In last week’s essay, I talked about the bargaining phase of the 5 stages of grief, characterized by a desire to negotiate and seek compromise in order to put off or lessen a negative outcome. For instance, bargaining for a little bit more life, or being able to retain some part of your blue pill illusion. This week’s topic is the depression phase that follows the bargaining phase, and often represents the most mentally challenging step to take when going through a red pill awakening.
A man who reaches the depression stage has gone through an anger phase where he is angry at the world for a variety of reasons, He could also have been angry at women for being what they are, rather than what he thinks they ought to be, this is quite common among many men who find the Red Pill. Lastly, he might have had a “shoot the messenger” phase during the anger stage where he displaced his anger at the world, at women at the men who finally told him the truth about inter-sexual dynamics.
After that he went through the bargaining phase, where he tried to find compromises between his previous world-view and his newly found reality, in order to preserve some of his ego-investments, avoid taking the full sunk-cost of his previous resource utilization and to retain some part of his idealized view of mating.
Once he realizes that he cannot bargain to retain some of his previous investments, be they in resources, dreams or desired outcomes, the man begins to experience the depression phase of the Five Stages of Grief. The depression phase being characterized by pulling away, withdrawing from life, wondering if perhaps it is even worth living anymore, or even trying. This is how you know that you’ve hit the depression phase.
The Depression Phase
To give a little background, if we assume that most men start looking at girls when they are about 12 – 14 years old, and at that point start to formulate their game, a man who finds The Red Pill at 20, will have invested 6 – 8 years of his life into his particular style of game. The man was most likely also raised on idealized stories about how love “works” from Disney cartoons to fairy-tales to the idealized story that his mother tells about how she and his father met.
The boy has been raised on concepts such as “The One”, “Unconditional love”, “Soul Mate” and various others, that create certain patterns in his mind. For instance, if we assume that there is a “one”, that implies that you have to find that one in order to live happily ever after. Secondly, it creates a buffer in that if a man dates a girl who treats him poorly, or does not live up to the idealized view of women, she simply was not the one. As a side note “She was not the one” is just an adapted “No True Scotsman” fallacy.
When one adds the man’s idealized view of women, as being made from sugar and spice and everything nice, this crash back to reality will be very brutal.
Imagine a man who thought that his girl was “The One”, viewed her actions through rose-colored glasses, and finds himself coming out of the FOG, after perhaps 10 – 20 years in a relationship with a girl who has borderline personality disorder. Add on top of that, the convenient social convention that it’s a man’s job to maintain a marriage, and to put in the work to keep her happy, after all “Happy wife, Happy Life”. Plus some general zeroing out, losing access to his kids, living in a one-room studio apartment at 55, and working three jobs to afford food. One can understand why the depression stage hits men hard after the bargaining phase.
After all, they built much of their idealized future on a foundation that was not real. The depression phase is often characterized by what people refer to as “Nihilism” but which is simply that a person after the bargaining phase accepted that the meaning of his life, that he had been raised with is now gone, and he has not yet found his new purpose and meaning in life. In this sense, the depression stage represents that last challenge to a man, to in his sorrow, misery and grief located that which will give his life meaning going forward. This is the same thing Marx says about religion in perhaps his second most famous quote:
Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo
The meaning behind this quote is that religion is a painkiller, and is needed because people are in pain, to take away someone’s pain medication before fixing their pain leaves a void. This is the crux of the depression phase, you have gotten angry, you have begged for salvation, you have realized that no one is coming to save you and you are left to your own devices.
This was the realization of my own depression phase some years ago, a man cannot rely on anyone else for happiness. The Blue Pill illusion creates a path towards happiness that is sold to men in order to utilize them as means towards a society’s desired end. Thus, I think the crucible of the depression phase is two-fold. For the first time, a man is faced with the prospect of being responsible for his own outcomes in life, but he’s also faced by the harsh reality that he is not promised a happy ending.
Now I realize that the term “Happiness” is somewhat wishy-washy and hard to measure, however I think it is a good catch-all term for the idea outcome of the depression phase. In reality the depression phase isn’t about coming to terms with sadness, so much as it is coming to terms with the fact that many of the dreams you had that relied on the blue pill illusion are not achievable in reality. This is the stage where many men revert to the “God Pill” or any other promise of taking the pain away.
This is perhaps one of the more severe things that the men in the depression phase have to grapple with, the fact that they are responsible for their own lives, rather than there being a pre-ordained progression that if he just keeps working down his checklist he will eventually receive the ending he imagined. People often despise responsibility for the simple reason that this requires not only thinking, but acting.
Knowing that you are responsible grants you great liberties, but also places upon your person great responsibilities to navigate this world of ours not only in your mind, but in your body and spirit as well. If you fight your inner risk fear of self-reliance, you will progress through, tiny action after tiny action until you emerge on the other side, having slowly re-constructed your mind and body from the shattered pieces.
The depression phase is a man’s realization that he’s alone in a foreign land, far from everything he has ever known and the anchors that at the same time gave him a sense of safety in a storm, yet kept him firmly in place.
Summary and Conclusions
Out of the 5 stages, I’d argue that depression is one of the easiest once you frame-shift, but one of the hardest if you do not. There is an old adage, “if you are going through hell, keep going” and this is pretty much what the depression phase is about. If we put it in analogy form:
- The Denial phase is that you and you’re people are doing great in Egypt, why would you ever leave.
- The Anger phase is the triggering moment that causes you to lead go to Pharaoh and lead your people from Egypt
- The Bargaining phase is realizing that you’ll be walking around in that bloody desert for 40 years, maybe we could find a god with a slightly faster timetable so you seek to build that golden idol.
- The Depression phase is realizing that you may never see the promised land, but showing your fortitude by leading your people towards it anyway.
Denial, Anger and Bargaining all feel purposeful for a man, but depression just appears as a pointless slog, but one that must be accepted for what it is. You can revert from depression to bargaining, or depression to anger, or you can resolve to move forward and fill that empty hole with something else, such as your mission.
Quite frankly, it is more common for men to revert to bargaining, this is why there is such a large market for factory-finished prescriptions, whether ideological, religious, or otherwise. This is why among others Jordan Peterson did so well, he was able to offer a take that was practical, prescriptive, yet kept you trapped in an illusion of his making. This is what you get when you construct a system of:
- Spirituality & Belief
You get a blueprint to life, you never have to deal with the freedom of making up your own mind, thinking for yourself, finding your own world-view, defining your own boundaries, perspectives and cobbling together a strategy guide for your own life if someone else can FedEX it to you overnight, but that means you are living their life, according to their facts, values and beliefs rather than your own. You’ve traded the collective delusion of your society, with the individual delusion of a man you deemed more trustworthy, smarter, stronger and better than you. That is perhaps the greatest frame loss imaginable.
The depression phase is ultimately the Sphinx of this journey you are on, it asks you the questions and you can either heed the call and work out the answer for yourself, never figure it out, or take the cheat sheet from someone else, in which case you will return to bargaining. You will have the illusion of progress where none was made, because you are still having your reality, and ability to navigate within it defined by someone else.
To end on a Matrix reference, when one takes the red pill, one sees reality for the first time, your eyes are hurting because you have never used them before. What was the point of escaping the Matrix built by The Architect, just to be plugging into a new matrix made by another Architect?