There is a scene in the movie The Matrix where Neo is lying in his bunk aboard the Nebuchadnezzar after having been shown the reality of the Matrix. In that scene Morpheus tells Neo, “I feel I owe you an apology. We have a rule. We never free a mind once it’s reached a certain age. It’s dangerous, the mind has trouble letting go.” If you haven’t seen The Matrix, that might not make any sense; so for those who haven’t seen the movie, let me give a brief explanation of what Morpheus was talking about.
The basic premise of The Matrix is that human beings are grown as a power source for an artificial intelligence based machine world. Throughout their lives humans live in a cocoon type enclosure, filled with a kind of amniotic fluid, with electrical connections to their head relaying a sort of virtual reality world in which they live – completely opposite the reality of their existence. Some of those thusly enslaved have broken free and form a sort of resistance to the enslavement of mankind and Morpheus is telling Neo that once a person reaches a certain age they don’t usually attempt to free them because it is hard for them the accept the harshness of reality.
I have heard, although I haven’t seen it firsthand, that college classes are taught regarding the subtleties and innuendos hidden within The Matrix; how they represent the truth of man’s current existence on this planet as it pertains to its enslavement to any system that seeks to bind and control them.
I often wonder what it is that sets people like me apart from the majority of those living in the United States. By that I mean, what is it about people like me that cause us to be able to see so clearly the truth that is in front of our eyes, while so many others are oblivious to it. What is it about us that allows for our minds to process and accept certain facts, while most others reject those facts…or simply don’t care?
For most of my life, at least from my teens onward, I have been somewhat of a rebel; questioning authority and pushing the boundaries of what is considered acceptable behavior. I have never been to keen about others ordering me around, telling me what I can and cannot do; it just didn’t sit well with me. Although I’ve yet to find a satisfactory answer as to why I’m different than most others, there is another scene from the Matrix that speaks to me on a personal level about this condition. That scene precedes the other, when Morpheus first meets Neo inside the Matrix and tells him, “What you know you can’t explain. But you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life. That there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind driving you mad.”
You know I really hate having to use all these movie analogies to describe things to people; they tend to think I’ve lost my marbles and am living in a fantasy world. Yet people often use terminology or phrases from other works of fiction without even realizing they are doing so. Take for instance how people refer to an all powerful government that constantly monitors them as Big Brother; taken from Orwell’s classic book 1984. One could say that they too have lost their marbles.
I am still undecided as to whether the authors and screenwriters who come up with these fictional situations are rubbing the reality of our existence in our faces, or if they are visionaries trying to warn us of the danger of our current existence. All I do know is that movies like The Matrix, and books like 1984 and Atlas Shrugged speak to me on a level that is difficult to describe. I can’t watch The Matrix, or read either of those books without feeling a sort of kinship with those who bucked the system and sought to exert their freedom against those who would oppress them. That’s probably why one of my favorite sayings is, “When I learned that I was trapped in a system, I decided to become a virus.”
That’s the entire storyline of The Matrix, how Neo is freed from the system that had held him in bondage to it, and then gradually became aware of his uniqueness then chose to become a virus to the system. There is one final quote from that movie that I’d like to share with you, as it parallels how I feel when I leave my home and interact with others. The scene this quote is taken from comes when Neo is undergoing his ‘Agent Training’ and Morpheus is telling him about all those still trapped inside the Matrix, “The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around. What do you see? Business people, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system, and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.”
I’m pretty sure I know the answer to this question but I often wonder if people realize the extent to which they have been indoctrinated. If you type the word indoctrinate into a search engine, one of the definitions you will get is: teach (a person or group) to accept a set of beliefs uncritically. I wonder if people are aware that one of the synonyms for indoctrinate is brainwash? Yet that is how I view what happens to people as they pass through, what we call our education systems.
Our school systems no longer teach our children how to think, they teach them what to think; at least as it pertains to history and civics-with science and math being possible exceptions to the rule. Thinking, or at least critical thinking, involves taking both sides of an argument into consideration before coming to a conclusion.
One of the purest forms of critical thinking is a debate; where two sides offer opposing arguments on an issue and the winner is chosen based upon whichever side provides the most conclusive evidence to support their position. Yet today when one talks politics with others it is usually from the perspective or a Republican or Democratic platform; not from a legal, or constitutional, position. Neither side seems to care that those they vote for are guilty of violating the Constitution and infringing upon their rights, all they care is that it isn’t the other side that is committing these crimes.
As long as one stays within the confines of this left/right paradigm one does not face the wrath and ire of society; even though you may be condemned for being too liberal or too conservative. Yet the moment one steps outside the confines of the left/right paradigm and questions the system, they are deemed a nutcase, a danger to society, a terrorist, or some other name which stifles the free and open discussion of facts.
My friend Michael Gaddy spoke of this when he wrote, “All who believe in individual Liberty and that sovereignty lies with the individual rather than any form of government, have all seen it: that look of incredulity when we provide factual cognitive evidence that someone’s strongly held belief, based on pure emotion, is incorrect. We watch as that belief transforms the person into attack mode. Intellectual discussion suddenly reverts to name calling and other behavior commonly found in the second grade classroom. Instead of an intellectual equal, we are maliciously transformed into conspiracy nuts, racists, homophobes, liberals or some other derogatory term. When one’s intellectual capabilities have been exceeded or sacred cow attacked, retaliation by derision is the favored mode of regress. When the emotional side of the brain takes command, cognitive discourse must yield.”
I cannot count the times I’ve been told that I am smart, or that my articles were interesting, then those who utter those statements turn around and say something that proves not a single thing I said sunk in. It’s almost as if people have erected this force field around their beliefs, and no matter how overwhelming the evidence is against those beliefs, it can’t break through and cause them to change how they feel about a subject.
Yet how are your beliefs formed if not by what you are taught or told by others. Yet if people had always simply believed what they were told then they would still believe the Earth was the center of the universe, that it was flat, and that man was never meant to fly. It was only when certain individuals questioned existing beliefs that man learned the truth about these things.
Did you know that, for years, if not centuries, it was believed that rulers derived their authority to govern others directly from God? Many of the Kings who ruled countries such as England and France believed in the divine right of Kings, and that all men were subject to the unquestioning rule of those who governed them. Our revolution fundamentally reversed that; stating that government derives its authority from the consent of the governed, and that should government become tyrannical and oppressive, that it was the right of the governed to alter or abolish that system of government.
That belief posed a HUGE threat to the ruling class, or elites, and it was no wonder the King of England expended so much effort to maintain control over his Colonies. Yet just a decade after the Colonies had gained their independence from a tyrant, they sought to create a system of government with almost unlimited, almost monarchal power over them; thereby sacrificing all they had fought for in the revolution for the promises made that this new system of government WOULD NOT threaten the sovereignty of the States or the liberty of the people.
There is not a person alive today who has known true liberty. Sure, America may have more freedom than some other countries, but in comparison to what was enjoyed by Americans prior to the adoption of the Constitution, we are slaves to a system of our own making.
I once heard a speaker at a Mormon conference say that people often compare themselves to others; saying I’m not as bad a person as that other guy is, so I’m guaranteed entry into Heaven. The speaker then said something I’ll never forget, “You should not compare yourself to other people; you should compare yourself to Christ and strive to live as close to His example as you can.”
That’s how I view freedom, or liberty in America; we should not compare how free we are to how free those in England, Switzerland, or any other country are; we should compare how free we are today against how free the people of America were in the years 1783-1789. How much of what we do has come under the control of government since we implemented this form of government since it was adopted; yet people still blindly say that it protects and defends our freedom. How much of our income is stolen from us to fund this beast so that it can implement and enforce all these rules and regulations upon us; and yet we say we are free?
This occurs not because people are fundamentally bad, it occurs because people haven’t been taught the truth; they simply don’t know any better. People have grown up not knowing true freedom; this is the only system and state of existence they have known since birth. So they accept this as normal; never questioning whether or not life could be any better if only they would embrace liberty like our Founders did in 1776.
Yet there are, and probably always will, be those like me who recognize that something is amiss, that this is not how free men are supposed to live. As Etienne de la Boetie says in his book, The Politics of Obedience, “These are the ones who, having good minds of their own, have further trained them by study and learning. Even if liberty had entirely perished from the earth, such men would invent it. For them, slavery has no satisfactions, no matter how well disguised.”
We, although we are just as trapped within the system as you are, are those who recognize that the system stifles freedom, and we have chosen to resist it from within; becoming viruses to the system – modern day Son’s and Daughter’s of Liberty.
The government may have all these rules and regulations that you must obey, they may have all these enforcers whose sole purpose is to ensure that you and I obey the laws they enact, but what they cannot do, (at least not yet), is silence the truth about their nature; that they are tyrants who seek absolute control over our lives.
We will not give up our fight for liberty; we will keep speaking the truth until we crack through the indoctrination they have subjected you to and you see them for what they are…your enemy.
That is why we do not vote; we recognize that no matter who wins or loses an election, government wins. Government never loses any power or authority regardless of who wins an election. None of the freedom that government has stolen from you is ever restored no matter who wins an election. And these are simple truths that, once learned by all, could end the tyranny we live under if people would simply revoke their consent to being slaves and stop participating in choosing their slave master, while stop paying the taxes that fund their enslavement.
If that day ever happens I will stand on my rooftop and scream the immortal words of Samuel Adams upon hearing the gunfire at Lexington and Concord, “What a glorious day for America!”