A Stoic Zen Red Pill

A Stoic Zen Red Pill (8 min read)

By Ma Dingding

red pill

The Red Pill is a recurrent meme and a widely used expression since the release of the movie The Matrix. Before we define what the “Stoic Red Pill and Zen Red Pill” is, let’s start by defining what the Red Pill is. Then we can go deeper into the subject. 

In this article we will have a look at the following:

-What is the Red Pill


-5 Steps from Blue Pilled to Stoic Zen Red Pill 

-Recommended Readings

What is the Red Pill?

In the movie The Matrix, Neo, the main character played by Keanu Reeves, is given the choice between the Blue Pill and the Red Pill as stated in this famous dialogue: 

-Do you want to know what IT is? The Matrix is everywhere, even now in this very room. You can see when you look out your window, when you turn on your television, when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes… It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the Truth. 

-What Truth? Asks Neo

-That you are a slave Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind. Unfortunately no one can be told what the Matrix is, you have to see it for yourself.This is your last chance. after this, there is no turning back. you take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland and I'll show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes..... Remember, all I'm offering you it's the truth, nothing more.” Source: The Matrix (1999) Trademark and Copyright Warner Bros. 

Are we all slaves? Yes, to some extent. There is physical slavery, but there is also slavery of the mind. Advertising, marketing and branding are all battles for your mind… ran by brands and big corporations. Same applies to education, politics, media, and all those lobby groups. 

Some people will not even see the invisible bars of the jail they are in. The Stoic Epictetus was born a slave and eventually gained freedom from his master. We can say that Epictetus’ freedom was a mental one. We can wonder if he even acknowledge the fact that he was a slave. After all, he had his own mind, his own free will. We also have our own free will and we should take it back from the puppeteers that control the strings. 

So taking the Red Pill means seeing the True Nature of things, reality, people, money, success, relationships, the System with a capital “S” and Power with a capital “P”… 

It means understanding the world in a rational and logical manner. It means understanding the world and our human condition for what it is, nothing more, nothing less. It means seeing the invisible principles that run and control us, our life partners, people around us, society, corporations, universities, nature and the world. Hence the expression “being Red Pilled.” 

Pure Reality. 

We will always be stuck in our own perceptions. True. But we can adjust our perceptions and try, yes try, to undo the engineering that has been fabricated by institutions, society and our peers. 

 To take the “Blue pill” means going back sleepwalking into a fabricated artificial life, into fakeness of the world, engineered reality and slavery of external conditions guided by others… blind to the True Nature of all things, the System, Power structures, invisible forces running the world, relationships, life, work, society, money, success, sickness, etc.

For some people, Red Pill would mean a physical, emotional, spiritual and mental implosion. Some people are better to stay in the Blue Pilled world.  


Does it make sense? 

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The Red Pill cannot be unswallowed. For a lot of people, it tastes bitter. They would rather go back to that sweetened version of reality where everybody is happy and all the problems are brushed under a carpet to be forgotten of. 

Keep in mind that no matter how “rational” you are, anything that you come across that shakes your beliefs, your perceptions and your ground into Life… will bring you in an emotional roller-coaster

When you see IT, you cannot unsee it. You will have spasms of rejection, denial and you may even feel frustration, sadness, despair as well as hopelessness. It is important that you listen to your feelings. 

At STOIC & ZEN we believe that the concept of Red Pill is essential to understand the True Nature of all things in our modern societies. The cultural, social, economical and sexual dynamics influence our perception of the world, shape our values and directly affect our relationships with the opposite sex. 

In Zen, Enlightenment is the source of the understanding of all things, or seeing the True Nature of the world… and Enlightenment is reached by practicing meditation and in some schools, using a more intellectual approach like the use of Zen riddles. Understanding oneself and the interdependence of all things  in the Universe brings the realization that we are all One. Although it starts with the Self, Zen’s Enlightenment is an intuitive approach that is non-rational as well as non-logical. It aggregates everything and sums it up into an enhanced state of awareness for the practitioner.  

The strength of Zen is the non-Thinking Mind. It can see through a lot of things like an X-ray machine can see through layers and layers of hiding material. This non-Thinking Mind also helps us understand our own feelings, what is deeply ingrained in us, what moves us and what will bring us into action. The keyword here is intuition. However, the rational side is missing in Zen. 

In Stoicism, there is no clash with reality per se. There is no sudden Awakening to the nature of all things, whether good or bad. In Stoic philosophy there is only a rational view of the world. However, deep in our guts, we may sometimes realized or come to the conclusion that “something does not feel right, it just does not make sense.” It is our subconscious speaking the Truth while the conscious mind represses the Truth… as a way to safeguard the organism, some kind of survival mechanism that avoids any type of pain. 

The Mind can go on a transformative endeavor and crush the barriers to let the subconscious express itself, the rational Mind can leverage the subconscious by bringing the rational/non-rational Mind into a journey of discovery and change. “Changework” requires openness, it means being willing to jump at the top of the slippery slope to go down the rabbit hole. The Rational mind can read, learn, analysis, compare, search for meaning and open the way to inner transformation (with the help of the subconscious.) The keyword here is rationality. But the intuitive side is missing in Stoicism. 

The lesson for a Stoic Zen would be to follow our intuition as we can say that our subconscious, the operating system that works in the background, can help us make better choices. But not always. If you are not “Red Pilled,” your intuition is likely to play tricks on you and negate whatever alarm bells it triggered.  As for the rational side, you need to make a rational choice, on your own, to swallow the Red Pill and switch how you perceive the visible reality and the invisible dynamics that rules it. Once you have swallowed the Red Pill, you realize that you see the Truth, the ugliness, the beauty, the good, the bad, the underlying principles beneath the surface of relationships, money, success and the System.

A STOIC & ZEN Red Pill makes use of both intuition and rationality to understand our feeling and bring a change in perception. This is done by acknowledging that we have: 

-feelings (that keep the rational mind at bay)

-a subconscious (the operating system, the bouncer at the door of rationality if you will, that you need to go through to start “changework”)

-a rational mind (the high performance machine that analyzes information, retains it, compares it with other sources, process it and is likely to make us into human beings with higher states of awareness, social skills, enhanced control and refined perceptions)

5 Steps from Blue Pill to Stoic Zen Red Pill 

The 5 steps from a Blue Pill awareness to a Stoic Zen Red Pill awareness are surprisingly simple: 

1-Trigger: Your INTUITION speaks to you, you FEEL that there is something wrong, somewhere, you do not really know what. You stumble upon a small piece of information that triggers your curiosity and brings you on the Way. 

2-Research: Your RATIONAL MIND, helped by your INTUITION, makes the logical choice to gather information and THINK, to look out for information on the web, watch videos, read forums, read books, listen to audiobooks…

3-Shock: Your FEELINGS shake your beliefs system. You go through denial, rejection… and then you realize the Truth and go through despair, hopelessness, a sense that your world has changed. At this step you will either flatly reject all the new ideas and go back to the Blue Pill world (and insult anyone who talks about the Red Pill,) or go further down the Red Pill rabbit hole. The SUBSCONSCIOUS wants to reject the new ideas to keep the organism safe… at the same time, the seed has already been planted into the subconscious. This seems like a dichotomy, but remember that the world is not always rational, we still do not know if the chicken came before the egg after all. 

4-Changework: The RATIONAL MIND will gather more and more information that you will use in your battle against your own operating system (active in the background 24/7,) the SUBCONSCIOUS. It takes a lot of time, a lot. You will still go back to your old Blue Pill attitude. But the changework has already began and the more you work on yourself, the more the changework will be effective. The final battle, for everybody,  is always and will always be against our own SUBCONSCIOUS.

5-Sharing: You start exchanging with other men, talking about it, commenting on videos, sharing experiences with an online community… Keep in mind that some men will always be Blue Pilled, and for some, it is preferable to remain so. Choose who you share with carefully.

We suggest that on top of all of the changework, you include a Zen meditation practice, to develop your intuition and know yourself better, as well as continue your interest in Stoicism, to develop your rationality and your acceptance of external events. We wrote an article on how to do Zen meditation here


The Red Pill shakes everybody. Rational-types and Emotional-types alike. 

Why? Because it shakes your beliefs to the core. 

The longer you have been in The Matrix, the harder it is to go into rehab and get it out of your system.  

Just keep in mind that you will never leave The Matrix no matter how hard you try. You can only cope with it and learn how to fly with the wind.

But The Red Pill brings a new level of awareness, a new enhanced perception, an enhanced  understanding of the underlying principles of our modern world, especially when it comes to dating, being in a relationship and being married. 

The Stoic Zen Red Pill is like seeing the world with a new pair of eyes. 

It is similar to the pair of glasses in the movie They Live (1988,) where the main actor can see the aliens and all hidden messages hidden Truth in reality when he is wearing the special sunglasses… but only sees the normal reality that we all see in our daily lives when he is not wearing the glasses. When he is wearing the glasses, he sees the True Nature of Reality: aliens are controlling us, all messages on TV, billboards, magazines… are there to control us (e.g. “Consume,” “Obey,” “No Independent Thought,” “Watch TV,” “No Independent Thought,” “Marry and Reproduce,” “Work 8 hours Sleep 8 hours Play 8 hours,” etc.) The director of the movie, John Carpenter, said that the movie “was a documentary.” It even became a meme on the internet to mock the different views of a similar situation by people who have different system of values. You can watch the scene I am talking about on Youtube here

Recommended Readings

About The Red Pill and relationships with Women

The Rational Male by Rollo Tomassi, the man behind the blog therationalmale.com where he talks about the intergender dynamics. The Rational Male is a book that every man should read in order to avoid the pitfalls of relationships in dating, relationships and marriage. The book will teach you how to be a man, how to interact with women and will shake your core beliefs to make you into a better version of yourself, a Red Pill you that is. If the Red Pill topics of seduction, masculinity, healing, communication, leading, female hypergamy, passive-aggressive behaviors… ring a bell, you should read this book. 

No More Mr.Nice Guy by Dr.Robert Glover, a certified family therapist, is a book about how “being nice,” not fulfilling one’s needs brings unhappiness and frustrations that are often deflected on our own Self as well as people around us. The book also includes 50 step-by-step exercises to help you make better bonds with women, listen to your emotions, enjoy your sex life, live a fulfilling live and bond with a community of men. 

About The Matrix

The philosopher, sociologist and cultural theorist, Professor Jean Baudrillard wrote his philosophical treatise Simulacres et simulation (Simulacra and Simulation) in 1981. This book was the main inspiration behind the movie the Matrix. If you are interested in knowing more about Baudrillard’s treatise that talks about symbols, society, reality, virtual reality, the shared existence of culture, the media and how our societies are constructed, we recommend that you get a copy of his book. 

Baudrillard rejected The Matrix, he believed that the movie made too obvious the difference between the “Real World” and the world of “The Matrix”… he believes that the accurate approach would be a situation where we do not have any clear idea if we are in the “Real World” or “The Matrix.” In other words, Baudrillard believed that The Matrix should not have a black and white approach, the screenwriters should have approached his work as a grey zone. 

Let us know if you are still Blue Pilled or if you have experienced with the Red Pill, Black Pill or the Purple Pill !

Shoot us an email here

We also wrote an article on Porn and Stoicism, read it here

Be Stoic. Be Zen. My Red Pilled Friend. 

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