I want to go back, I want the blue pill !
In the movie ‘The Matrix’, Thomas Anderson is living a fairly contented life as a computer programmer, everything is pretty much as he likes it until he is meets Morpheus . Although Thomas resists and struggles to cling on, over time Morpheus shows him that the world he is living in is make-believe, his real name is Neo. When Neo finally realises the truth Morpheus offers him a blue pill. The blue pill will make him forget about the matrix and allow him to return to his normal comfortable life, the red pill will open his mind to the disturbing knowledge of the matrix, with no going back. He takes the red pill and accepts the disturbing reality.
Over the last four or five years Morpheus has been in my head banging on at me to wake up and open my eyes. After much deliberation and a protracted grieving process I took the red pill, I looked behind the curtain and found that the wizard of oz wasn’t magical (too many movie references?). The reality is now obvious, or more accurately the unreality of the father-figure god is obvious. When I watch, listen or read debates between god fearing types and skeptics, the god-believers say things which only a few years ago I would have taken as an honest reflection of my reality – now seem completely deluded. No mater how intelligent or articulate they are, they are still inside The Matrix. The skeptics and agnostics seem to propose things so self-evident that they hardly need saying. Paradigm shift in thinking, they call it, I think of it in terms of red and blue pills.
The problem is, I’m starting to think I want to take the blue pill, I want to go back because the reality is hard to take. I want to live on Truman’s idyllic island. The problem is, there is no pill, there is no going back to a repeat show once you’ve seen how the magician does his tricks – you might wonder at the cleverness of it all, even find a beauty in it but you’re never going to actually suspend your disbelief again, no mater how much you want to, you can’t decide to to believe again.
The excitement and euphoria of paradigm shift has worn off and I’m left without the comfort blanket, begging for a pacifier. I want the loving father figure creator, who is on my side, watching over everything I say and do, looking out for my family when im not there, considering my prayers, keeping me in check, knowing all, having a plan for me. Then there’s the community side of it, church can be great! A load of like minded people you meet up with regularly, families you can share life’s burdens with, an effortlessly organised life-long social circle, ready-made ‘nice’ friends for your children. Then there’s the life-after-death thing, without that notion, death can be hard to deal with. It’s very comforting to think that loved ones who have died are somehow ‘up there’ watching over you, and you will meet again when this whole preamble is over – without that idea, it’s easy to allow the feeling of meaninglessness to creep in.
And that’s really it – I miss the purpose and meaning. Neither The lions in the Serengeti, the bears of North America or the whales in the oceans care about the inevitability of death for themselves and their loved ones. We humans do, and there’s no getting away from that.
I seriously wonder if I should bring my child up believing in the whole ‘Jesus loves you’ thing along with the whole Santa Claus/Chimney thing. I don’t subscribe to the ‘religion is the root of all evil’ hypothesis and I don’t think living in The Matrix would do much harm. In saying that, maybe humanity has to accept reality and not placate itself if it is to progress. Truman decided he didn’t want to live in utopia anymore when he found it wasn’t real, Neo took the red pill. Ultimately, truth matters.
It’s easy to see how beliefs and religions gain traction, there is an incredible urge to hope for something more, something eternal. I’m still trying to come to terms with it, to stop myself shouting…
I want to go back, I want to take the blue pill!