Once You Take the Red Pill There is No Going Back

“The term red pill and its opposite, blue pill, are pop culture terms that have become a common symbol for the choice between the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue) and embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality (red)”.
Wikipedia‘s Blue Pill Vs. Red Pill (in relation to The Matrix)

If you are vegan for ethical reasons, it’s highly likely you decided to take the “red pill” and “unplug” in some way. Maybe you studied ethics as part of your education, or began to research farming practices because of animal welfare concerns. Perhaps a film, speech, book or flyer affected you deeply. Whatever prompted you, you decided to take the “red pill”, get educated, face reality and make changes -however uncomfortable, painful and upsetting it may have been.

Many people become vegan when they have seen pictures or video footage of animal suffering and abuse.  Visual images are incredibly honest, powerful and can be real catalysts for creating permanent change; they undo the programming and social conditioning that tells us “everything is ok”, that animal abuse is normal (blue pill)

Once you have witnessed a visual image (see the video to the right to take the leap) you cannot press “undo” in your head and simply delete it.  This is clearly demonstrated by the way many non-vegans protest strongly if images or information of animal abuse enters their world. We all know that once we are exposed to the truth, there is no going back and many people don’t want to have to deal with the truth – they would rather take the blue pill by choice. The ugly reality is far too painful, will confront their “world view” and challenge the deepest aspects of the rather pleasant (and often “animal loving”) identity they hold of themselves. 

The meat, dairy and egg industry know that most people in modern society would be horrified if they were exposed to the truth of animal farming  – so they show us images of “happy animals” when advertising meat, eggs and dairy products. By linking appealing images of animals to their product, people are duped into thinking that they are consuming products from well cared animals. Its sounds rather simplistic, but think about it – this powerful programming is everywhere…

We are told that we need meat and dairy to survive, when in fact research such as The China Study is proving the opposite is true. We are bombarded with these “Meatrix” programs from a very early age – from all kinds of well-meaning people! As a child my school teachers earnestly handed out milk to help us grow “big and strong”, something every child and parent desperately wants. Playing on our deepest fears and desires is a very effective way to manipulate people. Motivation is the key to conditioning; create enough association to a strong desire and consumers will hang onto that conditioned belief with all their might.

You too can unplug yourself from the “meatrix”. Image and cover image: screenshots from the movie The Matrix.

Fortunately it works both ways…

Through the power of the internet, social media, TV and tireless campaigners – the truth is here for everyone to see. This is such an exciting time to be vegan as more and more people are bravely taking steps to “unplug” from the “meatrix” and choose to live with compassion and a clear conscience. I am constantly inspired by everyone who has the courage to listen to their hearts and stand against the majority. We have the power and information to choose for ourselves what feels right, regardless of what we have been told is “normal”. Just because a “tradition” is well established doesn’t make it right or justifiable – slavery, racism, sexism and child abuse were all well-established and perceived as “normal and traditional” before we became more enlightened. Compassion is a process of evolution, and thankfully people are “waking up” and “unplugging” with great momentum.

There is nothing moderate about veganism; it’s a dramatic decision to create positive change in the world. We may be the minority, but we are sending a powerful message that not only is veganism here to stay – it’s easy, enjoyable and growing all the time. It takes courage to face reality, to see suffering when it breaks your heart and to take action to live a life that helps others embrace an honest, authentic, more loving, caring society. Facing reality is not always pretty but is much better than remaining plugged in to the illusion and delusion of the blue pill. Only when we accept reality “as it is” can we really make a difference.

I admit that sometimes I find it hard not to judge people who are still plugged in. Sometimes I feel lonely and even alienated from my own species –but remembering that I was once plugged in too helps enormously. The only way to create more love, compassion and kindness in the world is by giving more love, compassion and kindness.  It’s a vegan’s life’s work– each one of us makes a difference.

This powerful video with a very surprising twist, might give you some more food for thought…


The video was created by art studets Nadav Nachmany and Dror shpatz.


Jacqui Barnett

Writer & Reviewer

Vegan Mind & Body Columnist

I live in the UK with my fantastic partner and two beautiful dogs - we are all vegan. I’m passionate about animal welfare, veganism and spreading the vegan word through education, support and hugs! When I’m not writing for The Vegan Woman I teach yoga as I believe Yoga truly helps practitioners to become more compassionate and conscious in every way – which is good for all beings. For fun I love spending time with my vegan crew, helping out at an animal shelter and watching corny sci-fi

More about Jacqui

Check out Jacqui’s website JacquiYoga