Dr. David Henderson

The Red Pill

Do you really want it?
February 19, 2014
David Henderson

In 1999, The Matrix was released and instantly became a box office sensation. It is the story of Neo, a man who confronts the true nature of reality and then battles against those who had been trying to control his consciousness.

Before his epiphanous transformation, Neo is given a choice by the leader of the rebellion. He can take a blue pill and remain ignorant of true reality or he can take the red pill and face whatever may come. Obviously, he takes the red pill or there would be no story. But what would you have done? It seems like a no brainer, right? After all, don’t we always want to know the truth? Maybe, maybe not.

Red Pill

I thought about how often I say I want to know the truth. When confronted with it, however, I do whatever I can to forget it. If I could give back the red pill and take the blue one instead, I would. Think about how often we play this game in a day’s time:

  1. Honey, do these pants make me look fat?
  2. So, how did I do on my presentation? Any way I can improve my delivery?
  3. Listen, I want to know what you really think. What’s the deal with my coworkers? Why don’t they like me?
  4. Dude, I want you to be my accountability partner. Be sure to call me out on stuff I’m doing wrong, okay?
  5. Doctor Spock, do you have any tips on how I can be a better parent?

Now think about it. In asking questions, seeking advice, desiring accountability and feedback, do we really want to know the truth or would we prefer that one-sided answer that only feeds our illusion of truth? Think about what we do when we don’t get the answer we want:

  1. We disqualify the message: “Well, controlling rage might be good advice for other parents, but my anger isn’t that bad. Besides, my kids are going to grow up learning respect. My daddy was a drill sergeant and look how I turned out!”
  2. We discredit the messenger: “What a know-it-all! I guarantee you, he hasn’t given a single presentation worth listening to. I mean, really, I guess he’s got a right to his opinion, but in this situation, he’s clueless!”
  3. We discount the relationship: “I know she means well, but I’d don’t think she really understands where I’m coming from. If she had taken the time to listen to my side, if she knew me better, I don’t think she would have come to the same conclusion!”
  4. We dissociate the experience: “I’m sorry, can you repeat that last part? The part right after ‘now this is very important.’” (That’s a tribute to Get Smart, BTW)
  5. We discourage the self: Well, that proves it. I’m a failure. What is the point of trying anyway? Thanks for giving me the truth. I’m thinking of that line from A Few Good Men: “You can’t handle the truth!!”

Facing truth can be daunting, because truth always changes us and change is hard. My challenge to myself and to you is to stick with the red pill, be teachable and don’t get discouraged. Other people don’t always have the right answers or the truth we need to hear, but at least consider their thoughts before you write them off completely. Allow others to speak truth into your life and do not be afraid to change because of it. Don’t be like the person who looks in the mirror, sees a dirty face, and then forgets to wash it. And if you are the type of person that gets discouraged easily in the face of truth, then read my previous post, Go Hard or Go Home. Hopefully, it will encourage you.

Question: How have you faced truth today? Did you take the red pill or the blue pill and why?