Art of Questioning — A Few Good Men

Capt. Ross:
I have here the Marine Corps Outline for Recruit Training. I’d like you to turn to the chapter on “code reds”.

Cpl. Barnes:
Well, you see, sir, “code red” is a term we use, just down in Gitmo…

Capt. Ross:
Oh, then, we’re in luck. Marching Orders/Standard Operating Procedure, Rifle Security Company, Guatanamo Bay, Cuba. I’m sure we’ll find it in there.

Cpl. Barnes:
You won’t find it in there, either, sir.

Capt. Ross:
Cpl. Barnes, I’m a Marine. You mean to tell me there’s no manual, no set of instructions that tells me, as a Marine, one of my duties is to perform “code reds?”

Cpl. Barnes:
No, sir. No book, sir.

Capt. Ross:
No further questions.

Cpl. Barnes, turn to the page in this book that tells me how to get to the mess hall.

Cpl. Barnes:
Lt. Kaffee, that’s not in the book, sir.

You mean the whole time you’ve been at Gitmo, you’ve never had a meal?

Cpl. Barnes:
No, sir. Three squares a day, sir.

Then how did you find the mess hall if it wasn’t in this book?

Cpl. Barnes:
Well, sir, like everybody else, I just followed the crowd at chow time, sir.

No more questions.

“There is No Spoon”

There is no spoon because nothing in the Matrix is real.

This is a common and ancient philosophy, present in most cultures (in the West we have Plato’s Cave) – nothing in our minds is real.  Because we experience the world exclusively through our minds, we seem to experience Cartesian mind/body dualism, a distinct separate world of our minds and the physical world of our bodies.  We experience the physical world exclusively through the lens of our minds, so the world seems to be flexible because our minds are flexible.

From a perspective of a Buddhist, “there’s no spoon” is the equivalent to the idea of “There is no self” in Buddhism. The first this was mentioned was in the Oracle’s living room. The robes that those children were in allude to the religion. The idea of no self is that everything is of impermanence and always in a state of flux, even our own “self”; and that It’s wiser not to hold on to any existence as it is. Then a spoon appears to be bent by one of the children in the room.

Another key time that this was mentioned was when Neo was leaving Zion to his final battle. Neo was uncertain and anxious about what to come. One of the children sent Neo a spoon to remind him of the truth that there is no spoon. This is exactly what and how Buddhists practice Buddhism. When one is anxious (sad, angry or even happy), we remind ourselves that there is no self, not even ours. This momental feeling is not and does not own us. This helps us back on track with our “mindfulness” in order to be with the Now and not consumed by the illusion of the past that has already gone and the future which may never come. Now is the only thing that is real and true.

The spoon if thought as a metaphor for obstacles (in our lives), the meaning is profound.

Initially Neo believes that the spoon exists in real and its not possible to bend it. When he is told that the spoon is just a computer code and a part of matrix, reality dawns upon him. He is then able to bend the spoon.

In the same way we have to realize that obstacles (troubles and dufficulties) are just a figment of our imagination. Once we realize this thing then there are no obstacles..

We are the masters of our brains and no obstacle is big enough to stop us from achieving our dreams and goals provided we have the right attitude!

What is The Matrix?

The Matrix represents the average persons’ sphere of reality, i.e. day-to-day life, the 9-5, whatever you like to call it.  It’s a set of “rules”, in the movie, set down by the computers, IRL, set down by societal expectations.

Note how in The Matrix, there is emphasis on the daily grind, “the man” keeping the little guy down, the trite ways in which we entertain ourselves or “escape from reality” (night clubs, drugs, and so on), and the search for the answer in the outside world – little is done here that appears to be positive in any way, it is all just biding time.

Escaping the Matrix (the “red pill”) is a metaphor for looking inside yourself, recognising and  letting go of the beliefs you hold which limit and filter your reality i.e. having the realisation that reality is infinite, and that the rules of The Matrix (your reality) are only limiting so long as you believe them to be.

Towards the end of the film, Neo can bend the rules of the Matrix to his will – only because he has “realised” that it is not real.  Knowing is not enough, it is the realisation that matters.  The red pill represents his first real step towards that realisation.

Jurassic Park — Must Go Faster!

Jurassic Park is a 1993 film about an island theme park stocked with cloned dinosaurs. When the park’s creator invites three scientists down to solicit their opinions, a series of mishaps strands them all inside with the security systems out of commission, and the humans find themselves under attack by the resurrected predators.

Dr. Ian Malcolm is a mathematician who specializes in a branch of mathematics known as “Chaos Theory“. Ian Malcolm was invited to the park by Donald Gennaro as an insurance consultant as Donald apparently felt that Ian, as a fiduciary, would be able to notice any dangerous shortcomings the park had. On the helicopter ride to Isla Nublar, he met John’s consults, Paleobotanist Ellie Sattler and Paleontologist Alan Grant, and traveled with them, along with John and Donald, into the park where he was stunned by the astonishing sight of a living Brachiosaurus. He then traveled to the visitor’s center and learned how the dinosaurs of the park were created, and watched an infant Velociraptor hatch. While his colleagues remained in awe of the event, Ian expressed skepticism of the Park’s ability to control the animals they were breeding, and explained to his colleagues that “life finds a way”.

Ian later went on the tour through the Park only to express disapproval when none of the dinosaurs showed themselves. Bored, he took to flirting with Ellie, much to Alan’s chagrin, while attempting to explain chaos theory. After watching the sick Triceratops, he returns to the tour with Alan Grant, only to have it break down in front of the Tyrannosaurus rex paddock. The T. rex escapes, and attacks Donald’s car, which Donald had earlier abandoned with the children inside. In an attempt to lure the rex away, Ian and Alan grab and ignite flares to cause a distraction, but the rex isn’t fooled by Ian and chases him to the bathroom, where he is tossed several feet and injures his leg.

Alan escapes with the kids and Ellie and Robert Muldoon arrive to help Ian, only to be set upon by the Tyrannosaurus. Having put Ian in the jeep, they escape after a short but intense chase.

Ian is brought to the control room where he helps formulate a plan to restart the power. Ian is brought to a bunker where he and John talk Ellie through the process of turning the power back on. After the systems come back online, Ian and John drive back to the visitor’s center to pick up Alan, Ellie, and the kids, all of whom then drive to the helicopter, leaving the island.

Believe in Magic, You Muggle!

The term “magic” etymologically derives from the Greek word mageia (μαγεία). In ancient times, Greeks and Persians had been at war for centuries, and the Persian priests, called magosh in Persian, came to be known as magoi in Greek. Ritual acts of Persian priests came to be known as mageia, and then magika—which eventually came to mean any foreign, unorthodox, or illegitimate ritual practice. The first book containing explanations of magic tricks appeared in 1584. During the 17th century, many similar books were published that described magic tricks. Until the 18th century, magic shows were a common source of entertainment at fairs. A founding figure of modern entertainment magic was Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, who had a magic theatre in Paris in 1845. John Henry Anderson was pioneering the same transition in London in the 1840s. Towards the end of the 19th century, large magic shows permanently staged at big theatre venues became the norm. As a form of entertainment, magic easily moved from theatrical venues to television magic specials. Performances that modern observers would recognize as conjuring have been practiced throughout history. For many recorded centuries, magicians were associated with the devil and the occult. During the 19th and 20th centuries, many stage magicians even capitalized on this notion in their advertisements. The same level of ingenuity that was used to produce famous ancient deceptions such as the Trojan Horse would also have been used for entertainment, or at least for cheating in money games. They were also used by the practitioners of various religions and cults from ancient times onwards to frighten uneducated people into obedience or turn them into adherents. However, the profession of the illusionist gained strength only in the 18th century, and has enjoyed several popular vogues since.

Matt Damon’s ‘Spy Mission’

Jason Bourne actor Matt Damon punked random people into carrying out a bunch of entry-level spy tasks, which he assigned through a cell phone.

“We set up a simulation to give unsuspecting people the chance to feel like they’re in a spy movie,” the actor explained in a video. He pulled the stunt to promote his upcoming movie Jason Bourne, which stars Julia Stiles, Alicia Vikander, and Tommy Lee, and to raise money for

Even though he kept laughing, the actor still got four strangers to follow his every command from saying code words to complimenting cute kids. None of them seemed to have a clue it was Damon on the other line, but they were all over the mission anyway. He even made a pork-intolerant man hold a hot dog for the good cause, and the guy nailed it.

Thanks to Damon’s legit spy lingo — “that manila envelope’s the hottest potato you’ve ever held in your hand,” and “believe me, it’s not about the hot dog. You’re not going to eat the hot dog, and the hot dog isn’t even real. It’s what’s in the hot dog” — it’s all extremely watchable for a prank video. (All the participants meet Damon and win tickets to the premiere of the new Bourne flick, but following his instructions was the true thrill of a lifetime.)