Gnosticism (“knowing reality”) and the false message of “The Matrix”

In the opening scene of “The Matrix” (1999), the heroine, “Trinity”, uses her siddhis (powers) to kill several men.  Here she reminds me of a cobra, hypnotizing her prey…1

So I was thinking of watching a movie recently and I thought maybe I should put on “The Matrix” – the original from 1999.  It’s one of my all-time favorites.

Uh oh.  I noticed something I never noticed before:  the big event of the opening scene has the heroine absolutely butcher a bunch of people, alternating between a predatory smile and a look of hatred on her face.

Hmm.  Okay, so I thought about this a bit, and I realized that one of the messages of this film – one of the most influential sci-fi films of all time – is that the way to deal with people around us who are not “awakened” (that is, not as illuminated as we ourselves think we are, and not part of our own personal “club” or “tribe”) is to kill them with relish and have contempt for them if they get in our way. Maybe this is a metaphorical teaching about claiming our power.  Maybe this is good, empowering.

But on another level this seems like an example of the worst kind of elitism and what we might call “fake gnosticism” (or fake vedanta).

Fake gnosticism2 is the idea that the world is nothing but an illusion, so it doesn’t matter what you do.  You can get high on drugs every day, treat people like crap, kill yourself, do whatever you like cause none of it matters – it’s just illusion.  No consequences.

1. Mad world

Okay let’s take a step back for a second.  Some of us have seen our world appear to become more insane in recent years, with corruption and weirdness and recession and catastrophes that don’t appear to make any sense.  And perhaps because of these things we are seeing, “fake gnosticism” seems to be experiencing a surge of popularity.

We can see it echoed in the cynicism of today’s teenagers.  The signs of it and the justifications for feeling this way seem to be everywhere.

 

grammy 2014

Does this seem weird? (2014 Grammy Awards)

 

 

This?

What about this?  You know when you absolutely can’t stand someone, and when you’re in the same room the tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife?  This does not appear to be one of those situations. 3  (source)

 

whoops!

?  (source)

 

 

 

So I was saying that when the world starts to look insane, this disposition we might call “fake gnosticism” starts to become popular.  We start thinking that all of this is merely an illusion and that nothing we do matters.  Often this idea is suggested to us by some kind of glamorous authority figure.

2. The matrix concept as a proposed “solution”

In The Matrix, Morpheus is the illuminated elder who seems to know the secrets of how the world works and instructs his disciple Neo in one of the most memorable movie scenes ever:

Morpheus-matrix

In “The Matrix” (2009), Morpheus appears to have a lot of the answers – and an awesome outfit.  Plus:  he has pills.

The matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room.

You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes, to blind you from the truth.

This feels true on some level.  Hmm?

Taken to an extreme, this is not a new idea; it didn’t originate with Morpheus.  This is actually an ancient idea (some might say, an ancient fallacy) that the world is only an illusion – nothing more than that.  And the corollary is that truth is found by rejecting the world – rejecting, abandoning and having contempt for everything we perceive and experience.

Why love your neighbor, feed your family, or honor your friends when life is nothing but a load of b.s.?

We could take a pill or a potion and make the appearance of this world go away, for a while.  In the movie, all Neo has to do is listen to a five-minute lecture, pop a pill and he is permanently freed from the matrix (or the illusion of this world / samsara).

3. Matrix concept → sells like hotcakes

David Icke (source)

David Icke (source)

Likewise, many contemporary teachers suggest something not altogether different.  Best-selling author, speaker, and radio-guest David Icke travels the world with a set of core messages that includes this:

We are living in a dreamworld within a dreamworld – a Matrix within the virtual-reality universe – and it is being broadcast from the Moon.4

This may sound ludicrous to some people, but I assure you, many people take comfort in this explanation after seeing so much disturbing weirdness in the world.  Icke’s books have been translated into eight languages, reprinted more than half a dozen times, and he draws crowds of up to several thousand when he lectures in over 25 countries around the world.5  And he is but one of many such teachers.

Maybe there is value in many of Icke’s observations?

Maybe there is something really quite odd about the moon?

Once you know about the matrix, you have become bad-ass.  Hip.  Sophisticated.  Illuminated.  Elite.

Once you know about the matrix, you have now become officially bad-ass. Illuminated. Elite.

In any case, this “matrix” concept – that the world is merely a fake illusion, and that that’s basically all you need to know – this turns out not to be a new teaching at all.  (Evelyn Disk, anyone?)6  This is a very ancient idea, that the world is just a virtual-reality apparition – maya, samsara – and once you are told this, the implication is you don’t have do anything any more; you can simply reject the illusion, boycott life, break up with your girlfriend, act however you want.

I know people who consume enormous quantities of drugs each day and become suicidal after becoming steeped in this kind of philosophy, though they might argue that these things are unrelated.

This “matrix” philosophy does not overtly require one to become suicidal, but still.  If life is a meaningless illusion, and if almost everyone you meet is “inferior” to you, why not do it?  Off yourself?  The implication seems to be that you can reject everyone you meet here in this place, cause we’re all just illusions, in the forms in which we appear here, and therefore we can be discarded.  Nothing you do matters, there are no consequences for your actions, and whatever happens to you – now or in the future – is completely out of your control.

How depressing!  How empty.  How disempowering.

4. This world – is it real or unreal?

optical illusion

What’s he holding? (cc) Sholeh.

In Tibet they used to have a saying I like.  Some of the Tibetan yogis would say that this world is neither real nor is it unreal.7

In other words, they don’t recommend that people cling to the world as if it were real and permanent.  Or even that it’s the way it appears to be on the surface.  Neither do they recommend clinging to the idea that the world is just an illusion.

Instead of clinging to concepts, mental filters, and dogmas, they have a whole other thing they do, which I won’t go into here.  But it involves opening the heart.  Also, it involves participating in whatever arises with a certain nakedness.  And bravery.

Unfortunately, when all the conceptual defenses fall away, incredible profound panic and fear might come to the fore.  Or maybe it won’t.  But at least we’re stripping away our layers of illusions that we add to reality.

 

 

I used to love

Ah, Trinity… I used to love Trinity.  But look at her eyes as she slaughters an unarmed opponent in the opening scene.  Her behavior is almost inhuman.  Click on the image for a close-up and spend some time with it.  What emotion would you have to feel to get your eyes to look like that?

 

 

 

Morihei Ueshiba

It is possible to make a strong communication to someone and still be full of love at the same time.  Or so I’ve heard.8  (source)

5. Is love the best weapon?

Exercise the flower.9

Let’s go back to the film, and how the protagonists and elders like Trinity and Morpheus deal with their enemies and obstacles.

In real life, sometimes you have to be firm with someone – hopefully with love and compassion – to get a point across to them.  Often it just requires clarity and focus, and we don’t have to actually do very much, or even say anything.  However, it is said that in extreme situations a compassionate warrior or samurai can defeat his or her enemy – even take a life, if necessary – and do it with love in his or her eyes.

But does getting vicious and becoming filled with hatred – does that actually empower us?  When I get that way, it’s self-destructive.  Almost suicidal.

In my own life, when things are not going so good, if I radiate from my heart, amazing stuff happens sometimes.  If you haven’t tried this lately, it could be worth experimenting.

There can even be what feels like an energy coming out of the center of one’s chest – which some people call “blasting” or “boosting”10 to describe how powerful it feels when they do it.  This energy seems to move out and even transform situations.

Kinda interesting.

6. Conclusion

exercise the flower

“Exercise the flower.” (source)

I’d like to close with some words from a teacher I like named Adi Da who offers his p.o.v. on this “matrix” philosophy – what I am calling “fake gnosticism”.  Please form your own conclusions of course.

Life isn’t bullshit. It’s not that it’s just an illusion and you should do some trick or other and get rid of it. No. It exists as it seems to exist for real within the conditional domain, for real reasons…

(This life) is unnecessary, but it is arising, and the choices you make relative to how you live… are of profound significance.11

 

 

Questions

  • Do you still think Trinity is a babe?  Wife material?
  • If you think of yourself and think of some friends, in each case can you see people either clinging to the idea that the world is real, or clinging to the idea that it is unreal?
  • If you’re familiar with the story of “Raymond Darling” and “Evelyn Disk”, which one of them promotes “fake gnosticism” / “fake knowledge”?  Which one of them experiences life rather nakedly?
  • What can we do to make life more than just an illusion?
  • Does anyone besides me find this world disturbing sometimes?  Please share your comment for the benefit of others, if you have time.

Regards,
BOT Student

  1. Or an angel of death.  Also, if you watch it in slow motion, it looks like she’s displaying her crotch in the man’s face – it’s a terrible position for trying to kick someone. I have some martial arts experience so I feel I can say this.
  2. The word “gnosis” comes from the Greek word “to know” or have knowledge / realization. In this article I am focusing on a type of presumed “knowledge”, or “realization” that people may try to sell us, but which seems false to me. For instance, what I’m calling “false gnosticism” seems to involve bypassing the fourth stage of life, or the awakening of the heart.  People who want a complete explanation of the historical gnostic tradition – if such a thing is possible – must go elsewhere, I’m afraid.
  3. Guess I should say for the benefit of youngsters or people outside the U.S. that these two people are Bill Clinton & George Bush Senior – representing two sides of U.S. White House dynasty covering the last three decades.
  4. As quoted in wikipedia.
  5. According to wikipedia.  Some of these numbers may be understated as the stats provided are almost a decade old.
  6. In The Scapegoat Book of Perfect Knowledge, Evelyn Disk announces again and again that he has realized, that he is illuminated, that he sees through the illusion of this world.  However he’s still the same deluded and destructive man – his “gnosis” is just a loveless idea in his head.  For those who don’t know, the Scapegoat Book is an unpublished sequel to The Mummery Book.
  7. For instance, you might check out the Chöd teachings of Machig Labdron, said to be a woman warrior / adept from a few hundred years ago.  But also this is a common teaching in many other places.
  8. Guess I should explain – this photo shows a man getting the wind knocked out of him and thrown about 10 feet through the air – but not actually hurt.  Course, we don’t have to throw people around – I just like this photo as a metaphor.
  9. This is a quote from Adi Da from early 1996, talking about how a flower radiates a certain kind of energy, and how as humans we might learn something from that disposition.  However, Adi Da also liked to kick ass on a regular basis.
  10. Okay, please use your own discenment in all matters, but you might try doing a search for Carol Croft for an example of one person who talks about “boosting”.
  11. Adi Da, spoken sometime in 2004, don’t have the exact date in front of me.
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17 comments · now closed

  1. Edu   Thumb up +6

    Some months I had the same idea of watching The Matrix again. But this time with a critical mindset, no longer dumbfounded by wholesale destruction, kickass kung fu moves, girls in black tights and cryptic smart looking dialogues like when I was 15 years old. So I watched all the 3 movies one after the other in one go. An so I sought to understand the whole series from a spiritual standpoint.

    Now this scene always bothered me since the first time I saw the movie:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WCcX0KQ9V0

    Why did the power plant droid didn’t just chop Neo’s head off? If the problem was humans being freed, why not just kill them in the spot? No more rebellion, pretty clever! No, never made any sense, whata silly movie! The only logical explanation was: The machines ALLOWED the humans to scape!

    In other words, humans had to be given a “chance”. This clearly matches what many today call universal law tha says that there must be balance, even for darksiders actions. Like in black magic, there must be a choice, even if a crappy one, of not playing along the spell of illusion. So perhaps the machines were not just silly computers running amok.

    But humans were given not a true choice. In fact, a lot of the movies more “philosophical” dialogues are about a idiotic “chosen one” being “pawned” from one place tho the other, while babbling like a child about his choices. It really pains me that I ever thought such numb, retarded, simple minded figure as something cool. In fact all the “heroes” can’t see a palm ahead of their noses and all their lives are dictated by the programs:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZdssVmgDJM
    [Notice the sick way that love, the only slightly spiritual part of the film, is treated. Like some biochemistry professors of today that say that love is equal to eating a box of chocolate for our brain chemistry. I just feel bad for the professor’s wife.]

    Every dialogue the human gets overwhelmed by the cold logic. They are speechless, dumbfounded. And them another round of ass kicking because that is the only thing that our “heroes” can do.

    Now, how can it be? The reason is that the matrix flows the philosophy of the materialistic mechanistic science world mindset. Without spirit we are nothing but a complex biochemical chain reaction seeking the perpetuation of it’s own existence, goaded by needs, pleasure and attachments. The emotions are just a “fluctuation” of an otherwise perfect system and moral a commonly agreed set of rules for the function of the system. This is what materialism is really all about, for in a material world, the Übermensch must logically rule it’s inferior defective cousins. This is the philosophy implicated in our current so scientific, enlighten, secular humanist (s.i.c.) society.

    The clairvoyant Rudolf Steiner wrote, in his “Philosophy of Freedom”, that when man acts as a reaction against it’s own medium, the sense world, nothing in the man really acts, he is nothing but an extension of the external reality. Only when man is guided by his spiritual impulses he is truly free, only them he knows his why’s and is really the force behind of his deeds. And so here we have two diametrically opposing philosophies, that of materialism and that of spirituality. One of causality, the other, of freedom.

    It’s materialism that makes such “agnosis” possible. Because most aspects of our lives points towards the external, people are continuously being distracted from inner knowledge, and thus from freedom. That how ultimate slavery is done.

    If “evil spiritual forces” sought to control mankind, materialism would be the philosophy of choice and mechanistic psychology the guide for a less “fluctuating” social order.

    And finally comes the scene that makes it all clear:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1GmgE7Men0

    Here we have a clairvoyant Neo being slammed by an ETHERIC SENTINEL. And here we have, under the disguise of materialistic thinking, evil non material beings ruling mankind. The Earth is dead, NATURE is dead, the Sun, the primal source of divine spiritual life, clouded by chemtrails, rejected by mankind because it was the just a source of electricity for the machines (would you even bother incarnating in such a place?). There is little of spirit in such world. The energy that the “machines” want is not electricity at all, it’s the dark, corrupted, spiritual energy of a materialistic mankind constantly hard pressed by survival inside an technological illusion, or outside an infernal reality. That is what the matrix is all about.

    The conclusion is that when mankind is ruled by it’s sensual impulses and severed from it’s spiritual identity, all choices given to us by universal law are illusions between those that have power and those that have not.

    P.S.: Wood carving of Ahriman’s head by Rudolf Steiner. Or should I say Trinity? FORMALDEHYDE FACE!!!

    http://www.parareligion.ch/2007/fs/rudolf-steiner-ahriman.jpg

    • Yeah, lots of “cryptic smart looking dialogues” in those films. I’m kind of a simpleton so I can’t understand a lot of it. Just seems like head games to me sometimes.

      I never actually made it past the first 5 minutes this time around. :P

      I like the quote you shared from Rudolf Steiner: “Only when man is guided by his spiritual impulses he is truly free, only then he knows his why’s and is really the force behind of his deeds.”

      This seems like it is probably true. Have to listen to the Heart and know why we do things. Makes sense.

      This is interesting also: “when mankind is ruled by it’s sensual impulses and severed from it’s spiritual identity, all choices given to us by universal law are illusions”.

      Thank you for sharing.

    • “I take these glasses off, she looks like a regular person.

      I put them on, formaldehyde face!”

  2. Terry Cafferty   Thumb up +7

    ‘The Matrix’ is wildly popular because it offers a fantasy world where ‘release’ and control over the dilemmas and difficulties of life come by the simple taking of a pill. Of course this very Earth world is already replete with an infinite range of such ‘pills’, from booze, sex and food to drugs, science, entertainments of all kinds, religions both exoteric and esoteric, anti-religion, money, power, success, psychologies, dominance, submission, on and on ad infinitum. But any of these (always temporarily distracting) ‘solutions’, seemingly effective at the excited moment of discovery, becomes (with repetition) less and always less effective at distraction from the nagging feeling always present behind all of that, namely that something is terrifically wrong here, horrific shit is happening all around and either is or could happen to me, and I’m trapped in it, heading for a solid rock wall at high speed with no brakes.

    Icke (espousing another popular notion as a direct counter to despair) tries to make the problem go away by declaring ‘it’ to be an illusion, just as others might declare ‘it’ to be amenable to solution by believing in Jesus and ‘accepting him into your heart’, or believing whatever notion, however mundane or outrageous. But the flip side (and it’s always there) of any belief is doubt. Sorry, but there is no release through mere hearty belief or (however much devoted) distraction.

    What then?

    In my (now nearly 70-year) life, this dilemma built to a fever pitch and drove me mad when I was 37 years old. The resolution of that madness (and its fueling dilemma) appeared in Person, altogether prior to mind, belief and doubt. You can watch a video (in two parts) of that seed moment in my life story here:
    http://adidaupclose.net/Finding_Adi_Da/terry_cafferty.html

    • Wow.

      I like what you say about all the pills life offers, and the way we try to make the horrors of life “go away” simply by labeling it an “illusion”. Which has never worked for me.

      Thank you for sharing, sir. Will have to re-read your comment a few times. Lots there to take in.

  3. DB   Thumb up +11

    The attitude of the characters in the Matrix, IMO, is nihilism. It’s what they exhibit, teach, act out. So many of our modern films and media push this message of

    nothing is real
    do what thou wilt (because nothing is real)
    if the weak get in your way, you are doing them a favor by eliminating them.

    This is modern nihilism. In our time.

    The one thread you touched upon…acting out the moment, the life, the day, the potentials – naked with love. Is what Christ taught: to become as little children. This allows us to function from am innocent level of our heart, while our ever perceptive mind can analyze, understand, and engage.

    In my experience, this leads to true freedom to any perceived illusion. One need only be their best child-like self, which sees beauty, potentials, love, God.

    From that pov, the Matrix is antiChrist and anti-heart. Which is how I’ve always seen the stolen film.

    • Yes, the “do what thou wilt” idea was something I didn’t even make a conscious connection with while rushing through my article.

      Excellent points sir, thank you for sharing.

      “Do what thou wilt” is a famous saying, in some circles. I recommend people do a search on this if they are not familiar with it – if you want to learn about the world we live in and the ideas that shape it.

      Also, the question of “true freedom” reminds me of a talk called “The Myth of Freedom” that Chögyam Trungpa gave in the 1970s in Los Angeles of all places. He said if you are free to do anything, to do whatever you want, that this ends up not being actually free, somehow. Interesting.

  4. Paul   Thumb up +3

    Another interesting consideration. I enjoy your posts.

    But I think you’re being a bit unfair to David Icke. Though I haven’t read any of his books in years, I see that one of his recent ones has the title Infinite Love Is the Only Truth: Everything Else Is Illusion. And he seems to demonstrate some passionate commitment in his own life rather than the “no need to give a shit” attitude you seem to be attributing to him.

    There is a three part Advaitic saying that I see is attributed to Ramana Maharshi here (http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2010/04/ramana-maharshi-and-self-enquiry/):

    “The world is illusory; Brahman alone is real; Brahman is the world.”

    The three together make a paradoxical point that I think is in line with your basic theme here, and that I think Icke would also affirm – he seems to be advocating Advaitism recently.

    So if he elaborates on the first part of this trilogy in one moment, as you are quoting him, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t also affirm the other two parts, as I believe he does.

    • Hi Paul,

      I appreciate your comments. I’m glad and relieved to see someone disagree with me on this blog. :)

      You’re definitely expressing a common p.o.v., I think, which is also good.

      Well I think it’s fine to take the attitude that “infinite love is the only truth” and everything else is an illusion.

      However, let’s agree that it is clearly different from the p.o.v. that “the choices you make relative to how you live… are of profound significance” – as quoted from one teacher at the end of the article.

      If infinite love is the only truth, then our own choices do not matter (if I understand the logic correctly). There is a Hindu term “Ishta” (cf. Iṣṭa-devatā) which means “chosen” or “cherished” – but there’s no need to choose anything, to make any choices or exercise “free will” under the philosophy you seem to be suggesting. There’s no need for a moment-to-moment practice with our human faculties. And I’m sure many human beings today would agree with this philosophy.

      (Even people who at one time thought a moment-to-moment practice was useful, might today be having doubts about this, based on the overwhelming influence of popular modern culture…?)

      Some might say this was also Ramana’s p.o.v. – a call to bypass the 4th stage of life, or the opening of the heart chakra, and to presume a 6th stage philosophy. Others might say Ramana’s teaching was never intended for people who wanted to bypass the 4th stage matters, questions of “right life”, etc. (In many cultures, I understand that such “non-dual” teachings were kept hidden from the common man or woman – until they had first shown profound qualifications.)

      I wish I had a copy of the “Scapegoat Book” in front of me, but as I recall Evelyn Disk also expounds the attitude you seem to be defending. Yes? He says that infinite consciousness and infinite everything-good are the only things that are true, and all else is an illusion. He expresses a great satisfaction, almost smugness, in this philosophy.

      He also seems to feel free to wrongly imprison and execute people – similar to what we see done in the world today? – because his philosophy (which I’m calling “false vedanta” or “false gnosticism”) doesn’t require anything from him – love and goodness are always already the case, so there’s no need to change our behavior.

      So people are free to adopt the disposition that “infinite love is the only truth” and “everything else is illusion” – if that seems to represent the truth to them.

      My point is that this attitude results in very different effects – now and perhaps in future lives – than saying “what you do is of profound significance.” It’s effectively a repudiation of the law of karma.

      (If you want to reply, you have to reply to your own comment, cause that’s how it’s setup here at the moment…)

      Anyway thanks mate for the discussion – it’s an interesting one. Maybe it’s simple considerations like this that determine what decisions humankind will make during this “handful of years” and what its destiny will be?

    • The inspiration for this website comes partly from the notion that ideas – not people or symbols or governments or whatever – are what rule the world, and what decide our destiny.

      And so as human beings we have the opportunity to pay attention to what those ideas are and see if we like them and enjoy their effects in our lives.

    • Paul Major   Thumb up 0

      I think that it is significant that David Icke titled his book Infinite LOVE Is the Only Truth, rather than, say, infinite happiness or bliss or contentment. Compared with those others, love at least suggests ACTION, i.e. a loving person actually manifests love in the world, acts lovingly to others, etc. So I think you are being (again) a bit unfair to Icke in dismissing him in the way you did here.

      But I think analyzing the words only goes so far, What is much more significant is what a person DOES. And while I don’t want to cast myself as a defender of Icke or suggest he is a wonderful person (or isn’t – I don’t know that much about him), he is clearly a passionate advocate of people waking up to what is going on (at least as Icke perceives it) and changing the way we live our lives, so he doesn’t seem to at all fit the disposition you’re describing – “everything is ok, so nothing matters”.

    • Hi Paul,

      Thanks for sharing your comments.

      “Infinite love is the only truth” doesn’t suggest much to me about action or having to love people. Speaking for myself, when I love somebody who upsets me, my love for them is not infinite. In case there’s any controversy about that, I hope I can assure you of this. :)

      Nor is my love particularly automatic.

      It requires a kind of “yoke”, as Christians often speak of:

      “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)

      … and likewise in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions they have their own concept of “yoke”.

      Also, relative to being hard on Mr. Icke, I guess I should clarify that this blog is intended for people who are interested in 100% truth (to the best I can arrange that). This blog is not intended as a polite venue for being a fan of every prophet and every philosopher alive in the world today. I’m not concerned with “liking” everyone’s philosophy. Depending on what a particular article is about, someone is a really nice person might end up being critiqued on this blog if he teaches something that seems less than 100% true (so far as I can discern such things). Does that make sense?

  5. Parinirvana   Thumb up +2

    This is an interesting line of inquiry.

    Whatever depends, has no existence independent of Spirit. Very simple, but cast-iron. This changeless background of not-a-thingness would be the only reality.

    However, as the objective expressions are themselves a product of reality, are they not themselves real for the duration of their existence? The real is free to identify and indulge with the outer illusions, or move back to itself. Time itself is included amongst the illusions, remember. That has enormous implications.

    Is there truly free will? That would make for a great discussion. What if Buddha’s mum had ‘vaccinated’ and he ended up autistic? Would he still have reached Enlightenment?

    Surely determinism and free will are mutually exclusive? Where does causality end? If only Spirit is free of form, how would it provide free will whilst acting through a form itself bound to causality?

    • “If only Spirit is free of form, how would it provide free will whilst acting through a form…”

      It sounds like you might be presuming that material existence is just based on chemicals mechanically colliding into each other, similar to how believers in “evolution” see the world. Yes?

      What if consciousness – and the choices we make – actually influence phenomena?

      Quantum mechanics already proved this back when my grandparents were young, at least to my satisfaction. The second you glance at something you’re already affecting things at quantum level, and the quantum level can affect much larger levels.

      I don’t understand what all the controversy is about regarding free will. I think the main controversy is so many people trying to come up with reasons not to exercise our free will – we’re all helpless victims, Jesus or Obama or somebody famous like Russell Brand is going to save us (without any effort on our part), I just read a book about advaitism that didn’t mention free will, nobody on Facebook seems to be doing much with their free will. And on and on and on. Our world is full of people who don’t seem to exericse free will, yeah? Even though I for one feel that it seems to be the number one most important element of existence. Or one of the top ones anyway.

      I think to answer your question about free will + determinism and the Buddha’s mother, we’d have to go back to the article about Darwinism, and the quote about the “spirit world”. If there is a spirit world – a world of spirits and spiritual effects and causes and all that – then maybe the Buddha had some protection in early life?

      Personally I’m not a fan of taking advaitism and throwing away all the rest of spirituality. I think it all works best together – finding out what is really real, and then having to base all our decisions on that basis afterwards…

    • Oops, I forgot to say: thank you sir for your kind remarks and for taking the time to contribute to a discussion here.

      But when I look at someone like Nisargadatta Maharaj, can I say that he did not appear to excerise his will / decision-making ability? Did he do things randomly or flippantly?

      I don’t actually know anything about the man so maybe someone could fill me in… :)

  6. Parinirvana   Thumb up 0

    No problem. I myself only know of Nisargadatta Maharaj through his most famous discourse, that I have already referenced. I still take issue with a few things he had to say, after that.

    I have yet to come across a spiritual exponent without glaring contradictions in their material, in one form or another. It’s just that, ‘I Am That’ seems the most dogma-free, empirical, sensible approach that I have encountered thus far.

    Do we really have free will? Are not the ‘decisions’ and ‘choices’ you refer to, themselves conditioned, more often than not? Where is the line drawn between inevitable causality, and free will? Can you have both?

    Is this not ego? Ego-based notional agency/doership over events in our lives, in order to bolster the qualities it seeks out, for it’s reinforcement; pride, vanity, judgement, for example. Of course, the first mistake attributable to the conceptual self/ego, and suddenly, causality runs the show, and the excuses begin.

    Free will, as a concept, breeds judgement, as may be apparent. The more you attribute the actions of others to free will, the more judgement/separation it would breed, seems to me.

    But all of this idle blah gets us nowhere. Can’t we just drop it all instead? The need to cling on to these ideas is itself an ego mechanism, to perpetuate it’s existence.

    Is this conjecture not itself born of desire? Why not inquire as to the source of the desire?

    • Parinirvana   Thumb up 0

      Note that society is designed specifically to shut down the Anahata/Heart centre, from childhood. Suppressing natural, Love-based sexuality is part of it, as Wilhelm Reich illustrated.

      If there is little of the higher Love, no amount of convoluted concepts will free the heart from the traps and distortions of the mind. The mind is fear, the heart is love. All of the different expressions are a result of those two factors, on balance, some more on one side than the other. Something like that.

      Love is intolerant of suffering. Eventually, the soul matures to the point that a true desire for freedom emerges, above all lesser considerations.

      That sincerity/earnestness is the sign of spiritual maturity, and leads to God, et cetera.

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