Red Dead Redemption 2 has a Valuable Lesson for Men

One of the games I was recently curious about but not quite sure whether I want to buy it was Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2. The novelty of open-world games has long worn off for me, and Rockstar’s earlier title, Grand Theft Auto V, the most recent game of that genre I played, was a relatively frustrating experience for me. The issue with those narration-driven games is that they primarily want to tell a story. Gameplay mechanics seem to play second fiddle. As I was on the fence regarding Red Dead Redemption 2, I thus checked out some gameplay video, which looked rather boring to me as you spend half the time riding from A to B, a quarter of the time engaging in sub-standard third-person shooting or brawling mechanics and another quarter watching cut scenes. The story was not particularly gripping either. Compared to the output of the Japanese, Western stories seem to hit you over the head with a sledge hammer. Subtlety is nowhere to be found.

In Red Dead Redemption 2, you spend most of the time being the right hand of the leader of a gang of outlaws. The story is driven by this gang attempting one robbery after another, while law enforcement is on their heels. Things never go as well as planned, and to make up for lost time and money, another great idea is easily found. They just plan to rob a bigger bank. One reason the gang is doing increasingly poorly and is thus tempted to seek ever-greater risk is that there are rats among their midst. Yet, the gang also enters a vicious circle: one failure begets another. Their numbers dwindle. But to make up for past losses, they need to seek greater risks, which entails a greater risk of failure. The eventual dissolution of that gang is obvious very early.

As tragic as the fate of our virtual gang of scoundrels may be, the bigger tragedies are written in real life. Indeed, the gang’s search for that one robbery that will allow them to retire in the tropics reminded me quite a bit of the greed and stupidity that is so endemic in society, often afflicting men. The protagonists in the game dream of making a boatload of money by robbing a train or a bank so that they can check out of society. This is just like your typical member of the underclass frivolously spending money on lottery tickets. That big win is always just around the corner, yet remains ever out of reach.

The dream of having so much money, ideally acquired through some kind of get-rich-quick scheme, is the main driving force behind many of online communities. Think of the “digital nomad” crowd or all those people hoping that their app will be a breakout hit. Those people toil and toil, but hardly ever end up having to show anything for their efforts. There is no shortage of promising avenues. I have met people who took out short-term loans to do day trading or to “invest” in dubious start-ups. Those guys do not do their due diligence because their immeasurable greed blinds them.

When looking at the biggest names in the “manosphere”, Roosh V comes to mind. He is by probably a wide margin the most successful guy in this niche. Yet, what did he really manage to achieve? I am very certain that however much he made with his books and talks, he could very easily have made with an average job. Now you may interject and mumble something about “freedom” and “being your own boss” or any such gibberish. I don’t know Roosh V personally, but I know people who said they met him in real life. According to some of them, he has a side-gig as an English as Second Language teacher. Even if this is just a necessary evil for him to get a visa, it is still the case that it seems that he has to live in countries with a low cost of living to stretch his money. I would be very surprised if his income is above the median in the United States. Of course, just like with “digital nomads”, the issue is that they can’t reside in those foreign countries forever.

What all those people have in common is the desire for a shortcut, which explains basically all scams out there. Just think back of the seduction community, which promised guys that instead of working on their looks, status, and money in order to improve their dating prospects, they only have to memorize a bunch of bizarre “routines”. More recently, a lot of cryptocurrencies have been hawked, with the same promise: put your money a ludicrous venture like “Red Pill Coin” — yes, it really exists — and watch your money grow exponentially. Those guys always look for that one weird trick that would get them ahead of everybody else. Instead of playing by the rules, they think they are way above that. However, you can rest assured that most anybody who disparagingly speaks of “wage cucks”, while chasing hare-brained schemes, is not able to get a proper job. Those are the people who could not bother making an effort in high school or at university, and now, facing less-than-stellar prospects, they think they can somehow game the system. Many will need decades to realize their folly. Some will never get to that point. It is a tragedy.

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16 thoughts on “Red Dead Redemption 2 has a Valuable Lesson for Men

  1. What you say aaron is true,

    however i think that if you actually put effort, some of those things are achievable.

    Lets take trading: i think that if you study strategies, practice, manage risk …
    it can be profitable instead of just throwing your money on random stocks or currency

    1. and yet those people stay stealthy and you cant find someone to teach you this stuff reliably.
      i think this stuff is more easy if you have access to some type of inside information.

    2. CENA: The Intelligent Investor is quite reliable, same for Buffett recorded talks and interviews.

      That is to make 15-20% a year on long term average at most. If someone aspire for more than that, he is a gambler.

    3. Buffet has a particular setup which you can’t replicate. He is also able to get stocks at a discount, due to his reputation. Him investing in a company is a vote of confidence. Expecting 10% a year is overly optimistic, in my opinion. Yet, that is a number that is routinely bandied about in some online communities.

    4. If anyone is curious about trading, check up “momentum trading”.
      Its a strategy that is supposed to work better the more people know about it

    5. “Expecting 10% a year is overly optimistic, in my opinion.”

      Aaron, if you have looked at the stuff the zorro guys and robotwealth puts out, you will see that a bit of a momentum-based sector rotation will get you well into the 15-20% p.a.

      We’re speaking about a monthly re-adjustment and zero leverage for a relatively primitive system.

  2. TBH Aaron.

    Same applies to you. Your books probably dont make you alot of money, yet you spend so many hours. Im guessing the profit is less than 10 euros per hour.

    So why behave so irrational by writing books? Makes no sense to me.

    1. The difference is that this is a hobby for me. However, I could get a side gig that pays (a lot) more on an hourly basis than my books do. Depending on how you want to view it, my output is thus either a hobby that makes a bit of money, or one that loses money due to opportunity costs.

  3. Worst thing for people: if they realize they wont be able for the – i call it “normal way”. You cannot get into certain majors or jobs without the required education. You cannot get a certain body, without the time and knowledge for sports/diet. I’d say the reason they look for the short cut is not laziness, it’s because there’s no other option for them.

  4. Ten years ago, more or less, I was 20 and a really impressionable kid, and I was heavily influenced by some relatives who thought things exactly like you do in this article. So, I tried to follow the normal people path, I gave away or stopped all the weird side activities I had (successful ebay shop, closed websites, closed one big community I had) and I started doing “normal people” stuff.
    This completely destroyed my health and ruined my 20s, since I’m not made for normal people stuff and put me in a constant cycle of major depressions and barely getting by. I also “didn’t bother to complete anything” because it didn’t matter how many months, books, tutoring I threw at certain obstacles, it just didn’t work.
    I should have been true to myself, which is what I’m doing now and it’s working much better. Yeah, it’s weird to work as a freelance programmer and have some websites on the side, but it’s one of the very few paths this society leaves to people like me.

    I think in your article you conflate many things together. People who follow the get-rich-quick schemes of various kind, crypto included, may also be normal people with a life perfectly on track. So are people who think they can game the system. Many other people instead live an honest, and often hard, life. RooshV earned its money by writing, which is not get-rich-quick, and has a side job. And what else should he have done? If he’s such a loser, isn’t this a better life for him? We can’t know because we aren’t him.

    It’s a good thing these people are free to pursuit “weird schemes”. You say so yourself if they “could not bother making an effort in high school or at university”, what should they do with their life? We live in a world where if you don’t have the credentials (not to be confused with an education) you basically can’t do shit. All decent jobs always require some costly formal training or licenses or permits, when 40 years ago they could’ve been done freely.
    This things you see as weird schemes, are one of the few ways for disadvantaged people to get into the market and provide for themselves. They don’t just provide money to live, but they don’t always require as much effort, and that’s a good thing. Some people value free time more than other things.

    It’s easy to judge when one has had academic success and never went out of the tracks society uses to choose who can work and who cannot, but it’s a boomer way of thinking that doesn’t provide a good framework with which analyze reality.
    It’s also easy to look at people who live these kind of lifestyles and think it is the lifestyles that make their life difficult.
    I think their life would have been much more difficult if they didn’t have this way of providing for themselves. What looks like a failure from the point of view of someone who got everything career-wise, it’s not when looked at the alternatives these people faced. We’re talking about scraping shit from the sewers, breaking one’s back while the boss shouts at you for no reason, or a life of crime. When looked at it this way, you can see that these unconventional ways of making money are not so bad after all.
    Of course it is a difficult life, but you’re not saying something these people don’t know. They know future prospects are bad. While I understand there are good intentions behind it, discouraging these people will only make their situation worse. You either provide a real and tangible opportunity or you shut up and understand that while people are stupid they may not be so stupid after all.

    1. I was going to write a similar comment. But I saw yours. I’ll write it when I get around to it… But yah there’s a big conflation going on here.

      While it is true shortcut seekers do those things… Not everyone who does them is a buffoon looking for a shortcut to billions.

      Some of us are just made like this. Like I’d rather be a cab driver and make 10x less while i decide my own hours than work a career where I make even 10x more.

      I’d rather scrap together an average income from 10 flexible hustles than make that or more with a “normal job”.

      I can have have those actions in common with roosh without his motivations (seeking a shortcut to millions?).

    2. I don’t think we disagree at all. There is a big difference in having a normal job and hustling for a bit on the side. Let’s say you look into the cryptocurrency market and decide to put a bit of money in it or you slowly develop a free-lancing side business, which can grow. This is a very plausible path. On the other hand, the kind of hare-brained schemes I am referring to in this article are about making risky bets that are unlikely to pay off. To give you another example: Yes, you can make money in the stock market. However, buying stocks on margin, i.e. with borrowed money, and hoping that you will make big bucks with “swing trades” is a horrible idea.

    3. Sleaze was talking about a big hit and retiring for the rest of the life from work, he was talking about a gamble.
      but a gamble is a gamble and odds are against you, which continuously fail,which red gang demonstrates, like a chronic lottery buyer. he wasnt talking about the examples you provided.
      free lance programmer and succesful ebay shops are far from it.

  5. I’m putting finishing touches on web dev skills and considering doing the digital nomad thing for awhile. Are you referring to a specific type of nomad who wants one app to go big and never have to work again? I was thinking of doing it for a few years and getting something full time when I figure out where I want to live

  6. I don’t believe the wagecuck notion applies to the “normal jobs” themselves, rather to the corporate “culture” needed to succeed in such occupations.

    When you have to compromize on every single value you may have just to keep your paycheck, what does that make you?

    Agreed, many jobs require some academic success to be hired but if you want to climb the ladder, it’s an endless succession of ass-licking, virtue signaling and deference.
    That’s what the “digital nomads” and “freelancers” are trying to escape. It’s not about getting rich quick, it’s about being able to look at yourself in the mirror.

    I personally know a guy who quit a 200k€ job as a financial analyst in some fancy investment fund to become a scuba diving instructor.
    Sure, he doesn’t make even a tenth of what he used to, but he gets to live a somewhat healthy life, flies around the world and slays countless teen poon, whereas in his previous job, he’d put in 18h days 7/7 with no social life, barely any holidays and his only leisure being getting pissed drunk after signing a juicy contract.

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