The Red Pill Movement

The Red Pill Movement

The red pill movement has lost all its meaning -- but is this new empty definition forcing us (and others) to ask the hard questions about the way the world really is?

Before I started this blog, I knew what the “Red Pill” meant. I had not, until a Google search some moments ago, seen how it had been distorted. In the movie The Matrix, Morpheus presents Neo with a red pill and a blue pill and asks him to choose. These pills have become a metaphor for how we perceive and explore the reality of our human existence. To put it another way (and I’m paraphrasing Wiki here), taking the red pill represents the willingness to learn a potentially unsettling or life-changing truth while taking the blue pill is a choice to remain in the contented experience of “ordinary” reality – or reality as it’s presented to us by institutions of power and influence..

One sets us off on a personal adventure into the unknown on a search for truth and the other keeps us numbed by CNN, Netflix and government cheese.

The quintessence of the red pill’s meaning is no longer found among top searches on Google or YouTube. Instead, you’ll be inundated by the terms alleged “hijacking” by “involuntarily celibate extremists crusading against male oppression and subjugation of women under feminism”…Olivia Wilde even made a movie about it called Don’t Worry Darling.

As such the meaning of being “Red Pilled” is bifurcated. On one side red pillers are marked as violent, misogynistic, anti-feminist and white supremacist groups, and conversely, as the miner’s canary deliberating in the depths of the intellectual dark web about how radical social-justice warriors are polarizing and destroying the cultural pillars of western our society.

The part that makes my skin itch when I read these headlines, is what’s sadly lost in the fray. While both sides of this pill debate have antipathy for one another, we miss that they represent two sides of the same coin. Both fear a future of injustice and inhumanity created and perpetuated by a metaphorical machine. Although red pillers specifically aspire for a way out of this matrix of control, a societal prison if you will, both are fighting for truth, equality, fairness and the freedom to be…ourselves. We fight because we care about humanity. We fight because we think the beliefs we hold as virtuous are in conflict with those of the other side.

When we fight, we lose the thread of the very thing we seek. We lose (and savour the irony here) the whole point of the red pill.

This happens, in part, because our very beliefs, and the frameworks they are predicated on become commodified. Continuing the conversation of sides, beliefs and labels is the very fabric of the machine[M1] itself – regardless of which side you approach it from. In this way, the machine of “what is true” creates a kind of shell game that accomplishes nothing more than creating dramatic theatre that captures our attention, gets clicks on social media, and drives ad revenues, while driving us apart.

Subsumed in the orthodoxy of the woke, the other is enamoured in the doctrine of the awake. What we concern ourselves with becomes the construct of our lives, a poison, where we can unintentionally perpetuate the very thing our red pill was intended to heal or have us learn. In this way, when we think we’ve taken the red pill, in fact, we’ve been duped into swallowing the blue pill.

It’s easier to fool a man than to persuade him that he’s been a fool.

— Mark Twain

Even in the age of information, the machine will always aim to trap us in our bias and put our very humanity in an untenable position. We simply cannot have our heels dug into the dirt of our beliefs. It can be terrifying and deeply inconvenient, but every day, just as we brush our teeth and drink water, we must wash down yet another red pill. Just as we take part in our daily routines, we must practice daily a kind of rebellion against our own certainty. Just as we engage with our like-minded communities, we must be wary of trying to justify ourselves and, instead, examine our own biases — no matter how statistical, spiritual or sensible they may seem. It is our own thoughts, alongside those of others with different views, which must be subject to critique. Moreover, there is comfort in choosing our own beliefs, that then become “our” experience of “ordinary” reality — ergo, the blue pill.

Here in lies the true spirit of the red pill. A continuous choice to pull back the veil and maintain a curiosity that exposes an alternate perspective on: gender equality, societal norms, power and privilege, religion, atheism, mysticism, masculinity, femininity, socially-constructed reality, objective truth and _____________ (you fill in the blank).

As such, the red pill becomes a lesson in both radical humanity and the naked truth. Radical humanity by seeing how, when you strip away judgment and bias, we are enriched by each other. How views and life choices are informed by their opposite, and that this arms race of sorts, aptly named the culture wars, is the red herring leading us away from truth and happiness.

Each person's truth is simply a distilled version of their own partiality, and your belief is built on biases you picked up as you travelled the road of your own life. The more beliefs we gain from each detour into our chosen blogs, websites, Substacks, friend circles and podcasts, the heavier the burden of our biases becomes.

As my friend Dr. Jason Gordon says...

“Truth in a relative world is a relative truth.”

Stripped of its beliefs and biases, and layers of labels and concepts, lies but one simple thing — the naked truth. We may not be able to know this truth, I certainly don’t, but there, underneath all things, it remains. How it shows up on message boards, in books, and here on this very blog, is but more machine games.

What we rail against becomes that which we must investigate in ourselves. It’s easier to appeal to our dark side. To our hatred for that which threatens our beliefs. They are not threats we must cancel, but questions we must ask. We must not focus on narrow self-interest, but instead, on the greater mystery and greater adventure of life. That is how we turn our grasping, flailing, fighting and stumbling toward righteousness into beauty, compassion, freedom and abundance.

That is how we get the whole thing we call life, and not just the parts.

This ever-present commitment to asking ourselves and others hard questions with the aim of uncovering the often-difficult truths about 'how things really are'... is the red pill movement.

Stay curious and free.

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