If you’re a long time reader, you’ve seen a number of changes in my thought over the years. One of the more important ones is the stepping away from the Red Pill motif. There are a few reasons for that. Thus this all-purpose explanation of why, and why you should too.
The first reason is simple. It’s already trademarked. “Take the Red Pill” is a trademarked phrase and not by me. Thus every effort by me to continue to promote the concept, every dollar earned on that phrase is like the Dwarves of Moria digging ever deeper down into the earth until that fateful day they reach the Balrog. I had no clue it was trademarked before I started writing. Once I figured it out, I groaned inwardly for a couple months and then made changes. No lawsuits involved and that’s about it.
The irony that someone actually owns the phrase should not be lost on those that proudly claim to be “Red Pill” like they are suddenly free from social control. You may as well make “I’m lovin’ it” your personal slogan. That’s trademarked too.
That being said, the Red Pill concept is a mishmash of ideas and that really needs to be talked about. So let’s review the standard Manosphere training footage…
What Morpheus is offering Neo is “the truth”. But it’s a little bit more than that, in that it’s a huge moment of awakening, a huge moment of enlightenment. It’s really more akin to a religious conversion that anything else. As the next scene plays out, Neo is literally born again from an artificial womb, complete with umbilical cords, a placenta, amniotic fluid and what now prophetically looks like an Obamacare drone overseeing it all. Then an opening dilates underneath him and he rides the birth canal out into the real world. YouTube of all that.
Except there’s a huge problem with that as a practical application beyond the metaphor of enlightenment.
In the first movie, there’s a clear version of “Red Pill” reality explained, and a clear version of the “Blue Pill” fantasy. In the real world, humans are living in some kind of shit hole under the earth, which essentially looks like a cross between an aircraft carrier and a prison. Except the food is obviously the product of a committee and a questionable bidding process.
The fantasy world is a city in 1999. This frankly seems really nice, except the horror is that it’s totally wired for high-speed internet and everyone is jacked in with a hard-wire connection in warm comfy wombs. Supposedly the evil machines running the world have found a way to harness the bio-electrical charge of human beings and we’re all a bunch of renewable AA batteries. There’s no explanation given for how the machines get more energy out of us than it takes to care for us though. Also in the third movie there are giant drilling machines and I’m just wondering why geothermal energy wasn’t tapped as a far more convenient option. Just sayin’.
Yay enlightenment. Except if you want to use it as a practical application beyond just using it as a metaphor for enlightenment itself… you have to supply the theoretical framework grounding the philosophy you have been enlightened to.
Putting that more clearly, as an Atheist I could say that when I had my awakening moment of realizing X, Y and Z about Christianity was bogus, I had my Red Pill moment. My eyes were opened. I saw the truth of the lies of the church yada yada yada.
But you could just as easily say that when you become a Christian, and you have your awakening moment of realizing X Y and Z about Christianity being true, that’s when you’re having your Red Pill moment. Your eyes are opened. You see the truth of the bible yada yada yada.
See how chirping “Red Pill” means next to nothing without the context of a philosophy behind it?
I mean for politics, is the correct Red Pill viewpoint democrat, or republican? Or Ron Paul? Or the guys who bury a bus in their backyard and have a five year supply of ammunition and MREs?
Is the Red Pill all the stuff the manosphere talks about… or it is feminism? I mean wasn’t there some moment of stomach churning enlightenment for the first feminists when they visualized for the first time a concept of the patriarchy? Holy crap, those bastards own everything and we don’t even get a say, we’re getting screwed. Sound familiar?
So let me say that again, going “Woo-hoo! Red Pill” means next to nothing without the context of a philosophy behind it. All it means is you’re really excited to have learned something and probably annoying to be trapped in a conversation with at parties.
Now because my thing is relationships, I’m going to explain a little more my own personal philosophy and why I focus on what I focus on in my work.
I see three broad issues affecting relationships and I think they probably have about equal weighting in importance. This is one of those “more of an art than a science” type feelings though.
The first is biological in nature: the whole thing of Body Agenda, your hormones, your neurotransmitters, and the entire neurological construction of the meat computer than is your brain. Your genes. The things men are biologically driven to do, and the things women are biologically driven to do. Or in short, this is the Nature bit of the Nature vs. Nurture argument.
And the second issue is the entire sociological, economic and cultural construct in which we live our lives. Everything from our schooling, to our entertainment, our religious beliefs and science, and possibly more importantly, our laws. All these things affect our relationships. This is the Nurture side of the Nature vs. Nurture argument.
The third area is our individual self-awareness, free thought, ability to choose, logic, self-discipline, personal history and internal moral compass. For lack of a better explanation, Nietzsche is the third candidate in the Nature vs. Nurture debate.
All three general factors are influences on your relationship and life.
If the economy sucks, your life is probably going to be harder. It’s going to be a negative stressor on your relationship. I can’t tell you how many guys have come to MMSL with a troubled marriage and everything stems back to when they lost a job in the economic downturn in 2008, which started a relationship downturn.
But when an individual person or couple comes to me with a relationship problem, the solution I offer them is not advice on fixing the economy, or Red Pill based complaints about gender issues. I simply try and fix the problem.
Don’t misunderstand me here for a minute. I completely understand there are some horrific, stupid, harsh, evil, mindless, shameful social, economic and legal influences on individuals and relationships. Things I’d like to see stopped. But when an individual comes with a problem seeking help, trying to “fix society” as a solution to their individual issue is misguided. All I can really work with is mastering the Nature side of things and the Nietzsche personal growth stuff.
In addition, when it’s a bad relationship that’s at stake, they typically come seeking help at a time of crisis and instability. Thus one of the first things you need to do is stabilize the relationship so it doesn’t just end before any kind of progress is able to be made. One of the best ways of doing that is finding common ground together. Telling the story of how they met. Telling the story of when the kids were born. Telling the story of the house purchase and how the career path was. You triage the relationship and look for the problems.
This is the point where injecting the gender warfare variants (manosphere or feminism) of your personal version of the Red Pill into the mix are incredibly toxic. Suddenly there’s pain, anger, disgust, hatred, or betrayal injected into a system we are trying to stabilize and heal. It’s like having a fist fight break out in the Emergency Room after a car crash. Doesn’t matter who was driving or how fast they were going, now is not the time to debate it.
The final problem with the Red Pill motif as based on The Matrix is even more serious. In the movie there is a fantasy world called The Matrix and there is a real world outside The Matrix with different rules you can escape to.
The reality is though, in our non-movie lives, there is no possibility of escaping from the real Matrix. You can exert some moderate influence over it, but that’s it. From a neurological point of view, your entire experience of reality is minimally different to that of being jacked into the Matrix in the movie. You can be as Red Pill as you like, but you get to experience reality through a Blue Pill physical body. This is why it’s so freaking hard to break Oneitis and why you stare at boobs so much.
The other issue is that you can completely transform society into a paradise, but I can assure you that someone, somewhere, eventually, is going to be some sort of greedy asshole and taking over the whole thing and being a real jerk. In all seriousness, my political hope is that the Evil Overlords aren’t so much deposed, as simply made agreeably competent.
This is why at the end of the final movie, Neo is actively working with the machines, to stabilize the entire system. That stabilizing of the system is the entire purpose of Zion et al. Morpheus offered Neo the Red Pill, promising “only the truth”, but the reality was he didn’t know what the truth was himself. At the time, Morpheus is unaware that he’s puppet for The Oracle – one of the two primary creators of the Matrix itself.
When Neo finally gets to meet the Architect of the Matrix, he makes it clear that even the offering of the choice, is part of the system of control. Or perhaps put more plainly, what Morpheus offers Neo is a Blue Pill… and merely a visually different Blue Pill that requires active participation in the system of control, rather than passive acceptance.
This is why nearly everyone loves the first movie and doesn’t like the second one. The first movie offers a comforting dream that the Matrix can be escaped from. The second movie methodically crushes that dream underfoot.
We are all born into a world with layers of control, expectations, biological urges and deep existential questions. Having a functional and happy sexual relationship really seems to take the edge off a lot of the less pleasant elements of existence.
But functional and happy sexual relationships are systems. There is an ebb and flow of energy between the two sides. Thus you cannot help one, without also helping the other. I started off writing MMSL aiming just to help men, but have seen that at best it’s limited in its effectiveness, even if well intentioned. At its worst, it probably causes damage. After a certain point, the Red Pill motif just doesn’t help much.
As I develop more materials, MMSL will stay a brand targeted at a male audience. But there will also be brands of my material targeted for a co-ed audience and other brands targeted at a female audience. It’s a long road ahead and like The Oracle said, I’m just here to do what I’m here to do. I know some people will think makes me a sell out, betraying men, yada yada yada. I think I’m at peace with that finally.