One core of my political philosophy is this: A sense that the game of politics is played by manipulating people to get trapped into their own projections, pitting them in a war with their own shadows. A war they are certain to lose, the harder they try.
This strategy exploits a fundamental tendency of human beings, which few people ever get free of. This is the tendency to believe they are living in the world they imagine. Social media echo chambers have profoundly amplified the disconnect between the world we imagine and the world as it is.
I’ve arrived at this philosophy in part by watching politics and the media intently for some years, and partly by watching the way my own mind works, noticing how wrong we all are about most everything, most all the time. We are, to a great extent, living in dream worlds.
And as many a sci-fi story has dwelt on, once you fall into a dreamworld, it’s very hard to ever get out. Instead, it’s one dreamworld after another. Politics, is the art of controlling other people’s dreams.
The 20th Century might be viewed as the century in which the development of weapons of war was mirrored by a corresponding development in the technology of mass dream control. Not only the tank, the submarine, the airplane and the atomic bomb, but the radio, the television, the motion picture and the Internet.
It’s all right there in this scene. The truth hidden in plain sight.
But, as stated, once you fall into a dreamworld, it’s virtually impossible to ever get back to reality. It’s just one dream after another after another.
So, in The Matrix, as soon as Neo gets out of the dreamworld he thinks he’s living in, fighting against the conformity of his boss at MetaCortechs, he ends up in another dreamworld, fighting against the absolute rule of the machines. We know it’s a dreamworld because the machine’s supposed utilization of humans as batteries makes no kind of physical sense. His mind tries to blunt the edge of absurdity by throwing in “combined with a form of fusion”, but this is absurd dream logic which fills the gap in the calculation only so long as you don’t actually question it.
Ibram X Kendi, current emblem of what it means to be ‘woke’, provides another example. When he was in college, he firmly believed that white people were literal aliens, on Earth to oppress the indigenous population. Now he believes absolutely everything is either racist or anti-racist, which is a more sophisticated version of the same black and white dream.
Point being: we’re dreamers, and the 20th Century saw as profound a growth in dream management technology as it did in advances in weapons of war.