May 28, 2014

Red Pill, Blue Pill

In the 1999 Science Fiction movie, The Matrix, the plot revolves around the fact that almost all of the human race are living in an artificial reality, not realizing that their bodies are being used as a heat source for energy generation for the machines who took over the world many hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of years before. A few humans have broken out of the false reality that is known as the matrix. They are seeking for the one that will lead all humans in a revolt against the machines. The best candidate for this is Neo and he is still trapped in the Matrix. Their mission is to find him and explain that he is trapped, even if he cannot see the bars of the cage that he is within, and help him take the steps to leave the Matrix.

In a classic scene from the movie Morpheus, a leader among the free humans, meets with Neo to make him an offer. Neo already suspects the existence of the Matrix, so Morpheus offers him the choice of two pills. If he takes the blue pill he will wake up in his bed with no recollection of their meeting and never know the full truth of the world around him. If he takes the red pill, he will be shown the truth. Naturally, Neo selects the red pill and for the rest of the movie we have the nature and scope of the Matrix revealed to us.

While the movie was amusing and had some well choreographed Kung Fu action sequences, the biggest effect it had was to introduce the red pill vs. blue pill meme into popular culture. (Did I mention that it had some excellent Kung Fu?)

While I'm fairly certain that we are not living inside something the equivalent of the Matrix, the red pill vs. blue pill concept is still a very useful one to consider. There are many people living in this world that may as well be living in the Matrix. Their view of the world is exactly what they have been told it is or what they want it to be. They are quite determinedly "reality proof".

To question anything beyond the normal brings accusations of being a conspiracy theorist. Everything is exactly the way we have been told it is ... except when it isn't. The latest example is that after years of denying large scale data collection, the United States government has been forced to, reluctantly, admit that they currently conduct large scale data collection of Internet traffic. Just a few years ago, such thoughts were well into the conspiracy theorist camp. Now it is an established fact. (There are still details being figured out as to exactly how much data is being collected and from whom, but the initial answers look like "quite a lot" and "just about everyone with a pulse".)

There are many aspects of life that have a blue pill vs. red pill divide. I plan to talk about a number of them. Some, I'm certain of and those I will address on this blog over time. Others I wonder about, but will leave unsaid.

The important thing to remember is that the truth is out there. We need to be receptive to understanding that it is not always as advertised.

Tags: Geeky