When the movie ‘The Matrix’ was released in 1999 I was blown away by not only the plot, but also the visual effects. I associated with the film, its story, and ultimately – that there is no spoon. I’m sure that I’m not the only one that associates their beliefs with other films. I’m sure there are plenty of people that love the Da Vinci Code for example – those films that seem to challenge the mainstream belief.
The Matrix was also charged with making famous the pop culture symbols being the blue pill and the red pill, which represents the choice between the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue) and embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality (red). In the movie, the main character Neo is offered the choice between a red pill and a blue pill. The blue pill would allow him to remain in the fabricated reality of the Matrix. The red pill would lead to his escape from the Matrix and into the “real world”.
So, this is a safety blog and I should endeavour to convey some relevance of my ramblings into something more useful. But, I already know that you already had thoughts when reading the first couple of paragraphs that it does relate to safety or at least safety differently… It’s about taking the red pill and challenging the status quo. What indeed is the fabricated reality of safety? Is it that people are the problem? If you follow procedures then you won’t get hurt? If you adhere to the lifesaving rules your life will be saved? Is it the legislation, the safety management systems, the safety products, the regulators (Agents), the safety training, what the big companies are doing?
Does the fabricated reality of safety keep humans enslaved to it, kept docile in a simulation of a safe environment – the Matrix? Are we, and our abilities, imprisoned by the reality of safety?
So what of the red pill approach? If you took the red pill and followed the rabbit down the hole what would you see in the “real world” of safety? Would you see that humans are creative, adaptive, emotive, expressive, have a will to live, be successful and contribute… workers that are reliable?
I’m not advocating that you go out and start popping red or blue pills to find the answers, but metaphorically, it’s worth a bit of self-reflection of what pill you would take if presented with the opportunity to follow that rabbit down the hole – to look at safety differently.
Watch the red pill, blue pill clip now that you have ‘safety’ on the brain and see if you can associate with what ‘it’ is, the Matrix – the fabricated reality of safety. I’d be interested in what you think?
Now, if you haven’t seen the Matrix, I suggest you find a DVD and lock in a couple of hours on a Saturday evening and enjoy a good movie for the sake of entertainment.
Finally, just for kicks take a look at the ‘there is no spoon’ clip from the movie the Matrix, and replace the word spoon with safety… that should get you thinking.