Today, we’re going to have a little fun.
With my studies into the Dark Triad traits, I recently took an interest in the TV series Dexter, a show about a serial killer of serial killers. While the show itself grows a bit tiring after the first couple of seasons, almost resembling a morbid I Love Lucy, it does provide a glimpse into the life of the Dark Triad personified.
There are so many factors to dig into, that it is almost overwhelming to determine where we can start. Instead of delving into the standard traits of the Dark Triad (Machiavellism, Narcissism, and Psychopathy), we’re going to explore The Nine Laws to how Dexter manages to perform his ghastly deeds of justice all while eluding the Miami Police, who he so happens to work with.
Law 1: Survival
It’s a strange coincidence that Law 1 of The Nine Laws syncs up so perfectly with Harry’s (Dexter’s adopted father) first code for Dexter: Don’t get caught. If Dexter were to be caught by anyone it would mean his utter undoing, his death. To survive while working so close with the Miami Police, Dexter has perfected many skills such as:
- Hand-to-hand combat
- Deep knowledge of forensics and blood spatter
- Leaving no evidence behind at the scenes of his killings
- A near supernatural ability to read other people, especially predators
- Keeps others out of his personal life
While we don’t need to take such drastic steps to ensure our survival (we don’t condone serial killers here), it is good to be mindful of what steps you are taking to make sure you are best prepared for any situation thrown your way.
Do you have a 72 hour emergency kit?
Do you have a kit for your car as well as an EDC?
Are you physically fit and have at least some basic hand-to-hand combat training?
Do you have a rainy day fund?
Does your wife and kids know what to do in the case of an emergency?
These are all very basic questions and if you don’t have answers for them, you are a prime candidate for Murphy’s Law. Survival is your first and foremost concern. If you’re dead, nothing else matters.
Law 2: Concealment
Dexter recounts multiple times in the series that he “wears a mask” to hide his true, dark identity from his friends and family. He has spent years working on his masks and is quite a gray man hiding in plain sight, not ever standing out.
Being able to conceal yourself or blend in with various groups of people is essential for Dexter’s first rule, Survival, and it’s also crucial for you.
You’ll need various masks in order to survive and thrive in your own daily life.
A mask for work.
A mask for church.
A mask for the kids.
A mask for the wife.
A mask for the friends.
Now that isn’t to say you have to be a completely different person in every situation. Think of it more of a tweak to your persona instead of a full overhaul. In some situations, you will be more reserved, professional, and results-driven. In others, you’ll be more energetic and friendly.
It’s simply you highlighting certain attributes while downplaying others. I’m not going to drink, smoke, and swear in front of my kids but when out with my friends…well…
Law 3: Purpose
In the case of Dexter, a traumatic event when he was very young left him deeply scarred. Ever since, he has displayed sociopathic tendencies and the urge to kill. If those energies weren’t harnessed and directed towards a productive purpose, Dexter might have inflicted untold suffering on many, many innocent people.
As such, the urge to kill would never cease for Dexter. He knew it and his adopted father knew it. It is with this sobering thought in mind that they decided to take this need for Dexter and give it some kind of purpose. In this case, Dexter would only kill other killers, monsters who have caused grief and pain on innocent people.
We’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. You must determine your purpose in life. It doesn’t have to be something grandiose, but you must choose a path or else you risk falling into ruin. Without purpose, men will fall prey to destructive pastimes like excessive video games, porn, sex, and drugs.
Law 4: Endurance
For a man with purpose, one of his greatest hindrances will be his own limitations. The spirit may be willing but the mind and body can only endure so much. During the series, we regularly see Dexter exert himself both physically and mentally. He works a full-time job that requires intense concentration. He stays up late hunting his prey. After killing his prey, then he has to deal with the cleanup and disposal of the body. I find myself thinking regularly when watching this show, “When does this guy sleep?!?”
True, he could be one of those genetic anomalies that can get by with only a few hours of sleep, but it also boils down to training. Physically, Dexter is no slouch and has bested James Doakes (Surprise, motherfucker!), a former Army Ranger, in hand-to-hand combat.
Mentally, he was constantly on; always searching for links between killers and the evidence, watching his surroundings and analyzing people’s motives, making sure that his dark pastime was properly concealed, and maintaining his public “mask.” The lack of emotion helped with all this, but this level of intense focus requires constant training.
To improve your own endurance, you must push yourself both physically and mentally. Train regularly and push your body to its absolute limits. Also be sure to stimulate your mind. Read, write, play chess, solve Sudoku puzzles.
Without adequate endurance, you won’t be able to pursue your purpose. The fatigue will cause you to slip up, which will break your concealment and end in you being unable to achieve rule number 1, Survival.
Law 5: Posture
The law of proper posture isn’t using the same definition that we’re used to. This isn’t about standing up straight and not slouching (we’ll cover that in another post). Rather, Law 5 is about keeping a keen eye on your surroundings and responding to events accordingly.
Staying alert to your surroundings allows you to be proactive as you’ll begin to see how things will unfold before they actually go down. This ability can be used to capitalize on opportunities or minimalize fallout.
Likewise, Dexter is constantly monitoring his surroundings, looking for red flags, clues, and suspicious behavior. In one episode, he manages to identify and dispatch a child predator before he had a chance to strike at Dexter’s family.
The easiest way to improve your posture is simply work on your situational awareness. As you’re walking down the street, take in as much as you possibly can. Try to see every little detail of a people and objects in a quick glance.
- What are they wearing?
- Do they have any distinguishing tattoos or piercings?
- How is their general demeanor?
- Where do they look like they’re headed?
Be sure to use your ears as much as your eyes.
- What sounds do you hear?
- Are there people walking behind you? If so, are they catching up to you, keeping in pace, or fading off?
- What local wildlife do you hear?
- Was that an engine backfiring or a gunshot?
The more efficiently that you can take in information, the faster you can develop a response to any situation that arises.
Law 6: Freedom
Freedom allows you to pursue your purpose. If you are free, you aren’t fatigued by the constant burden of debt, deadlines, and toil.
We all have a slightly different definition of what it means to be free. While you are finding your purpose, you will probably also come across what freedom means to you.
We see Dexter struggle to cope with losing much of his freedom when he gets married and has a kid with his wife. We’re there to witness it in all its macabre humor glory.
This isn’t to denigrate men who wish to have a family. I have a wife and three rugrats myself. This is just a warning to be aware of the implications. Having a family is a deeply rewarding experience, but gone will be the days of just heading off somewhere on a whim, at least for a while.
Action items for securing your freedom are as follows:
- Purge yourself of any debt that you may have
- Develop a FU Fund
- Master a valuable skill that will have businesses fighting for you -or-
- Go into business for yourself
- Date/Marry someone with compatible values/goals.
Law 7: Power
The best definition of power that I’ve heard is “the ability to influence your surroundings.” A lot of people think of power as physical strength, financial capabilities, or connections, and have a hard time marrying the varying concepts of power together. If you think of power simply as the ability to influence, then you will begin to see how an individual’s power may be strong in some fields, but lacking in others.
Power is closely related to Freedom, but they are distinctly different. Sometimes both increase at the same time in a person’s life while other times they are negatively correlated.
Power will help you pursue and achieve your purpose.
Dexter’s power came primarily in the form of Machiavellism. He was a master at manipulating people, often dropping clues to put the Miami Police on the trail of a criminal or sending them on wild goose chases to keep them off his own tail.
Law 8: Preposterousness
Law 8 is to remind us that in the end people die, achievements are forgotten, civilizations crumble, and the universe keeps on spinning. You will not change the cosmos so don’t take things too seriously.
Another way to think of this law is the old quote “All work and no play makes Jack (Jak?) a dull boy.”
Yes, you should be driven to succeed and achieve great things in your life, but remember to occasionally stop and actually enjoy life.
Dexter only really enjoyed killing killers…yeah…moving on!
Law 9: No Laws
This law shares a striking resemblance to the final law from the 48 Laws of Power: Assume Formlessness. This is no accident. No matter how well thought-out any plan is, you will always run the chance of the unexpected happening. Murphy’s Law leaves no one unscathed.
In such instances, you must be willing and capable of deviating from the original plan. If you have read the 48 Laws of Power, you will notice some laws directly contradict others. This often confused the novice Machiavelli because they don’t realize that you shouldn’t be employing all the laws all the time. You should adapt them to the current situation and your end goals.
“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”
Dexter is a perfect example of Law 9 in action. He is incredibly regimented in his routine of tracking, capturing, killing, then disposing of his prey. However, should there be any hiccups to the plan, he will quickly scrap his standard approach and begin formulating a Plan B, C, or D. It is this flexibility that allows Dexter to always succeed in Law#1: Don’t get caught (Survival).
How do you master this final law? By becoming intimately familiar with all the other laws and learning where these laws bend and where they break.
Well I hope you had as much fun reading this post as I did writing it. Most people shut their brains off when watching TV, but I try to find underlying truths about how the world operates. Surprisingly, we often see red-pill lessons spill out on liberal TV shows. It just takes a keen eye and a knowledge of what you’re looking for.
What say you, dear reader? What unexpected truths and revelations have jumped out while you were watching TV? Leave them in the comments below.