Note: scroll down if you just want the TL;DR summary.
[Spoiler Alert] Read on only if you’ve watched the Matrix or don’t intend to. I’ve included this just to be safe. But come on, the real question is who hasn’t seen the Matrix? 🙂
What does the metaphor of the Red Pill mean?
It comes from the awesome Matrix Trilogy.
The premise is around reality not being as it seems on the surface. Humans have been enslaved by machines which have put humankind into a full-time virtual simulation which we think is our world. We later find out the reason for this is to harvest human energy as the the sun (i.e. the main source of energy) has been blocked out by the aftermath of the machine-human war.
I could go into much more detail on this but doing a synopsis of the Matrix isn’t the purpose for this post. So to cut a long story short, there is a small group of freedom fighters who decide to fight back and try to escape the simulation and save the human race from being effectively enslaved by the machines.
Fast forward to that famous scene between Neo (the main character, played by Keanu Reeves) and Morpheus (badass role played by Laurence Fishburne).
Morpheus offers Neo a choice, not unlike the choice we face. A choice to choose freedom (the more difficult but more rewarding option) or go back into the simulation and forget any of this ever happened (which is definitely the easier option).
Words wont do this epic scene justice so check it out here (skip ahead to the 3:35 mark if you don’t want to watch the entire scene).
The reason why the Red Pill is an apt metaphor for Freedom From Work
Like Neo, we face a choice too. We must decide between the Blue Pill or the Red Pill.
The Blue Pill represents the easy life, that is, a safe secure job with regular paychecks. But what you need to realize is that jobs aren’t even safe and secure anymore these days what with Corporate America constantly cost-cutting and offshoring as well as the rapid rise of emerging workforce disruptive technologies in the form of AI and Robotics.
The Red Pill represents the truth and the fight for freedom from servitude/slavery. The truth is that no job is safe or secure anymore. The truth that the schooling system is designed to train up obedient employees not entrepreneurs. The truth is that the whole system is flawed (call it unfair or rigged if you so incline). Never before has the gap between the haves and the have-nots been so wide where the top 1% in the world own as much wealth as the rest of the world combined.
Let that sink in for awhile.
That means that if you had a pizza with 100 slices to share with 100 people, one dude gets 50 slices while the other 99 have to share the remainder. Yet when shit hits the fan like it did during the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, you can be sure the government will bail out all the big banks with taxpayer dollars. As they say:
It’s the oldest scheme since the pyramids. Capitalize the gains and socialize the losses.
Good times, if you’re in the top 1% that is. Sucks to be everyone else.
The truth is the government is not going to look after you.
And the biggest truth is between the Big Banks, Big Government and Big Corporate America, your life is hardly yours anymore. You’ve effectively been enslaved.
What do I mean by that?
Think about it. Who has the biggest claims on your time and money? You spend most of your working hours on weekdays at work for your paycheck. You’re exchanging chunks of your life for money.
But before you even touch your money, the Government has its cut in the form of taxes. Then if like most people you have a mortgage the bank takes its cut in the form of interest on debt. Then factor in utilities and transportation and there’s not that much left for yourself. This is the reason why people have joked that:
JOB stands for Just Over Broke…
It was found in a survey by The Federal Reserve Board that the average American lives from paycheck to paycheck, expense to expense. They are literally just over broke because if they lost their job tomorrow, they could barely survive for long.
Everyone is trying to have claims on your time and money. And when you’re exchanging your time for money (a.k.a. a job) they are both one and the same.
The truth is a hard pill to swallow…
Most people choose to ignore the truth and are being lulled into a docile and non-thinking state by Netflix, Facebook and whatever the latest social media fad is.
Many times those that are “still in the simulation” may even find this stuff offensive. But really political correctness is another one of those facades – an illusion that the media and other people impose on you to control what you can say and reign in your freedom of speech.
The Red Pill is a metaphor for the truth and cutting through the facade that reality and pop culture and the media try to create for us. And the truth is you don’t have to live a life of Time-Money-Servitude giving up 50 years of your life in a job you don’t enjoy. You don’t have to settle. Stop thinking like an obedient employee. Perhaps you can’t change the entire system but you can at least engineer your escape from the Rat Race. The way to do that is through Entrepreneurship.