Thursday, April 19, 2012

#110 / Red Pill

I remember liking the movie The Matrix quite a bit, and must have seen it right after it first came out. But when I recently saw a reference to "taking the red pill," I was at a total loss.

Wikipedia says that the term "red pill," and its opposite, "blue pill," are pop culture terms that symbolize the choice between living in the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue) and embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality (red):
The terms were popularized in science fiction culture via the 1999 film The Matrix. In the movie, the main character ... is offered the choice between a red pill and a blue pill. The blue pill would allow him to remain in the Matrix, a fictional computer-generated world. The red pill will lead to his escape out of the Matrix and into the "real world."
As I remember the movie, the world of illusion is definitely human-created. In my way of thinking, it would always be an illusion to believe that the world in which we most immediately live is truly the "real" world. Our world, the matrix upon which our histories are constructed, is real enough, but not ultimately "real," real with a capital "R." Our world, call it a world of illusion, the world that we create and most immediately inhabit, is ultimately dependent on the world we didn't create, the world of nature, a world that is, indeed, where painful truths are often resident.

Now that I am reaqcquainted with the metaphor, I'm taking the red pill.

1 comment:

  1. All true, Gary, all very true. Especially the "painful truths" part.

    It's all too easy to live in a world of illusion these days, what with all the electronic jiggery-pokery to distract one from reality. Those who have never lived in the real world, that is, the undeveloped world beyond overweening human presence, are particularly susceptible to the power of illusion.

    In Reality, all is change, constant variation, the cosmic dance of evolution. Nothing stays the same, the dead persist longer than the living. That which is dead is stiff, fragile, easily broken. That which is alive is resilient, supple, bending and adapting.

    The Real World is out there... and in here.


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