Baha'i and Matrixism?

Discussion in 'Modern Religions' started by Awaiting_the_fifth, May 6, 2005.

  1. Awaiting_the_fifth

    Awaiting_the_fifth Where is my mind?

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    After viewing another thread I discovered the bizzare and Highly implausible concept of Matrixism. A religion based on the "Matrix" movies and Psychadelic drugs. And then I found this sight:

    http://www.geocities.com/matrixism2069/

    The references to the Baha'i faith prompted me to come here and ask the learned users of this board for their opinions. So what do you all think? Does Baha'i accept Matrixism?
     
  2. Abogado del Diablo

    Abogado del Diablo Ferally Decent

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    I love the choices you get when you take the "blue pill" at the bottom of the linked page. :cool:
     
  3. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    I'm pretty sure Baha'is will object to the idea of psychedelic drugs as sacrament. First, there re no sacraments in the Baha'i Faith. Second, all mind altering drugs are prohibited unless prescribed by a physician. Abdu'l Baha did talk about the matrix, though.

    Imginative, though.

    lunamoth
     
  4. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Awhile ago a fairly well known reviewer compared elements of the first Matrix movie with what he knew about Baha'i Faith ... I've seen another reviewer see Zen philosophy in the Matrix movies as well.

    Abdul-Baha spoke Persian and taught in Europe and America and you'll see reference to a term translated into English as "matrix" but it has nothing to do in my opinion with the movie "Matrix" other than being a coincidental word used.

    But for the Baha'is themselves I don't think you'll find many who identify their faith with the Matrix movies other than just enjoying the movies themselves as entertainment.

    As to psychedelics, what has been posted here by Luna moth is accurate.

    - Art
     
  5. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    Hi,

    Lunamoth is correct. The use of pyschedelics is strictly forbidden in the Baha'i Faith. Any substance which alters our senses is not acceptable.

    I've heard other Baha'i's that have seen all the Matrix movies say that there are similiarities but I've only seen the first one to date, so not sure what they're referring to.

    Maybe someone else will come along who can provide some info, but it's not me. :)

    Have a great day!

    Warmly,

    Amy
     
  6. MalcomRazor

    MalcomRazor New Member

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    According to the person who wrote this review: http://circleofpneuma.blogspot.com/2005/04/matrixism.html Matrixism may be more of a form of protest against established religion than a religion itself. Of course I have no idea what a "hyper-real faith" is so take this for what it is worth.

    Does anyone here know what a "hyper-real faith" is anyway?

    What is hyper-reality?
     
  7. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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  8. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

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    I don't know what Matrixism would really be (will check out the website) but I would offer there is some connection as picked up by the reviewer. Similar fictional efforts at a religion based on movies exist - "The Force" and being a Jedi, come to mind. As these movies are based on the idea that the world around us partly a fiction presented to us for us to take, so is this a common theme in religion, philosophy, and indeed the Baha'i Faith as well. The Allegory of the Cave shows an inkling of how old the idea is. The quote from the Baha'i Faith, which accidently happens to use the word "matrix" points out this very reality the movies also tried to present.

    "...
    In the beginning of his human life man was embryonic in the world of the matrix. There he received capacity and endowment for the reality of human existence. The forces and powers necessary for this world were bestowed upon him in that limited condition. In this world he needed eyes; he received them potentially in the other. He needed ears; he obtained them there in readiness and preparation for his new existence. The powers requisite in this world were conferred upon him in the world of the matrix, so that when he entered this realm of real existence he not only possessed all necessary functions and powers but found provision for his material sustenance awaiting him.

    Therefore in this world he must prepare himself for the life beyond. That which he needs in the world of the Kingdom must be obtained here. Just as he prepared himself in the world of the matrix by acquiring forces necessary in this sphere of existence, so likewise the indispensable forces of the divine existence must be potentially attained in this world.

    What is he in need of in the Kingdom which transcends the life and limitation of this mortal sphere? That world beyond is a world of sanctity and radiance; therefore it is necessary that in this world he should acquire these divine attributes. In that world there is need of spirituality, faith, assurance, the knowledge and love of God. These he must attain in this world so that after his ascension from the earthly to the heavenly Kingdom he shall find all that is needful in that life eternal ready for him...."

    Of course more directly here "matrix" refers to the condition of pregnancy.

    Also here we can easily distinguish the movies sense of realism from the presentation of the Baha'i Faith - the "real" world is horrific in the movies while the "real" world in the Baha'is is a matter of layering - before birth, after birth, and the world beyond, and at the same time we are given a means of relating one to the next instead of one being just a lie of control - it is ultimately one of heavenly belonging.
     
  9. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

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    As above, so I have little idea what they may mean by "hyper-faith" - but If I think about the word itself to me it takes on a couple of possibilities withint the context of the Baha'i Faith.

    There is for example the mention of "the eternal Faith of God" which transcends a particular religion. But taken another way, the Baha'i Faith has explicit relationships and affirmations with other religions each of them tends not to have.
     
  10. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

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    the whole area of scifi/fa and religious expectations and spirituality is one that hasn't gotten real attention from either side. The middle ground is usually one of poor connections - things like Star Trek where religion is almost exclusively the province of superstition or Babylon 5 where religion is diverse and obscure but largely unrelated to the real process of history.

    Some of the things that have taken something of religion more seriously are Stranger in a Strange Land and Dune. Both deal with prophet-like figures and deal with the social circumstances. Matrix largely avoids the social circumstances (it's perfectly ok to be terrorist-like and kill large numbers of people because they are living fake lives - but there is no explanation of how more people learn the truth because of Neo.) Lord of the Rings mostly avoids religion except for a good-vs-evil tone, unless you are a magic-oriented person and want to call that a religion.

    Certainly the popularity of quasi-religious movements in the face of fictious sources like Matrix is nothing new. I recall the "Celestine Prophecies" and Carlos Castenda's books before that and suppose this kind of thing has gone on forever. But I do think there is something of a pulse in human history about such things - there are periods where more of this happens and times where less of it does. It's not entirely clear but I think plus or minus a few hundreds years around the real Prophet, who founds what will later be known as a well known religion, various popular attempts at religions or revisions of religions happen.
     
  11. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

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    Well I just went through the website and certainly someone is more or less off their rocker.

    I suppose a sad thing is to give it a serious answer means giving it more attention. <sigh>

    A simple way to begin is that of the four tenents presented, 1, 3 and 4 might have some positive relationship to the Baha'i Faith but 2 is entirely false. Interestingly the website itself mostly alludes to the falsity of drugs - one of the faqs is "Q: Do I necessarily have to take psychedelics to be a matrixist?
    A: No. All that is necessary is for one to recognize psychedelics as a valid method of spiritual practice. Conversely you don't have to necessarily give up drinking alcohol or stop taking anti-depressants to be a matrixist. What is important is recognizing what these "blue pills" do to your mind." Additionally in the "hacking" section most drugs are associated with "blue pills" which is a note from the movies of those who are stuck with the martix-lie.

    Interestingly several active people in the online game are discussing the invalidity of Matrixism as well - making similar points here

    It is at least ironic that there is a persian website devoted to matrixism when the Baha'i Faith is actively surpressed in Iran.

    I suppose a most centrally Baha'i response could be that while the website credits Abdu'l-Baha with the mention of the matrix, Abdu'l-Baha Himself spent His life promulgating Baha'u'llah's teachings, something entirely ignored on the matrixism website. If Abdu'l-Baha is to be given some credit then perhaps it is best to see what He did with it.
     
  12. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    I just read the first page of the website but I think it probably is just some kind of spoof on religion. Interesting that the originators of Matrixism even knew about Abdu'l Baha, but perhaps they found that by googling the word matrix.

    However, I think that the film is interesting with respect to the Baha'i Faith in the way that it blends eastern and western religions (well, at least Buddhism/mysticism/Chinese martial arts/Christianity). [I know that the Baha'i Faith does not blend religions, but one of its central tenets is the unity of all religions.] It's strong messianic theme, with Neo (the One) certainly mirrors Baha'i, as well as the other Abrahamic religions. That Neo comes in a way that few of the people of Zion recognize, even as they hope for him, I think also reflects Baha'i beliefs.

    Also, and please help me here if you can, but I think that the idea that the Spiritual world (a kind of spiritual plane) is all around and in this material world, kind of like a transparent overlay that we just usually don't see or tap into, is also similar to the Baha'i view. In a way it is like we are asleep because we have the potential to wake and traverse the division between these worlds "in the twinkling of the eye." I seem to remember some quote about for everything in the world of creation (here) and everything that happens there is a reflection in the Spiritual world (hmmm, sounds a lot like Platonism, perhaps I am mixing this up).

    The quote posted by smkolins:

    I found Abdu'l Baha's reference to the Kingdom here interesting, although I was previously familiar with this quote. It never struck me before that the Baha'i view of the Kingdom is in the next world. I guess that like in Christianity the Kingdom of God is both in this world and the next, just not as evident in this world. Or, perhaps Abdu'l Baha just stated it this way because he was addressing a Christian audience.

    Anyway, I certainly agree that the idea in the movie that the reality we perceive is just some kind of mind trick to subdue our spirits is not at all like the Baha'i view of the matrix. However, the idea of individuals awakening to a new reality and transforming as a result is at the heart of all the major religions.

    Just a few observations,
    lunamoth
     
  13. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

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    Most attempts to describe the spiritual world get to be clues that on their own leave one puzzled. Only speaking from full knowledge of that world would it all make sense. But perhaps some thinking can put some of the clues together. Some places Baha'i Writings speak of the next world not being seperated from this world. Other places it says that the soul does not enter or leave the body. One way to reconsile these ideas is that the spiritual world is in the directions of other dimensions - current science is proposing that the world has eleven. This is not the way the Matrix resolves the illusion of what the world in front of our eyes is. Many times I've used physics to give analogies that connect with the Baha'i idea. One way is simply a matter of how senses work and relate to the world - change what the senses pickup and the world dramatically changes. It's the same world but with entirely different presentations of what is and is not. For example to normal sight the world is big under our feet and stretches to the horizon. If our eyes picked up neutrinoes, the world is a misty nothing with fuzzy dots in every direction occasionally punctuated by blinding flashes from everywhere in the sky (these would be the cores of stars and the flashes are supernovae and gamma ray bursters which probably also emit large numbers of neutrinoes.) Then go to sonar - now distance and substance are partly a matter of the medium and motion between and among observer and observed. Skin color of normal sight is meaningless while endoskeleton vs ectoskeleton would mean a great deal. So these transformations do indeed radically change how we see things. But they all obey the rules of the way the world around us is, even if presented incredibly differently. But the idea of playing with how the senses work is how the Matrix works. Your senses are given another input.

    Now take some of the dimensional arguments of science (there should be plenty of places that talk about 2-d vs 3-d while attempting to describe a 4 dimensional world of Einstein's or beyond.... Here's one. It's a bit mathy at times but also presents many ideas of what it's like. Dimension differences in what the world is like is really much stranger than seeing the world in different ways. A 3-d ball in a 2-d plane-universe would have many inexplicable characteristics. If you are in a 2-d world where is the top and bottom of the ball? They are in the same place as the middle! From the view of 2-d worlds a ball is more than just seeing in a 2-d world by diverse means.

    Many of these ideas have common themes even if they have individual aspects.

    The part about mirroring I think emphasizes the other direction - everything in the spiritual world has a reflection in this world. We can make this world more like the spiritual one by acting according to the rules of that world and not just this world. If you take the dimensional arguments - things that could be very true in 3-d can only with difficulty make sense in 2-d. This world may not care much about morality for example, but the next world may very much depend on it.

    It could be a matter of emphasis - the next world *is* the Kingdom, but we are to make this world like that one. "On Earth as it is in Heaven."
     
  14. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

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    Here's A whole book (online) about dimensions and life. It's called Flatland which I just learned was published in 1884 with possible roots to 1877 (here . Who new they had conferences on just 4 dimensions! What will we do with 7 or 11?!

    Here's one of the presenter's comments: "For over 20 years, the study of 4-dimensional smooth manifolds has been a hot area that has drawn together most areas of mathematics and theoretical physics. Despite spectacular advances in defining invariants for 4-dimensional manifolds and the discovery of important qualitative features about these manifolds, we seem to be retreating from any hope to classify smooth 4-dimensional manifolds. The subject is rich in examples that demonstrate a wide variety of disparate phenomena. Yet it is precisely this richness which gives us little hope to even conjecture a classification scheme. In lecture I will indicate how mathematicians work and play in dimension 4, indicate the recent major advances, and plot future directions."
     
  15. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Indeed, in the Matrix there must be an "other" who wishes to deceive, dominate and control. Hmmmm, sounds familiar. But also it was humans who originally created that other (the machines). And the machines/other deceived the humans by giving them just that material world they wanted. Hmm, also sounds familiar. Also quite interesting was the comment in the movie that when the program was too perfect and peaceful the humans were no longer satisfied: we need bad to appreciate good.

    Yes, this is a good metaphor for the relationship between the material and spiritual worlds, which are not really two worlds but two different perceptions.

    Arrrrgh! I appreciate the elegance of math and physics in describing the cosmos but usually when we start reducing the Spiritual to formulas and dimensions I can no longer relate. And to me the personal relationship with God is very important for living the life of the Spirit, nurturing my love of God, and my connections with people. Different strokes, many flowers and all that jazz! :D

    Yes, brilliant! Can you find that quote for me? I don't know enough of the specific words to find in Ocean.

    Amen.

    peace,
    lunamoth
     
  16. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

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    BTW, if you are looking for scifi/fa connections with the Baha'i Faith I would track down Tom Ligon's short stories "The Devil and the Deep Black Void" and "The Gardener" of which he speaks of a Baha'i culture and its responce to a terrorist group. You can read some online comments by him here . Tom isn't a Baha'i and one can argue the stance he takes. But it still makes interesting reading!

    But another avenue is to be found in the body of work by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff - she is a Baha'i who has written several books and many short stories. Some feature Baha'i characters or themes explicitly, some without being very direct in noting their basis, and some have little or nothing to do with the Baha'i Faith. In wider circulation I would point to her book series "The Meri" in which a society is going through massive changes and much of the theological background (but not all!) is based on Baha'i quotes. She has a web page -The Mystic Fig
     
  17. DynoMight

    DynoMight New Member

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    I think that Matrixism could relate to the Baha'i Faith well in that it could mark the return of the living Guardian. You see the administrative order of the Baha'i Faith is supposed to be headed by a living Guardian who is a single person with executive power. But when Shogi Effendi the then current Guardian died in 1957 without naming his succesor the Faith lost that which they were never supposed to be without. Apparently in 1963 the spiritual assemblies of all the countries with Baha'i populations voted to do away with the Guardianship and have the Baha'is be led solely by the elected body that is called the Universal House of Justice. Well all countries voted for this except for France. The National Spiritual Assembly of France apparently wanted to stay loyal to Baha'i scripture and maintain said Guardianship.

    Apparently all of these facts are something that Baha'i are supposed to shunt. I am interested to see how Baha'is will respond to this on a message board that they do not control and thus can't lock or delete.
     
  18. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    My Friend,

    i responded to this in the Baha'i thread regarding a living guardian, but immediately what comes to mind from this post is that if they had really wanted to stay loyal to Baha'i Scripture, they would have supported the decision of the majority as that is a fundamental underlying principle in the Faith.

    And no, the Guardianship was not 'done away with'. Shoghi Effendi was, is and always will be the Guardian of the Baha'i dispensation.

    -Amy
     
  19. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    smkolins wrote: "The part about mirroring I think emphasizes the other direction - everything in the spiritual world has a reflection in this world. "

    Hi Laurie,

    I see you asked this ages ago. Here's one quote in this vein.

    "The worlds of God are in perfect harmony and correspondence one with another. Each world in this limitless universe is, as it were, a mirror reflecting the history and nature of all the rest. The physical universe is, likewise, in perfect correspondence with the spiritual or divine realm. The world of matter is an outer expression or facsimile of the inner kingdom of spirit. The world of minds corresponds with the world of hearts. " -Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 270

    http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/ab/PUP/pup-93.html?query=mirror|world&action=highlight#gr1

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    -Amy
     
  20. DynoMight

    DynoMight New Member

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    9Harm,

    Everywhere in the Baha'i Faith's sacred writings where "the Guardian" is refered to he is refered to as a "living" Guardian. It is very clear by context that "living" is meant in the literal sense of the word. It was in fact the system of appointing an unending succession of living guardians that was supposed to be the primary way to prevent schism in the Baha'i religion. Because of the lack of a Guardian there is no longer only one Baha'i church. Besides the Baha'i Faith based in Haifa there is also the The Orthodox Baha'i Faith based out of Tarbiyat.

    Wasn't it Shogi Effendi himself who wrote "Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship the World Order of Baha'u'llah would be mutilated"?

    Cheers,
    Mark
     

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