Cypher [Cuts a piece of steak and holds it in front of him] 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 9 years, you know what I have learned? [Eats the piece of steak and sighs contently] Ignorance is bliss.
Agent Smith Then we have a deal?
Cypher I don't wanna remember nothing, nothing, you understand? And, I wanna be rich. You know someone important...like an actor.
Agent Smith Whatever you want, Mr Reagan.
Cypher Alright, then. Put my body back into the power plant, reinsert me back into the Matrix, I'll get what you want.
Agent Smith The access codes to the Zion mainframe.
Cypher Look, I don't know them. I'll give you the man who does.
Agent Smith Morpheus
Scene from "The Matrix" where the jerk, Cypher, agreed to go back into the make believe world of the Matrix. Remember the movie plot where a few humans actually got out of the Matrix, which was a giant power station feeding off the heat of humans attached to a computer system that actually made them believe their lives were real. There are so many days when I wonder if I'm living in the Matrix because of the things people do and accept. I keep looking for glitches so I can break through and detach all those brains from the system and in the process free people in every way possible.
What is amazing is that people are essentially chattel in the Matrix where their bodies are slaves and their minds are allowed to run free within limits. Yet, that's the case in this world, too. People move in and out of their daily lives more and more content with the notion of accepting mediocrity. Our bodies are used by the powers that be while we satisfy our mind with reality television shows. Of course, connected to our bodies are our rights and ceding them is part of the grand bargain, too. Cypher sold out for riches, what are you selling out for?
Conversation in a Greek Diner
Whenever I have a chance, I grab breakfast (always take out) at the Greek diner next down where the service is great and fast. This week I got into a conversation with the owner, he is a gentleman I consider an informed moderate, who leans right. We talked about the draconian measures accepted by Greece and parts of the deal that angered him, yet he was also very candid about the circumstances. He railed that the $170.0 billion bailout doesn't go "to the people" but instead to banks. It's a common complaint and similar to the one heard in America with respect to TARP and all the other programs to help banks while the people suffered.
He arrived in America at age six but went back frequently. He talked about how lazy the people were and how they mocked him and others calling them "American robots" because they not only worked but also did silly things like coming back from lunch after only an hour instead of when they felt like coming back. He told me how people in Greece go to banks each August and ask for and receive €1,000 without any documents. They would take the next 11 months to pay back the money and come back the next summer and do it all over again. So, in effect just like the turncoat in "The Matrix" these people lived a life that was a lie ... but man was it a fantastic lie while it lasted.
Of course, the guy in The Matrix sold out his friends whereas the folks in Greece sold out their children. The thing is this guy, Cypher, asked to be plugged into the Matrix and to not remember anything. In many ways that's exactly what happened in Greece over the years, people forgot they were in this Matrix where things didn't add up. Where there was so much free time, free money, long vacations, and fun even as other countries seemed to work so hard they resembled robots. Now the people don't know how to work, they don't know how to earn; they set up hurdles to doing business, hurdles to achieve individual success.
My Greek diner owner friend who understands hard work and the ups and downs of trying to be extraordinary was adamant that the deal is too hard for the Greek people. Yes, they messed up; he readily admits, but this is harsh. I felt his pain, but there aren't choices now because choices were made years ago. Those choices meant a good and easy life for a long time, but the bill is due - it's overdue. On that note, the Greek people would be wise to get out of the Matrix and stand on their own feet. Of course, it would hurt, be wobbly, and lots of trials would end in error but they would control their fate.
Conversation between President and the Latino Community
It's one thing to live in a false world of riches and another to live in a world that's not up to par with the rest of the nation. I've always bristled at politicians that have been able to buy off blacks and Hispanics with trinkets not much more valuable that the beads exchanged with the Manhattan Indians for what would become the most valued real estate in the world. Promises of higher minimum wage and bogus work programs seem to do the trick every time. Of course the close comes by slaying boogiemen that actually wanted to take away stuff like food stamps and welfare.
And so it continues with the latest pitch to the Hispanic community. After saying he has another five years to live up immigration promises, President Obama trumpeted other great achievements including:
Claims to "strengthening the economy" in part to the payroll tax that provides 25 million Latinos with an extra $40 in every paycheck.
Unemployment insurance extended because "Latino community has been hit so hard"- a million will benefit.
Housing settlement will help Latino families all across the country that were "taken advantage of by subprime lenders."
None of these one-offs is pro-growth, pro-business, or pro-prosperity. Really, forty bucks is all it takes to buy Hispanic votes? Many live in states where gasoline will eat that money up in a heartbeat. Moreover, when the President brags about $40.00 then heads off to a dinner that costs $30,000 per head there is a massive disconnect. Really, all subprime borrowers were taken advantage of and wasn't that settlement for foreclosures, not the types of loans taken out? Of course they were victims of the free market and none bought a house they couldn't really afford.
Signing with Agent Smith
The rise of Occupy and other protests in this country underscores just how pervasive the notion that people should get something for nothing as a right is. That something they get is typically minimal like higher minimum wages. With 50% of the nation not paying federal income tax, it's likely they can be seduced into staying in the Matrix. Ignorance might be bliss, but it's deadly as well. I just don't get how anyone could listen to the benefits of $40.00 in each paycheck from a program that ends at the end of the year when the person touting it goes to dinner later that night and charges attendees $30,000 a plate.