Dark Triad Archetypes: The Jester

Machiavellian Archetypes - The Court Jester

“The court jester had the right to say the most outrageous things to the king. Everything was permitted during carnival, even the songs that the Roman legionnaires would sing, calling Julius Caesar ‘queen,’ alluding, in a very transparent way, to his real, or presumed, homosexual escapades.” – Umberto Eco

Contents:
1.) Introduction
2.) Leadership Destabilisation Through Character Assassination
3.) How To Handle Jesters
4.) In Closing / Relevant Reading

1.) Introduction:

The jester’s humour can take on either an attack or defence posture, with humiliation acting as his weapon, and plausible deniability his shield. And I say ‘he’, for of the few jesters I have encountered, not one has been female. Likewise if I am to put my personal experiences to one side and observe the wider culture, I remain at a loss in the attempt to identify a female jester.

The wit inherent to the mechanisms of the jester are intrinsically masculine in their nature, for the jester employs a type of verbal gladiatorship of which I have little doubt is fuelled in great part by the ordination that the male must prove his fitness to the female as opposed to the inverse. As the dearly departed Christopher Hitchens stated in simpler terms, women aren’t funny because they don’t need to be; and such a truism does not find any particular exception within the expression of one’s Machiavellian interpersonal style either.

Of course a high functioning dark triad woman is wittier than her neurotypical counterpart by effect of her reduced emotional sensitivity, but this does not lend itself to becoming the dominant function which underpins and subsequently characterises her interpersonal style. The feminine Machiavellian archetype is almost always that of the seductress, favouring the weaponisation of sex and all the attendant traits this implies, she presupposes the virginity of enemy men and the promiscuity of enemy women whilst overtly oozing innuendo and sensualism in her bid to entrance allies.

Think of a Machiavellian archetype as a flavour of cunning, all Machiavellians are cunning, but the way in which that cunning is expressed differs vastly in its style and execution. Different archetypes use different stylistic mediums to exert their influence. Be it to charm or humiliate, jesters use humour, seductresses use sexuality whereas fault finders use rules and malicious compliance. Cunning may be universal, but the asset utilised and the way in which it is personified vastly differs. The jester’s power stems from a quick wit and their ability to employ said wit humouristically, for it is their ability to verbally destroy an enemy to a chorus of laughter that makes their otherwise unacceptable aggressiveness permissible.

The jester is a master of reframing perception through humour, and so of all the various styles of cunning found manifest, his persuasion goes unmatched. His ability to sway group opinion is second to none, for hilarity always brings great popularity, and seductiveness cannot target as large an audience as hilarity. Irrespective of environment, be it the royal courts of Europe or a television talk show, the jester’s subtle albeit inextricable control of public perception goes indomitably unchallenged.

When people on the internet say “trolling is a skill”, they unknowingly nod gently to this Machiavellian interpersonal style. To give an example of what a jester looks like, Milo Yiannopoulos epitomically embodies the form of a jester. Stylish, cunning, witty and highly narcissistic, the jester’s ability to theatrically employ wit and word to persuade, entertain and humiliate is incontestable.

2.) Leadership Destabilisation Through Character Assassination:

The jester is as facetious as he is daring, incredibly individualist, he views himself as an underdog possessing an innate albeit under-recognised superiority. He is not usually of noble birth or high social rank, but owing to his bold and fearless employment of humour he is given to finding himself brush shoulders with those connected and of means.

Humour aside, he is scornful of authority and extremely power hungry. In much the way he seeks to inconsequentially violate people’s boundaries via ruthless and humiliating utilisations of comedy, he seeks to remove all boundaries and expectations imposed on himself. He is a freedom loving man, so much so that he not only shuns the leadership, but shuns the role for himself, as the responsibilities that come with it impose on his carnal desire for a freedom so absolute that tolerance for even a slither of responsibility is amiss.

And yet the poetic irony in the jester’s loathing of authority lies in how his employ of humour sets him up as an informal authority. Due to his aversion to responsibility the jester is rarely an official leader in any meaningful capacity, and yet due to the affinity he earns from grandiosely entertaining the people, he is looked to as one. And it is because of this the jester has a propensity to outshine the formal leadership, unbeheld to the responsibilities that they are, whilst enjoying an equal if not superior level of influence to them. Alas the jester is not the squad captain, but rather the private that makes jokes at the captain’s expense and gets away with it; he is the one people look to despite a lack of formalised institutional rank, he is a leader absent the acknowledgement of title.

One of the jester’s seemingly counterintuitive strategies is to delegitimise the leadership by ruthlessly mocking their method of rule. This gambit serves two purposes, firstly, it brings him acclaim, fans and followers – people who will line his pockets and defend his reputation from his enemies.

Secondly, it serves as a warning shot to the leadership that subtextually communicates “If I wanted to, I could turn your people against you; I don’t answer to you and shall not ever. But you need me. So you should officially endorse me as an ally for as long as it benefits me, and you should not attempt to control me, for I am uncontrollable. If you try, I will see to it you lose favour with the people, and in making your rule that much more difficult I will single-handedly hasten your downfall, and I’ll do it with the blessing of the people to a chorus of hearty and mocking laughter – much to your chagrin.”

Intuitively this sounds dangerous; but emblazoned with a flair for the bold and dangerous, loyal to nothing but his own self-interest, the jester knows he need not win the master because he owns the crowd, and so by having control of the crowd it is the master who needs him more than the inverse. Drawing his power from the crowd is what makes the jester independent from the master, for by drawing his power from the people, he draws it of his own volition on the condition he can perform, rather than because the master’s whim proves favourable. It is the sheer terror of this subtext that will cause many a leader to buckle, to seek to befriend and ally with the jester, with the jester in turn feigning loyalty, only for his mocking of the leader to continue under a veneer of well-intentioned banter.

A jester is only as good as his last performance, but a leader loses effectiveness when the people love his funny man more than they do him. As such, a leader is given to the idea he might have his kingdom’s most cunning clown harmed, for intuitively it seems the best way to deal with a problem is to remove it. The flaw with such a measure is the jester is too well known and too well loved by the people to be removed quietly.

The people’s love acts as an armour for the jester, and should he be harmed, said love will transmute into a hate seeking the destruction of his destroyer. And so the leader finds himself in a bind, is he to tolerate the undermining of his leadership and lose respect, or is he to eradicate the upstart and risk the people’s ire?

The clever leader has him removed by mercenaries untraceable to himself, frames a common enemy for the crime, and feigns upset at news of the jester’s peril. The untameable jester should always be dealt with in this manner, the exception to this being the cooperative jester. A jester willing to show overt deference to the leadership can prove useful for morale as an entertainer, but even more importantly, he doubles as an effective character assassin for delegitimising the leadership’s enemies.

3.) How To Handle Jesters:

Engaging in battle with a jester requires an inordinate amount of energy, if one can avoid the affair altogether, such a thing is strategically preferable. However, I am inclined to think any soul reading this who does so in resonance with what they hear is probably beyond the point of evasion, and instead seeks practical tips to help them neutralise such a troublesome individual. In light of this, I will now speak a little on the ways in which one should best handle a jester.

In my essay Machiavellian Thinking vs. Conventional Thinking, I coined the maxim “justification is a Machiavellian fallacy”This can be simplified and distilled as “justifying yourself is anti-cunning and weakens one’s social power” – internalising this idea deeply is key to effectively battling a jester. Never take a jester’s questions seriously, assume every question to be nought but an insincere trap, and you will do well to avoid the pitfalls the jester so effortlessly and ravenously sets.

So what is one to do specifically in order to avoid said pitfalls? Answer questions with questions, use pressure flips, question the sincerity of his questions, and reframe even the slightest twinge of insincerity as immaturity. Whoever answers the most questions loses, for questioning is not utilised here to gain information, but rather to overwhelm the individual targeted by the questions. The jester has no interest in receiving straightforward answers to any of the questions he may posit, but rather, he uses them as nothing more than psychological pressure points to dominate and humiliate his target into disorientation and self-flagellating submission.

The jester is dependent on humour to draw his social power, and thus by establishing his humour as immature you may nullify the essence of his social dominance. To do this effectively however, the way in which you deliver your criticism of his lack of maturity is key. If you sound offended or upset, the tactic will have no effect and will only serve as fuel for his ridicule, whereas if you sound aggressive and candidly passionate about the core topic, it will. One should sound like a narcissistic man putting someone down for a lack of sophistication, not a whiny woman passing judgement on a thing that annoys her. The key with this tactic is to use the jester’s inappropriate flippancy as a way to frame him as uncredible and unimportant.

If you are bold, you should consider insulting the jester before he can invariably self-deprecate. Jesters are prone to self-deprecating as a means of preemptively blocking you from hitting their vulnerabilities. If all else fails, seek to intimidate the jester until he loses his blase frame and becomes fearful. You can achieve this by bombarding them with insult upon insult delivered in an animated and aggressive manner. The objective here is to make the jester uncomfortable, for if they are uncomfortable, they can be dominated.

This is easier said than done as the jester has supreme social confidence and possesses a certain “anti-social anxiety” about them, however, and this is the key to circumventing this supreme social confidence, they are usually ill-equipped to physically defend themselves. Having wielded wit and words as weapons all their lives, they have not learned to fight, and are not confident in their ability to do so. The jester will almost always try to keep the conflict mental rather than physical because of this, and will quickly lose frame if they believe they cannot prevent the conflict from escalating to fisticuffs.

If the jester believes there is a credible threat of violence, their frame will fall like the Berlin wall. They may not fear psychological violence, but they have dedicated themselves to it so much so that they have become wholly incompetent in violence that is physical. Of course, one need not actually escalate things to physical violence, they only need cause the jester to believe that physical violence is imminent. When the jester loses frame and their fear becomes evident, you may poetically question why they appear scared. For of course you were only joking in much the way they do, and you thought them to be an individual of sophisticated humour, their newfound timidity serving as no more than a testament to your strong disappointment in them.

As stated at the beginning of this passage, conquering a jester requires a ridiculous amount of energy. It is thus preferable to avoid conflict if possible, but should it not be, then the tips and tactics presented here are your blueprint for fighting an undesirable war. Effectively, you will play the game as the jester plays, only with greater intensity and more pointed technique. This is a game of energy, and you will need lots of it to win.

4.) In Closing / Relevant Reading:

Never trust the court jester, for he is the least trustworthy funny man. He wields humour as a weapon of self-aggrandisement, and as a ruthless self-promoter he is eager to boost his profile at the expense of others. There is no comedy too cold nor too ruthless for him, for the fires of chaos gleam brightly in his anarchistic eyes in their lust for the next conflict. He needs conflict so that he may humiliate, he must humiliate to feel powerful, such is his nature, unchangeable, irredeemable.

Extremity is typical and expected of the jester, the norms of social conduct imposed on the majority do not apply to him, which in turn frees him to act with further impropriety simply because scandalousness has come to be expected.

Jesters love bringing down sensible authority figures (the very antithesis of what they are) because they know that should such a person dignify their provocations their credibility will go up whilst the sensible target’s will go down. The sensible cannot fight the jester with his own weaponry, for in doing so they lose power by appearing uncontrolled to their fans. The jester on the other hand is free to continue in such an outrageous and belligerent manner, for indecency is his reputational essence, in turn giving him an unfair advantage over those who do not possess the same antifragile reputational foundation.

There is an insidiousness to the humour symbolic of the jester, for he concurrently amuses and destroys in a display of the most theatrical and perverse sadomasochism, bringing greater and greater pleasure to his audience as he proceeds to strip layer upon layer of dignity from the unfortunate soul he has designated ripe for ridicule.

And because humour is entertaining irrespective of the person paying its expense, it always retains the favour and endorsement of the crowd in the absence of appropriateness or moral integrity. The naive presume humour is innocent and incorruptible due to its superficial nonthreatening pleasantry, “a bit of fun never hurt anybody” they say, au contraire, it has and it can.

Book(s):

The Book of the Courtier

NOTE: I left room to develop “dark triad archetypes” into a series, but as of present I’m not committed to making that a reality. We’ll see!


36 comments

  1. When the jester tries to ask leading questions in a bid to humiliate you with your own replies, ask him in the most indifferent manner ‘why?’ It forces him to explain himself, disarming his humorous weapon.

    You can also hit back where it hurts but not without some humor as well so as not to seem butthurt. He will backtrack at the realization of your ability and willingness to fight iron with iron.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. In order to be successful with his verbal attacks, I’d say the most important tool for this Machiavellian subtype is courting attention. Milo Y has his radioactive hair, dandy clothing style and unconcealed homosexuality. I know a DT jester who, instead of looks, fishes for attention with unsocial behavior; loud screaming and ‘singing’, flashing his dick in front of random people and such. Despite these actions, he is very popular (and gets laid whenever he wants too because he’s psychopathic as fuck).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He flashes his dick at random people? LOL. The average person reading this will think the guy’s a loser based on that line alone, but if he’s a psychopath, I can believe he gets away with it and is still successful. Goes back to the part where I talk about their exemption from normal social rules. If there was ever an example of that, flashing your dick regularly and still being high status rather than an ostracised creep would fit the bill.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A random thought that popped in my head: Out of the four jesters I know IRL two of them are gay. Are gays naturally more Mach than straight guys?

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  3. One thing I would like to add is that jesters want to control the frame by accelerating the tempo of a conversation. Apart from Milo Yiannopoulos another great jester is Russel Brand. He is not that offending but he knows how to turn the tables on others in order to make them feel weak.

    My personal approach would be to try and deliberately slow down my voice and attack a jester brutally whenever he tries to interrupt me. That will inevitably disorient him and allow me to gain time in order to identify his weaknesses.

    p.s. Your analysis is so powerful that I am looking forward to a debate with you and a jester.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “My personal approach would be to try and deliberately slow down my voice and attack a jester brutally whenever he tries to interrupt me.”

      what if he is call you out on your slow answers? “are you that slow?! think faster!”

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      1. I don’t think he means slowing it down to a painful crawl. Rather, instead of allowing the jester to control the pace of the conversation with his fast wit, throw him off his rhythm by deliberately keeping your speech normal. Think of how conversations go as things get heated up. People automatically start talking faster.

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  4. In defense of the Jester: he is funny and entertaining, and his disdain of authority comes from knowledge of mass murders committed by traditional authority figures within government, church and corporate power structures throughout all of human history. The Jester’s healthy distrust and skepticism are good, in some cases, for curbing the tendency of leaders to abuse their power.

    The mocking of status quo helps to transition out old ideas and make way for innovative new concepts. Think horse and buggy to automobile, those transitions are not painless, and someone who flaunts social conventions is useful to catalyze change at times.

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  5. I met some, one’m sure he was psycho, i avoided like hell up because i had low self esteem and they humiliated as fuck. As i was shy and wanted to fit in i emulated this archetype, it worked. Humor really helps to understand the subtext of social relations. However, they’re the worst types of people, and i don’t give them the minimum respect.

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    1. ESTP. I am sure. Recheck ENTP and ESTP. ENTPs are more like a advocate. They are not funny all the time. They use logical fallacy to distort reality. They keep gentleman and intellectual image. They do not look like a clown. On the other hand, ESTPs use humor to make other act defensively and feel discomfortable. They generally use humor to destroy their victims reputation aka character assassination.
      I know both of them very well personally. But they make me good looking innocent boy to good looking innocent looking(not genuinely innocent) machiavellian monster. Both of them are great source of sufferings.

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  6. This is why I , like batman, always hated the joker. He was annoying as fuck. However, when I was younger I was very much like the Jester, as I’ve grown up I have become way more serious and no nonsesne in all my dealings. If I see a jester I will literally just beat the crap out of him , I do not care what the people think about me because I am a lone wolf and violence was the only way to get me to stop being a complete asshole when I was in middle school. I got the crap beaten out of me a lot because of the shit I said, one time I was in a fight and I couldn’t stop laughing everytime I got punched in the face …

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  7. You literally described my personality. I am able to draw people together and make them laugh. They love me and they hate me at the same time. I always do my best to make others not feel indifferent about me. Some people enjoy my company, some do not and they fear me in a way they do not understand but they know I am capable. Even women who hate the way I act somewhat irresistibly come towards me to have a good time and even greet me happily as I tease them. I can make people laugh easily and being a person who understands the Dark Triad personality taught me everything I needed to know for power. People cannot define me. Whenever shit happens I end up making them laugh and whenever they try to attack me I just swat the shit test with another joke, agreeing/amplifying, pressure flip, or simply ignoring it. They know I can be rude at times and also knowing that my profession is nursing which requires a lot of kindness and patience throws them off. Nursing is most trusted profession gives me a sense of mystery (I actually do care about my patients and study to my best ability for their care). Being kind, rude, and assuming formlessness. and cultivating an air of unpredictability, recreating myself, and entering action with boldness has brought me the perspective others think about me.

    I am able to forge a I don’t give a fuck attitude and whenever someone depreciates my jokes I just simply ignore them depending on their social credibility. If its someone with a higher social credibility it is when I get shut down just as you said. When that happens I simply find a way out adapting to the social context but I know when to not try to hard or when to just quit. This rarely ever happens to me because I am always looking for good times and laughs that will bring others toward my frame.

    This is my first post in this blog and I do hope I bring some insight. I’ve always tried to follow the Dark Triad personality but I lack psychopathy (also due to the fact that I chose nursing). I need to enjoy my time while I am with others and if I cannot, I do not engage. I always knew there was something different about the way I acted when you wrote about DT, but this article explains it all.

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  8. Illimitablemen,
    I have some question. Please answer. What is masculinity? What kind of traits make a man masculine? What is the true image of a masculine man?
    Feminism destroyed the original concept of masculinity. So I wanna know how to be masculine male.

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  9. An uncle of mine owns a business, I have an idea to share with him in a bid to improve his business. How do I share the idea and to become a share holder in the business?? What is the best approach to negotiate a stake in the business for my idea Toyeeb Arowona+2348078496606 From: Illimitable MenSent: Monday, 19 September 2016 22:24To: toyeebarowona@yahoo.caReply To: Illimitable MenSubject: [New post] Dark Triad Archetypes: The Jester

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    IllimitableMan posted: ” “The court jester had the right to say the most outrageous things to the king. Everything was permitted during carnival, even the songs that the Roman legionnaires would sing, calling Julius Caesar ‘queen,’ alluding, in a very transparent way, to his re”

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      1. It is no surprise this content is not mainstream nor would I want it to be. Freethinking allows for the creation of more powerful, intelligent individuals and paradoxically is not conducive for society. Any freethinker will be rightfully narcissistic (due to excess achievement b/c they understand the world and how to win) and they will be machiavellian. Thus, their impact on society will be based on their morality, which you cannot ensure will be societally conducive as narcissism corrupts morality. Society functions easier when the inhabitants are docile, and effectively devoid on individualistic thought. These individuals are not robots, they just cant form an opinion not influenced by mainstream culture which ultimately makes them a part of the “masses”. There is only so much room for the truly intelligent, which in essence should be the ruling elite.

        The mainstream has polluted the minds of most that any material that advocates free thought at its core is looked down upon. The masses actually prefer conformity as it is the safer route in life and thus will never develop an appreciation for free thought. Luckily for you, you have an audience that does.

        Like

  10. When it comes to Machiavellian debate-tactics I have a tendency to pull out my inner (natural) jester. Disarming the victim using the crowds preference for spectacle, humour & deprecation is ridiculously powerful. You can, yourself, use statistics, but making the crowd laugh at your opponents autistic delivery of PubMed studies or government statistics instead of debating the question at hand neutralizes your opponent completely.

    The crowd loves you (Cialdini Principle: Liking ), the crowd is laughing (Cialdini Principle: Social Proof), and if you are articulate in a crowd of mediocres you appear bold, audacious & well researched (Cialdini Principle: Authority).

    On rare occasions I come across someone who is capable of putting me off my game. I’ll give you some tips:

    The opponent is very well researched and articulate
    He let’s the laughing die down and in a calm fashion returns to the question at hand in an authoritative sense.
    Calls me out on my sophistry with style.

    I would also argue that adding a comment: “You are just a clown.” or “Well, at least you would make a decent comedian. Just stay away from insert debate-question here.” Would neutralize a jester if he infact is not well-researched.

    Great article, IM.

    Like

  11. There is no defense or way to “win” with a skillful jester other than violence. Violence is very effective with them because jesters are almost always physically inferior, or at least not prone to violence. But attempting any other way to defeat them will only result in humiliation. A skilled jester can take down and humiliate a physically powerful bully in 2 minutes flat and have the entire room howling in derisive laughter.

    This is why jocks tend to hate the smart funny guys. And also why, it today’s society where violence is outlawed, no one holds more power than the comedian. However, skillful comedians are very, very rare and not often prone to want to control others so much as to “level out” power. They have no inherent desire to control people, they like to take down others in power.

    All the best comedians are ENTP or INTPs who have managed to overcome their social anxiety sufficient to express themselves.

    Anyone else who wants to try to wield power would do best to entirely avoid and/or court favor with a jester. Back when the king could say “off with his head” if he was displeased, the power disparities might have been more balanced, but nowadays, comedians wield far more power than anyone with wealth or physical power could ever hope to have.

    A jester’s only real enemy is themselves, as they tend to be prone to depression, suicide, and alcoholism.

    IMO Jesters are the very best people we have. They turn the darkest aspects of humanity into laughter, they level power imbalances, and they reveal human absurdities and hypocrisy. They are rare and precious. Effective humor is the highest level of genius, outside of scientific ingenuity.

    Spot-on analysis.

    Like

  12. Unsure how I missed this one. Good write up.

    From your description, the Jester is essentially the Outlier Sigma, likely from the categories I describe as “switch” and “mad scientist”, who doesn’t care to lead but will still be granted leadership privileges even as he refuses to accept authority or responsibility. He is relaxed, doesn’t care for his public image or anyone else’s and plays the social hierarchy to his whim. Surely then, the easiest way to undermine them is to not take them seriously in person, and to not take yourself seriously to their face?

    Unsure if he is a Jester (probably], but Jon plays the Jester game a lot and the one time he was stumped was when he managed to get into a “gay off” with a guy who had ADD. The Jester’s cornerstone is to only take yourself as seriously as you’re willing to take the other person, so you’re not “picking on them”, you’re just “having fun” and their emotional reaction is merely an entertaining byproduct of their self-esteem. But when the other person mocks themselves to a level where you could never accuse them of being serious, it would be crude to push them further, and embarassing to emulate them, the game has to end. Escalation of mood and DGAF, essentially.

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  13. For clarity: Jon tends to use Jester behaviour for those whom he likes or respects on some level. He uses a sort of “Malicious Compliance” on those he disapproves of. But he can still dominate social settings, on the Alpha’s own turf, if he uses Jester tricks and the Alpha doesn’t nip it in the bud. Once it’s started he needs to be outdone or get bored before peace can resume.

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  14. How funny, you’ve described my personality exactly. I’ve always been Mach and Narcissistic but will have to look into whether I am Psycho.

    I’ve never met anyone that could think quicker than me. I’ve always known that if I could get someone to try and ‘out funny’ me I’d win and indeed within my circle of peers, no one would dare go toe to toe with me in a battle of wit and humour. I’ve always dislike that my strength was so antagonistic but perhaps I should embrace it and follow your guidance.

    I think I know the answer but I’ll ask anyway. Can the jester DTM ever take the throne for himself?

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