Have you ever stood and stared at it?
“Have you ever stood and stared at it?
Marveled at its beauty, its genius?
Billions of people, just living out their lives, oblivious.
“Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect world where none suffered, where everyone would be happy?
It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost.
Some believed that we [machines] lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world but I believe that as a species human beings define their reality through misery and suffering.”
Agent Smith talking to Morpheus within the movie “The Matrix.”
Is Agent Smith correct that human beings can not tolerate perfect conditions in their lives and seek to either destroy or reject them when they happen to occur? Are we capable of being happy even when things are good in our lives? It is a good question to ask, not of our species but of ourselves. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself what is in the way of you being happy right now?
I believe there is some truth to the accusation that Agent Smith makes. I think he’s right in that there is something fundamental to our minds that is ever ready to complain and may even define itself by its complaints. That part of our minds might not even know what to do with itself if it ever found itself without something to complain about. I think it is fair to say that this part of our minds cannot be satisfied. There is a lot of evidence for this not only in society as a whole but also within our day to day experiences. We can call to mind many examples of very wealthy people who show a continual hunger for more money. We might be able to remember a few moments in our lives when we got what we wanted and within a few minutes were looking for something more.
My experience with the internet is something like this. There is something about using the internet in any given moment that I may find interesting but it is never satisfying enough to stop and not search again the next day. Exciting discoveries on the internet most often lead, for me at least, to an even greater desire to find something similar the next day. Possibly, the excitement of some sudden discovery on the internet one day is made exciting only by the countless other disappointing searches on other days; in other words, it may be the imperfection of the internet combined with its occasional perfection that makes it so compelling. If it was consistently perfect would I lose interest completely? So then, do I somehow thrive on its imperfection? And similarly, would I reject my life if it was too perfect? Do I really want a perfect life? Do I really want enlightenment? Am I rejecting the act of “waking up” because it’s too perfect and so, not exciting enough?
Sometimes I hear people say that they are not really interested in going to “Heaven” because it sounds boring to them. Many people define their lives by their misdeeds and misadventures but is this, as Agent Smith insinuates, the same as clinging to suffering? Maybe its more like an attachment to a life where we might suffer. We don’t want to suffer but we need the possibility of suffering to allow for the possibility of excitement. The possibility of suffering, therefore, creates the possibility of excitement just like the many failed internet searches allow for the excitement of trying again, hoping for a different result. Is this the same dead end loop described by the wheel of samsara or the prison of reincarnation? Are we just going round and round on the same wheel, endlessly addicted to our complaints because of our need for even the possibility of excitement?