on it by filtering it through The Demon Queen.  I legitimately recommend doing this for anyone able to do any reframing whatsoever to deal with pain, because even without a Demon Queen, you can often find really fascinating aspects of pain space.

The Demon Queen is very, very sensitive to a concept I call “power on the table.”  Even in zero state, I sort of have a feel for hierarchy; who listens to who, who has the most status in a room, etc.  I think most people do.  The Demon Queen has this up to 11.  I can see almost visually exchanges of power, and see when “power is on the table” in a conversation I’m having.  The Demon Queen is very, very happy when there is power on the table, because it will take it.  After all, if someone is leaving power on the table for whatever reason, that’s like consenting to letting the Demon Queen do whatever it likes, right?  If someone is showing that weakness, it’s an invite to react with strength and to take what’s on the table so it’s no longer their responsibility.  It is, in fact, a sign I’m slipping into this archetype if I start talking about “power on the table.”  If you notice that, please feel free to ask if I am filtering that way.

The Demon Queen generally assumes she is operating from a position of strength and uses presence and social manipulation to make sure that is generally true.  Using The Demon Queen from a position of weakness would generally be unwise; people generally will not put up with her shit if they think they can punish it.  I suppose if one were trying to counter The Demon Queen socially, it would be displaying more strength/social carry than she can bring to bear.  

In D/s, the Demon Queen basically gets off on suffering.  Like, once you consent to be dominated by the Demon Queen, she basically wants you to cry and literally suffer.  Sometimes it’s good pain, sometimes it’s bad, she doesn’t really care.  I will always, always respect a safe word, even in this state.  I also am not entirely The Demon Queen, so I usually zero state afterward to provide aftercare.  The Demon Queen is very intense, dominance wise, but she’s not unsafe because it’s not my default mode.  I need to work with this more in real life play rather than online play; being bound by reality and having to watch out for the health of the other person may make things more difficult but more satisfying.

The Demon Queen is addicting because social dominance is generally rewarded if executed well.  It can easily be too much and lose a lot of face but if applied elegantly, it generally commands respect.  In addition, feeling like you are powerful is fairly rewarding.  In instances I have indulged the Demon Queen and gained a lot of control over someone, it’s been almost euphoric.  It’s just also a little morally hazardous.

If it’s not obvious, The Demon Queen is an archetype that needs to be controlled to be effective.  I am still working on that control mechanism, but it likely will involve subtly weaving the utility function of The Doll or The Professional into the general operating parameters of The Demon Queen, in the sense that if those utility functions are violated, then The Demon Queen is forced to turn off and I go into zero state and hope like hell I can fix whatever I broke or whatever I was about to break.  I may perhaps need more controls in the future (I also intend to ask the question “Will I not want to tell people about what I did when this is over” when I’m engaging The Demon Queen as another control.)

Overall, I like The Demon Queen, a lot.  PUA’s would probably call it “state,” the feeling I have when I’m filtering the world through that archetype.  Unfortunately, it turns out, social anxiety is just a hyperactive expression of an important concept of social risk, and The Demon Queen often ignores social risk to an unhealthy degree.  It’s overcorrecting in the opposite direction. 

Discussion:  Does The Demon Queen resonate with anyone?  In what ways?  Does it feel different to you to be socially cooperative and successful versus social adversarial and successful?  Do you think The Demon Queen is too dangerous to actively use?  Why or why not?

On The Professional

(Epistemic status:  Part of the Archetypal Filter series, actual pragmatic thing I am doing with my life, slight dissociative risk herein, boring as fuck I am so sorry)

With archetypes, some come naturally to a given person.  Others have to be constructed in response to social stress.  The Professional is an archetype I have had to construct and still do not fully inhabit well.  The concept is reservation, politeness, professional distance without being cold, and most importantly getting a high from doing a job competently within a system (working outside the system actually feels Wrong in this archetype, even if the job gets done, because it’s not replicable without increased risk.)

To break these factors down, reservation is the concept of muting my natural expressiveness to socially acceptable levels.  This is surprisingly hard, but more or less vital, especially given the paradigm I work in is not always the most pleasant to me in terms of my intuitions on how well it serves our clients.  This might be an issue of not being particularly good at big picture thinking.
Politeness is in the same vein as reservedness; in other contexts I usually am a lot more present and big and sparkly.  This is not really a thing I can do at work.

This part is an analytical sense of who knows who and says what and basically trying to avoid saying things that set these connections aimed at oneself.  The difficult part is that politeness is both a wall and also a gate.  You have to let people in but you have to do it carefully; it’s a middle ground concept.  I’m slightly better at the walling than the gating appropriately.

Professional distance is more applicable to clients.  Clients do not want to feel rushed or as if they are talking to a task focused robot but they also don’t want to, like, actually hear about your life most of the time.  There’s a lot of scripting here but it’s much higher variance than most scripting I’m used to.  I’m pretty damn good at minimal encouragers but after a certain point, people can tell and that kind of reverses all the rapport you built.  Professional distance is annoying because I like caring.

This last bit is probably the highest utility function of The Professional.  Each of my archetypes has a reward function, a goal that will light up those dopamine receptors when achieved.  The Seeker gets this from novel experience; The Professional gets this from a job well done within the system.  It’s actually amazing how important working on the systematic level is to this archetype.  This wasn’t an intentional construct but I think it’s a fairly logical one.  This reward function is based off a function I think most people have, the satisfaction of a job well done.  I intentionally intensify it to make The Professional at least somewhat worthwhile to slip into.  

Overall, The Professional is not a great archetype for me but it’s a useful archetype.  It beats the alternatives of trying to approach my role with my other archetypes; The Analyst might be all right, except the social aspects of the office overwhelm that archetype and cause anxiety.  

Discussion:  What does The Professional look like for you in your work?  What would you add to the construct of The Professional to enhance productivity and work outcomes?  How different does an example of a “constructed” archetype feel from a “natural” archetype?

On The Seeker

(Epistemic status:  Part of the Archetypal Filter series, actual pragmatic thing I am doing with my life, slight dissociative risk)

In the archetypal filter system, there is a filter I really revel in called The Seeker.  This state actually splits off from a lot of the more extroversion positive things The Oracle state was bringing me before I developed my intuitions here further.  The basic concept of The Seeker is I max extroversion, novelty seeking, impulsivity, and general willingness to spend weirdness points.  I don’t exactly look for insight, intuition, or Right Things, I just try to have fun and keep life novel and interesting.

The Seeker is good at benign script breaking and largely the filter I use when I ask one of my favorite questions, “What is the most bizarre thing that has happened to
you in the last few days?”  It primes me to really, really pay attention to the other person and what they’re saying and ask more and more questions.  It is a high perception filter that prioritizes experience to a possibly unhealthy degree.  It is The Seeker that can be
accosted by a stranger and proceed to think that further engagement
would be delightful.

The point of The Seeker, if it wasn’t obvious, is to experience and learn.  To play.  The Seeker is the filter that allows TRANSCENDENT JOY.  The Seeker is the filter that allows
qualialgia.  Overall, The Seeker is the filter where I can accept my emotions are big and full and regardless of what they are, accept them. I tend to spend a lot of my free time with The Seeker filter because it’s extremely adaptive to social situations and generally being a more mindful, perceptive person.  It feels like a very important key to self
discovery and self improvement.

The drawbacks of The Seeker is I can get overwhelmed at times in ways that aren’t terribly great to experience.  The Seeker is also kind of impulsive and possibly reckless
in ways that are inconsiderate to other people; the difference between The Seeker and The Demon Queen here is that The Seeker is not intentionally selfish, it’s just a natural result of an experience optimizing viewpoint.   The Seeker is extremely unrestrained and blunt, which is unacceptable in more delicate social situations.  The Seeker is also very much at a manipulative disadvantage; in this filter I want to think the best motives of everyone because the world is a wonderful place.

Overall, The Seeker is a very pleasant headspace but somewhat lower in self preservation than may be wise.  I am curious, does anyone identify with The Seeker strongly?  How impacted are you by the disadvantages compared to the advantages?  If you don’t identify with The Seeker, does this sort of person seem attractive/interesting or
just really annoying?

On The Filter System, Archetypal Lenses, and Narrative

(Epistemic Status:  Original hack always steal.  Actually in active use by me with concrete positive outcomes.  Possible dissociative risk so please think before applying this.)

A couple months ago, April I want to say, I came across an extremely compelling idea.  This idea was the one of narrative.  The idea that you tell a story in the way you look, the way you approach situations, the way you interact with the world, and that controlling this narrative is important to attractiveness.  I decided this probably generalizes to social situations and started considering things this way.  For awhile, it was a fuzzy idea that mostly made me feel good but then I had a few situations come up, particularly at work, where I had to change my narrative or my life would become more uncomfortable.  Once I internalized that notion and applied it, it felt like a little progress was made.  It’s still tough but I’m starting to really see concrete utility.  I would normally describe the situation in more detail but it might be too personally identifying.  An interesting side effect of considering my role and perceptions in a narrative setting was the archetypal filter system.

So, after the explicit success of narratives, combined with the stronger engagement with the version of myself that is the Oracle state, I started creating other roles.  I created The Seeker to optimize for novel experiences, a progression from my basic idea for a priestess of novelty.  I created The Demon Queen when I realized I could be very dark triad at times, and this could be useful.  I created The Professional to limit the weirdness I engage in at work and control my behavior as well as derive pleasure from working within systems.  I created The Doll to more strongly define my blank, devoted state as a submissive.  I created The Analyst to round out things, to cover my overanalytical, anxious, detail oriented states.  From here, I also intuited a zero state, and a contrasting state I refer to as seven.  My zero state is when I am mostly on autopilot, not really engaging a situation.  Sometimes I use it to come down from an out of control emotional reaction with a filter.  Seven is…undefined.  I’m unsure I’ve ever hit this state but it feels really, really important to acknowledge it exists.  I think perhaps it might be the general concept of a fully actualized, mindful adaptability that defies archetype.  It could also just be a future archetype that doesn’t have a duality to it.  I don’t know yet.

What is useful about these archetypes is they allow me to optimize for certain experiences as well as ways of social interaction with others.   The way I perceive an event and goal set for that event is heavily inflected by what archetype is optimal for it.  I went on a date where The Demon Queen was the most optimal filter and it went extremely well.  I approach meditation often with the archetype of The Seeker and am so joyful and exuberant about what I find.  I approach needing things from coworkers as The Professional and the interaction feels satisfying and competent.  Archetypal filters are probably my most powerful social hack at the moment because role means so much.
I will be making a series of posts defining each archetype (The Oracle is already defined, but I think another post on The Oracle is in order because some of the territory was annexed by The Seeker), and then going over what I think is the rough methodology for changing your worldview in this fashion.

That methodology is highly individual to me but perhaps can provide guidelines for others who wish to optimize their experiences by tailoring the self to the social world around them.

Discussion:  How do you filter your experiences?  What determines how you feel about something, do you know?  Do other people take this archetypal approach?  If so, please tell me about your experiences with it.