Originally published 19th October 2019 with some minor editing. The usual caveat applies: these musings are very much of the time and there is plenty in this that I now disagree with.
This is a transcript of my YouTube video:
Have you ever experienced anything outside of your mind; outside of your consciousness? Man finds himself in a world of phenomenal perceptions. His world begins not with matter but with perceptions. He knows that his pain exists, that his red exists, that his sweetness exists.
All of these perceptions he experiences within his mind. Even his physical body he experiences within his mind.
Experienced within, from the first person perspective, he finds mental content: thoughts, emotions, beliefs and ideas.
Observed from without, he sees a skull. Crack open the skull and he finds a physical brain of grey and white matter.
Ideas within, brains without.
And what is a pill? Adapted from the video “Where is the rainbow?”
A pill is a simple idea, a simple thought, a simple emotion, a simple belief, viewed externally as a small tablet, scientifically modelled as chemicals.
The inner state of a physical pill is an idea, a belief, a thought or an emotion. When you take psycho-active drugs such as anti-depressants you are downloading beliefs and emotions. Observed from without you are taking a pill. Practically modelled you are taking chemicals.
But really you are swallowing beliefs.
To take psycho-active drugs is to consume ideas. This is how they affect your mind. Some are natural, others artificial.
When you consume man-made psycho-active drugs you are consuming thoughts that another man has designed for you. Have you ever met this man. Do you suppose that he has your best interests at heart? Perhaps you are consuming the idea that you are happy? Perhaps you are implanting another man’s beliefs.
Whys is suicide a side effect of anti-depressants? What ideas are you downloading?
In the Act realm, the term pill is taken from medicine and is used to describe something which changes the way you see the world or returns you to a previous understanding of the world e.g. the red pill and the blue pill.
In the Matrix, Neo either downloads an idea that will change the way he sees the world, or he will download an idea that will return him to how he saw the world before.
From the perspective of his inner world he is downloading ideas, but from the second person perspective these appear to be literal, physical pills. Both pills are in a sense medicine and which one makes you better seems to be subjective.
In the English idiom we have two phrases:
- A bitter pill: an unpleasant or painful necessity (to accept).
- To sugar the pill: make an unpleasant or painful necessity more palatable.
In the Matix both the red pill and the blue pill can and are viewed by different characters as an unpleasant necessity to accept and the pill must me sugared to make it more palatable.
Neo takes the red pill. This unpleasant necessity is sugar coated by his belief that he will find the truth, This is the only thing that Morpheus is offering him.
The blue pill can also be viewed as an unpalatable necessity. One could decide that such a fundamental change of understanding could contain risks and outcomes that may be harmful. Hence, to this man, the blue pill bill and the rejection of the truth on offer is a painful necessity. It is sugar coated by the belief that he will have no memory of the events that he is currently undergoing.
Later in the film, Cypher desires to return to the Matrix and to have no memory of what he has learned -to take the blue pill. He has seen the folly of the red pill’s utopianism and the blue pill has become a necessity. Oblivion and a pleasant life are a spoonful of sugar.
Which is the painful but necessary pill? This is dependant on the character and beliefs of the individual, but more importantly, his will. Either way the pill must be sugared: by pleasure, by utopian beliefs or some promise about the future. I doubt if the ideological pursuit of truth is sweet enough; and why should it be?
I suggest that the red pill is most commonly associated with the discovery of truth, and the blue pill with the acceptance of illusion. But what if truth is itself and illusion? Would then the red pill become the illusion, and the blue pill the acceptance of reality. An attempt to bridge this gap is made in my “Truth and Lie System in the Light of Nietzsche” video where I compare the “Truth and Lie System” with Reality; and models of the individual with the models of the herd. (transcript)
In short: Before the individual enters the herd he has his own simple magick, his own will in conformity with the primordial Will and his own maps which he remembers for what they are. After he enters the herd, he sacrifices his own maps, forgets his simple magick and will, and when he observes reality, he is called a slanderer and a liar and a denier of truth.
The next step on the pill hierarchy is the black pill and the white pill. I suggest to the reader that both the red and the blue pill can be lightened or darkened.
Although if successful, Cypher would be unable to remember that he had taken the blue pill. In his oblivion he will be provided with a pleasant life of his choosing. Despite the illusion that he embraces, for him could the blue pill be a white pill? If Neo had taken the blue pill, would this be blackened by the part of his soul which hungered to understand the reality that he finds himself in?
Again this distinction can be seen in regards to the red pill. After Cypher is freed from the Matrix, this red pill becomes a black pill for him. What is it that blackens his pill? Perhaps the circumstances that he must endure. That he did not know about in advance. For Morpheus his hope in salvation whitens his red pill despite the similar circumstances. Neo seems to be aware of both sides.
Why are the pills black for some and white for others. Why for Neo does there see, to be a mixture of the two. Is the creative factor part of their being? Perhaps this lightening or darkening effect changes the world that they perceive.
As I explored in some of my previous videos, I suggest that both the red pill and the blue pill are one more illusion; another layer of programming. In spite of this, I feel that this stage is necessary for those with eyes to see. To see what? The dichotomy of the truth and lie system. A system divorced from simple magick, will and reality. To remember that one sacrificed one’s own maps for the herd’s.
How can one transcend this truth /illusion or red pill/blue pill dichotomy? For those unable to do so, I would suggest that it would have been better to have taken the blue pill.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
The tower that is to be built will be a stronghold and a place of observation and vigilance.
The herd exists in this realm. For this realm to function the dichotomy must exist. So how can the individual move beyond it? Firstly, I would suggest that the white pill is a necessary sugar to coat the red pill. The discovery of white pills is essential to balance out the despair of the dark side. But ultimately at this level, both exist together. The very existence of the white pill contains its antipode.
Transcendence seems to be the fruit of the honk pill. A pill not easily described and one that cannot simply be downloaded. It is the product of the observations made at the earlier levels of the pill hierarchy and only to be taken by one who did not stop here. It is only when one looks back that one realises that one has taken it. It’s earlier stage is represented iconographically as the Honkler. Here there are still tinges of the white and the black pill.
After taking the pill, the Honkler realises that life is a joke and the realm that we live in is a clown show. This can be viewed as a good or a bad thing; full of liberation or full of despair. The two usually intermingling. The White Honk Pill and the Black Honk Pill. The Wonk pill and the Bonk pill.
The higher level of the Honk pill is again difficult to define for one who has not tasted it. It is represented iconographically by the Joker Pepe. I cannot claim know it fully. I have merely glimpsed it in my mind’s eye and the wry smile of Joker Pepe. In his smile I see one about to flourish into the esoteric Fool. I imagine that for this one, there is no longer the tinge of whiteness or of blackness. The dichotomy of the truth and lie system have been left behind.
Now, the Joker returns to his empirical reality and his own models for navigation. He is freed from the chains of the truth and lie system created by the herd. Perhaps you might say that this seems like the blue pill. A return to the very beginning. To answer this objection I will first turn to the conclusion to my video: “A Lament for a slumbering Will”
“I think that without the herd, man would live with simple magick. He would have his reality and his own maps which he would remember for what they are. But this is not the world that I find myself in. The herd exists and I can not imagine a reality where it does not.
So what then is my first step. To cleanse the doors of perception and see myself and my situation for what they are, through the inner eyes of the Will. Apply this understanding and I will see my first step. From this first step, I imagine that the course for this wandering star will become clear. Then the focus of my Will will be to stay the course.
And then perhaps every step will be seen as its own first step, and despite my current lament I will understand that I made my first step a long time ago. And the completion of this first step will be seen to be the completion of the journey. And my wayward will shall remember its true home that it forgot long ago.
I am suggesting that the full effects of the Honk Pill is a cleansing of the doors of perception so the individual can return to a state of living with simple magick. With his own reality and his own maps which he remembers for what they are. The difference being that he can maintain this state whilst living amongst the herd.
There is no more ‘truth’ than this. As the homeless man in 12 monkeys suggests, there is no way to confirm anything else in this realm. All ‘truth’ and all ‘lies’ can never be confirmed as we cannot, at least in this life, step outside ourselves and outside this realm to observe it for what it is in itself. The closest we can get is our the depths of our inner life and our simple observations.
How does the end of the Honk pill differ from the first state of man. Because as Nietzsche pointed out:
“ man, out of need and boredom, wants to exist socially, herd-fashion, he requires a peace pact and he endeavours to banish at least the very crudest war of all against all from his world.”
The individual did not enter the herd for no reason. He had a need and hence he sacrificed his simple magick. The promised peace pact and end of the pain of his isolation was the necessary sugar. The compromise with the herd brought into being the truth and lie system; the red pill and the blue pill; the white pill and the black pill; truth and lies; good and evil. This realm cannot function without them and the herd cannot be wished away.
In pharmaceutical terminology the suffix retard is added to a drug to denote that it acts by sustained and extended release. The Honk Pill, is a slow acting idea. The Honk Pill, once taken acts with sustain and extension over the individual. It enables him to live amongst the herd as if the herd did not exist, whilst knowing that it surely does.
It may seem sometimes that the revelation of the Honk Pill happened very quickly, but perhaps you took this pill long ago. The red pill and the blue pill are part of the medicines sustained action.
Once the honk pill has worked its cure, the Joker is able to retain his simple magick and acts of will unadulterated by the collective magick, maps and will of the herd. He will be accused of denying reality. The Joker will not care. This is because he finally sees reality for what it is and selects for himself which maps are most useful.
What the individual lost as he inevitably stepped into the herd becomes his possession once more. Without the forgetfulness of the blue pill, the self-righteousness of the red pill, the despair of the black pill, and the salvific dependency of the white pill.
The hanging Odin climbs down from the tree of knowledge of red pill and blue pill, returns to the cliff’s edge to take up his role as the Fool where he can finally taste the tree of life, his own Will. Surveying the clown world beneath him, he feels no need to love it or hate it; to save it or to destroy it. He is content with its existence and with his own.
I have previously suggested that the honk pill will set you free. Here I erred. The honk pill does not set you free reveals to your will that it already is. It was not your mind that was in chains but your will. And these chains are an illusion created by your mind. The honk pill does not wake you up. It helps you to dream with lucidity.
The lucid dreamer now sees that he can be free amongst the masses.
Once he has taken the honk pill, he will become aware of others that have taken it too.
He will have companions with which he can compare maps and share a chuckle, without them demanding sacrifice.