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Monday, September 25, 2006

Question of the Day #65: Blue pill or red pill?

"This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. 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." -Morpheus

"I know what you're thinking, 'cause right now I'm thinking the same thing. Actually, I've been thinking it ever since I got here: Why oh why didn't I take the BLUE pill?" -Cypher

Most of you if not all of you have probably seen "The Matrix". If you haven't, I will explain the scenario for this question. If you have, perhaps it might be best to pretend you haven't for the purpose of answering it.

You find yourself alone in a room with a man who is explaining to you that the world as you know it is an illusion. "You are a slave," he tells you. "Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind." He explains to you that now that he has shared this information with you, you have two options, and he holds out two pills towards you. If you take the red pill, you will wake up to reality. There's no gauarantee what that reality will be like, and in fact, it is likely to be far more unpleasant than "reality" as you currently know it, but once you have taken the pill, there is no turning back. If you take the blue pill, you will wake up in your bed, and all of the conversation will be like a dream, and will quickly be forgotten so that you can go about your life.

Which pill do you take, and why?

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3 Comments:

At 9/25/2006 12:03 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

I can't think of any reason why I wouldn't take the red pill. The desire to know reality is an intrinsic characteristic of humanity, in my opinion. I can't imagine why anyone would take the blue pill.

 
At 9/25/2006 2:07 PM, Blogger olly declaimed...

I would absolutely take the red pill... and I'd argue that anyone who says they'd take the dreams over reality is lying to themself. Even theists want to know the truth... they just claim that God is the way to get there.

In the end, this life is all we have... so why would I want to live it deluding myself?

-olly

 
At 9/27/2006 10:56 AM, Blogger Brucker declaimed...

The question of "why" is, to my mind, definitely the more interesting one than which pill any individual would actually take. I do think most people would take the red pill, and the reasons may vary, but generally boil down to knowing the truth being of high value.

Why take the blue pill? Fear, perhaps. It's implied to some extent in the question that there is a certain amount of mental anguish that will be involved in taking the red pill. Take the cinematic example of "Total Recall" instead of "The Matrix". In that scenario, you have the option of living a happy life of an upper-middle-class schmo married to Sharon Stone and planning your next vacation. Take the pill, and suddenly everyone's shooting at you, and you're on a quest that likely will get you killed along the way.

Of course, the interesting thing about "Total Recall" is that Douglas Quaid was offered essentially the same option as Neo: a pill that would allow him to wake up to reality. In his case, he decided the "reality pill" was actually a lie, and refused it. That possibility, which was neither suggested nor denied as a possibilty in the question above is definitely worth considering.

 

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