Probably the hardest but also most significant idea from the whitepill is the belief in getting rid of insalubrious desire.
Desire for sugar, for alcohol, for sex, for money, for power. Any desire you aren’t achieving (and even those you are, but that you constantly desire for more, in an obsessive cycle) creates unfulfillment, and therefore anxiety, longing, and pain.
Dharmic religions (e.g., Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism) traditionally hold this view, claiming one should get rid of desire. If desire is gone there is no clinging, when there is no clinging there is nothing but the self – and thus joy, as one already has everything one wants.
Of course, saying something and acting on it are two very different things. Because this is a practical guide, it doesn’t demand such dedication, and it doesn’t dwell in the theory too much. Instead, it asks that you ponder your current desires and aim to rid yourself of the biggest offenders. In time, you can progress to the smaller ones and repeat until you are satisfied.
Do you wish but can’t attain…
- A significant other? Find the joy in being alone. Realise that being alone and being lonely aren’t the same thing, and that you can actively be open to new relationships without obsessing over them. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, should you really keep thinking about it endlessly?
- Material things? Notice that you have lived your life without a particular object of desire until now, and that your happiness isn’t dependent on it. If you get the object in the future that’s great, but don’t link your happiness to its attainment.
- A better career? You can be enthusiastic, apply yourself, look for a better job, ask for raises, but don’t let your objectives become you. Going to work being plagued by anxiety and unfulfillment will only harm you.
It’s important to realise that letting go of desire doesn’t mean not taking opportunities when they present themselves, nor being unable to enjoy them when they happen. On the contrary, this is about letting go of expectations and obsessive thought. Stay in the present, enjoy what you have now. It may be unfair that you don’t have or are offered more, but anger and frustration will only harm you. Remember: You do not physically hurt. The pain is in the mind.