August 18, 2019

Answering the Matrix's Biggest Question, 20 Years Later

“SOMETIMES EXISTING ON the internet can feel like being trapped in that dark room with Morpheus, the one where he holds out his hands to Neo and offers up either a pill of knowledge or a pill of blissful ignorance. Red pill or blue pill; know your enemy or live in peace; click or don’t click. Of all the ideas and images The Matrix sent spiraling into American culture—computer simulation paranoia, black leather trench coats, falling green code, spoons that don’t really exist—none has become so entrenched, or so contentious, as this one.

Of the two options, the red pill is more often discussed (it is Neo’s choice, after all). Yet as the world grows more polarized and less courteous, that blue pill is starting to look mighty swallowable. After all, life is hard, bad news is everywhere, and maybe, just maybe, ignorance is bliss. So we asked two of our writers, Emily Dreyfuss and Emma Grey Ellis, to debate the merits of picking the blue or the red pill. Follow the white rabbit.”

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