The Software Doesn’t Run The Operating System

We went to Washington DC for the weekend and did the whole ooh-ah walk of the National Mall. Mucho walking up and down and I quite enjoyed the Smithsonian stuff. I very much liked the Human origins section of the Museum of Natural History. I mean it’s one thing to read about evolution and mentally agree with it, and it’s another to see a whole wall of obviously not-quite-human skulls. It’s amazing to me that the idea of planting crops is only around 9000 years old and there’s a whole display on brain development. When I talk about The Time Before Writing I’m obviously being somewhat flippant and over-generalizing to make a point, but I have to say that standing in the middle of a great swathe of historical artifacts and sweeping history leading up to us, I felt a profound sense of reverence and connection.

My one giggle being the little tap dance about why the Neanderthals disappeared so quickly just as homo sapiens suddenly spread everywhere. Yeah you know what, maybe no one does know why they all disappeared… well I’m not saying we’re all related to a cohort of blood thirsty maniacs, I’m just saying imagine a village of Peter Griffins pretending to be Vikings squaring off against the Yale archery club. That’s all. We’ll just lay out the options and let the children decide for themselves.

Anyway I now have the perfect explanation for how the Rationalization Hamster gets to fool us so easily. Loosely speaking, there are three parts to the big meat computer that is the human brain…

Reptilian = Hardware:  The oldest part of the brain controls everything your body does automatically. Breathing, food seeking, making urine, flight or fight etc etc. You have no control over this part of the brain at all. I mean seriously, try and control your pancreas secreting insulin by thinking about it. Exactly… you have zero control over this stuff.

Mammalian = Operating System: This part of the brain controls basically everything about us that isn’t already covered by the reptilian part of the part. There’s a huge element of social interaction and mating in here. This is where Body Agenda is located. It really likes boobs, ass, pussy and cumshots. It doesn’t know that porn involves bad actors, that shit is totally real.

Neo-Cortex = Software: This is the part of the brain that does all the cool stuff like inventing string theory and the triangle offense in basketball. It invented power chords and figured out that blue liquid is the socially appropriate color to represent menstrual fluid in tampon commercials. It writes the script for the Big Bang Theory and finds reasons for women to not have sex with men they don’t like. It created the marketing for Britney Spears and the Ruy Lopez chess opening. It thinks World of Warcraft is the pinnacle of human achievement second only to landing on the moon. It decided Twilight is art and wrote Harry Potter.


The software doesn’t run the operating system. The operating system allows the software to be run. Thus Body Agenda is always on, always running not so much as in the background, but as the foundation for all the software that is running. The Rationalization Hamster is just a program run from the registry that you can’t shut off without administrator privileges.

You’re never quite as in control of yourself as you think you are. You have a major influence to be sure, but not perfect control. And if you drink enough, you’ll pass out and piss yourself… just like any other mammal would. We share 98.8% of the same DNA as a chimpanzee, so half of Game is just asking yourself, “What would a sexually successful chimp do?” Then doing that.

It pretty much involves acting like a boss… but also making it look like you’re not acting like a chimp.


  1. someguy says:

    For the record, even as a guy, I find bad acting in porn to be totally distracting and a turn-off.

  2. Somewhat off-topic: the story of how humans got to where we are now from the start of the last Ice Age 110,000 years ago is in the midst of undergoing a tumultuous once-in-a-lifetime revision, thanks to recent advances in DNA sequencing. Since it takes a couple of years to go from “settled science” to an actual exhibit, it would be impossible for any museum to currently have the details “right.”

    One of the surprises is that the Neandertals didn’t completely die out… some interbred with “anatomically modern humans (i.e. our ancestors). From ~1% to ~3% of the genes of modern Europeans and Asians are from our Neandertal forebears. As some scientists predicted, the genes that Neandertals conferred on us tend to be useful in flourishing in northern habitats, where it gets cold in the winter and where the length of the day varies with the season.

    Plenty of other surprises in this field. Superb reporter Nicholas Wade wrote in yesterday’s New York Times, Cousins of Neanderthals Left DNA in Africa, Scientists Report. Which rubbed astute science-blogger Razib Khan the wrong way, The New York Times is ginning up fake controversy. (Disagreements are typical at the leading edge of a field; note that Khan and Wade are in broad agreement about the outlines of the story of human evolution.)

  3. Nerds FTW! Beautiful analogy, Athol. In my discussions with feminist sex researchers I sometimes struggle with finding an appropriate model of why and how Evolution trumps Culture 99% of the time when it comes to sexuality and mating. They contend that culture and individual choice control most of how we mate, and that “fixing” the bugs in our social system is merely a matter of changing a few attitudes and enlightening the ignorant. I contend that our socio-sexual issues lie at a much deeper level, primarily from our evolution from higher primates into homo sap (the last 100,000 years or so). So now I know what to say to them.

    In re: Bad Acting In Porn

    You get what you pay for. And porn shoots are usually done on a budget of $50,000 or less — sometimes much less. Add to that the fact that little if any attention gets paid to scripts, and that if the performers could act to professional standards they’d be doing mainstream (and some of them do), and its a wonder there’s any attempt at acting. It’s porn. You accept that when you start the movie.

    The good news is that the recent crop of parodies has raised the bar — albeit slightly. Plus, there’s renewed interest in romantic features from a few of the higher-end houses. Perhaps I’ll post a list of my recent recs on my site — don’t want to offend anyone here. But there’s still entertainment in Adult entertainment. You just have to know where to look. That’s understandably hard: there were 15,000 Adult DVDs commercially released in America last year.

    And that’s the news from Lake Pornagone . . .

  4. Changed Man says:

    I second the motion! MMSL is like a fusion of ‘Big Bang Theory’ and ‘Two & a Half Men’ (well, the good parts, anyways)… how can you go wrong with that?!? :D

  5. Danceny says:

    Regrettably, it’s true. Standards have fallen in adult entertainment. It’s video, Dude. Now that we’re competing with those amateurs, we can’t afford to invest the little extras like story, production value, feeling. You know, people forget that the brain is the biggest erogenous zone.

  6. Yeah I would assume there was some cross-breeding mgwk.

  7. whatmeworry says:

    ‘We’re competing’ ‘we can’t afford’

    As in you’re in porn production?

  8. MikeIn OR says:

    Book recomendation if you’re interested in that sort of thing–The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution, by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending.

  9. I'm a man says:

    I know you’re a writer but in the computer world….
    -An Operating System IS software as are the Programs that run on the Operating System. Programs don’t run from the Registry but their settings are stored in the registry.
    Hardware = metal, plastic and any other physical computer things.
    Software = any type of written computer code, including the Operating System.
    Wetware = the mouth breathing human hanging onto the mouse and keyboard.
    Haters = guys who write comments like this, sorry.

  10. If I’m remembering my Psych 101 course correctly, the thing about having three different brains layered over one another isn’t just a convenient metaphor. It is literally the physical reality of how our brains are structures. If you were to surgically remove the neo-cortex, what you had left would resemble nothing so much as, say, a horse’s brain. And if you stripped the horse parts away, the bits that are left would be functionally indistinguishable from an alligator brain. That’s how it was explained to me, anyway.

    ” …like a fusion of ‘Big Bang Theory’ and ‘Two & a Half Men’ (well, the good parts, anyways)…”

    There are good parts in that?

  11. That might explain why flinging poo at her boyfriend didn’t work out so well. :)

  12. FeralFelis says:

    Athol’s Adroit Analogies!

  13. This is a problem I run into often in some corners of the Red Pill world. I tend to believe the Neo-Cortex is a lot more capable of overriding mammalian impulses than most Red Pill’ers give it credit for. I’ve been in too many situations where my mammalian brain was telling me to do one thing that sounded very reasonable from an evolutionary perspective and my Neo-Cortex told me to do something else that was more responsible and less likely to ruin my life, and I listened to my Neo-Cortex. Part of what sets humans aside from the rest of the animals is our ability to reason ourselves above purely evolutionary impulses.

  14. @Eric

    Maybe our neocortex has more success helping us say no to our mammalian impulses than it does changing a no into a yes. If a guy is being a total pushover in his marriage, his wife may not be able to turn her attraction to him back on unless he shows his fitness to be her mate. Even if that lack of attraction to her husband makes her more likely to be attracted to other men, she doesn’t have to have an affair. She can tell her impulses no and take steps to make sure she doesn’t get in a situation that might lead to an affair.

  15. I think Linanati has it exactly right. A woman might be able to reason her way out of sleeping with an Alpha if he’s also a total asshole who’s bad for her… but she can’t reason her way out of WANTING to. She might be able to reason her way into sleeping with the Beta that she knows is a better long-term provider and father, but she can’t reason her way into WANTING to do that, either. That way lies unenthusiastic starfishy duty sex.

    Much better for her husband’s neocortex to reason that the best way to appeal to her mammalian brain is to Alpha it up for her, and for her neocortex to reason that she should help make it easy for him to do so. That way their neocortexes and mammalian brains are working in concert instead of at cross-purposes.

  16. Small correction, Athol:

    An operating system IS software. When you’re saying software, you really mean “application software”.

    Hardware, system software, application software.

  17. Yale arhery team vs. Peter Griffins is a very bad analogy for Cro-magnon vs. Neanderthal. (Neanderthals were not clueless weaklings.) Now Yale arehcery club vs. Packers linesmen might work (and arrows might beat clubs.)

  18. My understanding is that the Neanderthals did not so much get killed off, as got absorbed through interbreeding and that most of us are a little Neanderthal. :p

  19. FeralFelis says:

    @ TheMan and others-
    Details, schmetails. You “got” the analogy. I “got” the analogy, and even though I realized there was a slight technicality of difference, didn’t you think the analogy was pretty brilliant? Didn’t it help clarify the concepts presented in MMSL?
    One of the things I’ve noticed in several forums of late is that there are those who are quick to jump on minor errors like chickens on grubs, and then they chase each other all around (like chickens with grubs) expounding on the error instead of winnowing, and then focusing on the kernels of wisdom and illumination.

  20. Anonymous age 70 says:

    Following my y-marker DNA results, and reading links, I read one researcher who believes that Neandertals were blood type RH Negative, thus when they bred with homo sapiens they had one baby and the rest died. I cannot defend nor criticize this theory, but it is interesting.

    Also, there are a few researchers who are studying a link between Neandertals and the Basque people, including studies of Neandertal skulls and sounds they could not make due to dimensions of sound cavities, and the fact that the Basque language does not have the sounds Neandertals could not have made.

    National Geographic has said that Neandertals were not the idiots they were traditionally viewed to be, but lively, intelligent people.

    I would like to know, but sometimes there is no way to be sure of ancient mysteries.

  21. Who watches the acting part of porn? Isn’t that what the fast forwards is for?

    I love The Big Bang Theory. That show cracks me up.

    I play chess on if anyone wants to challenge me. I have a unique opening defense that handles everything you can possibly do, and puts you in unknown territory fast. My favorite game.

  22. Off The Grid says:

    Getting computer analogies slightly wrong just adds to Athol’s credabity as an author that will help get you laid! One of the things I learned as a young man in high school and college was the more you knew about computers, the less likely you were to get laid. I have often wondered how many technological advancements have been delayed or not achieved at all because developing that knowledge and skill from a young age has no value in the sexual market place, unless you one of the lucky few that strikes it rich. Having a masters degree in computers, being able to correct others with computer terminology, and being an all around good guy still won’t get you laid!

  23. @Off The Grid:

    I’d tend to think that making the kind of money that my programmer friend whose company just got bought by Google makes would up my SMV more than a bit. But then, I’m an English major who was taught that if you do what you love, the money will follow. If that’s true, it sure is taking its sweetass time. (-:

  24. Off The Grid says:

    Like I said, it would work wonders for the “lucky” few that strike it rich, but then women are looking past the computer nerd for the money. Doing “what you love” works great when what you love generates a lot of profit, otherwise you are going to have to hit the weights and up your confidence levels if you want women, not improve your computer proficiency.

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