By: Philip | 10-15-2018 | News
Photo credit: Anime Right News

"Dangerous Dehumanization" And The NPC Meme

Have you ever been called a Russian bot or a "sock puppet?" I know I have. Of course, I just have to shrug it off and get back to my life. No sense in trying to focus on it and feeding the trolls is always a bad idea but apparently, in light of the NPC (non-player character) meme becoming so widespread, Twitter has decided that this sort of "dehumanization" can actually lead to "world harm." Go figure, they didn't seem to have any problem when it was just folks like me being dehumanized but now it's an issue so great it could literally cause the whole world grievous harm.

If you're not familiar with gaming culture a bit of an explanation is in order. NPCs or "non-player characters" are the background in a game. They only have a set of pre-programmed responses to choose from and their activities are limited to pre-programmed sets of actions. An example from Existenz, one of my favorite films by David Cronenberg, occurs "in-game" when the game designer Allegra Gellar asks NPC Darcy Nader a question that he was not programmed to respond to. He immediately begins by introducing himself again and then gets stuck in a "game loop." At this point, the "players" have to give his name and offer the proper "input" before he can move the game forward.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Our hateful conduct policy is expanding to address dehumanizing language and how it can lead to real-world harm. The Twitter Rules should be easier to understand so we’re trying something new and asking you to be part of the development process. Read more and submit feedback.</p>&mdash; Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) <a href="">September 25, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Another example would be from the recent remake of Jumanji. Albeit a much crappier film (and no, I haven't seen it but as my granddad used to say "you don't have to eat an omelet to know the eggs are ruined").

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The scene above is somewhat similar to Existenz in that one of the "players" has to explain NPCs and game loops. The game guide, Nigel, has a "programmed series of responses" no matter what input he receives.

It's for this reason that the <a href="">NPC meme was used to refer to the apparent groupthink of SJW and Antifa types</a> who act as a collective, sacrificing individuality for a set of pre-programmed progressive or politically correct responses. Right down to the repetition of cadences in their rallies, the "mob rule" collective do seem to fit the metaphor of the NPC to a tee. Oh, but it goes further than that even. Speaking of mob rule, if we do a +1 Ceasar Shift of the word MOB what do you get? Here, I'll wait. Got it? Pretty spiffy, huh?

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="und" dir="ltr"> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; ⚜ Jayson Hahn ⚜ (@iamtherealenki) <a href="">October 15, 2018</a></blockquote>

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I suppose the rallying cry against the NPC meme came from Kotaku. But wait, you might be asking, aren't these the same folks who lumped a bunch of people together (their target audience, no less) <a href="">with their own "Gamers are dead" meme?</a> Well, of course, I mean along with Gamasutra and other major gaming publications. But just like with calling folks Russian bots or sock puppets, it doesn't count as abuse unless you're a "real human" on the "right side of history," I suppose.

Kotaku, of course, demeans those who use what, to them, amounts to "part crackpot social theory and part elementary school insult." It was born, according to them, of "a deeply comical medley of bogus physics and stupid religion found on the messaging board 4chan."

Deeply comical and stupid, eh? That's why you had to run to Twitter to shut it down, eh? Tell me seriously now, Kotaku… U mad, bro? Yeah, you obviously mad.

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Oh, but they're not just mad at a meme that pokes fun of their lack of originality, they're <i>literally</i> scared.

The NPC meme "despite its laughable premise, fueled a meme last month that has some scary implications," Kotaku warns. Ah, so maybe this is where Twitter got the idea that dehumanizing people (excuse me, the wrong sort of people as this has been going on for years with the "Russian bot" meme) could lead to serious danger for the citizens of Planet Earth.

The metaphysics of NPC, according to the original post is hilarious, but in a sense, it is almost kind of deep as well. I mean, solipsism is philosophy and philosophy is deep therefore the metaphysics is kind of deep.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="und" dir="ltr"><a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#VoteRedToSaveAmerica</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; ⭐⭐⭐Deplorable Deb ヾ(❀╹◡╹)ノ゙❀~ (@born_summer62) <a href="">October 15, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Hey, that's a syllogism, I guess this article is kind of deep too.

<a href="">As Kotaku "reports,"</a> the meme originated at 4chan: “I have a theory that there are only a fixed quantity of souls on planet Earth that cycle continuously through reincarnation,” a 4Chan poster wrote. “However, since the human growth rate is so severe, the soulless extra walking flesh piles around us are NPC’s [sic], or ultimate normalfags, who autonomously follow group think and social trends in order to appear convingly human.”

A commenter at Kotaku had this to say: "I work with people caught in the criminal justice system for the past 13 years. Some of the more dangerous individuals I have worked with have adopted ideals such as this without the “gameification” factor. Ultimately, when an individual is able to view the “enemy” as an object, violence against that object becomes increasingly easier."

Now, isn't that interesting. I think they just figured out why Antifa have attacked multiple journalists, elderly people and even minorities, why ricin was mailed to the President, why Berkeley ethics professors have nearly killed people with bike locks, why a Bernie Bro in Portland slaughtered people on mass transit, why "Cuck Norris" thought it was ok to roundhouse kick a woman, the list goes on and on…

Kotaku and Twitter aren't the only ones enjoying bashing the NPC memers. There's David Futrelle of the anti-MRA blog We Hunted the Mammoth who has <a href="">also pitched in his two cents</a> (don't worry, I archived the Kotaku and WHTM articles so you can read it without giving them a click). Futrelle, by the way, once admitted to me personally via email that he <i>did</i> "regret writing" some of that work he did in Salon years about child victims of abuse, "date rape hysteria," and other issues you can get a <a href="">quick rundown on at Encyclopedia Dramatica.</a> Ironically, Futrelle basically referred me to ED himself when I brought this up to him.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Left wing memes come from pure saltiness alone and it shows… <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; ✌️Professor Purrkiss❌ (@Brishy4) <a href="">October 15, 2018</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote>So, yes, the trolls are trying to convince the world (and, I suppose, themselves) that their opponents are basically repetitive robots by … all using the same insult against them at once. The NPC meme is even more of a self-own than the “cuck” and “soyboy” memes that preceded it.</blockquote>

Ironically, at least one commenter at WHTM seemed to really agree that, yes, most of the so-called "white woke left," or Baizuo to use the Chinese pejorative for SJWs, are pretty much just along for the ride anyway:

"Honestly, the NPC meme isn’t 100% wrong, at least when it comes to political views. Most (white) people who consider themselves 'left-leaning' have just allowed themselves to be absorbed into the mainstream, post-MLK zeitgeist that (at least overtly) rejects race-based discrimination in favor of an oversimplified assimilationism and haven’t devoted any cognitive energy to really analyzing things like inequality or race and/or class-consciousness because it’s never been necessary for them to survive.

That said, the far-right isn’t much better. Their entire political philosophy is nothing but post-hoc justifications for oxytocin-based, instinctual ingroup/outgroup reactions or else naked sociopathy and sadism.

Tl;dr, the mainstream left really are robots but the right are nothing more than wild animals."

Of course, someone in the comments has to come in and correct this user:

"The right are not wild animals.

This planet needs wild animals.

Right wingers? We’d all be a lot better off without them."

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To be fair, the same commenter at WHTM was apparently advocating violence against a dehumanized right wing recently in the self-same website's comment section:

"Fuck all of you talking about not sinking to their level.

If we kill, we kill people standing in the way of a world where women can walk the streets at night without worrying about being raped. If we build mass graves we’ll fill them with people who believe women are nothing but reproductive machinery. If we work our enemies to death in gulags then they’ll die building a better future, whether they like it or not, instead of living as a danger to every decent human being left in this rotten world."

Aha! Isn't this that "gamification" of dehumanization that the Kotaku commenter alluded to/mispelled? Can we blame them though? All right wingers are worse than wild animals, i.e. Nazis, i.e. worthy of being punched (and worse). See, dehumanization is evidently plenty fun or the left wouldn't be so swept up in pursuit of such itself.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Article explaining why it hits then so hard<a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Son Of Sobieski (@Ken47188750) <a href="">October 15, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Here's the thing though, is the NPC meme just a joke?

In 2008 <a href=" ">a study was published in the journal Consciousness & Cognition</a>. According to the study, five qualities are present during moments of naturally occurring inner experience. Five qualities present themselves during such "Descriptive Experience Sampling" (DES) inner speech, inner seeing, unsymbolized thinking, feelings and sensory awareness. According to the study conducted on just 30 participants "selected from a stratified sample of college students."

"We found that each of the five phenomena occurred in approximately one quarter of sampled moments, that the frequency of these phenomena varied widely across individuals, that there were no significant gender differences in the relative frequencies of these phenomena, and that higher frequencies of inner speech were associated with lower levels of psychological distress.

"1/3 of the participants had none of the five qualities that represent "inner experience." In addition to inner sensory experience, the lack of "symbolized thinking" is troublesome. Symbolic thought, <a href=">according to developmental psychologist Jean Piaget,</a> arises first in the preschool years. It involves being able to imitate and imagine, and to extrapolate, extrapolation itself in a sense."

Let's jump to another illustration from film, the David Lynch film Wild At Heart starring Nicolas Cage.

"My dog barks some. Mentally, you picture my dog, but I have not told you the type of dog which I have. Perhaps you might even picture Toto from the Wizard of Oz."

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Here's the thing, if the study on inner experience is to be believed some people can not and will never "visualize" the dog. They are literally unable to conduct symbolic thinking of their own, have no internalized monologue no "stream of consciousness" so to speak, not to mention symbolic thinking and sensory awareness. Now, I wouldn't want you to think I believe that NPCs only exist on the left. That's too simple and convenient to correlate to reality. I also wouldn't want to leave you thinking that I don't fear the heightened dehumanization occuring on both sides that will only continue to ratchet up the hate and violence. That said, the NPC meme strikes and strikes deep because so many people are just going through the motions, doing as they're told, just "trying to fit in." This is the essence of mindlessness. Add a touch of dehumanization and a few pinches of polarization and that's how you get yourself a Civil War.

The NPC (grayface) movement even has a website for those who would like to learn more, just head to

I'll leave you with their About Us page:

Why We Do What We Do

It’s time to dispel some myths and conspiracy theories. NPC stands for National Progressive Coalition. It was formed this month by like-minded progressive activists from all over the US to band together and bolster the #Resistance, thus bringing a #BlueWave. We have similar profile pictures to protect our identities from the racist right wing and do not want to be doxxed. Do not believe the conspiracy theory that we are the work of evil internet troll 4chan. We are not robots. We are real people with real feelings and we really hate the conservative fascist agenda. Join us and fight the fascists! #ResistanceRises⁠ ⁠

⁠ ⁠ #BashTheFash #BlueWaveComing #PunchNazis #VoteBlue #VoteDemocrat #Vote #FuckTrump #NoWall

Twitter: #NPC #8chan #memes

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Thoughts on the above story? Comment below!
4 Comment/s
Anonymous No. 39452 2018-10-15 : 17:50

the whole bit about how metacognition and self-awareness is literally lacking in some ppl is a scary thought. seriously, ever consider maybe the soul is a vestigial organ that, if not exercised (via art, culture, morality, spirituality, self-improvement, whatever) can just atrophy.

Maybe NPC isn't just a meme…

Anonymous No. 39458 2018-10-15 : 20:03



Anonymous No. 39606 2018-10-17 : 11:28

Where is this quote take from?

"1/3 of the participants had none of the five qualities that represent 'inner experience.'"

It's not in the linked academic paper.

Anonymous No. 39607 2018-10-17 : 11:43

Overall frequency was 34% at the top level (inner seeing AKA images) that's over 1/3 by 0.7%. 22-26% overall frequency for the other 4, so 1/4-1/3 experiencing any of the five qualities, all five together would by necessity be less than the 34% (barely 1/3).

Sample size was very small though, study should be replicated before too much credence, but still very interesting.

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