I was inspired to write this after reading Thomas Jefferson’s letter where he had a dialogue between his head and his heart. He was a brilliant man.
16 year old me
25 year old me
30 year old me
16: I am unhappy. I’m horny all the time and want a woman to satisfy these urges instead of my hand.
25: Follow me, friend, for I know the way to a woman’s touch, and it is indeed better than your own.
16: I am willing to try absolutely anything.
25: What are you trying these days?
16: I started wearing dress shirts that don’t fit, I listen to David Deangelo shows on how to pick up women, and I try to provide the fun for people – usually drinking and smoking weed in a park after dark. Sometimes women are there.
25: Hah, that’s cute, man, but you’re not being honest with yourself or with girls. Girls want someone that’s honest. But being honest is hard. It means confronting those insecurities you have. Would you say you’re insecure?
16: God yes. I never know what to say to girls. If I only knew what to say, I’d be cool.
25: Not quite. There’s no such thing as saying the “right thing” all the time. We aren’t Archer (you’ll see him on TV in a few years), and even your man Deangelo isn’t charming in every word he says. That will never happen. To be charming requires overcoming your insecurities and being confident despite not knowing the right thing to say. I have met girls that barely speak English. We have no common culture or language keeping us together, but we’re able to communicate through our body language and eye contact to the point where the actual words we’re saying barely matter.
16: I want to go to bed for 9 years and be you.
25: I wish it was that easy, but I had to put in work. I have been going out meeting women almost every night for about 3 years now. I learned from role models like Patrice O’Neal and Heartiste. I learned about psychology and game and how to shape my life to fit that.
16: I don’t know about all that. I just want to have sex.
25: No you don’t. You could hire a hooker if that’s all you wanted. You want to be loved, and that manifests itself in recurring sex. To be the man that gets that, you have to understand what that is you’re after, and become that type of man. It takes a lot of work, both internal and external. Women want the man who is honest with his intentions and courageous in his actions. Become that man! You will be happy if you are able to do this, and you will not be happy if you know this is out there for you to do, and you refuse to act accordingly.
30: Sorry I am late, but I must disagree with the advice you’re giving, 25.
25: Oh? Point out where I have been wrong.
30: You aren’t wrong at a base level. Your psychology and reasoning is solid. But on happiness, your argument falls short.
25: I’m literally happy. I have no fears or insecurities, have sex with many women, I don’t have any wants that I can’t get, and I spend my time doing what I love. Which is mostly women. I give advice to men who are in a similar position to 16 year old here, and they are grateful for it. Who are you to tell me what happiness is?
30: You are as naive as 16 year old is to you, 25. Where 16 doesn’t understand the psychology of what makes people attractive, but he is trying to make sex happen, you do not understand happiness, but you are trying to make it happen. Your happiness is the same as 16 year old’s want for sex. Both are fleeting, and dependent on validation from yourself that you are doing a good job, which is usually held in regard to others, or at least your past self. To be wise means to be happy in any situation. If you were alone on a desert island, with no women around to please or to please you, would you then be happy?
25: This is dumb. I’m not without women.
16: I’m bored.
30: You see, 25, right now your goal is to be maximally attractive. So, you seek out mentors in Patrice and Roissy and Julien. But, if your goal is happiness, which I equate to wisdom, why not seek out those who preach directly on wisdom?
25: My insecurities were always about women. By overcoming those fears, I am without fear, which means I am capable of happiness. People must overcome their own fears – whatever those are, in order to be happy. I have.
30: I understand, and overcoming fear is a part of happiness, but not all of it. In a few years, your favorite quote will be from John Milton, the Christian epic poet. He wrote: “He who reigns within himself and rules passions, desires, and fears is more than a king.” You see, fears (insecurities) are only part of the happiness equation. You are presently ruled by your passions and desires. If you can learn to control those, then you will, as he states, more than a king, for even kings are ruled by their desires for fleeting worldly things, like status, money, and power.
16: lol epic poems? No thank you.
25: Actually, yeah 16. You should read more.
30: And you, 25, should read more of the things that will lead to happiness. You are smart and courageous. It’s time to develop other virtues. Beethoven said, “Recommend virtue to your children; it alone, not money, can make them happy.” It is practicing virtue that leads to not wanting things, which helps to control your desires and passions. I also recommend Christianity, in Faith, Word, and practice, to help you manage your desires.
16: Wow. He’s Christian now. What are you, like, anti-sex, old man?
30: Actually yes. I hurt many people because of sex over the years.
25: That must be later in life. I have always been honest in both my expectations, words, and actions.
30: You have been honest, and that is another virtue which you possess. However, honesty is not the highest of virtues. Without achieving the highest of virtues, you cannot be maximally happy. This is because, deep down, you will know you could have done, or could be doing, something even more right. Therefore, it’s not enough to pick and choose virtues, or to stop at courage and honesty. Look at your favorite movie, Gladiator, and the list of virtues Marcus Aurelius gives to Commodus. He includes temperance, patience, and honor, but Commodus responds that he possesses not these, but courage and ambition. Which man is more capable of happiness? Of containing wisdom?
16: Have you seen Half Baked with Dave Chappelle?
30: But why Marcus? Commodus has far more sex than Marcus. He has no fears, except maybe darkness. Any wants he has he eliminates or achieves. Is that not what you want?
25: Yeah, I guess you’re right. Marcus is the more thoughtful man and leader, for sure. How do you know there’s more though? We are both fans of the concept of delayed gratification it seems. I worked hard from age 16 to 23 to see fruit. Why should I keep working for more? Why must you take it to such an extreme? Will it pay off?
30: It does pay off. For us religious, we are paid off in both this life and we are rewarded for our efforts in the next. I know you’re not religious, but even if you’re not, your continued effort and further delayed gratification pays off in this life. It pays off immediately if you understand people. When you are honest with women, you aren’t leading them onto relationships, but you’re still encouraging them to want more things, while encouraging that in yourself. Remember John Milton – it’s not just fears that are to be avoided. That is why chastity is such a high virtue. You claim to have conquered your fears by going out and having sex. But that only led to further wanting and dependence on that want. Plus, an image was built up where you have to be a sexy dude all the time, do you not?
25: I do. It’s a lot of work. But I’m strong and competent. Aren’t those good things?
30: Strength and competence are good things. Use those good things – those strengths, for good, and not to harm women or other men. Be a good influence: an influence that doesn’t encourage others to want more, but instead a competent and strong moral leader.
16: So.. should I work on becoming strong and competent or a nerdy Christian.
30: Yes. You should stop smoking weed and drinking and do that. You have plenty of time to do all of those things. Pay attention in your English and religion classes. Actually exert yourself in sports. Eat more.
25: Yeah dude, seriously, eat more, and do something that’s productive.
30: The thing about virtues is that they build on each other. Where 16 year old wants to be stronger, and he does exhibit some courage from time to time, he hasn’t cultivated other virtues. You, 25 year old, know what I’m talking about. You are courageous, honest, seek truth, industrious, and temperate with vices outside of women.
16: I seek the truth!
30: There are higher virtues than just courage, honesty, sobriety, and truth. I mentioned chastity. While you aren’t chaste in behavior or intent, 16 is chaste in behavior but not in intention. It’s only the lack of means that keeps him chaste, not for want. I wouldn’t consider either of you chaste, although you are closer than 16. Chastity requires courage, honesty, and temperance of mind in regards to sex.
16: Dude. Sex is natural. It feels good because nature rewards us for doing what we should do.
30: Sex is natural, you’re not wrong. Although I’d argue the sex you aspire to have, and the sex 25 year old is having, is unnatural in many respects: birth control, sex toys, and condoms. Just kidding about the condoms 25. Just a heads up – you should put one on before doing anything with [redacted]. Even without the debasement you two bring to sex, many natural things go against virtue, which therefore go against your potential to be happy. Eating candy or nothing but fruit rewards you with immediate satisfaction, but brings little nutrition to have energy and health. Being lazy is biologically incentivized so that we have energy for a hunt. That isn’t helpful. So too, sex outside of procreation is just not helpful. Sure, it’s fun, but when it adds wants to you and to the girl you’re with, you’re hurting yourselves in the short and long run. This brings me to the highest virtue in my opinion: honor. Honor means, basically, doing the right thing. To do the right thing means not to do what makes you feel good, like having an orgasm, but to do what makes you feel most peaceful deep down. If you make a woman want more, and know she is less at peace, then that sucks. If you crave a milkshake or lust after a woman, you aren’t at peace. You can do something more productive with your time. More honorable.
25: How do I know what the right thing is? When I’m with these women these days, everything feels so right. How am I supposed to know if it isn’t?
30: There are basically three routes to this. The first is to be religious. Believe and trust in God, and follow Jesus’ example. Since you both don’t want to do that, the second way is to gain a better understanding of people and how happiness works. John Milton isn’t the only one who defines happiness in terms of not just conquering fears, but understanding and being better than desire and pleasure. I recommend reading these classic authors: Milton, Shakespeare, Huxley, Socrates, Jesus. You can combine their readings with modern psychology and philosophy. Everything in these books, including and especially the Bible, stands the test of time. I consider it the best psychology book ever written, and everything you need to know about how to be happy is inside. If you dedicate yourself to this academic route, which is what I did, you will come to the conclusion that Christianity is right and, probably, become religious in the process. This happened to me and, while inefficient and meant more suffering along the way than if I hadn’t, I am now so strong in my faith, and can speak to it because of the academic background. The last way to find the right thing is to go by personal experience. Try things, see what works, and what doesn’t. This is less efficient than actively reading about it, but at least you’re giving thought to it, which is better than most people. Trying new things runs the risk of trying things that do hurt you and others. I did things in my 20s that did not feel wrong at the time, but still cause me pain today when I reflect on what I did to others. I do not recommend doing this on your own. I recommend taking this journey with Jesus. He is there with you and will not leave. You know what He says – it’s written down in the Book. If not Jesus, then at least the academic and classical authors. They know more than you, and many of them were inspired by the Divine, which may inspire you directly or indirectly. Either way, you’re on the right track, and I’m proud of you.
25: Thanks bro. I have a lot to think about.
16: I want to get drunk and try to have sex.