So activity on this site looks to be pretty dead compared to what it may have used to be; here are some of the reason why I think AOM is dead in the water:

1. No common purpose or mission statement.

There doesn't seem to be much of any real purpose or common set of values on this forum, other than "being mainly" which is extremely vague, and there's almost no agreed on definition here of what that even is anyway, and what advice there is here is usually just bland stuff like "derp support the family, the trophy wife and kids derp" which shows no depth or nuance of understanding on the subject.

From what I can tell a good chunk of the regulars here don't read Brett's articles or have much interest in his ideas on the subject anyway. In chat and on the forum you here more people talking about superfluous stuff such as the last piece of electronic gear they bought, the coworkers who annoy them, 4chan memes Trump's "Twitter politics", their trophy wife and kids, or their opinions on hot anime a girls - lame... Heck, it seems that some folks have no purpose being here at all beyond just wanting an account on a website with "manliness" in the title to tell them that they're "manly", lol

2. Boring, bland, vanilla "advice"

A lot of the shit that gets regurgitated here in the actual "advice" sections is just boring, mind-numbing shtick that might've as well just been repeated word-for-word from reruns of Oprah or Dr. Phil, and is next to useless for folks seeking real self-improvement.

You see such enthralling, panty-dropping subjects of discussion such as - whether one should take "corporate career", how much a guy should pay for dates with the girl he hopes to make his trophy wife and make some trophy kids with, discussions 'financial topics' such as 401Ks, retirement packages, and other jargonese which is so ugly that talking about them in the company of the opposite sex is likely the most effective birth control on the planet.

In short, it basically just screams "basic, bland bourgeois miserable middle class McMansion mortgage owner" who's knowledge on most things ends where Wikipedia begins, and who'd rather be collectively mediocre than individually successful.

3. Griping

That said, given how inane a lot of the actual discussion here is, there a ridiculous amount of griping stuff from every "side of the fence", but considering how little of any real "mission or purpose" anyone seems to have for the site, it makes the griping pretty pointless when you think about it.

I mean, what's the purpose about constantly griping about the site's decline, the behavior of banned trolls, and making self-fellating "suggestions" about the glorious future of the site, if most of the actual discussion you actually engage in here is about Reddit memes and episodes of Bob's Burgers.

When a good percent of what passes for 'serious discussion' is already boring and mind-numbing enough to make watching paint dry stimulating in comparison, I don't honestly think that Chu Kim sharing his fantasies about street racing guys in Camaros and f-ing their girlfriends if he wins could do much more than liven a dead place up.

In the end it becomes apparent that the site's is just used as a gripe site where people who have little genuine interest in the website go just to gripe about behavior on a dead website which they don't even care about to begin with, lol

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Are you asking me my age?  If so, I'm turning 41 next month.  Why?

"So what? Steve Jobs said anyone who didn't love or find some creativity in the work they did would have to be clinically insane to do it."

Where did it say that either J.D. or his wife didn't love or find creativity in the work that they do?

I never said they don't, I was just making a point that if a person doesn't, then the "work" they do is nothing other than pure masochism.


If someone lives in a free country and can't even spare 30 minutes a day to themselves because they spend the rest of their time slaving to the grind just to pay the mortgage on a McMansion full of Chinese-made crap, then they might as well just be living in North Korea or working in a Chinese sweatshop, because they're no more "free" than they are.

And unlike North Koreans and Chinese, Americans aren't forced into slavery, they volunteer for it because apparently being able to afford that McMansion or the payment on that ugly SUV is worth trading your humanity and becoming just another boring, forgettable, serf, lol

"I believe the trend today of demonizing the higher areas of knowledge while fetishistic the utilitarian and survivalistic is a sign of American culture taking a degenerative direction, and heading in a more authoritarian and statist direction myself, so it's not a good sign."

IMO you've yet to present a strong case that enlightenment is demonized and utilitarianism is fetishized.

IMO, if anything, the message that a lot of people want to get across is that it's easy to idealize the pursuit of an elevated path when you have someone else doing all the utilitarian work for you, which essentially frees you up and enables said pursuit of enablement. If it's not the very definition of elitism then I don't know what is. The other point is that, for many of these types, the pursuit for enlightenment becomes nearly impossible (as it is for most commoners) when they're forced to attempt to respond to their basic physical materialist needs (survival) on their own. So the core message is that enlightenment is certainly great but dismissing utilitarian work is hypocritical since it is the utilitarian work that creates the circumstances and enables the conditions that allow the pursuit of enlightenment. In simpler terms, the shaman / priest / wise man / sage is able to pursue enlightenment and share his wisdom with the people because someone else is out there hunting the food, preparing the food, cooking the food, serving the good, etc.

It's a symbiotic relationship wherein both have equal value.

IMO, if anything, the message that a lot of people want to get across is that it's easy to idealize the pursuit of an elevated path when you have someone else doing all the utilitarian work for you, which essentially frees you up and enables said pursuit of enablement. If it's not the very definition of elitism then I don't know what is


In the sense that pursuing enlightenment and wisdom is a higher pursuit than living solely for one's own materialistic urges which people share with chimpanzees, then yes I'm proudly elitist in that regard.

And a point I made is that a lot of utilitarian work that currently exists is somewhat unnecessary and more 'necessary' because people tend to be greedy and live beyond their means; while cultures such as Native American tribes which lived as hunter gatherers lived a simpler, more minimalist existence, so there wasn't a need for Chinese sweatshop workers to make Abercrombie and Fitch polo shirts for them.

The other point is that, for many of these types, the pursuit for enlightenment becomes nearly impossible (as it is for most commoners) when they're forced to attempt to respond to their basic physical materialist needs (survival) on their own.


Not impossible, more difficult, but not impossible - many sages of different religions decided to shun the world and live as ascetics to pursue enlightenment.

In simpler terms, the shaman / priest / wise man / sage is able to pursue enlightenment and share his wisdom with the people because someone else is out there hunting the food, preparing the food, cooking the food, serving the good, etc.

It's a symbiotic relationship wherein both have equal value.


The problem is that you're assuming that some people spend all their time pursuing enlightenment, and that other people spend all their time doing the utilitarian work and don't pursue enlightenment at all.

I don't agree with that, I think that work, like taking a shit, is a necessary evil just to survive, sure - however if work and material things become the main or sole raison de'tre for their existence, then this is problematic.

I think it's totally possible for people to find enlightenment in simple, common work and pursuits (wasn't Jesus a carpenter) anyway, problem is my overall perception of consumer culture today is that working simply to find happiness through buying new trinkets is emphasizes in an unhealthy way.

That's why personally I'd rather only make $35,000 a year and drive a used car and have plenty of time to read and grow mentally and spiritually, than spend 80 hours a week slaving away in a cubicle just to afford a fancy leased car - when I don't even actually know or have any interest in cars beyond wanting strangers to be envious when they see me driving by.

"In the sense that pursuing enlightenment and wisdom is a higher pursuit than living solely for one's own materialistic urges which people share with chimpanzees, then yes I'm proudly elitist in that regard."

No in the sense that many of the people who focus mainly or exclusively on pursuing enlightenment are only able to do so because they have the means to get other people to do everything else. I think moderate enlightenment would involve seeing the inherent privilege of being in that position. It would also involve sharing the enlightenment, as much as possible, with the people who aren't in that position or at least trying to create the conditions that would enable them to some degree to engage in their own pursuit. IMO failing to recognize the privilege and/or not sharing the benefits of enlightenment with the utilitarian workers is elitism; bother material and spiritual.

"And a point I made is that a lot of utilitarian work that currently exists is somewhat unnecessary (...) there wasn't a need for Chinese sweatshop workers to make Abercrombie and Fitch polo shirts for them."

Everyone will agree that there's no need for A&F polos. And yet Chinese are lining up to do the work. Why? Because they have needs of their own to satiate.

"Not impossible, more difficult, but not impossible - many sages of different religions decided to shun the world and live as ascetics to pursue enlightenment."

This is true but it's often not altruistic. In fact, in many cases, it's really quite selfish. It's one thing to adopt an ascetic life in the hopes of attaining enlightenment in order to share the knowledge with your people. It's another to do the same but while hoarding the divine knowledge for yourself. In the former, it's a sacrifice that benefits the entire community. In the latter, it's a withdrawal from society that benefits no one but the ascetic. And that's why, in places I've been like Thailand and India, the common people are usually quite happy to support the former via gifts of food, clothing, money, shelter (etc.) whereas they generally avoid (or actually fear) the latter. The former benefit the community by sharing knowledge and wisdom, offering blessings, teaching (etc.) while the latter simply attempt to achieve their own elevation without a care about others.

"The problem is that you're assuming that some people spend all their time pursuing enlightenment, and that other people spend all their time doing the utilitarian work and don't pursue enlightenment at all."

Actually I don't assume that. My position is along the lines of what you said except I expand the scope. You believe that blind faith in utilitarianism is destructive. My point is that a selfish, elitist pursuit of enlightenment is just as destructive. Balance between the two, and recognizing that they both have value, is the key IMO.

And if you don't agree with my stance then that's a-ok but I'd encourage you to do some Googling about the commodification, commercialization and monetization of the wellness movement, yoga, mindfulness, etc.

J.D., you are truly a "liberated man"!

I'm not inclined to snip the entire thread, but this is (at least one place) where TOS got stomped:

Plus, I don't comprehend how women having to work a day job while the hubbie gets to lounge around the house all day watching a Rocky and Rambo marathon is remotely enlightened.

Dispute the viewpoint, don't attack the man, is clearly stated, and clearly right.

But I don't see you just getting lured into this anger; it's how you post.

We have the guideline, one warning, then ban.  We have been lax on it.  I'm going back to it, at least for anyone's been warned, and banned, already.

"Plus, I don't comprehend how women having to work a day job while the hubbie gets to lounge around the house all day watching a Rocky and Rambo marathon is remotely enlightened."

But he doesn't claim to be enlightened. You're the one who's constantly telling us that you're above everyone. That response doesn't seem the least bit elevated.

"Plus, I don't comprehend how women having to work a day job while the hubbie gets to lounge around the house all day watching a Rocky and Rambo marathon is remotely enlightened."

I don't think most stay-at-home dads spend the day watching movies so let's put that aside for a moment. Can you truly not think of a single scenario wherein it is determined that the most beneficial arrangement is for the husband to stay at home? Because I can think of many.

I also find it odd that you seem to be so interested in universal truths that transcend the physical, material realm and yet seem to get caught on the concept of the rigidity of gender roles. A lot of what you refer to sounds like Gnosticism (and various other mystery schools) so I find it odd that you're not considering their stance on gender; that true enlightenment beyond the physical involves transcending gender and unifying both male and female elements into a single being. In light of this, I'm just not sure how you reconcile rigidity towards gender roles in the physical realm on one hand and transcendent enlightenment on the other.

Well, my understanding is that at least from a broad anthropological perspective, cultures tended to view women as naturally more creative and less expendable than men, therefore they tried to prevent women from being forced to do boring grunt-work to free up more room for them to be creative and enlighten those around them; I've heard it said that many creative men, at least to some extent, were inspired by women or had women as a "muse of sorts".

My understanding is that while in the sense of people as individuals and in terms of human rights, individuals are equal and more than just the sum of their gender, from a purely anthropological perspective, women are actually "above" men in terms of their natural creativity and vitalness to a culture or tribe, even though this shatters many stereotypes, this seems to be a inconvenient anthropological truth, as well as one that can be observed in other animals - the world 'husband' for example comes from 'husbandry' (meaning to tame a wild horse), and it's generally observed that women do the mate selection, so this actually implies that from a purely anthropological perspective, women are "above" men in terms of interrelational dynamics.

I believe for example, this is why notions of chivarly have existed in cultures, and that a man hitting a woman is generally viewed as more aberrant than a woman hitting a man. There are other examples I can give, but while I agree with you that individual people can't be reduced to mere gender stereotypes, I don't think that society if viewed as a whole can be understood well without looking at the anthropological side of things.

So cultures where women are forced by necessity or otherwise to perform tend to be backward and authoritarian in many ways, as this for example is the case in many Chinese sweatshops, or other countries like North Korea. This isn't an argument about "women being denied legal rights" to work, that's a different issue, just an argument about women being forced to perform a lot of slavish grunt work along with men.

This is why I find aspects of modern American corporate culture problematic, since if women are forced or encouraged to perform the same types of rote grunt work as men are - which ideally they shouldn't have to if it interferes with their natural creativity - I view it as a sign of culture becoming less enlightened and heading in a more authoritarian, survivalist direction.

When someone says that they were inspired by a woman, or had a muse, they are politely saying that they were doing it to get laid.

When someone says that they were inspired by a woman, or had a muse, they are politely saying that they were doing it to get laid.


Not entirely true, but I think to some degree, there's a relation between our lower, instinctive drives and our higher rational and creative ones.

It's helpful to think of the body or the 'self' not as "you", but more like a good horse that you own, which your conscious mind has to discipline and keep in line; even if one's mind consciously wants something (such as to quit smoking), the body doesn't always necessarily go along with it since it operates more on subconscious animal instincts.

But hey, maybe if a man who wishes to become an artist, musician, philosopher, or whatnot can motivate his body to go along with his mind by using the prospect of it getting him laid, then it might be easier to motivate himself to take action.

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