Monday, May 23, 2005

Freedom? Yeah, right.

I think it’s a myth. I don’t believe true freedom exists. It’s a vainly aspired ideal like objectivity (which is in itself a form of freedom – freedom from bias).

A while ago I read an interpretation of the film The Matrix which described it as a metaphor for the capitalistic system of which we are all a part.

I bought it hook, line and sinker.

The Matrix itself is the system… the “world pulled over our eyes to blind us from the truth, that we are slaves”. We’re slaves to the system. We spend our whole lives working for money so we can support ourselves… buy food, clothing, shelter and fill any number of other needs the system tells us we have.

Think about it…

You go to work to earn a living. The salary you get at the end of the month seldom goes towards making you rich or allowing you to achieve your dreams… it puts food on your table, clothes on your back, pays the water, lights, rent, medical aid, insurance, telephone bill and so on… by the time all your essentials have been covered there’s only enough for a little bit of entertainment.

In other words, from all the work you’ve put in, you’ve only received enough to sustain you… to support your lifestyle. All that money you had is now gone… gone where? To other people, working to support themselves. But not all of it… some of it filters through the system until it ends up in the pockets of the ultra-rich. These are the only folks are the only ones who aren’t slaves to the system… they’re the ones who keep the system running so that they can continue to benefit.

Ok, so we’re all slaves, but what about the One? What about all those folks who lived in Zion who were freed from the Matrix?

I think they can all be summed up in one quote from Cypher: “You call this freedom? All I ever do is what he tells me.” In other words, sure, you can try to escape the Matrix, but there’s just another Matrix outside… you’re still a slave. Whether you do it voluntarily or not, the fact remains that you are never truly working for your own benefit, only for the benefit of others. Such is the nature of social organisms.

If you were really able to escape the system… to find a way to get out… how would you survive? Where would you get your food, your clothes, your medical attention? It sounds like a great idea to go live on a tropical island somewhere where there are no taxes and no taxis, but what happens when you get your first tropical disease? Who’d going to fix that for you?

I propose that since there really is no way out of the system, the only way to find happiness is to give up the search for freedom… instead make the most of what you have. Be aware of your place as a cog in the giant machine and try to be happy about it. Do the best you can to use your efforts to enrich yourself and to improve your way of life instead of merely supporting it.

I think it helps to see life as a game of chess… there are very restrictive rules and you only have so many moves available to you… but at the very least you have the freedom to choose which move you’re going to make. Make it count!