Red vs. Blue Pill
"The red pill and its opposite, the blue pill, are pop culture symbols representing the choice between the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue) and embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality (red)."
"The terms, popularized in science fiction culture, derive from the 1999 film The Matrix. In the movie, the main character Neo is offered the choice between a red pill and a blue pill. The blue pill would allow him to remain in the fabricated reality of the Matrix. The red pill would lead to his escape from the Matrix and into the "real world"
"Taking the blue pill only made you cry. All that the red pill did was make you forget why. There is no right there is no wrong. You only see what you want, when you're out with the birds of prey. The watch and they feed, they take what they need, they bite as you plead. " - Birds of Prey
"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." - Morpheus
- The reference to the pills is also implemented in a special type of malware that utilizes the virtualization techniques of modern CPUs to execute as a hypervisor; as a virtual platform on which the entire operating system runs, it is capable of examining the entire state of the machine and to cause any behavior with full privilege, while the operating system "believes" itself to be running directly on physical hardware, creating a parallel to the illusory Matrix. Blue Pill describes the concept of infecting a machine while red pill techniques help the operating system to detect the presence of such a hypervisor.
- Until they were removed from the Maemo operating system application installer in January 2010, certain advanced features were unlocked by a "Red Pill Mode" easter egg to prevent accidental use by novice users but make them readily available to experienced users. This was activated by starting to add a catalog whose URL was "matrix" and then choosing to cancel. A dialog box would appear asking "Which pill?" with the choices "Red" or "Blue", allowing the user to enter red pill mode. In "Red Pill" mode the installer allows the user to view and reconfigure system packages whose existence it normally does not acknowledge. In Blue Pill mode the installer displays only software installed by a user, creating the illusion that system software does not exist on the system.
- The terms Red Pill and Blue Pill are colloquialisms for certain recreational drugs such as MDMA. This is an accepted popular culture reference in the rave scene, where it refers to the suggestion that taking a pill "releases" your mind from the "constraints of a fabricated reality"; a direct parallel with the subplot from the Matrix.
- The concept of drugs that could either liberate one's consciousness or pacify them into apathy was explored by Aldous Huxley in his novels Island and Brave New World. The psychoactive mushrooms the inhabitants of Pala termed moksha-medicine in Island could be analogous to the red pill, while the blue pill would be an exact echo of the soma the citizens of the World State consumed daily in Brave New World.
- The lines were used in the psy-trance group 1200 Micrograms' single "DMT".
- The choice between taking a blue or red pill is a central metaphor in the 2011 Arte documentary film Marx Reloaded, in which philosophers including Slavoj Zizek and Nina Power explore solutions to the global economic and financial crisis of 2008–09. The film also contains an animated parody of the pill scene in The Matrix, with Leon Trotsky as Morpheus and Karl Marx as Neo.
- During the debate over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Obama made news by saying, in both a press conference and an interview "If there's a blue pill and a red pill, and the blue pill is half the price of the red pill and works just as well, why not pay half price for the thing that's going to make you well?" While the reference might not have been intentional, critics and supporters alike made frequent references to the Matrix in the subsequent debate."ABC News Transcript". Retrieved July 15, 2009.