The Matrix Conspiracy updates (The Matrix Dictionary)
With my concept of The Matrix Conspiracy I put myself in the risk of being accused of being a paranoid conspiracy theorist. This is not the case. I´m just making aware of that there exists a conspiracy theory which is called The Matrix Conspiracy, and that this conspiracy in fact is a global spreading ideology. An ideology I´m highly critical towards. My critique is in that way ideology critique, or cultural critique.
The concept of the Matrix comes from mathematics, but is more popular known from the movie the Matrix, which asks the question whether we might live in a computer simulation. In The Matrix though, there is also an evil demon, or evil demons, namely the machines which keep the humans´ in tanks linked to black cable wires that stimulates the virtual reality of the Matrix. Doing this the machines can use the human bodies as batteries that supply the machines with energy. This leads of course to questions of evil scientists, Sophists, etc. It is the fascination of the virtual reality that deceives the humans.
The philosophy behind the movie comes from especially two philosophers: Rene Descartes and George Berkeley.
1) Rene Descartes
Descartes is the first to formulate the problem of the external world, and the modern dualism, which created the so-called mind-body problem. Descartes was very dubious concerning how much we can trust our senses. Therefore he took up the question Is life a dream? However, his intention with this was in his Meditations to develop a confident cognition-argument. In his Meditations Descartes presents the problem approximately like this: I frequently dream during the night, and while I dream, I am convinced, that what I dream is real. But then it always happens, that I wake up and realize, that everything I dreamt was not real, but only an illusion. And then is it I think: is it possible, that what I now, while I am awake, believe is real, also is something, which only is being dreamt by me right now? If it is not the case, how shall I then determinate it? Precisely because Descartes not even in dreams can doubt, that 2 plus 3 is 5, he leaves the dream-argument in his Meditations and goes in tackle with the question, whether he could be cheated by an evil demon concerning all cognition, also the mathematics. This radical skepticism leads him forward to the cogito-argument: Cogito ergo Sum (I think, therefore I exist). But he didn´t deny the existence of the external world. The external world he described in a way that resembles what would later be known as modern natural sciences. In the view of nature in natural science, nature is reduced to atomic particles, empty space, fields, electromagnetic waves and particles etc., etc. I have called this the instrumental view of nature.
2) George Berkeley
George Berkeley developed the metaphysical theory called subjective idealism. Berkeley is famous for the sentence Esse est percipi, which means that being, or reality, consists in being percepted (to be is to be experienced). The absurdity in Berkeley´s assertion is swiftly seen: If a thing, or a human being for that matter, is not being perceived by the senses, then it does not exist. In accordance with Berkeley there therefore does not exist any sense-independent world. He ends in solipsism, the consequence that only I, and my perceptions, can be said to exist. Everything else is an illusion created by myself. Berkeley is the philosopher behind New Age´s adoption of the movie Matrix.
However, it is Descartes who is the main philosopher behind the movie. In modern discussions about the reliability of our cognition you often meet a variation of Descartes´ argument of the evil demon. The argument is: some day surgery will have reached so far, that you will be able to operate the brain out of a human being and keep it alive by putting it in a jar with some nutrient substratum. At that time computer research perhaps will have reached so far, that you will be able to connect a computer with such a brain and feed it with all possible data – that is: supply us with an experiential ”virtual reality”, so that we think that we have a body, that we have a life and walk around in the world believing, that we can perceive our surroundings, whilst we in reality only is a brain laying in a jar. It is this thesis the movie The Matrix is based on. The brain-in-jar hypothesis has been developed further into the so-called simulation theory (we will return to this).
Descartes and Berkeley are the reason for why both New Agers and atheist materialist can believe in the Matrix Conspiracy: that we in fact are being deceived and are living in a virtual reality. In fact, we have two ruling metaphysical theories in the society today: materialism (leading to atheist fundamentalism) and idealism (leading to New Age). They seem to be each other complements.
The most extreme form of materialism believing in the Matrix, is defended by the so-called transhumanists, who find it desirable to live in a virtual reality. They believe that we must melt together with machines (computers) in order to solve our problems. This is scary enough supported by Silicon Valley, and the Californian Ideology (I have investigated this in my free Ebook Evolutionism – The Red Thread in the Matrix Conspiracy).
The other version, idealism and New Age, doesn´t find it desirable, and is often advising us to unplug from the Matrix. They often compare the Matrix with the Indian concept of Maya, and claims that we must plug out from the external reality, which they believe is a Matrix created by evil forces. We must therefore instead rely completely on our subject, which in reality is God. If we find this divine core, we will be able to create our own reality. But this is not what Indian philosophy says (nor the movie). On the contrary, the Indian concept of Maya claims that it is the subject which is Maya (the Matrix), and that we must plug out from the subject in order to reach absolute objectivity. In reality New Age is building on George Berkeley and his subjective idealism. In that way New Age becomes a more sinister advocate for the evil machines in the movie. This is completely unwillingly (they have good intensions), and is rooted in the hopeless uneducated people within New Age, who especially via the internet can present themselves as experts in just about anything from spirituality to science, without the need to validate it. If you asked them who George Berkeley is they wouldn´t know, and yet it is him they are representing (I have investigated the misunderstandings in my free Ebook The Tragic New Age Confusion of Eastern Enlightenment and Western Idealism).
So, my concept of The Matrix Conspiracy is a theory of conspiracy and not a conspiracy theory. I have been asked about this several times, and I will begin this update by explaining this in very simply terms, and hereafter go deeper into it. My main question is:
What if it is the conspiracy theories (and their roots in the growing anti-intellectual movement) which are a conspiracy? – see my article Anti-intellectualism and Anti-science.
My main critique of the matrix conspiracy is that we in fact see powerful people who find it desirable to live in a computer simulation, a virtual reality game of some sort, and therefore paradoxically enough come to supports the machines in the movie, and put up philosophies like Agent Smith could have done. This weirdness origins in the so-called California Ideology, with a lot of computer worshippers called transhumanists and singularitarians. These people are quite open about that they would like us to melt together with machines and computers, and therewith solve all human problems. The path towards this are, for example, through techniques such as whole brain emulation and mind uploading (read a detailed analysis of this in my Ebook Evolutionism – The Red Thread in The Matrix Conspiracy.
It is far-streched? You would never be in for this, would you? The consequence of evolutionism, and futurism, is that the line between fact and fiction is getting more and more blurred. A common trope in science fiction for decades is that the prospect of transcending the current form may be positive, as in Arthur C. Clarke's 1953 novel Childhood's End, or negative, as in the film The Matrix, with its barely disguised salvationist theme, or the Terminator series of films, where humanity has been essentially replaced by machine life. Change so radical elicits fear and thus it is unsurprising that many of the portrayals of transhumanism in popular culture are negative. The cyberpunk genre (foe example Blade Runner) deals extensively with the theme of a transhumanist society gone wrong.
Most people would probably support that the prospect is negative. But this is not the view of The Californian Ideology (The Silicon Valley futurism). They are following Arthur C. Clarke. They are evolutionists and progressivists. Futurism as the ideology of Silicon Valley sees transhumanism as positive.
On closer inspection, this should not be surprising. Since transhumanism is ambitious about conquering age-related illnesses (extropianism), death (immortalism), ecological damage (technogaianism), gender differences (postgenderism) and suffering (abolitionism), a fictional world where this has already been achieved leaves a story with few plot devices to exploit. Additionally, it could be hard for the public to identify with flawless, post-human characters.
The fact is that Silicon Valley is in progress with indoctrinating people into their ideology. It happens for example by making people fascinated by virtual reality. And you are one of them, right? How much time do you for example spend on Facebook daily? (besides that you probably are aware that your children are spending too much time on computer games). You have probably watched and agreed with dystopian movies like Terminator and Blade Runner, but you probably haven´t realized, that Facebook is the closest we come to a real existing Matrix Machine.
In the Popular Culture and Philosophy series on Facebook, Trebor Scholz has written an article called Facebook as Playground and Factory, where he gives an account of Facebook as a clever mix of playground and factory. He asks:
“You can´t look at what we are doing on Facebook without noticing something, however. Do you see it? If you rent a room in an apartment then you first buy a bed, a chair, a few things for the kitchen. You pay what you owe to the landlady and then you cook, sleep, play, work, and invite others over to have a party. You´re allowed to do all these things because you paid your bill. On Facebook, the “free” services that we are consuming come at a price. All of our actions produce value for Facebook and other companies (“third parties”). Broadly speaking, labor markets have shifted to places where labor does not look like labor at all.”
Our power of togetherness is facilitated in exchange for letting operators – in this case, Facebook – harness the “energy” from our casual interactions. In the midst of pleasure, excitement, and possibilities of our togetherness, you and me and our networked publics are being “worked.” We are becoming “social workers.” We are social and we are working in the sense that we are producing economical value: both speculative value (Scholz asks us to think: Tulip Mania of 1637, dot com crash, Lehman brothers) and tangible value in terms of dollars in the bank.
As Tim O´Reilly says, “They are participating without thinking that they participate. That´s where the power comes.” Scholz claims that the “power” that O´Reilly refers to is “power” in the sense of a “power plant”: energy that can be stored and harnessed. Without much struggle, corporations turn a profit through activities that most of us would never think of as “labor” or even work. The invisible labor that follows our rituals of interactivity creates surplus value. Social participation is the oil of the digital economy.
Scholz admits that it´s counterintuitive to think about time spend on social networking services as labor or wage theft. Sitting in front of our computers, staring at glowing screens, engaging our brain, moving our computer mouse around, clicking, and occasionally writing an update does not look or smell anything like the industrial labor environment. It´s hard to pin down. But when we do even the smallest of these things we are complicit in this “interactivity labor.” Our bodies are placed in the working position before even noticing it. It´s not a matter of opting in.
Nor is it a matter of opting out. We all must admit that a big achievement of capitalism, really, is to make workers believe that digital labor does not exist. But even when we realize we are being “used,” that dawning awareness is often quickly superseded by the experience of pleasure in the activities themselves. And we may not mind it much. After all, being used is a lot different from being “duped,” right? It looks like a fair deal: on the other hand, we´re constantly reminded that the operator has tremendously operational costs – bandwidth is expensive, servers need to be run, and developers won´t work without pay. And then, some want us to believe that most mainstream operators don´t even make “real” money, which is not entirely accurate.
Scholtz shows that we produce economic value for Facebook in numerous ways, but for the sake of simplicity we can break it down into a few basic categories: 1. Garnering attention for advertisers; 2. Donating unpaid services and volunteer work; and 3. Offering complexes of network data and digital traces to researchers and marketers. The first one – attention to advertisers – is the one we are most familiar with from TV, radio, and billboards. The second recalls good old-fashioned modes of exploitation and expropriation, and the third takes us into the murky terrain of total knowledge production. While far from unique to the commercial Social Web, each of these modes of creating value has implications that are made more acute and striking in this context.
The Californian Ideology is based on evolutionism, which very shortly said is a linear view of history which are describing a forward movement of constantly progress and innovation. It is a worship of the up-cycles of life. The problem is that it ignores that life also consists of down-cycles. Evolutionism is based on optimism and positive thinking, and are avoiding to see the negative sides of life. It is avoiding seeing the human painbody, or the human shadow side (see my article The Emotional Painbody and Why Psychotherapy Can´t Heal It).
In his book Antisocial Media – How Facebook disconnect Us and Undermines Democracy, Siva Vaidhyanathan explains what the consequences are when The Silicon Valley ideologists ignore this dark human trait. He claims that Facebook is a story of the hubris of good intentions, a missionary spirit, and an ideology that sees computer code as the universal solvent for all human problems. And it´s an indictment of how social media has fostered the deterioration of democratic and intellectual culture around the world.
Silicon Valley grew out of a widespread cultural commitment to data-driven decision-making and logical thinking. Its culture is explicitly cosmopolitan and tolerant of difference and dissent (the postmodern relativism). Both its market orientation and its labor force (included the Facebook users) are global. Silicon Valley also indulges a strong missionary bent, one that preaches the power of connectivity and the spread of knowledge to empower people to change their lives for the better. But Vaidhyanathan asks: “So how did the greatest Silicon Valley success end up hosting radical, nationalist, anti-Enlightenment movements that revolt against civic institutions and cosmopolitans? How did such an enlightened firm become complicit in the rise of nationalists such as Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, Narendra Modi, Rodrigo Duterte, and ISIS? How did the mission go so wrong?”
I say: because of the denial of the dark side of life. Facebook is the paradigmatic distillation of the Silicon Valley ideology. No company better represents the dream of a fully connected planet “sharing” words, ideas, images, and plans. No company has better leveraged those ideas into wealth and influence. No company has contributed more to the paradoxical collapse of basic tenets of deliberation and democracy.
Evolutionism and The Californian Ideology have fertilized the ground for the return of the Sophists, and a global spreading anti-intellectual and anti-scientific movement. The problem is much more dangerous than Donald Trump, much larger than the United States. Vaidhyanathan claims that the autocrat, the de-territorialized terrorist organization, the insurgent group, the prankster, and the internet troll share a relationship to the truth: they see it as beside the point. If they can get the rest of us scrambling to find our balance, they have achieved their goals. Those who oppose or dismiss democracy and the deliberation and debate that make democracy possible do not care whether claims are true or false, or even how widely they are accepted as true. What matters is that a loud voice disrupts the flow of discourse, and that all further argument will be centered on the truth of the claim itself rather than on a substantive engagement with facts. Power is all that matters when trust and truth crumble.
Much of the world is suddenly engaged in a reignited battle over truth and trust. “Credibility” and “authority” seem to be quaint, weak concepts. Experts are derided for their elitism, their choice to reside in comfortable social and intellectual bubbles. Scientific methods are dismissed for reflecting class interests of the scientists and institutions that produce and certify knowledge. Vast bodies of knowledge are doubted repeatedly by elected officials through powerful media outlets to the point where substantial portions of Americans have cease to believe basic facts about the oceans that are rising around them. Across the globe communities of doubters invite renewed outbreaks of deadly measles among children because publicity-seeking, soft-minded doubters have fooled just enough parents into believing that the risks of vaccines outweigh the benefits (Oprah Winfrey is considered a larger medical authority than the medical experts). Journalism has collapsed as both a practice and an industry as advertisement revenue fled to online platforms and a cacophony of new voices asserted their newfound potency, certified by high Google search ranks or millions of Twitter followers.
Vaidhyanathan says that the erosion of truth and trust is more acute in the United States than it is in Canada, The United Kingdom, France, or Germany. But much of the rest of the world is shaking as well, since America is the leading storyteller. We see how authoritarian governments assumed control of Turkey, Hungary, and Poland and economic and political chaos has tested institutions in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece in recent years. Pluralistic, liberal democracy finds too little favor these days in Russia, India, the Philippines, or Venezuela. Democracy has seen better days in Brazil and Mexico, both of which danced for a while with competitive elections and peaceful transitions of power, only to see traditions of grift and graft creep back again. Egypt flashed an interest in democracy, then quickly reverted to brutal military rule. Tunisia and Myanmar offer some hope for the sort of transitions to democracy and the rule of law we so recently celebrated as the emerging norm, but ethic and sectarian strife threaten to bludgeon any hopes in both of those countries.
I have warned against the return of the Sophists many times. The whole debate between the Sophists and philosophy (Socrates), which Plato´s work was all about, is back. Also Vaidhyanathan believes this. He says that sophistry is the dominant cultural practice of the moment. People can´t agree. We can´t agree on what distinguishes a coherent argument from a rhetorical stunt. But despite the erosion of trust in long-established institutions, there are, according to Vaidhyanathan, two sources of trust that are growing in their power to claim truth: Google and Facebook. Americans trust Google search results and links much more than they trust traditional news outlets. My own concern here is the original wisdom traditions. New Age, with its infringement of experience and tradition, have completely taken over the internet so that everytime you do a google search on spiritual topics, you will find links to New Age websites. With New Age we are in this way witnessing an exploitative form of colonialism and one step in the destruction of, first the indigenous cultures (see my article Plastic Shamanism), and eventually all the original wisdom traditions. The latter is happening through the mantra about that these traditions best can be understood through Western psychology and psychotherapy (= reduced to, and therefore reduced to subjectivism). I have mentioned this kind of “google spirituality” in my articles The Conspiracy of the Third Eye, and Why I Don´t Teach Tibetan Dream Yoga.
Google is, with the words of Stewart Justman, a “Fool´s Paradise”. And Facebook users judge the trustworthiness of information that comes across their News Feed based on who posted it rather than the source of the original post itself. Many people judge whether a claim is true or false based on how much prominence Google gives it or which of their Facebook Friends choose to push it forward to others. Vaidhyanathan believes that we are collectively worse off because of Facebook. If you wanted to build a machine that would distribute propaganda to millions of people, distract them from important issues, energize hatred and bigotry, erode social trust, undermine journalism, foster doubts about science, and engage in massive surveillance all at once, you would make something a lot like Facebook.
Vaidhyanathan asks you to step back from your experience for a moment. Would the world be better today if Facebook had never been invented? If Facebook disappeared tomorrow, as Twitter could at any time unless it figures out how to make money, would the world improve? Vaidhyanathan claims that there is a strong case for the affirmative. While the Guardian story you encountered yesterday might have led you to a new novel or an interesting thinker, millions of others came across a story from Breitbart.com that drove up the barometer of bigotry in our society. Someone else decided not to vaccinate a baby because of something she read on Facebook. Someone else now believes climate change is a conspiracy constructed by Big Science.
So, what we are facing with The Californian Ideology, is the return of the Sophists, who come in the disguise of philosophers and scientists. Following the Californian Ideology and its technological utopianism, they are all in for scientism, the ideology of science: the believe that you can do philosophy instead of the philosophers, and then avoid the difficult task of philosophical argumentation, by claiming that what you do is science. It is people who are suffering from the thought distortion called The Illusion of Transferable Expertise. It is typical people who are educated in a single branch of science, and then want this single branch to be the answer to all philosophical questions (this trend are followed by hordes of amateurs, or people with credentials from diploma mills or private weekend-educations). But the people with actual educations are typical computer programmers, biologists, psychologists or physicists, who have a very limited understanding of philosophy, or rather: a lack of a basic understanding of that they are doing philosophy and not science. The result is the spread of junk philosophy, and the first step in the destruction of philosophy. You could term them Matrix Sophists. Below is a list of people whom I have examined in The Matrix Dictionary (the list will be updated in line with that new Matrix Sophists pops up on the internet):
British Matrix Sophists:
Stephen Hawking (in popular culture believed to be one of the greatest scientists ever, but in reality he has made very limited scientific innovation, before he became inflated by The Illusion of Transferable Expertise. Is known for leading Nietzsche´s claim that “God is Dead” a step further, and pronouncing that “Philosophy is Dead”, and that science from now on has taken over, where after he spends the rest of his life doing what he just had pronounced dead: philosophy, or rather: junk philosophy).
Richard Dawkins (in popular culture believed to be "the greatest scientist since Darwin" but in reality he has made no scientific innovation at all. Most of his ideas are based on those of others. He has come up with an idea of the Meme, though. An idea which only can be described as a pseudoscientific fantasy).
American Matrix Sophists:
Ken Wilber (in popular culture believed to be the greatest philosopher in history. In reality his work is a plagiarism of different historicist thinkers, who, like himself, were fascinated by evolutionism. He has hereafter replaced their words with his own words. The same trick is seen in New Age systems such as The WingMakers Project and The Human Design System).
Robert Lanza (in popular culture believed to have created a scientific paradigm shift with his concept of Biocentrism. But biocentrism is just a reworded version of something which has been known in philosophy for hundreds of years; philosophical idealism, a metaphysical theory, that ends in psychologism/solipsism. Lanza combines it with quantum mysticism and a scientific sounding language, and hopes that no one with knowledge in philosophy will discover his plagiarism).
Bruce Lipton (doing the same as Lanza)
Gregg Braden (doing the same as Lanza)
Joe Dispenza (a chiropractor who likes to call himself a neuroscientist and brain expert, and title himself Dr. Joe. Dispenza is also all in for Lanza).
David Jay Brown (doing the same as Lanza combined with psychedelics and plastic shamanism).
Deepak Chopra (doing the same as Lanza)
Nassim Haramein (an amateur physicist who in popular culture is known as a nobel prize candidate for having solved Einstein's Field Equations. We are still waiting for the prize. Haramein is doing the same as Lanza).
It has for a long time been looked bad at when someone is occupying himself with mysteries and challenges to the accepted history - not surprisingly when we look at the just sketched scenario - but if you can do it without declining to easy arguments or fanaticism, then the hunt for the truth is a very noble goal. My concept of The Matrix Conspiracy has this hunt for the truth, or love of the truth, in common with philosophy. My main questioning of the accepted history is that of evolutionism, a quite new ideology seen in the history of the world.
I have explained the concept of a theory of conspiracy in my pop culture file on The X-Files. While the monster of the week might draw the viewers in, it´s the promise of The Conspiracy being revealed that keeps them watching The X-Files. The secretive shadowy Conspiracy supposedly runs through most aspects of our lives and we don´t even know it.
The shadow government (cryptocracy, secret government, or invisible government) is a family of conspiracy theories based on the notion that real and actual political power resides not with publicly elected representatives but with private individuals who are exercising power behind the scenes, beyond the scrutiny of democratic institutions. According to this belief, the official elected government is in reality subservient to the shadow government who are the true executive power.
Shadow government theories often propose that the government is secretly controlled by foreign elements (such as aliens or the Vatican and Jesuits), internal minorities (such as the Jews, moneyed interests and central banks, or Freemasons), or globalist elites and supranational organizations, who seek to manipulate policy or conquer the world.
Conspiracy-oriented literature postulates the existence of a secret government which is the true power behind the apparent government. And popularizing the idea was the hit US television show, The X-Files. And on the whole, this idea is central in popular culture as such.
But The X-Files is just a TV show, right? There are real conspiracies, like Watergate and Iran-Contra, and there are conspiracy theories, like the New World Order being brought about by The Illuminati or the World Jewish Banking Conspiracy, and the 9/11 attacks being a “false flag” operation orchestrated by the US government itself…or maybe the Israelis.
There are somewhat more elaborate conspiracy theories too: for instance, the theory that ancient astronauts, in the past, programmed the DNA of our neurons so that these neurons can be made unstable by triggering the aggression centers of the brains of people who live in the areas of the world where evidence of these astronauts is hidden.
My concept of The Matrix Conspiracy is permeated with such theories of DNA activation, some programmed by evil aliens, others by good aliens. But also a huge amount of other alternate theories of our DNA, and their hidden “spiritual” programs. This kind of “Spiritual Eugenics” is extremely popular in popular culture today. And popular culture is what The X-Files builds upon. I have even heard Matrix sophists claim that The X-Files made them realize the “truth.” (this is also the case with another pop culture phenomenon, namely the movie The Matrix, which is the movie behind my own concept of The Matrix Conspiracy – see my pop culture file The Matrix).
My claim with The Matrix Conspiracy is as mentioned, contrary to the traditional conspiracy theories, that it is the conspiracy theories themselves that, among others, constitute a conspiracy, a kind of shadow government, and that it is the promoters of these ideas who are the Men in Black. In popular culture and UFO conspiracy theories, men in black (MIB) are supposed men dressed in black suits who claim to be government agents who harass or threaten UFO witnesses to keep them quiet about what they have seen. It is sometimes implied that they may be aliens themselves (not that far out, if we consider the weirdness of their ideas). The term is also frequently used to describe mysterious men working for unknown organizations, as well as various branches of government allegedly designed to protect secrets or perform other strange activities. The term is generic, used for any unusual, threatening or strangely behaved individual whose appearance on the scene can be linked in some fashion with a UFO sighting. Several alleged encounters with the men in black have been reported by UFO researchers and enthusiasts. The reason why it is a fair idea that The Matrix Conspiracy constitutes a kind of shadow government with its own agents, is the enormous impact it has on popular culture. This is a far larger “spiritual” movement than all religions together. And you can really get yourself into trouble if you are critical. It is for example not possible for me to have an email on the internet.
The Matrix Conspiracy is also intimately linked to the concept of philosophy, and therefore I also call these MIBs “Matrix Sophists”, teachers who are the archetypal opposition to the archetypal philosopher Socrates. In connection with the movie The Matrix, I especially refer to the Matrix Sophists as a multitude of Agent Smith clones, and the rebels as the Socratic liberators.
The Matrix Conspiracy is therefore closely related to the branch of philosophy called epistemology. Epistemology is concerned with the theory of knowledge. It studies the nature of knowledge, justification, and the rationality of belief.
Much of the debate in epistemology centers on four areas: (1) the philosophical analysis of the nature of knowledge and how it relates to such concepts as truth, belief, and justification, (2) various problems of skepticism, (3) the sources and scope of knowledge and justified belief, and (4) the criteria for knowledge and justification.
Epistemology addresses such questions as "What makes justified beliefs justified?", "What does it mean to say that we know something?" and fundamentally "How do we know that we know?"
In connection with The X-Files the question is: how can we sort the real conspiracies from flights of fancy? It really does seem that we learn that governments and corporations across the world have been hiding important information from us, as Wikileaks and Edward Snowden have shown us. Much of this information is information that we think we should have been told about. Mulder relies on The Lone Gunmen time and again for that little piece of information that helps him solve whatever roadblock he´s run into.
The Lone Gunmen are a trio of fictional characters, Richard "Ringo" Langly, Melvin Frohike and John Fitzgerald Byers, who appeared in recurring roles on The X-Files, and who starred in the short-lived spin-off, The Lone Gunmen. Their name was derived from the Warren Commission's conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was solely responsible for the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Described as counterculture patriots, they are ardent conspiracy theorists, government watchdogs and computer hackers who frequently assist Mulder and Scully, though they sometimes have their own adventures.
The Lone Gunmen author a news publication called The Lone Gunman (once referred to as The Magic Bullet Newsletter; a pejorative reference to the single bullet theory and, like the group's name, a reference to the Kennedy assassination), to which Mulder loyally subscribed. None of them have day jobs; they rely on financial backers who believe in their cause, and the revenue generated by the subscriptions to their paper. They share a loft apartment where they also work, and use a 1974–79 VW Transporter to commute.
But what exactly is a conspiracy theory? What is the difference between a theory about a real conspiracy and one that turns out to be a fantasy?
No one wants to be called a conspiracy theorist. It´s an insult, a dismissal. Except for a few who proudly and defiantly label themselves that way, people who insist that Lee Harvey Oswald was a government patsy want to avoid the label. (Besides, we all know that the Cigarette Smoking Man was the actual lone gunman, and he wasn´t shooting from the grassy knoll). If we are going to call these implausible theories “conspiracy theories,” we would ask what exactly is a conspiracy theory? I mean, there really are conspiracies. Since the term “conspiracy theory” is so widely understood to be a derogatory, dismissive term, we should try to go with the flow. So, as British academics Jane Parrish and Martin Parker do, perhaps we should call the kinds of theories we shouldn´t take seriously “conspiracy theories” and the kinds of theories we should take seriously as “theories of conspiracy.”
Seen in that light my concept of The Matrix Conspiracy is a theory of conspiracy. Indeed, it is very easy to confirm. You just have to look for it with a bit of attention. But what´s the difference between a conspiracy theory and a theory of conspiracy? Put very simply, conspiracy theories offer very implausible explanations involving secret plots to account for an event. Theories of conspiracy offer explanations involving secret plots that are plausible, even if they are improbable (or even turn out not to be true). The difference seems to depend on the implausibility of the explanation.
Conspiracy theories typical have several aspects. The conspiracy involves a number of powerful, yet unknown people operating in secret (for instance, a small group of men operating inside the US government but without the knowledge of their superiors). The conspiracy is a prime motivating force in historical events (for example, the assassination of JFK or the 9/11 attach on the World Trade Center). The conspiracy has a detailed and comprehensive objective (for example, that the US government engineered the attacks on 9/11 in order to whip up fear and hostility that would justify the invasion of Iraque; a “false flag” operation).
Lastly, conspiracy theories are nearly always irrefutable. No matter how contradictory the available evidence is, or how much evidence to the contrary is produced, it can all be dismissed as “what they want you to think,” evidence of just how powerful, clever, and manipulative the conspirators are, or that those who are trying to debunk the conspiracy theory are either patsies or fellow conspirators. The conspiracy theory mentality gets fed by taking evidence that would normally be thought to refute and making it into evidence that confirms the conspiracy theory.
The conspiracy theory is almost immune to any possible evidence that it is not true. Theories of conspiracy, on the other hand, look like any other kind of legal case. That is, you can think of something, that if it were true, would show the theory of conspiracy not true. But exactly does this all work? How do you go about deciding whether a conspiracy theory of theory of conspiracy is true?
If you are a scientific oriented paranormal investigator, which both Mulder and Scully are (though in different ways), one crucial principle is, that a certain theory has to have falsifiability or refutability, or said in another way: it has to be testable. Another crucial principle is the use of abductive reasoning (inference to the best explanation).
It is possible to deal with conspiracy theories rationally and reasonably. And though The Lone Gunmen stumble their way through their investigations, and sometimes get duped into getting caught trying to break into fake data vaults, they more frequently find the truth by constructing explanatory theories that are warranted by the evidence and testing those theories by following the evidence. More so than that, the boys have a skeptical but realistic sense of what is plausible and what isn´t. Doing as The Lone Gunmen do with a story is not the worst advice for someone who has good evidence that the truth is out there and wishes to discover it for themselves.
The paranoid conspiracy theories have thrown a bad light over conspiracy theories in general. It is actually a pity, because even if many theories are far out and have passed the borders of reason long ago, then there also are many serious theories, which are pointing towards official explanations, which we not directly ought to accept.
But there are other more sinister aspects of conspiracy theories, and that´s when a conspiracy theory is an attempt to create an illusion rather than an attempt to uncover the truth. Then you have to do with a conspiracy within The Matrix Conspiracy. Such there are many examples of. Such conspiracy theories have to do with the introduction of an ideology. Some are even using the concept of the Matrix itself. And it´s here I come in the risk zone for being misunderstood. Because such really ought to be discriminated from my concept of the Matrix Conspiracy (which I stick to, because it´s still the best way of explaining the Zeitgeist of what´s going on in the popular culture of today).
An example is the website Enlightened Consciousness. The website´s disclaimer:
The content is information based on the opinions and scholarship of the authors. This site is intended for educational and commentary purposes only, both of which are strictly protected by Free Speech. Enlightened Consciousness is not responsible for the opinions or content written by its writers. The information on this website is not intended to replace your relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.
Ok, free from responsibility. But, though the content is written by different authors, then the concept of the Matrix is generally used in connection with the concept of a hologram of deception (like in the Wingmakers Project) The website is then about how to break out of the illusion we all are living in (The Matrix Hologram). Fine until now. There certainly are some of the thoughts I fully agree with. But, at the same time it is, in the whole context, creating a big illusion (namely an ideology within my concept of the Matrix Conspiracy). So, the different authors, when seen in the context of the website as such, indicates a quite certain ideology, which some of the individual authors might disagree with. But New Age is notorious for quotation swindle. Click here for some of the articles on the website which include the concept of the Matrix.
But The Matrix Conspiracy is not only the claim that it is the conspiracy theories which is a conspiracy. There is a lot more to it. My concept of the Matrix Conspiracy is a mix of postmodern intellectualism, management theory, self-help and New Age, which together constitute a global spreading ideology. The whole of this ideology shares some features of conspiracy theories, namely the thought distortion called The Hermeneutics of Suspicion. The philosopher Paul Ricoeur has referred to the “hermeneutics of suspicion” encouraged by writers such as Marx, Nietzsche and Freud. What people think, and the reasons they produce, may not be the real reasons at work. It then becomes easy to become suspicious of the motives of everyone, whether as the representative of an economic class or the purveyor of a morality, or just as an individual with psychological problems to solve.
This form of analysis (leading us to think of groups or individuals “what is in it for them?”), is not only corrosive of trust in society. It is bound eventually to undermine itself. Why are such views themselves being propagated? What are those spreading them going to gain? Read more about Hermeneutics of suspicion in my article The Hermeneutics of Suspicion (the thought police of the self-help industry) and Why I am an Apostle of Loafing.
This ideology is created by The Mythology of Authenticity – a mythology where everything is about becoming and not being. This mythology has two world images: humanistic psychology and constructivism. And these two world images again have two methods: psychotherapy and coaching.
The mythology is characterized by magical thinking (you can create yourself and the world as it fit you) – and is sought supported by subjectivism and relativism: the pseudoscience of reductionism, especially psychologism and biologism. Quantum mysticism is also a central theory.
With this we see the emergence of a totalitarian New Age system with direct fascistic tendencies, and where Western Consumer Capitalism and Chinese Communism in all probability will melt together in a New World Order: the world of alternative history, alternative physics, alternative medicine and, ultimately, alternative reality.
The winners in this Brave New World are therefore not receiving their talents from being and reality, but from becoming masks and roles, from their ability to tell stories. It is a meritocracy of people wearing The Emperor´s New Clothes.
With my concept of the Matrix Conspiracy, I am, as in my teaching as such, placing philosophy at the heart of it, and I do so in order to protect the precious store of wisdom from the assaults of charlatans, to create a kind of temple to truth in the midst of falsehood, and to marginalize the Matrix Sophists who prey on human confusion.
The website Enlightened Consciousness is permeated with the above mentioned New Age and Self-help propaganda. It´s permeated with references to vibrations and energy, advices to avoid the negative (you can tell good people by their eyes), stop doubting, follow your intuitions and premonitions, flow with coincidences, believe in the purposiveness of everything, join thousands of others on the quest, turn into your feelings and evolve to a higher plane. Follow your intuitions and dreams as you go through your spiritual evolution. Fact or fiction, it doesn´t matter. Truth is what you make it. Life´s too short and too complicated to deal with reality. Make your own reality.
This New Age subjectivism and relativism encourage people to believe that reality is whatever you want it to be. The line between fact and fiction gets blurry and obscured. Subjectivism shuts down people´s critical faculties, making them suggestible for any ideology. It involves making people quit thinking critically in order to open them up to thinking Magical about that Subjective validation and Communal reinforcement lead to bliss. Hypnosis is in New Age directly used as a means for inducing in people certain worldviews, or, actually, one ideology: The Matrix Conspiracy.
The website is creating an illusion by getting the line between fact and fiction blurry and obscured. Another, more sinister aspect of how we can free ourselves from the Matrix Hologram, is the exercises you have to do (on the page Spirituality). Here are introduced different kinds of spiritual exercises.
When you use meditative exercises in combination with the introduction of an ideology the exercises will work as a kind of hypnosis where the illusion is implanted into the meditator, whose critical faculties now are shut down. I have explained such ideological persuasion techniques in my articles Hypnosis, hypnotherapy and the Art of Self-deception, and especially in The Devastating New Age Turn within Psychotherapy
Let´s look at the other side of the Matrix coin. The reductionism called biologism is as mentioned also a part of The Matrix Conspiracy. Therefore I see Richard Dawkins as a Matrix agent. His words about that “religious people are hijacked by an infectious malignant god-virus, because god is delusion a ‘psychotic delinquent’ invented by mad deluded people,” or his description of “religion as both an evolutionary by-product and as a memetic virus” is pure Agent Smith. And when he then states that this is something Dawkins, and his “skeptic” followers, or atheists as such, are raised above, and that the society need to be cleansed of all religious and spiritual thinking (which obviously also must include all philosophy, music and art created by religious people) then we have to do with pure fascism. Dawkins´s explanation of memetics, or "cultural evolution", and how our sense of morality evolved, is utterly nonsense, and fully in line with the Darwinistic fascistic nonsense of New Age.
In fact, today we have two ruling metaphysical theories in the Western society: materialism (the science bias) and idealism (the New Age bias, which I will explain later). The consequences of both are a worship of the ego. In materialism this could be depicted in Richard Dawkins´s notion of The Selfish Gene. In her book The Solitary Self – Darwin and The Selfish Gene, the renowned philosopher Mary Midgley, explores the nature of our moral constitution to challenge the view that reduces human motivation to self-interest. Midgley argues cogently and convincingly that simple, one-sided accounts of human motives, such as the “selfish gene” tendency in recent neo-Darwinian thought, may be illuminating but are always unrealistic. Such neatness, she shows, cannot be imposed on human psychology. Midgley returns to the original writings of Charles Darwin to show how the reductive individualism that is now presented as Darwinism does not derive from Darwin but from a wider, Hobbesian tradition in Enlightenment thinking. She reveals the “selfish gene” hypothesis in evolutionary biology as a cultural accretion that is not seen in nature. Heroic independence, argues Midgley, is not a realistic aim for Homo Sapiens. We are, as Darwin saw, earthly organism framed to interact with one another and with the complex ecosystems of which we are a tiny part. For us, bonds are not just restraints but also lifelines. The Solitary Self is a significant re-reading of Darwin and an important corrective to recent work in evolutionary science, which has wide implications for debates in science, religion, psychology and ethics.
My own claim is that Richard Dawkins´s notion of The Selfish Gene (or The Selfish Meme) is a pure fantasy, which has no more scientific or philosophical validity than many of the theories of “the evolution of consciousness” we see in the idealism of New Age. Both are paradoxically enough new kinds of Social Darwinism (see my article A Critique of Richard Dawkins and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) and the Matrix Dictionary update on Richard Dawkins). And both are involved in the rise of a new kind of fascism (see the Matrix Dictionary entry The Matrix Conspiracy Fascism).
Richard Dawkins is the atheistic answer to Ken Wilber. Both are biologists who want to be philosophers instead of the philosophers. Both are in love with Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. Both want their own discipline to be the answer to all the riddles of the universe. And both therefore ends in two versions of biologism (two versions of Social Darwinism). They are two sides of the same coin. See my articles A Critique of Richard Dawkins and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) and A Critique of Ken Wilber and his Integral Method.
In idealism the ego-worship could be depicted as self-assertion (or even self-love): the ultimate narcissism. So, both materialism and idealism are included in The Matrix Conspiracy, though idealism is the ruling philosophy. The reason why both is included is that they define each other; they are so to speak complementary to each other, because they mutually exclude each other and at the same necessarily must supplement each other.
Both materialism and idealism are included in The Matrix Conspiracy, though idealism is the ruling philosophy. The reason why both is included is that they define each other; they are so to speak complementary to each other, because they mutually exclude each other and at the same necessarily must supplement each other. The reason for this is the polarization-problem. This is also the reason why both idealists and materialists can agree about the possibility that we might live in a computer simulation. But they of course use the theory differently in order to make propaganda for their individual ideas. The main failure of materialists believing in the simulation theory is that this theory is grounded in idealism.
On the possibility of living in a simulation created by alien civilizations Richard Dawkins says:
"Whether we ever get to know them or not, there are very probably alien civilizations that are superhuman, to the point of being god-like in ways that exceed anything a theologian could possibly imagine. Their technical achievements would seem as supernatural to us as ours would seem to a Dark Age peasant transported to the twenty-first century. Imagine his response to a laptop computer, a mobile telephone, a hydrogen bomb or a jumbo jet. As Arthur C Clarke put it, in his Third Law: 'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.' The miracles wrought by our technology would have seemed to the ancients no less remarkable than the tales of Moses parting the waters, or Jesus walking upon them. The aliens of our SETI signal would be to us like gods ...
"In what sense, then, would the most advanced SETI aliens not be gods? In what sense would they be superhuman but not supernatural? In a very important sense, which goes to the heart of this book. The crucial difference between gods and god-like extraterrestrials lies not in their properties but in their provenance. Entities that are complex enough to be intelligent are products of an evolutionary process. No matter how god-like they may seem when we encounter them, they didn't start that way. Science-fiction authors ... have even suggested (and I cannot think how to disprove it) that we live in a computer simulation, set up by some vastly superior civilization. But the simulators themselves would have to come from somewhere. The laws of probability forbid all notions of their spontaneously appearing without simpler antecedents. They probably owe their existence to a (perhaps unfamiliar) version of Darwinian evolution ..."
Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. 72-73. Print.
Sam Harris are also fascinated by the Matrix:
"Many people have noticed that there seem to be no new arguments for the truth of any of the world's religions. I recently stumbled upon one, however, and it has given me a moment's pause. ...
"Given these premises - that human consciousness is purely the product of computation; that our computing power will continue to grow; and that our descendants will build simulated worlds - it seems tempting to conclude that simulated people will eventually outnumber all the real people who have ever lived. Statistically, therefore, it is more likely that we are simulated ancestors, living in a simulated world, rather than real ancestors of the real, supercomputing people of the future.
"This is, of course, a very strange idea. And here is my own contribution: add to this strangeness the possibility that the supercomputing people of the future will build into their virtual worlds the truth of Mormonism, or some other faith that seems like it could not possibly be true at present. In which case, we may, in fact, be living in a world in which Jesus will return on clouds of glory to judge the living and the dead. Perversely, this could be a self-fulfilling prophecy: given how beguiled people have been by religious mythology throughout our history, our descendants might engineer specific religious doctrines into their virtual worlds just for the hell of it."
Harris, Sam. "Should We Be Mormons in the Matrix?" Sam Harris. 20 Apr. 2011. Web. 08 Aug. 2014.
In my Ebook, Evolutionism – The Read Thread in The Matrix Conspiracy, I have, in the last chapter Technological Utopianism and The Matrix Hybrid, asked the question why Aliens should be subjects to a linear European view of life (evolutionism), which is quite new in the world history? It gives more sense, if they actually are superior to us, that they are living in a cyclic society. I also mention, that Indian philosophy considers our age as an age of decline and not progress, and that we in fact ought to look back towards our pre-modern past in order to find our ideals, not our psychological past, but our metaphysical past, which can be reached through meditation here and now. I tend to agree.
When Dawkins is combined with the psychologism of New Age we have something very similar to Huxley´s Brave New World. Brave New World is a dystopian novel written in 1931, and published in 1932. Set in London in the year AD 2540 (632 A.F.—"After Ford"—in the book), the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation [the conscious use of thought distortions], and classical conditioning that are combined to make a profound change in society. The lack of happiness in this world is removed by the use of drugs (in my article on Jorge Luis Borges I explain how Borges´s fictions are playing with the idea of a world where idealism is the ruling metaphysics).
But not only Richard Dawkins and Ken Wilber is fascinated by biologism. It´s a central part of the New Age movement as such. And it comes from Theosophy (see my article The Fascism of Theosophy). Some New Age directions even claim to be examples of atheistic spirituality. An example is the Canadian Raelian movement.
Gregg Braden (born June 28, 1954) is an American author of New Age literature, who wrote about the 2012 Phenomenon in his book Fractal Time: The Secret of 2012 and a New World Age and became noted for his claim that the magnetic polarity of the earth was about to reverse. Braden argued that the change in the earth's magnetic field might have effects on human DNA. He has also argued that human emotions affect DNA and that collective prayer may have healing physical effects.
Braden is typical of a lot of New age authors in that he starts with science but distorts it to draw unwarranted conclusions. Braden also makes up stuff and says it is science too. Throughout his books and lectures he keeps trying to reassure the audience with "this is proved scientifically" or "scientists do not doubt this", when in fact nobody with any scientific understanding could accept what he is claiming on the evidence that he presents. It just isn't science, period. It is junk philosophy.
The crux of his book The God Code is that our DNA sequence, when read by assigning Hebrew characters to the base sequence, spells out the words of our Creator. So this is the big secret that he has discovered (at least I presume it is his discovery): within each cell of our body is God's signature in Hebrew.
He is also the author of The Divine Matrix. The backcover text says:
In 1944, Max Planck, the father of quantum theory, shocked the world by saying that this "matrix" is where the birth of stars, the DNA of life, and everything between originates.
Recent discoveries reveal dramatic evidence that Planck's matrix - The Divine Matrix - is real. It is this missing link in our understanding that provides the container for the universe, the bridge between our imagination and our reality, and the mirror in our world for what we create in our beliefs.
To unleash the power of this matrix in our lives, we must understand how it works and speak the language that it recognizes. For more than 20 years, Gregg Braden, a former senior aerospace computer systems designer, has searched for the understanding to do just that.
In this paradigm-shattering book, Gregg shares what he's found. Through 20 keys of conscious creation, we're shown how to translate the miracles of our imagination into what is real in our lives. With easy-to-understand science and real-life stories, Gregg shows us that we're limited only by our beliefs, and what we once believed is about to change!
The above description is typical for Gregg Braden. He deducts from Planck to his own fantasies. It gives the impression that Planck supports Braden. Braden is one of the worst users of the thought distortion Research has Shown… Within Pseudoscience there has gone inflation in the phrase Research has shown that… Pseudoscience is seen in the New Age environment, where they demand that science has to be integrated with so-called “alternative sciences”, and in the intellectual environment in form of Reductionisms, which demand that science has to be integrated with, or is the same as, certain atheistic/political/postmodernistic views.
Research has shown that... is a phrase, which often is used to convince the listener about that the one who talks can reason what he says with concrete empirical proof. But this is often just an example of subjective argumentation, a kind of unethical manipulation (often based on Wishful thinking), because it is extremely vague to claim that ”research has shown” anything, unless you can reason the assertion with specific details about the claimed research. Who has carried out this research? Which methods were there used? What exactly did they found out? Have their results been confirmed by others who work within the area?
Check the New Age propaganda website Gaia.com in the Matrix Dictionary, and you´ll get an idea of what Braden stands for. Click here for some videos on Gaia.com featuring Gregg Braden (if you want to pay for listening to them – but some are free to watch). Try to examine how his message is delivered in a thoroughly well-spoken but deeply patronizing manner. I can´t stop thinking: if this man is half of the scientist he claims to be, then he must be aware that he is fooling people. How on Earth can one have the moral to carry this pseudoscientific circus on one´s shoulders? It´s his entire life he´s using on it.
Click here for a video debunk of Gregg Braden by Chris White. Also see The Matrix Dictionary entry on Gregg Braden.
The Living Matrix is a New Age movie that claims to bring breakthrough information that will transform your understanding of how to get well and stay well. Dynamic graphic-animation is woven with interviews with leading researchers and health practitioners as they share their discoveries on the miracle cures traditional medicine can´t explain. These experts reveal how energy and information fields – not genetics – drive human physiology and biochemistry, and illustrate the benefits of integrating conventional and alternative health care. What is introduced, it claims, is a new paradigm in biology. A summary sounds:
Our film, The Living Matrix - The Science of Healing, uncovers new ideas about the intricate web of factors that determine our health. We talk with a group of dedicated scientists, psychologists, bioenergetic researchers and holistic practitioners who are finding healing potential in new places. The documentary brings together academic and independent researchers, practitioners, and science journalists whose work reveals scientific evidence that energy and information fields, not genetics, control health and wellbeing. These include internationally known healer, Dr. Eric Pearl; cellular biologist and former Stanford University professor Dr. Bruce Lipton; author Lynne McTaggart, and former U.S. astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell, among others. Through in-person interviews and dramatized video vignettes that document the stories of people who recovered from chronic illness - including a five-year-old boy born with cerebral palsy, an osteopathic doctor with a brain tumor, and a housewife bedridden with chronic fatigue syndrome - the film demonstrates the effectiveness of bioenergetic medicine where traditional medicine has not succeeded.
The website Science-Based Medicine – which are exploring issues and controversies in the relationship between science and medicine, gives this thoroughly debunking critique of the movie in the article The Living Matrix: A Movie Promoting Energy Medicine Beliefs
We have seen that the central metaphysical theory of the Matrix Conspiracy is philosophical idealism. What does idealism precisely mean? New Agers believe that reality is, if not directly a computer simulation, then it is a mental construct. There are many versions of this, but under one it is called philosophical idealism.
In philosophy, idealism is the group of philosophies which assert that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial (since it can´t be described without it´s opposition materialism, it constantly contradicts itself. The same is a fact the other way round. Materialism can´t be described without its opposition idealism).
Epistemologically, idealism manifests as a skepticism about the possibility of knowing any mind-independent thing. In a sociological sense, idealism emphasizes how human ideas—especially beliefs and values—shape society. As an ontological doctrine, idealism goes further, asserting that all entities are composed of mind or spirit. Idealism thus rejects physicalist and dualist theories that fail to ascribe priority to the mind.
This is the reason why they can believe that the whole of reality, including the physical reality, is a mental construct. And from that it is also easy to infer to the idea that we could live in a computer simulation. You can see this idea discussed in this article in Scientific American, by Clara Moskowitz, April 7, 2016: Are We Living in a Computer Simulation? A popular argument for the simulation hypothesis came from University of Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrum in 2003, when he suggested that members of an advanced civilization with enormous computing power might decide to run simulations of their ancestors. They would probably have the ability to run many, many such simulations, to the point where the vast majority of minds would actually be artificial ones within such simulations, rather than the original ancestral minds. So simple statistics suggest it is much more likely that we are among the simulated minds.
In The Matrix Dictionary I have debunked this idea in the entry: Simulation theory.
But the proposal of idealism is also the reason why they think you can´t get out of the Matrix (that is: from illusion to reality), since the Matrix is reality itself: a mental construct, or a computer simulation. What you can do – and that´s their proposed secret [sic] – is to realize that you can programme this reality completely alone with the power of mind, and according to your own wishes and desires. The illusion is here that you have lived according to what others have programmed you to believe. The latter is the only idea I share with them. My main critique of the matrix conspiracy is that we in fact see powerful people who find it desirable to live in a computer simulation, a virtual reality game of some sort, and therefore paradoxically enough come to supports the machines in the movie, and put up philosophies like Agent Smith could have done.
As mentioned: my concept of The Matrix Conspiracy is that the Matrix is an ideology. And I´m not supporting idealism, but realism. The paradox of New Age´s misunderstanding of quantum physics (which they see as central support for subjectivism and idealism) is that quantum physics actually proves the invalidity of both materialism and idealism. I have shown how in my article Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Niels Bohr. Here I´m presenting a realism based on dualism, though not an ontological dualism, but an epistemological, or gnoseological dualism.
An ideology is a malfunction in the human mind, which functions with Machiavelli´s implied, terrible, assumption, that the end justifies the means, and where the means to get there is to make people into slaves for this goal. Today people undoubtedly are being made into empty consumer machines. There is no doubt either, that we, through the teachings of New Agers and Self-helpers (which I call the Matrix Sophists, or the Matrix agents, like Agent Smith in the movie) are being supplied with some kind of virtual reality, that seems to justify Machiavelli´s famous and notorious assumption – for instance through elimination of critical thinking, which thereupon is replaced by magical thinking.
It is a fact, that we today see an ideology behind the democracy, where true spirituality, philosophy and science systematical are seeked destroyed; that is: the destruction of the best tools Man has in his love of visdom, and quest for truth.
The main theory of this ideology is relativism. There both exists an individual version of relativism, and a collective version. The individual version is called subjectivism. This version is often connected with a right-wing individualized liberalism. The other version is a collective relativism, cultural relativism, which often is connected to a left-wing socialism. However both are common in distorting both science and human rights. Both are demanding “alternative” views of science, and for example also human rights. And both are introducing intellectual apartheid in different ways, by seeking to eliminate critical thinking.
Both subjectivism and relativism claim, that there doesn’t exist any objective truth. Truth is something we create ourself, either as individuals or as cultures, and since there doesn’t exist any objective truth, there doesn´t exist any objective scale of truth. Therewith they also say, that we live in a Matrix, a dream, a kind of virtual reality, we have created ourselves, and that there is no chance of getting out of this. The Matrix simply is reality, and you can either be a slave of it or a master of it. It is what you think it is.
Ok, here I already hear objections. And yes, they often speak about breaking with the Matrix of deception. But what they mean is, as already shown, that you through your mind can create your own version of it. Instead of being a slave of it, you can be a master of it. If you for example take the Law of Attraction coach Magnetic Mama´s version of the Matrix then she in connection with “Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching” says: “I can give you suggestions for coping with complex-PTSD symptoms and reprogramming negative beliefs (‘malware’) installed in childhood by your narcissistic household.” This is certainly not the speak of Morpheus, Neo, or the rebels, it is the speak of the machines and Agent Smith. According to Morpheus, in the movie, Smith is an Agent of the system. Like other Agents, Smith's role is to police and maintain the Matrix by eliminating potential threats to the stability of the system, such as Redpills and defective programs. Smith is personified as stern, serious, and nearly invincible. Agent Smith is in that way the archetypal Matrix Sophist.
It´s puzzling that they don´t seem to have grasped the meaning of the film, only Morpheus´s introducing claim that the Matrix is everywhere, in the bones, around us, etc. They speak Agent Smith´s speak, and not the rebels. They speak about finding ways of getting on in this Matrix, rather than being interested in finding ways of discovering the truth; or rather: what they see as the truth is that they can control the Matrix entirely through the mind.
To teach people this, is the main job of the Matrix Sophists. But this is in opposition to the message of the movie the Matrix, which is, that we should create a rebellion, and try to get out of the illusion. In that way you can say that the new Sophists are the “machines”, or the rulers of the Matrix, which keep people as slaves. Elon Musk is obviously one of them. Here is a video where he preaches The Matrix Conspiracy´s propaganda:
Another way to illustrate the difference between my concept of the Matrix and the New Age concept of it, is by comparing Buddhism with Nietzsche (where I support Buddhism, and claim that New Agers support Nietzsche). In the Matrix Dictionary you can find an entry on Jon Rappoport, who is a Matrix Sophist with inspiration from Nietzsche and his idea of humans as reality-creating artists. Rappoport directly uses the word Matrix as a term for a Big Pharma conspiracy which is using mind control in order to keep us a slaves. His suggestion is that we become Matrix Masters ourselves and create our own reality. He uses the term “Exit the Matrix”, but in reality you don´t exit, but are being misled to believe that you have. Rappoport´s trick could easily have been invented by agent Smith.
The most famous of Buddha´s teachings are the Deer Park Sermon which was revealed to five former Sramana companions of him in a park near modern Benares, India. Here he talked on the existential conditions, growing conditions and growth levels of Man, and, like a doctor, he made the diagnosis: ”The nature of the illness and its cause”, after which he gave guidance in how it can be healed and the medicine hereto. Shortly said ”the illness” is suffering, and the suffering´s cause is, that Man clings to impermanent and temporal things. The many desires, that can't be fulfilled, give suffering and sorrow. The medicine consists in teaching Man how to rise over the changeable world with all its desires and transient joys. In Buddha´s teaching there is in that way spoken about The Four Holy Truths: 1) Suffering. 2) The suffering´s cause. 3) Suffering can be brought to an end, and this happens through 4) The Path, namely The Eightfold Path, where correct meditation, or correct self-communing, is the last step on the path to full enlightenment, which you also could term: full objectivism. The subject, or the ego, has stepped aside, or opened itself like a flower to the sun. This is the source of reason.
The Buddhist philosophy of impermanence could sound a bit like Nietzsche´s subjectivism and nihilism, and a part of it does, but the fact that the consciousness can raise above it shows an absolutism and objectivism, which by the way is the core in all spiritual traditions. Spirituality has therefore not anything to do with the subjectivism and relativism which New Age and the self-industry, deeply inspired by Nietzsche, teach. On the contrary.
Evolutionism – The Red Thread in The Matrix Conspiracy
Related articles on New Age “spiritual” biologism:
A Critique of The Human Design System
Time Travel and the Fascism of the WingMakers Project
A Critique of Ken Wilber and His Integral Method
Related in the Matrix Dictionary:
The Matrix Conspiracy Fascism
Anti-intellectualism and Anti-science
Bridge between Science and Spirituality
Other Related articles:
The Matrix Conspiracy
The Difference between Philosophical Education and Ideological Education
Quantum Mysticism and its Web of Lies
The Pseudoscience of New Age and Reductionism
The Pseudoscience of Reductionism and The Problem of Mind
A Critique of Richard Dawkins and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI)
Related Pop Culture Files:
The Matrix Dictionary
Related Ebook: Evolutionism - The Read Thread in The Matrix Conspiracy
Related Ebooks: Evolutionism - The Red Thread in The Matrix Conspiracy
The Tragic New Age Confusion of Eastern Enlightenment and Western Idealism