Posted: 14 Feb 2011 02:10 AM PST
In the 1999 film Morpheus says to Neo “Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.”
One interpretation of the film is that it shows the journey from unconsciously living as part of our pervasive societal machine to consciously living beyond it.
If we take that interpretation, The Matrix is analogous to western society. We work and consume, violence and aggression are part of human nature and there is no alternative to our society story. Failure to conform leads to exclusion in the form of prison, homelessness or worse. We feel as if we are always competing for attention, success or approval.
For those living inside “The Matrix”, the film is a slightly odd sci-fi movie with some new agey dialogue.
In the film there is an alternative to living in The Matrix. That alternative is, to be unplugged and to live in the “real world”, in this case a rather uncomfortable and hostile environment, from where it is possible, with the right equipment to plug back in and have “super powers”.
Back in the “real world” of our society, does this analogy refer to leaving our metaphorical Matrix?
I think it refers to the experience of living unconsciously in our society, the experience of trying to be what we think other people want us to be, of constantly having to conform to some nebulous idea of normality, of being alone against the world, of buying into the status symbols, ego props and consumerism that define western society.
Outside The Matrix is conscious living. It is both very similar and very different, at the same time. It is similar in that we can continue to live broadly the same life (unless we consciously choose to change it). It is the “why” we do things that changes, more than the “what”.
For example the reason why we work might shift from – “promotion and paying the mortgage” to “delivering on our purpose”. Nothing changes, and yet everything changes. We still get paid, we still pay our mortgage, what is different is that our motivation comes from the core, from a place of love, rather than from outside and from a place of fear. In fact the additional motivation might actually mean we are more likely to get promoted and more likely to get paid more.
We have the opportunity to shift relationships from being alone trying to make it in spite of everyone, to being a collaborator in an interconnected network of teams and communities.
The journey from one to the other begins with a belief that what is obvious is not all there is. It is the same with any of the many breakthrough experiences on the way. Protesters in Egypt and Tunisia, believing that there is a realizable alternative to autocratic dictatorship or individuals realising that they don’t have to be in a state of paranoid competition with everyone including their boss, their co-workers, their parters or even their kids.
In that moment of belief the alternative is hazy and unclear. In the movie: Neo: “Why do my eyes hurt? Morpheus: You’ve never used them before.”
With persistence and support the path becomes clearer. Without persistence and support the Matrix closes back around pushing us back into “our place”, it’s pervasive messaging crushing hope, as Morpheus explains “You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.”
Support helps us to find the language and the confidence to understand what we are experiencing and to realise that it is real. As our path becomes clearer we experience euphoric moments of serendipity when our experience of life shifts from antagonism to alignment.
Within The Matrix everyone is potentially an agent to be feared. Outside The Matrix, everyone a potential collaborator.
“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.”
Which do you choose?
Magic Monday – the compilation of six years of the best of these Monday morning e-mails is available as an e-book. (There will be a print edition when I can make the time).
Also, working with my wonderful friend Dawn Waldron, we have written a new, thorough and really easy to use Life Purpose work book.
You can get your copies here.
If you would like help in finding your authenticity, give me a call.
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