Jan 272022
 

This post is snippets of an informal conversation with Mr K, which I’m posting while on vacation. I don’t necessarily endorse any of these views, and may oppose some of them. I won’t be around to respond to comments for a couple weeks.

 

The whole problem is people like Trump
look, Trump is simply a major piece in a large grassroots movement
or a large fascist movement if you will
Trump may be a farcical pseudofascist, but the next person like him will not be a farce
that is what we need to avoid
and that is the trajectory we’re currently headed towards, because like it or not, the woke oligarchy is on its last legs
the thing about fascism is that it essentially consists of mass movements, with the fascist dictators needing the continual support of this mass movement
 and in order to have this support base, they must also have a political counterpole
and outgroup which is the enemy of the fascist regime

a mass movement does not even need elections to be successful
elections, in their current form, are basically a way of rendering mass movements less effective.
the raid on the capitol is not part of the electoral process, for example
but it is clearly part of a mass movement
if you have a genuinely highly energised mass movement that also constitutes the majority population
then, if they want, they can just sorta declare an election whenever they want

mass movements run basically on mob mentality, whether these mass movements are revolutions, civil wars, mob justice, boycotts, or something else

you need to protect private property because people need to be able to set up means of production, which requires them to have a reasonable expectation that it will pay off
if you have a complex economy, it is necessary for each productive good to have an unambiguous owner
because otherwise the constant power struggles will completely cripple the ability to use the productive goods
this is the case whether the owner is a private person or whether it is the government
you cannot really decentralise long term planning. You can delegate some aspects of it, but the delegation itself will need to be centralised
literally any organisation that functions works like this
if you drive a car, your car was made by a monarchy. If you go to a good restaurant, the restaurant is a monarchy.
the New York Times is a fifth generation hereditary absolute monarchy
you cannot get rid of this power structure, no matter how hard you try
it’s gonna keep popping up basically everywhere
I think we’re headed towards a dictatorship that will either have the character of fascism or the character of monarchy. I hope for the latter, in no small part because I kinda wanna avoid fascism actually
I know a lot of people don’t have this model of neoreactionaries but actually I would very much like to avoid a fascist dictatorship
I think this regime is already unravelling, and I think that when it deteriorates sufficiently, a dictatorship of some kind is basically inevitable.
Jan 242022
 

This post is snippets of an informal conversation with Mr K, which I’m posting while on vacation. I don’t necessarily endorse any of these views, and may oppose some of them. I won’t be around to respond to comments for a couple weeks.

 

the choice of whether or not to engage in the trade will itself influence the conditions of the trade. Maybe not for any given trade in isolation, but long term it is the case.

this mistake was in fact the central point of classical liberal economics. The whole purpose of this theory was to serve as a rationalisation to oppose the trade privileges of the landed gentry such as for example the corn laws.
Basically, this mistake largely blinds economists to concerns about how various forms of trade lead to long term appreciation or depreciation of the productivity and mental health of the people affected by the trade. They consider the impact on economic output and satisfied preferences, but not on human capital.
They judge labour by its productivity but not by how it contributes to building up or breaking down the labourer’s character. They typically (albeit not universally) consider helicopter money / income guarantees superior to artificial job creation because they have basically the outlook of nobles who have no shortage of passions and hobbies to attend to.
Anybody with any experience administering a group will understand the importance of making people feel useful, which is getting increasingly difficult since real productivity is Pareto distributed in the population, and technological advancements are causing the alpha of that distribution to increase.
Also, in terms of political reality, you simply cannot get around the labour question. If political economists will not address it, you can be damn sure others will, often with much worse results, such as the artificial creation of jobs that actually break down people’s moral character and sense of usefulness rather than building it up.
The labour problem [or labour question] is the problem of providing meaningful employment to your population; employment which develops their character and virtues.
Right now, a substantial portion of the population is tied up in unproductive jobs that they themselves consider useless and find demotivating. These people would be better off as artisans – let us say tailors just as an example – and a clever political economist would be able to make it happen by placing calculated restrictions on trade of mass produced clothing while removing the useless jobs that were created to fill the vacuum.
Since these same people were previously working in unproductive jobs, the overall economic output is not lowered, but now people are wearing bespoke clothing and people who were previously feeling useless now feel like they’re contributing real value.
Jan 212022
 

This post is snippets of an informal conversation with Mr K, which I’m posting while on vacation. I don’t necessarily endorse any of these views, and may oppose some of them. I won’t be around to respond to comments for a couple weeks.

Puritanism was like the cutting edge of wokeism in its day
one of the mutations that happened to Puritanism was that it dropped the God meme
modern wokeism is just Protestantism without the God meme
this idea that everyone needs to be enlightened and think for themselves is the literal descendant of the Protestant doctrine of a personal god. Modern egalitarianism comes from the idea that we are all made equal as children of God. The Whig theory of history, including its modern forms such as economic progress, technological progress, and social progress, is the literal descendent of divine providence. Academia in its modern usage derives by direct descent from referring to a kind of Protestant seminary. Harvard itself was such seminary when it was founded
etc.
This is not just an analogy. You can trace all these modern concepts backwards through history, and you will see they’re continuous descendants from the English dissenters. There was no discontinuous change like when the English dissenters originally overthrew the Catholics. The English dissenters are still in power, though they’ve changed a bit – but not essentially – over time.
In reponse to: I don’t associate “everyone needs to think for themselves” with wokeism. More like “everyone needs to recognize/believe this thing, and act this way”, which seems like the opposite of a “think for yourself” approach
  everyone needs to think for themselves and arrive at the One True Faith
Now, see if you can identify the descendent of the doctrine of “salvation by faith alone”, and ask yourself if modern day progressives are any less devout than the Puritans who wanted to cancel Catholicism for being behind the times.
if you look at the woke opposition to basically cult-like living
and if you look at those aspects of individualism that still exist in wokeism
and you trace them back through history
you will find that they descend from the doctrine of a personal god
Jan 182022
 

This post is snippets of an informal conversation with Mr K, which I’m posting while on vacation. I don’t necessarily endorse any of these views, and may oppose some of them. I won’t be around to respond to comments for a couple weeks.

 

I actually advocate a formalised caste system btw. We already have an informal one, and I’m not very optimistic that it can be abolished, so I think it is better to recognise it officially so that we can all agree it exists and discuss how to improve it
it looks like formally dividing people into nobility and commoners with different privileges and obligations and social expectations, and hopefully finding some way of making it possible and easy to switch to a different caste than the one you were born in, if it is not a fit
the point is it should do the same thing as our informal class system but just be formally recognised
That and being less twisty for people who are trying to plan their life and need to know how the world works
[the US has an informal constitution] and that there’s a pretty large difference at this point between the informal and the formal constitutions
this is a problem
Curtis Yarvin enumerates three different ways of living: The traditional yeomen, the cosmopolitan armigers, and the deracinated lazzari. You’re a cosmopolitan armiger, which basically means you belong to the culture Scott Alexander described as “universal culture”. You value creative and/or intellectual fulfilment, and you need basically no instruction to know how to pursue it, though you might find instructors that appeal to you.
Traditional yeomen are very different from this. While you may not be an individualist in politics, you’re an individualist in personality in the sense that you live your own life, and your life is basically about you. A traditional yeoman is not an individualist, and their life stories are not best understood on the individual level. Yeomen live in groups, and care a lot about the local community, and fitting in and doing well by the church. If you try to get them to decide their own career, they will almost inevitably find some way of delegating the choice to some guide in their local community. They live basically in cults, and they want to live in cults, and they will live in cults even if you try to make them stop. You might not like this – sorry, but you’re a cosmopolitan armiger.
(what does caste confer?) which people can hold what type of office, for example.
There may be a case for making this independent of your caste, but currently it is not independent from your caste, and the law should reflect this in order to be an empirically accurate law.
In fact, most people are very averse to giving up the informal caste system, which is academic credentialism
there’s no need for a new aristocracy. We just need to improve the aristocrats – in particular by curing their addiction to power and relevance.
The poor state of the aristocrats is a result of the political system’s structure, and it is not only the aristocrats who are in a poor state as a result of this.
The whole point is that an academic aristocracy is basically a clerisy, and that having a clerisy in power violates the principle of separation between church and state. Of course, this would already be problematic alone by the fact that it involves the state in enforcing a state religion and ruling by deceit, but actually, the bigger problem with having a union of church and state is not that the church corrupts the state; the bigger problem is that the state corrupts the church.
An aristocracy is valuable because it provides us with scientific progress, technological advancements, and innovations, not to mention incredible, aristocrat art. A civilisation does not thrive without having a thriving aristocracy.
But they should not be in power.
Basically, it’s not this blue vs red tribe culture war thing. Neoreactionaries do not wish to suppress the current members of the Cathedral, or to punish them, or to marginalise them in the next regime. Not only will they be treated with decency, they will still be aristocrats, they will still be able to live woke or hippie lifestyles or whatever they prefer, and, if all goes well, they should be doing better in every way except in political power. 
The neoreactionary view isn’t that clerical oligarchs are an evil outgroup to be crushed mercilessly; it’s that they’re our beautiful and literally noble friends and family who unfortunately have developed an addiction to power and relevance, sorta like the kind of temporary insanity described in “Politics is the Mind-Killer” by Eliezer Yudkowsky. It’s not an “us vs them” kinda thing; it’s a “let’s fix this crazy mess” kinda thing.

 

Jan 142022
 

This post is snippets of an informal conversation with Mr K, which I’m posting while on vacation. I don’t necessarily endorse any of these views, and may oppose some of them. I won’t be around to respond to comments for a couple weeks.

 

The queer counterculture that manifested for example as the house ballroom culture of 90s New York or as the disco movement in the 70s barely exists anymore, with LGBT spaces having been filled largely by young trans women, most of whom are headed towards university degrees, often in STEM, which is an enormously unrealistic path in life for most people of the original gay counterculture.

As for gay men, what we have instead looks a lot more like assimilation to a normative way of living than it looks like genuine acceptance. Consider for example how flamboyance and to an extent male femininity continues being stigmatised.

I’m just pointing out that the history of the gay counterculture does not look at all like a great victory for the counterculture

it looks more like a crushing defeat, largely from the AIDS epidemic, and then the establishment turning out to be somewhat merciful and allowing us to assimilate if we can. Not all of us can, and then the situation really does look rather damning.

Gay people can assimilate to be accepted, adopting a mainstream lifestyle only differing with regards to the sex of their long term partner, whom they may marry and, in USA probably even adopt children with

pursuing some white collar job like accounting or journalism or another of the jobs mentioned in Scott Alexander’s blogpost there

I would say they ([most aspects of gay counterculture]) have become more stigmatised over the past few decades

the modern concept of homosexuality as being just sexual attraction isolated from any other aspects of personality is a recent invention and has no basis in fact

expecting a gay man to act as a straight man except for dating is pretty darn repressive

it perpetuates a pressure of conformity, because the fervent denial of stereotypes beyond all reason serves to perpetuate a stigma on stereotypical behaviour

so like I was, lots of gay men are desperate to disprove the stereotypes by being very much just regular guys. It’s a burdensome performance in the long run

this kind of stigma is widely recognised in the gay community, sometimes discussed as a kind of internalised homophobia. What’s less openly discussed is how the opportunity and pressure to assimilate has resulted in fewer “inner victories” against societal pressure, removing the counterculture that built confidence and toughness through hardship and substituting it for having gay people repress themselves into conformity.

fiery support provided a counterpoint to the societal pressure, but the current form that LGBT advocacy takes is predominantly not a fiery support for countercultural living, but a fiery support for the right to assimilate into normality. It does not have the same effect at bolstering people’s conviction in their right to live as they want.

I guess the post-AIDS gay movement could be said to have won, but that is an entirely different movement from the one we think of when we think of historical gay movement (eg. stonewall riots, harvey milk, gay liberation front, first pride parades, etc). The gay counterculture died to AIDS in the 80s.

Jan 122022
 

A few quick updates:

I missed our book club meeting in December (we only have one each in Nov & Dec, due to holidays). And I’m about to miss both the January meetings due to a Hawaiian vacation that manages to juuuuuust barely overlap both of them. This is why there’s been no Book Club Review in so long.

I don’t want to completely abandon the blog while I’m gone. I’ve participated (or observed) some informal conversations with someone who has some very unusual views on quite a few things. I disagree with him in some major way in most of his views, but I find them absolutely fascinating, and they give me a lot to think about. I may be engaging some of them in the near-ish future. In the meantime, he’s said it’s OK to paste some of the things I’ve clipped for further consideration onto this blog. So over the next couple weeks, there’ll be several posts by one “Mr K” on topics of interest.  Please keep in mind that A. I don’t necessarily endorse any of these views, and may oppose some of them in key ways, and B. I won’t be around to respond to comments for a couple weeks. These are just interesting.

 

Jan 082022
 
WOOOOOO!!!!!!
I won third place in the Effective Altruism writing competition for my story “I See Dead Kids.” The story is under 1000 words, so due to the size of the prize, I’ll be getting the most I’ve ever been paid on a per-word basis!! Freakin stoked!!
I see dead kids everywhere. I did it to myself, but it’s OK. You get used to it.
Dec 272021
 

For an action movie, Matrix Resurrections is OK. For a movie about making a Matrix movie in 2021, and thus a deeper reflection on reaching the mid-point of one’s life, it is complete perfection. First part of this post is about the action movie, and is spoiler-safe. Second part is about the deeper meaninglessness of life and aging, and is full of all the spoilers.

Importantly, this post assumes that Lana Wachowski is the primary creative force behind all major decisions in the movie.


I. Matrix Resurrections as an Action Movie

Well, it’s better than the second Matrix movie (Matrix Reloaded), which isn’t saying much, because that movie was bad.

Resurrections is overly self-indulgent, just like Reloaded. It is trying to say something, trying to push a philosophical thesis, but it doesn’t really know how to do that. It can’t find a way to integrate whatever it’s trying to say with the narrative of the story and the action sequences that derive from it. There are several disconnected musings that the dialog fumbles through before cutting to action scenes. It’s not nearly as bad as Reloaded in this regard, because it switches to a simpler theme after a while, but this is still unfortunate.

The action itself isn’t very gripping. With a couple exceptions, there are rarely any meaningful stakes. The beautiful gunplay is mostly missing. It feels like most of the actions scenes are there because Lana thinks the audience expects them, rather than due to a love of the action itself and a desire to make it come to life. In this respect, it’s actually worse than Reloaded, since Reloaded still had a passion for beautiful violence.

On the other hand, the technology is 20 years more advanced, and everything looks fantastic. There are no more cardboard Smiths and Neos. The CGI is seamless, every frame is fully realistic, and what we see on screen looks like it was a perfect mirror of what Lana saw in her mind’s eye. In this regard, it’s far better than Reloaded, and not being taken out of the movie by horrible CG makes a huge difference.

The cast are also hugely talented. Everyone acts their heart out, and Neil Patrick Harris in particular steals every scene he’s in. He’s electric on screen, as good as Hugo Weaving in the first Matrix, and reminds us why having a good villain is so important.

Finally, the story comes to an emotionally satisfying conclusion, which flows from that simpler theme that was adopted. This was a huge relief. :)

So, purely on as action-movie, I did not regret seeing Matrix Resurrections. I wouldn’t recommend it on it’s action-movie merits to a someone who can only see 1-2 movies a month, but it’s alright.

However….


II. Matrix Resurrections as an exploration on Mid Life Crisis

Full spoilers going forward!

 

1. The Set Up

The original Matrix movie is a movie about dissociation, and anyone who thinks otherwise can fight me IRL. The world is deeply, fundamentally, wrong on a deep level. It feels false. The Matrix exposes the world as false in actuality. And then it rages against that falseness for two hours, tearing at it with teeth and nails, pumping bullet after bullet into it, until the entire unholy edifice is ripped to pieces and crushed underfoot. Humanity can emerge into reality at least, and lead REAL lives.

In Resurrections, 60 years later, nothing has changed. Mankind mostly does everything the same as they did before Neo’s Passion. Some humans live in an underground techno-primitivist refugee city, and the rest live in a new Matrix.

This is a metaphor for radically recreating yourself to overcome psychological issues–primarily dissociation–succeeding, and then realizing 20 years later that nothing has changed.

IRL, The Wachowski’s revolutionized the action movie genre, in ways laid out in longer and better posts than this one. The Matrix not only changed movie making, it had wide-spread cultural effects that are still going strong today, and probably will be for decades. Any comprehensive study of Western culture this century will be incomplete without their inclusion.

On a personal level, the Wachowskis were suddenly famous and very rich. Lana Wachowski completely rebooted her personal life after The Matrix released, leaving her previous marriage, and coming out as kinky and trans. Hormonal and surgical interventions reforged her body into what she’d always wanted. The falseness she was trapped in had been removed, she could finally be free.

Two decades later, what has changed? The world is still full of suffering, and no one can do anything about it. No one seems to care enough to do anything about it. You, personally, are still a tiny human, helpless in the face of a world that recognizes only power. It shouldn’t be like this.

It shouldn’t be like this. You should be happy. You changed your corner of the world in a dramatic way! Every action film since 1999 builds upon a foundation you laid. You have the body you want, and the life you want. For a while you were happy! But wherever you go, there you are, and there’s no getting around that. Over time, that existential dread slowly made itself known again. It had never been destroyed, it was only in hiding. The suspicion returns that nothing matters. Even with everything that was done, nothing has changed. The world is still… off. It is still wrong.

 

2. The Metaphor – Anderson

Resurrections isn’t exactly subtle about this. The resurrected Thomas Anderson revolutionized gaming by creating The Matrix games. He created bullet-time in those games, and the narrative of his games is literally the existing Matrix movies we’ve seen. Anderson is recognized as changing the genre, and is famous in his industry. He’s wealthy enough to have the life he wants and is unconcerned with money. Anderson is Lana.

And yet, the world feels fake to him. His disassociation is growing stronger by the year. He literally doesn’t recognize his own body. He’s attempted suicide at least once, in an effort to escape the false world.

Despite his massive success, he is still living behind an emotionally-deadening gulf that stops him from thriving.  He has no close bonds. Anderson did his best at changing the world, he actually did have an enormous impact, and nothing changed.

Just like Neo did his best to change the world, had an enormous messiah-sized impact, and yet nothing changed.

 

3. Neo

This has broken Anderson/Neo. Never is this said directly, but it is projected overwhelmingly by Reeves’ incredible performance. His eyes are haunted. His face is etched with long-endured sorrow. His voice is resigned. And this never changes until the very last scene, which doesn’t really count (see below).

Unsurprisingly, Anderson doesn’t want to rejoin the war against the machines when Morpheus comes for him. It’s brutally hard work, and it will be for naught. He has to be pressed into service via guilt and physical force.

Neo does not fight back against Morpheus when they spar, preferring to ride out the beating. Morpheus manages to spark some defiance in him at the end, but it lasts just long enough for Neo to shut him up and get him to leave Neo alone, before he returns to stoicism.

Neo forsakes agency.  He barely even touches a weapon in the movie. There is no advancement into the enemy on his part, no passionate pursuit or decisive action. He only fights when he absolutely has to, and only long enough to get his foes to leave him alone.

His superpowers from the previous movies are mostly gone. His remaining superpower in this movie is to endure. The vast majority of the time when he’s doing something, it is tanking attacks. He puts his hands up in a defensive gesture and stops bullets. He puts his hands up, braces himself, and stops LOTS of bullets. He puts his hands up and stops zombie swarms from running into or falling onto him. He puts his hands up and deflects a missile.

He suffers the slings and arrows of life, face set, hands braced, and never once complains about it. There is a power and a dignity in this, yes. But it is not the righteous zeal and fury of the first movie. It is the quiet heroism of bearing of the unbearable.

 

4. The Metaphor – Making this Movie

If Anderson is Lana, then Matrix Resurrections is a metaphor for the making of Matrix Resurrections.

Again, this isn’t exactly subtle — Anderson is creating the 4th Matrix game/movie within the movie. As he’s doing this, he is subjected to living out recreations of the original Matrix game/movie in his real life. He’s literally shown clips from the earlier games/movies while he is recreating them. Unfortunately, he doesn’t Believe anymore.

When Anderson was young, he thought his games could really impact the world. He was full of passion. He created what he wanted, because the fire inside him wouldn’t let him NOT do so. (swap in Lana & movies as needed)

When Neo was young, he thought tearing down the Matrix would impact the world. He was full of fury and passion. He raged against the machines and destroyed their false world, because the fire inside him wouldn’t let him NOT fight.

Anderson no longer believes that his work can change the world. Even creating the most revolutionary game in decades didn’t really change anything. Even if he did create another Matrix, it wouldn’t matter. Even if he made something as big as the first Matrix, in twenty years the world would still be just the same. Just as fake.

Neo no longer believes fighting the machines will change anything. Even if he wins, humanity will mostly stay jacked-in, with a tiny percentage living in one refugee city.

Lana no longer believes creating movies will change the world. More importantly, it won’t even fix how she fits into the world. The belief that “if others just truly saw me, understood the world as I do, this would all be different” was shattered. Much of the population lives in existential pain and suffering from dissociation, and we loved how The Matrix screamed our pain to the heavens for us. But it didn’t change anything deeper. Even if Lana makes another movie as revolutionary and as truth-revealing as The Matrix, the dissociation will remain, her dissociation will remain, and nothing will have changed.

 

5 – The real world, and “the Real World”

Interestingly, the “Real World” in Matrix Resurrections feels just as fake as the Virtual World of the Matrix. Visually, there isn’t much difference between them. The “Real World” is just as full of harsh neon, dark claustrophobia, and surrealism, as the Virtual World.

The “Real World” also continues to mirror the first Matrix games/movies. The entire Resurrections movie just so happens to conspire to put him in situations that mirror famous scenes from the prior movies. This doesn’t just happen. Not over and over. Of course Neo feels detached, his entire existence is one massive case of deja vu.

This isn’t just because the movie is a reboot. It’s because the movie is a metaphor for making the movie. Lana, as she is creating this movie, also feels that the world around her isn’t real. The dissociation permeates everything. She is doing everything she can to put this into Matrix Resurrections. Watching the movie, feeling Neo’s dissociation in both worlds, is supposed to invoke in the viewer the same thing Lana is experiencing while making the movie (and indeed, what she’s experiencing all the time) — a profound divorce from reality itself.

 

And the determination to endure through it anyway.

 

6. The Metaphor – Aging

But finally, all of this is itself an expression of the bullshit that is aging.

When Neo was young, he thought things could be better. He fought, and won, and things were supposed to change. And even though the world was fundamentally changed, everything is the same. Now he’s tired of fighting, because it doesn’t matter, does it?

When a director, or a screenwriter, or an activist, is young, we think things can be better. We are full of fire. But the more we fight, the more we realize that no matter what we may accomplish, we’re still stuck with ourselves. We thought that when things change, we will too. We’ll finally be stable. But whatever we accomplish, we’re still us. The old fears, the old insecurities, the old damage, they’re all still there. The main thing that’s changed is we’ve gotten very good at enduring them.

And that’s the realization. The things that hurt aren’t removed. They can never be fully removed. But they hurt less as we adapt and toughen, and we can endure them. That’s why it’s Neo’s primary superpower now. The world around him is unreal, and it will always be unreal, but he can endure that now.

Neo looks around, and he’s surrounded by all these young adults. Kids full of energy and life and fire. They haven’t learned to endure, so they still fight. And who is he to stop them? Maybe it’ll be different for them. But they keep turning to him, keep imploring him to save them. This isn’t his fight anymore, but they don’t understand that. There isn’t really any way for him to tell them what he knows.

Unfortunately, no one can be told what Aging is, you have to experience it for yourself. But artists can try. Artists like Lana can spend an entire movie trying to put that feeling into a story, so those watching can feel it in themselves, for at least a short time.

So, Anderson is Lana, Matrix Revolutions is about the act of making Matrix Revolutions, and the act of making the Matrix Revolutions a relection of enduring a life of dissociation until doing so becomes one of your superpowers.

 

7. The End

In the end, Neo doesn’t have to be the hero. He’s spent the whole movie renouncing agency, only acting when absolutely forced to. He survives long enough for the movie’s hero to reveal herself.

If we’d been paying attention, we would have known it was Trinity from the very beginning. She decided to flirt with an extremely reluctant Anderson, despite being married, and in front of her kids. She grabbed agency from her very first line. She pursues her passion with motorcycles. She seeks out Anderson at the coffee shop. She rejects the false reality of The Matrix within 30 seconds of being told about it, with almost no evidence aside from her gut feeling.

It’s no surprise she is the one to save them, by grabbing the power of flight when she needs it, purely as an act of will. Perhaps Anderson could have endured enough to survive that fall. He didn’t need to, because Trinity still believed in her power to change things.

In the final confrontation, Neo hangs back, acting as support, as Trinity takes the lead. She guides their flight, she mutilates the Analyst, she lays down the terms of what the future will bring.

Reeves is absolutely fantastic at portraying the change in Neo. His face is no longer etched with pain. His eyes are no longer distant and drowning in despair. He has been freed. He’s relaxed and confident now. His position is as Trinity’s backup and righthand, and his relief is palpable. The burden is lifted. Neo already did his fighting, twenty years ago. He can now lend his power to Trinity, and trust in her ability to keep them safe.

I think this as a happy ending? The message is that if you can endure long enough, and trust in the people you love, eventually things get better. It’s possible to be happy, despite the wounds. Don’t give up, and you can find your Trinity in time.

A more tradition ending would be for Neo to reclaim his agency. But I don’t think that would have worked with the charecter we were given. This Neo could not get to that point. Or at least, not in the span of a single movie. Forcing that on him would have been a violation of his character, and would have butchered the movie. Being saved by Trinity is a perfectly good ending, and allows them both to be happy (and by extension, we in the audience are too).

 

8. Extended Metaphors

Of course, this is all my own projection onto a movie that I found intensely interesting at a certain point in my life (late Dec 2021). It could mean many other things. (I know someone who reads it as A Parody of Matrix Sequels, which is also very plausible.)

Importantly, I don’t actually know anything about Lana Wachowski or her mental/emotional state. All of my assertions about her are fantasy. But this is what I’ve taken from the movie, because it’s how I want to view it. All art is an act of communication between the artist and the consumer, and both sides are vital. This piece of art worked for me, because of who I am, and my history with the franchise. It won’t work for everyone. Find the art that works for you, and engage it! :)

Dec 232021
 

One of most bizarre things about Wokeism (to me) was how absurd it got, and how quickly. My first personal experience of this goes back to the pre-Trump era. I am socially liberal, and back then I was also into Social Justice. An acquiantence stated it was racist for people who don’t come from an east-asian country to do Fung Shui. I thought this was a joke at first. I pointed out that we don’t believe in magic, and even if we did, it seems MORE racist to claim that “Racial Magic exists” than to say “all magic is available to all people.” This made me the racist.

This makes much more sense upon realization that Wokeism isn’t just a civil religion, it’s a Totalitarian Religion. It requires “a monopoly on belief and the total commitment from those who lived within them.” One of those beliefs is that the Wokes are fighting for the oppressed, and anyone who isn’t Woke is an oppressor. The way you identify if someone is Woke is by whether they recite Woke catechism. You can tell they are an Oppressor is they speak against a Woke catechism, like I had when saying Feng Shui isn’t racially-bound.

This leads to some really crazy contortions. Absurdities, one might say.

A transman, having transitioned and fought for transrights back when they were hated and persecuted, is considered transphobic for rejecting Woke dogma.

Asian students are reclassified as not “students of color” in Washington and Maryland school acheivement reports.

Black people who don’t support leftists are routinely dismissed as not really black. To the point that people who don’t support Biden aren’t black.

This Totalitarianism of Thought is much of what drove me away from religion back in my teens. I did not expect to be back in the Atheism Wars this many years later, but now fighting against a religion without a God. I thought the South Park episode were groups of future atheists are having religious wars with each other was stupid and absurd when it came out and uh…. man. Guess I was really, really wrong on that one.

Much like traditional religions, the aburdities turn out to be a feature, not a bug! Professing belief in absurdities binds you closer to a group. Believing true things has no cost, but believing false things does, so it is costly signalling your dedication to the group. The more absurd and/or costly a belief is, the more tightly it binds the true believers.

It’s unfortunate that non-traditional religions aren’t covered by the wall of seperation between church & state in America. Nonetheless, I think it’s usefull to keep drawing attention to the fact that Wokeism is a civil religion, and a dangerously totalitarian one at that. The enemy has adapted, but it’s the same old foe under a different mask. Let’s gird up again.

Dec 212021
 

Just in case you aren’t sure about whether or not I’m An Old, we have the Shoping Cart Theory Test. Do you remember a time before The Shopping Cart Theory?

True story — I did not know this before 2-3 years ago.

There weren’t any cart corrals when I was a kid. Either you took the cart all the way to the store yourself, or you just left it at the nearest obstruction that would prevent it from rolling away, for the cart collector to get.

My first corporate job was as bag-boy/cart-collector (the position did both, alternating by the hour). The cart collecting was kinda fun. And this literally created a job!

When corrals first started appearing, I’d use them if they were nearby, but otherwise didn’t worry about it, cuz like, I never had before? It didn’t occur to me that the way the world had simply been before would now be considered morally repugnant! It legit wasn’t until the mid/late 20-teens that I became aware this was considered anti-social. It was a bit of a headtrip.

(yes, I have since adjusted my behavior)


Another way of looking at this is “how much have you internalized Capitalist Exploitation Of The Consumer?” It could be argued that what’s really happened here is that the Capitalist Overlords have pushed the cost of cart-collection onto the public.

Rather than just ponying up the money and paying someone to do what is needed, they instead create an elaborate social morality play, and forcing that labor onto us.

We don’t notice that we are literally giving free labor to billionaires every time we do this, because we’re too busy policing everyone around us, and forcing them to adopt our morality, lest they be considered a “bad member of society” and “no better than an animal.”(!)

If we want to put on our tin-foil hats, we could say that this is analogous to how entrenched interests want us to treat climate change as something we need to address by carpooling more and wearing sweaters, rather than substantially changing how energy is created and by whom.

We could say this is analogous  to how entrenched interests want us to treat enviormental problems by using shitty paper straws, rather than addressing waste-collection infrastructure in developing countries.

We could even say its analogous to how massive amounts of social energy is drained on finding witches to cancel or defending witches from being cancelled rather than overhauling the corruption thats seeped into the most fundamental levels of our government.

Every bit of attention and energy that is used to police the morality of the working man besides you to make sure s/he’s returning that shopping cart is another bit of attention deflected from the owner or ruler that profits from this.


I mean, I WOULDN’T say any of that. Because I don’t believe there’s actually that level of coordination and planning at the upper levels of society. No one up there cares that much, it’s not worth their time. It’s a happy coincidence that we live in a society of puritans that get off on morality-policing the petty little things they actually do have control over. And, most importantly, because I’m not animal or a savage. I am an upstanding member of society, and I’ll do what needs doing to keep society running smoothly.

But gosh, how easily this Theory could have broken the other way. The fact that it didn’t is instructive. It means if you’d like your position to gain widespread acceptance, find some way to make it a thing that people can easily use to attack the moral charecter of their closest fellow-citizens. It has to be easily legible, recurring very frequently, and extremely petty.


Also, ROFL, this is freaking hilarious XD

Man vs. shopping carts from LooneyTunesLogic