Thursday, December 20, 2012

Take the Red Pill!

Morpheus: Do you want to know what IT is? The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us, even now in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. (Monte: Think, Zeitgeist… the spirit of the age.)

Neo: What truth?

Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind.... Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.... Remember, all I'm offering is the truth, nothing more....

--The Matrix

Last week my friend Daniel Tocchini posted a question on Facebook: “What question is your life answering?” To which I immediately replied, “Take the Red Pill!” Which got me to thinking.
I guess you could say that I took the pill when I was 17 years old. From this time on, quests for reality, meaning, purpose, authenticity, creating personal legends and legacies has been my North Star. Of course this quest lead to other Big Questions regarding how to live my life (by what ethical standard?), the nature of Truth, Love, Goodness, Freedom, God, what happens after death, and etc. These questions, and others like them, have haunted me for 43 years. At times they even torment me. But mostly they thrill and inspire me. 
By the time I was 25, I began wondering why it was that not all people were consumed with meaning, purpose, and authenticity, or with consciously seeking answers to the questions that life demands of us. One of my professors told me that only around 10% of the population thought about such things. As I repeatedly came across this statistic, and I was continually meeting large groups of people who showed no outward evidence of thinking along these lines, I gradually came to believe it was true.
“Okay. As a speaker, writer, and coach, my target audience is that 10%.”
There was something inside me, however, that never quite accepted that statistic. In fact, as time went on, I increasingly found my understanding of human nature—of our being made in the image of God--warring against this idea.
I finally came to believe the vast majority of people have addressed these concepts and questions, even if it is only on an unconscious level. Moreover, I think these people live as they do, make the choices that they make, and experience what happiness and suffering that is in their lives, because of the definitions they have given these concepts and the answers they have given to these questions.
It is not a case where the high powered businessman and woman who works every waking moment at achieving more and more in their careers, to the point of ruining their health and families, haven’t considered the meaning of their lives or asked any of the Big Questions.
The barista with only a High School education who gave you your coffee this morning and, after she finishes her shift, will work another 8 hours at a department store, go home, read some chapters in Fifty Shades of Grey, watch TV, go to bed, and repeat the same routine month after month, year after year: she too has considered the concepts of reality, meaning, and purpose, and answered many of life’s major questions.
The issue is not that so many people don’t think about these concepts and questions, but that their answers are inadequate and often flat out wrong. Every day their angst, breakdowns, depression, disconnects, floating anger, neurosis, numbness, uneasiness, and lack of fulfillment at the very depths of their souls is screaming to them that this is so.
            Part of my Quest in life is to wake the hearts and minds of people to all this screaming and to inspire them to start paying attention to their souls. It is the answer to Dan’s question, it is the reason for my book, Legendary Leadership, why I write these blogs, and what colors most all of my conversations with businessmen and baristas. Take the Red Pill! Waaaaaaake Uuuuuuup! Paaaaay Attentioooooon!

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2012


  1. I think I would restate the statistic. There is no doubt that everyone has answered these questions, at the very least, at a subconscious level. But I think 90% of people want the questions to be settled. They want to never have to revisit these questions, because to do so can come at great cost.

    When I was a member of the PCA, I had found many ex-Baptists who had become convinced of God's sovereignty in regards to salvation somewhere along in there life. Many of them never questioned any other aspects of their Baptist theology, so never really transitioned. I found many of them open to new ideas, however. I found the ones within the PCA most resistant to new ideas were those who had been Presbyterians all their life.

    I have found a similar demeaner within the REC. Most people in the REC have come from other denominations. I really believe this is a strength of the REC. Some were Baptists, some were Presbyterians, some were non-denominational Charismatics. They are generally very open to new ideas and ways of viewing Biblical interpretation, Christian ministry, culture and politics. I have met a few who grew up in the Episcopal Church, and the same rule seemed to apply, they were most resistant to new ideas.

    The question arises, how will we keep this motivation to explore new ideas and truths in pursuit of the truth? At what point should we stop and think we have settled all the questions surrounding truth?

    Yes, take the red pill, but take it everyday.

  2. Just recently I put together a new line of logic.
    Opinions are the essence of our being.
    With our whole being, from the time we are conceived, we are forming opinions about reality.
    Opinions freely boil within our souls.
    By the time we are toddlers, we have formed 100's of thousands of opinions, and these become the foundation of the matrix of our belief system, or "truth," of what life is all about.
    Then along come adults, and then, we become one of them. The mind now rules. The soul becomes childish. Opinions are no longer welcome.

    "Well, I believe..." is the new mantra. Yet, we ache continuously with uncertainty. Opinions are still boiling in our souls. "Keep your opinions to yourself, ...because I said so!" Quietly, we settle for living a life of desparation. How do we get ahead? From the "Art of Possibility," rule #6 applies, "Quit taking yourself so damn serious." Rule #6 is the way to success, taken with generous doses of curiosity. Risk your opinions, and be heard!

    As for absolute truth, I think that's why god and gods have kept showing up in cultures around the world. Can a god really understand? Maybe, if he becomes one of us, too. That's what has been said about the Jew named Jesus.

  3. Tim, watch for my Henri de Lubac quote this Sunday!

  4. Anonymous: I would add to your insight here that because opinions are not welcome, what many people do is frame their opinions as beliefs!

  5. Tim, Great point about taking the red pill every day. I think one of the things we can do here is to be very careful with the word/concept "understand." As soon as I say I "Understand" an idea or truth, the mind shuts down: "Got it, now I need to move on to other ideas!" We should train ourselves to say, I have an understandING.. which leaves room for growth and evolution. Or so I believe ...