What does it mean to be red-pilled or blue-pilled?

Last Updated on March 25, 2023

red pill or blue pill

The phrase “red pill” and its opposite, “blue pill,” are expressions from popular culture that have come to represent the decision between accepting the often excruciatingly painful truth of reality (red) or choosing the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue).

The 1999 movie “The Matrix” is credited with popularising the words in science fiction culture. The main character of the movie, Neo, is given the option of taking either a red pill or a blue pill. The red pill will allow Neo to “escape” from the Matrix, a fictional computer-generated reality, while the blue pill will allow Neo to stay in the world without realising anything is amiss.

According to surveys, a lot of people favour the security of the blue pill universe.

The Background

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill: the story ends, and you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill: you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” – The Matrix’s Morpheus

An approved Zion crew member in the Matrix universe gives a potential human the option of taking the red pill or the blue pill. By doing this, the team can use a trace programme to find the person’s body inside the Matrix power plant. When the person is located, instructions are transmitted to the pod to wake the subject.

Red pills are essentially those who have discovered the Matrix’s deception. They either appear to have witnessed “glitches” from the Matrix (such as a book that keeps reappearing on a shelf despite attempts to remove it) or have the nature and/or awareness to question their life within the Matrix and refuse to dismiss the strange events.

Morpheus, a fictional character, claims that leaving the Matrix can be frightening, especially for individuals who have been there too long. Crews often only give the red pill to people who are no older than teenagers. Following that, the likelihood of denial and psychotic episodes could rise as a result of the reality of separation. Morpheus broke this rule in order to save Neo, who was around 30 years old.

The ‘Garden of Eden’ Analogy

The Matrix’s blue pill versus red pill dilemma is reminiscent of an ancient Western religious tradition’s decision between the fruit of the knowledge tree and the tree of belief in everlasting life in the Garden of Eden.

The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was in the centre of Garden of Eden. The knowledge from the tree of knowledge was valuable for learning about everything, including good and evil. Genesis 3:5  ” Because God is aware that when you consume it, your eyes will be opened and you will possess divine knowledge.”

The comfort that comes from believing that one will live forever is what made the tree of life what it was. The people who ate from the fruit of the tree of knowledge were driven out of Eden and prevented from returning to the fruit of the belief in everlasting life (“a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.”Genesis 3:21).

This allusion to the Genesis narrative is being made in order to contrast the knowledge and belief options that are being presented. There is no intention to imply that knowledge is immoral, bad, or sinful in this passage. The comparison is made between a way of living based on faith and driven by the expectation of favourable outcomes, such as everlasting life, and a way of living informed by knowledge.

Both options can be criticised by some as being inadequate or providing a life of poorer quality. Some people might even say that a particular decision is immoral. This criticism avoids it because it is unrelated. Here, the options are framed as pertinent to what philosophy is all about.

The Red Pill or Blue Pill

The path of philosophy, justification, discernment, science, and experimentation is represented by the red pill. The blue pill is straightforward, unquestioning belief and emotional judgement. Which one do you choose?

It is possible that not all of the beliefs we regard to be true are in fact true. In this case, it may be worthwhile to review and challenge our beliefs to ascertain which ones are more strongly supported by evidence and reasoning than others. A approach for doing this analysis of some of the most fundamental questions and problems that people have ever encountered is philosophy.

If you believe that taking the blue pill would provide you comfort, security, stability, and order, you will pay a high price for adopting that way of life. A society where this kind of unquestioning thinking is the norm will be in danger.

Those who utilise it run a higher risk of contracting infections and diseases because they won’t be using the most recent medical research on disease origins and transmission. It allows people to act on erroneous assertions and hold stereotypical, discriminatory beliefs about other people. In addition to other forms of illogical discrimination and injustice based on uncritical beliefs, it fosters racist and sexist ideologies and practises.

It makes followers of the blue pill road vulnerable to ponzi scheme operators and other swindlers who prey on unreasonable hope. The blue pill road appeals to people who prioritise themselves over others and the short term over the long term, but it too frequently turns out to be the complete reverse of what was desired upon taking it.

Final Thoughts

We are asked whether seeking reality, truth, and knowledge is worthwhile. The blue pill will leave us just as we are, with a life made up of unquestioning habits, untested beliefs, and rote memorization of what we have been taught to be true. The comfort of the numerous things we anticipate receiving if we participate in daily life and pay little attention to it is what the blue pill leaves us with. If we think that we don’t need the truth to survive, we pick this medication. The blue pill allows us to maintain our sense of ourselves and loyalty to our loved ones.

Meanwhile, The red pill refers to realising the truth about reality, especially one that is challenging to accept or reveals delusion. A life filled with bitter knowledge, hopeless freedom, and the unforgiving realities of life.

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