the What does ‘take the blue pill or the red pill’ mean?
The 1999 movie The Matrix introduced the phrase “take the blue pill or the red pill,” which has developed a cult following. The phrase refers to a choice between remaining in blissful ignorance about life, represented by the blue pill, or facing life-changing and often unpleasant truth, represented by the red pill.
In The Matrix, the rebel leader Morpheus offers, “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.” Neo, the main character existing in a computer developed simulation living in pods with most of humanity, chooses the red pill and joins the rebellion.
The blue pill represents confined comfort within the simulated life of the Matrix, accepting everything as truth, never challenging the norm. Blue pill mentality requires conforming to the norm and never questioning authority because it maintains order and the status quo in society. The red pill represents an uncertain future but an escape into the real world, which is harsher and more difficult. Red pill mentality is an awakening which is inquisitive, challenges authority and wants to correct world flaws.
In the 2004 book The Art of the Start, author Guy Kawasaki uses the red pill as an analogy for leaders of new organizations, facing the same choice to either live in delusion or in potential. He stresses that if they want to be successful, they have to take the red pill and see what they can accomplish.