I derive most of my writing persona from The Last Psychiatrist.
Agent Smith has Neo in a chokehold on the train tracks; the subway speeds towards them. Agent Smith is… satisfied. He says: Hear that? That is the sound of inevitability. It is the sound of your death.
Faced with the absurdity and unintelligibility of life, lacking God or country or dynasty, there is only one answer that today’s individual can give that makes his life meaningful, and he gives it:
“My name is Neo.”
The only solace is to define yourself…
* * * * *
My conceit is that I’m one of those who have managed to awaken from the Matrix – the untrue limits that govern life within society.
Here’s the metaphor of the Matrix in a nutshell:
From birth, humans are connected by umbilicals that not only provide the body with sustenance, but draw energy from the body to power the Machines and their city.
The human is part of the Matrix computer network until their body can no longer function, or if their carrier signal is interrupted, forcing the human to awaken.
Millions and millions of these pods are connected to cylindrical towers that form the power plant.
The Matrix is the society we’re all born into. All the technology, the neuroses, the industries, the culture – Matrix.
The idea that society is unreal is not a new one. Plato wrote about it more than two thousand years ago. The most valuable and relevant concept in the Matrix movie, though, that hasn’t been delineated anywhere else, is that the same machinery that sucks the life out of humans also sustains them. Unplugged from the Matrix, a human’s real mind and body are weak, vulnerable.
This means that even as society oppresses people and keeps them from fulfillment and happiness, it also allows them to exist. Within the confines of society – “Go to college!” “Clubs are fun!” “You need friends!” “You have to look good!” – it is a comfortable misery – you might be unhappy, but it’s a familiar feeling, and you know what you can reach for to make it go away, at least for a while – buy a new gadget, travel, get a dog, go to events, smoke, get drunk, get high, eat a burger, put on makeup, have sex, have more sex, whatever.
When a person understands that the rules of society are arbitrary, it’s a terrifying loss of identity. Now 5,000 Facebook likes mean nothing. The people who suck up to you mean nothing. Your high grades mean nothing. The letters in front of your name mean nothing. The places you’ve been, the famous people you’ve met, the possessions you’ve accumulated, everything you were told was valuable – nothing.
This blog is all about trying to answer that question. How to sustain oneself once unplugged from the Matrix? What to do with this freedom? What to do to grow strong? What new values to cultivate, having rejected the values of the system?