Red or Blue

In the film, ‘The Matrix’, Neo, the main protagonist, is offered a choice by Morpheus, the leader of the resistance movement. After giving some nuggets of information about the reality he inhabits, Morpheus holds out his hands, one contains a red capsule and the other a blue one. Neo is told that if he chooses the red capsule he will see the truth of the world, if he takes the blue one he will forget ever meeting Morpheus and can go back to believing that the construct is the true reality.

If Neo had chosen the blue capsule the film probably wouldn’t have been as good, it certainly would have been shorter. Anyway, as everyone knows, he took the red one, he was removed from the matrix and went on to learn that his world was a computer generated fiction.

Morpheus had been fighting the machines for many years and had been searching for Neo. He had an army of freeborn and matrix rejects, some cool tech, and a plan. If he had not had these things, and only a few unproven ideas to offer, again, the film wouldn’t have worked so well.

My point, if you’re not there yet, is that alerting people to something that is not happening and may only be one possible outcome, is not the same as offering a choice of red or blue. For starters, the possibility of forgetting is not available, so already the simile is fallacious, and unless the offer of a course of action is open then it only drops the person into an impossible situation.

I have exposed the illusion of their existence to many people. As a member of Alcoholics Anonymous I used to go on twelfth step calls, when a person called the helpline they’d allocate a responder to talk to the suffering might-be alkie. Usually the prescribed course would be to get the caller into a meeting in the hope of turning them into a recruit. We’d go to meet them, usually in pairs, and tell them about our own experience and how our lives had been turned around by joining AA. Classic recruiting tactics for any cultish organisation.

Very often they wouldn’t be ready to stop drinking, which is a prerequisite for getting into the AA programme, but the saying is that attending an AA meeting will definitely ruin your drinking. So, whether they come back or not, the message will be lodged in their head, and every time they drink they’ll be thinking about whether they’re an alky or not. After a number of these calls I started to see that not everyone was ready to stop drinking and it didn’t seem fair to stir them up, so I would explain that they should think very hard about what they wanted to do and then call again if they felt it necessary. I’d tell them that going to a meeting would make them change and I’d make them ask me to take them to a meeting. In this way I’d know that it was really their choice, many chose not to take the red capsule. I’d give my number and say I’d help in any way I could, only one person ever called again.

Once someone attended a meeting, there was plenty of support and an organisation in place that could look after them. This is, in my opinion, the minimum requirement for someone offering to tear away the illusion held by another person.

The reason for this piece of writing is that in this time of corona, there is a lot of stuff washing around that is termed conspiracy theory. There are many people who are offering to destroy illusions that give security, they call it ‘red pill’. To me it is not an accurate description of what they’re offering. There is no aftercare, and most importantly there is no alternative to the illusion. The result is a mass of ideas with little basis in fact and recruits are left to wallow in this backwash. I have seen nothing of certainty at all, and I find it impossible to embrace the paranoia. This makes me a fence sitter and I’m ok with that. I will believe the evidence of my eyes and I will fight the enemy when they attack me.

The people who blindly follow the edicts of government are called sheep, I see sheep on both sides. There is little or no proof for many of the ideas thrown around and in fact many are completely baseless. It seems that in order to be called open minded you’re expected to embrace every crazy notion because ‘if they’re lying about that…’. I can’t accept that as a basis for my life. I will need to see proof to believe in anything, and the idea that possibly something might be wrong is just not enough.

I’m going to stand alone as I have all my life. I will go my own way and believe what I choose. If I attract ridicule for this or for anything I believe then so be it, that would be nothing new in my life. I’ve occupied the role of outlier for ever, it’s my default position and moving from there into any ‘camp’ doesn’t feel comfortable to me.

Drag me out of the matrix and into the machine world, I’ll deal with that. I emerged, pale, blinking and uncertain from my cocoon of heroin, alcohol, and crack cocaine into the bright sunshine of recovery before anyone I knew had done the same. That was me, I blazed that trail, I’m not going to be told by anyone that I’m a coward or that my instincts are not correct. I’ll sit on this fence until I can see for myself which way to move, it’s my call.

There is one thing of which I am certain, I will always be taken care of. There will never be a situation in my life that I am not equal to if I utilise the resources that I’ve been blessed with. There is always support and love around me everywhere I go.

Show me the path, I am ready.

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