Covert Contracts according to Marcus Aurelius

June 13, 2018

This is a good description of what covert contracts look like. This is someone trying to find them and kill them.


Meditations, Book 5, #6

It is the way of one person, when he has done someone a good turn, to count as a matter of course on being repaid in kind. Another is not as quick to do so, but all the same, in his own mind, he regards the beneficiary as being in his debt, and he is conscious of what he has done. A third is, in a sense, not even conscious of what he has done; he is rather like a vine which has produced its grapes, and seeks for no further reward once it has borne its proper fruit, as with a horse when it has run its race, or a dog when it has followed its trail, or a bee when it has made its honey. And so such a person, when he has done a good deed, does not shout about it, but passes straight on to the next one, as the vine yields new clusters of grapes when the season comes around. 'So one should be one of these people who act in this way without, as it were, being aware of it?' Yes indeed. 'But surely that is precisely what he should be aware of? For it is the mark, they say, of a social being to perceive that he is acting for the good of society, and, by Zues, to wish that his neighbours should notice it too!' What you say is true enough, but you are misreading the present argument; and because of that, you will be one of those people I mentioned earlier. For they too are led astray by reasoning which has a certain plausibility. But if you make an effort to understand the real meaning of the argument, you should have no fear that, because of that, you will neglect any act which serves the common good.


We all have covert contracts. I think it is part of living in relationship .. in community. I think it is inescapable for humans. Even in isolation we tend to think we are owed chances by nature (or by something) for just existing. That just means we will always have this to work on at some level. A realization of the fact of that ongoing work is a step forward in the process of life. It is a huge step forward for guys who have spent their lives trying to please others in order to please themselves. It is a huge step forward for guys who have spent their lives trying to find pleasure by seeking validation from their wives and from others' opinions of themselves.

This guy included this in his own personal writings. These personal writings happened to get published; bonus for us. This is the work we are to be doing.

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Post Information
Title Covert Contracts according to Marcus Aurelius
Author redwall92
Upvotes 18
Comments 16
Date June 13, 2018 12:03 PM UTC (3 years ago)
Subreddit /r/askMRP
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[–]wekacuck2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

It's petty but this reminds me of why I prefer the Hays "Meditations: A New Translation".


Some people, when they do someone a favor, are always looking for a chance to call it in. And some aren’t, but they’re still aware of it—still regard it as a debt. But others don’t even do that. They’re like a vine that produces grapes without looking for anything in return.

A horse at the end of the race . . .

A dog when the hunt is over . . .

A bee with its honey stored . . .

And a human being after helping others.

They don’t make a fuss about it. They just go on to something else, as the vine looks forward to bearing fruit again in season.

We should be like that. Acting almost unconsciously.

—Yes. Except conscious of it. Because it’s characteristic of social beings that they see themselves as acting socially. And expect their neighbors to see it too!

That’s true. But you’re misunderstanding me. You’ll wind up like the people I mentioned before, misled by plausible reasoning. But if you make an effort to understand what I’m saying, then you won’t need to worry about neglecting your social duty.

[–]ReddJive3 points4 points  (8 children) | Copy Link

Summary....because Marucs rambles a bit.

  • Marcus talks about three kinds of people who do kind things for others: 1) those who think about what's now owed to them; 2) those who think that the helped person now in their debt; 3) those who completely forget that they've done a good deed.

  • Marcus compares #3 to a grape vine: it produces good fruit, and that is both its purpose and its reward.

  • Marcus lists creatures that likewise fulfill their purpose without expecting reward: bees, racehorses, hunting dogs. He thinks that he should be just like those critters. There's one objection that Marcus can imagine. Shouldn't we make people aware of their social duties by calling attention to our own good deeds?

  • Marcus responds by saying that this kind of logic belongs to the guys in categories 1 and 2—they only want a reasonable excuse to show off or benefit.

  • Marcus gives an example of the perfect prayer, which is simple and open-hearted.

We need to be careful. It's important to remember that the tools that are often discussed to help generate a Red Pill mindset have some areas that are not in line with Red Pill. I've argued that the right mix of Zen and Stoicism is what a man needs to cultivate.

Stoicism as a philosophy is one of these. true Stoicims has three pillars of thought. Two of them are antiquated and hold little value unless one wants to go back to pagan worship and outdated scientific models (the stoics were wrong in this regard). What has stood the test of time is the Stoic ethical models, yet believe it or not most of the stoics advocated for social justice. Rather odd considering who they were and the lives they lead, but as a historian myself one can't judge a man of the past with modern sensibilities. Still that idea of social justice shows itself a bit in Book 5. So careful how far you take Marcus in this regard.

In this passage Marcus says we should get up each morning and do good work. Red Pill would replace that with accomplish your mission and goals. Marcus wants us to act naturally and contribute to society, unconcerned about the reproach of others. Yes yes but Red Pill says FUCK society. Marcus and RP agree that we don’t ask or expect payment or gratitude for doing good deeds. Instead, be satisfied with being like a vine that bears good fruit. Virtue is its own reward. Sounds an awful lot like Altruism to a have to dig deep to get any more out of it and it would be deviating some what from where he was really going.

According to Marcus, the problem with being disappointed or setting up an expectation of reward is parallel to the problem of being attached to rest more than to work, or vice versa, or to being overly concerned with eating and drinking to the exclusion of other activities.

Here is where Zen would take over and remind us, through Miyamoto Musashi's famous quote:

there is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists.

Marcus is using this as a jump point as a way to explore the dynamic between a man's own interests that serve, and are served by, the common good. Fuck the common good. It's that altruism bullshit that perpetuates the blue pill model, but in Marcus' day a softening of a man's nature was likely needed. Marcus conjectures that animals and plants that are the perfection of nature because they follow the nature of their being. This is indeed Red Pill and GLO has often said part of the problem is that people, and men in particular are avoiding their true nature.

Marcus goes on! He holds to the idea that we should be amoral and evaluate their actions. He tells himself to observe the behavior of other people in the same light, that is, without judgment. He reminds himself that no one can be compelled to to ignore the nature of the universe and that all will end as it should. This is not in line as we know that feminism is indeed rewriting things and men have started to see through it. Only started. Yet the hard part for many to come to grips with is the concept of "it is what it is". This isn't exactly true. Stoics believed in free will and fate. What they saw as free will is our decisions being made and fate would make the same decision because it is you. Why worry about what could have been. It happened as it was supposed to because you were involved. I digress....

Remember Stoics were heavily religious and the gods factored into a lot of their though but in book 5 Marcus is assuring that a man naturally performs the duty for which he has been designed to carry out—every bit as much as a dog, a horse, a bee, or a fig tree.

[–]Senor_Martillo0 points1 point  (4 children) | Copy Link

In the context of Aurelius’ fruiting vine metaphor, I think the difference between an altruist and an RP aware man is this: the altruist thinks virtue is its own reward because of the benefit his actions bring to other people. The RP aware man closes the circle, and understands that those benefits ultimately devolve back to him, in the form of social status.

[–]ReddJive2 points3 points  (3 children) | Copy Link

No. An Alpha knows there is no such thing as altruism.

[–]mindfulbutgutless1 point2 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

+1. I thought I was the only one who thought altruism is bullshit.

[–]ReddJive1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

oh no. It's well argued in philosophy. The question is are people naturally selfish or altruistic.

You can go back as far as discussions on the state of nature for that you would read Hume, Hobbes, Lock, and Rousseau. The same philosophers that influenced the US Founders. Interestingly enough even they did not believe in the altruism. A lot of people think the checks and balances of the Constitution were merely to prevent power resting in one branch but it was also supposed to prevent human nature from taking over. Greed, forth. It was that which the Founders were guarding against the most and warned people of.

again I digress....

Even with the question asked if people are selfish or naturally altruistic one has to consider that no one, and I mean no one does things for truly altruistic reasons. This would be Blue Pill entirely. Everyone does something to get something out if it. Even if it is just feelz.

Perhaps the seemingly selfish acts that Red Pill tells us to start doing (gym, diet, improvements) are altruistic because we expect nothing out of it. It is what we should be doing. Marcus argues that here, but it is difficult to do anything for someone or even society without the blue pill good feelz coming in to play and getting your addicted to them.

Even an alpha who enjoys giving and sharing what he has earned will fall to this when he realizes those he cares about no longer deserve his attention. Does he continue because he enjoys the act or does he stop because it is no longer deserved?

[–]InChargeMan0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Even if it is just feelz.

Yup. So, when you are doing something nice you are doing it because you know you will feel good about yourself later or feel bad for not doing that thing. So, basically we're all selfish motherfuckers.

[–]Nodeal_reddit-1 points0 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

Fuck the common good. It's that altruism bullshit that perpetuates the blue pill model

Working for "common good" is not a sign of weakness or being blue pilled. A man can nobly spend his life in service to others or a cause greater than himself.

[–]ReddJive0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

There is so much bullshit in this statement. Also proof you've read jack shit about red pill.

Altruism isn't real. Catch up.

A man can nobly spend his life in service to others or a cause greater than himself.

No he doesn't. There is no such thing. It's blue pill thought

[–]mindfulbutgutless0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Working for "common good" is not a sign of weakness or being blue pilled. A man can nobly spend his life in service to others or a cause greater than himself.

"common good" is horseshit. it is a social construct, a form of control, to trick you to do what society deems "right".

causality, every action has a consequence, and for that reason altruism is false.

[–]InChargeMan1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

One thing I like to think about regarding "good deeds" is to try to make it as altruistic seeming as possible, where the person (woman) on the receiving end doesn't see it as you trying to gain favor.

As I like to put it, "Awesomeness oozes from your pores" and they are lucky to be around you. The worst thing you can do is do something nice for a woman then sit there expecting praise or something in return. Like a cat leaving a dead mouse on your doorstep. I like to try to forget anything nice I do for her, so when she thanks me half the time I don't even remember what it was. She needs to understand two things:

  1. You do awesome shit sometimes

  2. She happens to be on the receiving end of awesome shit by the fact that she is around you, not because she is special. Any other woman who happens to be around you when you feel like doing something awesome will also benefit. You are the prize.

[–]RuleZeroDAD0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy Link

The concept of "Karma" is the stupidest thing ever foisted on humanity.

[–]fuckmrp-1 points0 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

I think "Original Sin" wins for stupidest concept. Karma is bullshit but in the mechanics of causality, karma is evident. The idea that good things happen to good people is stupid. The idea that thought begets action and action begets outcome and that all outcomes are to some degree rooted in our thought>decisions>actions, that's truth.

[–]RuleZeroDAD0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

The causality "reach around" of karma might not even take place in one's lifetime.

I was speaking more about "instant" karma, and was imprecise.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full

Matthew 6:16

Same idea. When you do what you’re SUPPOSED to do, don’t expect anything for it. Your rewards are from you, not given to you by someone else. When you’re acting as a man would act, the reward is internal. Remember, MRP is to IMPROVE THE SELF, not to do things that will result in more sex. The sex is what pilots would call a lag instrument. It shows trends with your relationship but is not in and of itself a performance instrument.

[–]trpbritguy0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

This is also what "Nice Guy" is all about! A lifetime of covert contracts all turning into hatred.

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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