Apr 02

The Red Pill or the Blue Pill?

In Brief—Some readers have sent emails questioning the author’s critical stance on pieces relating to America’s governing policies as well as his piece on Pat Tillman. He replies.

Reality or Illusion—

The red pill or the blue pill? Which do you choose to take? Which was taken by Don Bay? A number of readers have seen the film The Matrix and its sequels. The hero, Neo, is given the opportunity of taking the red pill that leads to learning the truth about what is real or the blue pill that allows the person taking it to remain in the world of illusion.

The author long ago chose to see the world as it really is rather than the illusion embraced by the majority. His choice of the red pill has expanded his awareness of reality over the ensuing years, an expansion that continues with each passing day. It’s that reality that guides the author’s writing.

One of the readers of this blog raised several good questions about “The Murder of Pat Tillman” that was posted on March 28, 2014. Among the questions raised are not only my rationale in dealing with a military death that took place ten years ago but, more importantly, the appearance of “anti-American” bias in my views that may be potentially perceived by some of the readers. What follows is the author’s response to the issues raised by that reader.

We must be aware that we are all fish swimming in a sea of propaganda. It makes no difference where we live in the world or what views we hold. I live in Sweden and my views set me apart from the crowd not least because I am both a freethinker and a skeptic.

I hold the belief that every informed person on Earth should live for a minimum of two years in a country other than the one of his/her birth. And that does not include a military base or a foreigners’ compound in places such as Saudi Arabia although that is better than staying put. It permits one to see the country of birth through different eyes as well as providing a different perspective on the country one chooses to live in.

I am an American who swam in the American myth until I was sixty years old. It is important to understand that every country has its own political myths: there are Swedish myths, Russian myths, Saudi myths, etc. These myths color our views. Since most of my readers are American, I write material that my readers can relate to without much difficulty. Whether they agree with my views is another question.

I believe that America holds views of itself worthy of emulation, but the policies that I write about are undermining what I believe to be the best America can be. Since the mistaken “anti-American” perception may exist in some minds because of where I live, it deserves to be put to rest.

I have repeatedly said in the blog that I write pieces that are critical of those beliefs and policies I think are undermining the America I lived in and admired. If I were not of that positive view, I would not write some of the pieces I do. Many readers are already aware of some problems I discuss but are unable to be aware of others. Thus, I may be presuming too much, but my living in Sweden has nothing to do with my choice of subject matter or tone. In fact, a number of American policy critics are much harder on the flaws than I have been.

As should be obvious by now, readers are free to accept or reject the criticisms I raise…but they have to ask themselves if they’ve taken the blue pill. A good beginning antidote to the blue pill is Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States plus any of Zinn’s other writings.

As for the Tillman piece, Pat Tillman has been an interest of mine for ten years. Sure, he has been dead for a decade, but a careful reading of the piece will show I have clearly stated that there is no statute of limitations on murder.

Assuming many readers will be unfamiliar with Pat Tillman or feel that there is nothing they can do now, I closed with the proposal that publicizing the circumstances of his death via Facebook or other social media is something important that can be done to right a crime and a tremendous injustice. Maybe I should have leaned on that involvement harder, but it’s there.

It makes no difference whether Pat Tillman was famous on the football field, he was a human being deserving of life, and given what I believe is the crime against him, is deserving of justice without regard to the passage of time. He can still get that justice despite the passage of ten years. I hope that is clear to my readers.


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  1. I find it interesting that the Red pill has become my obvious choice as I have aged and grown a bit more wise, skeptical, and engaged with the world around me.
    My youthful “Stick it to the man” attitude gave way to blatant indifference, then to blind trust and a more conservative mind set, and then in my early 40’s, wildly swung back to a much more progressive outlook. I will readily admit to not having voted in a national election for many years…”Why? Who cares?” was my mantra. Well, now I care. And with a more critical and mature eye I’m sorry that I was so disengaged when life was all about fun and games.

    I just can’t understand how the conservative agenda with it’s oppressive, backwards thinking, paranoiac, and often totally illogic message every gets a foothold… it’s beyond me. The Anti-gay, anti-women’s rights, anti-privacy, anti-humanity, anti-poor, and anti-science agenda is both frightening and counter intuitive to a harmonious democracy.
    I’m sure my view is not understood and makes no sense to the Right. I’m not a radical Leftist, but some issues simply take common sense. Arm teachers to stop school shootings? Climate change is a hoax? Torture is OK? Automatic weapons for all? Those and a myriad of other warped notions leave me scratching my head.

    And with the Right’s dependence on money that is concentrated in the hands of a very few ultra rich men who owe their ability to earn those gigantic sums of money to our free market place and our nation’s spirit of success, I find it baffling that they then rail against the very government that protects that system and then campaign idiots for office to promote their own agendas. Agendas that I see as less about country and certainly more about keeping the loop holes and faulty and unfair regulations that allow them to increase wealth.
    The whole notion of ‘By the People for the People’ is lost in our time… A time when a surprisingly small number of very wealthy men can pull so many of the strings that effect you and I.

    Well, that’s enough of that. Time to go take my pill.

      • Don Bay on April 3, 2014 at 10:25

      Like you, I find it difficult if not impossible to understand the frame of mind of those who oppose the evidence and ramifications of, for example, climate change and the other Rightist positions you mention. As you have said before, one person’s “truth” is another person’s falsehood. I will touch on the “truth” in my reply to another comment that has been submitted, and I suggest you take a look at that and consider it.

      However, I have one small disagreement with your characterization of the market as “free” in your third paragraph. Though I understand the bigger point you are making, the reality is that there is no such animal as the “free market.” This is not the forum for such a discussion, but the reality is that while the market is substantially less regulated than it should be, it still operates under some regulations and has as long as the country has existed. That said, your bigger point is valid in my view.

      The stakes in this political morass in America are huge and, though the vote is to a very large degree meaningless in light of the choices offered to us, it is important for us to turn out and cast our vote for what we believe in. As Linda mentions in her comment, our failure to vote is tantamount to letting the other side win. If we believe our cause is the just one, it is mandatory for us to vote. We may be voting for the least bad, but we will at least be taking part and attempting to head off disaster.

    • Linda on April 2, 2014 at 23:07

    Some days, I wish I could take the blue pill so that I can live in a realm of illusion where I could trust government and everyone to do what is best for all of humanity. Wouldn’t that be a kick?

    If we do not examine what doesn’t work or what we feel is misleading or just plain wrong, how do we improve? If we allow what we believe is wrong to continue, if we never voice our concerns then we are in fact contributing to the status quo. We are contributing to the injustices….because we are silent. With silence, there is no reason for change….or to even consider change.

    This is what I believe your blogs are about. It isn’t anti-American to me at all. For me, it is the opposite. You care so much about what is happening here…..you care so much about your birth country that you share your knowledge and promote the exchange of ideas and debate at the risk of being labeled anti-American. You want our country, our people to grow and to advance toward a more humane society…..a truthful one….an educated one.

    Many have had suspicions about the Tillman death. To question his death, to question our government…to question our military….is to search for truth. It’s a hard path to take and a difficult one to stay on and I admire you for your strength and persistence.

      • Don Bay on April 3, 2014 at 10:46

      Wouldn’t it be great not to have to worry about democracy disappearing? But the simple fact is, as you rightly point out, that unless we take part in the rough and tumble of politics, the “bad guys” win by default.

      As you and others have said, although the perception of “anti-Americanism” is totally false, I must keep on posting my critical observations whenever I see American policies undermining what America is supposed to stand for. Based on the evidence, if an American policy is harmful to the welfare of the country or the larger world, then I will point that out and let the readers know why I think such is the case. They are always free to disagree with my views, but I will plow ahead with what I believe is the truth. At least you recognize my motivation is not based on where I live or “anti-American bias. It is based on wanting to see America live up to its promise. Thanks for trusting in my integrity.

    • kathyswizards on April 3, 2014 at 03:07

    The question of the red pill or the blue pill is, like many dichotomies, a false one. What, after all, is “the truth”? We all have biases. Very few of us are in possession of all the facts of any given issue. Further, “truth” is often a matter of perspective. A white man might feel a victim of reverse discrimination, while a woman or a man of color might see a levelling of the playing field. Which is “the truth”? To a large extent, we choose our own truths. For any human to insist that he or she possesses “the truth” is to assume a great deal.

      • Don Bay on April 3, 2014 at 11:32

      The issue you raise is about subjective versus objective “truth.” I have to be careful about the words I use, but unless I’m missing something in the piece I wrote, I spoke of looking for reality. One might say that even reality is subjective or objective. However, I maintain that there is but one true reality, one true “truth.” The subjective, or individual perspective, is just a way station on the way to the ultimate truth or reality. The search for the ultimate is what’s important. Humanity may never get there, but the search must continue.

      Recall the fable of the blind men describing an elephant according to the part of the animal each man was feeling. Each may be said to have felt the elephant was the animal they “truly” believed existed. Each blind man was wrong, but his impression was “true” to him, his “reality” was reality for him. However, assuming one possesses all his/her senses, the elephant the blind men experienced did not represent the real or true animal. Thus, subjective truth or reality does not represent the ultimate truth or reality.

      Indeed, as you say, we all have a belief that our truth (or reality) is the only one, but in fact another person’s truth may be out there. Though that may be the case, neither is the ultimate truth that exists. Only credible, testable evidence will lead to the ultimate truth that’s out there. Thus, The Matrix’s reality was revealed by the red pill. The Matrix is only an imaginative film and the realty Neo finds may not be the ultimate reality, just as is my belief that Pat Tillman was murdered, but I am always searching for truth and reality using the best evidence I can find. Taking the blue pill simply isn’t in my DNA. The search goes on for the ultimate truth and reality.

      Thanks for raising the subjective versus the objective issue. It’s a good one for discussion in Philosophy 101.

    • Don Bay on January 18, 2015 at 18:06

    For the sake of clarity, taking the red pill allows one to see the world as it really is. By contrast, taking the blue pill allows a person to remain in the world of illusion. If you haven’t seen “The Matrix” then google “red pill versus blue pill” to get a good description of the terms. Bay has chosen to take the red pill.

    • Don Bay on March 20, 2016 at 17:56

    It’s time for all Americans to see America as it really is, not as the government and its hand-maiden media wants us to believe it is. Only the voters have the ability to change this. Failure to do so condemns America to to the role of a promising experiment that came unraveled.

  1. […] in the larger world. Read my blog pieces to get a taste of my interests. Read particularly “The Red Pill or the Blue Pill” from March of […]

  2. […] look at America and the world as it is, not as I would like it to be. Back in April of 2014 I wrote ”The Red Pill or the Blue Pill?” about whether one chooses to see the world as it really is or maintain the illusion that what the […]

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