Updated: May 19
"You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and you 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."
In "The Matrix," Neo is a talented young man who feels unsettled; he has questions that need answers but he's not even sure that he knows what questions to ask. Other than one. "What is the Matrix?"
Morpheus is the man who has Neo's answers. He has the ability to open Neo's eyes to the truth. Yet Neo has to choose for himself. Does he want to pursue the truth, no matter where it leads, no matter what it reveals? What if it's beautiful? What if it's ugly? Is the truth worth pursuing. Or, is it better, is it safer, to continue in blissful ignorance, accepting what is given as the status quo, with no questions asked. If he swallows the blue pill, his questions go away and he can continue to accept things as he's told they should be. If he swallows the red pill, he is placed on the path toward discovering the answers for himself.
Like Neo, we are offered choices of what to believe every day. Is it better to go with the beliefs of the crowd, keeping our head down, staring into the black mirror of our devices that present to us an image of reality as the purveyors of those images say it should be? Or do we look up and around and open our eyes, our heart, and our mind to discover for ourselves what is actually occurring in the world around us. Every day, we are served up messages, brought to us by sponsors who want something from us. Our time, our talent, our treasure; all of the above. How do we measure the message that they bring? Do we accept it because everyone else does, or do we search for the truth, or lack thereof, within it. Do we allow others to think for us, or do we think for ourselves? If someone tells us that something is right, do we automatically accept it with no regard to considering if it is true?
It's easy to go along with the crowd. We even warn our children not to give in to the mindset of, "Hey, it's okay; everyone's doing it." Yet how often do we find ourselves thoughtlessly making the same mistake, even as adults.
Remember this one? "If everyone else jumped off of a bridge, would you do it too?" How did you answer that as a kid? How do you answer that now?
Usually accepting this type of "crowd-think" requires little thought and few sacrifices. Yet easy choices should cause us to take note. Do I accept this option, this message, this choice because it asks little from me and doesn't require tough decisions and self-sacrifice? Do I accept it because it's the socially acceptable thing to do? Or am I willing to make a stand for what I know to be right if this isn't it?
These are hard questions, but ones that should be thoughtfully considered, especially if we're in a position of authority. The decisions that leaders make often have consequences well beyond themselves. Whether we lead a business, lead a school, or lead a family, it is important to always remain aware of this fact.
Today we will be presented with choices; tomorrow, and the next day as well. So what will it be Coppertop...will you take the red pill, or the blue pill?
You alone get to decide.