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Shadows on the Matrix Wall

Category: Philosophy

Would you want to live in a society that is mostly a lie? What you think and what you have been taught that is the real world and real truths, do not really exist nor have they ever really existed.

In the Alternative, would you want to know and live with the real truth?   Would you want to know what really happened in the past?

These questions are nothing new. Man has lived with this dilemma for centuries.

More than 2,000 years ago the Greek philosopher, Plato understood the human nature of man:

·        He knew that human beings are comfortable living a known, shallow life.

·        He knew that they believed in and were so dependent on the norms and ethics of the society that they would never be able to survive without them.

·        So, even if at some level they felt that the norms were not in accordance to what they believed in, they never questioned them.

To explain Plato wrote The Allegory of the Cave:

According to Plato's allegory of the cave, the way we perceive things around us and the way we lead our lives, is actually not the "truth". We human beings are leading ignorant, incomplete lives, following the paths, rules, norms, ethics, set by the previous generations, without questioning them. Plato brings up this plight of humans by depicting them as prisoners in a cave. These prisoners are sitting facing a wall, tied in chains, with a fire between them and the wall, which makes shadows on the wall. The prisoners mistakenly think that these shadows on the walls are the "reality", because that is what the fellow prisoners or the ones before them conveyed.

Generations come and generations go and the prisoners lead the same unaware and ignorant lives in the dark caves, until one of the prisoners starts questioning. This prisoner breaks the chains that bind him and in order to know the real truth, escapes the caves into the unknown world. In the outside world, this questioner faces lots of challenges as he is not used to the sunlight, to the presence of nature and all its elements around him. The questioner, in spite of these obstacles, starts exploring this new world to seek reality. He treads on a lonely, unknown path to discover the truth, but does not give up his questioning spirit.

At some point, this questioner, thinks of going back to the caves to tell the other prisoners about the reality. To tell them that there is a beautiful world out there, waiting for them, and that there is more to life than just the cave and its "imaginary reality" as depicted by the shadows. When the questioner, now a philosopher, shares this newfound knowledge with the other captives of the cave, he is met with disbelief. People think of him as a pariah who should be removed from the society, to preserve its belief systems. People are averse to any kind of change, which the philosopher tries to bring about with his knowledge of the real truth, as they have become used to and dependent on the norms and ethics, handed over to them by their predecessors.

Through this, one can conclude that most of the human beings would rather live a comfortable, happy and familiar life, than a life full of challenges and pain, which would ultimately lead them to the "larger truths of life". Most human beings are contended with the "consensus reality", i.e. the reality agreed by all, even if it is as imaginary and as unreal as the shadows on the walls of the cave. Humans are contended that they have the security of a family, of a society, of religion around them. However, according to Plato, there will come one questioner, one philosopher, from time to time, who will critically look at himself and the world around him, who will wonder why things are the way they are and then will make his own decisions regarding how things should be.

Does this story sound familiar? The movie The Matrix (1999) was based on the concept of The Allegory of the Cave.

Morpheus explains to Neo that the Matrix is an illusory world created to prevent humans from discovering that they are slaves to an external influence. Holding out a capsule on each of his palms, he describes the choice facing Neo:
"This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. 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. Remember: all I'm offering is the truth [Red Pill]. Nothing more." -- from the movie The Matrix

The Progressive, Socialist, Democrats, political left, Communist, et al, ARE the Blue pill.

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Quotes & Facts

"A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have." -- Thomas Jefferson

If it is a fact, then it can't be known as "politically incorrect"

     "To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?"     -- Marcus Tullius Cicero

     “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
  —John Adams

"Who controls the past controls the future.....
Who controls the present controls the past."
-- O'Brien in  Nineteen Eighty-Four
from the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell


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