What is choice?
November 30, 2008 § Leave a comment
“We cannot see past the choices we do not understand.”
Is it merely just an illusion or is it truly something of free will?
I watched the entire Matrix trilogy last night and it is always interesting when I re-watch movies or re-read books and realize things that I did not realize before….
At the end of the third Matrix movie, Matrix Revolutions, Smith (the destructive program that constantly seeks more power) is highly frustrated with Neo (aka Mr. Anderson). Smith is frustrated with Neo because Neo keeps getting back up, he keeps persisting and for the life of him, Smith cannot understand why. And as Smith is yelling “Why Mr. Anderson, why?!” as to why Neo continues to persist when everything else is falling apart or seems completely full of despair, Neo tells him quite simply: “I choose to.”.
And in the past, when I first saw this movie and every other time afterwards, I always saw that whole scene as very heroic of Neo and as good conquering over evil. I don’t necessarily see it that way anymore. It is not to take away Neo’s hero status but simply, I now see the sheer simplicity of Neo’s statement.
I wrote a while back about a 3-day course that I took and how it opened my eyes to a lot of different concepts. And in the course, we heard about choice, about the lack of meaning in life, and so much more.
However, watching it on the screen last night made me realize something (probably again, lol).
Choice is quite simple actually. Choice is freedom from reasons or excuses. Choice is taking a stand not because it is the “right” thing to do, the “best” thing to do, the “lesser of two evils”, or whatever reasons people come up with in order to explain why they do what they do.
Choice is simply taking a stand. We don’t need any reasons or justifications for why we do what we do. We really don’t. We think that we need these justifications because we think that we need to explain ourselves to other people. We think that we need to say something that is going to make sense to other people. We think that we need people to understand us or that we have to be or act or look or sound or smell a certain way for people to understand and accept us.
And I do not blame us for believing that up to this point — we have been taught that we should always have reasons for what we believe/do/think because we always had to answer to authority figures. But I do believe we have to take responsibility for continuing to believe the hype after we know that we don’t need to answer to anyone but ourselves.
It sounds a bit of an isolationist point, I know, however it is true. If you lie to someone in order to explain your position on something — you have to deal with yourself at the end of the day. If you are honest with someone and they get angry with you for your honest viewpoint — you still have to deal with yourself at the end of the day. You are always with you. There is nothing you can do about it, so you might as well just start answering to yourself.
And that is the whole point of The Matrix trilogy. Throughout the entire trilogy, we (along with the characters) search for the meaning of life, the meaning of purpose, the distinction between having choice and between being controlled. Now, I believe that the searching for the why in life is all null and void. Not because it is not interesting or even fulfilling sometimes but because we can find reasons/justifications/excuses for ANY AND EVERYTHING in this life. And if any and everything in this life can be substantiated, than it is all placed on a level playing field and there is no one viewpoint, way of life, belief system, society, culture, political system, whatever that trumps another. They are all on the same playing field…so it is just a matter of you choosing the one that works for you. And you know what works for you by what feels best to you. Plain and simple. And when it no longer fits, then you shed it and move on to something else.
If you realize, those who are at peace throughout The Matrix trilogy are those who do not ask why, who do not give any reasons for who they are, what they do, or why they know certain things (such as the Keymaker or even the mean French guy). They are just who they are, who they believe themselves to be, with no reasons or justifications. They just are. And Neo finally gets it at the end…so he knows what he has to do. He chooses to be who he is, instead of fighting it or trying to understand why.
At the end, Neo finally realizes that his choice lies in choosing to be himself with no reasons/justifications that make sense to anyone else or even himself. He just chooses to be. And in choosing to be himself, he opens himself up to his own possibilities and is no longer afraid of accepting them.
You see, by us constantly trying to figure out WHY we do what we do, we are unconsciously placing ourselves in a box and limiting ourselves when we think we are expanding ourselves. Let go of trying to understand WHY you do what you do, why you are who you are, and you will be able to see past your own choices to the possibilities that lie ahead. If you do not know WHY you are who you are and you choose to accept yourself without any substantiation — you are stepping out on faith in yourself. And faith in yourself, avid faith in yourself, opens the field up for so many possibilities. So you see, Neo finally understood at the end that it is not about the WHY but instead about our commitment to ourselves without understanding the WHY. That is faith.
My grandma always had a quote up in her kitchen and now I finally get it:
“You can ask God the who, what, where, when, and how. But never ask Him why.”
I think it is because God knows that we will get stuck at the why because any reason can be the why.
Let go of the why and you can be anyone, anywhere, anytime, anyhow — the possibilities are endless.
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