the great blackpilling: why millions are surrendering to the worst of humanity
Perhaps one of the most disturbing and terrifying revelations of the last decade is that contrary to the claims of conspiracy theorists, there appears to be no one pulling the strings in some sort of top secret plan to rule the world. Most of us tend to believe that should a real crisis come, the people in power would unite to protect their interests and step in to keep civilization going, even if that would involve complex machinations and authoritarian control of entire regions. But as we are confronted with crisis after crisis, our leadership appears ever more inept and tone deaf.
The resultant lurches between tenuous normalcy and retrograde, sadistic demagoguery set to a background of general chaos mean that for a growing number of people, conspiracy theories in which they fell in love during the start of the pandemic are beginning to break down. If those in charge seem barely capable of tying their shoes without getting a concussion, or unable to talk their way out of a paper bag, much less a scandal, then how pray tell could these clumsy, badly spoken louts be the sinister masterminds we’re all being constantly warned about?
And this has given the internet pundit class another niche to exploit: the world of the blackpilled. Normally, this is a term for incels afflicted with downright apocalyptic nihilism, but it seems that it could just as readily apply to fans of authors like Umair Haque, a British economist whose main output today informs his readers that sadly, everything is terrible and isn’t going to get better no matter how hard we try because it’s just too late. All we have left to do is wait for the utter failure of civilization and try again, hopefully without screwing it up the next time around.
why does anyone want to be blackpilled?
Hold on, you may object, who in the hell would want to dive into content like this? Angry, grand conspiracy theories to feel like a soldier against darkness? Sure, that makes some twisted sort of sense. But just giving up? To whom could that possibly appeal? The answer? To those tired, overwhelmed, and whose every attempt to get ahead so far failed to pay off. Rather than seek new battlefields and another chance at glory and noble purpose, they want absolution. That it’s okay to stop hustling and fighting and getting that bread. That it’s okay to just… be done.
Have you ever been stuck in a toxic job where you could barely function thanks to the anxiety from all the projects piled on you? And when you finally put in your two weeks, wasn’t the sleep you got that night the best you had in years? Suddenly, emergencies that were taking a mental toll on you every waking hour seemed like trivial nonsense you felt free to ignore because in just a matter of days, they’d no longer be your problem. Let those who still care pull their hair out and hyperventilate about the crazy deadlines. You? You are done and at peace.
Well, being blackpilled is effectively the same thing but for the world at large. Instead of trying so hard and getting nowhere, you can just quit and stop giving mental energy to solving problems you’ve accepted as unsolvable. In some ways, giving up can be therapeutic, and it’s not bizarre that your average physically and psychically exhausted denizen of today’s Stupid Ages would want to take a break from the ongoing inanity and insanity. It even makes sense that one day, they may reach the conclusion that the best thing they can do today is nothing.
the problem with quitting reality
Unfortunately, life is not like a toxic job. You can’t just quit. It’s not an option reality gives you for as long as you draw breath. On top of that, unlike bad bosses who can, at worst, badmouth you to another potential employer, bad people in power can continue to do their damage without a mobilized opposition because those who could stop them, or at least slow them down, threw in the towel. You may be done dealing with them or hoping that you can defeat them, but they are not done with you. Hell, with your capitualition, they’ve just gotten started.
In fact, when it comes to sociopaths, those who score high on the dark tetrad of character traits, making their victims feel powerless to stop them is right at the top of their wishlist. Falling for the siren song of blackpilling and surrendering to existential dread is a dangerous mistake in a world where social media is monetizing sadism and outrage, amplifying voices that used to be fringe extremists and clowns to the point where they drive international discourse. Quit now and they’ll eat you alive, then charge their followers for watching the livestream.
Yes, it can be incredibly difficult to find hope and stay happy through the deluge of ever more horrible news, but who says you need to find strength through happiness? Sometimes spite is more than adequate. I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t accomplished some things driven solely by spite and the conviction that if I’m going to lose against an overpowered foe, I might as well make my defeat as costly and painful as possible, ideally enough for them to curse my name and break out in hives in the process. (Must be my Ukrainian upbringing.)
the hidden power of spite and defiance
Just like there’s comfort in giving up, there’s a certain measure of relief in letting yourself have only one choice: to fight and move forward. I’m old enough to remember when Russia was supposed to conquer Ukraine in a matter of a week, execute all of its top leaders and public figures, then re-conquer all of Eastern Europe, shattering NATO and the world order in the process. None of this came to pass for many complex reasons, but especially because when faced with an enemy, millions of Ukranians saw fighting as the only option.
Americans are faced with a similar dilemma, but their threat is largely internal, a rabid political movement that refuses to help citizens solve problems large and small, and escapes any real accountability for its disdain towards those it’s supposed to serve through scapegoating and encouraging terror and violence. But the problem for this movement is that it’s also trying to strip the aforementioned citizens of many of their rights and that’s definitely not something Americans take lightly, especially when they’re paying attention.
According to philosopher John Stuart Mill, “bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” As we see in countless stories of those who grit their teeth and fought back, solved problems, and refused to take the black pill, when good people fight back, humanity moves forward. Yes you may feel like you have nothing left to make you feel hopeful, and giving up is the only solution that makes sense. So don’t do it for hope. Do it out of spite. And when you refuse to go down quietly, you may find your hope again.