Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Red Pill, Blue Pill, Green Pill, Black Pill

Forbidden fruit: The Apple logo is commonly considered to make an occult reference to the Garden of Eden and relates computer use to forbidden knowledge, information, and soul-testing enlightened liberation. Image Source: The Open Scroll.

Before 1999, there was no word in English, as far as I know, to describe information which shatters one's world view. Techno-political ideologies evolve from an overdose on information and subsequent, broken views of the world.

Information as Forbidden Fruit

The first cyber-ideology to describe the disillusionment of the Information Age was called the red pill, or being red-pilled. The term comes from the film, The Matrix (1999) and Morpheus's speech on how to deal with knowing something you can't explain:
"This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more."
Red pilling starts with the feeling that there is something wrong in the world, and you don't know what it is. Everywhere you look, things have gone wrong.

The splinter, driving you mad, is that you are a slave, born into bondage in an invisible prison: The Matrix (1999) © Warner. Reproduced non-commercially under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

Distrust of liberating knowledge. This evangelical Christian illustration claims that the red pill in The Matrix was an allegory for Satan's offer of false liberation from God, through knowledge that will kill you and destroy your soul. Christians claim that the famous scene with Morpheus replicates the offer Satan makes to Eve in the Garden of Eden. Image Source: Tom's Illustration.

Adam and Eve are forced out of Eden by - Furious Angels by Rob Dougan, Matrix Reloaded soundtrack (2002) © Dougan/Warner/BMG. The original song, not about Eden, is here; CD Furious Angels (2002). Video Source: Youtube.

In the The Matrix, discovering the truth, or being red-pilled, involves exiting the computer playland and facing reality. A covert Luciferian gnostic allegory implies that the characters only gain freedom when they leave the Garden of Eden (i.e. the fake virtual world, or the Matrix) and enter the real world. There is a similar gnostic enlightenment message in the third film in the Matrix trilogy from 2003, The Matrix Revolutions. Wiki:
"The [Matrix Revolutions soundtrack] song [Navras] contains an adaption of the Asato ma mantra found in the Hindu sacred text the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, section I.iii.28, used in the soundtrack of the movie The Matrix Revolutions. ... The name Navras might refer to the notion of nine rasas (nava rasa) in Sanskrit aesthetics.

asato mā sad gamaya
tamaso mā jyotir gamaya
mṛtyor mā amṛtaṁ gamaya

From ignorance lead me to truth
From darkness lead me to light
From death lead me to immortality
In the films, Neo's consumption of the red pill's illusion-shattering information is presented as the heroic, correct choice. The Judas character, Cypher, betrays Neo; he wants to be blue-pilled, and returned to the Matrix. Subsequent Christian reviews of this film series observe that it draws from the Book of Genesis. There is a warning there, about how red pill information can corrupt the mind, heart and soul. A red pill alters perception and affects judgement of reality.

This is a non-religious blog, but I was struck by how the Biblical allegory of the Fall applied in the development of online 'pill' cyber-ideologies. Over-indulgence of information has a corrosive effect on the conscience, and perhaps, the soul.

Navras by Juno Reactor / Don Davis from Matrix Revolutions (2003) © Warner/Maverick. Reproduced non-commercially under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

The Red Pill as an Empowering and Degenerating Internet Ideology

Our current existence inverts the film's original idea of the red pill. For us, the red pill means enslavement in a new kind of Gnosis in virtual reality. Taking the red pill involves abandoning the real world for cyberspace and getting lost there; or it merges the virtual with the real, as when hackers spread ransomware to raise money for their groceries, rent and projects.

Red-pilled conspiracy theorists try to unlock the 'whole truth' through leaked, hacked or hidden information. They use old-fashioned research to merge forbidden information with mainstream information. Their synthesized presentations appear every day on conspiracist channels and communities on social media. These experiences have created a divide between an individual operating in the 21st century on 20th century principles (a blue pill) and a 21st century individual (a red pill). I can't say I agree with the Radix definition below, but it gives an idea of the concepts which are surging forward in an emerging ideological power struggle between the real and the virtual, the past and the present:
"Traditionally there are two pills—the Red Pill and the Blue one. The Blue one means you stay in the 'matrix' of conventional opinion and delusion, you stay comfortable and warm, and you no longer concern yourself with the bigger picture or the long-term future. That has all been taken care of for you. The Blue Pill represents a kind of infantilism.

The Red Pill represents a rejection of all that, and an awakening to the underlying realities. It is the pill people take just before they become race realists, neo-reactionaries, anti-democrats, alt-righters, identitarians, etc. Far from being sugar-coated, it is laced with the bitter taste of total cynicism about all the myths that have been p[u]mped at us 24/7. But ultimately, it is not a negative pill but a positive and even progressive one. ... [!]
The Blue and Red Pills have a kind of complementary nature: the trajectory of the Blue Pill is from illusory superiority to actual inferiority, that of the Red Pill from false inferiority to true superiority."
By 2004, the red pill became synonymous on the Internet with free-thinking and non-conformity. By the late 2000s and early 2010s, it became associated with anti-liberalism and the anti-feminist men's rights movement.

Cassie Jaye's crowd-funded, direct-release film on the men's rights movement. The Red Pill official trailer (7 March 2017). Netflix declined to carry the film in April, 2017. Video Source: Youtube.

Red pills began to combine the real with the virtual during the Great Recession. Mass information on the Internet did not radicalize netizens until the economy collapsed, destroying the hopes and dreams of large portions of the west's middle and working classes. Coincidentally, at the very moment they lost all faith in the established system, social media were invented. Those who were distressed and alienated went to virtual communities to air their grievances and reorganize. By the 2010s, they came forth with ideas which were barely recognizable in 20th century terms.

Chomsky explains how economic distress transformed conventional politics. This is his view on the UK election of 8 June 2017Noam Chomsky: I would vote for Jeremy Corbyn (EXTENDED INTERVIEW) - BBC Newsnight (10 May 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

An example of red-pilling the real world came with the invention of cryptocurrencies. Although Bitcoin has many non-financial applications, it was principally thought of as digital money when first conceived in 2008. Bitcoin red-pilled the economy. Many people who jumped on the cryptocurrency bandwagon in the early 2010s were driven by greed. They didn't want to think about the economy and world in a completely different way. They just wanted to replicate the old economic system with a new tool, so they could get a bigger share. Of course, not everyone who works in cryptocurrencies responded that way and the best of Bitcoin's theorists certainly did not. But for those who did, this was not a revolution. It was a degeneration, a deeper delusion, a virtual version of the 20th century economic expectations.

In 2016, 4chan trolls used the cartoon character Pepe the Frog to invoke the ancient Egyptian frog god Kek to red pill the US election. As they broke the crucible of traditional politics, their meme wars empowered them; their memes promised grassroots liberation beyond cyberspace, heralding their return to the real world. Everyone noticed, because the meme wars worked! The trolls saw meme manipulation as cyber-magic, a spell which enabled them to exit cyberspace and transform the real world beyond recognition.

The week after the US election, I watched one dazed American liberal Youtuber, who normally did not pay much attention to politics. She woke up in total confusion: "Donald Trump is our president?" There was a disconnect. It was as though the old reality had been swapped out and replaced by a simulacrum, an alt-reality. One troll declared in triumph: "We actually elected a meme as president." With that statement, one begins to understand the sea change. It was a different kind of 'Hope and Change' from what the establishment wanted.

VICE puzzled over this problem on 2 March 2017, in its report, Anti-Trump Witches and 4Chan Magicians Are Battling Over the Future of America. Occult practices and beliefs now mingle with technology, superstition, and politics as globalists and populists seek to control a new landscape.

Vice Finally Gets It: Partially Understands Our Magickal War with Globalism (4 March 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Above, Vermont pro-Trump ex-Satanist Youtuber and underground 4Chan mage-troll, Tarl Warwick, explained Internet memetics as occult propaganda, mobilized through the pre-Islamic Egyptian frog god, Kek. Interestingly, Kek did not serve the trolls in the French election of April-May 2017, which indicates the magic of meme-spamming is highly culture-specific and still beholden to real world, historical realities.

More realistically, Warwick confirmed underlying motives, above all, the Millennials' generational despair after the Great Recession. Shut out from the Promised Land of 20th century capitalism and global liberalism, younger liberal, conservative, socialist, populist, nationalist, libertarian, anarchist, and neo-Nazi conspiracy theorists abandoned conventional politics. They evolved into online mystics and magicians. Occultism alleviated believers' anger, alienation, confusion, nihilism, and poverty. At 9:14:
"They're bitter because they want to be part of ... normality and they just can't crack through it, because of the way normality now works; so I'm not surprised that people are turning to superstition."
Trolls took conspiracists' shattering theories and set out to ruin those who had ruined them: the supposed New World Order of the Illuminati. The trolls had an impact on the US election, but at what cost? They brought virtual fantasy into the practice of mainstream politics.

There are two problems with this outcome and the initial red pill idea. First, the virtual-real interface replicates destructive ideological polarization common in the real world. There is always an outer enemy to blame. A culture of erased selfhood, defensive agency, and irresponsibility allows anyone to say anything behind the mask of anonymity. Red pills view the existing order as a wasteland; they can blame everyone for this but themselves. Their actions, no matter how destructive, are justified by the failures of others. As a result, they don't break through to something new. They merely use online media and tools to replicate the same problems - the same lack of accountability and transparency - in different contexts.

A red pill in action: in March 2017, a Brazilian UFO enthusiast and conspiracy theorist, Bruno Borges, went missing, although his disappearance may be a hoax. He had constructed a shrine to aliens and Italian Renaissance figures in his bedroom. His family, who lived in the same house, claimed he locked his room and they knew nothing about this. The conspiracy theorist at The Outer Light found this to be a bit much: "Wednesday the 3rd, I went to the supermarket and I bought some noodles. I came back home and I drew some Roman numerals on the ceiling." (29 March 2017) Video Source: Youtube.

A red pill on chemtrails: I THINK I KNOW WHY THEY ARE CHEM-TRAILING WITH BARIUM - EXPLAINED IN THE FIRST 7 MINUTES + MY PROOF (26 April 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Second, mass immersion in data and getting lost down online rabbit holes are symptomatic of information addiction, overload, and a loss of control. It is easy to lose the plot. The moment the conspiracy theorist or troll thinks the system is about to be overturned by a trove of information, the truther is actually at his or her most deluded.

Distrust of the red pill. Image Source: Meme Generator.

Red pill is the future, blue pill is the past. Image Source: Brainless Blogger.

Red pill represents the future. Image Source: ZVRS.

Red pills had already begun to become deluded in the early 2010s. As a result, the trolls on 4chan began to distrust basic disillusionment and anti-establishment rebellion on their path to truth. What if the red pill only drew you deeper into a compromised system? What if automatic, reflexive opposition only strengthened the existing order? What if the opposition was controlled? What if the red pill was a blue pill?

Those immersed in cyberspace kept navigating through the oceans of information to find stability, certainty, and nuance. The pill idea of Internet ideologies split, and split again. Around 2013, the term 'green pill' appeared on 4chan to describe an evolved and enlightened red pill. Meanwhile, the red pill had degenerated into the polar opposite of the post-1945 liberal order, that is, into neo-Nazism.

The green pill was well-read, within a certain library, and not a neo-Nazi. But he or she definitely rejected left-right political categories and was a political non-conformist. Sometimes, the green pill was a crypto-anarchist. Politically, the green pill was 'non-Euclidean,' to borrow a phrase from a 1988 paper by Robert Anton Wilson: Left and Right: A Non-Euclidean Perspective. Green pills could not decide: did non-Euclidean mathematics offer a map to the philosophy, psychology, physics, or politics of the Internet? You can see a typical green pill espousing non-Euclidean politics in a 2014 video, here.

Recommended reading for a rainbow of pill cyber-ideologies. Click to enlarge. Image Source: Know Your Meme.

The green pill evolved as a conspiracy theorist who saw the world as an Illuminati-engineered nightmare and armed him- or herself against rumoured plans for the New World Order. The green pill was also a New Age spiritualist, who believed the Illuminati dominate the world through materialism, egotism, Satanism, or a more mythical manifestation of these aspects - reptilian aliens. Think: veganism meets the Antarctic grand unifying conspiracy theory. The Youtuber Jordan Sather is a good example of a green pill, as here.

The blue pill, the red pill, the green pill types evolved from 4chan comics about different types of college students; the comics dated from the mid-2000s. See examples of the original comic here and here. Image Source: Know Your Meme.

Indigo, white, brown and iron pills. Click to enlarge. Image Source: Funny Junk.

The 4chan comics characters which came to designate different 'pill' branches of technological ideologies (click to enlarge, or go here). Image Source: Funny Junk / 4chan.

Therefore, social media did not liberate netizens or give them breakthroughs. Rather, it fragmented their numbers into competing cultures of truth. By 2015, the Matrix meme had morphed into several Millennial cyber-ideologies: red pills, blue pills, green pills - and indigo or purple pills, white pills, brown pills, iron pills, gray pills, and black pills. They were organized according to how they reacted to information and disinformation on the Internet and how they brought those ideas into the real world. According to 4chan, the result was the new Millennial political spectrum, below.

4chan spectrum of Millennial politics (click to enlarge). Image Source: 4chan.

By 2015, the most recent types to appear in this system were the gray pill and the black pill, both of whom saw the big picture of our world as a place competitively claimed by free cyber-internationalists battling so-called Illuminati globalists. These last two types, gray and black pills, were divided on how to react. The gray pill was depicted as someone who understood the new Millennial political spectrum, but chose to find universal human values to negotiate new meanings across divided realities. I described a gray pill version of Millennial cyber-politics (The Conscious Resistance) in my post, Awaken the Amnesiacs: The Hermetics.

The Gray Pill and the Black Pill. Click to enlarge. Images Sources: Funny Junk.

By contrast, the black pill turned nihilist. Notice in the cartoon above how the gnostic absolutist, the black pill, whose eyes are fully open, is an animé caricature, withdrawn from reality. In real life, the black pill is the lowest among the losers, trapped in an abominable, pessimistic, blighted existence. In the virtual world, the black pill assumes a superheroic or anti-heroic video game avatar as an identity, and takes multi-dimensional existence for granted. The Urban Dictionary defines the black pill:
"A catastrophic prophecy or spiritless prophesying for the future that is not necessarily grounded in reality. A red pill gone hopelessly bleak.

John had swallowed too many red pills over the last few sleepless nights and tried to black pill me that the race war would be happening any day now."
Heat Street calls the black pill the "Web's worst ideology":
"Black Pillers see the world as hopeless. The battle of the sexes is a meaningless struggle, and those born ugly, short and poor are hopeless to attract women. They see themselves as betas, hopelessly trapped in their condition. While red pillers will fret about Muslim immigration into Europe as a threat to Western Civilization, black pillers will see this destruction as the inevitable course of history. ... Some even think of ISIS itself as a manifestation of the black pill."
Radix remarks that black pills tend to see the world in terms of power hierarchies: class, money, genetics, alphas versus betas, etc. Everything is about pecking orders, pegged on illusion and disillusionment, and a total rejection the current mainstream:
"The inferior person can either accept context and therefore inferiority, or fight it. The Blue Piller rejects his future inferiority by retreating backwards into illusion. The Red Piller rejects his present lack of superiority by marching forward through positive consciousness and action to redress the situation. The Black Piller, however, chooses neither the palliatives of illusion nor the challenge of positive action. He stares into the abyss—passively because his actions will never be capable of changing it—and, as Nietzsche so pertinently observed, the abyss stares back."
Perhaps Radix profiled black pills because that site is not only an alt-right outlet, but it is edited by the infamous neo-NazisAndrew Joyce and Richard Spencer. These young men, both late Gen Xers, are upper middle class, formerly members of the establishment. Joyce has a PhD in History and Literature, with a focus on a "19th century literary figure." He has studied US 20th century history and modern British history, economics and literature. I don't know his alma mater. Joyce currently has an essay collection forthcoming: Talmud and Taboo: Essays on the Jewish Question. His view is radically anti-Semitic, anti-liberal, and white nationalist; this work is part of a disturbing, destructive trend, a cyber-revival of Nazi ideology. You can hear Joyce describe his English-Irish Presbyterian background here.

From 2005 to 2007, Richard Spencer was enrolled in a PhD program in History at Duke, with a specialty in German intellectual history. Spencer appears to have been red-pilled during the 2006 Duke false accusation rape scandal. You can see Spencer describing his Anglican background in Boston and Dallas, here. He is now president of the National Policy Institute, a far-right think tank, based in Alexandria, Virginia, USA. A weird cross-pollination between the American alt-right, new right, and black pills continues with Vladimir Putin's cyber-corps: Spencer's wife, Nina Kouprianova, is a Russian journalist, who has a PhD in History from the University of Toronto.

Joyce's and Spencer's defections to black pill cyber-ideology has caused shock waves of concern in the establishment. What happened to these boys? Why are they now anti-Semitic, anti-liberal, anti-establishment, alt-right neo-Nazis? Why do they have other academic associates now attacking mainstream scholarly history of Europe and Asia, labeling it as 'Staircase History and Subprime Morality'?

These black pills return us to the original warning from the Matrix's Luciferian and gnostic analogy with the Fall. Can too much information and its false empowerment delude an online activist and corrode the soul? Yes: I answered that question in my 2015 post, Post-Apocalypse Rehab. In that post, I discussed the same themes touted by Joyce and Spencer. However, I argued that these concerns, especially anti-Semitism and anti-liberalism, arise now because they align with the way the Internet influences Millennial consciousness.

On the Internet, there is a subconscious cyber-empowerment which seduces the mind and conscience. Part of that empowerment depends on distance between the virtual and the real, followed by the cataclysm and uproar created when the two are rejoined.

At first, there is distance, the cyber-cocoon. Almost everyone is familiar with this experience. We become the armchair audience, viewing the apocalypse from a distance. A good example is Russia Today's horrific drone footage of Homs, Syria from January, 2016. 'The world' is a distant construction on our TV and computer screens. If we talk about how the world is going down the toilet, we subconsciously take control, and reassure ourselves that we are not going down the toilet, too.

Conversation, held at a distance from the world's disaster, gives way to memes. Internally speaking, virtual reality is an unbounded environment with scant social codes and few established guiding norms. The way people try to reassert control in this landscape is to repeat and mimic information. They compulsively imitate others' symbols of authority. The symbol could be anything. It could be a LOLcat, a Japanese kindergarten teacher's pet dog, a swastika, or Kek the frog god. It could be your Facebook photo, if for some reason the trolls find it, like it, and decide to use it.

If a meme generates enough compulsive imitation and virality, it changes views and behaviour. This is the explosive ticket back into the real world. Joyce and Spencer are using 20th century fascist ideas and history as memes, not as revived, historical continuities. This is not to diminish the seriousness of their appalling anti-Semitism and racism, to which they honestly subscribe. But it is important to recognize that they are anti-historical actors, even when they are studying and appropriating history. Meme use denotes a very different mode of thought and set of methods, which derive from engagement with hyper-technology. They may be continuing the history of the 20th century on the 21st century Internet. But they are using history in an anti-historical way which is unprecedented. This is difficult to understand.

Black pills violently seize the cyberspace frontier with memes. Their prime mode is 'taking something back for the deprived self.' This chimes with 20th century fascist messages about weakened actors reclaiming forceful authority. But the cyber experience, and this type of fascism, is new. The negative exhilaration of cyber-rebellion and hateful reaction arises from an Internet immersion which involves inhabiting a different reality. This is the truth-telling of false epiphanies, mirrored images, and echoed messages. The experience from inside the alt-right bubble seems akin to the Harry Potter distinction between Muggles and magically-endowed folk. The latter could walk down the magically-hidden, secret street, Diagon Alley, London, and see slivers of unseen dimensional reality, intersected with the Muggles' mundane world.

In all this fascist light and magic, the black pill ideology insists that it is ultra-realist, yet remains fixed and mask-like in its refusal to look within. It is as limited in its 'distrust the world' credo as the blue pill's 'trust the world' motto. The black pill revels in everyone's debasement, even his or her own. That is the starting point of action. When it comes to casting blame, responsibility is external. And this is where the black pill becomes vengeful.

The black pill finds in the abysmal negation of the self a liberating violation of, and attack on, Enlightenment rationalism. An advanced black pill searches for rationalism beyond the Enlightenment. This cyber-ideology attacks all followers of the Enlightenment, including the supposed Illuminati, although a black pill will more likely refer to the 'deep state,' rather than the Illuminati. Below, see an eponymous 2017 film which reflects a black pill view of the world. Film-maker Lane Davis criticizes the Soros-funded academic Minerva Initiative and its investigation of what researcher Kathleen Carley terms, "socio-cognitive cultural maps" on the Internet.

The black pill views the establishment's efforts to dominate the Internet with contempt. Can the way we exist on the Internet in relation to the real world be traced, normalized, and ultimately harnessed? The academic researchers funded by the Minerva Initiative think so. Once cyber-values are determined, they can be controlled. This is why academic researchers at top universities study the dynamics of memes as forms of 'social contagion,' which create new norms in a 'normless' world. They race to understand how memes and virtual norms possess viral capabilities which can bring down real world governments, as happened in 2010 at the start of the Arab Spring. It is easy to see how the establishment, realizing that the Internet can push a button and cheaply and relatively bloodlessly overturn governments, would want to know how that Black Box works.

But for now, the black pills are jealously in possession of the Internet's Black Box and they are not interested in giving it up. They have figured out how to make it work and will say anything, no matter how shocking, to hold their position. This is why the alt-right are using fascist memes. They believe in these values, and argue that they offer true descriptions of why the world is the way it is; but ironically, the real draw for them is the utilitarian efficacy of fascist memes, which is a separate, Black Box question. For them, flashing the swastika is like saying abracadabra over and over again, or Dorothy, clicking her red shoes together to get back to Kansas. They are using the powerful dynamics of virtual message-making to transform real reality.

BLACKPILL: Deep Inside The Deep State (10 April 2017) © Lane Davis. Video Source: Youtube.

From late Gen X into Generation Y: the black pill film above highlights Aaron Swartz's prosecution and suicide after Swartz attempted in 2011 to download the JSTOR papers on the Minerva Initiative at MIT, and share these articles freely online. According to the film, Swartz (1986-2013) opposed the Minerva Initiative's technocratic experimentation with social media and its efforts at cyber-social engineering. Notice that the Minerva-sponsored academics think rigidly in right-left terms, and as a result, despite their gathering of intelligent minds and the vast, intrusive computer analytics at their disposal, their conclusions on cyber-governance are flawed.

To the black pills, this blind spot would be glaringly obvious, and they will walk right through that gap. The film concludes that for the deep state, cyber-norms can provide the bases for Internet governance. And it is this eventuality, this form of deep state cyber-globalism, against which the black pills pit themselves, rather than the bogeymen of the fabled Illuminati. Black pills are not paranoid conspiracy theorists. They are post-paranoid and post-political. They are post-rationalists. And if they are nationalists, they are also internationalists. They mean to build a new New World Order, decentralized, governed on their terms; and they are starting with ideologies which defy previously existing political conventions.

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