Red Pill, Blue Pill, No Pill

When I was a young man, a slightly older friend whom I considered to be somewhat wise once expressed to me the view that “Only about 5% of people actually think.” That “statistic”, like many, was no doubt pulled out of the air. However, the older I get, the more I am inclined to see where my friend was coming from.

The Matrix introduced to popular culture the choice between taking a red pill, and waking up to the true nature of reality, or taking a blue pill, and remaining trapped within the “Matrix”. (Yes, if the movie were made in today’s polarized political climate, colors other than red and blue would undoubtedly have been used; but, let’s ignore that here.) However, it occurs to me that for most people, the choice is not so binary – because there is an option to take neither pill. Which mostly comes down to either “I don’t want to think about it” or “I’m too busy to think about it”, or perhaps “It’s too confusing to think about”.

For those whose “spiritual alarm clock” has not yet gone off, the choice of “no pill” is not to be argued with, looked down upon, or judged. For such individuals, it is a perfectly acceptable non-choice. Most likely, the plan for their current adventure in Earth Game did not involve waking up – or at least not until they are older than they are now. They can still enjoy the game, living and learning and loving, and enjoying the scenery along the way. There is nothing wrong with that.

If you are reading this, however, it is likely that your personal spiritual alarm clock has in fact gone off. If you are an “old soul” – i.e., you’ve been around for many lifetimes, and learned a thing or two along the way – then at a mostly preplanned time and in a mostly preplanned way, you are going to start to remember. Things will start to happen that wake you up. That is when your inner Morpheus shows up and presents you with the red pill / blue pill choice.

For me, the first shot across the bow of my logical mind came on my 30th birthday. In the 24 months that followed, a series of events brought me to a mental precipice – and then pushed me off. It was “choiceless” (i.e., a given) for me to take the red pill at that point. The blue pill was somewhere back on that precipice – and I don’t believe I could have clambered back up there if my life had depended on it (which it did not). Besides, the red pill led me not to a Matrix-like dystopia, but rather to a series of adventures and discoveries that continue to this day. At every step with a preponderance of love, joy, fun, health, and abundance (as opposed to the absence of such things). Bottom line: red pill good.

Incidentally, I think you get just the one pill; i.e., rarely if ever will there be an opportunity for a “do-over”. Once you take the red pill, you will never be able to un-see the things that will unfold in your life – and you won’t want to. And once you definitively and after due thought take the blue pill, no magic will thereafter unfold to change your mind – because the blue pill blinds you to all things magical.

But let’s come back to those who haven’t yet been visited by their “inner Morpheus”, i.e., have not yet been pressed to make a definitive choice. Which, I surmise, includes the majority of the population. I would guess at the following distribution:

  • Only about 10 – 15% of the population have “taken the blue pill”, that is, have thoughtfully and definitively arrived at a conclusion that ours is a random, material, mechanical, and essentially godless reality where what we can sense and measure is all there is.
  • I would not count in the above 10% the many people who are “non-believers” but who have yet to give any serious thought to the nature of this reality. This category may comprise another 20 – 30%.
  • Only about 10 – 15% of the population have “taken the red pill”, that is, fully woken up to a metaphysical perspective of reality.
  • I would not count in the “red pill” category the further 20 – 30% or so who grew up observing some organized religion or have dabbled in spirituality, but haven’t given it enough thought to make any kind of definitive decision about what they believe themselves to be experiencing here in this reality.

Whatever the actual distribution, it would seem that most are neither in the red pill or blue pill camp, but rather, and at least for now, are in the “no pill” camp. Which, as noted above, is perfectly okay.

Where it gets interesting, though, is when an individual’s “spiritual alarm clock” does go off. Then what? What does one do when things happen that just cannot be explained by reference to a world that is only matter? The following paths may present themselves at that juncture:

  1. Take the plunge. Go for the red pill, and embark on an exploration and an adventure that will never be fully complete or fully over. Seek to eventually understand things that, in the moment, defy your every attempt at understanding.
  2. Shut down the crazy. Assume there must be some logical explanation that will eventually reveal itself. In the meantime, distract yourself by focusing on matters of the material world. If the madness bubbles up, find some way to exorcise it. Do your best to fight your way back to where you can take the blue pill and put the nonsense to rest. Even though deep down you know that you will never get there.
  3. Don’t give it a moment’s thought. Better yet, assiduously avoid any serious thought at all. Distract yourself through any means available to you. If you are one with low cognitive dissonance, assemble a hodge-podge of beliefs and habits that can’t possibly fit together, while carefully avoiding any internal debate or battle among them.
  4. Hedge. Maybe, and maybe not. Hit the “snooze alarm” a time or two (or three). Two steps forward, one step back (or perhaps two steps back). Manically surge forward only to depressively fall back. Or else just muddle along without making much of anything. Eventually to slide into a paralysis of indecision. Waiting for a burning bush to make it all clear. In the end, still waiting. Opportunity lost. Unless, that is, crisis forces a decision. Which sometimes comes too late for one’s current lifetime to become the exploration and adventure it could have been.

For me, so many years ago, I knew path #2 was not going to be a viable option. Nor, given my logical nature and high cognitive dissonance, was path #3 any kind of possibility. I may have stirred a little of path #4 into my journey, but I took the plunge. Which I have never, ever – even for a nanosecond – had cause to regret.

If you are (still) reading this and if your spiritual alarm clock has gone off – and even more so if you have already hit the snooze alarm a time or two – then I seek here to encourage you. Just start exploring. Whatever path calls to you is the one to start down; every true spiritual path leads towards the same summit anyway.

Nor need you worry about the journey being “crazy-making”. If the path has met my stringent demands for logic and reason and eventual understanding, it will meet yours too.

Nor need you fear darkness along the way. If, on the other side of “the veil”, you find yourself encountering anything dark or dangerous or evil – i.e., unlike light and love – then whatever it is you are exploring is not the other side of “the veil”. Back up, correct course.

Rather, the path of spiritual exploration is one of the utmost sanity, of safety, of joy, and of peaceful exhilaration. If you must cling to one fear as you ponder the “red pill”, let it be FOMO – and take the plunge.

If it is your time, come on in – the water’s fine!