So it seems there has been some sort of skirmish in the ‘sphere lately involving “Roosh” and a number of folks over at the Red Pill Sub-Reddit. Personally, I don’t care much about this battle- I read neither, and so have no interest in getting involved- much less taking sides. Cail Corishev has an interesting analysis on the situation which some of my readers might find interesting, as it covers both the “schism” as well as provides some useful background info.
Apparently Rollo was involved in this matter to some degree, as he has written a post in response to what has been going on. What interests me about that post is not the commentary about Roosh, but rather about Rollo’s preference for an apolitical or neutral “Red Pill.” In this most recent post he quotes from one of his own posts a few weeks back, The Political is Personal:
It’s my opinion that red pill awareness needs to remain fundamentally apolitical, non-racial and non-religious because the moment the Red Pill is associated with any social or religious movement, you co-brand it with an ideology, and the validity of it will be written off along with any preconceptions associated with that specific ideology.
Furthermore, any co-branding will still be violently disowned by whatever ideology it’s paired with because the Feminine Imperative has already co-opted and trumps the fundaments of that ideology. The fundamental truth is that the manosphere, pro-masculine thought, Red Pill awareness or its issues are an entity of its own.
Now, if I am reading Rollo right what he is saying in that post and in his post recent post is that the “Red Pill” should remain a movement focused on an objective diagnosis of reality. That is, the “Red Pill” shouldn’t be about telling people (men primarily) how to live. That would be Prescription, as Rollo calls it. Rather, the Red Pill should be about telling people how the world, specifically human socio-sexual behavior, works (Description). Then they can decide for themselves how they want to live.
I agree with Rollo that any sort of Prescriptive approach to the Red Pill would be inherently subjective- it would necessarily intersect with ideology or religion. This naturally will divide people, as we are now seeing (and in fact have seen for a while now). However, I must respectfully disagree with Rollo that even if the Red Pill was only Descriptive that it could ever be truly objective. While there is certainly a strong appeal to this notion, as it allows us all something in common, I don’t think it is consistent with human behavior.
Human beings are inherently subjective creatures. Pure objectivity is not really possible for us, even when we are merely trying to describe things. That’s right, even if we merely leave off at simply describing what we see, our internal filters will have an effect on what we notice. And if we take it further to try and understand what phenomena are at work, that involves even more of our subjective understanding and belief. To paraphrase the TV show House: if a neurologist, a cardiologist and an oncologist all examine the same patient, they are all apt to give a different diagnosis. This is because their training and background makes them look for different things, to examine the same symptoms differently, and to connect facts together in a different manner. What might be remarkable to one would be overlooked by another.
Our subjective beliefs influence our perception, and this means two men watching the same behavior can come to two different conclusions about what is going on. Part of the reason why scientific studies and papers are supposed to be peer reviewed is to help screen out biases. This same principle applies to the Red Pill.
The solution, however, is not to reject any attempt to provide a description of what is going on around us. A subjective observation can still be a correct observation, after all. Rather, what human subjectivity should make clear is the necessity of a place where people can share their observations with another, as well as their conclusions about those observations. A vibrant community helps provide a greater pool of observations, as well as helps weed out bad data (inaccurate observations), which naturally will help lead towards more accurate conclusions as well.
And those conclusions are not necessarily prescriptive. As I think on it, I believe that we can distinguish between description and diagnosis. By separating them we can better understand the process of what is going on. And speaking of “what,” I think that word gets to the heart of three different steps involved in this whole process:
- Description- What I just observed
- Diagnosis- What I think that observation means
- Prescription- What I think should be done about it
Again, I don’t think that you can make any one of these steps objective. Human nature precludes this. But I do think that wide-scale collaboration can overcome the negative aspects of subjectivity, at least in the area of Diagnosis. Diagnosis is really about creating effective models or theories of human behavior. Then using those theories or models to predict future behavior. If a model fails repeatedly to predict behavior accurately, then it either needs to be refined or discarded. The collaborative nature of the ‘sphere allows for this kind of testing on wider scale than any individual could hope to achieve themselves. In many ways this is what PUAs have been doing from the very beginning.
My LAMPS/PSALM model is an example of one of my efforts to diagnose female behavior. That model tries to explain what it is that drives female arousal/sexual attraction. By understanding the bounds set in place by that model, a man can focus his self-improvement in areas which will provide direct and positive effects on his overall sexual attractiveness to women. What is great about the ‘sphere is that men can learn about that model and test it out for themselves to determine its accuracy. So far I think it has been a fairly successful model. Not perfect, by any means, but it has held up well.
I can understand Rollo’s concern with the Description and Diagnosis process being caught up in an ideological or religious battle. However, I think that the damage can be mitigated to a large degree by keeping that community large and open. But even if there was Balkanization, or some faction or another dominated the movement, that wouldn’t be the end of the world. After all, whoever is left will still need to provide effective and accurate models/theories. If they don’t, then those who are looking for an explanation of the world around them will go somewhere else. After all, the rise of the Red Pill is attributable in large part to the fact that general society’s own models and theories are lacking. I think that those who would find a model or theory invalid because of its “taint” are probably not likely to accept the model in the first place- after all, their minds are not yet freed (to continue the Matrix analogy). [As a side-note, a model should be judged on its efficacy, not its source. To disregard it because of who created it would be a mistake- for anyone.]
If Rollo wishes to focus on Description and Diagnosis, then by all means he should do so. Nor should anyone fault him for focusing only on them. They are still vital areas which should not be ignored. While there is a lot of Description out there, new Diagnosis is always welcome. It would be the height of presumption to think that “the science is settled” and that no new models or theories should be developed to help explain or understand human behavior.
As for myself, my blog initially focused mostly on Diagnosis. Over time I became more and more focused on Prescription. I suspect that the latter will continue to be my dominant focus in the near future. But don’t be surprised to see me direct my attention back to Diagnosis from time to time.