A basic element of the spiritual path common to every culture and tradition is that the material world is full of trips and snares which beguile and entrap the seeker. This usually expands into teachings that life as we know it is a prison which must be escaped, a dream from which we must awaken, an illusion which we must penetrate in order to attain the real.
What does this mean in terms of life as we actually experience it day to day? First, that this life is not what it seems, and our experience of it is false. If you’re watching a movie, playing a video game, or living a “second life” in simulated computer-animated environments, you know that what you’re seeing and experiencing is not real in the same sense as physical life in the outside world. But what if this life itself is a simulation in a larger sense? This was the thesis of Jean Baudrillard, a postmodernist philosopher whose book Simulacra and Simulation inspired the Matrix movie, and even briefly appeared in it.
The key to the hidden reality expressed in the philosophy and the fiction lies in the nature of the global gridwork of electronic media. It impacts the brain, the soul, and society in certain ways, programming the people like robots, addicting them to substances, sex, and the media themselves. The way people experience the world today is almost totally through the media. This means that what they perceive as reality is actually just the ongoing global simulcast from all the media, an artificially-generated collective hallucination ~ in a word, the Matrix. If you can’t live without the media, then this is your prison, the dream from which you can’t awaken, the illusion to which you’re enslaved.
The second dharma is to begin to unplug. You can start right now, though it’ll be easier with the support of like-minded people who are also awakening.
We can clarify some guidelines. Since the media-matrix is now the standard form of communication in this society, we have no choice but to use it to try to awaken people from it. A symbolic example is in the movie: the people who had liberated themselves from the Matrix and restored themselves to real physical life had no choice but to project themselves as simulations back into the Matrix in their efforts to overthrow it. Perhaps the oldest Western symbol of the Matrix is Plato’s cave, in which the prisoners believed reality to be the shadows on the wall. There again, someone who had escaped into the sunlight and discovered the truth had to go back and try to communicate it to the others by making shadows on the wall.
So a first step is to begin to eliminate from your life media activity that is not necessary for communication, work, education, and practical/survival purposes. A serious effort in this direction will begin to reveal the depths of your addiction to media, and at this point you can get an idea of the magnitude of the challenge, and evaluate further steps. Attempts to go cold turkey might be inadvisable; it would probably be as difficult as quitting heroin or meth. The immediate objective is to awaken to the challenge, and begin.
RamaDharma is for the intrepid few who want to unplug from their pods in the Matrix ~ who are willing and able to forsake its pleasures, snares, and titillations for the harder, cleaner, self-disciplined life that can lay the foundation for a New Aeon.
Back to Dharma 1, Step 2
Go to the first post and read the whole Dharma in chronological order.