With “incels” in the news after the horrible Toronto van attacks, I wanted to talk a bit about the incel “movement”.
I first learned about the incel movement about 10 years ago, when I found out about a thread on a site called PUAHate, where people were talking about having me killed.
The plot itself was too ridiculous to take seriously, so I never reported it or wasted any thought on it.
They were going to try and organize a dating coaching bootcamp in Iran, and then call the authorities on me. I guess they thought I would get executed.
Naturally, I didn’t take the bait.
In fact, I thought it was the stupidest thing I had ever heard.
But it caused me to do a bit of research into the people on that forum, to find out what their motivations were.
And that was horrifying.
If you want proof of the corruption that hate and self-victimization can wreak upon the human soul, you could see it clearly on that forum when I visited it.
Yes, they were misogynistic. They hated women. But it was deeper than that.
Misogyny was just a symptom of a deeper disease.
“A mind not to be changed by place or time.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n.”
– John Milton Paradise Lost
These guys hated everything.
They hated dating coaches. PUA’s. Happy people. Their families. People who tried to help them. People who told them the mistakes they were making.
And they banded together to eagerly nurture their hate and resentment.
Reading that forum reminds me of a very old story… perhaps the oldest story.
The story of Cain and Abel is about a man who suffers for no fault of his own, while his brother flourishes.
And, instead of being happy for his brother Abel, or working to do better and find favour with God, Cain chooses resentment.
This is mankind’s first act in the physical world, and it is a metaphor for the wrongful path that men like the Toronto van attacker take.
When we argue that these attacks are caused by misogyny, loneliness or mental illness or the poor state of the dating market, we misunderstand the problem.
The problem is not just that these men are suffering, but that they lack the skills and the knowledge to cope with their suffering or alleviate it.
Instead, they make their problems worse.
And they make their problems worse again.
There is no limit to how much worse they can make their lives, so long as they go down that path.
The alternative path is learning to accept limitations, taking the hard path, and embracing positive thinking.
All the things that the men on that incel forum hated with a burning passion.
If you want to understand the real cause of these sorts of attacks, you need to understand the underlying psychological forces at work. And how the deliberate nurturing of resentment leads the disaffected to become the monstrous.
If you do that, you might just realize that these men are simultaneously victims of cruel fate, and entirely morally culpable agents of their own destruction.
But you can’t truly understand the resentment of others if you don’t also acknowledge the role that resentment might play in your own life, in your own suffering.
And it seems like many people would prefer to not address that.
People who want to avoid any sort of self reflection will instead blame their favourite scapegoats for this tragedy. Feminists will blame toxic masculinity, mental health advocates will blame a lack of resources, the red pill will blame a lack of game.
And those people will talk around the issue without ever actually daring to look the real problem in the eye.