In the first two parts of this series, we talked about the archetypes that inhabit organizations (Sociopaths, Losers, Clueless), what they do (the Gervais Principle) and how (the four languages). In this part, we’ll use a somewhat unorthodox take on the idea of arrested development to explain why the three groups behave as they do, and use that to predict the outcomes of individual interpersonal interactions.
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The Basic Prediction Problem
Along every learning curve, between the early, instant gratification (which I’ve been hawking so far) and useful mastery, there is a long hard slog; what Seth Godin calls the “Dip.” For the Gervais Principle series, we are now embarking on that slog, and it will take us a couple of longish parts to get through. You’ve been warned. If you want to quit, now would be the time.
Let’s start with an example that illustrates why prediction is a non-trivial matter.
When Angela gets engaged to Andy, Dwight, who is still not over her, is stunned. He is hurting badly, but lacks the self-awareness to process his feelings, and the empathy to understand Angela’s. Phyllis, who possesses both greater self-awareness and greater empathy, tries to help:
Dwight: “Why is she marrying Andy?”
Phyllis: “Angela’s not really a risk-taker, and Andy’s not really a risk.”
Dwight (looking condescendingly at Phyllis’ lunch): “That’s really fattening”
Phyllis (recoiling in shock): “It’s lettuce!”
What exactly is happening here? Why the ingratitude on Dwight’s part? What does lettuce have to do with it? And how did the more evolved Phyllis lose the bout? How did an apparently win-win interaction change, without warning, into a win-lose interaction?
This is not a random outcome. Dwight can systematically prevail over Phyllis precisely because he is less developed than her.
Four major factors drive the outcomes of such interactions. They are: situational randomness (luck), situational information distribution (who knows what, and when), interaction history (which can be boiled down to interpersonal psychological debt and relative status at the start of an interaction) and relative levels of psychological development. In this post, we’ll only look at the dynamics of the last variable, which hides the most subtleties.
The Curse of Development
We can state the root cause of the Dwight-Phyllis dynamic as follows: the depth of any transaction is limited by the depth of the shallower party. A trivial example: if you speak English and French, and your friend only speaks English, you will be forced to converse in English. Psychological development is more complex and continuous than the acquisition of multiple discrete languages, but the same principle applies.
So this isn’t a particularly subtle point, but it has complicated implications. This one in particular:
If the situational developmental gap between two people is sufficiently small, the more evolved person will systematically lose more often than he/she wins.
This is the curse of development. Here’s a picture: when you develop psychologically, and leave somebody behind, your odds of winning get worse before they get better.
If you have ever been manipulated by a baby, you’ve been on the receiving end. If you’ve ever poked fun at a French-quoting pedant by striking a mock-professorial pose and spouting some pseudo French, (le bleu blah), you’ve dished it out.
Manipulation by pets is perhaps the most powerful illustration, since your most powerful weapon, human language, is useless. Cesar “Dog Whisperer” Milan’s techniques are the only defense (they don’t work as well on cats). The South Park episode Tsst, where he teaches Cartman’s mom to use dog-obedience techniques to control Cartman, after various Nanny reality-shows fail, is a must-watch.
To explain and explore the Curse of Development, we need to wade through some theory before we can get back to entertaining examples from The Office.
Arrested Development and Well-Adjustedness
The term “arrested development” is now deprecated by professional psychologists, and has been replaced by “developmentally disabled.” This is good news for us pop psychologists hawking crude over-simplifications about functional adults, since we can safely steal the term. I assume you are not retarded enough to read this as a theory of clinical developmental-disablement.
At the level of abstraction that we are concerned with, all theories of developmental psychology – Freud’s, Piaget’s, Erikson’s, Maslow’s – say roughly the same thing about arrested development: you are born Clueless and clue up in fits and starts. Bits of you get stuck and left behind at different points, and eventually you exhaust your capacity for real change and stall (though you may retain an illusion that you are on a path of “lifelong growth and learning,” itself a pattern of arrested development). That trail of developmental debris and eventual exhausted stalling is your particular pattern of arrested development.
Social expectations are unforgiving though. If you are above the low threshold for “normal,” you are forced through all the early stages of development, regardless of how well you cope, until some arbitrary point where your particular society labels you “well-adjusted adult” (usually between the ages of 18-21) and leaves you to your own devices.
Well-adjustedness is a measure of the degree to which your worldview is socially acceptable and appropriate in a given environment. Since a messed-up personality can be well-adjusted with respect to a messed-up environment, well-adjustedness has very little to do with sanity and actual mental health.
The mental health industry is designed to manufacture well-adjustedness, not cure arrested development. This is partly because lack of well-adjustedness is easier to detect, measure and fix. But that is a minor reason. The major reason is that well-adjustedness is a definable and economically useful commodity that is relatively cheap to manufacture. The fix for arrested development is none of those things.
Environments and worldviews really come down to a series of situations and situational reactions. If your situational reactions are generally appropriate but against your best interests, you are a well-adjusted Loser. If they are both appropriate and in your best interests, you are a sociopath. If your reactions are inappropriate (whether or not they are in your best interests — sometimes they are), you are Clueless.
William Whyte described well-adjustedness in rich detail a half-century ago. Dan McAdams’ excellent book on narrative-psychology, The Redemptive Self provides a detailed modern critique of well-adjustedness (though he does not call it that, preferring Erikson’s term “generative adulthood”).
What about true development and the notion of “self-actualization” and development free of arrestedness? We’ll get there later when we get to Toby. The news isn’t good, I am afraid.
The Three Laws of Arrested Development
So far this is trivial stuff, widely understood, and offers nobody any advantage. Here is the non-trivial stuff, compressed into three handy laws:
- Your development is arrested by your strengths, not your weaknesses.
- Arrested-development behavior is caused by a strength-based addiction
- The mediocre develop faster than either the talented or the untalented
An alternative way of looking at these three laws is to note that defense mechanisms emerge to sustain addictions even when the developmental environment that originally nourished it vanishes. Defense mechanisms though, are more useful as a partial catalog of phenomenology than as a foundational idea.
These then are the developmental psychology roots of the Gervais Principle. Recall that Cluelessness goes with overperformance. That overperformance is caused by arrested development around a strength, which has been hooked by an addictive environment of social rewards. Mediocrity is your best defense against addiction, and guarantor of further open-ended psychological development.
And yes, for the alert among you who have spotted a connection, arrested development is the dark side of strengths in the sense of Positive Psychology. A strength in one situation is merely an entrenched piece of arrested development in another.
In our model, the three development stages – Clueless, Losers and Sociopaths – correspond to different patterns of arrested development and different strength-addictions. Each pattern is based on a preferred, dominant variety of delusion:
- The Clueless distort reality
- The Losers distort rewards and penalties
- The Sociopaths distort the metaphysics of human life
You really thought the sociopaths were going to get a free ride to redemption? They may be realists, but we’ll see how they too, are eventually forced to suffer consequences of their delusions.
The Curse Revisited, the Lettuce Explained
We can now explain why you are likely to lose in the Curse of Development zone. Broadly, three forces are at work, and the Dwight-Phyllis example showcases all of them:
- The less-developed person does not know what he/she does not know, and is typically attempting to operate from their regressed comfort zone of strength, which to you represents a zone of unrewarding mediocrity that you are attempting to leave/have left behind. This lends your opponent confidence.
- Your own knowledge is fresh, unstable and not yet ingrained as second nature. You are acutely aware of, and anxious about, your beginner status in your new level. This makes you lack confidence.
- To win through persuasion, you must teach (a superior-inferior transaction) without first reversing the default unfavorable status relationship (you: not confident, low-status, he/she: confident, high-status)
The Duning-Kruger effect, which I’ve written about before, explains some, but not all of these dynamics. The fundamental role of status is better understood through improv theater, rather than psychology. If the three reasons are not intuitive to you, I am afraid you are going to have to slog through these two references in detail, as well as the previous defense-mechanisms reference. I did warn you we were embarking on a slog.
Here is a trick to help you remember all this: it is always hard for a student to teach a teacher, even if the student is studying a subject that is more advanced than the one the teacher teaches. The content doesn’t matter. A rule of thumb in the teaching profession states that to be an effective teacher at a given level, you need to have studied five years beyond that level. This has nothing to do with subject-matter expertise, and everything to do with trying to exit the Curse of Development zone.
In the Dwight-Phyllis case, Dwight held back just long enough to get value from the transaction before reasserting the natural status relationship. Since he could not reassert it at the level of the actual interaction, he pushed the first button at his own level that he could recognize. Healthy living is a domain of strength for him and mediocrity for Phyllis (who is obese and self-conscious about it), so he pushed the unhealthy button. It didn’t matter that Phyllis was eating lettuce; the accusation still put her in her proper place. Dwight averted the threat to the favorable status quo.
But we are getting a little ahead of ourselves. The Phyllis-Dwight episode is a Loser-Clueless interaction, and we don’t yet have all the tools to analyze those.
Let’s deal with just the Clueless.
Reality-Distortion by the Clueless
Let’s start with the reality distortions of Michael, Dwight and Andy.
The world is a dangerous, messy place. Yet infants survive. Their early environment is an abnormally nurturing one. So the first early, theories of the world children are tempted to form are based on the assumption that the world exists to provide for them. Starting with the unconditionally nurturing environment of really early infancy (which, in the language of Thomas Harris’ I am OK, You’re OK is the unconditional I AM OK), the Clueless in The Office represent three sublevels of reality-distorting clueless delusions:
- I am OK if Mommy applauds my performance (early childhood, Michael)
- I am OK if I earn badges from teachers (pre-adolescence, Dwight)
- I am OK if I can sit with the cool kids (adolescence, Andy)
It is no accident that the clueless totem pole is stacked in what seems like the wrong order: Michael is the boss, Dwight is Number 2 and Andy is Number 3. The sublevels of Clueless development are typically insufficiently separated to allow the more developed Clueless to dominate, so the Curse of Development kicks in.
Keep in mind that that the rough equation of individuals to “levels” merely represents the center of gravity of their most deeply-entrenched strength-addiction behaviors, to which they regress most easily when threatened. All three have a home level, to which they preferentially regress, but can function at all three levels.
Michael, the Child
The theme of being trapped in babyhood is a constant (and somewhat overworked) one in The Office:
- On “Bring Your Child to Work” day, Michael initially resists (competition from other babies).
- Oscar describes the Dundies as a child’s birthday party.
- When one of the newly-relocated Stamford employees brings a baby to work, rather than acting parental towards it, he hides under the table and acts like a competing baby.
- In the Golden Ticket episode, when Michael hides discount coupons in paper reams, it is clear that his scheme is primarily an excuse for him to act like Willy Wonka (an overgrown-child archetype)
- At one point, Jan says it out aloud literally, “Michael, do I need to find a babysitter for you?”
- When his birthday party, his one guaranteed and socially legitimate day in the spotlight, is ruined because the office pays more attention to Kevin (who is waiting for the results of a cancer test), he goes, “this is a terrible day, for both of us.”
- When he fails to get his way with his new Sociopath boss, Charles, he regresses through a series of increasingly infantile behaviors until he is reduced to repeating everything Charles says, like a five-year old, and finally storming off to Wallace (running to Mommy to complain about older sibling). When Wallace placates him with Babytalk that is a little too obvious and lazy, it is too much even for him, and he quits (with a theatrical “you have no idea how high I can fly” parting line).
Little children in normal environments win their first victories through creative performance: reciting nursery rhymes, drawing pictures, and demonstrating creative play behaviors. If they succeed too much, they get addicted to the typical adult reaction: Wow, aren’t you cute/clever? and, to a lesser extent, to admiration from younger siblings. In learning to thrive in this particular reward/penalty environment, little children rely mostly on responding to the emotional content of what they hear and see, since they do not understand much.
With a few evolved defense mechanisms thrown in, to protect against adult realities that don’t conform to childhood environments, that’s exactly what it feels like to be Michael. When he hears somebody talking, all he hears is “blah blah blah good job, blah blah blah, how could you do this Michael?” in conjunction with facial expressions and body language.
Michael’s head is a massive library of childlike mappings between situations, canned phrases and reactions. He is not completely responsible for his actions and utterances because he genuinely does not understand them. There is coherence in what Michael says though; he does not sound completely nonsensical because he reacts meaningfully to body language, facial expressions and emotional cues. “You talkin’ to me?” (borrowed from De Niro) is a belligerent line, and by pulling out that line when he feels threatened, and then displacing the tension with laughter, Michael is able to derail the conversation. His trademark joke, “That’s what she said!” is an extreme example. It makes no sense in most contexts where he trots it out; its only purpose is to dissolve tension and displace threats. Either laughing with Michael or throwing up your hands in frustration is a victory for him. The only effective response is to calmly ignore his disruptive actions, wait for the reaction to die down, and continue the conversation in dominant mode, like Cesar Milan with his dogs. If you attempt to make sense of it, you’ve already lost. As Cesar Milan tells Mrs. Cartman, “Do not reason with it, do not argue with it, just dominate it.” Michael’s nemesis Charles Miner does this most effectively. His dealings with Michael are the least contaminated by engagement, frustration or compassion, which is why he triggers the most spectacular Michael meltdown on the show so far.
Around Packer, his boorish friend, insulting and objectifying ways of talking about women gain approval, so he trots out borrowed, misogynistic man-talk. Withering under the collective glare of his politically correct employees, phrases like “respect women” gain smiles and halt frowns, so that’s what he offers.
The Black characters, Stanley and Darryl, get this the most clearly. With one exception, neither takes any offense at his repeated stereotyping, and his unquestioned assumption that they know all about things like gangs and ghettoes. A typical example is when Michael, describing the office in what he imagines is “rich multi-cultural diversity” language (which his mental look-up table says will win approval from White adults), describes Stanley as lending an “urban vibe” to the branch. “What about me seems ‘urban’ to you?” asks the comfortably suburban Stanley. But he is not offended. It is the tired, ritual response of a parent weakly disciplining a child behaving inappropriately (the Darryl-Michael “fluffy fingers” episode, has a similar, but more malicious dynamic).
The one exception occurs when Darryl is driving Michael and Holly from Scranton to Nashua. Somewhere along the way, when Holly starts crying over the impending end of their relationship, Michael whispers, “Did Darryl touch you?” The effect is interesting; a case of a conflict between two adult-pleasing impulses. Michael does not know how to resolve the conflict, in his library of things to say, between “get approval from white woman” situational responses (in this case by pandering to assumed and projected prejudices) and “get approval from black males” situational responses. This is not an accusation Darryl can afford to safely ignore, so he reacts sharply. On the drive back though, Darryl sings a lullaby (in the guise of a blues riff) to console a heart-broken Michael.
In Part I, I noted that for the Clueless, “The most visible sign of their capacity for self-delusion is their complete inability to generate an original thought.” Why is lack of originality a clear indicator of cluelessness?
Here is why: delusions are closed logical schemes, where reality is mangled into the service of a fixed script through defense mechanisms, with the rest of the meaning thrown away. To manufacture original thought you have to look at/listen to reality in open ways for data. That is why Michael’s database is so full of movie lines. Movies are goldmines of canned situation-reactions that don’t require much present-reality data to retrieve. When kids quote adults or movies, they seem precocious, and gain approval. In an era where more kids are raised by TV than by parents, parroting movie lines comes more naturally than repeating bromides learned from parental figures or at churches and temples.
Recall that social calendars force you through later stages whether or not you master previous ones. So what about later stages? Michael is not quite as enamored of medals and certificates as Dwight because (as a lousy student) he never got very good at earning them, and could therefore not get seriously addicted to them.
Finally, Michael has poorly developed peer-affiliation drives. He wants to be the center of attention, not one among many equals in a huddle of peers. When Michael appears to be operating under a peer-affiliation drive (the sort that animates Andy), he is really casting child behaviors into a teen mould. He believes that specific people, rather than formal or informal groups, are cool or admirable (proxy parental figures, older siblings). If they are not cool or admirable, they must be made to view him as cool and admirable (younger siblings).
These twin drives – approval seeking from proxy-family superiors, and admiration-seeking from proxy-family inferiors, mixed with some profound sexual confusion, explains Michael’s relationship with Ryan. Ryan is at once the parental-approval figure (he has a college education, which Michael lacks) and in a position to applaud Michael’s pretensions to business acumen. He is also a younger sibling (less-experienced salesperson) whom it is important to impress. The collision of the two instincts creates one of my favorite lines: “Ryan is book smart. I am street smart…(uncertain pause)… and book smart.” That hesitant addition allows him to grab the spotlight. He is not comfortable being Ryan’s peer with a complementary skill.
Ryan also has the sort of androgynous good looks that young children look for in their best friends. It is this childlike attraction in a physically mature body, rather than any real bi-curiosity (which other characters like Kevin make jokes about), that explains Michael’s attraction to Ryan.
Dwight, the Pre-Teen
Dwight, with his stern German upbringing, lacked the normal encouragement of early-childhood creative-performance instincts (we see several glimpses of this, including his attempt to read horrifying medieval cautionary tales to the kids during bring-your-child-to-work day, and his own description of his childhood, which left his brother actually developmentally disabled). He has therefore developed none of the addiction to childhood applause-seeking performance behaviors that have trapped Michael.
Instead, Dwight found relief in the graded, performance-oriented worlds of school and varied medieval-guild-like worlds, such as farming, animal husbandry and karate. His attempts to understand the world of management, which is decidedly not a world of grades or guilds, are based entirely on peripheral guild-like elements. He is the only one excited about the Survivor-style successor-selection event Michael arranges (in the bus on the way over, he asks, “Will there be business parables?”). When he attempts manipulation, his mind naturally turns to hidden microphones, doctored documents and other elements of tradecraft learned from spy novels, and only rarely to psychology. He banks the occasional tactical victory, but cannot play or win the mind games required to beat the Sociopaths.
In Dwight’s world, everything worth learning is teachable, and medals, certificates and formal membership in meritocratic institutions is evidence of success. Even where play behaviors are concerned, the Dwights of the world can more easily get lost in points-and-rules worlds. It is significant that Dwight has never seen/read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which is about creative-performance play), but is obsessed with gaming worlds and sci-fi/fantasy universes.
Perhaps the clearest example of Dwight’s need for formal affiliation is his lame attempt at the insider stand-up comedy routine, The Aristocrats. To Dwight, everything is a formal contest, and there are always authority figures who provide legitimacy and rankings. He has no sense of humor (thanks to skipping early childhood), and has no idea how to actually evoke laughter, so he tries to ace the only formal membership test he can see, the ability to tell the Aristocrats joke. Michael, by contrast, can at least tell juvenile jokes, and Andy can manage some bad frat-boy humor.
Let’s finish up the opening “lettuce” example. The rest of that episode has Phyllis (she never learns) continuing to help, with Dwight ungratefully accepting the help. Eventually though, nothing works. Phyllis, like any reality-anchored Loser or Sociopath, shrugs and tells him he needs to move on. Dwight fails to comprehend and impatiently dismisses the thought, “Yes, yes, I’ve moved on, what next?” When he finally gets that Phyllis has no “next,” to offer, he is livid.
“I thought you had some sort of big master plan.”
That is a significant line, and sums up Dwight’s entire personality.
In adolescence, young adults who have successfully, through mediocrity, weaned themselves away from familial and classroom sources of addiction, turn to their peers. Where Michael’s desperate attempts at seeming cool are mostly masked and repackaged early childhood behaviors, Andy is genuinely the perennially uncool teenager angling for a seat at the cool kids table.
Unlike Michael, who can only handle individuals, and Dwight, who is addicted to formal organizational affiliations, Andy sees beyond individuals and Gesellschaft. He is ready to be properly socialized, but has no idea how to go about it. Gemeinschaft – the world of Loser communities –glimmers invitingly just beyond his reach.
Andy’s situation is most clearly illustrated by his attempt to sidle into the “Finer Things Club.” It is noteworthy that none of the members (Pam, Oscar and Toby) is particularly worthy of serious cultivation for any reason. It is the soft-edged club, with its rituals of English tea sandwiches and book-reading, that he aspires to. Michael would only want to belong if specific people, from whom he sought proxy-familial validation, belonged. Dwight would only want to belong if it involved a hierarchy of skilled superiors and formal tests of prowess or craftsmanship. Jim is invited to join, but being on the cusp of sociopathy, is unable to take it seriously.
In adolescence, visible signs of acceptance aren’t formal medals and honors, but things like being given nicknames by peers, being a wingman to alpha males, being appreciated for “cool” extracurricular skills, and the like. Andy has a whole list of nicknames (most of which he appears to have made up himself), and a distinctly uncool extracurricular skill (a cappella singing).
Between the last, adolescent stage of Clueless delusions, and the Loser stage, there is a deep chasm. Andy stands at the edge, unable to jump. Andy cannot be fully understood in terms of the Clueless spectrum alone, since he is in a can-look-but-can’t-touch relationship with the loser level. As we’ll see in the next part, his bottled-up anger and other traits are due to this condition.
Let’ finish with an example that illustrates the richness of the Curse of Development particularly well. Remember the “Dwight Applies to Cornell” episode?
Dwight correctly perceives Andy as a threat, and though he understands very little about Andy, he recognizes a Big Red pushbutton: Andy’s frantic attachment to his exclusive Cornell pedigree.
The two-day bout begins when Dwight applies to Cornell, shows up for work in Cornell gear, and stocks his desk with Cornell souvenirs. Andy initially reacts with his trademark bottled-up frustration. Round One to Dwight, and a perfect Curse of Development exploit.
But then, Andy finds a way to fight back by getting himself appointed to interview Dwight. The interview begins with an open declaration by Andy that he intends to reject Dwight, and ends in the sort of farce only the Clueless can create:
Andy: Applicant is attempting to blackmail interviewer, showing low moral character.
Dwight: Interviewer is threatening applicant with an arbitrary review process.
Andy: Applicant is wasting everyone’s time with stupid and inane accusations.
Dwight: Interviewer has suspect motives.
Andy: Applicant has a head shaped like a trapezoid.
The day, and Round Two, ends in a stalemate. Though the opening move by Andy was good (Dwight does not question Andy’s arrogation of interviewing rights), his mistake was in playing his hand openly. If he had maintained the fiction of fair due process, he could have used Dwight’s need for formal affiliations to firmly establish his superiority. But it takes more of a developmental advantage to play a game at two levels. So Andy overplayed his hand and turned a win into a draw.
Round Three, which plays out the following day, is the most revealing. Andy shows up for work dressed as a country bumpkin (his idea of a country bumpkin seems to be drawn from period Huckleberry Finn illustrations), in a pathetic attempt to turn Dwight’s Round One tactic against him. The attempt fails miserably because the Curse of Development destroys the apparent symmetry and reversibility in the situation. Dwight’s “farming” button works very differently from Andy’s “Cornell” button. We’ll see how the farming button actually works later.
Note that neither Andy’s nor Dwight’s tactical choices were informed by this level of deliberate analysis. Dwight simply learned a basic trick: pushing the Cornell button in certain ways annoys Andy. Andy simply recognized instinctively that formal authority would work on Dwight (and failed to recognize that his identity as a farmer was a matter of pride rather than shame).
The Clueless Economy
Throughout this part, I’ve used economics terms like winning/losing, zero-sum, and interpersonal debt, but keep in mind that all this is Monopoly money unless a Sociopath is involved. The language of winning and losing and debts is useful for all interactions, but it is only consequential, and capable of causing power shifts, when Sociopaths are involved.
A great illustration of this point is the episode when Michael, playing Willy Wonka, puts golden tickets for a 10% discount into random reams of paper. Unfortunately for him, all the tickets are found by a huge customer, and David Wallace prepares to rain fury on Scranton for ruining margins.
Michael convinces Dwight to take the fall (playing on his Samurai-like sense of fealty). But then the situation reverses itself: the customer is so happy with the discount, they give Dunder-Mifflin a huge additional order. David Wallace is happy again, and prepared to believe that some marketing/sales genius was at work, and reward it appropriately.
When he comes down to Scranton, prepared to offer rewards, Michael clumsily attempts to take credit back from Dwight, who naturally resists. But the damage is done. The farce reveals to Wallace that the happy outcome was due to randomness rather than an inspired marketing/sales strategy. The line of real credit he is prepared to offer evaporates. He walks away with the proceeds from the lucky win. Did Michael win or Dwight? It does not matter.
A similar currency trade plays out when David Wallace, intrigued by the good performance of the Scranton branch, attempts to pick Michael’s brains for best practices, in a conversation that starts out with him using Powertalk. After listening to several minutes of vacuous Posturetalk, Wallace realizes that there are no best practices to be mined, and gently terminates the conversation in Babytalk. In economic terms, Wallace tested a hypothesis that Michael possessed real table stakes, and discovered that he had none.
The point: the Clueless economy is fueled by a worthless currency, but this does not mean transactions do not occur. Nothing ever changes with the three stooges, Michael, Dwight and Andy, beating each other up. There are wins and losses, but relative positions do not change.
In the next part, we’ll add another level of furious and meaningless economic activity, the world of Gametalk and inter and intra-group dynamics. We’ll also figure out how Loser-Clueless Babytalk works, and explain, once and for all, why The Office makes the Losers among you cringe. After that, we’ll finally get to the secrets of Sociopathy.