I’ve often spoken about swallowing different pills in terms of how one approaches life. And, yes, I know that there are competing metaphors.
The purpose of the pill metaphor, in my context, is to merely simplify (and expand on) a complex set of worldviews based on The Matrix.
The black pill
Being black-pilled, in my cartoon’s context, is essentially about being ultra-cynical and nihilistic.
It’s about being red-pilled – which means to see behind the facade – and throwing in the towel.
It’s about absence of meaning and waking up with no purpose.
It’s about perpetual victimhood and the laughable assumption that you’re not powerful enough to be victorious.
It’s about taking antidepressants and enjoying the ride while everything burns.
In short, being black-pilled is about being a loser.
Cynicism versus scepticism
Cynicism and scepticism are often mixed up, but they’re quite different.
Cynicism is about not trusting people’s motives and thinking they’re mainly self-interested (or controlled opposition). This approach, while sometimes justified, acts as a shield against disappointment but usually leads nowhere productive.
Taken to its logical extreme, (ultra) cynicism means nobody (other than you) can do or say anything good. Even those on the same side as you eventually become your enemy because they ‘can’t be trusted’.
It’s a slippery slope.
Scepticism, however, is about questioning people’s sincerity without being destructive or venomous.
Scepticism is healthy.
It seeks a clearer understanding of reality.
Unlike being black-pilled, which is perpetual defeatisim, being sceptical means being open to new knowledge.
The white pill
Combing scepticism with gained knowledge and doing something constructive with it, is being white-pilled.
It’s about exploiting the red pill.
It’s about knowing how the world really works, finding solutions and solving problems.
It’s about setting goals and winning.
It’s about waking up with purpose.
Being white-pilled absolutely does not mean being overtly positive and blinded to reality. In fact, being white-pilled is somewhat stoic in the sense that it’s about the development of self-control and fortitude as a means to overcome challenges, focusing on what can be controlled and letting go of what can’t.
Realising that nobody is perfect and that redemption should be celebrated, swallowing the white pill means appreciating human nature and nuance.
Here’s my conversation with PANDA’s Nick Hudson.