In The Matrix, the first world the machines made for the humans was too perfect. It was too pleasant. And the machines eventually arrived at a world for the humans that’s very similar to the world we all know.
I suspect the Wachowskis may have been influenced by the Buddhist view on our human experience, and perhaps also Alan Watts’ dream analogy.
THE WORLD IN TWO WAYS
When we talk about our world, we usually talk about our physical consensus-reality world that we – as a human being – live and function within.
Here, I am mostly talking about the world as it appears to us. Within this consensus-reality world, we may live in bliss, despair, and typically somewhere inbetween.
Alan Watts has a beautiful dream analogy.
Imagine that you can decide what to dream each night. In the beginning, most of us would want to have all our waking dreams fulfilled: a pleasant life, lots of money, loved and admired, not lacking of anything, and so on.
After a while, this gets a bit predictable and boring. It doesn’t feel real. It doesn’t challenge us. We may find ourselves get complacent.
So we decide to add a few other ingredients to spice it up. We may decide to forget we are dreaming while we are dreaming. We may throw in some challenges. We make it unpredictable. We make it into an adventure which requires something of us.
And here, we may find that we have our world. We have the world we, most of us, are already living.
If we could decide what we dream, we may end up with a world very similar to the one we are already living. It has the right balance of ease and challenge, pleasantness and discomfort. It requires something of us. It keeps us on our toes. It helps us discover and bring out more sides of ourselves.
A PERFECT EXISTENCE TO WAKE UP FROM
In Buddhism, they talk about the god, hell, and human realms.
These are states of mind. We have a pleasant blissful state of ease. A hellish realm of suffering, anger, envy, hunger, and despair. And our ordinary human realm touching on all of this and yet not stuck for too long in one or the other.
From the view of awakening, of noticing what we are, the human realm is perfect.
The blissful realm may not encourage us to question our assumptions about the world and who and what we are. Things are fine so why go digging deeper?
In a hellish realm, we may be too caught up in despair, confusion, and struggle to have the space and clarity to go deeper.
And in our ordinary human realm, we typically have the right mix between the two – and also a more neutral state – to be encouraged to question our assumptions, while having some space, stability, and clarity to actually investigate.
From the view of awakening, our ordinary human experience is perfect. It has the perfect mix of ingredients for us to want and be able to notice what we are.
CREATING IT FOR OURSELVES
When I first described our wish-fulfilling dreams in the dream analogy, I included loved, accepted, safe, and so on. I included the essentials of what most or all of us wish and long for.
It didn’t fit, because this is is really what we wish and long for it. We don’t really want money, or admiration, or success, or any of those things. We want what we think it gives us, which is love, acceptance, safety and a few more essentials.
When typically try to get this from others and the world, and although it can seem to work to some extent and for a while, it’s a precarious project. We are dependent on an always shifting world that’s not primarily here to give us what we want at this level. It lives its own life.
We are the only on in the position to give this to ourselves. When scared, confused, and suffering parts of us come up, we can give these parts of us what they really need and want, which is one or more of these essentials. We can love them. Be a safe harbor for them. See and understand them. Accept them as they are. And so on.
And by doing that, we create a perfect world for ourselves. Independent on what’s happening in our life in the world, which we ultimately cannot control, we can give our scared and suffering parts what they seek and look for.
HAPPENS WITHIN AND AS WHAT I AM
Most of us take ourselves to be this human self in the world, and that’s not wrong. And if we look, we may find we more fundamentally are something else.
Our nature is capacity for all our experiences, and what all our experiences happen within and as.
We are what the world, as it appears to us, happens within and as.
We are what our ideas of perfection and imperfection, and what they point to, happen within and as.
There is a kind of perfection here. The perfection that comes from perceiving oneness, and how all our experiences are formed within and as what we are. A perfection that all the daily life perfections and imperfections happen within and as.
In the world, we may find that all is perfectly imperfect.
So we may find that our world, as it is, is about how we would make it if it was a dream and we could decide its content. It’s perfect, in that sense.
We may find that it has the perfect mix of bliss, discomfort, and neutrality for us to want and be able to notice what we are.
We can give to ourselves, to the confused and suffering parts of us, what they need and want. We can give them the love, acceptance, safety, and other essentials they seek. We are in the perfect position to give the different parts of us what they really need and seek. Here, there is also perfection.
Our sense fields – including this human self, the wider world, and anything else – happens within and as what we are. Here too, there is a kind of perfection, a meta-perfection that includes anything we may see as perfect and imperfect in a daily life sense.
I am very aware that I am writing this from a position of privelege. I happen to live in the human realm with that mix of bliss, despair, and neutrality. Not all do. For some, the balance is way over on one side.
- the perfection of this world
- if could decide what we dream, would eventually come up with something like
- if too happy or too miserable, unable to sincerely explore, discover who and what we are
- happens within and as what I am
- oneness, the forms of consciousness, perfect as that
- any idea of perfection and imperfection, and anything they point to, happens within and as what I am
- appears perfect bc only world I know