In a famous scene from the cult film ‘The Matrix’, the protagonist is put before a difficult choice – a choice between a blue and red pill. Take the blue pill, and he will wake up carefree in his bed, unaware of everything around him being a lie, and continue living his normal life. Take the red pill, however, and he will find out the whole truth about the ‘Matrix’ that he, and everyone else, has unknowingly been living in for his entire life – but then there will be no going back. Barely stopping to think, he immediately takes the red one; but, is that really the right choice?
I have no doubt that, if faced with the same dilemma, I would pick the red pill, too. However, that does not mean I would not be incredibly tempted by the blue one, as well. Ignorance is bliss, as they say, and the thought of resuming my life normally, instead of having to face the actual nature of reality and the grim fact that everything I’ve known and experienced has been a lie, is very comforting, after all.
However, I believe that the truth, even when it is a horrible one, is always worth finding out. It might make me miserable, but I feel like it would be my duty to myself to learn the truth and not to continue living a pointless, wasted life, even if it would feel real to me. Moreover, it would be my duty to humanity as well, because, even though the chances might be slim, there is always a possibility I could do something to break the illusion and free everyone from their projected-reality prisons. Even notwithstanding these more serious, noble reasons, I think that my innate curiosity would simply never allow me not to choose the red pill. In fact, I think that my curiosity is why I have warmed up to TOK itself, and it certainly makes questioning and wanting to know about everything that much easier. No matter how hopeless the situation is, I believe it is always better to know, than to be left in the dark, and I always try to find out even the harsh, unpleasant truths, because at least knowing them is the first step towards actually dealing with them.
Still, I cannot say that this dilemma necessarily has a right answer. After all, just knowing the truth does not mean we can do anything to change it, and, in that case, there might not be a point. Sure, it is worth knowing a painful truth if it is useful, but if it isn’t, why would we want to know it? Can knowing just for the sake of knowing actually do us more harm than good? I don’t actually know the right answer to that; but, to modify a certain famous bit of wisdom from Socrates: All I know is that I would still want to know.