Morpheus: “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.” –The Matrix
Whether you are aware of it or not, many in the West are born, grow, and die a slave to the Matrix. The 1999 cult movie of the same name starring Keanu Reeves questions what is real and what is simulated reality. While purely a fictitious work by the Wachowskis brothers, the movie touches on themes which challenge the current model of society and points to the problem of indoctrination and a lack of awareness amongst the populace. In search of answers, the mild-mannered Neo, a computer programmer, meets Morpheus, who tries to explain the Matrix. On entering the room Morpheus asks Neo, “Do you want to know what it is?” He explains…
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. or 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. – The Matrix
Having tried to extract myself from the rat race and city living many years ago, I found myself experiencing my own version of the Matrix on a recent trip to Sydney (coincidentally where they filmed much of the movie). I decided to document some of the more obvious things that stood out to me after having been somewhat unplugged from the Matrix.
To clarify, I personally define the Matrix as a set of beliefs, cultural norms, attitudes, and conditioned states which are pervasive throughout society. These are initially created under an economic rationale which offer products and services to citizens. To promote these goods and services various themes, ideas, and ideologies are promoted to establish compliance and persuade individuals to partake in consumptive patterns. Along the way, this information becomes embedded within a society, creating cultural norms and distracting individuals and society from the truth. As individuals living in a society, we become subservient to authority and start conforming to certain illogical cultural constructs. Eventually, like a fish swimming in the ocean, we are unaware of the water that surrounds us, we become unaware of the Matrix…
Twenty indicators that signal you may be living in the Matrix:
1. You spend most of your time devoted to paying off a mortgage rather than enjoying life.
2. You can’t wait for the weekend to come.
3. You judge your success by the car you drive, the suburb you live in, and the size of the house you own.
4. The wealthy are rewarded for plundering the earth while those trying to save it are ridiculed.
5. You work in a job you don’t enjoy, thinking the money you earn will offset the misery of working in a job or career you are not passionate about.
6. You think that by a taking a pill your ills will be cured.
7. You think that someone focused on eating healthy, organic fresh foods is weird, while eating highly processed, nutrient devoid foods is normal.
8. You think buying stuff will make you happy.
9. You watch the news on television and think this is the truth.
10. You’re more focused on your favourite sports team than concerned about the natural world and environment on which you depend for survival.
11. You believe growth and the development of the economy is a good thing and that globalization creates jobs.
12. You conform with the status quo and never question why things are done.
13. You think traffic congestion, pollution, and sensory overload are part of normal everyday life.
14. You think there is a difference between political parties and that they will enact real change.
15. You think there are terrorists around every corner and they are a threat to you and your community, despite the fact that you have 150 times more chances of being hit by lightning than being involved in a terrorist attack.
16. You think eating genetically modified food and eating fruit and vegetables sprayed with pesticides is OK.
17. You think the mainstream media is independent and unbiased.
18. You think constant distraction through the media such as sport, trivial affairs, and celebrity gossip is news.
19. You think living next to a cell tower is cool because you get better reception.
20. You wait in line for the next release of the latest technological gadget.