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  • Writer's pictureDavid Redding

DON'T DISAPPEAR: Stay In The Fight

Sometimes I feel like disappearing

That scene where Cypher asks to be put back into the Matrix because he’s tired of the fight? I get that, because sometimes I feel that way myself. I feel like disappearing. I don’t mean from the face of the Earth, just from the battlefield of life. I guess a better word for it would be withdrawing, like a chess piece that takes itself off the board without either player having made a move.

There is an alluring comfort in picturing myself lying to the side in blissful and inert ignorance as others continue the fight without me

Agent Smith: Do we have a deal, Mr. Reagan?

Cypher: You know, I know this steak doesn’t exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? Ignorance is bliss.

Agent Smith: Then we have a deal?

Cypher: I don’t want to remember nothing. Nothing. You understand? And I want to be rich. You know, someone important, like an actor. Cypher: Whatever you want, Mr. Reagan.

I love how Cypher’s hospital name is “Mr. Reagan” and his desire when returned to the ignorance of the Matrix is to be “someone important, like an actor”. That’s some cinematic irony that’s every bit as juicy as the fake steak that Agent Smith uses to seduce Cypher.

Ronald Reagan, whatever you thought of his politics, was a man who gave up the easy life of portraying men in the battlefield of life for the hard life of actually being one. Then, as Alzheimers overtook him, he slowly returned to the battlefield of his own mind. In the end, I wonder what he remembered. Did he dream of the real battles he fought or the others, the fake ones he had only acted out?

In war, the enemy doesn’t have to kill every last soldier to triumph. It need only to destroy your army’s willingness to continue the fight

The most effective way to do that is through isolation and confusion. The great majority of battles end in surrender for just that reason.

And so it is with men. We surrender to the siren song of ignorant bliss because we feel isolated and confused. We take ourselves off the chessboard because it seems easier. We choose to disappear rather than stay in the fight.

One man, Solomon said, can be overpowered. And two men can only defend themselves. But three men? That is a cord that cannot be quickly broken. A man among three is never isolated because he has a brother to his left and right. And the confusion that periodically descends upon us all will not prevail because he has two friends to help him snap out of it.

In this way, a cord of three is not only strong enough to provide self-defense, but to provide a lifeline for others. That's why we stay in the fight. Not for ourselves, but for the others. Blissful ignorance is not only deadly to the man who succumbs to it, but for all of those who depend upon him.

So, if you are feeling isolated and confused. Don't give in to it, that's the enemy's design. Instead, find two men and form a cord.

Don't disappear: stay in the fight


Josh Reyher
Josh Reyher
Mar 23, 2021

Great piece! Steven Pressfield, author Enemy of the Gates, Legend of Bagger Vance, has a blog that is really good. The blog focuses on writing but it is deeper. Recommend reading the 3 posts on Non-Zero sum vs Zero Sum. It has been highly influential in my thinking in how to interact with people. Cypher & Agent Smith see Zero Sum, while Morpheus and Neo see the world as non-Zero Sum.



David Redding
David Redding
Mar 24, 2021
Replying to

Aye Brother. I’m a Pressfield fan as well.

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