Our lives seem normal. Just like in the beginning of the movie, 'The Matrix.' I mean, not great or anything. But fine. We get up every morning and repeat our programmed daily grind.
But is this all there is? Is this all life has to offer? Or is there more to it than this, some larger force that is hidden away out of sight that is controlling us and our society but that we don't realize or understand?
Well, dear reader, the choice is yours. Do you really wish to know?
Be forewarned that the reality of the truth may be more painful and difficult than the illusion of your current existence.
If you take the blue pill by stopping here and reading no further, then you will be safely returned to your current life, resume your daily grind, and be none the wiser.
If you take the red pill by reading on, however, there is no turning back. The reality of the truth will forever change your understanding of the hidden forces that are acting upon you.
Ah. Brave choice.
In modern capitalist societies like America, our lives are fine. We are not suffering from mass starvation, and we are not ruled by a despotic tyrant who tortures us at will. So that's nice. We are free to watch any television show we desire. We are told, repeatedly, that we are free. And we feel free. We think we are free.
After all, we are told, repeatedly, we can be whoever we wish to be in this great democracy. We can do anything we desire. The choice is completely our own. So it seems like we are free.
But are we free?
Well, there's just one little catch to this "freedom." And that is that we must work.
Work? Now, hold on a second here. This is a little confusing. If we must work, then how can we be free? These two concepts do not go together. In fact, they are diametrically opposed.
Are we forced to work under threat of physical violence? No, the System assures us. We are not forced to do anything. We are free. We are not kept in chains, and no one whips us if we choose not to work. Oh thank goodness.
But do you wish to eat? Do you wish to have a place to live? Do you wish to have an education? Do you wish to have a car? Do you wish to provide for your children?
Well, then, you must work.
You know, this is sounding rather disturbing. I might just decide that I want nothing to do with any of this, thank you, and I'll go off into nature and make my own place to live and eat food in the wild. Nice try, but that is not permitted. Someone else owns that land so you cannot do that. Huh? As a human being on this planet I cannot live in the natural environment that I was born into and make my own home and forage for my own food? Nope, that is against the law. Instead, you must work.
Hm. Well, if we all must work, can we at least choose the type of work to do? Yes, the System assures us. We are free, remember? So we can choose our own work and do anything our hearts desire.
There's a break. Okay, this might not be so bad after all. I think I'll be a movie star and be rich and famous. Sure, the System says, go ahead. But, of course, the odds of being successful are a million to one. And in the meantime, I need to eat. So that option is closed.
Well then I'll be a doctor so I can heal people. Sure, the System says. You'll just need to get into medical school, and you'll first need to take an entrance exam and score in the top percentile of the population. But, I'm just an ordinary person. Oh, sorry, that option is closed.
A lawyer maybe? A professional athlete? An artist? An explorer? A philosopher? Closed, closed, closed.
So what can I do then? Well, here's a mop. You can clean the floors at Walmart. But I don't really want to do that. What happened to being able to choose my own job? Just get to work.
If I must do this unfulfilling job, may I at least spend only a small amount of my life at work? No. In order to make ends meet, you'll need to work a lot. An awful lot. It will require 50, 60, or 70 hours per week, and you'll probably need to get a second job and maybe a third. Now hold on here. This means I'll be working all day long, almost every single day. I'll have no more than just a few hours left to myself. Yes, that's just the way it is.
But this is my life!
Sorry, this is just the way it is.
It should come as no surprise that the vast majority of people are dissatisfied with their jobs. One survey shows that 80% of people hate their jobs, and another that only 13% of people like going to work.
The vast majority of our precious time in life is spent at our jobs toiling away. Our lives are hectic and frantic because they are centered around work. From the moment we get out of bed we are scrambling to get to work on time. We work all day under a great deal of stress in miserable corporate environments of tyrannical control, then our evenings are another mad dash to get home. After all the cooking, cleaning, and errands, we have only a very small sliver of time left for our own lives.
So we become dissatisfied with our lives. We feel unfulfilled. We experience emptiness, alienation, and a vague general sense of resentment. Many people become depressed or turn to alcohol or drugs to relieve the mental anguish.
This is just the way it is, the System tells us. That's all. It's just the way things are.
Just the way it is? Hold on a second here. This is not some naturally occurring phenomenon. It's not like, say, the earth revolving around the sun. That's something that is just the way it is. Or the fact that our bodies require food to live. Or the fact that sometimes it rains. Those are things that can be accurately described as just the way it is. But being forced to toil our lives away? That is not just the way it is. No. That is something that has been entirely imposed by humans.
In fact, who created this anyway? Whose idea was it that we must toil our lives away? It certainly wasn't the majority of the people because 80% hate how this System robs us of our own lives. It is no accident that we are forced into bondage. Someone is benefiting from all of this. Someone is behind it all. But who?
What is the Matrix?
In the movie, Neo senses that hidden forces are acting upon him. In real life, we sense it too. What is the System?
The pathway to enlightenment is simple: Follow the money.
Last year, several of the top hedge fund managers personally earned for themselves over $1 billion each. In a single year. The top two each earned $1.7 billion. Wow. Now what sort of contributions did they make to society that justifies such enormous payments? It must have been extraordinary. Did they make life better for millions of people by, say, curing disease, preventing hunger, providing affordable housing, spreading education, developing a clean energy source to preserve our environment? No, nothing like that. They managed money for rich people to make them even richer.
This reflects what the System values and thus what the System rewards. Managing money for rich people is much more important than improving the lives of ordinary people.
Economic inequality is staggering. A remarkable 76% of all of the wealth in the entire United States is owned by only the richest 10% of people. The top 1% of people own 35% of all the wealth. The bottom 80% of the population owns only about 10% of the wealth.
This reveals what the System is all about. A very few people at the top extract enormous sums of money for themselves by forcing the great masses of the population to spend their lives in toil. The entire System is structured to favor the wealthy few. It forces everyone else to work their lives away in unfulfilling jobs that they hate and that make them miserable for minimal compensation that keeps them trapped in their circumstance working ever harder and longer merely to hang on.
Just the way it is? No. This System is by design.
And thus millions of Americans, as they toil away, believe they are "free."
It is the greatest deception of all time. It is a real-life Matrix.