Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Many Meaning of Matrix

Larry Wachowski

The Matrix trilogy is the most successful cinematic venture of the past several decades. Together, The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, and The Matrix Revolutions have grossed over three billion dollars worldwide, and the story continues with The Animatrix, The Matrix Comics, and The Matrix Online. The attention of audiences worldwide has been captured by the mind-bending storyline of these films and their phenomenal special effects, but the perennial question remains: What does it all mean? Larry and Andy Wachowski, the writers and directors of The Matrix trilogy, have been reluctant to share their interpretation of the films from day one, fearing that whatever they said would turn into dogma. However, this did present a problem for Warner Brothers when producing The Matrix DVD boxed set (to be released this fall). How do you have a director's commentary—a must for any boxed set—when the directors refuse to comment? What the Wachowskis did was to ask Ken Wilber and Cornel West to do the director's commentary on all 3 films. The following dialogue was recorded right before Ken flew to LA to meet with Larry and Cornel and do the recorded commentary. Ken and Cornel recorded 15 hours of commentary, which has been edited down to 6 hours to fit the 3 films, and the boxed set with all 3 films—and 6 hours of Ken and Cornel's commentary—will be released in October. In the following dialogue, for the first time ever, we are lucky enough to hear Larry publicly comment on this situation. As he explains, the movies were in many ways designed not to give answers, but to introduce questions. What does it mean to be human? What is reality? Who is in control? Does God exist? and so on. If he was to explain what he thought the movies meant, he would be providing people with another concept of reality to either accept or reject—either way, the open space created by the question would vanish. The Matrix injected mainstream culture with a straight shot of the surreal, where fact and fiction and truth and appearance are not grounded in a single pre-given "reality," because reality is simply what appears to be real. In a dream, the dream is real—until you wake up. In the Matrix, the Matrix is real—until you wake up. But what if you never woke up? It's questions like that that Larry wished to inspire, and he certainly succeeded. As Ken points out, the first movie is fairly easy to grok: everything in the Matrix is bad, everything outside of the Matrix is good. Everyone inside the Matrix is trapped, everyone outside the Matrix is free, and so on. But twenty minutes into part 2, Reloaded, and the audience discovers that the Oracle is a machine program, at which point most people go: um, what? What had begun as a simple good guy/bad guy movie had just become a complex piece of literature, with different levels of interpretation and a very sophisticated model of reality. Ken suggests that it's not until the last twenty minutes of part 3, Revolutions, that the key to the trilogy is revealed: although—and perhaps because—Neo is physically blind, he sees the machines as luminous, golden light—not quite how the "bad guys" are seen in most movies. And yet Neo is unmistakable in what he says to Trinity: "If you could see them as I see them, they are all made of Light...." Indeed, the machines represent Spirit, but Spirit as alienated and therefore attacking.... Thus, as Ken summarizes a more integral interpretation (that takes into account what is revealed in all three films), Zion represents body (filmed in blue tint), the Matrix represents mind (green tint), and the machines—this is the kicker revealed in part 3—represent spirit (golden tint). For those of you keeping track, this is indeed quite similar to the Great Nest of Being as taught by the world's wisdom traditions, a spectrum of being and consciousness reaching from body to mind to spirit. Borrowing from the wisdom of Christian mysticism, "The flames of Hell are but God's love denied," and so an alienated and dissociated spirit manifests as an army of machines bent on destroying humankind. It is only in the integration of body, mind, and spirit that all three are redeemed and peace returns. Ken and Larry go on to discuss their shared lifelong passion for philosophy. As Ken points out, Larry is just about as philosophically/spiritually well read as anyone you're likely to find, and The Matrix films are a stunning tribute to that fact. Larry said that when he found Ken's work, "It was like Schopenhauer discovering the Upanishads." Ken said that was grandiose enough to quote. Whereas Ken's books have been known to disrupt many a happy home (my spouse won't shut up about quadrants!), Larry's love of philosophy seems to run in the family: Larry and his father are reading Sex, Ecology, Spirituality together. Très cool! This dialogue is meant to highlight what a more integral view of interpretation involves. In chapters 4 and 5 of The Eye of Spirit, Ken suggests that any work of art can be interpreted from at least four or five major perspectives, none of which is privileged, all of which are important. These include: the artist's original intent (what did the artist himself or herself mean by this artwork?); unconscious factors in the artist; the cultural background of the artist; and the viewer response (what does the artwork mean to different viewers of the artwork?). [If you would like to download a pdf of these two chapters, please click here.] The Wachowskis did not want their own original intent to overpower the equally legitimate viewer response, and so they remained thunderously silent about their original intent. But, as this dialogue makes clear, Larry feels that perhaps the time is now ripe for some more integral interpretations of The Matrix trilogy that include all of those perspectives, which is why he and Ken have begun having these types of more public dialogues and commentaries. There is no single, definitive interpretation of The Matrix, because the sum total of perspectives is infinite. But there are more integral and less integral interpretations, and the integral interpretations—up to this point— have been getting the short end of the stick, something this dialogue is intended to end. Once again, Integral Naked is proud to present a conversation you will truly hear nowhere else.
From Integral

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Forrest Gump- Featherlitelight Existence
Forrest Gump is an interesting movie made in the nineties based on similar titled book enacted by Tom Hanks.On the surface this winner of many oscars is a story about a simpleton who goes through his life`s destiny in an eventful manner to accidentally attain celebrity status .His love jenny goes through hippie culture and rebelling with or without cause till she finds her redemption in him.
Most reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are not very charitable despite huge popularity of the movie.Many have felt its a sentimental movie which underscores that ignorance is bliss and that in order to do well its better to be an idiot like Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump.It is only naive to look at the movie so dumbly about a dumb guy.Here is why I think the movie has great life`s philosophy metaphorically captured with a strong narrative.

Forrest Gump has no predetermined concept of life.His marginally low IQ may appear to make him an idiot but he isnot.He is in a manner antithesis of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.Bill was self sentred and finds his redemption in living in the now after a grind of frustration and hopelessness.Forrest intutively knew the right things to do in life.In a a dialogue with Jenny he said it.
Jenny: Do you ever dream, Forrest, about who you're gonna be?
Forrest: Who I'm gonna be?
Jenny: Yeah.
Forrest: Aren't I going to be me?

Dont we all forget to be just me in order to achieve fame.Thats what drove jenny to selfdestruction in counter culture lifestyle.Drugs asnd Bohemy with added anti establishment cause celebre.
Forrest is an idiot who doesnot understand racism or anti racial movement but he knows what is right when he risks his life to save the life of his friend Bubba in vietnam war situation.Bubba was Black.
Forrest is an idiot who didnot understand anti war and beieved his sole purpose in joining army was to obey his superior.But he knew when not to obey his leuitnant when it came to saving human life.
Forrest is an idiot who knew to keep faith on his momma and understand that life is a chocolate box.You never know whats inside.He lived life truly as it came.Is this not choiceless awareness.
Forrest was an idiot who knew that promise are meant to be kept and promise he did keep with his dead friend Bubba by making him equal partner posthumously in shrimp boat business.
Forrest was an idiot who knew love very well.It was not based on possession nor on jealousy.He was alright with jenny`s rejection and and not jealous of her other friends but he knew that hurting somebody is not love which jenny`s boyfriend did it to her.His famous lines goes:
Forrest: Will you marry me? I'd make a good husband, Jenny.
Jenny: You would, Forrest.
Forrest: But you won't marry me.
Jenny: You don't want to marry me.
Forrest: Why don't you love me, Jenny? I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is.

He is an idiot who very well understood the philosophy of life.
Here it goes:I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it's both. Maybe both is happening at the same time.

Was forrest Gump an idiot or someone who lived a pure life of joy,love,compassion and recognised destiny.He lived life dying to every moment and took each day as new.There was no regret or rancour for his low IQ or the abuses he suffered from childhood.In a symbolic way when he enters the school bus other children are not willing to have him near but he found his friend in jenny.Though he suffered similar rejection at all stages of life as a local idiot he found true friends in jenny and Bubba and later on Lt Dan.
When he felt like running he ran for three years.When he was tired he slept.When he was hungry he ate.Meeting U S presidents three times in his life didnot mean a thing to him.Receiving the medal of Honour was not a matter of pride.He simply gave it away to his love jenny.

In most difficult terrain of vietnam war he finds happiness .
Here it goes:Forrest: Yes. Well, I, I don't know. Sometimes it would stop raining long enough for the stars to come out. And then it was nice. It was like just before the sun goes to bed down on the bay... There was over a million sparkles on the water. Like that mountain lake. It was so clear, Jenny. It looks like there were two skies, one on top of the other. And then in the desert, when the sun comes up... I couldn't tell where heavens stopped and the earth began. It was so beautiful.

He indeed lived life like a feather floating in air and doing his best wherever the breeze of times took him.Thats how the movie begins and ends with, a floating feather.A true featherlight existence in which there was no yesterday, no achiever but only joy of living.An epitome of virtue he was truly living liberated existence.
He was indeed J. Krishnamurti`s ideal man totally unconditioned and living with love ,passion and compassion.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Famous one liners from Forrest Gump

I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it's both.

Forrest Gump: Stupid is as stupid does.
Momma said that the Forrest part was to remind me that sometimes we all do things that, well, just don't make no sense.
Forrest Gump: I'm not a smart man... but I know what love is.
Mrs. Gump: It's my time. It's just my time. Oh, now, don't you be afraid, sweetheart. Death is just a part of life. It's something we're all destined to do. I didn't know it, but I was destined to be your momma. I did the best I could.
Forrest: You did good, Momma.
Mrs. Gump: Well, I happened to believe you make your own destiny. You have to do the best with what God gave you.
Forrest: What's my destiny, Momma?
Mrs. Gump: You're gonna have to figure that out for yourself. Life is a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you're gonna get.

Forrest Gump: Mama always said, dying was a part of life.
Jenny: Do you ever dream, Forrest, about who you're gonna be?
Forrest: Who I'm gonna be?
Jenny: Yeah. `
Forrest: Aren't I going to be me?

Forrest Gump: That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I'd just run across the great state of Alabama. And that's what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going.
Forrest: Yes. Well, I, I don't know. Sometimes it would stop raining long enough for the stars to come out. And then it was nice. It was like just before the sun goes to bed down on the bay... There was over a million sparkles on the water. Like that mountain lake. It was so clear, Jenny. It looks like there were two skies, one on top of the other. And then in the desert, when the sun comes up... I couldn't tell where heavens stopped and the earth began. It was so beautiful.
Jenny: I wish I could have been there with you.
Forrest: You were.

Forrest Gump: And cause I was a gazillionaire, and I liked doin it so much, I cut that grass for free.

And now the best one.

I eat whenI am hungry and sleep when I am tired.Surely Tom hanks must have been a zen master


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mind Can Move Mountains

In an earlier post Change Your Mind to Change Your Brain ,a book review of Sharon Begleys similar titled book I have touched upon possibility of mutation of brain cells through meditation as talked about by J.Krishnamurti .According to Buddha external life experiences and environment can shape your brain and therefore a meditative mind can alter the brain chemistry .It is very prophetic coming out of experiential observation 2500 years ago.In sharp contrast such a possibility is heretic and outside the portal of scientific methodology to even consider under modern science .Science by definition under the influence of cartesian philosophy is rooted in materialism as guiding principle of humanity.This blogpost attempts to understand the scientific breakthrough achieved in neuroscience in the last two or three decades and examines the postulation of Buddha in the light of new scientific understanding.Buddhist postulation is mainly Dalai Lama`s views to avoid any arbitrary interpretational hazard.
First about the book Change your mind and change your brain.It maps the scientific view of brain in the last hundred years and starts from the prevailing view to most recent cutting edge breakthrough breaking the previous myths on brain structure and its functions.
Prevailing View:A fast breaking Myth
1) We are almost having the same brain after the age of two or three.After that brain cells donot regenerate.Only synapses may regenerate but actual neurons do not regenerate.
2) Brain is structured to function as per its mapped geography.It is known as cortical organisation.The visual cortex does seeing,auditory cortex does hearing,motor cortex does muscular functions and so on.
3)Neurons donot regenerate just the way skin regenerates or liver regenerates.
4)Brain damage cannot be reversed.hence stroke, OCD and other brain related malfunctioning are difficult to treat.
5)There are neural pathways and man is a slave to his neural pathway borne out of habits or DNA and nothing can be done much about it.He is hardwired.
Emerging hypothesis:
1) Brain is not fixed immutable structure governed by birth or DNA.It is subject to evolution in the present lifetime at any age.It is knownas neuroplasticity. Brains capacity to change.
2) It changes very much with the phenonmenon of neurogenesis in which neurons are regenerated in a manner different from cell division(as neurons are not cells) but in its unique way.
3)Cortical reorganisation is very much possible.Brain geography as mapped today is not sacrosanct.Blind man use visual cortex to hear and deaf use auditory cortex to see peripherally.Hearing the lightening and seeing the thunder phenonmenon.
4)Experiments on mice,monkeys.ferrets and birds and human beings all validate in a foolproof manner cortical reorganisation of brain structure and functions.Any area unused in brain finds its alternative use sooner than later.It is known as malleability of brain matter.
5) Stroke patients and OCD patients have benefited on therapy based on neurogenesis and brain malleability.
6) Science accepts that brain influences mind so far.
But is reverse also true? Can mind influence brain? Science is hazy on the subject but neuroscience is actively seized with the possibility and substantial progress is done on that hypothesis.
Buddhism always held out that meditation can alter human behaviour.It however had no scientific backing except the personal experiences of intense meditators or some scientific observation that meditators emit gamma waves which indicate stress free condition.But if brain affect mind surely mind can affect brain in which case a whole exciting new world of possibilities open up.Mankind can volitionally become peace ful,compassionate and less self centred. Recent experiments on meditators who have done more than 10000 hrs of meditation does indicate the possibilty of mind changing brain as indicated by mri imaging,pet imaging etc.As of today OCD patients treated with induced constraint therapy where they mentally resolve to break their habitual pattern without drugs have met with reasonable success.A classic case of mind altering brain.Similar experiments on stroke patients have also met with amazing success.
Implications:A Buddhist Perspective
Human consciousness is not fixed immutable mental state.It is like a river which is ever changing,ever fluctuating.However the course of the river is not entirely DNA driven helpless force.It can be observed and altered in volitionally without compulsion.
If life is a selfless streamof consciousness then this stream can be made pure by excercising choiceless awareness.In this meditation there is absolutely non judgemental observation of thoughts,intentions,behaviour such that there is no self criticising or controlling.Such a state of awareness affects brain behaviour .The quietitude brings about dissolution of cravings and aversions.The old neural pathways undergo a fading phase out and a different form of energy is released.In short mind alters brain behaviour by altering its circuitry.In addition neurogenesis and neuroplasticity ensure a different consciousness which is not only free from pursuit of cravings but is non violent loving,caring and compassionateIt is like cultivating skillsets which inculcate love and compassion by sculpting desired neural pathways .Risking the hazard of trivialising it means happiness can be ordered which is not preposterous as eastern philosophies alwayd held out that happiness is individualistic and lies within.Neuroplasticity defies the deterministic view of genes.As a human I have a choice in how I react that who I am depends on the choices I make and that who I am is therefore my responsibility.
Why is this important:
Science and religion are traditionally viewed as the twain that shall never meet.Nowhere in human history are we closer in the sense that both starting from different end of the bridge are nearing closer at the centre.Science is engaged in providing bulwark of reason to religion without resorting to element of faith.There are two kinds of people in the world.One guided by faith and one skeptical of faith.Now there is nothing wrong in faith except that it can misguide or fail to deliver its noble purpose of alleviating human suffering.On the other hand modern science can strengthen the arguments of religion with its validation process .As faith based religion has divided people and created so much carnage perhaps the new age religion will draw lot of strength from science substituting faith with reason.Then faith will be conviction not a priori but post facto.Indeed science can meet Buddha.The wait is not very far..
(This article is inspired by Sharon Begley`s book Train your mind change your brain)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Congrats, You won a lottery Ticket

Warren Buffet on Life in his usual inimical witty style.
Imagine that it is 24 hours before you are born. A genie comes to you and says that you get to design how the world will be before you enter it.You say, 'That sounds great. But what's the catch?' The genie says, 'There is only one catch. You will go to that barrel over there filled with 6billiontickets. You will pick one ticket at random, and that ticket will define who you will be in your world. It could say male; it could say female.Itcould say you will be born in the U.S.; it could say you will be born inBangladesh. It could say black; it could say white. It could sayintelligent; it could say retarded. It could say rich; it could saypoor.
'You should design the world in a way that is independent of what ticket you get.You got your ticket. If you now had the chance to pick 100 tickets from that barrel, but you had to give up your current life and to be one of the hundred picked, would you do it? Chances are, maybe 4 or 5 of thehundredwill say you will be born in the U.S. Maybe one will say you are above average intelligence. Maybe one will say you have above average income.Would you play? [pauses] ...Of course you wouldn't. You wouldn'tplay,which means you are in the top 1% of society. We are so lucky; most people in the world would give anything to play."
The Main Act:
Cut to the movie Bedazzled by Harold Ramis.A loaded Comedy.
Elliot Richards, a nerdy low-level technical advisor, makes a deal with the Devil (who happens to be a gorgeous woman, Liz Hurley ) to fulfill his wildest dreams of becoming rich, powerful and sexy. In exchange for his soul, the Devil temptress grants him seven wishes but they backfire. After asking to be rich, powerful and married to Alison, Elliot is transformed overnight into a Colombian drug lord. After wishing to become the "most sensitive man in the world," he ends up a sniveling, driveling fool. Even wishes to become a rock and roll superstar and basketball powerhouse don't pan out.He becomes US president as Abraham Lincoln soon to be assassinated.All the seven wishes turn out to be nightmarish forcing him to run to the devil to wriggle out of the contract.In the end he discovers himself in his current form with all his strengths and weaknesses and finds his dreamgirl .
Amazingly, bothe Harold Ramis and Warren Buffet say quite a lot in their own unique style of story telling format.In a hugely entertaining way oneis reminded of the bliss of current existence vis a vis imaginary life of rich and powerful as everyonesecretly covets.
One is born with a ticket and thats the best ticket. One could be rich and cancerous.I one could be healthy but poor.One could be successful and yet unhappy.One could be married and without child.One could be rich, educated ,healthy, successful and still in trouble.There is no ideal romanticised life situation better than the existing one .What matters is what you do with the existing life potential than live in the fantasy of concocted imaginative life wish.You have already win the lottery ticket.Go ahead and make the most of it.
Indeed,You should design the world in a way that is independent of what ticket you get.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Ego - Passion

Non Ego - Compassion

Ego - Calculative

Non Ego - Simple

Ego - Cunning

Non Ego - Kindness

Ego - Logical

Non Ego - Intuitive

Ego - Acquisitive, Fear, Anxiety, Attachment, Competitive Etc.

Non Ego - Freed of Above
No - Thingness

From Sincerity Comes Truthfulness

From Truthfulness Comes Feeling

From Feelings Comes Harmlessness

From Harmlessness Comes Unselfishness

From Unselfishness Comes Detachment

From Detachment Comes Objectiveness

From Objectiveness Comes Clarity

From Clarity Comes Concentration

From Concentration Comes Observations

From Observations Comes Self – Real

From Self – Real Comes Alertness

From Alertness Comes Enlightenment

From Enlightenment Comes Bliss

AM I different?

In the maze of meandering mind
And wandering thoughts while
Meditating I realize life
Is but an existence.
The same as any other element
Of nature. Just energy, sheer peace .

Beads of events/phenomena/stimulus-response strung together on thread of thought through passage of time by the function of memory lead to solidification of functional entity called ‘I’.

“I’ gains permanence thanx to memory, solidifies to an extent it becomes a rock solid nearly real entity. Though fictional it is a pseudo reality that cannot be wished away.

Lets calls this ‘I’ a center. Thus it ‘I’ as a center is nothing but a product if thought. Rather it is a thought, an idea which is united by series of likes / dislikes, experiences, relations to people. In short phenomenal responses since childhood memories.

Such a center is akin to prison wall. Captures inside the center is being. The unconditioned, non individualistic, universal, nameless, unexperienciable. (Experiencible is ‘I’ the psendo entity, as experience is a recall if memory.Is this a hypothesis or verifiable conclusion?

Since the center is bound on the glue of memory it can be easily dissolved now itself. Simply become aware of thought & its journey. As the emergence of I – the actual process of solidification gather clarity thru observation of thoughts. Such an awareness in daily life moment to moment being constantly alert stems the process of ‘I’ forming. Then there is simply being, when observer is observed.

Observation prevents ‘I’ formation just as lack of awareness creates ‘I’ entity. Observation of a phenomena determines the possibility of the phenomena as per quantum physics.
So what does one go from here. A daily life awareness leads to right action. As there is dissolution of ‘I’ there is dissolution if desires and all encumbering qualities such as discontent, sorrow, incompleteness, hopes, fears, need for achievement.

Such a process is true meditation. Pranayam, physical exercise and seated meditation are necessary but not the sufficient conditions to become aware. It does help in taming of the mind ensuring better psychological & physical health and maintaining mind bodyvehicle.

As we realize that I is a bunch of thought as a matter of fact ,what is the next step?

Right action, right motivation, passion and compassion and right conduct follows as a natural outcome without effort. Just as two chemicals when combined release heat in exothermic reaction .Right Conduct is a natural automatic compelling outcome of aware human behaviour.

Human behaviour is destined to establish the right course of action. There is no escaping that knower knows the truth. The sky is clear just as clouds dispense. Similarly self / being is transparent when thoughts dispense.

Mind as an vehicle with thought as a tool is as much real as nails on the toe. Just as nail protect the toe mind help survival and lining. Just like clipping an outgrown nail we can clip pernicious effect of mind through meditation.

Mind is a turbulent, waterbody disturbed by stones of ‘me’ my greatness, my superiority, my achievements, my intelligence, my my, my, vs yours, yours, yours. Stop stone throwing and mind becomes a calm waterbody. Mind`s destiny is madhouse said osho.Captured in the madhouse is the "I"which when freed is a whole new world of freedom

Would a being who is not guided by ‘I’ concept live life fully, rightfully. Is there a danger of falling into non motivational sloth. Traditionally the compelling force of doing better than the neighbour has led human actions towards both extraordinary achievements as well as destructive behaviour. The so called right action / right conduct comes to enlightened Buddhas, siddhi. Yogis, accomplished beings. In daily life the discipline to be aware every moment is lost leading to yo-yo between I and non I ness.

May be each one finds out for himself. May be awareness has the power to lay the path of action.

If I have no reference to myself. What happens?

There is no memory of the past
There is no imagination of future

There is no reference to people who are around me
Or who were with me

There is no malice towards anyone
There is no attachment towards anyone

There is no memory therefore no desire
To continuity of pleasant experience,
Nor any regrets of unpleasant experience.

In such a state there is direct perception.
A ‘mindless’ existence.

There is a state of existence without
The interference of mind

Such a state is perhaps pure consciousness
A state of meditation

Can such a state exist in daily life
With usage of mind only as tool at the command of self.

Isn’t such a self, universal.
There is no such self which is personal or proprietary.