(Edit: It occurs to me that this is pretty obvious stuff. But maybe some of my tangents will be interesting.)
Inspired more or less by this Skype conversation with Podrag. Here is the scene in question:
[18:05:31] Aeoli Pera: ‘Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right!’ <- this is true in some circumstances, and not in others.
[18:05:44] Aeoli Pera: When it comes to social, people stuff, it's true.
[18:05:54] Aeoli Pera: When it comes to material stuff, it's false.
[18:05:56] Podrag: It’s true for the kind of stuff you’re dealing with now
[18:06:05] Aeoli Pera: Everything in the middle, like economics, is a gray area.
[18:06:20] Podrag: It’s untrue if you want to bend a spoon with the power of your mind
[18:06:42] Podrag: but bending spoons is just melon power talk anyway and you know that
[18:07:07] Aeoli Pera: I never really understood that part of the Matrix.
[18:07:16] Podrag: No. You did.
[18:07:48] Aeoli Pera: Lemme pull up the scene and see if you're right.
[18:07:58] Podrag: You know you did. It’s just for TTs it’s too much all at once. The Matrix is very much an MT film.
[18:08:16] Podrag: For TTs it’s a bit of a system overload.
[18:09:35] Aeoli Pera: "The Matrix is very much an MT film." Good point.
[18:09:48] Aeoli Pera: The outfits make a lot of sense that way.
[18:10:07] Podrag: If you watch it properly and mindfully you will know what it’s saying. But you’re right in that you probably have to watch it 10 times to ‘grock’ it
[18:10:38] Podrag: I had to watch it like 4 or 5 times to properly ground it in reality
Okay, we have the perception part. In a pliable world like politics or the Matrix, perception rules over reality. Mind over matter, as they say. Where does magic come in?
I mentioned that I got this idea from the scene in Chrono Trigger where the Gnostic Holy Spirit grants Chrono and the party a spirit guide (Spekkio), who unlocks their latent ability to use magic. (This scene may be a subversion of the Pentecost.) Aside from the name (spec-ion), the fact that this character tests the party’s magical abilities at intervals, mirroring their strength level, leads me to suspect that this character is meant to represent some kind of subconscious psychological mirror personality. (Probably analogous to Jung’s “shadow”.)
This business of spirit guides will be familiar to anyone with exposure to occult ideas about enlightenment. My ignorant impression is that the spirit guides the acolyte to use techniques of introspection and mental discipline to unlock higher forms of perception. Two side effects of this path of enlightenment are 1) insight into the way things really are in the world (red pill understanding, so to speak), and 2) the ability to effect changes in the material world by imposing the will onto one’s perception of the world. Now, I’d wager a guess that these powerful side effects are considered pleasant rewards (who doesn’t enjoy power and understanding?), but the pursuit of enlightenment is supposed to be the acolyte’s real business.
(Christians typically believe that the second, such as the telekinetic ability to levitate objects i.e. bend spoons by bending one’s own mind, is merely a trick where a demon moves the object to convince the magician that he has real powers, thus further entrapping him within the lie. I’m agnostic on the subject.)
We see intimations of this in Christianity as well. Jesus talks a great deal about people having eyes but not being able to see, and ears but not being able to hear. This comes up a lot in the prophetic books as well, where either God or the prophet is lamenting the blindness of the Israelites. Paul expands upon this:
…17That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,…
(Contrary to popular opinion, I believe Paul’s struggle was to control his tendency to run-on sentences. Sheesh, everything has to be sex with these prudes.)
“Discernment” is considered a spiritual gift granted by the indwelling Holy Ghost, which some Christians manifest far more than others (like the other spiritual gifts). I figure the psychological mechanism used by the occult spirit familiars and the Holy Spirit to unlock this ability is the same one, because why not? The serpent in the Garden of Eden used this bait to tempt Eve, which is less encouraging: “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”
And now, in the modern day, we seem to be rediscovering this theme with a vengeance. Heartiste calls it “frame”. Scott Adams calls the masters of frame “wizards”. Stage magicians just call it what it is. Marketers, propagandists, educators, and drill sergeants have spent the last century polishing the science of brainwashing to a mirror shine. Dialectic, rhetoric, dolorectic- it all comes down to influence (i.e. power over others via their perceptions), and we live in a world where people think this is all a jolly state of affairs.
If you complain, it’s just because you’re a butt-hurt loser who wishes they were better at lying. Man, now I need a drink. Here’s something to end on a bit of a lighter note: