Breaking Out of the Matrix: An Endless Journey
There is an interpretation of 1999’s The Matrix which I am partial to.
On the surface, the film seems to tell the story of a man, Neo, who wakes up to the fact that his world is a manufactured reality; glitches and hints eventually lead him to discover his mentor, Morpheus, who offers him a choice between two pills: “You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” Upon taking the red pill he is forcibly woken up into a future techno-dystopia, where robotic overlords imprison humans in pods, and keep them sedated by plugging them into a computer simulation known as the “Matrix”, a simulation of the late 20th century.
Neo joins the ragtag human resistance who are fighting the machines in the real world, and eventually learns that he is “The One”, foretold by the Oracle (herself a computer program), and develops super-human abilities within the Matrix; he finally sees it for what it is – nothing but code, ones and zeroes – and develops the ability to manipulate his surroundings, becoming an invincible warrior.
Eventually he serves as the Christ-like sacrifice that saves the machines from the psychic-toxin that their prison created (embodied in his nemesis Agent Smith – a hunter program within the Matrix, turned viral, that now threatens the entire machine society), and heals the rift between the man-created machines and man himself, bringing peace between the two groups.
That is the apparent narrative of the film – but there are several flaws with this obvious interpretation.
- Upon meeting the Matrix’s Architect in the second film, it is explained to Neo that he is the Prime Program; that the Matrix, despite their best efforts, is unbalanced and needs to be reloaded periodically, otherwise it will descend into chaos. It is up to Neo to select six members from Zion (the city of the real world human rebels) to start a new Zion, as the machines are preparing to destroy the city – for the sixth time. Rather than freeing the humans, it is his role to reset the system that enslaves them.
- Upon leaving the Architect, he finds his love Trinity – who had been shot in the Matrix, causing her to die in real life – and brings her back to life by reaching inside of her and restarting the heart of her digital avatar; this is after she is dead in the real world.
- Neo is able to cause a directed EMP blast at several machines in the real world.
- Agent Smith manages to infect one of his crewmates, taking on a real-world human body (which itself is questionable from a hardware perspective – would the human mind be able to contain the code of a hunter program that only simulates being human?) and despite being blinded in an accident, Neo is able to see the “code” that makes up Agent Smith.
There are other issues which undermine the standard narrative as well – the improbability of using humans as batteries (though granted, this was executive meddling – the original plot had the machines using humans for processing power, but this was considered too esoteric for audiences at the time), the symbolic spoon given to him in Zion, the fact that the Oracle said that he wasn’t The One – and some very solid arguments that, in fact, Agent Smith was The One – but the bulleted points all point towards one inevitable conclusion: Neo never left the Matrix in the first place. He was just bumped up to the “dystopian world” level where he could harmlessly do battle with made-up machine avatars, believing himself to be free, just like the average citizens in the Matrix proper.
In other words, there is no escape.
This has a great deal of relevance to us in the Manosphere, Neomasculine circles, the NRx, and the Alt-Right. “Taking the Red Pill” was a phrase that caught on quickly after Keoni Galt introduced it in 2009¹; it perfectly summed up our early sense of how surreal the societal programming was, how inaccurate and outright destructive the lies were. Since then, the “Matrix” has become completely unstable, with Social Justice on full display – an inevitable result of the faulty programming inherent to the system. Few are yet willing to admit the full extent of the problems – they’re still too invested in the stats quo to admit that they’ve been living a lie – but the revolution is coming.
The question is – what then?
Let’s imagine for a moment that all of the counter-culture ideas we’ve been promoting were to take hold overnight – Hypergamy, Alpha-Beta-Gamma, Fitness Testing, Free Market Economics, Responsible Government, Make America Great Again – feel free to add your own buzz-words into the mix. Certainly we’d be in a better state than the current suicidal miasma – but would we have escaped the Matrix?
Jim Goad once said to me “Wherever the crowd is, it got there too late, and usually for the wrong reasons.”
By the time our ideas will have reached the mainstream they will have ossified, they will have become a new Matrix to program people. One need only look at the 1950s to see an example of this. While it was undoubtedly a better time – stable families, reliable employment, lower taxes, and a gold-backed currency – it was also a society run by people who’d been traumatized by a ten-year depression and a world war. The counter-culture was right about it being repressed and boring – just as our counter-culture is correct about our time being flaccid and degenerate.
Keoni Galt notes that the use of the term “Red Pill” fell off after 2012; that it ran its course and then declined in popularity. This is what always happens with the counter-culture – not because we’re faddish, but because we’re truth-seekers, and unlike Neo we’re not satisfied with achieving the second level of the Matrix. Five years ago, there was a great deal of suspicion and dislike of the police in these circles; these days it has become popular to lambast the cops for merely doing their job, so we’ve begun signalling support for them. Five years ago we were calling out marriage for being the bum-deal that feminism and no-fault-divorce turned it into; now we’ve started pushing for stable marriages with decent, God-fearing women.
As the counter-culture swells and becomes the dominant culture (and the sooner it does the better – the Left has us on the brink of economic apocalypse, World War 3, and demographic suicide) I predict that an interesting reversal is going to happen.²
We’ve earned a number of erstwhile allies over the past decade, not the least of whom is Donald Trump,³ but many of these allies are part of the new ossification. They seek out simple, prosaic morality: it’s easier to self-identify with, and the clear-cut lines allow a feelings of self-righteousness.
Don’t get me wrong; anything short of war-mongering genocide would be better than what we have today – but it still wouldn’t be best.
The counter-culture is eternal. Most people are satisfied with a Matrix that is relatively free of glitches where they can more-or-less be happy (though as Agent Smith noted, most people can’t accept paradise; they hate themselves too much). The current iteration is spiralling out of control, and the majority will soon be demanding a new norm – but don’t mistake that new norm for the Truth.
It is up to us – the counter-culture, the free thinkers, the eternal rebels – to keep pushing for a world that’s slightly better, and to keep pushing people to live better lives, and hate themselves a little bit less.
- It’s possible that somebody else introduced it first, but note that he’s not laying claim to the term; it not his ‘property’ but rather, a term owned by the community. If you’re going to debate his claim, do so as a historian, not a factional advocate – and keep in mind that it’s possible for simultaneous invention to occur; I know for a fact that I came up with the term ‘mandrosphere’ on my own several years back, but I have no idea if Keoni got it from me, or also came up with it around the same time.
- I should note that this is an extremely optimistic possibility I’m proposing here; a world where Trump turns America around after half-a-decade of economic hardship, and strict “Moral Majority” laws are passed. I don’t think this is going to happen, however; it would take a miracle to turn the world’s geopolitical situation around, and Trump is just a man. My actual prediction involves war, privation, major ethnic and civil conflict, and mass murder. I could be wrong, though – and we should all keep speaking the truth regardless.
- It is self-evident that Donald Trump is a free-thinker, but this only applies to himself and his strategy. If he is elected President, he will have to become a force of Moral Majority; you can’t be openly counter-culture and mainstream at the same time. He may be able to help America win again, but it will come at a cost.