In The Matrix, given that the person taking the red pill could die as a result, and even surviving the experience is shocking and traumatizing, why not sedate them until they could be rescued by other humans?

It has been argued that the blue pill is essentially a sedative, and even what would happen if both were taken at the same time.

So why would Morpheus or anyone else offering the red pill not employ this extra "safety" measure?

Plausible reasons could include:

  • The person needs to be awake & alert to survive.

  • The awakening experience is beneficial in some way, despite being traumatic & risky.

But I have no evidence to rule these in / out.

  • 4
    Wasn't a lot of the peril in bringing someone out of the matrix due to shock from being torn from an artificial dreamlike state? If so, inducing a dreamlike state within that state may increase the risk rather than decreasing it. Commented Mar 7, 2019 at 13:37
  • Because Neo's awakening is extra traumatic due to his age?
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 7, 2019 at 13:40
  • 1
    I wouldn't go so far as to say "it has already been established" what would happen if both were taken at the same time. More like it has been argued; the accepted answer to the linked question has a logic to it, but it's still more of personal-opinion-based answer, rather than relying on a explicit, canon example.
    – Jacob C.
    Commented Mar 7, 2019 at 22:09
  • @JacobC. good feedback, thank you. I've edited accordingly Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 1:31

1 Answer 1


It would seem likely that a sedative given inside the Matrix would only have an effect inside the Matrix. As soon as the person 'woke up', they'd immediately find themselves fully conscious in their pod and would be subjected to the same stresses that anyone else would, had they just been woken up, except with even more disorientation and probably a greater chance of "popping" (dying from the shock of being awoken).

We see in the Matrix webcomic Saviors that older redpills can die in their pods, even before they suffer the additional trauma of being flushed and grabbed. A sedative given externally to the Matrix might keep them asleep for a few hours, but eventually they'll need to be told what's happening (e.g. that their previous existence was a falsehood), at which point they'd then die. All you'd be doing by sedating them is delaying the inevitable.

  • Your last point is good and you should elaborate more, death seems to occur from the psychological not the physical - Morpheus say "There is a rule that we do not free a mind once it reaches a certain age. It is dangerous. They have trouble letting go. Their mind turns against them. I've seen it happen.". It would be like sedating someone with PTSD, pointless, it the mind that has to come to terms with it or you die so any sedation is pointless
    – Matt
    Commented Apr 21, 2019 at 14:52

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