Many are familiar with the paralysing despair that seems to leak from the stomach, into the bloodstream, and into all the other organs, especially the brain. One looks around and examines the world, and the resulting despair makes life seems hopeless and pointless, and suicide like a viable way of ending the suffering. Those who recognise it call it the Black Pill. This essay looks at how to overcome it.
It’s worth noting that getting black pilled is very different to being depressed from a chemical imbalance or similar. The Black Pill is not the same thing as depression, which usually arises as a consequence of brain damage brought about by childhood neglect and abuse. Depression is a clinical condition; the Black Pill is an existential one.
Black pills arise for a variety of reasons. They can be generalised into three groups, however, which crudely correspond to the spiritual challenges that this column has described as the Three Hurdles.
The first major black pill is the realisation that no-one knows what the fuck they’re doing on this planet. Basically everything you’ve ever been told by an authority figure (with the exception of a few scientists and similar) has been a crock of horseshit. The world’s politicians, priests and captains of industry don’t see reality accurately. And they’re leading us to disaster.
The environmental situation on Planet Earth is a black pill so large that it has to be taken as a suppository. It’s apparent to anyone who looks at the climate science that we’re currently exhausting the Earth, and some major lifestyle changes are necessary for the human species. The alternative is, potentially, ecological collapse – a collapse that will take us with it.
Anyone searching for meaning in this place eventually realises that it’s impossible to ask any authority for this, because none of them know what the fuck’s going on either, and asking them for direction will only lead to one’s own enslavement. Authority is achieved by understanding the rules of politics and the political environment, not by understanding reality accurately. Therefore, none of our rulers can be said to be legitimate.
The second major black pill is that this life ends, and it isn’t obvious what happens then. The fact that we’re all going to die is about the only material phenomenon that we can predict with absolute certainty. Although many of us entertain thoughts of an afterlife, there are very few who are absolutely certain that they will reincarnate somewhere else.
It really seems that we can take nothing with us from this world into the next, and therefore there is nothing to be won here, nothing to be achieved, collected or hoarded. Therefore, it isn’t obvious that there’s any meaning to life in this material plane. To know that all one’s works are to be dust is not a pleasant experience, but that appears to be the fate before us.
Many who realise that all of their works will be lost with their own death try to get around this by reproducing, but the inescapable fact is that one’s offspring will all themselves die, as will theirs. Simply spawning like any other animal may be a massive distraction that lasts for decades, but it doesn’t make it meaningful. It doesn’t take the black pill away, it just distracts you from feeling it.
The third major black pill is that living for pure pleasure is not fulfilling in anything but the immediate short term. It might be possible to accept that the world is going to end and that we’re all going to die, if only we could enjoy ourselves while we’re here. But it doesn’t seem to be as simple as that.
The human brain is wired up in such a way that repeated exposure to a particular stimulus eventually leads to a weakened response to that stimulus (at least, under normal circumstances). In less technical terms, too much of the same thing eventually becomes boring. This is the reality that every hedonist has tried to escape in vain. You can’t chase the dragon forever.
It might be true that the brain has a reward/punishment system built in that makes us feel good or bad, but there’s no real meaning in just stimulating this system until we die. At least, not in the sense of trying to maximise pleasure. It’s impossible for a mortal being to maximise pleasure because their mortality, and inevitable decline into death, inherently means that their life will be one of misery.
The combined effect of these three black pills has been too much for millions of people throughout history. The butcher’s bill for suicide is attestation enough to that. As a consequence, people have devoted an incredible amount of time and effort into overcoming black pills.
The art and science of overcoming black pills is, more or less, the same thing as spirituality.
All suffering arises from the illusion of separation from God. Where it gets tricky is that all life itself is the illusion of separation from God. It was understanding this grim calculus that caused Buddha to conclude that life itself was suffering. Indeed, life itself is suffering – that is the biggest black pill of all. But the fact is that, once one has accepted this, it’s white pills all the way back up again.
Life, after all, is temporary, and if life is suffering then it follows that suffering is also temporary. No matter what might be afflicting one in this material plane, there is no guarantee that it will continue to afflict one outside of it.
In fact, if life in this material plane is both temporary and suffering, that means that the true state of consciousness is one of bliss, and only through temporarily becoming enthralled in the illusions of the material world do we ever leave it. Therefore, a return to eternal bliss is inescapable. This realisation is the true Good News of spirituality.
Understanding this requires understanding that materialism is a false ideology, borne of the same simplicity that caused people to once declare the world is flat. Just because something appears to be so, doesn’t mean that it actually is so. That is just as much true of the existence of the material world as of the shape of it.
Materialism causes black pills because it insists that the brain generates consciousness and so consciousness is extinguished with the death of the brain. This leads directly to the assumption that nothing has any meaning, and therefore that causing suffering to oneself and others is just as good as doing the opposite.
The truth is that this reality in which we find ourselves is not material, but the dream of a God, whose consciousness has been split into an infinite number of individual consciousnesses, whereupon each of those individual consciousness falls under the delusion that it is the only consciousness that exists. This is for the sake of maximising the sense of novelty arising from exploring the metaverse of illusion, something otherwise known as the Great Fractal.
The meaning of this existence is not to achieve anything in particular, because God is already perfect and there is nothing to achieve. In reality, there is nothing more to do than to entertain ourselves for eternity. God seems to be of the opinion that the game of forgetting the great spiritual truths of reality, and then remembering them again, is exciting enough to repeat over and over again, forever.
We can take our frequency of consciousness with us from moment to moment, and it may be true that we take it past the death of the physical body as well. The Black Pill can thus be overcome by focusing on being the kind of energy that one would like to see expressed in the world. This will cause one to eventually incarnate in a part of the Great Fractal that reflects this energy.
If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 is also available.