This post was written by redpillbanana and can be seen at the red pill reddit
“A harmful truth is better than a useful lie.” -Thomas Mann
The Useful Lie
Some of the advice given on TRP can be classified as a ‘useful lie’. It’s useful in that if you believe it, generally good results will happen. It’s a lie in that it is not always or necessarily true.
Examples of useful lies on TRP:
- Height/race/looks/riches don’t matter, it’s all about your physical build/mental dominance
- It’s your fault – “We can all be great if we just believe that we can be, and everyone will believe that we are great when we’re following through with our responsibilities to be great Men”
Tony Robbins (who I’m not the biggest fan of, but he often makes good points) said, “Achievers tend to believe that no matter what happens, whether it´s good or bad, they created it. If they didn’t cause it by their physical actions, maybe they did by the level and tenor of their thoughts. Now, I don´t know if this is true. Scientist have found no evidence supporting the idea that thoughts can create reality. But it´s a useful lie. This belief gives you control. That´s why I choose to believe in it.”
More general examples of useful lies:
- There’s nothing you can’t do or achieve (counterpoint: if you’re 150cm tall, you’re not likely to make it in the NBA)
- Nothing can stop you or hold you back (counterpoint: all it takes is one bullet)
- Hard work and commitment always lead to success (counterpoint: many people work hard and never make it, others don’t work at all and have it all handed to them)
As you can see, these useful lies are common memes in our society, especially a ‘self-made man’ society like the USA. They can be powerful tools and can propel you to new heights if used properly.
Why Useful Lies Can Be Counterproductive
I’ll focus on the “It’s your fault” useful lie since it encompasses almost all the other useful lies.
“It’s your fault” is a lie because there are many factors in the world that are outside your control.
Examples of things that are not your fault:
- You were born deformed, extremely short, or with a very unattractive face and people don’t respond well to you.
- Drunk driver hits your car and kills many of your family members and you have a hard time motivating yourself as a result.
- Your dad beat you to within an inch of your life every day until you turned 16 and it causes you pain and anger every day.
- Your uncle molested you when you were young and you have trouble with sexual relationships to this day.
- You contracted a rare cancer that leaves you unable to move normally.
- When you turned 21, a huge economic slowdown happened that lasted for 20 years and you still have a tough time staying afloat.
Many of these things can be overcome with willpower and determination (see the story of Nick Vujicic for an incredible example), but taking responsibility for things outside your control can lead to unnecessary hurt and anger. This fictional but relevant scene from Good Will Hunting illustrates the point.
Sometimes you need to accept that things are not your fault in order to stop beating your head against a wall. This acceptance might lead you to working around your limitations rather than futilely working though them.
A Better Approach
A better approach is the cold, hard truth – knowing your exact situation, who you are, what you are capable of, and what your limitations are and how you can work around them. Generally, the more capable you are, the more important it is to be truthful about yourself, e.g. top athletes routinely have to work around their limitations vs. their competition.
A good approach advocated by the Stoics and Stephen Covey is to separate everything into two groups: things you can control and things you can’t control. Then focus on the things you can control. Eventually, as your influence and expertise grows, the group of things you can control will grow larger.
A TRP example:
- You can’t control how women are wired – this was developed over billions of years of evolution, thus you can’t negotiate desire.
- You can’t control the cultural forces that support the promiscuity and hypergamy of women, unless you become a cultural leader, thus don’t try to evangelize TRP.
- You can control your response by learning the rules and adapting to the situation. Focus on that.
Ultimately, the choices you make and your responses in all situations will determine what your life will become. Viktor Frankl said it best when he said that “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” This is what separates us from the animals – we can choose our response to most stimuli.
By recognizing the useful lie as a tool that can be discarded when inappropriate, by relentlessly seeking the hard truth and stamping out rationalizations, and by knowing your strengths and weaknesses and what you can improve and what you can’t, you’ll have the greatest chance of making the right choices, and the greatest chance of success in all your endeavors.