Neo in the movie The Matrix, you’ll recall, goes with Morpheus to visit the Oracle to see if he is The One who will save humanity from the machines.
In the Oracle’s home are a number of young children with extraordinary mind powers who are potential candidates to fulfill the prophecy.
One of them is a boy, about age ten, with a shaved head and wearing a robe, sitting cross-legged on the floor.
Neo watches him in fascination as he picks up spoons and bends them with his mind.
Noticing that Neo is watching, the boy says, “Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth.”
“What truth?” Neo asks.
“There is no spoon.”
“There is no spoon?”
“Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.”
It’s an advertisement for the admonition to “Question Everything” if there ever was one.
Or is it?
Is the boy questioning the spoon itself, or his perception of the spoon?
There’s a world of difference.
Reality is what it is. We cannot change it by questioning or arguing with it. All we have power to change is our perception of and relationship with it.
Which is why “Question Everything” is a dangerously misleading way to view the world.
Question Everything is the angry, belligerent chant of the disillusioned, disenfranchised, and embittered who feel like they’ve been given a raw deal by “the man.”
Greedy, self-serving, power-hungry elites have screwed up the planet and screwed over the little guy and dammit, we’re not going to take it anymore.
We see through your Matrix. We reject your spoon-fed lies, your dumbed-down textbooks, your media fabrications, your institutional control. We ain’t chumps and we ain’t going down like that.
Question Everything is the frustration, disgruntlement, and resentment born of blame. In short, it is blatant irresponsibility.
A more accurate, useful, and productive way to put it is, “Question your perceptions of everything.”
It’s the difference between pointing fingers and turning inward. It assumes that the source of my dissatisfaction is not out there, but rather in my own heart.
Question Your Perceptions is the humble recognition that I am responsible for my life. I can only by oppressed by lies to the extent that I lie to myself; when I stop lying to myself I will see through the lies of others.
Put the question everythingers in power and before too long they’ll become the very thing they were fighting against.
As Edward Whitmont said,
“…only that which we cannot accept within ourselves do we find impossible to live with in others.”
When asked if there was a soul in man, the Buddha replied, “There is no soul. But that doesn’t mean there is no soul.”
Which is to say, whatever soul may be is not how we perceive it or what we think of it. If there is a soul, the reality of it exists independent of human perception.
Our perceptions are a desperate attempt to make sense of the world, to control our experience. Question Everything is nothing but a manifestation of that inability to accept what is and the desire to control it.
Question Everything is a rage against reality. Question Your Perceptions is a sincere desire to align with reality.
Ironically, by focusing outward, “Question Everything” prevents us from getting to the core truth of anything we question. It never changes anything because it fails to get to the root cause of everything: the individual human heart.
We develop power to change the world the minute we stop questioning and challenging everything in it, and instead start questioning and challenging what is in our own hearts.
We can take the blue pill and continue questioning and arguing with reality. Or we can take the red pill and start questioning our perceptions of reality and working to align ourselves with it.