The Infinite Wall

I - only I - the Nothing and the Infinite in one. Climbing the infinite wall.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Yellow Pill

Ask anyone who has seen The Matrix if they want to take the red pill or the blue pill, and you will invariably get the answer the red pill. They see themselves as truth seekers who are willing to see what really is, even though it may be a bitter realization.

But what are the pills in The Matrix really offering? Do we really think and listen, or do we all just want to run along with the hero, Neo? We know that one single person in the movie chose a re-take, to take the blue pill. Cypher, the grand traitor who almost killed Neo. But did we really listen to his reasons when he told us why, or did we write them off because we already knew he was a villain? Honestly!

Cypher's reasoning was not bad at all, and in fact he was a far more profound philosopher than Morpheus, Neo and Trinity put together. But he was the villain, and his choice was followed up by an act of murder portrayed as if that act was a logical consequence of his choice. QED: it was thereby demonstrated that taking the blue pill was wrong. Absolutely, horribly, utterly wrong. But was it? Formulate to yourself why Cypher's reasons were bad - if you even remember them.

The Matrix casts doubt on whether the world we live in is real, or whether it is artificially produced and whether another, real world lurks behind it, unseen and unrevealed except to the few. This doubt is not new, but harks in that form at least back to Rene Descartes' doubt about whether the world of the senses is a real world. Only... The Matrix falls a few yards short of that ...
When Neo takes the Red Pill, he wakes up in another world. Suddenly his philosophical doubts have totally worn off! He no longer doubts if that world is real. Suddenly his previously oh so unreliable senses are 100% reliable. His doubts did not go deep ... one is tempted to say with Nietzsche that they were "not even shallow".


But what is really the difference between the blue-pill world and the red-pill world? In both worlds, its inhabitants are running mindlessly around pursuing some fixed agendas. The only difference between the red-pillers and the blue-pillers is in other words that the red-pillers are mindlessly pursuing a different agenda. Both worlds are equally bleak, in each their way, and whichever world they have chosen, they have chosen it without the wisdom to discover the third world which is there and has been there all along: the world of themselves.

The yellow pill
What is the opposite of a mindless pursuit? Another mindless pursuit, of course. But aside from that, might it not be to take issue with the mindlessness itself? Might not not the opposite of mindlessness be to be mindful of whatever you experience, regardless of which world you experience it in? A flower by any other colour ... both the red and the blue flowers have their beauty and their alluring scent, but none of them will be seen by the man who is on a mindless pursuit of some fixed agenda.
What such a man needs is neither a blue pill nor a red pill, but this hidden alternative which does not even need to be put into the shape of a pill: mindfulness. But let us still call it a pill, though - a pill hidden in plain sight by a false dichotomy of blue lies vs red bitterness. Let us call it the yellow pill.
Will you take it? It is closer than even your own nose.


  • At 2:32 PM, Blogger leegee said…

    "...In both worlds, its inhabitants are running mindlessly around pursuing some fixed agendas. The only difference between the red-pillers and the blue-pillers is in other words that the red-pillers are mindlessly pursuing a different agenda."

    Not mindlessly, but for survival as self-determining individuals. Perhaps you need to watch the film again before proselytising.

  • At 12:33 AM, Blogger Solan said…

    Which "survival as self-determining individuals" are they really pursuing? Are you referring to how Morpheus and crew are in a permanent battle on behalf of what they consider to be their real bodies as opposed to the bodies they experience themselves as having while inhabitants of the Matrix? Is this particular choice of belief as to what happens to be their real bodies where their self-determination lies?

    As for being self-determined, part 3 of the trilogy has a very interesting meeting between Neo and the Architect, a meeting that has happened innumerous times before.

    The key point when it comes to how mindful Morpheus and crew are in their pursuit of battle over the three films, is this: They have questioned the reality of the Matrix, but have stopped questioning after that, and have taken the entire battle agenda as a given. The third film really makes null of this fixed agenda, as it turns out that Morpheus' battle was as much part of the Architect's scheme as were the lives of those staying unquestioningly inside the Matrix. This reveals that Morpheus and his crew were neither freer nor more self-determined than them; they had only gained the illusion of being so by abandoning one view of the body for another.

  • At 11:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Neo took the yellow pill; my interpretation is that that was the whole idea behind the third film and it's emphasis on Neo becoming disillusioned with the entire process of the war and both parties redundant cycling through the motions. Morpheus was the red pill incarnate, the machines the blue pill incarnate, and through both of their belief in Neo, passionate in Morpheu's case and resentful in the machines case, they worked towards a third path: the yellow pill.
    Now THIS bit might be a bit farther out than that, but given the whole Jesus metaphor thing: the three paths is even more integrated somewhere in the ridiculous analogy-pile that is the Matrix in the whole cross\three paths\three pills thing. Hell, the three movies may even be a representation of the red/blue/yellow (in that order) scheme.
    The wachowski's put a lot of thought into the Matrix, much more than even the fan-kids think they did. Granted, not all of it might have been corporeal at the advent of the first movie, but by number three they had figured out how to "close the loop", literally IN the movie and figuratively in the subtext as well.

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