Archive for Matrix

Cognitive Dissonance

Posted in All, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2010 by marushiadark

“You are going through a metamorphosis, my nephew.  It will not be a pleasant experience; but when you come out of it, you will be the beautiful prince you were always meant to be.” ~ General Iroh.

It’s said that space is the final frontier.  Most people think of outer space, looking for things “out there,” looking for God and for answers “out there,” but there is also inner space, inner thought and inner turmoil.  It is a place that very few people have explored in any great depth.  In many ways, it is more frightening and more rewarding than conquering outer space, because the journey through the mind is one that is generally made alone.

At the end of the day, no one can know you better than you are capable of knowing yourself.  A person may be able to create some sort of stimulus – say the right word or do the right action at the right time – that triggers an idea in your head; but it is you that ultimately puts the pieces together in your mind.

All health and healing comes from within, because the mind controls the body and shapes the outside world.

We all have our own journeys to make, our own paths to follow, and we are the cartographers of our journey.  The word “paradigm” means a pattern or example.  A universal paradigm, or outlook on the world, is a pattern that we maintain for how we think reality operates.  Keeping a journal is one such way of mapping out your journey so others can follow along, recording thoughts and events and revelations as landmarks to help you make sense of all the chaos that’s around you.

The lessons that are passed down to us from books, stories, and the experiences of our friends, families, and teachers serve as maps that can, if they are accurate, provide guidance and order in our lives.

“The dark night of the soul is a time of massive cognitive restructuring.  You mind is reconsidering its previous model of reality in order to complete the jump to a new level of understanding.” ~ Personal Development for Smart People.

As in worldly travel, it’s good to have a map to help lead you quickly and safely to your destination.  But what happens when you encounter something new in your reality that doesn’t fit with your pre-established model of the world?  What happens when you travel off the map into an area that your fellows marked off “here be monsters”?  An area of thought that neither you, nor anyone you know, has explored before?

This is what is referred to as a moment of cognitive dissonance – cognitive meaning thought and dissonance meaning chaotic.  It is also called a dark night of the soul because the soul, one’s identity, is thrown into darkness and turmoil, removed from the light of knowledge, safety, and wholeness.

Really, when one has a moment of cognitive dissonance, there are only two things you can do.  You can accept this new data and incorporate it into your own map, which may then be completely different from the map you used before; or you can reject the new phenomenon and deny it ever existed in the first place, relying on the belief that your map is already accurate.

Usually rare or traumatic events create cognitive dissonance.  A staunch atheist who suddenly witnesses a miracle may come to question whether there is any truth to religion and thus alter his paradigm.  Conversely, a devout religious person who sees nothing but hardship may come to question whether a benevolent God exists.  Someone who sees a UFO may have a moment of cognitive dissonance if they formerly believed they don’t exist.

But paradigms don’t always change as the result of something traumatic.  Something as simple as learning a new vocabulary word can change your word view.

I recall my freshman English teacher in high school told us this story in which she read a headline that had the word “pachyderm” in it.  She didn’t know what it meant at the time, so she looked it up and saw that it meant “elephant.”  From that point on, she started seeing the word everywhere.  Her paradigm had changed and her mind learned how to tune itself to become more receptive to the word.

In the movie What the Bleep Do We Know, there is an anecdote about Native Americans who were blind to Columbus’ ships until their spiritual leader told them what they were.  Such a profound shift in thought as that allowed them to become much more aware of them the next time.  This is largely what I’ve tried to do with this blog, is make people aware of different things (like symbols) and so you learn how to see them.

“I imagine that, right now, you’re feeling a bit like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole.” ~ Morpheus.

The irony is, there’s really only ONE option when it comes to cognitive dissonance.  Denial isn’t an option.  Life is forever changing and evolving, whereas maps remain the same.  Over time, the old maps no longer serve as accurate.  Just as islands rise and crumble and new roads are built, so do does thought evolve.  So denying the changes in one’s reality simply keeps you stuck in the same place, or otherwise lost and confused in an unknown world.

Failing to keep track of how you got to where you are can also cause problems and create disconnections between you and your fellow man.

Those times when I question the reality of The Spirit or the New World Order, I often experience a dark night of the soul; but I manage to pull myself out of it by remembering how I came to have such beliefs and by following the chain of evidence and logical reasoning that lead me to those conclusions.  Then the darkness gives way again to light and all becomes clear.

If there is one thing I would change about my life, it would be to have started my journal as soon as I turned fourteen, instead of taking it up years later.  Not marking a large portion of the path I took to get to where I am has made it difficult for me to help others follow to get to where I am, and so there is a disconnect.  But generally, I do not mind because I found the path on my own and I am confident than others can do the same.  Thankfully, I managed to start mapping out my trail before I got too far into the wilderness.

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” ~ Matthew 7:13-14.

In life, we don’t always have to wander through the jungle.  Sometimes, it’s okay to take the main road if you really have to get somewhere.  So too is it considered wise to rely on the council of others and to continue to study and learn from outer teachers that have paved a way before you.  Some maps are better than others and certain paths can take you farther than others.

Eventually, though, you will find yourself breaking from the main road, whether because the road ends, life has changed the path, or you simply decide you want to go somewhere else and this road is no longer taking you in a direction you want to go.  That is when it is time to get off the main road and take the road less traveled.

Sometimes, there is no path that leads to where we want to go, and all other roads lead to destruction.  Then it is time to forge a completely new path.

When we start to forge our own paths, it can lead to great or terrible things.  The further we continue, the more new frontiers we will explore and enjoy, and the more fulfilling our lives will ultimately be.  We may not always know where we are going, but as long as we remember how we got there, we will never really be lost.

Advertisements

Eye of the Beholder

Posted in All, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2010 by marushiadark

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” ~ John Keats, poet.

I was sitting on my back porch today and I happened to look up at the clouds in a particular moment and noticed that they were exceptionally beautiful.  In my mind, I found myself saying how only God could make such a thing as that.

Now, I’m not what you would call a religious person, but just sitting there staring at the clouds was both deeply touching and deeply rewarding for me.  For a brief moment, I felt at one with everything around me.

I think the idea that only God could make something so beautiful is quite true.  After all, what mortal man, with all of his technology or artistic skill could make something as beautiful as a bona-fide sunset?  Certainly no one thus far.

There have been times where I’ve looked out upon nature and it all seemed almost artificial to me.  For instance, sometimes I’ll notice a slight curvature to the sky, as though I was under a giant dome.  Other times, when I’m high above the ground (especially in an airplane), I’ll look out and the world will appear more like a diorama than actual life.  Sometimes I’ll walk through the park and remember that the landscape there was arranged by man – ordered, tamed, unnatural, almost clinical, even.

And yet there are always those times where I look upon nature and feel the presence of God and life in everything around me that fills me with peace and joy and love.

“Beauty in things exists merely in the mind which contemplates them.” ~ David Hume, philosopher

Many people of lesser mind use the argument of beauty as proof of God’s existence without truly understanding what they’re talking about.  Almost immediately after I made my remark about the clouds today, my mind took a dualistic position.  I reasoned that God didn’t have any effect on the clouds.  That it was just water in the atmosphere collecting to form a random pattern.  If there was any beauty involved, it was all in my own mind and not something objective outside myself.

I contemplated this argument for a minute and then realized that it was also true.  There wasn’t anything outside myself that made it particularly beautiful.  Beauty was an internal conception, something only a human mind could conceive of.  But that just goes to further prove that God had a hand in making what I saw.  For if God is in all of us, which he is, and if God is the observer looking out through our minds and bodies, and if our perceptions create a sense of beauty in the mind in reaction to some external stimulus; then through a transitive line of reasoning, it stands that God created the beautiful scene that I observed.

In my lecture on symbols, I talked about how symbols only have those meanings we apply to them.  Without that, they’re just a collection of random lines and shapes.  But it’s the creative and associate processes that take place in our minds that make these symbol something else.

What is a cloud but a randomization of water molecules in the air?  If we see shapes in the clouds, we are taking that raw material and creating something out of it.  It’s no different than an artisan taking a lump of clay and molding it into a shape conceived of in his mind, except that we’re not touching the vapor with our hands.  We’re crafting it solely (soul-ly) within ourselves.

“No object is so beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Beauty is something that has been analyzed for millenia.  The dictionary defines beauty as “the quality of a person or thing that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction, whether arising from the senses, meaning, pattern, spirit, or other.”

In layman’s terms, beauty is everything that you expect a thing to be.  If you see a beautiful sunset, it has every quality that you, personally, think a sunset ought to have.  It fully meets your expectations of a textbook sunset.  Likewise, a beautiful man or woman has all the qualities you are looking for.  If their personality matches your unique expectations, then that person has inner beauty as well.

Because each person has their own mind with their own thoughts, tastes, and preferences, their perception of what is beautiful and what isn’t will be inherently different from that of everyone else; unless said individual has been influenced by social trends and molded to think a certain way.  Remember, societies have minds too on a different level of consciousness.

Even putrid, disgusting, and malevolent things can be beautiful in their own right.  Ugly dolls , for instance.  Or pugs.  Many people adore pugs specifically for their ugliness.  Similarly, a crime that is said to be a “work of art,” such as a murder, has everything you’d expect from the perfect crime.

In traveling down I-95, going through Elizabeth, New Jersey, there is a certain chemical plant along the side of the road that spews steam and, quite possibly, pollutants into the air.  Yet at night, it is a sight to behold with all its lights.  It almost reminds me of that scene from The Matrix Revolutions where Neo is blind and yet everything he sees is made of light.  Even though he’s in the most hellish place on earth, he can’t help but be in amazed at the beauty all around him when viewed from a higher perspective.  Whenever I pass by that plant, I can’t help but gaze in awe myself and wonder how something so bad for the environment could, at the same time, be so beautiful.  Only something from within, the divine spark, could create that.

The ability to see beauty or ugliness around us depends upon what level of consciousness our mind is in at the time we observe a given event.  If we are on the dualistic level of lower consciousness, separated from God, we will see nothing but horror and strife.  Conversely, if we are resonating with love and oneness on a higher level of consciousness, then we will see beauty in all things.

The phenomena around us are simply random, neutral events.  What changes is our perception of them and the order and beauty and meaning we bring to them.  We’re the ones applying bias one way or the other, depending on the lenses we choose to see the world through.  We are the creators, creating our own universes.

A is for Agent

Posted in All, Economics, Media, Politics, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2010 by marushiadark

“The Matrix is a system, Neo.  That system is our enemy … 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 inert, so helplessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.” ~ Morpheus

When the Wachowski brothers first created The Matrix, they viewed the relationship between the humans and the machines as a metaphor for the relationship between individuals and the institutions that they created.  Many of our man-made institutions were initially created with the most noble of intentions, but I bet we can all name at least one that we’re aware of that has lost sight of its original purpose and gone on to become something far more malicious (for most people, if it’s not the Catholic Church or the opposing political party, it’s Scientology).

No creation can supersede its creator, and yet it would seem that most, if not all, of our religious and governmental and commercial institutions have grown to become quite the Frankenstein monsters and are threatening to choke the living daylights out of us.

We are the ones that created these institutions and breathed life into them.  Like anything else, they can only do what we empower them to do.  Our own Constitution, for instance, declares that the American government is meant to be a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”  The Founding Fathers wrote the power into the hands of the people, so why is it that we, the people, are utterly incapable of stopping these machines, these now-self-aware monstrosities?

The fact of the matter is that our institutions have become sentient programs with lives and minds of their own that are struggling desperately to survive, even if it means destroying or enslaving a few minds, a few lives, in the process.  But just as the machines of The Matrix need humans for fuel, so too is the lifeblood of our modern institutions a fuel comprised of human beings.

An agent is a sentient program that does the bidding of the machines.  A sentient program is self-aware like a human being, but is different from us in that it only ever does what it is ordered or commanded or pre-programed to do.  It doesn’t think for itself.  It doesn’t act for itself.  It is merely the arm of the machine.  The word “tool” would not be inappropriate in deference to them.

Many people that would call themselves free human beings are, in fact, merely agents of the system – the system being any institution that seeks to enslave all mankind and convert us to its way of thinking.  Think about it.  A church cannot survive without members of its congregation actively recruiting new converts.  A business cannot survive without expanding its profits, even if that means using subliminal mind-control techniques (also known as advertisements) to get human beings to become agents and buy crap they don’t need.  A government most certainly can’t survive for long without the will of the people, since the people are the ones that vote the politicians out of office.

As Confucius said, the three things needed for good government are: enough food, enough arms, and the will of the people.  If you were forced to give up one of those, then arms should go first. People can still fight without arms, but will not have the will to fight if they have no food.  If you are forced to give up another thing, then it is food.  During The Long March, Mao Zedong led his army across the mountains of China.  His men were cold and starving, but they developed a fierce loyalty to him by the end of it because he was with them, encouraging them to press forward the entire time.  But without the will and support of its people, a government, or any other institution for that matter, can do nothing at all.

If we are unhappy with a particularly malevolent institution, then the way we stop it is by removing the fuel of the machine: its agents.

“The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven’t got it.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

How do we identify an agent?  Are there any tell-tale signs?  Agents come in many forms and some are more entranced than others.

One way to tell them apart is their level of denial.  The world is full of shit and hardship and anyone that tells you differently is either an enlightened master – who fully accepts the world around him and is at peace with it – or an agent.

When you come across an enlightened master, you may not realize it at first.  Are they a simple and humble and bitter old man or an outspoken, eloquent, and enthusiastic woman.  They may be cynical or happy, but if you ask them about the state of the world, they will give you the facts of the matter and are open to new ways of thinking about what they already know.  They will not judge you, but instead accept you and your beliefs and will offer to teach you and help you grow in your own way instead of forcing you or coercing you to conform to some other way against your will.

On the other hand, an agent will use defense mechanisms to try and justify their lies and avoid confronting the truth.  If you tell them the world is round, they will show you a diagram of the world as a disk that spins counterclockwise and tell you that the resultant upward force is what really causes gravity.  They will defend the lie with blissful ignorance and apologetic threats.  They are like the addict that will attempt to get you hooked on their stupidity and lies.

Use your own powers of observation.  If something appears false to you, then it very well might be.  Use your rational, analytical mind and make a case for why things are the way they are.  Any reasonably sane individual may or may not agree with your conclusions, but they should at least be open to hearing you out and consider what you have to say.  If they agree, it’ll be because of your facts and your logic, not the promises of benefits and the avoidance of punishment.  Anyone who threatens you or promises you candy if you just get in the van is not your friend.

“Are you at liberty to play for that, Sctanley?  Or would you prefer to play for smiles?” ~ Dave, Couples Retreat

In some cases, usually the more indoctrinated cases, an agent will take on a phony persona.  These people are not really people, but are mere shells of persons who are trying to get you to volunteer for slavery.  The 13th Amendment banned slavery and involuntary servitude, but voluntary servitude is still perfectly legal. If you buy into the false images of these agents, you will have committed yourself to be bound in servitude.

Such persons you can usually identify right away.  They will have big stupid grins, wide Bambi eyes, and doll-like faces.  Whenever I see someone like this, I shutter and avert my eyes because of how creepy they are.  They’re like the bottom of the uncanny valley: not really living and not really dead, but somewhere in-between.  A real-life zombie or vampire.  If you need a visual example, here’s what one looks like:

Paula Deen - Creepy, Agent

God, that woman creeps me out so much.

I’m sure you’ve seen that type of face before (especially if you watch Lie to Me).  Kitty Farmer and Jim Cunningham from Donnie Darko, the Todds from Bubble Boy, the Enzyte Guy, and Joo Dee from Avatar: The Last Airbender are all examples of this.  Many extremely devout religious practitioners, politicians, advertisers, and government and corporate spokespersons have this same face.  That same cold, lifeless stare in their eyes that says, “Everything’s fine, you’ve nothing to worry about.”  But what they really mean is “I’m a brain-washed tool.  Beware of me and my machine.”

I’m sure you can find many more examples of this face showing up.  It’s not that free people can’t be happy, just that theirs is a more genuine and less phony kind of happiness.  Their eyes are deep wells and they radiate warmth and compassion when they are happy, instead of giving off the stink of robotic emotions.

Beware of the agents of evil, for they are the true enemies of humanity and are in most need of rescuing.

My Reason for Being Here

Posted in All, Miscellaneous, Psychology, Science, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2010 by marushiadark

“Do you feel it … our connection … some part of you imprinted onto me …” ~ Agent Smith

A lot has been said of first impressions.  Personally, regardless of how I might feel about someone initially, I know deep down that people can and do change over time and that, unless you wear your heart on your sleeve at all times, it’s impossible to know everything about a person from just one encounter.

The trouble with first impressions is that they require us to know ourselves well enough to present only our best qualities, in order that we might invite our acquaintances to feel comfortable around us and keep them coming back for more.  Only after we’ve laid a solid foundation do we find the courage to open up and reveal our less flattering and more unstable features.

For me, my life has been all about constant growth and self-improvement.  I’ll be the first to say that there are many many times I wished I could have taken something back or done things differently, or “if only I had had the wisdom and foresight I do now” … but then, if there’s one thing I’ve come to learn, it’s that everything in life happens for a reason, even if we’re not entirely or even remotely aware of what that reason is.

“I don’t fully understand how it happened … it is at this point irrelevant.  What matters is that whatever happened, happened for a reason.” ~ Agent Smith

Science teaches us the laws of causality and conservation of all things.  Religion teaches us that God or karma or something in between is responsible for the outcome.  I think each side has a piece of the answer and that the truth is much more interesting than that.

As they say, “truth is stranger than fiction.”

Which brings us at last to the reason why I’m here now, writing this blog, sharing my thoughts with you and the world.  It’s precisely this idea of sharing that has brought me here.

I’ve never been particularly passionate about anything in my life.  I’ve never been able to follow through on any endeavor I set out for and for the longest time, I sought solutions to my problems.  I sought answers to my questions and have learned a few things along the way.  I struggled and suffered, mostly internally, and in my own mind, to find my place in the world and the reason for my being here.  And it wasn’t until recently that I found the reason behind one of the most elusive mysteries of all: why am I here?

What reason I have is only a small part, a mere fragment of its full potential; but it’s certainly enough for me to be able to follow through with this journey a little longer until, hopefully, I come to some sort of destination (or at least a more permanent resting place).

“There’s no escaping reason, no denying purpose; because as we both know, without purpose, we would not exist.  It is purpose that created us, purpose that connects us, purpose that pulls us that, guides us, that drives us.  It is purpose that defines us, that binds us.” ~ Agent Smith

To find the reason for one’s existence is a beautiful thing and a very empowering thought that guides us and binds us along the path of life.  My purpose in this life is inexorably linked with that of every other human being on this planet, whether I realize it or not, whether you realize it or not; whether I choose to accept and believe it or not and whether you choose to accept and believe it or not.  My passion in life has been self-improvement and fulfillment, and that means doing all I can to help others accomplish the same, to whatever path that may lead us.

And that is my reason for being here.