DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Apr 8 2016

Red Pill, Blue Pill

by Camille B

Matrix Image

You take the blue pill — the story ends, 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.”

What would you do if you were faced with a decision like the one in The Matrix? And I beg all of you rational, left-brained readers out there to indulge me a little; today we put aside reality, logic and reason for a moment to play a game of ‘what if?’ I’d also like to state for the record that this is all strictly fantasy.

What if you woke up one morning and realized that everything you believed to be true all your life was a lie? You’re told that it’s all been one huge fabrication. You’re then given the choice of two pills, a blue one that will allow you to continue living life unchanged with you being none the wiser, or a red one that represents truth, whatever that truth might be, and a chance to have a true existence in the real world.

Would the decision be a hard one for you? Or would it all be fairly simple? Be honest with yourself, would you give up everything you know and love right now, family, friends, loved ones, if you found out that it’s all been nothing more than a simulation? Especially when you have no idea what the alternative might be?

Imagine you have a beautiful wife (or husband), great kids, a wonderful job and you only have three years left on your 30 year mortgage. You can live with that right? I know I can.

The thing is though, none of it is real. There’s no wife, there’s no mortgage. It’s all been a fabricated reality. What would you do? Some might say: leave well enough alone.  But can you? Would your conscience allow you to continue living a lie, as great as that life might be? Wouldn’t there always be that nagging question at the back of your mind: I wonder what was behind door number two?

As one writer questioned, “Is it better to live a harsh reality or a comfortable fantasy? And why? Would you continue living that lie if you realized that trading it for the truth would mean living a harsher reality? Even one that might downright suck?” They say, what you don’t know can’t hurt you, and ignorance is bliss. But is it though?

According to Matt Lawrence, author of Like a Splinter: The Philosophy Behind the Matrix Trilogy, “How you answer this question will come down to how much you value pleasure in comparison to truth.” Is pleasure all that really matters, or is truth valuable for its own sake?

Wikipedia’s take on the red pill and its opposite, the blue pill, is that they are popular culture symbols representing the choice between embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality and the blissful ignorance of illusion.

In most of the surveys I checked while writing this post, it seemed that most people leaned towards facing the cold, hard truth and went with the red pill http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/index.php?/topic/80676-the-matrixpersonality-test-poll-red-pill-or-blue-pill-truth-or-ignorance/ even though there was a certain comfort to be found in taking the blue one.

So  how about you? If you had to choose, which would it be, truth or happiness? Would you take the rose-colored glasses off to see the world as it really was or would you stay with an illusory yet safe and predictable life?


Find on the shelves at DCPL

The Matrix (DVD)

Total Recall (DVD)

The Rule of Thoughts- James Dashner

Game Over- Andrew Klavan

Bubble World- Carol Snow

Elusion- Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam








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