I remember sitting on a hill side after the promotion for The Matrix was released: “What is the matrix?”
As I gazed out over the shimmering lights of the city I was pretty sure what the film was going to be about. What is real? What is illusion? How do we escape from the deceptions that try to hold and exploit us?
It was a theme that everyone got a hold of pretty quickly because it resonates with how we experience the world. Are we being manipulated to an end purpose of which we are ignorant?
Are we being exploited by invisible parties for their own gain at our own expense. Well, perhaps – yes, pretty much – to some extent. The matrix is a nice metaphor for reality. OK, so maybe we’re not batteries in a big evil robot world of the future, but it’s a powerful metaphor for the way we can be captivated by ideas created to engineer certain behaviours and responses that benefit another party.
The matrix imagery has fired the imagination of many.
How do we find out what the matrix is? Our own particular matrix?
Does it mean abandoning everything we thought we knew was real and true and starting again from scratch?A total reset?
In fact, I doubt whether that’s even possible. We always exist within a framework of reference in order to make sense of the world. You have to have something – reference A in order to make sense of something else – phenomenon B, to examine and assess it.
If you don’t think you have a frame of reference maybe you’re not ready to see what the matrix really is… (take the blue pill)
So how do we discover if our reality is Matrix-like?
Here’s my simple take on becoming a Neo in your own personal matrix – step one is Awareness.
First you have to discover what makes the world tick. You wont be alone or short of research material. Join the philosophers, sociologists, historians and theologians of past and present in their quest to understand what it’s all about.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, or imagine that there is something new somewhere that no one else has discovered. Maybe there is and maybe you’ll be the one to write the book, but if you don’t know what’s already been discovered and explored how can you know?
So becoming aware is about learning and about being hungry for knowledge.
There’s a story told about Socrates:
One day a dispassionate young man approached the Greek philosopher and casually said, ‘O great Socrates, I come to you for knowledge.‘
The philosopher took the young man down to the sea, waded in with him, and then dunked him under the water for thirty seconds. When he let the young man up for air, Socrates asked him to repeat what he wanted. ‘Knowledge, O great one,’ he sputtered.
Socrates put him under the water again, only this time a little longer.
After repeated dunkings and responses, the philosopher asked, ‘What do you want?’ The young man finally gasped, ‘Air. I want air!’ ‘Good,’ answered Socrates. ‘Now, when you want knowledge as much as you wanted air, you shall have it.‘
Learning takes commitment. Discovering the realities of your cultural matrix frees your mind. What’s one main way people are exploited? Ignorance.
Don’t be trapped within a framework that’s too narrow, a view of the world that’s too limited. Knowledge is light and perspective.
The second thing is Evolve. Information becomes knowledge when it’s assessed and assimilated. Knowledge becomes wisdom when it’s applied to living and worked out through experience.
Explore, Discover, Evolve.