“Home…Where I learned the truth about despair. As will you. There’s a reason why this prison is the worst hell on earth: Hope. Every man who has rotted here over the centuries has looked up to the light and imagined climbing to freedom. So easy. So simple. And like shipwrecked men turning to sea water, from uncontrollable thirst; many have died trying. I learned here that there can be no true despair without hope.” – Bane, The Dark Knight Rises
I love this scene for so many reasons and after some interesting reading I have found another way to view and love this scene. One of the inherent dangers of the Red Pill is the effect of Reality Depression, where upon seeing the world for what it is, particularly women and their motivations, it’s very easy to become depressed and drift into a sense of harsh hopelessness. For this post, I will be exploring this subject and using the quoted line above as frame of reference. What inspired this was re-watching this scene and imagining that Bane was my Red Pill self talking to my recently former Blue Pill self after coming to a Red Pill awareness. I’d suggest giving that scene a viewing under that context after reading this post, the monologue by Bane hits some pretty chilling points with how contextually relatable it is.
So within the framework of this movie, your Blue Pill self (Batman) just confronted your Red Pill awareness (Bane). Though your Blue Pill self put up a fight that was “admirable, but mistaken,” it was defeated and broken. Now, a broken, feeble version your Blue Pill self lies in a place buried deep, confronted by the Red Pill. Now in this context, Gotham City is the Blue Pill idealism, and your Blue Pill self (Batman) had dedicated its life to protecting and upholding those idealizations.
Your Blue Pill self asks where it is, your Red Pill self replies “Home,” which brilliantly translates to the deepest recceses of your mind, the part of you that always knew that something was off. The part of you that always took notice when women said one thing, but then did the complete opposite. The part of you that grew up believing one thing but deep down had some doubts as you saw that things you were raised to do did not work despite continuously being encouraged to do so. This part of yourself is “were I learned to the truth about despair.” And sure enough, “As will you,” translates to your Blue Pill self is only able to be ready to learn once it’s be completely broken by some type of trauma. As many other Red Pill writers have detailed, usually this is caused by something of significant magnitude like a horrible break up or a divorce.
The “reason why this prison is the worst hell on earth” for your Blue Pill self is summed up in one word: “Hope.” This is where a lot of men struggle with their Reality Depression, they are seeing things for how they really are, but there is a part of them that still hopes to achieve the Blue Pill idealization and wishes it to be true. “Every (Blue Pill) man who has rotted here (in a state where they see Red Pill truths) over the centuries has looked up to the light (Blue Pill idealized hope) and imagined climbing to freedom. So easy. So simple.” It seems like an easy idea to go back to the Blue Pill existence you had known before, with society reinforcing these ideas it seems like it should be a simple task.
But “like shipwrecked men turning to sea water from uncontrollable thirst; many have died trying.” And here we get to the core of that reality depression, which is Blue Pill men trying to return to their former ways and idealizations which were toxic and discovering just how poisonous those Blue Pill idealization really are. Though many men have tried to hold onto those ideas and tried to make them true, many have died emotionally or literally in the process without ever coming close to completing their impossible task.
Most men “learned here” in this place, this confrontation between the broken Blue Pill idealizations and the powerful Red Pill awareness, “that there can be no true despair without hope.” The hope of the Blue Pill, the last and strongest core of the what the Blue Pill stands for and runs on, is what causes the true despair. Despite knowing that the Red Pill is reality and how the world works, the Blue Pill hopes against all odds that it can be realized. And this is a dangerous crossroads many men face.
So how does one reconcile this? That is a choice each of us has to make individually, to attempt to reconcile with our old understanding and cling to the hope of the Blue pill; or to see the harsh truths that the Red Pill represents and decide how best to move forward. But one thing is certain, no matter which choice is made, the point of no return has been crossed. Hope and despair are two powerful forces that will push and pull you, but the real questions is will you use the hope of the Blue Pill knowing that deep down it fuels your despair? Or will you see hope in the Red Pill while not succumbing to the inherent despair that harsh reality brings?
This is a question we all face and sometimes struggle with on a continual basis. If Gotham (the Blue Pill idealism) is overrun with despair and hypocrisy, the wisest course of action would be to take the other path and let Gotham burn. While there might be despair, at least there is truth and reality for what it is, so you can now truly live to make your own path.
I do imagine the final lines of this scene will recall the moment when many of you transitioned from Blue Pill to Red Pill, as the conversation with your former and new self most likely ended like this scene does: With your Red Pill self taking one last look at your Blue Pill self and stating as a final farewell: “We will destroy Gotham. And then…when it is done…and Gotham is…ashes…Then you have my permission to die.”