“Down the Rabbit Hole” is the title of the first chapter in Lewis Carroll’s classic absurdist fairy tale, “Alice in Wonderland.” On the first page, Alice is sitting dreamily beside a riverbank when suddenly a white rabbit runs by. Noticing that the rabbit is not only talking to itself, but checking the time on a pocket watch, she burns with curiosity and runs after it. It goes down a rabbit hole, and “in another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.”
After a while, “down a rabbit hole” or “down the rabbit hole” began to refer to the beginning of a bizarre, surreal, disorienting, or perspective-stretching adventure, usually mental or subjective, from which return is difficult or impossible. Like Alice diving into the unknown after the White Rabbit, “going down a rabbit hole” is an experience that turns your normal sense of reality upside-down and makes you question what you thought you knew for certain. Once you go down a rabbit hole, there is no going back.
“The young artist ran away to the big city, hoping to find a community that would take her down a rabbit hole from which she’d never return.”
“Doing LSD can take you down the rabbit hole.”
“To attempt to truly understand economics is to throw yourself down a very deep rabbit hole.”
“You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
– Morpheus, from The Matrix