• The Matrix Reloaded – Choice is an illusion.

    In The Matrix we begin to see the code, what would be pages of code are revealed in the opening credits. For The Matrix Reloaded we see the code in everything, unlike the slow digital rain from the first film we are now exposed to the vast intricacies of the illusion of reality. The code is everywhere and is everything. The code itself is portrayed as brighter, faster and deeper than the 1999 original, and this is reflected in the music score. Background themes that were slow and progressive are now faster and more elaborate while still conveying the dark artificial reality that is the Matrix.

    Visually the film is noise free, shot using new cameras the picture quality is pin sharp. The world of the Matrix is further explored with scenes showing the wider CITY. Colour tones remain faithful (for the most part) to the original film but are projected more sharply and with greater colour dynamics.

    Neo has embraced his powers over the Matrix, the Machines continue to prevent humans escaping the program, and a new anomaly surfaces from the events of the original film. Human resistance is growing as more minds are set free.

    We are introduced in the second film to that desperate race of men either born outside the matrix or set free by it. We see Zion, the last free city of the human race.

    Agent Smith returns from a backup inadvertently made by Neo himself. However the new Agent Smith is no longer bound to the syntax of the Matrix. The very act of destroying Agent Smith triggered an anomaly the Matrix was not designed for. Agent Smith now has the uninhibited ability to copy himself to a human plugged into the matrix, including the human resistance willingly jacked in. This provides the very paradox Agent Smith needs to escape the Matrix. He succeeds through Bane.

    We are also introduced to other varieties of sentient program based around similar programming to the Agents of the Matrix, these are in the form of Serif, the Merovingian and the Keymaker.

    I think I understand why followers of the original may not be pleased with Reloaded. Here we are exposed to new features of the Matrix, we see more of the CITY, its people and places, and during the film we become too complacent, too familiar with this virtual world. In the original film we get fleeting glimpses inside the Matrix, mostly of night scenes and rain veiled streets, but in Reloaded we are presented with daytime shots and busy outdoor fight scenes. That minor aspect, in my opinion, produces insufficient potency to degrade the film.

    The boundaries between simulation and reality become blurred when Neo begins to feel the machines in his world. Neo’s path leads him to the Machine Mainframe – The Source but one compiled by the Matrix; however the power of the one extends beyond The Matrix, Neo begins to understand his connection with the machine world, and his inevitable journey to the real world machine mainframe.

    The film concludes by Neo establishing his connection with the machines, he realises now he can manipulate the machines as he can their simulated reality – the Matrix. However, like Agent Smith, this creates another anomaly. See The Matrix Revolutions review for a continuation.


  • Featured Jazz 2015

    Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny – Beyond The Missouri Sky.

    Now this is World Jazz man… It has been in my collection of Jazz for many years, and is often played on my Mission 2 speakers during times of complete serenity. The album is a calm aimless wander down through the fields of golden sunset. Its that mellow stroll by the river.


  • The Matrix Realised

    What follows are some realisations I achieved through a recent viewing of The Matrix (1999). I also highlight some interesting parallels between this movie and the world of Tron.

    Don’t think you are know you are: our knowledge comes from the mind. A mind born in our consciousness; the same space that occupies our concerns, sadness, joy and emotions. Within this space comes our inner chatter, our thoughts. “Am I saying the right things” “What do others think of me” “Am I attractive?” These are things we may think about, they come from the same place as the one Morpheus suggests when saying to Neo, “Don’t think you are, know you are”. So the latter “know you are” part of the dialog belongs to true self, that which is beyond the story of you, beyond the self to the inner-self. It is outside our thinking mind.

    Neo and Smith: Mr T Anderson born in the matrix and Agent Smith a sentient program within the matrix, are opposites. Neo is a prisoner of the Matrix and Agent Smith is a prisoner of reality, Smith is an entity bound to a single real construct designed by the machines. Neo breaks free of Mr Anderson’s reality The Matrix and Agent Smith tries to escape his prison of the machine running the matrix – he wishes only to infect the wider machine network and consequently the entire physical and simulated reality, to change it to his version of perfection.

    Its all about not knowing who you are, but being who you are.

    This serves as a lesson for the difference between knowing who you are and being who you are, as Morpheus himself puts it: “sooner or later you are going to realise… there is a difference knowing the path and walking the path”.

    Interconnection with Tron Legacy: An apparent analogy can be found in Tron Legacy. Kevin Flynn (The Creator – and also The Dude) is a human born in his reality the same as Agent Smith was created in his. Flynn then created his vision (at the time of Tron Legacy) of perfection and named it The Grid to which he later became prisoner. So by inference Kevin Flynn is similar to Agent Smith but was born rationale.

    In the same way the Master Control Program (MCP) relates closely to The Architect of the matrix. The MCP is the operating system or interface for the physical processing system of the machine, The Architect of the matrix is the program for the machine mainframe.

    The creators of the Matrix claim the look was inspired by the Korean language credits at the end of the movie Tron. – The Matrix Code wikia.


  • Featured site

    English folk music, and folk music in general, dates back to the time of witches, warlocks, the green man and the sea nymph. Finding information on that elusive local clan of folk artists or trying to research the band that the world forgot can be difficult. However the great minds at www.progarchives.com have created a precious resource for just such an occasion – and thanks to them I have a little more information on Diabolus:

    Diabolus biography
    Although very little known – ‘the band that the world forgot’, says Max von Seibold, drummer’s son, in a memory website (www.diabolustheband.net) -, Oxford band DIABOLUS is an early predecessor for symphonic rock to come in the middle 70’s. Members: John Hadfield (lead guitar, vocals), Anthony Hadfield (bass, vocals), Philip Howard (flute, tenor sax, organ, piano, vocals), Ellwood von Seibold (drums, percussion) and Peter Cornel (role unknown). Band was considered not comercial. Disbandments and reunions keep the band playing under the name SUNFLY.

    Their only LP, “High Tones”, was recorded in 1971, in London, produced by Hugh Murphy and Shel Talmy (THE WHO); but never released because of ‘comercial’ reasons. An unauthorized edition was released in Germany by Bellaphon. When the members found out about this, in the mid 1990’s, they legally fought back property and re-released the album with Sunrise Records, Europe). Music runs from folk tunes to excessive instrumentation, including flute, sax and chorus sang by three of the members of the band, passing through jazz-fusion and complex time composing. GENTLE GIANT’s choruses run similarly to DIABOLUS’; flute sound takes them close to JETHRO TULL. Sax prefigures later PINK FLOYD sound, but while in PF sax is “invited” in DIABOLUS it comes as part of the whole. Some of the tunes approach electric jazz through the use of broken times and an open drumming, with moments of total free improvisation.

     


  • Who knows where the time goes?

    A suitable birthday tribute then was made for my mum’s 55th birthday. A child of the 60s and avid fan of English folk my mum has followed the Fairport Convention since their conception in 1967. 16th May 2015 saw my mother’s live reunion with Fairport Conventions, along with her my sister experienced her first experience of live folk music. Cropredy Festival 1996 was my first formal introduction and since then I too have become a firm appreciator of folk. Fond memories are often had of the tents, fields and fair folk who may be found among the merrymaking that is Cropredy.

    I hope to feature more folk and folk rock music as time goes on. Some notable folk bands and artists I enjoy are:

    Karine Polwart

    Diabolus – Witch & Warlock

    Dibjack – northamptonshire folk

    Early Fleetwood Mac (1967 – 1970)

    Joni Mitchell

    Clannad

    King Crimson (early)

     


  • Dream Reality

    We all dream but nobody really talks about their dreams, do they?

    We dream every night for hours, the dreams themselves consist of moments, hours or even lifetimes. Yet we remember them as false memories; blurred and difficult to recollect, something clearly separate from our reality.

    The taunting paradox is that we experience dreams, we perceive them through experience, but deny they are an experience rooted to a specific reality. What if they were the same thing?

    What comes first, the perception of reality we experience, or the act of experiencing this reality? Both equally coexist as true and false. Perception is equally biochemical and neurological in nature; our ability to remember comes from experience that in itself is based around perception. This logic produces the same outcome to both dreams and reality.

     

     


  • The Idle Snapshot

    My 35mm film photography began when I was given a charming old mechanical Yashica Minister (II21106092) housed within a light brown leather case – the sort you can carry on a shoulder and partly unbutton to take a picture. Constructed with a fixed 35mm f2.8 lens that has yielded many great shots over the years in my service and has probably witnesses many amazing sights in its lifetime.

    After some time with the Yashica I was introduced to Nikon with their F60 Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera. For a while I had to tolerate a cheap 35mm plastic lens of relatively poor quality compared to Yashica´s predated fixed equivalent, but eventually I was rewarded with a 24 – 70mm.

    From the F60 I found myself launched into the digital realm of photography with the Nikon D70. And for five or so years it was good. Many of the pictures on my ImageKind profile were shot using this very camera. Fortunately I have parental access to a variety of Nikon, Sigma and Pentax lenses – they don’t come cheap so borrowing I the way forward, for the time being.

    After a few years of inactivity, following various job and life-style changes, I am humbly rediscovering my interests in photography, with these changes comes a new body – the Fuji S5 Pro. 2015 marks the opening for some new memories, delivered through (hopefully) some nice photography.


  • My Way

    There is no teacher who can teach anything new, he can just help us to remember the things we always knew” –
    Michael Cretu: Engima – Odyssey of The Mind

     

    My journey into the spiritual, the metaphysical, the awareness of Buddhism, of philosophy, and my interests in the ways of Zen, is a unique one. In a way these things have always been with me, but as my understanding grows I can now identify these things that have always been present in my life. By identifying them I mean I can now put names to the things that have always been with me, however I never really held much stock for the name of a thing.

    My earliest and retrospectively my most fundamental discovery of meditation, of observing ones thoughts from a higher consciousness, started when I was five. Understand that it is difficult to describe this awareness without diminishing the essence of what I experienced. I have always felt selflessness. Even as a young boy I felt there was something inside of me that is bigger than me, connected to everything.

    In a way I feel there have always been two parts of me, or perhaps to put it more succinctly, I have always believed there have been two of me. The outer me, that which bears my personality, and the inner me, that which is beyond perception. The inner me resembles a still empty space, not dormant but attentive, a passive watchfulness.

    Like many people of today whose parents have divorced, I experienced unhappy times in my younger days, surrounded by confusion and grief. As a five year old I remember going to bed and simply crying for attention, I would stay awake for hours listening to the fighting downstairs. One particular night I became entirely exhausted through upset and sadness, and after a time I quieted. I withdrew completely into the darkness of my bed. Instead of seeking attention I decided to try and make myself disappear, to close myself off completely from everyone and everything. I remember fantasising about dying and that if I remain completely still and slowed my breathing I would eventually fade away. So I decided to focus all my attention, my vision, my thoughts, on a single point on my Care Bear wallpaper. Not looking at the wallpaper but looking into the wallpaper, not moving my gaze to any other point. Slowly and with practice I found that by staring at a single point for long enough everything would go dark, all sight was lost to darkness, this void was not that associated with sleep but that of a waking darkness, eyes open and alert.

    Over time I explored this new sensation by focusing on different objects, a lamp, the ceiling, and found that each time I did so my feelings, whatever emotion I brought with me would be lost. I had found something amazing, a secret sanctuary known only to me, a space I could go to anytime I wanted. By focusing long enough I would enter a space where all conflict, unhappiness, people and life’s problems were no longer there, they existed outside this place, and as I grew older I realised they don’t exists at all. My five year old self believed I was floating in space, observing thoughts like distant stars.

    I remember on several occasions this experience became too intense, all senses would become hypersensitive, every sound became amplified, time seemingly slowed down to the point where I could hear everything, my breathing would become a loud rhythmic beat and I could almost sense myself floating above me – a peripheral vision or feeling above my body. And as a five year old this experience was frightening, something I tried to explain to my mother but was unable to describe it.

    The Zen Mind is the beginner’s mind, 
    which sees everything as if for the first time
    Daniel Levin – The Zen Book (2005: inlay)

     

    Now being 31 I am able to recognise this story as one of meditation, of finding the present moment. I regard these early accounts as something truly profound because at the age of 5 I was unable to recognise these very acts as ones of meditation, of mindfulness, to me these things had no names, no actions or correct practices, they were totally natural. To my 5 year old self it was a secret I used to escape my emotions. At the time I certainly had read no books on the subject nor was I influenced by media or other people. And so I stumbled upon a practice that was pure without even being aware of such a thing – and to me this is something as adults we spend our lives trying to achieve. When we are older it is difficult to perceive without the interference of concept, we are constantly driven to name things, to think about things we see instead of simply seeing them, of simply being present.

    That is how my journey started, but maybe it would be more accurate to say that at the age of 5 I re-joined my path to awareness, my path to knowing who I am. This practice is not something that can be learned, this practice is something we already know, it can only be experienced, and by doing so we remember that which we always knew, a bit like life really.

    A note on the opening paragraph:

    In the opening paragraph I described my experience as a journey into the spiritual and philosophical realm, I mentioned my belief in Buddhism and Zen, but to now end this discussion I would say this. These established arts, these beliefs and interests are useless, they are irrelevant. Simply put they are all based on memory, they are learned but not in the true sense. One can study Zen, one can be learned in the many teachings of Buddha, but these are static, they are memorised and recalled at will, but learning is always in motion, and my approach is to experience these things, spirituality, Zen, and then forget them, to look at them without knowing, to experience them from a fresh naive perspective always. Jiddu Krishnamurti discusses this most succinctly in his opening to The Limitations In Our Mind.

    Profound Related Links / Posts:

    Conversations on Compassion with Eckhart Tolle
    How do we break the habit of excessive thinking?
    Krishnamurti – How Does One Learn About Oneself ?
    Jiddu Krishnamurti – The Limitations In Our Mind.

  • Ain’t Nothing but a Thing!

    Today’s: Mind Nugget.

    We fear that which we do not understand. Today I was afraid of performing an Oracle database process, my fear stayed with me up until the precise moment it didn’t. And this is not dissimilar to life really.

    The process itself was straightforward, yet I was afraid because it was unknown to me, something I had not encountered before. I feared everything before that process and the possibilities of everything after it. The moment I executed the process my fear was gone, cleared from the deep murmurings of the mind.  A fitting analogy then for how we experience life, the importance of truly being aware of the present moment. We are not present in the past nor can we experience the future, so why the fear?

    J.K Rowling’s Hermione had it right. “Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself.

    Why fear the future or worry about the past, we exist in neither plain.

    Live now.

    Love now.

    Fear not the past, it cannot be changed.

    Fear not the future. It hasn’t happened.

    And certainly don’t fear the present, by the time you do that moment will have passed.


  • Mind-fullness

    Mind-fullness

    mind the gap!

    What follows is an account of the value of mindfulness.

    It is the nature of a busy mind to become lost in thought. Of course there are warnings along the way. Life has a way of reminding us that we have gone astray from ourselves, but these go unnoticed as we wander blindly through life.

    After a very stressful day at work I eventually got home and made myself a bath, something intended to help me relax, help me tune down and find my neutral space. As a lay in the hot water I began to contemplate.

    the drive to work, how I had spent the entire day with wet feet, the resulting smell of my shoes and worrying about what people might think, the report that wasn’t processed properly, was it my fault, did I do something wrong….I am still quite new to the company, would they consider firing me….? I really don’t fit in very well, I try to be smart but this does not feel right to me,…oh my shoes really smelled bad today,….are they monitoring my performance…oh I hope I am meeting my targets, I have come so far and would be lost without my flat…

    But instead of being in a relaxed state I found my thoughts racing, I wasn’t unwinding, I was deeply lost in thought, watching them race by as I lay trying keep up. Thoughts endlessly tangled like brambles confined between the walls of my mind, each mini-thought leading me down a path of new useless avenues. Without truly being aware, the bath had turned cold. 45 minutes had passed by and I achieved nothing. Sure my body was clean, my muscles relaxed, but my mind, my sense of self, still stressed and work focused. My thoughts were entirely focused on the past, the future, but blissfully unaware of the present moment.

    Then as if waking to my senses for the first time I stood back from thinking, the thoughts were there but now I simply began watching them pass by, choosing not to entertain them. Only then did I register the bath’s temperature, only then did I begin to relax.

    The lesson learned here [the realisation was] is I too easily get lost in thought. The true value of this awareness comes precisely at the moment when one stops following the tangle of thoughts. The fascinating paradox here is that one cannot think about not thinking, it’s a state of mind achieved only in practice.

    — Related Posts: —

    I am Nothing