“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.”
Morpheus to Neo, “The Matrix”
If you’ve seen the Matrix starring Keanu Reeves then you’re familiar with this exchange between Morpheus and Neo. You would also know Neo chose the red pill and woke to find himself suspended in a chamber full of liquid, a slave to the machines that had taken over the earth. I loved the trilogy and what it said about man being a slave to ”the Machine”. It was a great piece of fiction, or was it?
What if there really was a “machine” controlling mankind, or at least a large portion of it? Let’s say this “machine” is telling it’s subjects what to believe, what not to believe and how to react? It is also only giving it’s followers one side of a story to shape their opinion and influence their thoughts? Let’s also say that the “machine” tosses it’s subjects silly new fads to play with, pretty people to idolize, controversies to argue about, shiny expensive objects to covet, just to keep them entertained and distracted from what’s really happening around them. How do you think Neo would handle this knowledge?
Let’s say Neo is naively scrolling through his social media sites and he keeps seeing posts about a certain female presidential candidate’s illegal activities being brought to light, but when he looks up at his TV, all he sees are reports about how the other candidate made some horrible comments about women many years ago. He wonders to himself why the news isn’t covering the illegal activity? Why aren’t they even trying to prove the allegations a hoax? Why are they totally ignoring the claims? Something in his mind tells him to ignore the illegal activity, blow it off as conservative lies, but somewhere further to the back of his mind, a voice wants answers. He can’t just ignore what he’s seeing, and not seeing.
Neo is a hacker so he starts doing some digging and he soon realizes there’s more to this story than he realizes. He asks questions on his Facebook page, pointing out the discrepancies, and is brutally attacked in the responses. The more he digs, the more questions he has.
Skip ahead a few days and Neo is eating breakfast at a local cafe where he is approached by an attractive brunette wearing dark shades, dressed in tight black leather and calling herself Trinity. The woman sits down opposite Neo and begins to speak in a low tone,
“You’ve been attracting a lot of attention to yourself these days.”
“Have I now?” Neo asks softly.
“Yes you have, and it’s not the kind of attention you want!” Trinity replies sternly.
“Why’s that? What kind of attention am I attracting?”
“The kind that gets you killed, that’s what kind. You don’t know what you’re dealing with here.”
“Well how about you enlighten me then?” Neo replies coyly.
“This is no game Neo. You have gotten yourself into some serious shit this time. These people don’t like anyone questioning the way things are.”
“And who are these people?” Neo asks, more concern showing on his face.
“I can’t answer that, not here.” Trinity says, checking over her shoulder.
“Ok, can you tell me what’s going on then? Why are there such large discrepancies in what I’m seeing in social media and on the news?” Neo asks, his voice rising with anger.
Trinity’s gaze lands on a guy in a gray suit three tables away,
“Not here. We need to leave.” Trinity says, rising from her chair.
“Wait, where are we going? Why can’t we discuss this here? I don’t understand.” Neo asks, grabbing his backpack and following Trinity to the door.
Trinity moves at a quick pace to the door and onto the street, making Neo run to catch up.
“There’s a lot you don’t understand Neo. That’s why I’m taking you to see Morpheus. Get in.” Trinity orders as she opens the driver’s door to a black Camaro.
Neo looks lost as he opens the passenger door. He starts to speak, but sees a worried look on Trinity’s face as she looked towards the cafe door. Neo turns to see the man in the gray suit approaching them quickly, drawing a pistol as he nears.
“Get in now!” Trinity shouts.
Neo ducks into the passenger seat as the Camaro roars to life. Trinity mashes her foot hard on the gas pedal as Neo’s door slams shut. Tires squeal and smoke rises up as the car lurches forward, throwing Neo back into his seat. Bullets ricochet off the car and the back window shatters as the man in the suit fires on the escaping car. Neo ducks low in the seat,
“What the fu…? Who was that and why is he shooting at us?” Neo shouts.
Trinity grips the wheel tighter and hangs a sharp left without hardly slowing down.
“He’s an agent, they’re everywhere making sure no one questions what the machine tells them. They’ll do anything to make sure people are in compliance. Sometimes it’s as simple as having friends and family strengthen the brain washing, sometimes, if you make too many waves, like you’ve been doing, they simply erase you.” Trinity says as she makes another hard left.
“What the hell are you talking about? What waves? What have I gotten myself into?”
“Morpheus will explain it all. Just sit back. We will be there soon.”
A half hour later,Trinity leads Neo down the dark hallway of a run down apartment complex, lit only by the sunlight streaming through a filthy gray window at the far end in front of them. Trash and broken furniture lay scattered about the floor. Muted voices come from behind closed doors, the sound of couples arguing, children crying, TVs blaring.
Trinity stops at a door halfway down the hall and knocks. At first Neo hears nothing from behind the closed door, but it soon opens and the two are ushered inside by a pair of heavily armed men in black suits wearing dark sunglasses. One of them checks the hall, then closes and locks the door behind them.
The apartment is small and reeks of rotten food and dirty diapers. It’s poorly lit, the only light coming from a single bulb hanging over a flimsy table in the kitchen which shares the room with the unfurnished living area. A large black man in a black trench coat leans against the counter beside an antique brown refrigerator, his eyes covered by the same dark shades as the others. He steps towards Neo and offers his hand.
“Neo, this is Morpheus.” Trinity says as the two men shake hands.
“Have a seat.” Morpheus says, motioning towards a rusty old chair beside the table.
“What is this place? What’s going on? Why am I here?” Neo asks as the chair groans under his weight.
Morpheus looks at Neo with a polite smile,
“This is just a place to meet in, nothing more. You’re here because you want to know what’s going on, what’s really going on, and that has turned some heads within the machine.”
Neo looks puzzled and agitated, “What machine?”
Morpheus stares at Neo a moment,
“The DNC’s propaganda machine, or what you call the news media.”
“Propaganda? What? No, they report the news not propaganda. They are supposed to report the news.” Neo replies, looking confused.
“But they don’t, do they? If they did report the news, you wouldn’t be asking so many questions and if you weren’t asking those questions, you wouldn’t be here right now, with us.”
“I, I don’t understand, I thought they were just, I don’t know, missing some things and I wondered… I mean… I didn’t realize it was such a big deal. Are you saying CNN is trying to kill me?” Neo stammers.
“Son, CNN is just part of a much larger organization. Neo, there’s more going on here than you can understand right now. So very much more.”
“Well then, enlighten me.” Neo says.
Morpheus looks to Trinity, then back to Neo,
“I’m not sure you really want to know everything. It’s extremely disturbing and somewhat unsettling, to say the least.”
“I want to know, I can handle it, whatever it is.” Neo replies with confidence.
Morpheus studies Neo sternly, then pulls a vial from his pocket and lays it on the table between them. Inside Neo sees two pills, one red, one blue.
“This is not a decision to be made lightly Neo. Not everyone can handle truth about what’s happening. Some people need stay shrouded their cocoon of ignorance, for their own sanity. I personally do not think you are one of those, but I need to be sure. Go home, think about it. If you still want to know the truth, take the red pill before bed. If you decide you would rather not know, if you’d rather stay lost in ignorant bliss, take the blue pill. Know this though there’s no going back, once you take one of these pills you can’t stop what happens.”
Neo reaches out and picks up the vial, “So what happens next, if I take the red pill I mean? How will I know I have changed?”
“When you wake in the morning, turn on the news, you’ll see. You’ll see the truth for the very first time. Be ready for a shock though.”
Neo closes his hand around the vial and looks from Morpheus to Trinity, then back to Morpheus before nodding.
“Trinity will take you home. Lock your doors, don’t open them for anyone until you’ve made your decision. If you choose the red pill, come to this address tomorrow at noon.” Morpheus says, sliding a piece of paper across the table.
“And if I choose the blue pill?”
“Then you’ll remember none of this and you will go about your life as if nothing ever happened.”
Neo nods as he stands up. The men at the door check the hallway, then Neo follows Trinity from the room.
To Be Continued…