“This....this isn't real?” Neo.
“What is real? How do you define real? If you're talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.” Morpheus
“What is The Matrix? Control. The Matrix is a computer generated dream world, built to keep us under control…” Morpheus
My slogan card for the day, written by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, is "Reguard all dharmas as dreams." The lower case dharma denotes phenomena, rather than the upper case Dharma which is used to refer to the Buddha’s teaching, the Truth or Law of Buddhism.
This Law is not like the law which we as human beings make to regulate our societies and keep ourselves safe, but more like a Law of physics, existing indisputably (though we’ll argue about it anyway) whether we are aware of it or not. This lower case dharma is the phenomenal world, which obscures the upper case Dharma, the Laws of the Universe, so to speak. Even then, it is not the dharma which confuses, but our minds and our perceptions of it. Therefore, we must observe all phenomena as if we were in a dream, a place where our mind does not distinguish reality from delusion.
Even when were are aware of the existence of delusions, even with our malas of 108 beads to remind us of the 108 types of delusions from which humans suffer, we cannot always see the delusions. It is like knowing that air exists, but only noticing it occasionally, when a strong wind blows, when we change altitudes, when our throat closes off and we can’t breath, when our tires are flat. Then we notice the air, even though we can’t really see it, or pinpoint where or what it is, we at least know it is there.
Similarly we only notice our delusions when given specific cause. I notice them when my equanimity falters in the face of hormones. Or when a friend points out a gross assumption I have made in my continuing effort to connect the dots and make my world into a coherent picture. Or when I hear someone describing the atomic connections of our DNA and I realize we really don’t know anything about how life works, how we work. According to atomic theory, the entire universe is just atoms bumping into atoms bumping into atoms, which rules out any possibility of free will at all. Or is that idea just another delusion?
We like to think we are in control. I like to drive. When I was a teenager, I had reoccurring nightmares of being killed in an out of control car. I conquered this phobia by always being in control, always driving, never letting anyone besides my family and a few very close friends drive. Slowly I have come to realize those dreams are not premonitions, but reflections. When I am feeling particularly out of control of my life, pushed around by the system, by the universe, my dreams reflect that. But how much in control was I ever?
“Do you believe in fate, Neo?” Morpheus.
“Because I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my own life,” Neo.
The desire for control is based on two assumptions: a) that we need to control our lives, for safety, security, happiness, or any other reason, and b) that we can control our lives.
The question is: Does it matter?