Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Red Pill or Blue Pill?

On Sunday, The Matrix: Reloaded was playing on TV, and because I have no self-control, I watched it.  Part of it, anyway.  I didn't have time to watch the whole thing.  So I was thinking about how in the first one, Cypher betrays/kills people because he makes a bargain with Agent Smith to plug him back into the Matrix.  He got tired of living in the "real world."  

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, The Matrix is basically a sci-fi movie about how the world as we know it is actually an illusion.  In real life, humans are kept dormant in nasty liquid pods by machines and harvested for energy.  A select few people have been "unplugged" and thus liberated, and they fight a perpetual war with the machines.  The main character, Neo, is still in the matrix (the machine-created illusion) in the beginning of the first movie, but he is offered the choice of being freed and learning the truth.  At this point, of course, he has no idea the extent of the truth.  He has a choice of either taking the red pill (being liberated from the machines and fighting the guerilla war) or taking the blue pill (where he will wake up and forget he had this entire conversation and continue living in the matrix).

So maybe it's just me, but after seeing how awful, gray, and depressing the real world is, I have to admit, I thought I would take the blue pill, no question.  Screw that.  Fighting machines and eating snot every day?  No thanks.  I'd rather live in my happy illusion of blue skies, even if the machines are slowly killing me.  I always related to Cypher.  Not in the killing-your-friends part, but in the get-me-out-of-this-damn-nightmare part.

Then, I thought this was kind of funny, because I was also the girl who tried to Blue-Ski-Doo into pictures as a child and loved the Narnia idea of walking into the wardrobe into a different world.  Isn't that essentially the same thing?  I wanted to escape from the current world and explore some place new and exciting.  Except, The Matrix presents a much more adult, more bleak version of Narnia.  Right?

In the end, I guess it comes down to whether or not you can stomach the truth.  If you were presented with a red pill or a blue pill, which would you take?  On one hand, the red pill could give you a better reality, or it could give you a worse one.  But you don't know.  Would you take the chance or stay in the status quo?

After much consideration, I think I would still take the red pill.  What would be worse, taking the road less traveled, but turning back later and regretting it?  Or wondering for the rest of your life what would have happened if you took that road?

Like Shia LeBeouf says in Transformers, "Fifty years from now when you look back on your life, don't you want to be able to say you had the guts to get in the car?"



  1. Hmm...this is actually very deep. It's been a long time since I've watched The Matrix and I only saw the first movie, but I think that if the machines were destroying the world and killing me and my family, I'd probably go with the red pill. At least I'd like to think I'd go with the red pill.

    But man, right about now I sure could use a blue pill. Those things would come in handy, right?

  2. On one hand, red pill all the way. It'd be something exciting, for once -- and haven't I always wished something exciting would actually happen to me? On the other hand, reality is overrated anyway. Whether I'm living in the matrix or outside it, the world is what I make it -- worst case scenario, I'll just go mad and start seeing things the way I want them to be. That said, I think I'd be sorely tempted to take them both and see what happens. There's the chance that something really interesting would happen (xkcd.com/566). You could, of course, argue that one pill would override the other, and I'd really be leaving my decision entirely to chance. But life can use a little randomness in it, couldn't it?

    Anyway, whatever I say I'd do now, as I'm sitting in the comfort of my home and tapping at my keyboard... chances are it's not what I'd do if actually confronted with the situation, anyway.