The Matrix is my favourite movie of all time. Hands down.
Now the sequels left much to be desired but the original is almost cinematic perfection in my mind. Martial arts blended with sci-fi blended with guns blended with good looking girls. It’s like they took a bunch of 15 year old boys and read their thoughts until they synthesized the elemental action movie.
Despite the flash and bang mindless action, there are also some deep philosophical undertones. The one that has always spoken to me is what I call The Moment. That’s the scene where Neo and Morpheus are sitting in the dingy room and Morpheus presents a red and blue pill. Take the blue pill and return to a life built on a beautiful illusion. Take the red pill and wake up to a reality few have seen. It’s a choice that wasn’t to be taken lightly.
Every great journey has The Moment. It is the metaphysical axis on which it swings. You can choose to go ahead in self-respect or go home, turn on the TV, and drink three Diet Pepsi. The Moment doesn’t call for recklessness. It simply calls for a workman-like determination to meet the challenges of every day. If you can commit to that then the axis on which The Moment swings will go the proper way. The problem with The Moment is that is looks more like a steep precipice than a fork in the road. Think about poor Neo. He sits there wondering what he should do, his mind asunder. He’s had the barest of glimpses of the other world he knows in his heart exists. What will it be though? A shining utopia? A programmer’s paradise of MacBooks and virgins? Even he couldn’t have seen the world that awaited him. Remember that hesitation before he grabbed the red pill? Even he wasn’t sure if he was ready for the truth.
I remember The Moment I faced just before I decided to turn around my life. I wasn’t necessarily unhappy or dissatisfied, I just knew I wasn’t living up to my potential. I knew I was in okay shape but I wasn’t willing to sell myself short any more. Good enough wasn’t good enough any more. That was a start. Then I needed to step off the precipice. Sometimes we can do that on our own, sometimes we need some encouragement, and sometimes we need a push. The thing about it though is if we stand there asking questions and researching endlessly on the Internet nothing actually gets done, we don’t change. We might as well reach for the blue pill and get that case of Diet Pepsi to wash it down.
I’m glad I didn’t do that. I’m glad I just stepped off the edge for once in my life. The good news is that on your way down there’s usually something to break the fall; like in those old Looney Tunes cartoons when Bugs gets into a parachute somewhere during a comedic freefall. It might be a friend, it might be a co-worker, it might just be a good book. You need to step off in the faith though. The details usually work themselves out in the doing. They did for me. The red pill isn’t a shining utopia. I can assure you of that. What it is though is the truth. The truth may not be as comfortable as you’re used to. The truth may not be as manufactured as you’re used to. The truth may not be as cream-filled as you’re used to. That’s okay. It’s the truth and in the long run you’ll come to appreciate that it’s much better this way than that.
So the decision is up to you. Do we go down the rabbit hole together or do you go home and live out your comfortable, albeit detrimental, life? Will you take the red or blue pill?
Only you can decide.
“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”
– Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) in The Matrix