With the release of the movie “Matrix Resurrections,” I was inspired to watch the original “Matrix” film again. (I have not seen the newest film, at the time that I am writing this, so no spoilers please.) I had not watched the “Matrix” in a long time and several things caught my attention. However, this is not by any stretch of imagination a film review.
After watching the original “Matrix” film, I was discussing with friends about how ground-breaking this film was. Special effects have been changed forever thanks to this movie. There are a lot of really good life lessons in this film as well. The biggest is the question “Are you really experiencing your life?” and “What does it mean to be alive?” Whole philosophy classes could be taught based on the “Matrix” movie.
One of my favorite scenes in the first movie was when Neo is sent to meet with the Oracle. He is in a room with other potential candidates, most of them children. One child was bending a spoon and makes memorable comment “Do not try to bend the spoon. That is impossible. Only instead try to realize the truth. Neo asks, What’s that? The boy, There is no spoon.” Philosophical question, “What is the nature of reality?”
When Neo goes into the kitchen to see the Oracle, she is baking cookies. She directs Neo to look at a plaque on her wall with the words “Temet Nosce.” Temet Nosce, or when translated from Latin to English, means know thyself. I always thought this was interesting direction. We are all trying to find out who we are and where we are going in a universe of limitless possibilities.
How hard it is to know oneself. We are told things about ourselves from the instant we are born. We have our own ideas of who we are. There are things that we do not like to face about ourselves. Sometimes our ego gets into the way. Sometimes someone else’s ego gets in the way.
The journey of knowing who we are is the adventure of our lifetime. The point of this journey is not to arrive. It is to live, become and to grow. Discover yourself every day.
I would go on to say that the Oracle missed something in her advice to Neo. Not only should we work on knowing ourselves, but one needs to learn to love thyself as well. There is a quote attributed to Buddha, “Love yourself and the rest will follow.” Love is an important step in knowing oneself. It is the basis of compassion and forgiveness which help us in loving others.
Have you heard the saying that you cannot truly love anyone else until you love yourself. In the gospel of Matthew from the Christian Bible, Jesus is quoted as saying that the second greatest commandment is “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
The month of February is often associated with Valentines Day, an annual festival to celebrate romantic love, friendship and admiration. Every year on 14 February people celebrate this day by sending messages of love and affection to partners, family and friends. For Valentine’s Day this year, I challenge you to follow the advice of the Oracle from the “Matrix” and know thyself. But I further challenge you to love thyself and as attributed to Buddha allow the rest to follow. Allow forgiveness and compassion, for yourself and for your neighbor, following the second commandment as quoted by Jesus. This year let’s make Valentine’s Day a celebration of love that not only begins with us, but within us.