The red pill and the blue pill

You are offered the blue pill or the red pill

In the movie ‘The Matrix’ Neo is offered the choice between two pills: the blue pill will keep him in the dream where he can believe whatever he wants to believe. The red pill ejects him into a reality.

You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe,” says Morpheus.

“You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”

Neo takes the red pill. In a way we are all offered this choice and sometime in our lives we made the decision as to which pill to take.

During the 1960s Stanley Millgram, a psychologist at Yale university was interested in why many of the Nazis during the Nuremburg trials after the war protested that they were simply following orders. Surely, he argued, people wouldn’t follow orders when it meant herding women and children into gas chambers? He proposed his now famous exeriment to see if Amercians would simply follow orders. In brief, the experiments had a teacher (a stranger who answered an advert in a newspaper) and a student (actally an actor) who was behind a partition. The teacher was told to ‘teach’ the student by getting them to repeat texts read from a paper. If the student failed to repeat them correctly the teacher was to throw one of a series of switches which sent an electric current into the student. The switches were labeled in intensity with voltages up to 450 volts and the last few were simply labelled XXX. The teachers were told to increase the level whenever the student made a mistake. If the teachers asked questions regarding the experiment they were told to continue. See here for a fuller description and overview.

When he proposed the experiments his colleagues argued that no more than a few percent would follow orders to the end. America was not Germany they argued, where people were brought up to obey orders. In fact around 65% followed through to the end. There are some questions as to the ethics of the experiment but it seems that when variations of the experiment were performed more recently the results were similar.

In the movie ‘Experimenter’ Peter Sarsgaard playing Stanley Millgram, makes the following statement (and I’m paraphrasing):

At some time in our lives everyone makes a choice. We follow our conscience or we follow orders. If we make the decision to follow orders, it’s very difficult to go back as we have to live with the consequences of the decisions we have made.

I would argue that we have to face the consequences in anyway. We either do it in this life or the next where it’s much harder. That is the hell that people find themselves in.

I wrote about Carl Jung’s book ‘The Undiscovered Self’. In essence, the book is about just this: we follow our conscience or we follow orders. When we follow orders we take the blue pill. We are asleep, unquestioning. When we take the red pill we wake up. But taking the red pill is not easy: you may be alienated from your friends, you are in the world but separate from it. Those who have taken the red pill are not always obvious. They may appear as different or eccentric, but they may have an outer image of conformity. Conversely, people may appear to be not conforming but they have taken the blue pill. People who follow orders blindly have taken the blue pill, but also those who automatically reject authority are slaves to authority nonetheless. There are those who know how to fit in with society but they see through it and are very measured in the their degree of compliance.

There is a view, pushed by those who want to control us, that children must be able to express their individuality — but only in ways that don’t upset the status-quo. So they are given ‘unique’ names; they are told that being an Atheist is thinking for yourself, or identifying as transgender or gay, or getting a tattoo is a mark of individuality. Taking the red pill and seeing the reality is not about outer appearance. It’s about an inner state, but more and more our society is about outer appearances. People are given senseless tasks to do in order to engrain compliancy. Politicians who are polite and put on an outer show of being good citizens are lauded, whilst those who do the right thing but bare their faults for all to see are condemned.

People become afraid to express their real views because they fear they will be called out for be antisocial: selfish if they don’t comply and wear a mask, racists if they support Donald Trump in an election. Society tells people what is right and wrong, we are told, not our conscience. Society of course doesn’t have a view. The views of the collective vary as much as each person. There are, however, people who claim to represent the view of the collective and these people impose their ideas on the masses by using guilt.

How deep does the rabbit-hole go?

We should always question our assumptions. All assumptions are obvious to the person who makes them. To the person who advocates science, it’s obvious that we live in an objective universe that we can study, and the laws of cause and effect take place in time: the cause always precedes the effect. To the fundamentalist Christian, it’s obvious that God is real and the bible is the word of God — it’s simply our interpretation of it that is open to question. And so on. When people who take the red pill, it’s just the start of the journey down the rabbit-hole. It has no end.

What we think of as our consciousness (which for most people is simply aligned to their ego) is the end of a long thread that extends down through our thoughts, our assumptions, through the collective unconsciousness and on to worlds and dimensions beyond our wildest dreams. Taking the red pill is the start of that journey. It’s a difficult one but it never ends. It goes beyond our life on earth into the infinity.

By Philip Braham on .




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