Physician, red pill thyself.
You are likely familiar with a similar phrase:
Physician, heal thyself.
This phrase is most widely attributed to Jesus, who was referencing a Greek proverb. It’s interesting to note that the account was written by Jesus’ disciple, Luke, who was himself a physician.
“Physician, heal thyself” refers to the idea that a physician likely has the means to deliver healing to others, but yet does not take the necessary steps to relieve their own suffering. (The phrase is also used when one passes moral judgement or gives specific directives and yet does not follow the instructions themselves.)
The phrase, “physician, red pill thyself” takes this proverb into account but also includes the teachings of the cult classic movie, The Matrix.
If you don’t already know, the concept of the movie is that humans are actually living in an alternate reality. That is, what humans know as “life” is actually a computer simulation. However, there are some people – a movement, that has turned into a Revolution – who are searching for the truth and are finding ways to get outside the simulation and back into reality.
Early on in the movie, the main character, Neo, is given a choice. After Neo’s searching and a brief exposure to the reality of life, he is given a choice that comes in the form of a blue pill or a red pill.
If he chooses the blue pill, Neo will go back into the Matrix and his place in the simulation will be restored. But he will always wonder whether or not the Matrix is real and whether there is a better life outside the Matrix.
If Neo chooses the red pill, he will be awakened to reality. And he will be exposed to the harsh realities of life: the Matrix is real and it will try to destroy him. However, if he chooses the red pill, he will know the truth. It will be a hard fight, but there is peace on the other side.
So, how does this apply to Physicians?
There are a growing number of physicians who are trying to steal medicine back from the Matrix – the hospitals, insurance companies, certification boards, and politicians, to name just a few.
There is no doubt that the “Medical Matrix” is real and it wants to control you to the point of minimizing your control, respect, prestige, income, and your ability to help people.
There is a battle for the soul of the physician. The Matrix wants to call you a “provider” and treat you as such. But everything within you wants to be a physician – one who is skilled in the art of healing – that you feel called, or at least trained, to be.
A movement is growing. More and more doctors are considering trying to leave the Matrix and the life as a Provider (some brave physicians have already left) and pursuing a Righteous Path as a Physician.
But it’s hard to leave.
The Matrix wants to control you with a 401k, a “guaranteed” salary, and other benefits. The hoops that must be jumped through and the red tape to navigate to work with the Matrix makes you feel like you could never do this on your own.
Yet, given the horrible life for more than 50% of all doctors right now, you are considering either leaving the Matrix of Medicine or leaving the practice of medicine altogether because you’re starting to realize that the blue pill “ideal life” is not what you imagined or were led to believe?
The stage of unplugging from the Matrix has difficulties unique to each physician, based upon where, in their career, they realize the blue pill “ideal life” is not what they want.
It’s one thing for a young doctor to take the red pill, unplug from the Matrix, and realize everything they’ve been taught about being a doctor is not true. This experience is much different and, frankly, easier to deal with mentally, emotionally, and financially for the young doctor than for a doctor who is mid- to late-career and experiencing the red pill paradigm shift as they look back on their career, possible family dysfunction, marriage(s), and the things they wish they could – or would – have done differently if they were not plugged into the Matrix.
Some doctors resist because they believe “It’s too late for me” as they throw their hands up in the air.
Some don’t care. They like the life they have. They like life within the Matrix and have no desire to unplug from the machines.
Some will gladly SAY they are going to take the red pill, but will get scared, worried, frustrated, etc., and when actually given the choice, will quickly grab and swallow the blue pill. (Watch out for these doctors. They are the ones that may cause problems for you if you take the red pill.)
Many will shout loudly that the blue pill is the only way to go and that anyone who chooses the red pill should be banned from the practice of medicine.
Some will gladly take the red pill, but will feel they must go back to the Matrix because they have built no foundation outside of the Matrix, which leads to frustration, fear, worry, etc…and they will then feel like their only option is to go back to the machines.
Some will reluctantly choose the red pill with fear and trepidation and yet will have such a mind-blowing, positive experience, that they will never look back.
Some will thoroughly look at all options, decide that the read pill is the only logical choice. However, knowing full-well what they are up against, surround themselves with a team that can help them enjoy the successes, weather any storms, battle together, and fight the good fight – for themselves, their families, and their patients.
Let this be clear: this is not about patients. While Physicians are better at the art of medicine than Providers are, the idea of taking the red pill and disconnecting from the Matrix, the system, and the machines is about the physician and that physician’s quality of life, both as a physician and as a human being. Once that is solidified, then it becomes about the patients.
For now, know that there are alternatives to the Matrix.
But, Physician, you must choose the red pill for yourself.