The Red Pill
“The world has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.” ~ Morpheus, in the movie The Matrix (1999)
In the movie The Matrix, Thomas Anderson lives a double life. By day he is a corporate computer programmer. At night he goes by the hacker name Neo.
Neo has the nagging sense that something is fundamentally wrong with the world. Neo is intrigued by repeated online mentions of “The Matrix”. He wonders what The Matrix is. He thinks a man named Morpheus may know.
Neo meets Morpheus, who tells Neo that he has the answer to the unease which Neo feels. But first, Morpheus wants Neo’s commitment to the truth. For Morpheus knows that the truth is hard to take.
Morpheus asks Neo to choose. Take a blue pill and remain blind to the truth. Or take a red pill and find out “how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”
Neo hesitantly takes the red pill. Morpheus reveals to Neo that “you are a slave. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.” In the movie, The Matrix is the prison: a computer simulation that keeps those who believe in it trapped in ignorance. Living a lie.
In reality, actuality is The Matrix. A prison you can taste and see and touch. A prison by your mind.
The gateway to Nature is consciousness. The show called living stops when you lose consciousness. Awareness defines existence.
That Nature is elaborately structured is obvious. The world is comprehensible because your mind’s design corresponds with that cosmic order. This is no coincidence.
Consciousness, cöherence (natural ordering), and mentation (mental activity) are the processes by which the world emerges.
“Create a concept and reality leaves the room.” ~ Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset
A paradigm is housed in a mental edifice: a philosophy.
You can create a philosophy about any conceptual system. There are philosophies of art, culture, and science.
A philosophy is a hand-picked bunch of related words that don’t argue with each other. A set of consistent definitions.
The concepts laid out in a philosophy relate to one another. Altogether, the relationships between these ideas form an entangled system for comprehension. A philosophy is a way of understanding using words that work together.
Observation relies upon theory. How you make sense of the world depends upon the reality paradigm you choose.
Until science took over the business of explaining existence, in the 19th century, sussing Nature was called “natural philosophy.”
A natural philosophy is an explanation of the principles of reality. A principle is a claim of fundamental truth.
“Science is not a body of facts. Science is a method for deciding what we choose to believe.” ~ American geophysicist Marcia McNutt
Science has been useful in producing practical results. But science can never produce the truth about existence. That’s because science is tainted by its method.
Science relies upon matter revealing truth. In worshiping matterism, scientists assume that physicality is reality. They assume too much.
Grounded in matterism, it is ironic that science disproves physicality as reality. Science shows instead that the world of matter is made in the mind.
Biology shows that all life is conscious and intelligent. No need for brains.
Physics reveals that matter is, ultimately, just an idea. For matter is made of energy, and energy is only a concept. Physics proves energyism beyond doubt.
From infancy you have been working things out. Forging mental links between events. A natural philosopher.
You learned language by stockpiling words and inferring their connections. A philosophic exercise in semantics.
You grasped the meaning of new words from just a few examples. So few that learning language cannot be considered scientific.
Such alacrity felt natural because it repeatedly worked, and was readily corrected when it did not. It helps that the mind likes to forget its mistakes and celebrate its knowledge.
That same ease applies to connecting events into cause and effect. That causality comes so effortlessly makes it easy to confuse events with their interpretation.
All theories relate to events. Are about changes and relations. These actions and connections do not exist in Nature. They are made in the mind.
Gravity does not exist. What you experience are objects and bodies acting as if the ground has some attractive force. Gravity is an imagining based on the way objects behave. A linkage inferred. A construal (interpretation) about actuality.
Attributing cause-and-effect is essential to navigating the world. But causality is not something that happens. Causality is only a connection made in the mind: an inference without substance.
Your mind describes a world of objects in motion. The prejudice toward objects is overwhelming. Remembering objects is easy. Recalling processes takes effort.
Language reflects the mind’s bias toward objects over actions. Though verbs are critical, sentences center on nouns. As a child you learned nouns quicker than verbs.
The most important noun is one which does not exist: the mind. No one has a mind. What we call ‘mind’ is really mentation: mental activity. Because mental noodling is everything, and objects rule, a natural verb becomes an imaginary noun. So, when the word mind appears, think thinking.
“One cannot step twice in the same river.” ~ ancient Persian philosopher Heraclitus
Objects are a fundamental fraud. All is process. Dancing, not dancers. Coherent processes undergoing transformation, albeit at vastly different rates. Some exceedingly slow, others so fast your senses can’t keep up.
For instance, bird songs are much richer than we can appreciate: 10 notes for every 1 that we can hear. An elaboration that escapes our ear. Birds live much faster paced lives than we do. Their songs reflect that.
Though your mind tells you otherwise, all of Nature is fluid. Never solid.
“Knowledge is nothing but perception.” ~ ancient Greek philosopher Plato
Perception is the process of making sense of what appears in the mind. Perception is a symbolic construal. The fabrication of perception is the mind’s main occupation.
Consciousness witnesses what the mind produces. Consciousness is the watcher of the multimedia presentation created by the mind – some of which appears “out there,” much of which is only interior decorating.
Perception is a mental river which flows so smoothly that it rarely spills a doubt as to its authenticity. The mind quickly mops up any anomalies with assurance of accuracy.
Perception is a multi-step process. That process begins with sensation.
Sensation reaps information from what your mind insists is a physical world. Sensation gathers from various inputs – seeing, hearing, touching – in a piecemeal manner.
Sensation turns the mosaic of sensed stimuli into representational symbols. Smoothing rough edges and filling in blanks. Sensation shapes stimuli into abstracted forms that may be perceptually recognized.
Perception puts sensory pieces together, construing what they are and what they mean. The process of perception begins by identifying the discrete symbols of sensation. This first stage answers “what is it?”.
Your mind identifies objects and events using memory. Memory is the storehouse of experience by which your mind acquires skill.
Every event or object you encounter is unique. To keep things simple, your mind naturally categorizes objects and events. This inner convenience can be crucial in comprehension.
People look different depending upon the lighting and angle from which they are seen. People with perfect, photographic memories have trouble recognizing faces.
Facial recognition relies upon categorical smoothing of key features. Remembering basic shapes and proportions while disregarding details.
Vision illustrates the extent to which perception is largely imagination. Your eyes see clearly only 1/1000th of your visual field. That’s about the size of your thumbnail held at arm’s length. The rest is fuzzy, low resolution.
99+% of what you see is fabricated in your mind. Clear pictures are made from mosaic images using memory and imagination.
Illusions illustrate. You see a spiky ball in the picture at right, don’t you? The image itself is just a bunch of spikes, albeit arranged so that your mind imagines spikes protruding from a ball.
Generating more information than sensed is reification. You only get by because you reify.
Once a symbol has been identified, perception proceeds to assign it meaning. Meaning is measure of significance between 2 poles: desire and fear. You avoid what you dislike while being drawn to what you want.
Once your mind decides what something is and its meaning, it then determines if the symbol is worth any more attention than it has already got. If not, your mind moves on to the next abstraction.
Your mind emphasizes to your consciousness what it considers important, discounting perceptions construed insignificant.
Perception also constructs a perspective. One which may not always be accurate. The Moon illustrates.
Regardless of how high in the sky, the eye sees the Moon as the same size. Which it is, as the Moon is always the same distance away. The reliable sensation of the Moon may be altered during perception: the Moon illusion.
When the Moon is on the horizon, with distance cues such as trees, the mind figures the Moon is farther away than when overhead, when there is no comparative reference point. So the mind compensates. It makes the Moon loom larger on the horizon.
Patterns emerge using memory. For instances, sounds may become either music or noise depending on the pattern mentally unearthed.
Like music, the linking of cause and effect is an imagined pattern. Causation is a mental fabrication without existence.
“All observation is also invention.” ~ German psychologist Rudolf Arnheim
The world does not passively impose itself on your mind. Instead, perception is vigorous interpretation. You construe the world.
What you see depends on how you look. You either don’t see what doesn’t fit or fit what you see to what you believe the nature of things to be. There is no truth in it.
There is no explanation for how perception could possibly work through purely physical mechanics. That cells could orchestrate the compositions that comprise perception through just chemical or electrical signals is unimaginable.
“The theory that can absorb the greatest number of facts is the one that must rule all observation.” ~ English philosopher Adam Smith