Friday, December 06, 2013

Getting In Touch With My Inner Plutocrat

This week I attended a reception at one of San Francisco's exclusive membership clubs.  I won't say the club's name and I can't even prove I attended because photography is discouraged inside.  No matter.  You can trust me.  The finance types who invited me were absorbed in their banter about families, sports, and alumni gatherings.  I made minimal niceties and paid close attention to my larger surroundings.

The club members in attendance were well-dressed, well-coiffed, and well-heeled.  They were almost all over fifty years old but they still looked very attractive for their ages.  The men had chiseled jawlines and the women had firm derrieres.  They were at the pinnacle of their earning years and professional reputations.  That's why they could afford membership in this club.  They can also afford the healthy diets and advanced medical care that will maintain their physical attributes.  Attractiveness is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Nothing succeeds like success.

The interactive relationship between physical attractiveness, social status, and innate characteristics is undeniable.  The social sciences have substantiated that outward physical indicators of good health - high cheekbones, clearly defined jawlines, symmetrical faces - correlate with specific biochemical markers for longevity and fecundity.  Handsome people produce more testosterone, which by itself is a major determinant of athletic performance and resilience under stress.  Those things are enough to do well in life and accumulate the trappings of success.  Tribes want their best warriors in the hunt.  Humans look up to their betters and reward them with status.

The reward mechanism has now generated its own permanent feedback loop.  The hunt's winners now have a multi-generational advantage thanks to intermarriage and inheritance.  They are permanent residents on Mount Olympus and I was allowed to visit them for one evening.  They are quite a spectacle to behold.

I have spent years studying their ways to understand how I can replicate their patterns of behavior and thus achieve comparable success.  I have discovered that behavior has nothing to do with success.  Any combination of persistence, education, and demonstrated competence is only so much cargo-cult thinking because it cannot replicate the true source of intergenerational success.  That source is the bloodline.  Hereditary elites evaluate each other as business partners and soul mates using the same criteria they use to evaluate the polo horses in their stables and the hunting dogs in their kennels.  No entry to these circles is possible with a proper introduction from the household majordomo.  The lords tolerate guests long enough to compare themselves favorably to their lessers.  One does not enter the noble household by marriage unless one has a household of one's own, coat of arms and all.

This understanding confirms my own social standing.  Whatever wealth or status I earn on my own is a mere flyspeck in the eyes of those who have been raised to preserve several hundred years of family privilege.  Such privilege is not shared lightly.  Interlopers must explain themselves when summoned or vacate the premises immediately.  The lucky few commoners may ascend to majordomo status once they prove capable of protecting the precious bloodline.

The path to power for the powerless runs through the most transparent of fault lines.  I have passed a few tests and more remain.  Penetrating the plutocracy means becoming one with the moral imperative to maintain the social order.  Healthy civilizations require control mechanisms and course corrections.  Skilled navigators are in demand among those who can afford to fund exploration.  The Mayor of the Palace often ends up running things when the absent-minded owner becomes too derelict from inbreeding to care about results.  The Anglo-West's plutocracy needs me more than they know.  They also know where to reach me.