People have long been fond of movies that hint at a reality that exists, yet we just don’t recognize.
The Matrix series starring Keanu Reaves was one such enterprise. Its premise centered around the idea that life was a digital illusion and that mere humans were subject to that dynamic. In other words, we weren’t truly free.
The character Neo somewhat stumbles or is guided into a penetration of The Matrix. That leads him into a world where a group of visionaries is determined to break free from machines that draw energy from human beings.
Science fiction tends to imitate life in spite of itself. Which is why The Matrix is intriguing in an organic way. All of life on earth is actually subject to a matrix of sorts. But it isn’t digital and there aren’t any “agents” assigned to enforce the will of machines. It is an organic matrix built on billions of years of material change and the influence of gravity, the invisible will of the universe.
The Matrix we all depend upon in reality is a series of self-evident patterns once you stop to study them. The first level is the order of the universe itself, with gravity and matter interacting in massively complex ways. Gravity isn’t perfectly understood, but we can see how it works. The universe and our galaxies and solar systems are effectively a colorized map of gravity at work.
As we dial in closer to our own solar system, we know the rates of orbit and can see the moons around Jupiter and Saturn. These relate to our own lonely moon. So we know the matrix of gravity also applies to us.
By the time we reach all the way down to the level of earth’s atmosphere, we can feel and see the effects of gravity every day. It affects everything we do from driving our cars to going out for exercise. There is no escaping it.
And yet the human race has learned to exceed the relative pull of gravity and even utilize the control of these forces, sending spaceships to the moon and putting satellites into orbit. We bounce digital information off these satellites even down to the granular level of geo-positioning to track every run, ride or swim that we do. Even if you do not use these apps knowingly, all of us willingly participate in the data-driven Matrix in our everyday lives.
Are you starting to feel The Matrix yet? Well, it’s even more interesting and unnerving than that.
Because while our planet revolves around the sun, it also rotates on its own access, an effect that results in night and day. The angle of the earth in relation to the sun also drives the seasons, winter, spring, summer and fall. The sun’s rays and the relative composition of the atmosphere determine climate along every measurable line of latitude from north to south and from east to west.
The climatological matrix is real. But human beings have been messing with the formula for climate by introducing heavy levels of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, an element of the atmosphere that helps govern how much heat is retained around the globe. In the past, volcanic eruptions and asteroid strikes have caused global climate change. But this time, it is taking place in a cumulative way, only spread over one hundred or so years.
That’s nothing in terms of geological time. Because while the earth has been traveling around the sun and spinning on its own axis, inside the earth there are massive cycles of heat exchange going on within its molten core. It occasionally bursts through the surface in what we might now label the “Neo Effect.” That is, volcanism punctures the matrix of the earth’s surface, otherwise known as “reality” to the rest of us. But what does it reveal?
Over the last fifty years we’ve discovered that the heated core of our planet and the energy it generates helps to drive the formation and reformation of the earth’s crust. Out in the deep ocean trenches around the world, magma rises up in long ridges and the sea floor splits in the middle and “spreads” east and west. The ridges of new material give off magnetic signatures by which we can detect how fast and for how long these processes have been taking place.
And out on the rim of the Pacific Ocean, there is a corresponding “ring of fire” in which volcanoes and earthquakes drive tectonic forces where continental crust scrapes and lodges until it releases either in the fury of an eruption or the deep tremors of an earthquake.
These are forces that have been taking place for billions of years. They have literally moved the continents across the face of the earth and constructed the shapes of “map” we see today. The edges of these continents match up not as a sign of some sort of magic, but as a direct reflection of the cause and effects of plate tectonics.
Because these forces have been acting on the surface of the earth for so long, the world’s climate is also directly effected and produced by the position of the continents around the earth. Each is a contributing factor to the atmosphere of the earth as well. The steamy forests found along the equator are important sources of oxygen and equally important as tools for carbon exchange as billions of plants conduct photosynthesis that literally produces the oxygen life on earth requires to survive.
But human beings have been chopping down and burning equatorial forests for centuries now. In that same time period, industrialization has contributed billions of tons of fossil fuel carbons into the atmosphere and processes like these are altering the earth’s climatological systems. These are the forces that produce climate change and are resulting in an overall trend of global warming.
Such is the functional relationship of The Matrix so far. But we have not yet explored all of the elements of this highly complex system. Because life itself is pasted like a Matrix unto its own across the surface of the earth and even deep into the oceans. Every living thing is like a digital imprint of the environment it needs to survive. Nothing in this world exists without relationship to some niche in the climate that produces a type of ecosystem.
Deep in the swamps there are species of fish, birds, insects and plants that could not possibly survive at high altitudes on the face of a mountain. Every single atom of nature is evolved to perform a particular function in a highly specific set of environmental conditions. This is the immutable fact of evolution. Nothing evolves without a purpose. No purpose even exists without evolution.
These principles apply even to the human race. Granted, people may choose to believe differently about their origins, but The Matrix of gravity and climate and evolution all function so perfectly together the ideological complaint against this organic matrix is just that, a desire to escape from its grip because the reality and responsibility of our function on earth is too grand for some people to accept.
This is the problem with the approach of religious believers seeking to dismiss the factual evidence for the organic Matrix in favor of a magical explanation for all of reality. Some abide in a belief system called ‘creationism’ that relies entirely on a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis to describe all of reality. The metaphor of scripture functions must better, for it describes the order of the universe without turning those words into rigidly conflicted claims of religious authority.
Because when you think about it, that approach actually enforces the naive outlook sense by Neo before he discovered how The Matrix actually worked. Once he got a look behind the scenes, he never wanted to go back. In fact, there was no going back.
It is just as important to realize that Neo found new meaning behind the curtain of naivete that was The Matrix. That greater meaning was more demanding of course. It required new levels of commitment to principles of concern for humanity. Not ironically, it was The Agents assigned to enforce the naivete of The Matrix that were the true enemy.
Thus as we go about our lives carrying our phones with us everywhere we go, and swipe and delete, create and comment our way through this digital reality, it is important to realize that true meaning ultimately comes through the organic forces to which we are all subject, and that is creation itself that drives that understanding, not some pale and literalistic imitation designed to control the minds of the masses and feed the machine, which is tradition.