Our Matrix-Like World, The Hero’s Journey, and How It Applies to You
We live in a Matrix-like world.
In fact, some very smart people like Elon Musk believe it’s possible we are living in an actual simulation.
This debate is beyond the scope of this post, but it is fascinating to think about.
Whether or not we are in a real-life Matrix, our lives are initially bound by constraints.
Paradoxically, when we are kids and our minds are the freest is when we experience the most physical constraints.
As we grow older, we experience more metaphysical constraints.
Some of these are laws that govern the geographic areas where we live. Some are constraints imposed on us by society. Some are constraints we create for ourselves in the form of personal beliefs and values.
In each of these cases, the constraints can be bent or broken.
People can change their belief systems. Governments can enact new laws. Even societal norms can change (gradually or rapidly).
Some things that are socially acceptable today were socially unacceptable 50 years ago and vice versa.
As recently as 2020, most people didn’t believe it would be possible for all white-collar employees to work from home. But it happened.
In The Matrix, Neo held a job at a prestigious software company. On the surface, he was doing fine. But he knew there was more to life. He didn’t know what it was, but he felt it deep within himself. He knew his existence was destined for something greater than a cubicle.
Neo had to undergo the classic hero’s journey to realize his potential:
- The ordinary world (The Matrix)
- The call to adventure (Trinity)
- The initial refusal of the call (climbing back off the ledge and allowing agents to arrest him)
- The mentor (Morpheus)
In doing this, Neo found his tribe.
He discovered the truth.
He learned how to train his mind to overcome the constraints of the Matrix, even defying death.
I relate very strongly to all of this.
I know The Matrix is sci-fi… but is our world really that different?
Maybe in 1999 when the film was first released. But how about now?
Jumping back to Elon, just look at the things he is doing to propel humanity forward. This dude is constantly pushing the boundaries of computing and engineering beyond what anyone thought was possible.
Look at what David Sinclair is showing us about extending human life.
If Elon can colonize Mars and David can reverse aging, then surely I can break through some of my own self-imposed constraints:
- Find a way to earn enough passive income to never have to work in a cubicle again
- Enjoy peak health and vitality well beyond my 20s and 30s
- Feel happy and fulfilled instead of anxious about the future
I can do all of this by seeking the truth and reprogramming my mind, just like Neo did… and so can you.
You are capable of far more than you think.
There’s a turning point in the movie when Neo encounters an agent, but doesn’t run away like he has been told to do.
Instead, he prepares to fight.
Trinity asks, “What is he doing?”
Morpheus replies, “He’s beginning to believe.”
Neo does indeed fight the agent. And at first (as often happens when we take on new challenges), he gets his ass kicked. But his belief is so strong, he ultimately prevails.
This is what trying not to suck at life is all about.
It’s getting your ass kicked by life until you realize your potential.
This is why Neo inspires me.
This is why Neo is my avatar.
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