The Illusion of Choice: The Left and Right Paradigm

To expand on a previous post

I’d like to take a moment to appreciate this scene from “The Matrix” where Neo (anagram for ‘One’ – as in ‘Anointed One’) is faced with two choices offered to him by Morpheus (Greek for “God of sleep and dreams,” according to Wikipedia). Many have speculated on the deeper meaning of this scene and now I’d like to offer my take on it for you to mull over. Here’s a snippet from that scene for context:

Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. [opens hand, unveiling blue pill] You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. [opens hand, unveiling red pill] You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. [Speaks before Neo takes the Red Pill] Remember: all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.
[Neo takes the red pill after a few moments of thought, and washes it down with a mouthful of water from the glass next to him]
Morpheus: Follow me.

It strikes me as an obvious portrayal of our reality where, as I’ve alluded to previously, we’re constantly offered two choices (opposing forces): you’re either left or right, blue or red. If you follow the Matrix trilogy, you’ll know there is question as to whether or not Neo ever does actually exit the simulation at all, or if he has been fooled by the very system he wishes to be free from… Perpetually in this left/right paradigm, spiraling into the deep – just as water spirals in a whirlpool.

“A whirlpool is a body of rotating water produced by opposing currents…

Wikipedia – Whirlpool

Note that regardless of which pill he chooses, red or blue, he would still be taking it with a glass of water. Water, symbolic of this physical/material, realm.

Morpheus claims to offer ‘knowledge’ as ‘knowing’ of the truth when he says “all I’m offering is the truth.” Morpheus, however, is offering both red and blue pills… These are the left and right realities, mirrors of each other. In other terms, one could say they are the two polarities (positive and negative). When observing the image below, the mirror realities or ‘polarities’ are symbolized by the reflections in his ‘sunglasses’ (sun-shades, as if blind to the light). There are two realities, but both a reflection (mirror or opposite) of same. Notice, though, what is between them? There, in front of us hidden in plain sight? Between the two illusions is the nose – a pun for “knows.” Let’s explore that…

Two illusions, left and right, symbolized by the reflections in Morpheus’ sunglasses.

The path to knowledge (to know, nose/knows/gnosis) and piercing through illusory realities is not to the left nor to the right, but through the center. Even the nose itself has a bridge, as if to be symbolic of the ‘narrow path’ in the context of this theme.

The Truman Show: Straight and narrow bridge

Narrow path… Directly between the eyebrows. Brow can also mean the ‘summit of a hill or pass.’

As I like to defer to on this blog, a quote from the hidden book of 2 Esdras:

“…There is a city built and set on a plain, and it is full of all good things; but the entrance to it is narrow and set in a precipitous place, so that there is fire on the right hand and deep water on the left. There is only one path lying between them, that is, between the fire and the water, so that only one person can walk on the path.”

2 Esdras 7:6-8 (Apocrypha/hidden scripture)

This is an allegory for the “straight and narrow path.” Notice the irony – the city is “set on a plain,” as if to infer the truth is hidden in ‘plain’ sight. It’s also clear that no one can lead you down that path. That is to say, there’s no one we can follow to walk it. We must learn to go inward. The straight and narrow path is illustrated symbolically throughout various texts. Here are a few popular examples:

“Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.”

Proverbs 4:27 – another reference to the two polarities, or polarizations of reality. Evil is that which deviates from the centre.

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’ ”

Mark 1:3

Even Jesus is quoted as saying:

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Mathew 7:13-14
Physical symbol/imagery: Path Between Fire and Water

We are tempered through strife.

49 He answered me and said, “Listen to me, Ezra, and I will instruct you, and will admonish you yet again. 50 For this reason the Most High has made not one world but two. 51 For whereas you have said that the righteous are not many but few, while the ungodly abound, hear the explanation for this.

52 “If you have just a few precious stones, will you add to them lead and clay?”

53 I said, “Lord, how could that be?”

54 And he said to me, “Not only that, but ask the earth and she will tell you; defer to her, and she will declare it to you. 55 Say to her, ‘You produce gold and silver and brass, and also iron and lead and clay; 56 but silver is more abundant than gold, and brass than silver, and iron than brass, and lead than iron, and clay than lead.’ 57 Judge therefore which things are precious and desirable, those that are abundant or those that are rare?”

58 I said, “O sovereign Lord, what is plentiful is of less worth, for what is more rare is more precious.”

59 He answered me and said, “Weigh within yourself what you have thought, for he who has what is hard to get rejoices more than he who has what is plentiful.

2 Esdras 7:49-59 (read full text here)

If you’d like to explore more on the concept of polarity, read IS-RA-EL.

Edit Log: Post updated Feb 7, 2022. Adapted recent understanding of polarity to the “left/right” concept.