• David Redding

THE IDOLATRY OF MISERY


The happy Matrix was a failure

During his interrogation of Morpheus, Agent Smith reveals that the matrix against which Morpheus is rebelling is not the first iteration of the construct—that the machines’ initial attempt to build a fantasy world for its captives to dream away their lives in had utterly failed for an unexpected reason:


“Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world. Where none suffered. Where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost. Some believed that we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world. But I believe that as a species, human beings define their reality through misery and suffering. The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from. Which is why the Matrix was redesigned to this, the peak of your civilization.”


Like many men my age, I’ve watched The Matrix more times than I can count, but this scene is not one I think about a lot or recall hearing others discuss much. Maybe that’s because it contains this little tidbit of insight into human nature that we are very reluctant to accept:

we claim we want to be happy, but it is actually misery that most of us truly desire.


Instead of being happy, most men choose to practice the Idolatry Of Misery.

The Gooist would not have survived in the happy Matrix

In the QSource, we describe Goo as the philosophy of universal happiness and a Gooist as someone who has centered his life around its practice. Ostensibly, a Gooist would be wildly happy in the original Matrix as it represents the utopia he claims to desire for us all.


But it’s just not so. Just like the masses who rejected the happy Matrix, the Gooist would never accept a world without misery. I know this because he will not accept the world we have now, which a place of continuing improvements to the conditions of collective humanity at a pace so rapid that we can barely keep up.


Regardless of how good things get, the Gooist will find something or someone to bitch about. He can only thrive in the second Matrix, the one that reincorporated the misery and suffering that the Gooist secretly idolizes above everything else.


In explaining why everything is amazing and nobody is happy, Louis CK perfectly illustrates the Gooist’s Idolatry Of Misery. He describes how moments after the first introduction of wifi service in the airplane (an incredible feat of technology), the guy sitting next to him starts complaining about it breaking down momentarily. CK observes: “how quickly the world owes him something he only knew existed ten seconds ago”.

Idolatry Of Misery is a choice

The man is steeped in the Idolatry Of Misery, ignoring the wonder of inflight wifi to focus on its momentary glitches. He would toss his picnic basket in the trash if a single ant walked across his blanket. Like the humans who rejected the original Matrix, he defines his reality through misery and suffering.


But Agent Smith only gets it half right. It’s not all of humanity that idolizes misery. Some of us could live in a world without misery and ardently anticipate doing so upon kingdom come. Infused with that hope, we live in freedom from the shackles of the Idolatry Of Misery.


And because we are creatures of hope, we desire the same freedom for every man. And they could have it, but only if they will choose for themselves to take the Red Pill and see the world as it really is, to redefine their reality.


Sadly, that is a choice that most men are simply unwilling to make.

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