This one I had to split into two answers. That is because, depending on what I know, I would answer differently.  The first paragraph is if I am being asked if I having already watched The Matrix and ending up in Neo’s chair, with Morpheus asking me which pill would I take, just what I would do. The second paragraph is what I would do if I were Neo and it was happening to me without any other knowledge of The Matrix.

So, if I, Robert Wilmoth were being asked this day, having seen The Matrix and everything, if I would choose the red pill or the blue pill, I would take the blue pill without hesitation. I’d go back to Dreamland and be happy. Frak the rabbit hole and how deep it goes. The world outside The Matrix sucks, BEYOND sucks. The world beyond The Matrix is a blasted heath of radioactive sludge and rock stripped of all natural resources and, ultimately, a dead planet.  (Which leads me to ask the question, with no natural resources and apparently no agriculture, HOW does the city of Zion feed the human population it has?) There is no future for the human race there. It is a dead orb populated by overwhelmingly powerful super machines that have no need for anything else. What is there for a “free” humanity? Nothing but death. Not freedom, because you have to be ALIVE to enjoy freedom, and no mass population COULD survive. So I’d take the blue pill and go back to being Mr. Wilmoth, because, honestly, I’d be a lot happier and so would everyone else. Plus, The Matrix as a tool seems to allow intellectual freedom to shape it as the people plugged in see fit. So there is a freedom there, freedom that doesn’t exist in the “real” world anymore.  The real world would have you die trying to survive, perhaps even slowly as whatever resources feed Zion die out in face of mass demand and humanity turns on each other for food as we die of radioactive rot and starvation. At least in The Matrix I can still “be” who I imagine myself to be if it is only in my imagination.

If, on the other hand Mr. Wilmoth is just as ignorant of The Matrix as Neo is when everything happens, I’d take the red pill and jump down the rabbit hole head first. I’d dry swallow that pill, and a few other uppers and downers along with it if I had to. The idea that some faceless entity is controlling me is detestable and the core reason so many of my political and value views are what they are. Individual freedom without government interference and everyone granted the liberty of conscience to live their lives how they may is the basis for most of my beliefs. The Matrix would be no different. I’d want to throw off the shackles of tyranny of the machines as much as anyone would, if not more so. That is, at least I saw the real world, discovered its history, and figured out what reality was. Then I might decide that the only way to preserve any freedom may BE The Matrix. Or I’d end up fighting for “time outs to the real world” or something like that for everyone in The Matrix. Kind of like a vacation to the “desert of the real” every few months or so. That may be the most realistic fight in any case.

So, in the end, it depends. I think the most likely case would be scenario number two. But there is a part of me that still thinks the first would be the best. After all, what is the nature of freedom but the liberty to think and act as you would as long a sit doesn’t harm the life or rights or others?  If The Matrix gives you that freedom inside of it, and it seems to, then you are free.  One may argue you aren’t since your body is a battery and you can never leave. But then again, even in the most free societies there are things you cannot do in order to preserve the liberty and life of the whole. This ranges from small laws like not driving while drunk to the banning of biologic weapons of mass destruction. It may very well be that The Matrix is one of those very types of things. It ensures the greater lives of everyone involved, and their ability to act upon their reality as they see fit, and we agree not to seek its destruction and the end of that freedom upholding reality just as we agree not to use biological super weapons in war that would wipe out all of humanity in a “The Stand”-style catastrophe.

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