Redeeming the Black Pill
by Charles Eisenstein
Posted January 3, 2021
Earlier I used the term the “Black Pill.” Nihilism, of course, is no mere philosophical position, but the intellectual expression of a psychological state of despair. In fact, this despair is always latent in modern society, because (1) its reigning reductionism renders the universe into a meaningless scribble of atoms and void; (2) its reigning theory of life tells us we are here to survive and reproduce; (3) its reigning economics directs our creative energies toward unfulfilling work and mindless consumption, and (4) its dominant social patterns cut us off from nature, community, place, and the experience of belonging.
For a while, rapid increases in wealth and dazzling technical achievements kept the despair at bay. But it was there all along, a gnawing void at the heart of the ideology of progress. It was there all along, an inner poverty mirroring the destitution progress had wreaked upon other cultures and beings. It was there all along, our own shadow that followed us as we raced toward a Utopia ever just at the horizon. Now as the glamour of progress dissolves, as our exhaustion mounts, and as we face the sobering realization that the horizon grows no closer no matter how fast we run, despair overtakes us at last. More…