What ‘The Matrix’ Is and What We Can Learn From It

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Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life … you don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind…


I am sure readers have noticed by now that I have an affinity for The Matrix movie (part 1). My friends and family will confirm I’ve been going on about the underlying philosophy in the movie since it first came out. There are many ways to go about unpacking it: our political system is a matrix, capitalism, religion, or even a computer generated universe named The Lattice (I did not make that up. Scientists have measured cosmic rays to test it). For me though, even if all of that is true – then what would be the source? Where would it all have come from?

Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us … You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth… A prison for your mind…

Let’s consider for one second that everything about human existence is a reflection of what happens in the mind. Technological advances, development of society, the experience and interpretation of emotions. Everything you see in front of you originated as an idea in someone’s brain. As a logically thinking person, it would stand to reason that this would include the good and the bad – yes? The continuation of peace is a choice; going to war is also a choice. To fight or not to fight with our partners, to take that job, buy that car, build that building; all choice based on the idea that in some way things will be better or we will feel better. We compile all of these choices and their outcomes, combine them with the outcomes of other people and label it reality.

Morpheus: What is “real”? How do you define “real”?

Our only mechanism to experience and understand the physical world is the mind. How many minds exist on the planet? There may be one physical world, but there are billions of ways to interpret it – billions of “realities”. Don Miguel Ruiz calls them agreements; which he defines as “the collective dream of billions of smaller, personal dreams, which together create … a dream of the whole of humanity.

But what we see is real, right? Your house is real. That is not what is in question. What is in question is your concept of how that house becomes a home. Is that real? How do you know what you believe to be happening in your home is real? What makes you believe that your singular interpretation of reality is true for the people who live in the same house as you? When everyone gets along, doesn’t your home feel great? When everyone is mad with each other – do you experience being at home the same way? Has the house change or have you changed?

The Oracle: Know Thyself.

What if everything you know to be true simply isn’t? What if you made it all up?

What if your “reality” is really just a reflection of what you have learned or chosen to believe about yourself at any given moment in time?

The movie termed it residual self-image – a mental projection of the Self. We project what we believe to be true about ourselves out to the world. We believe that is how the world sees us. Additionally, we experience the world through those same beliefs.

Think about that for a second. Challenge yourself on whether or not that is true.

Are your perceptions about other people based on their life and their experiences? The answer is no – how could it be? You can’t know what happens in their mind. You only know what happens in yours. What you experience is the interpretations that happen as a result of your mind trying to make sense of it. Similarly, their behavior is an outcome of what happens in their mind. All of which have the potential to be true, but most of the time it isn’t. Strange isn’t it?

We make every decision throughout our entire life based on what we believe; rarely on what we know. What takes place in our mind is really a simulation of reality – not reality. Similar to they way the eyes work. You are not seeing the full spectrum of what is there – you see the image your mind puts together.

If this is true, how would that simulation be different from the one presented in the movie? Neither is the real world and all are accepted to be true by every person on the planet which is the only way it can successfully exist. Wouldn’t that mean that if we create it – we can change it?

So, what is The Matrix? … The Matrix is the uncultivated mind.

Our mind creates who we are, our families, our communities, our cities, our country, our government, the world. We have convinced ourselves that the world we live in happens to us. That somehow if we can change what happens around us, we can change what happens to us. If we just elect the right president, get the right education, make enough money, marry the right person everything will be better and we will be happy.


My argument here is not that we can somehow fully escape the matrix – rather that we can see it for what it is and take more responsibility for our experiences. Let’s go back to the movie for a second. Neo was “The One” because he had the ability to see the matrix for what it was – and more importantly – the ability change it. He learned he could experience bending the spoon. To bend the world he saw in front of him, he had to bend his mind. Why his mind? Because… the matrix only exists in the mind.

Morpheus: There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

The same is true for us. I would argue that we are all Neo. We just have to be willing to let go of reality as we believe it to be. To change how we experience the world, thereby changing our reality. What do you choose?

Morpheus: This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

You want the red pill? Me too – let’s take it together. Stay tuned…

Follow me on twitter @LGreenidge

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