Monthly Archives: October 2014

Red Pill and Blue Pill

Ah, “Red Pill”, that malignant spawn of Pick-Up Artistry and Men’s Rights Activism! Truly, you will never find a more wretched hive of sexism and male bitterness (just don’t look).

Then again, I’m not a fan of the “Blue Pill” they’re reacting against either. Blue Pill isn’t a self-identified ideology but I come across the attitudes quite often, particularly in “geek” circles. So, with rationalist charity, maybe there’s something worthwhile hidden inside?

The core difference, I believe, is their attitudes to romantic relationships (heterosexual, in this context). At root, Blue Pill takes a rational approach to relationships, while Red Pill takes an emotional approach to relationships. Accordingly, Blue Pill prefers communication, since information helps rational actors. Red Pill prefers demonstration, since demonstration excites the emotions. Most people have some mixture of these attitudes.

Power Differences

Blue Pill sees a relationship as a contract between two self-interested parties for their mutual benefit. They are therefore suspicious of relationships with a power difference, since they interpret those as unequal contracts, where one party will inevitably exploit the other. Red Pill tends to favour male-led relationships, with a clear power difference, because claiming and surrendering power are both intensely erotic. As for female-led relationships, Blue Pill is less concerned about those because they run against the grain of culture (“patriarchy”), so there’s less scope for exploitation. Red Pill disdains those precisely because they run against the grain of culture, and as they believe, biology. Among other reasons, Red Pill claims that few women are interested in that, so it’s not in a man’s interest to cultivate submissiveness.

If there are problems in a relationship, Blue Pill prefers to discuss them, to avoid misunderstanding, to obtain an optimal and consensual plan of action. Red Pill men prefer to attempt to fix them unilaterally, since that is the man’s responsibility in a male-led relationship.

Frame & Game

Red Pill seems to take a somewhat perspectivist approach to social reality. What Nietzsche called a perspective, Red Pill calls a frame, an interpretation of the world that best suits their needs. To Red Pill, game is the art of creating and demonstrating a “congruent” inner frame — and therefore actually becoming the person they want to be. To demonstrate is to become. To do is to be. [insert Sinatra joke]

To Blue Pill, game is a set of behaviourist tricks that take advantage of human psychology to emotionally manipulate someone to act against their own interest. Framing is one of these tricks, deliberate self-serving bias in communication that distorts objective truth, akin to deception. Mere flirting, however, is good, because that’s simply a form of communication.

On the extreme of Blue Pill are those somewhat Aspergerish folks who complain about ambiguity in flirting, since that ambiguity is part of its demonstrative content, at the expense of clear communication.

Should a man ask before kissing a woman?

Blue Pill says yes, he should get consent, because there’s no down-side in asking about a preference and a big down-side in not doing so. Red Pill says no, because by kissing without asking he demonstrates the ability to read a woman’s emotional state and confidence in that ability, both of which are arousing. And there is little down-side, at least for him.


Why are people attracted to others? Specifically, why is a woman more attracted to one man than another? According to Red Pill, a man becomes desirable by demonstrating desirability (“higher value”), including such things as social status, emotional stability, physical and mental health etc. For example, confidence demonstrates emotional stability and social status. Humour demonstrates social intelligence and perhaps mental health. Any kind of social proof demonstrates desirability by, well, demonstrating being desired.

By contrast, Blue Pill focuses on factors more easily understood rationally, such as compatibility of interests and values. Beyond that, they tend to treat desire as just a given, its causes a kind of black box beyond rational understanding. If someone does or does not desire you, you should simply accept that and not attempt to manipulate it.

— Ashley Yakeley (originally posted here)