Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
December 27, 2010 3:21 PM

Unplugging The Matrix

It's a big, big world out there. My way of doings things will not be your way of doing things.

You should be comfortable with that. I am. I don't really see it as "my way" versus someone else's. I see it more like The Matrix. I loved that movie (mostly the first one, but all three are much more bearable when watching them in one sitting). Beyond the special effects and subtext, there is something that much deeper happening in the movie. While I don't believe that we spend our days living in a state of illusion while our real bodies are being farmed for energy like batteries by self-aware computers, I do believe that many of us are living in The Matrix. The Matrix being this place with set rules, controls, pressures and constructs (in the movie, this is how Morpheus defines it: "The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.") There are many people who want no part of living in The Matrix (you can read more about these types of people here: Incompatible)... I'm one of them (I think).

What does our Matrix look like? 

The Matrix has rules like:

  • You have to work between 9 am - 5 pm.
  • The weekends are your free time.
  • You can take two (maybe three) weeks of vacation per year.
  • If you don't get - at least - 7 hours of sleep, you won't be able to function.
  • You need work/life balance (more on that here: The Myth Of Work Life Balance).
  • Great ideas come from creative people.
  • You should not work during your vacation.
  • If you're serious, you'll have an office with a lot of overhead.

There are countless other rules. Just look at your day-to-day routine... those are all rules of The Matrix.

All choices are fine choices. Your mileage may vary. What works for some, won't work for others... but don't fool yourself: the majority of people do fall into a very clean and rule-based existence and anything that falls outside of that "norm" (i.e.: "Mitch, you Blog during the holidays? Why don't you take a break?!?") is seen as "unhealthy" or worse... like the person is some kind of freak or weirdo who is doing some kind of harm to either themselves or their loved ones.

Tell you what, I'll be me and you be you.

I spend a lot of my days thinking about The Matrix that most of the people I know live within. I see them struggling through their days just trying to make it to the weekend and I'm able to fast-forward my life to my dying day. At that moment, I often think about being old, sick and waiting to die. What days will you think about when looking back on your life? You see, while I'm Blogging during the holidays, spending time to think and soaking in the good will of my family and friends, you're dreading going back to work next week.

Beyond that...

While you're spending your days wondering why others act the way they do, I am spending my days wondering what the future will look like and how I can help shape it. Thinking like that keeps me out of The Matrix. Thinking about getting old and having way too much time on my hands while waiting for fate to do with me what it will (and it will for each and every one of us) drives me to enjoy life (work, personal and community). So, while you wait for that moment to take a break from work, or for that week where you can unplug, just consider (for a moment) that for some of us, a true vacation is the complete opposite. For some, a vacation is every day. It's the chance to be working on the art/work we were meant to do. For some (people like me), we feel blessed that everyday is what most might consider a vacation. The challenge is that this world is hard to imagine when you're living in The Matrix ("what's this. Mitch? Your work day is like a vacation? Are you on drugs?"). Always remember: "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." The difference is that I can't show you anything. You have to show it to yourself.

So, red pill or blue pill?

By Mitch Joel