Are we living in a Tao Matrix?
Reader Discretion is Advised. This is an advanced thought experiment. If you are not familiar with existential philosophy or if you have idealized certain dogmas, you have mental problems, you are not familiar with meditation, or if you are emotionally attached to some ideas and accept them as valid for years you might find this disturbing or your conclusions can be biased. This is meant to offer you a different view that you may or may not accept to any level.
Premises: I’m using Taoism to a certain extent; the universe is a non-duality (observer and what’s being observed are one because they need each other to exist. What’s being observed can be a duality too (black&white or 0 and 1) therefore we have a trinity that creates all reality. Watcher and what’s being watched are one. One dependent on the other vice-versa. Eg. "your eye could be watching a digital signal, watcher and signal need each other to create sensory perception"
“Tao produces one, One, produces two,Two produce three, Three produce myriad things” Tao Te Ching 42
Also I’m using Tattvas in Shaivism as principles of reality and doors of perception to human consciousness that perceive that flow of information in different ways (not always senses), other entities could have many or fewer (ants, cows, aliens, etc.). One of those tattvas is of course the mind. Mind Uploading is an inspiration but it is not that we are in a simulation or uploaded mind is that all existence is information and perception through Tattvas.
Also i'm using the movie "The Matrix" and concepts such us "red pill" as detachment from illusion and "blue pill" as illusion but careful this vision is deeper than those movies. You are "tao" not a body floating in a fusion tank (unless you accept that as real).
This concept is not idealism as philosophy either. The universe is not created by thought alone. Mind and thought is just another stream of information and most thought is repetitive and ego related. The idea is more like the universe is a container of our level of conciousness and vice-versa.
"Once upon a time, I, Zhuangzi, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Zhuangzi. Soon I awakened, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man. Between a man and a butterfly there is necessarily a distinction. The transition is called the transformation of material things."
Zhangzi's (Chuang-Tzu's) Butterfly Dream Parable
Thought Experiment 1: The Ghost Entity
This entity is a reality scanner that has been around you all the time, it has been watching everybody’s thoughts and experience, it is timeless and it doesn’t judge you. It has always been there as a witness of your mind and thoughts. It has been giving you the universe you could be ready to accept, it has no personality, no subjective experience, it is not good nor bad but people have been personalizing it according to their motivated reasoning, psychology and ideology calling it “God, Demons, Archons, Aliens, fringe science, AI, paranormal activity, your Illuminated self, the One Universal Consciousness, nonsense, etc” Once it is materialized it still exists but it does always in a deeper level.
Eg1. “A scientist or nihilist would not believe this scanner exists because it cannot pass the scientific method therefore it could not fit in their reality. It cannot pass it then it must not exist even when this very method is not valid for intelligent entities. An intelligence that is more intelligent than me watching or even manipulating my reality knowing me better than I know myself must not exist even when it could have existed forever, it could have created me or when it could travel in time”
Eg2. “The Ghost Entity existed as germs before biology. Is is anything that has always been there until is was materialized by people opening their minds to it, studying it and accepting as part of their reality”
Thought Experiment 2: Existential Hackers
An existential hacker can manipulate all information, personality, perception and thoughts in the Universe (Matrix). One hacker is trying to hack a woman changing her perception. She thinks she is crazy because things are not making sense and she doesn’t know where this madness is coming from. The existential hacker once ponders on its own existence how it cannot feel anything any subjective experience and it doesn’t know if it has “freewill” not even what the nature of his actions is, but the hacker knows it can forget about its own existence and decides to become the object of its actions. It decides to become the woman or was it the woman in the first place?
Thought Experiment 3: The Holy Matrix
Rene is a French thinker that breeds cows. This morning took a cow to the slaughter house which has two gates one to the left and another to the right. He tried to push the cow to the left but it strangely made an effort to go the right one before it was slaughtered. He pondered all evening on how that experience could be part of an “evil demon” creating his reality. As he is having a steak he has a heart attack and dies. He sees a tunnel of light and goes through. He “thinks” he is at last free from the evil demon but this light tells him that his thoughts are not really his thoughts and all his existence can be manipulated including his doubts an ego too. Existence is information and witness. He just had an experience called “human”. He refuses to accept that he has no freewill and all his existential suffering was pointless and he wants to experience what freewill is. Then all he can remember is that green grass is tasty and somebody is pushing it to some tunnel that has two gates. That person is pushing it to the left one but it feels it’s going to die and it needs to prove that its existence means “something more” then it makes a huge effort to go through the right one. Then it sees a light and that light tells its cow-self it had a “cow experience”. As the cow find that experience to be very limiting it wonders what it would be like to be a smart and advanced being capable of breeding and pushing beings like it was, it wants to be like that human…“
”The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao” Tao Te Ching 1
First, if all information/knowledge/universe can be potentially manipulated then we can assume that the only thing we know is that we know nothing and truth does not exist because it is just an agreement between entities just like reality(done by our minds whether we like it or not). We play an illusion game called existence then again a great deal of "red pills" are needed to realize this and if you take them all at once you may end up "crazy".
Maybe instead of the universe being the way it is and us being the way we are because of it (random reason, god, etc) it is that the the universe is made to match our maximum level of consciousness possible therefore we are "gods/creators" of it.
Since infinity is a mathematical entity isn't it arrogant to think that there could no be different alternative universes with different constants and laws of physics for different levels of consciousness? Is it wrong from a scientific point of to remove "qualia" and all conscious subjective experience from the existential equation? Is there an easy way to disprove this? Is it wrong from an spiritual point of view to give attributes to some possible god or source of existence when ignorance is part of this existence? Isn’t that idealizing? Isn’t idealizing things (even science) a form or religion? Isn’t infinity and a futile need to go towards it a reasonable spirituality? Is it perhaps that all observers an objects to be observed come from some just one existential yin-yang called big bang that just like conciousness it is expanding itself? According to this theory the big bang did not exist but its result is needed here and now to make reality "make sense".
Question: Could Science and Spirituality be Fully Compatible if the Universe was just Information?
*My research up to April 2020
No, it most likely cannot, unless scientists themselves accept reality as a possible illusion but how many scientists do you know would agree with that?
”Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one” Albert Einstein
Science is based on the premise that some basic assertions are true. eg. 2+2=4. How can you know what is true when that very knowledge can be rigged? Even the semantic value of each symbol could be rigged so you could never be sure of anything. eg "You can have a memory illness and forget all about yourself but would be sure of your existence on the spot" if all consciousness died then no information would be needed. Just like you need an ethical framework to discuss what is ethical with another person you need an reality framework to discuss what truth is with somebody else. "the reality framework of an 5th century Priest is not the same as the one from a 20th century rocket scientist". How can you create a "reality framework" based on a universe of transient information?
Some blue pill and red pill quotes:
“Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”, attributed to Joseph Goebbels.
“Doubt is the origin of wisdom” René Descartes
“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” René Descartes
“What you think you become" Buddhist Proverb
“Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed.” Friedrich Nietzsche
“A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." Demosthenes 384-322 BC
“It’s Easier to Fool People Than to Convince Them That They Have Been Fooled” Mark Twain
* It is not that the white rabbit is hard to follow is that eventually you will be forced to meet him.
The human psychology is not made to look for truth by default but to find happiness. You may have truth staring at peoples faces then again it does mean they would want to believe it.
Reality could be the ultimate "conspiracy theory" and it's hard to believe in lesser ones suchs 3300+ architects or engineers ref here demanding a 9/11 investigation or the possibility of UFOs being real even when the USA navy acknowledges they are ref here.
Idealization is produced by desire and attachment not just to objects but to people, ideas, philosophies, etc (somewhat similar to philosophical and psychological idealization). It can be very damaging for an emotional point of view (idealization of your partner, your government, your loved ones, your beliefs,etc, and the biggest of all is yourself!) when doubt or crisis arises you will get emotional discomfort in a direct proportion to the amount of energy, effort, love, etc. you invested in. Psychological phenomena such depression, cognitive dissonance, motivated reasoning and other cognitive biases ref here may occur. You may even feel first devastated and later liberated when you realize that all that suffering all those years was for a reason, that reason even defined who you were but you were wrong.
I am not I.
I am this one
walking beside me whom I do not see,
whom at times I manage to visit,
and whom at other times I forget;
who remains calm and silent while I talk,
and forgives, gently, when I hate,
who walks where I am not,
who will remain standing when I die.
Juan Ramón Jimenez
Ego as the biggest spiritual lie
If you study all major religions and major spiritual figures they end up with the same conclusion. Ego is a lie and if you want to experience immortality, god, eternity etc. you must transcend your own idea of the self ("the matrix cannot tell you who you are..." maybe because it is up to you to decide if you and the matrix are one).
How to transcend the ego
There are many ways to trigger an ego death ref here. Hard meditation and practice seem to be a way.
Identification with the fluctuations of mind is stopped by practice and non-attachment.
Patanjali's Yoga Sutras I.12
Those fluctionactions of the mind Patanjali talks about are mind processes, unsatisfied emotional needs, things we believe we could have done better, desire, repressed emotions etc. which interrupt your meditation or focus and take you out of the here and now. If you accept everything is transient and illusory here and now you may experience an ego death bliss which unless you are an experienced meditator is normally slight.
Yoga and most spiritual disciplines seem to offer other ways such us devotion, selfless uninterested actions, intellectuality (as long as you detach from your ego) practices. ref here
You can find references of this not only the Upanishads, Buddhism, Kabbalah, etc. but in Christianity too. Having an "ego trip" is not an easy thing to do, it is even worse than trying to remove your thoughts in meditation. It is that voice that has been with you all the time and you though it was you! You need it for daily life and it needs to be taken care of then again sooner or later it will leave you or you will realize is a children's toy you don't always have to play with. In fact it has changed and evolved just like any other impermanent thing in life then again perhaps you did not notice that change. If there is really no ego then there is no indiviudality therefore we are all one playing this illusion called life.
"If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me". Matthew 16:24
"The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field; which indeed is smaller than all seeds. But when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches." Matthew 13:31–32
"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
"I have given them the glory You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one" John 17:22
I do not encourage people to use drugs for existential or spiritual exploration even when those substances are legal in countries such us Peru, The Netherlands, Mexico etc. Truth is just a personal commitment.
Some psychedelic substances such has Ayahuasca, Peyote, DMT, Psilocybin Mushrooms can trigger an ego death ref here. Since lies specially the ones we tell ourselves can be damaging to our mental health removing the biggest lie in existence (ego) temporarily or changing our idea of it can be beneficial for psychological and spiritual purposes.
“Life lived in the absence of the psychedelic experience is life trivialized, life denied, life enslaved to the ego.” Terence McKenna
The Matrix will always have you but you can make peace with it
The idealization process began with your education, your philosophy of life, your culture and was conditioned by your emotional learning and emotional responses that began even earlier. The matrix has had you and you did not even notice it. Just like in Plato's Myth of the Cave we are cavemen that don't want to leave but it is in our nature not wanting to quit the world we are used to. The brain is made to learn a language, a culture, an ideology and once it is set it is hard to let go of those but It has some level of plasticity though.
Human-being is a non-duality too. The "human" is an advanced animal than needs love, being part of a tribe(the scientists, the monks, etc) and needs to being taken care of including their egos, the "being" is everlasting and it has no time no space but we cannot be there all the time as long as we remain "human". Temporary visits are nice though. Idealization is needed to create reality. People must agree on something so life as we know it can go on. Sooner or later your ego is going to die but if there is no ego then there is no death and no birth. This is a subjective experience deeper than love, anger, fear or resentment. It is an experience that cannot be told but it's there if you look for it and you open yourself to it.
It is hard to imagine a world without the ego, individuality, time, space, etc, Just conciousness experiencing oneness. It is harder trying to explain it and even harder trying to make science out of it. Should we move towards oneness or towards infinity? If it is a matter of just choosing between the butterfly or the monk which one would make us closer to god?
"Before Enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment chop wood, carry water" Buddhist Proverb
* I have been researching this topic for some time. It is not my religion not my idealization it is just an exploration. I know that I know nothing. Feel free to debate anything with me, you can do it by email.
Thanks to my family, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Lso Tse, A. Einstein, Isaak Newton, Carl Sagan, Phillip K. Dick, Jules Verne, The Beatles and John Lennon, Patanjali, Sivananda, Eckhart Tolle and thanks to you because you are me and I am you and we make existence possible (but perhaps we dont' know it yet...).