“The Matrix,” which debuted in the year 1999, turned out to be a watershed sci-fi movie.
Its impact is enduring, and it seems to have an ethereal quality and relevance that has never been more significant, and in many ways more disturbing, than at our present time.
The setting of the film is a dystopian future, one in which humanity lives and breathes a simulated reality, thus the name “The Matrix.”
Artificial intelligence is the means by which a false reality has been created in order to muddle the minds of human beings but still allow the shells of their bodies to be used as energy sources.
Thomas Anderson, played by Keanu Reeves, is a computer programmer who goes by the hacker alias “Neo.” The hand of destiny leads Neo to a man named Morpheus, played by Laurence Fishburne.
Morpheus holds the key that is able to unlock the secret vault of knowledge that holds the answers to questions about which Neo has pondered; questions that concern the nature of the world in which Neo and most of his fellow human beings unknowingly reside.
At one dramatic point in the plotline, Morpheus holds in his hands two different pills – one red and one blue.
Extending the choice of pills to Neo, Morpheus explains that if he chooses to take the blue pill, it will leave him in his current state (which is living in a computer-generated world that is blissful, yet completely inauthentic).
If he chooses to take the red pill, it will ultimately remove him from the Matrix and allow him to experience the awareness of the actual world (which has been imposed upon him and is blocked from his consciousness).
There is one monumental caveat if he chooses to take the red pill: Once chosen and consumed, there is no turning back, no changing his mind, no undoing of what has been done.
Shifting into real life gear, if shades of “The Matrix” are present in our lives today, should we take the red pill or the blue pill?
The decision at its core turns out to be a matter of individual priority. It also seems to be a matter of the soul in which an individual is somehow graced with an intrinsic thirst for the Truth.
In the film, Neo decides that truth is worth pursuing. He chooses the red pill.
In so doing, he learns that the generation of human beings of which he has been a part is actually living a life of enslavement. The Matrix had been cunningly crafted to exert total control over people’s minds and keep them in a perpetually docile state. In this way, their bodies are able to be exploited as a source of energy.
Neo, a kind of unexpected hero, rises to become part of the rebellion against the non-human overlords.
Use of the phrase “red pill” has become part of our pop culture lexicon in a major way. Its application has spread far and wide, and it has been utilized by individuals and groups across the ideological and societal spectrum.
It is most often used to convey the process of becoming enlightened to truths about reality that have the capacity to unearth previously hidden delusions. Unfortunately, due to its widespread use by some individuals and groups, “truth” in many cases may be subject to the interpretation of the user.
The phrase has been used to promote everything from a meatless diet on a YouTube channel to the men’s rights movement.
Conversely, when social media and cable commentator Candace Owens initially set up her YouTube channel called “Red Pill Black,” it was intended to encourage African-Americans to escape the mindset of liberalism.
For Christians, the symbolism contained within “The Matrix” film has come to be highly meaningful. The three main characters, Morpheus, Neo, and the aptly named Trinity, work as one to defeat the evil artificial intelligence cyber-entities.
The emergence of Neo at birth from an incubator womb is, metaphorically speaking, a type of virgin birth. Neo’s anointing as the “One” is prophesied beforehand in the film’s plotline. He is eventually betrayed by a Judas figure named Cypher. And he suffers death, but after 72 seconds returns to life, paralleling the death and resurrection of the biblical Savior.
There is one critical point in the movie when Neo asks why his eyes hurt so much.
Morpheus replies, “It’s because you never used them before.”
So which will it be for you, red pill or blue?