Of all the scenes in the Matrix, Cypher’s 30 pieces of silver moment here is the one that requires the most suspension of disbelief. Granted, it’s the Matrix, so you’re going in with a lot of suspended disbelief, and I understand Cypher’s Judas moment is central to the movie’s plot, but for as cerebral and philosophically rich as the Matrix is, this scene begs a lot of questions.
First we have to consider how long Cypher’s been cut away from the Matrix – 9 years. His experience of awakening, or something like it, we can presume was much like Neo’s. Shock, disbelief, denial, depression and finally acceptance. The experience Cypher and Neo, and anyone else so unplugged, would somewhat follow a predictable path, and thus the people doing the unplugging have pre-established programs to help those awakened adjust to a ‘real’ life.
What Cypher has here is 9 years of experiencing the harsh reality of the ‘real’. Although he understands it, he wants to forget it. He wants the comfort and bliss that being unconscious and ignorant in the Matrix makes possible for him.
The disbelief we have to suspend here is that the automatons of the Matrix will actually honor their end of the bargain and graciously wipe away all of his memories of being in the real world, to say nothing of actually improving Cypher’s ‘life’, such as it is, once he’s blissfully oblivious of the ‘real’. One would think that after 9 years of watching the Matrix ‘code and understanding how that system works Cypher wouldn’t have been so naive as to think that the system wouldn’t simply kill him once he’d betrayed Morpheus to it.
Still, the want for an escape from harsh realities is certainly an aspect of the human condition. We all have them and for the most part they’re harmless distractions to ease what we can bear of the real world. However, depending upon the personality and the severity of the need to escape, we can find ourselves preferring the fantasy to the reality. This is what can make harmless distractions into compulsive obsessions. It’s easy to on pick MMO games as an illustration, but the ‘addiction’ element of them stems from a personality that prefers the fantasy to the reality of its conditions.
Cypher is one such individual. He’s been rejected by Trinity – one of the only two women on his ship – in favor of the (at the time contextual) Alpha of a better looking and less creepy Neo. He resents Trinity’s attraction to Neo and spends his off hours watching encoded Matrix porn (not only a Buffer, but also an escape) and has a direct line to the only alcohol on the ship (courtesy of Dozer). Both of these classic male escapes, and many more just like them, are the characteristic remedy intended to cope with a reality that borders on insufferable. It’s almost prescient that this movie was written and released well before the rise of ubiquitous internet porn.
“If you entirely removed men’s access to porn and booze from society the male suicide rate would increase tenfold.”
I’ve read this comment on a couple of manosphere blogs in the past, and it’s almost a truism when you consider the most visceral of Buffers men turn to in order to escape their realities. Whether or not that guy is lost in his blue pill mental jail cell or he feels destitute in the perceived hopelessness of a cruel, but real, red pill existence he’s unprepared for, a man will always look for his escapes – and usually he gravitates, and fixates upon the ones that best satisfy what he’s unable to actualize.
On second thought, maybe we don’t need to suspend any disbelief with Cypher. Once we understand that condition and situation, and the abject lack of an ability to adress it, can drive someone to desperation, to hopeless suicide, acts of violence, to fanciful absorbing escapes, etc., ‘real’ naive beliefs and willful intellectual negligences seem of small consequence by comparison.
I’m using Cypher’s character here today thanks to an enlightening post Athol Kay dropped last week. I disagree with his assertion here that red pill men need their occasional blue pill escapisms, but really only in how he’s applying terms. Athol sites this same video and character to illustrate how men have a desire (need?) to regress back into their former ‘magical thinking’ in order to cope with the reality our red pill, our Game awareness, our new ability to make sense of, and confront, our conditioning and the mechanics of fem-centrism now demands of Men.
My main objection is conflating to blue pill ignorance as some sort of escape that a Man might artificially enjoy from time to time in order to balance the harsh, and admittedly cruel truths his new awareness brings to him.
The trouble is, a lot of the Red Pill approach to life assumes a near telepathic assumption of negative intentions in others. Is it often right? Sure it is. But it’s almost impossible to live happily if you are endlessly paranoid and jaded about the intentions of everyone around you. If every woman is a hot mess of whorish desire and nothing else but a lying cunt of a hamster justifying her Alpha male sperm seeking… well it gets tiring being on edge after a while. Likewise every man is a third wheel seeking an opportunity and plots behind your back, pumping you for information about your woman, seeking to make a run into the endzone the moment you blink too slowly.
I read versions of this breakdown from a lot of guys who resist the idea of a red pill or a Game awareness altogether when it’s first presented to them and they acknowledge the basics of it. I addressed this in The Bitter Taste of the Red Pill and Bitter Misogynists, but the simple version is that what’s being outlined for red pill men seems too hopelessly nihilistic to actually be true. It sounds so paranoid and attention consuming that it can’t actually be.
From The Bitter Taste of the Red Pill:
The truth will set you free, but it doesn’t make truth hurt any less, nor does it make truth any prettier, and it certainly doesn’t absolve you of the responsibilities that truth requires. One of the biggest obstacles guys face in unplugging is accepting the hard truths that Game forces upon them. Among these is bearing the burden of realizing what you’ve been conditioned to believe for so long were comfortable ideals and loving expectations are really liabilities. Call them lies if you want, but there’s a certain hopeless nihilism that accompanies categorizing what really amounts to a system that you are now cut away from. It is not that you’re hopeless, it’s that you lack the insight at this point to see that you can create hope in a new system – one in which you have more direct control over.
The reason most men experience this initial hopelessness is because their only prior frame of reference for the way life works up until then has been that of a blue pill existence. It’s a very difficult aspect of killing the Beta and relearning how to exist in a red pill awareness – most men either reject it in wholesale denial or they turn paranoid and see the signs of the real intent or the underlying motivations for every action a woman or man presents them with as per Athol’s example.
The trouble this presents is one of switching a man’s paradigm from blue pill to red pill. Many transitioning guys tell me how impossible it is to “keep up the act” that they believe a red pill awareness requires of them. They believe so because their operative mindset, the direction they think will work best for them, are still based on the rules and mental framework of their former blue pill existence.
In the blue pill Matrix, everything was set for them, but with a red pill awareness comes the responsibility of doing things for themselves. They’re unprepared and cut away from a comforting system, but they don’t know what to do with that freedom. They understand that the blue pill is really a complex series of little lies meant to soften painful truths, and that they’d tell themselves more little lies to comfort themselves when those truths’ consequences hurt them, but now they know better. They have only themselves to blame for allowing the speeding, red pill train they knew was coming to flatten them. For one so unprepared it seems impossible to avoid.
NEO: So what’re you trying to tell me, that I can dodge bullets?
MORPHEUS: No Neo, what I’m trying to tell you is that when you’re ready, you wont have to.
The problem lies in the assumption that Red Pill awareness is a consuming force in a Man’s life that demands his constant effort and vigilance to defend himself against.
Once this awareness is internalized and becomes a part of a Man’s personality there is no vigilance, just awareness. There is a subconscious understanding of the order of things from a red pill perspective, but that doesn’t mean I suspect the female bank teller I’m making a deposit with is ready to rob me blind the moment I turn to walk out the door.
Neil Strauss hinted at ‘social robots’ in The Game; guys who were nothing but Game all the time and were unable to make real emotional connections. I would argue just the opposite. The real danger inherent in Game and Red Pill awareness is a man using it to fulfill his former blue pill idealisms – that does require a constant effort.
A healthy red pill awareness requires not only a Man’s reassessment and recreation of himself, but also that he abandon his former blue pill paradigm and learn to live in a new, positive, red pill paradigm. It seems like a daunting task when you first come to terms with it, but ultimately your awareness becomes an internalized part of who you are. You can allow that to consume you with a paranoia rooted in your former blue pill frame, or you can learn to create hope in a new system – one that you not only have more control over, but one that requires you to assume that control.
Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better. Easier is telling yourself that you actually need the little lies the blue pill provides. Easier is is thinking the blue pill is the sugar that helps the medicine go down. Better is recreating a new, positively masculine, direction for yourself based on the awareness and the opportunity that the red pill provides and requires of you.
*Before I finish here I want to say that this post was in no way a ‘take down’ of Athol’s article. I have nothing but respect for the guy and count him as a valuable peer and colleague. His work with MMSL is a much needed resource in the manosphere, and I can’t say enough good things about his efforts. I simple disagree with his take on a need for blue pill illusion.