Red pill and blue pill

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The red pill and its opposite, the blue pill, are pop culture symbols representing the choice between the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue) and embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality (red).

The terms, popularized in science fiction culture, derive from the 1999 film The Matrix. In the movie, the main character Neo is offered the choice between a red pill and a blue pill. The blue pill would allow him to remain in the Matrix, a fictional computer-generated world. The red pill would lead to his escape out of the Matrix and into the "real world".



[edit] Background

The first film of the Matrix trilogy, Thomas A. Anderson, a hacker under the alias "Neo" hears rumors of "The Matrix" and a mysterious man named "Morpheus". Neo spends his nights at the computer trying to discover the secret of The Matrix. Eventually he is introduced to Morpheus by another hacker called "Trinity".

Morpheus alludes to the fact that the reality that Neo is accustomed to is a lie and that Morpheus can show him the truth. He is asked to make a choice between two pills, red and blue. The blue pill will cause him to "wake up in [his] bed and believe whatever [he] want[s] to believe." He is told that if he takes the red pill, however, he will "stay in Wonderland" and Morpheus will "show [him] how deep the rabbit hole goes," an allusion to Alice in Wonderland.

Neo chooses the red pill and is illuminated as to the true nature of the Matrix; a detailed simulation of Earth circa 1999, which keeps the inhabitants, whose physical bodies are stored in massive power plants, complacent in a mental prison, in order to convert their heat and bioelectrical energy into power for machine consumption.

[edit] Analysis

An essay written by Russell Blackford discusses the red and blue pills, questioning whether if a person were fully informed they would take the red pill, opting for the real world, believing that choosing physical reality over a digital simulation is not clear-cut. Both Neo and another character, Cypher, take the red pill over the blue pill, with the latter showing regret for having made such a choice, having stated that if Morpheus fully informed them of the situation, Cypher would have told Morpheus to "shove the red pill right up [his] ass." Blackford argues that The Matrix trilogy sets things up so that even if Neo fails, the taking of the red pill is worthwhile because he lives and dies authentically. Blackford and science-fiction writer James Patrick Kelly feel that The Matrix stacks the deck against machines and their simulated world.[1]

In the book The Art of the Start, author Guy Kawasaki uses the red pill as an analogue to leaders of new organizations, in that they face the same choice to either live in reality or fantasy. He adds that if they want to be successful, they have to take the red pill and see how deep the rabbit hole goes.[2]

"Matrix Warrior: Being the One" author Jake Horsley compared the red pill to LSD, citing a scene where Neo forms his own world outside of the Matrix. When he asks Morpheus if he could return, Morpheus responds by asking him if he would want to. Horsley also describes the blue pill as addictive, calling The Matrix series a continuous series of choices between taking the blue pill and not taking it. He adds that the habits and routines of people inside the Matrix are merely the people dosing themselves with the blue pill. While he describes the blue pill as a common thing, he states that the red pill is one-of-a-kind, and something someone may not even find.[3]

[edit] Other uses

  • The reference to the pills is also implemented in a special type of malware that utilizes the virtualization techniques of modern CPUs to execute as a hypervisor; as a virtual platform on which the entire operating system runs, it is capable of examining the entire state of the machine and to cause any behavior with full privilege, while the operating system "believes" itself to be running directly on physical hardware, creating a parallel to the illusory Matrix. Blue Pill describes the concept of infecting a machine while red pill techniques help the operating system to detect the presence of such a hypervisor.
  • Until they were removed from the Maemo operating system application installer in January 2010, certain advanced features were unlocked by a "Red Pill Mode" easter egg to prevent accidental use by novice users but make them readily available to experienced users. This was activated by starting to add a catalog whose URL was "matrix" and then choosing to cancel. A dialog box would appear asking "Which pill?" with the choices "Red" or "Blue", allowing the user to enter red pill mode.[4][5] In "Red Pill" mode the installer allows the user to view and reconfigure system packages whose existence it normally does not acknowledge. In Blue Pill mode the installer displays only software installed by a user, creating the illusion that system software does not exist on the system.
  • The terms Red Pill and Blue Pill are colloquialisms for certain recreational drugs such as MDMA. This is an accepted popular culture reference in the rave scene, where it refers to the suggestion that taking a pill "releases" your mind from the "constraints of a fabricated reality"; a direct parallel with the subplot from the Matrix.[citation needed]
  • In the 1990 movie Total Recall, Arnold Schwarzenegger's character is offered a red pill as a means to escape a paranoid delusion.
  • In the 1982 film Blade Runner, a bill board in the background (@1:12:40) displays an advertisement of a geisha eating a red pill and then smiling. This advertisement is played twice in a row.
  • The lines were used in the psy-trance group 1200 Micrograms' single "DMT".
  • Before the film, in Gödel Escher Bach, by Douglas Hofstadter, published in 1979, there is a dialogue titled "Little Harmonic Labyrinth" in which the two characters, the Tortoise and Achilles, use vials of blue and red liquids to "push in" and "pop out" of different levels of the story.
  • During the debate over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Obama made news by saying, in both a press conference and an interview "If there's a blue pill and a red pill, and the blue pill is half the price of the red pill and works just as well, why not pay half price for the thing that's going to make you well?" While the reference might not have been intentional, critics and supporters alike made frequent references to the Matrix in the subsequent debate."ABC News Transcript". Retrieved July 15, 2009. 

[edit] See also

[edit] References

View page ratings
Rate this page
We will send you a confirmation e-mail. We will not share your e-mail address with outside parties as per our feedback privacy statement.
Saved successfully
Your ratings have not been submitted yet
Your ratings have expired
Please reevaluate this page and submit new ratings.
An error has occurred. Please try again later.
Thanks! Your ratings have been saved.
Please take a moment to complete a short survey.
Thanks! Your ratings have been saved.
Do you want to create an account?
An account will help you track your edits, get involved in discussions, and be a part of the community.
Thanks! Your ratings have been saved.
Did you know that you can edit this page?
Personal tools