Neo, the one, in The Matrix

Experience is a tango between the extrinsic and the intrinsic. Self drives the experience. As dynamic beings, our perceptions of self change with circumstance. Self is a product of biochemical states that lead to a version of consciousness. A sense of self is something we’re woven into, the threads of which we can’t untie.

Our self is like a vase — sensational on the outside and empty on the inside. Ego decorates the vase. Observing from outside, we rarely look at the matter within the vase. If we’re in the vase, our unconcsious and subconscious, it’s hard to imagine what the outside self feels like but we can understand the form of the vase. The vase is one, within a gallery of vases, the mind.

The self is a state of consciousness we’ve constructed to comfort our time here. Self, like everything around us, is essentially an object we interact with. It is the disguise we wear, and the role we act. Paradoxically, there is no we but sure feels like it.

We’re constantly interpreting ourselves based on the environment and genetics. Matter leads to the experience of matter is the paradox of non-duality, the oneness of all. We are no one but a part of one.

A dynamically changing concept, the self is a manifestation of physical internal states. These physical states generate consciousness and free will. The unconscious, perception of the environment, and genes are the biological bases. Drives within us guide expressions of self. Free will, as a result, seems an exercise in maximizing opportunity and exploration.

Accepting and disregarding the self is a hard pill to swallow. Our decisions are being made for us. The experience of self is entrapment in an illusion our mind has conjured. We can’t break out of the prison but can look at the cell from the outside through transcendental states of consciousness.

We are trapped in The Matrix, a game we don’t control yet still have to play. We are the cogs in a watch and the logs in a fire.

Variety writer