The Red Pill or the Blue Pill
At some point in our lives we are all confronted with this question. Do we face reality warts and all or do we retreat to the comfort of our own illusions?
It was a question which confronted two 12 year girls in Milwaukee, who in an effort to appease a fictional, internet entity called Slenderman, lured another 12-year-old friend into the woods and stabbed her 19 times.
A young bride in Ripley, Tennessee faced the same query when in an attempt to make her one month old newborn a part of her nuptials, affixed the child to the train of her wedding dress as she walked down the aisle. Never mind that the bride carried a bouquet of flowers and that the groom’s two strong arms were empty.
The mother defended her decision in part by exclaiming that the child was in no danger as she was “covered in Christ”. And to her critics she replied, ”so keep ya mouths running for it was just that Exclusive and Epic enough to make top blog way from small town in Ripley, TN. and the social media doing what they do, TALK!!!!!”.
The red pill or the blue pill: that is the question? The blue pill does not promise pleasantries. The azure may in fact be disagreeable even deplorable. But while dark, dreary and utterly without hope, the world produced by the blue is comforting in that it never challenges our beliefs or opinions.
If we are persuaded that our religion, our politics, culture and economics are a cut above, the blue will envelope and nurture this conviction. If we are absolutely persuaded that we are helpless victims entitled to self-righteous indignation at our victimization, the blue will make no attempt to persuade us otherwise. If ours is a sense of superiority, rage and indignation at a changing world, the cobalt will create a scenario to justify these feelings. Our cherished beliefs, our world view, whether realistic or not, are made warm and cozy in the matrix of the blue.
No need to think or to ponder. The blue pill does it for us. Even better, there are no demands for responsibility, no pesky stipulations of accountability, no fundamental need for fairness or equality. Nothing that happens in the world of the blue is our fault; we are responsible for nothing.
Thus, an odd serenity permeates this place of fog and shadows; a pure if not ignorant bliss where we can pretend that we are helpless and that all is well when in reality we and it are not. A warped picture shields us from the responsibility of governing ourselves; of changing our world. What could be easier? All we need do is surrender to a lie.
Sadly, blue pills are plentiful. Indigo apothecaries and pushers are everywhere, in our churches and houses of worship, our political parties, our reality T. V.’s and talk radios, our Internets and social medias, all promising a better high; a more vivid realistic experience. Never mind that by taking the blue pill we remain as ignorant as the day is long. We are but batteries, our essence and energies siphoned for the benefit of others. And after we have nothing left to give, our spent carcasses shall be liquefied and fed to others to continue the never-ending cycle of use and abuse.
That the blue is pushed by some of our most sacred institutions; our most trusted advisers is damnable. And to our everlasting shame, even though the consequences of ingesting the blue pill are well-known, many prefer the falsehoods of the blue to the promise of the red. We are so happy with our intentional ignorance that we take the azure tablet two or there times a day just to maintain our comfortable illusions.
Or we can take the red pill and face the truth, as harsh and as ugly as it might be; that no matter what may have happened in the past, we are responsible for what we do, how we think and who we are. We can no longer hide behind the veil of ignorance and the curtain of innocence. Rather, we are obligated to act; compelled to take responsibility for our lives, children and communities.
It will be neither agreeable nor easy. We will know pain and doubt; weariness and disappointment. We will make enemies both within and without. We will offend and alienate our own who will not understand nor appreciate the end of the nightmare that validates their beliefs. We will catch-all kinds of hell. It’s almost enough to make one wish for the comfort of the blue.
Yet, while a hard pill to swallow, the red is well worth the taking. The ability to separate fact from fiction, reality from illusion, to control rather than be controlled, is crucial to our continued existence.
So it’s the red pill or the blue pill. Do we choose the comfort of illusion or the frankness of reality? This question is primarily directed to the family. We simply must break the fraud of deceit, the illusion of helplessness, the dependency on others and the horror of self-destruction. But given the Milwaukee occurrence, it is a question that applies to us all.
In conclusion, no one can force our decision. It is ours to make, consistent with our determination and our strength of will; or the lack thereof.
However, if we choose wrongly, if we select unwisely, we will continue to witness young mothers dragging their children behind them. That which makes the blue pill pleasant and non-threatening is the very thing which seals our doom.
As Harriet Tubman once said, “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have saved a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”
Leo Barron Hicks, Founder and CEO
Blackacre Policy Forum