Friday 29 December 2017

The Red Pill must indeed be A Pill (metaphorically)

In The Matrix movie (1999) there is a literal Red Pill by means of which individuals may wake-up from the fake-reality that surrrounds them and perceive the real-reality:

In the movie, the Red Pill offers truth at the price of suffering while the Blue Pill offers pleasant illusion... however this is only superficially accurate.

In real life, the Blue Pill offers nihilistic despair palliated by distractions.

(e.g. A life without purpose, meaning or real-relationship to anything - from-which we are distracted by mass/ social media, sex, status games, and temporary absorptions by work and leisure.)

While 'waking-up' from the controlled-dream that is modern virtual-reality will inevitably entail a short -term loss of pleasure; in fact the Red Pill operates as something more like a euphoriant; a euphoriant whose deep happiness is only delayed by the delay of 'absorption'.

(i.e. Life after the Red Pill is happier than life before the Red Pill; the awakened are happier than the dreamers... but there is a delay.)

The Red Pill must be a 'pill', because otherwise it will not work. In other words, we need to take-in the cure at a single gulp.

Like most effective pills, the Red Pill does more-than-one-thing - yet the medicine must be simple enough that it can be taken all-at-once.

Why? Because the evil pseudo-reality of The Matrix has several vital components - and The Matrix survives because if only one accepted-falsehood is destroyed, then the other accepted-falsehoods allow The Matrix to heal.

Thus, if we challenge only one aspect of the falsehood, while continuing to accept another falsehood, then we are still living in falsehood. Only when all of the foundational falsehoods are challenged simultaneously can we escape the Matrix...

The cure for The Matrix is therefore a single pill. The pill needs to have more than one action, more than one component - but these must all be taken together, must all act simultaneously.

Therefore, the components of the Red Pill must be very carefully selected - as few as possible (to fit them all into a single pill) but as many as necessary (for the pill to have a permanent effect).

There are many Red Pills on offer - and it seems that the usual effect is to return the taker to The Matrix but with the illusion that they have escaped it. These are the most dangerous 'Red Pills'; perhaps the only truly dangerous Red Pills - Fake Red Pills merely offer novel distractions but leave The Matrix intact - and safe.

(Those who talk most about themselves having-been Red-Pilled are examples of 'false-awakening': still asleep but merely dreaming that they have awoken; in-thrall to Matrix metaphysics of materialism, scientism, positivism; more-deeply engaged-by the distractions of The Matrix.)

However there are some Red Pills that have worked for some people - but their composition seems to vary...

So - in practice we do not know what is really a Red Pill until it has already-done its work; and even then, it is hard to know whether it really has worked without direct knowledge of that specific person.

In the end, to escape the chronic misery of life in The Matrix, we must self-experiment; and self-evaluate the effectiveness of each plausibly-effectual Red Pill - honestly and rigorously; and intuitively*.

(*Intuitively, because there is no valid 'evidence' outside of the assumptions of The System... What counts as evidence within The Matrix does not counts as evidence to The Awakened; and vice versa. Only that which lies outwith all systems can evaluate a system: the intuitive heart, the real-divine self...)


Lucinda said...

What you say about the danger of false awakenings rings true with me. There are many inadequate subsets of truth that can derail our efforts when set up as an ultimate victory.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Lucinda - I personally found it difficult to break out of atheism because of the insufficiency of partial awakening. In essence, God as a belief did not address the alienation; but 'spirituality' (which addressed the alienation) alone was purposeless and arbitrary. This is why I try to address both together. Unlike most Christians, I regard the spirituality/ consciousness side of thngs as essential.

Ben said...

Great. I'm probably your intended audience (demo wise) for this and it struck a chord.

a_probst said...

"Unlike most Christians, I regard the spirituality/consciousness side of things as essential."

Most Christians leave the spirituality/consciousness side up to faith on the widespread assumption that it can't be known or will not be revealed to most souls in this life but will be a reward for the enjoined moral striving. And most of canonical scripture does not wax mystical.

"Do not despise prophetic utterances," Paul says in 1 Thessalonians; for centuries we have increasingly doubted our ability even to distinguish them.

Those of us raised Christian from our days as credulous children proceed, as some might say, on a kind of 'hearsay evidence', teachings that were received early enough to form the foundations of our assumptions about the reality of good and evil, the value of life, the transcendent importance of... anything. C.S. Lewis termed these the "wireless messages" from our friends outside the occupied territory we live in, your "Matrix".

If we seem to evince more than residual positivism it is usually from forgetfulness, presumptuousness, or bad habit rather than a loss of belief. 'Sinking to the level of one's surroundings.'

Bruce Charlton said...

@Ben - Maybe so. If a blog post reaches one person in a way that helps them, then that counts as one of the best posts I have written.

Bruce Charlton said...

@a probst - My understanding is that the early Christians (and, even more, Old Testament hebrews) lived IN an unconsciously extremely 'spiritual' environment - in which all kinds of 'supernatural' things were a part of daily life.

Barfield (and Steiner) have it that we needed to become detached from that unconsciously spiritual world, in order that we became fully free: consciousness needed to be detached from participation. Culturally this was attained in The West in the 19th century, although individuals varied more.

But this alienated state was intended to be a *brief* detachment before we, voluntarily and consciously, returned to acknowledge and dwell-in spirituality; but this time cosnciously - with a free and agent consciousness.

a_probst said...

"But this alienated state was intended to be a *brief* detachment before we, voluntarily and consciously, returned to acknowledge and dwell-in spirituality; but this time consciously - with a free and agent consciousness."

Sounds good. I like that!

Chiu ChunLing said...

I think I have to disagree with this. If there is to be an awakening, then it must be a process. Of course if there is a 'pill' that starts this process, then that 'pill' must be a 'pill', by definition.

But I don't see that a 'pill' is absolutely necessary. Some people are in the process of becoming more aware and awake, and apparently always have been. Some people only seem to make progress in becoming more aware and awake when they take in some distinct new truth which is commonly denied in their particular culture.

Others seem determined to reject awareness, even of truths are are commonly accepted in their particular culture.

The idea that there is some particular 'pill' that is necessary for people to begin the process of becoming more aware seems to me another expression in their particular culture.

Bruce Charlton said...

@CCL - You may or may not agree, but you have misunderstood the point that partial awakening is not awakening at all.

What you describe as a process of becoming is not a process of becoming - it is perhaps an incremental assenbly of the components needed to create a pill, until the point that taking them all-together can cause awakening.

Chiu ChunLing said...

I think rather I'm coming at it from the other side.

For me, "being awake" is a process, or rather a state which is defined by the continuous application of the mental function to accepting and understanding reality in a cycle. Thus one might contrast it to being asleep, in which there is not continuous consciousness and what occurs is devoted to the end of turning over and going back to sleep. What brings one from "sleeping" and only using mental awareness to say "just five more minutes" and pull the covers over one's head may indeed have to be a specific, discrete realization (a pill, as you say, or in this analogy more likely an alarm).

But it is not always, even for those who were asleep. And if we're going to apply this metaphor to spiritual awareness, I think we have to confront the case of God. Whether or not God was always God, He was always awake. Though I offer no reasoned proof for it, it is just something known to me. Perhaps my knowledge on this point is peculiar.

Bruce Charlton said...

@CCL I'd agree that God was always awake - and creation is mainly about awakening Men and Women to the same degree; bearing in mind that we have agency and must choose, at each step, to go through the process of growth and development.

(This is the 'evolution of consciousness' talked about by Steiner, Barfield and Arkle.)