The manosphere is a constant discussion about masculinity, outdoors, skillsets, sex, marriage, feminism, and dating, but ultimately it’s a collection of guys trying to figure out where they fit in the hierarchy of society. It’s the quest to become the “alpha male.” The alpha is the guy who gets the pretty girl, exudes confidence, and catches all the breaks.

Are alpha’s an accident of nature or can a man actually study the “arts of manliness” and assume alpha characteristics? Most men assume that alpha-ness can be acquired or approximated by discipline, practice, and self-improvement. But what is being alpha?

What is Being Alpha?

Some guys define alpha in terms of sex. “Which guy is having sex with the hottest variety of girls? He’s alpha.” Some define it as a persona. “Who is cool, intelligent, and let’s everything come to him. He’s alpha.” Some define it as success. “The alpha males is the man who succeeds in life: money, health, sex, and power.” Some define alpha as dominance. “Who can kick everyone’s ass. That’s the alpha male.”

Most recognize that all these features tend to coalesce in the alpha male. A likable, intelligent man who reads books, plays sports, and tells good jokes will likely bring in more income and attract a higher value mate than a guy who never talks to girls, doesn’t work out, and plays Dungeons and Dragons in his mother’s basement.

So we can identify alpha-ness generally, but how do we specifically define alpha-ness? Thomas Aquinas would say that we can only define a thing if and only if we can identify its final cause or teleology. That is, “what is the goal or purpose of it?” For what purpose did nature arrange mammalian species so that certain males would excel above others?

The Alpha Male in Nature

Art of Manliness had a great post earlier this week on “How to REALLY Be Alpha Like the Wolf.”

Alpha males make pups.

Alpha males make pups.

Scientists have discovered that the alpha male wolf is not necessarily the aggressive, dominating, rage wolf of the pack. Alpha wolves don’t spend their days ripping the throats out of other wolves.

It turns out that the alpha male wolf is the patriarch of a genetic family of wolves. He’s literally the pater familias of a pack. His dominance derives from his ability to sire living progeny who go on to be successful.

Many of the leading manosphere sites (eg, Return of Kings) often assume that being an alpha male means picking up a 9 or 10 from a club and having sex with her. The purpose of pick-up artistry becomes the pursuit of non-marital, non-conceptive sexual intercourse with the most beautiful woman as possible. From the point of view of nature, this is not akin to the status of a mammalian alpha.

Nature awards the title of alpha to the man who can persuade a high level female to make the investment to bear and rear his genetic progeny – his children. If you pick up a 9/10 in Hollywood Hills and she later aborts your unwanted child, that’s not really a display of alpha-ness. It translates to the woman saying: “You are not worthy of having a baby with me.”

The Final Goal of Being Alpha: Successful Progeny

The laws of attraction between men and women establish the natural outcome of more humans. For humans in the state of nature, the pater familias or patriarch is the alpha. If we want to define alpha-ness, we must look at the finality or goal of being alpha. The goal is successful children. That’s alpha.