Blue Pill

I played soccer for about ten years of my life and for almost all ten years I complained to my parents about a sharp pain in my chest and a shortness of breath when I ran. I’d have energy and my legs wouldn’t be tired, but my lungs couldn’t keep up.

My parents, never having fully warmed up to the idea of doctors, ignored my complaints for almost all that time.

Finally when they did take me to a doctor I was tested and diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma and prescribed an inhaler.

“See I told you something was wrong!” I cried in exasperated triumph.

My dad, still having not fully warmed to to doctors, ignored the diagnosis and decided that all it meant was that I was out of shape. How I could be out of shape after playing year-round soccer for almost ten years was a problem that did not seem to bother him as much. It was even the Indian doctor that he liked and trusted.

When confronted with information we don’t understand– even when confronted with incontrovertible proof– we try to integrate it into the knowledge we already have. My dad wasn’t being spiteful or intentionally difficult; at the time he really couldn’t understand what was going on, couldn’t even conceive of it. He’d never heard of sports-induced asthma and since that piece of information didn’t fit with what he already knew, what did he do? Just threw it out without even realizing what he was doing.

In the second episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Buffy rescues an entire high school from being eaten by vampires and at the end of the night her friend insists, “Things will never be the same again.”

The very next scene cuts to her high school the next morning and voila, everything is exactly the same again. In a manner of hours people have invented alternative explanations and rationalizations to keep them from seeing things they don’t want to see.

That’s what we do every day. When we see something that is unflattering or inconvenient, we either twist it to suit our desires or ignore it entirely. Do we really want to continue living in a matrix of lies?

Take the red pill. The truth moves us forward.

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