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Woke or Red-Pilled?

Because I run a long-running, multi-media project called C-Realm, in which C stands for consciousness, some people assume that because I use the term "consciousness" I must think that I am enlightened. They then demand to know how I can claim to be enlightened when I don't hold the exact same beliefs they do, particularly on issues that go under the heading of "social justice."

I don't claim to be enlightened. I wouldn't know how to tell if I was enlightened. Once, back in the 90's, I propagated the Good Times email virus hoax. I wouldn't fall for that again today. I recognize Nigerian 419 email scams and phishing attempts. I can also spot a range of logical fallacies that a great many people seem to find convincing, but I don't imagine for a second that I'm so savvy that no method of behavior modification, worldview management or the manufacturing of consent works on me.

Awareness of a particular kind of manipulation could be considered a binary condition. You're either clued into it or you're not, but it doesn't generalize. I do not believe that there is an awakening phenomenon that catapults one into a state of general wakefulness to the panoply of deceits and manipulations which, along with a monopoly on violence and the willing consent of the governed, comprise the power of the few to rule the many.

The young and aggressive wings of both the left and right of the political and cultural divide in America, I'll call them SJW/BLM and the alt.right/manosphere, each use slang terms to indicate their particular way of being aware of how the larger culture abuses and manipulates them.

On the left, those who understand systemic racism and the hegemony of male-dominance and hetero-normativity describe themselves as being "woke" and encourage one another to "stay woke." On the right, men (and some women) who see through the lies of feminism and the web of false beliefs used to denigrate masculinity and enslave men are said to have been "red-pilled."
Both terms get under my skin. In the case of "woke" it bugs me to hear a verb used as an adjective. In the same way, it bugged me back in the 90s when Kinko's tried to turn the noun "office" into a verb in a marketing campaign. In the case of being "red-pilled," I don't like hearing a reference from The Matrix, the brainchild of two trans filmmakers, used as a shibboleth for hyper-masculinity.

Putting my irritation aside, the two terms present an interesting paradox in that they seem like they should be synonyms, but they aren't. The woke and the red-pilled ones have each thrown off a different set of lies and delusions and have come to know a different, and possibly mutually exclusive, set of truths. Both terms seem to imply an outgroup that is duped by the lies of the establishment while only an elect minority see the truth, and both terms denote a binary state. You're either woke or you're not. You either took the red pill or you took the blue pill. There is no purple. Seemingly, you can't be kind of enlightened; sorta hip to the devil's tricks, the way I imagine myself to be.

More interesting still is the way the two terms mirror each other in how they highlight the event of becoming aware and the state of unawareness that preceded it. If you are merely awake, it doesn't follow that you used to be asleep, but if you are woke, that entails an awakening and a prior state of unconsciousness. If you are red-pilled, then that implies that you were once taken in by the systemic illusion of the Matrix.

The terms do have one important difference. Conceivably, one can awaken on one's own, but you must be offered the Red Pill. That means that a mentor who is more adept in the ways of illusion and deception must extend to you the opportunity to absorb his teachings and show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

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