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Did we all take the blue pill in the end?

The Matrix wants us to imagine the terrifying possibility of living in a false world where we’re being controlled by machines and juxtaposes this with a world where people are free, real, authentic.

Unfortunately, life outside the Matrix isn’t glamorous or even fun, and humans have all the same problems they did before – blind faith, denial, anger, love, lust, bitterness, and greed. I’m not saying it’s better to be controlled by an algorithm, but only that we shouldn’t so readily fool ourselves into thinking that we can escape it into some utopia.

And what of the lies we tell ourselves about what it means to be truly free? Neo manages to escape the great manipulation that the Matrix uses to placate its slimy human power sources, but as the “chosen one,” he’s not free to live his own authentic life. He’s pretty much conscripted by Morpheus into the most dangerous job possible using a combination of guilt and intimidation. It’s a good thing his life wasn’t all that glamorous back in the Matrix or he might have gone looking for Morpheus’ spare stash of blue pills.

In life, most of us take the blue pill. Day after day, we choose the illusion of certainty rather than the messy reality of uncertainty. As a result, facts become dispensable, and misinformation and pseudoscience thrive. If the powers-that-be already decided that we use only 10% of our brains or that dietary cholesterol is inexorably bad for you, we can move on. There’s no reason to rock the boat.

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance,” as the late Stephen Hawking said, “it is the illusion of knowledge.” The pretense of knowledge closes our ears and shuts off incoming educational signals from outside sources. Certainty blinds us to our own paralysis. The more we speak our version of the truth, preferably with passion and exaggerated hand gestures, the more our egos inflate to the size of skyscrapers—concealing what’s underneath.

Taking the red pill requires an admission of ignorance and a good dose of humility. When we utter those three dreaded words—I don’t know—our ego deflates, our mind opens, and our ears perk up. Admitting ignorance doesn’t mean remaining wilfully oblivious to facts. Rather, it requires a conscious type of ignorance where you become fully aware of what you don’t know in order to learn and grow.

Recently Elon Musk tweeted about the Red Pill.

It is believed that Musk tweeted “take the red pill” to protest the continued coronavirus lockdowns.

Conservatives have praised the comment, and First Daughter Ivanka Trump retweeted it with the reply, “Taken!”

Perhaps this served as an explanation for the original red pill tweet, the meaning behind which was already murky (especially given that it contained a rose emoji, often used online to signify membership in the Democratic Socialists of America).

But Musk has long exhibited a libertarian streak, exemplified by Tesla’s response to the spread of covid-19. He has also professed multiple times to wondering whether, as in “The Matrix,” we are all living in a simulation. The question is, who’s controlling this one?

Others have blasted the tweet, including Matrix co-director Lilly Wachowski and Sandy Garossino, the mother of Musk’s girlfriend Grimes.

Wachowski wrote “f**k both of you,” alluding to Musk and Ivanka Trump.

Garossino also responded on social media, saying that Musk was promoting a misogynistic men’s rights movement that trivialized feminism.

“Taking the red pill” has aslo become an internet phrase used by the far right to signify a political awakening.


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