Journal of Science Fiction and Philosophy: www.jsfphil.org —
The Blue Pill Dilemma: Is Knowledge a Blessing or a Curse?
In the original The Matrix Neo took the Red Pill, choosing Truth – and got himself into a world of trouble. Wouldn’t the Blue Pill (of “Ignorance is Bliss”) have served him better?
In dystopian tales, deep questioning is proscribed to safeguard the (questionable) happiness of the general population. In pre- and post-apocalyptic scenarios scientific knowledge can be savior and culprit, both revered and feared. Brain-in-a-vat stories make the choice between harsh reality and simulated bliss vivid and poignant, while cyberpunk stories emphasize the double-edged character of the “Information Era.”
The tension in these stories merits examination. Which is preferable? Which is better? Can a truth cause more harm than a lie? Is there a danger of “knowing too much”? Is knowledge just a neutral tool, or is there, as Plato would have it, something inherently good about seeking knowledge?
The deadline for the second round of reviews is June 1, 2020.
* General Articles, Response Essays, Book Reviews, accepted year-round. See www.jsfphil.org for details *