Thursday, February 19, 2009

Abre Los Ojos

Emancipation is a well-trodden theme in pop culture. Off the top of my head I think of classic cult hit "The Matrix." Neo, having glimpsed the truth behind the human condition, had the choice to down the blue pill which would make him forget what he saw and revert to his life of habit. He would forget his encounter with Morpheus and his crew, forget the sinister Mr. Anderson and go on with living out his life.
Morpheus: 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.
But Neo chose to swallow the red pill - in pursuit of truth. He later on found out that he, and all of humanity, have been living simulated, fantasy lives as their bodies served to power the world created by machines. Later on another character Cypher, expressed deep regret in forgoing the blue pill. Knowing what he knew then, he would have gladly reverted to his simulated life - back in the blissful arms of ignorance.

This same choice was offered to David in "Vanilla Sky." Near the end of the film he finds out that in grief for losing a loved one, he chose to be cryogenically preserved, living his simulated perfect life indefinitely. Upon learning the truth, he chose to jump off the building and wake up to face his painful reality.

I remember these pop culture references as I read this article entitled "Barrel of worms" by Rene Azurin. In it he depicts the hesitance of officialdom in digging too deep:
If nothing else, congressional zarzuelas on the World Bank’s findings of bid rigging and "kickbacking" in public works projects highlight the fact that no agency in this government — not the Department of Public Works and Highways (obviously), not the Senate, not the House of Representatives, not the Department of Justice, not the Ombudsman — is interested in opening up the whole barrel of worms. A logical conclusion is that everyone has an interest in keeping this barrel sealed.
Thieves guarding the bank can be expected to deflect attention from the intricate ways in which wealth is siphoned off the bank.

But what of the depositors?

It is probably in their interest to believe in the credibility of the institution which houses their fortune, their hopes, their fate. Believing otherwise would trigger a crisis. Given a choice between reality and the comfort of ignorance or even the relative discomfort of innuendo - do we take the blue pill or the red?

We go about our daily lives in varying levels of consciousness. Most of us probably prefer to sleepwalk. Reality may be too much to take. For those who see a glimmer of light behind closed eyelids, I dedicate "Anino" by Wolfgang.

No comments: