After 3 years the time has finally arrived. I pushed the button on the official publication of The Rational Male – Religion on January 4th, 2021. I know, I know, it’s been a long time, and try as I might I think the blog suffered a bit for it. The good news is I’ll be getting back to my writing here on the regular again, but I will admit this project consumed me more than I had ever anticipated. The process of writing a book of this caliber taught me a lot of valuable lessons, not just as a writer, but as a researcher and a thinker (if you’ll grant me that). I bit off way too much for me to chew in a lot of ways when I embarked on this project. I’m proud to say I had the commitment to chew it all eventually, but writing a book more or less from whole cloth was something I was less prepared for than my previous 3 books. So, for this Return to the Blog post I’m going to tell you about the book itself, my approach to it, the process of researching and developing it, and what I learned along the way.
The Rational Male – Religion has been available on Amazon (print) and Kindle for a little over 2 weeks now. It’s been the #1 New Release in the Science and Religion category since I published it, and it’s been #1 through #6 in some of the Religious subcategories as well. This is a big compliment to me since my intent from the beginning was to open the Red Pill up to an audience that wasn’t likely to be savvy of the Manosphere. Thus far the dozen or so reviews have all been 5 star, but moreover the comments have been overwhelmingly positive – to the point that some are calling it my best work since the first book. Flattering as that is, it’s the result of a degree of planning, research, discussion and attention to detail that I’ve learned is needed to have anyone outside the ‘sphere take Red Pill praxeology seriously. It’s one thing to discuss the often unflattering truths about women’s nature and the latent purposes of mating strategies; it’s quite another to assert that our personal beliefs and religious faiths are intertwined with them. I knew from the start that I’d be navigating a minefield of readers’ preconceptions, and ego-investments in them. This was my challenge: convey the Red Pill praxeology of intersexual dynamics in the context of personal beliefs while being mindful that the past four generations have had Blue Pill conditioning inform a lot of these beliefs. I also had to bear in mind that the convictions, values and faiths being informed by Blue Pill conditioning aren’t just limited to those with a belief in God.
This was my prime directive in writing Religion. I wasn’t about to sugarcoat or dance around the tough, ego-investment challenging aspects of the Red Pill. I have an obligation to objective truth, but I also didn’t want the book to become a “Rollo bashes religion in this one” effort. The most common hesitation I get from people curious about this 400 page book is “Hey man, I’m an Atheist, religion is just a bullshit cope, should I just skip this one?” Likewise, I have Believers ask me, “Is this book just about bashing Christianity and traditional values?” The answer to both is ‘No’. In fact from the Introduction I anticipated this response. It’s why I wrote the book actually. The Rational Male – Religion is an exploration of human intersexual dynamics and their influence on spiritual belief, religion and social values. Empiricists and Believers alike will get a lot from this book. It is a Red Pill look under the hood at the roots of men and women’s “need to believe” in love, God and the metaphysical to solve our mating imperatives. I don’t try to convert anyone to religion, nor do I try to convince you to abandon your beliefs. As always, it’s about connecting dots and seeing correlations.
Religion is structured differently than any of my previous books. The Rational Male was originally a collection of what I believe are the most imperative Red Pill truths for men to understand in this new era of information. These were drawn from my past essays on this blog, which were prompted by long discussion threads on the SoSuave and other forum posts from as far back as 2002. I then reworked and curated these essays into what is now the Bible of the Red Pill. For Religion I had to take a new approach. Although I drew upon some prior essays, the majority of this book I wrote from scratch. Dalrock of course was a major influence throughout the book, but even for the older ideas it was necessary to rewrite the concepts both to modernize them for the coming decade and to make them accessible to a reader who may not be familiar with the Red Pill we take for granted now. This meant that I had to start from a point of explaining Red Pill root concepts in the beginning chapters and build chapter by chapter to the greater concepts. The overarching theme of the book is the need to recognize that we are now 20 years into a New Age of Enlightenment brought about by the internet, social media and an accessibility to information unprecedented in human history. I make a distinction between old order thinking versus a new order understanding that challenges (and confirms) those old order belief sets. This is the first hurdle most unfamiliar readers will have to consider. Most old order thinking is what constitutes our beliefs, convictions and values, but the data age (for better or worse) access to information (accurate or not) is challenging these ego-investments. Whether or not you think these challenges confirm your beliefs isn’t the point; the point is that this new order information is forcing the past 4 generations – and future generations – to reassess how we’ll progress as a globalized society by accepting new truths or clinging to old order thinking.
The book builds chapter by chapter up to the most salient parts in the final chapters. This is by design. I needed old and new readers to digest the way I come to the bigger concepts of the book before I get to them. This book is by far the most meticulously researched and sources-cited book I’ve ever written. In my prior books and on this blog I’m accused of not having peer-reviewed, har data to back up my assertions. Most of this is just disingenuous filibustering by lazy critics who don’t have the time to click on the links I put in my essays. However, I wasn’t going to have that in this book. I footnote every source I used in the research of this book. If you’re wondering why a book like this took 3 years to produce, a good portion of that time was spent reading and archiving the research. I should add that this aspect of the book is something I don’t see any writers in this sphere doing to such a degree. This process taught me to be very detail conscious about what I was writing. Most people don’t really care about the sources you cite, they just want to know you did look something up. In the TL;DR generation no one will take the time to read through the 20 page, peer-reviewed, meta-analysis they require from you to prove your assertion. They just find one study that reinforces their beliefs, link it, and dismiss you. So, my intent in citing sources in this book was more in the interests of thoroughness and less about trying to change anyones mind about their beliefs.
The biggest change you’ll note in this book is my writing style. I’ve learned to kill my darlings and only rarely pepper in a $10 word when I thought it served. This came from my reading Writing without Bullshit by Josh Bernoff. This book made me realize the importance of presenting my ideas with clarity. The cardinal rule of writing is this; never waste the reader’s time. In the past I’ve used some complex terms and, lets just say long-form, sentence structures to get an idea across. Too many people thought that I was trying to sound intelligent by using words they had to look up afterwards, but I’ve always thought that the English language was too rich to be limited to basic ‘caveman’ words. I don’t write for the 8th grade reading level most journalists are taught to do, however, I realized my ideas were too important not to be accessible to everyone. This book is 400 pages of tight, concise, cohesive writing in a way I really had to retrain myself for. Gone are the superlatives, qualifiers and needless reinforcer adjectives I used to think were useful. I had ample material to use and I knew where I wanted to go with the book from the start, so content wasn’t going to be a problem. The challenge was making it intelligible to all readers, not just the ones who already knew the Red Pill lingo. My purpose then became making the read engaging enough to give readers an Ah-ha! moment about the prior chapter when they got into the following chapter. It became an effort in knowing what to throw out, what to keep and how to simplify saying the same thing in fewer words. As a result, my outlines and my drafts are littered with dead darlings that I wouldn’t have thought twice about keeping in my prior books.
I feel like I’m a better writer for it now. Most of my essays average between 1,800 and 2,800 words. My process usually starts with a hand written outline of concepts I want to hit on and I go from there. Some of these outlines can get really complex as I move from point to point, which create further concepts sometimes. I’ve learned that I don’t necessarily need to cram all of the outline into one essay or one chapter. While I’ve always crafted each post on this blog, I recognize the need for brevity now. The Red Pill praxeology and intersexual dynamics span many subfields, and while I try to be comprehensive in relating the data that makes up Red Pill concepts, at some point I have to trust my readers to get it. Either that, or I have to link what I can and let the bigger ideas carry the concepts into future posts. My challenge now is balancing being thorough with being concise – and all while considering what counterarguments will arise.
I finally feel like an author now. To be an author requires a certain amount of conceit. You read that right; in order to be an author you’ve got to be at least somewhat conceited. Not necessarily in a bad way, but you’ve got to make some presumptions about yourself before you can get past the sticking point of actually typing out ideas on a blank page. The first presumption is the hardest. You have to ask yourself, “Do I actually think I’m so important, worldly or wise that anyone should take me seriously enough to care about what I have to say?” Even if you’re just blogging about something you know well enough, or you just like the topic enough, you have to get past the the hesitation in thinking other people who know better, or are bigger fans than yourself about something you love might be considered better authorities or authors than you.
I don’t really believe in fear being the biggest stumbling block for would-be writers. Most people aren’t fearful of failure or ridicule when it comes to becoming an author. Fear is a stupidly common theme for motivational speakers. Fear is the easiest rationale to target for the ‘go getters’ trying to build a brand on positivity. Fear just sounds like something people would deal with. Athletes, artists writers, everyone’s fearful of failure, right? Wrong. It’s about hesitation in thinking anyone should take you seriously. Then hesitation turns into procrastination and would-be authors turn into pundits or critics, or else they endlessly pontificate about how wrong other authors are and how they’ll correct them in the book they’ll eventually write,…eventually. If you think would-be authors are fearful of failure just look at how easily people blather on for multi-Tweet threads on Twitter, 280 characters at a time. The truth is, damn near anyone can write, but few people are actually authors.
Getting past that hesitation is becoming much easier in the internet age. First it was user groups, then discussion forums, then blogging was the thing that got us past the hesitation. We had to presume that someone, somewhere, might actually read our thoughts and care about them. While social media and Twitter destroyed our critical thinking and insight about what we were writing, it did help to kill any hesitation about presuming someone might think we were unqualified to have an opinion on anything. Fan fiction was one of the first genres of writing to evolve along with the internet. 50 Shades of Grey was literally the work of an amateur fan fiction writer who took the time to become an actual author. Her book was roundly criticized as fan pablum by critics, but you couldn’t argue with the numbers. At some stage a writer has to say screw it and just go for broke. Readers and critics be damned, when we become and author we write a book we want to read.
Once you get past the hesitation, and trot your ideas out in the open it comes down to honing your craft. The craft of writing is the next stumbling block to becoming an author. Anyone can write Tweet or a blog post and be entertaining. It takes an author to hold a reader’s attention for 300 pages. Most writers today are little more than word processors. The self-published “authors” of today were the cubicle jockeys of yesterday writing fan fiction or political screeds from their workstations on company time when they got bored. Just the self-appointed title of author has a romance to it. Few writers today actually know the craft of writing or storytelling, much less a comprehensive knowledge of what they’re relating most of the time. Even learned professors with lots of letters in their degree’s titles who find a new popularity in the Hustle Economy really have a grasp of how to write well.
I’ve often wonder when I could start thinking of myself as a real author. One book? Three books? How many pages do those ‘books’ need to have for me to be considered legitimate? Hemingway’s, Old Man and the Sea is 128 pages long. Hmm,…so, not pages. What about word count? 27,000 for that book. Nope, not word count. Damn, what makes a book a book and a writer an author? Inspiration? Sincerity? Drive, moxie, perseverance? Probably all of those and a few more adjectives I can muster, but when should a guy start calling himself an author? The best answer I can come to is when he’s honest with himself. When you’re honest with yourself about the reasons why you write, why you feel you need to write, when you have mental conversations with yourself about what you’re going to write, all without the pretense of how anyone will misinterpret your words or any thought to what your grandchildren will think about you in the future – that’s when you’re an author. When you’ve filled your 7th little notebook to remember ideas in because your sick of forgetting the brilliant things that came to you at 2am when you woke up to take a piss in the middle of the night, that’s when you’re an author. When you write to yourself and not for your readers, that’s when you’re an author. When you sit down at your iMac with no inspiration and write for 4 hours anyway, then you proof read the brilliant, inspired, words that came to you during the last 30 minutes, that’s when you’re an author.
That’s all very prosaic, but being an author needs to be defined now more than ever. It’s easy to write — it’s a calling to be an author. Lord knows, I never planned to be an author. The Rational Male wasn’t published until I was 45 years old. It took a lifetime to come to the knowledge and craft necessary to write it. Few people actually read books today. They’d rather listen to them, or they skim through them, watch the movie or just read the outline to form an opinion of the ideas or material. I’ve called this the TL;DR Generation – Too Long; Didn’t Read. Feed me the salient points so I can see if you’re full of shit, call you on it or give you praise, and then move on to the next post. Actually writing something that stops a reader in their tracks is the hallmark of an author. Writing something that inspires genuine conversation, debate or writing a story that a reader can lose themselves in is the craft of an author. Writing something a reader actually internalizes, especially in this generation, is a rare, practiced, gift of an author. Being an author is difficult today. The distractions are endless. It’s not enough to just write ideas and relate them with skill, you have to be engaging and accessible to your readers in ways that authors from past eras never imagined. This is why most writers never become authors. Writers lose themselves in the distractions. They get lost in building identities, brands and images of themselves they believe their fans expect of them. Authors write in spite of themselves. Authors are so enveloped in their ideas and craft that they don’t care if they come off as assholes for ignoring distractions. Writers get off on the image of being writers, authors are too busy exploring and relating ideas.