The Matrix first appeared in 1999. I was in second grade at the time and although I had no idea what was going on in the movie, the action was in the movie was very appealing. In the following years I had watched the sequels, still without truly comprehending what the plot of the movie was. My older brother and his friends tried to explained it to me but I was too mesmerized by the super human fighting scenes.
It wasn’t until a year ago when I watched The Matrix again that I saw the scene in the movie where Morpheus explains to Neo that the machines were harvesting human beings to convert into energy.I never understood this scene as a kid and it was last year, 2010, that I truly realized what the movie was all about.
If you were to ask me in early 2000, while I was still a second grader, which of the two pills I would choose to take, the red or blue pill, I would have said the red pill. What young boy wouldn’t want to go to a place where men can fly, learn kung fu in an instant, have an arsenal of guns at their disposals and beat up the bad dudes? The question would be a no brainer when posed to a child when things are taken for granted and all there was in life was candy and video games. If I was given the choice today, I would be absolutely tormented between the two pills.
The reason why the decision would be so hard for me today leads back to how most people take things for granted in their lives and for life itself. I knew about death when I was little, but I had yet to comprehend what it meant. For an atheist as myself, death can be interpreted as an eternal nap.
I think that I speak for the world’s population that everyone love naps and wish they could take more throughout the day. In Pluto’s Apology, Socrates also describes death as something almost enjoyable if it is truly an eternal sleep. After all, his logic dictates that since we cease dreaming when we are dead, death is void of nightmares. However, when Socrates spoke of death, he seemed at peace with it. But if death is void of nightmares then won’t death also be void of good dreams as well? At the same time, if I were to die today, I would no longer have the joy of seeing friends and loved ones or the joy of satisfaction. Although I would no longer feel pain or loneliness, I feel that pain is proof of existence and I would rather live the rest of eternity damned to a monotonous lifestyle like Sisyphus, who forever pushes a boulder up a hill, than to fall into a dreamless sleep.
The reason why I compare death to taking the pills is because when you take the red pill, you experience a rebirth. But according to logic, doesn’t one have to die in order to be reborn?
In The Matrix, after taking the red pill, the scene where Neo wakes up in a pod of ooze symbolizes his awakening; it is almost like he was reborn into the real world. By taking the red pill he left behind everything he had in the world engineered by the machines. Although whatever happened in that digital world was not technically “real,” his feelings made those experiences real. That being said, it would make it very difficult to leave behind your friends and family in the digital world. I think that it was easier for Neo to take the red pill because he seemed to have lived alone nor did it seem like he had any friends. This means that he most likely didn’t have any significant others, which makes it much easier for him to leave his life in the digital world behind.
The torment of the choosing between the two pills spawns from dying in the digital world to reborn in the real world. Depending on how I feel the day that Morpheus asks me whether to take the blue or red pill, I just may feel adventurous and curious enough to take the red pill.