Jailbreaking the Matrix (Part 3)
It is important that I acknowledge as much as possible the degrees of ‘insanity’ that I was operating under during these episodes of my life. Because I was, at the most fundamental level of socialized behavioral norms, ‘out of my mind’.
And while there is (hopefully) a modestly entertaining – and maybe even aspirational – aspect to all of this, I am in no way trying to normalize or even suggest that other players should allow themselves to get to these stages of psychic rebellion against the matrix and its status quo conventional wisdoms. This is high-takes gaming. And there are people who never make it back.
I know some of them.
Brave, turned-on journeyers who got the full-on accelerational download which just cracked them to pieces which they were never able to reintegrate. [Think of that next time you pass a homeless woman on the sidewalk screaming sensical half-truths in ebonic code.]
So it is critical to understand that no matter how virtuous or courageous or well-stated the intention, there is absolutely no guarantee that a player is going to regain a level of operational ‘sanity’ once they have fully crossed the line in their intellectual and spiritual denial of the authority of the ‘reality’ that is being generated for the matrix control system.
That said, the tough thing about actively – as opposed to theoretically or philosophically – breaking out of the ‘game’ system is that it requires that the player to do exactly that. The norms and rules of the system must first be denied and revoked at the cognitive and spiritual ‘levels’. Only then can the physical adventure of jailbreaking the matrix on the material plane of spacetime be undertaken with any hope of success.
That is because: to ‘successfully’ get to the other side of the chasm that opens up once a player breaks free cognitively, they need to inhabit – and be inhabited by – a new kind of conscious awareness which exists to guide them through the most dangerous facets of the journey.
This is the most amazing part of all of this: that when you earnestly undertake this kind of a mission (and later, a lifestyle), the entire ‘world’ becomes a kind of immersive game platform. In which every object, every person, every movie, every song that suddenly comes on the radio, every weather pattern, and yes even the arrangement of the planets and stars, become set-pieces on some boundlessly complex and incomprehensible ouija board that exists to facilitate your journey out.
[Think Logan’s Run meets The Truman Show.]
It doesn’t come fast or easy. In fact, at the beginning, the signs and miracles come barely at all… or, at least, they come at the last possible moment. And in almost imperceptible packages. Designed for those who have attuned themselves integrally to the signals and specters that flicker through the barbed wires of the system fortress. And only just at that moment… before the player is about to give up hope.
Which is exactly the point. To illuminate the limits of their faith.
. . .
It was gorgeously temperate northwest coastal morning as I boarded the Coho ferry to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca. I stood on the deck the whole way, letting the salt water whip against my face.
The feeling of absolute freedom that I got from heading into an uncharted oblivion with no sense of a destination or timeline was a kind of absolute freedom that I had never felt before. Well, maybe once: during my year-long overland Cairo-to-Cape Town trek after college. But even then I had a very structured idea of ‘the journey’ and a fixed channel to family and friends.
On this quest I was willfully disconnecting from all lifelines and timelines, just heading ‘south’ until the money ran out. I knew that that was when the real mission of my quest would kick in: to see if I could force the simulation into some kind of a ‘response’. Until then, this was all a gifted vacation from the universe, funded by a ghost. I was going to milk it for as long as I could.
When I landed in the harbor of Port Angeles, I walked off the boat and decided to get a bit of distance from the dock before throwing up a thumb.
My only previous experience with hitch-hiking was during family summers on Nantucket island, when we would hitch along Milestone Road between the village of Siasconset and town. We might as well have been riding in golf carts at Disneyland.
But this felt as natural as hiking in the woods.
I definitely did not look like a typical hitch-hiker. The only clothes I had were leftovers from the exotic Channel Zero daze and on this morning I was dressed in an oversized purple chinchilla top and black snowboarding pants. As I got further from town along the 101, the logging trucks whipped up spray so I pulled a multi-color felt joker’s hat over my ears and hugged the tree line to keep dry. Before an hour had passed a small covered pickup pulled over and a hand waved me over.
I could hear familiar strains of Grateful Dead coming through the cab. A friendly face greeted me with a conspiratorial glint in his eye.
“Where you going?”
“I’ll get you a little bit down the road. Jump in.”
Gary was an electrician and handyman who was heading home to Discovery Bay for his lunch break. It was only thirty minutes down the road, but after we got talking he asked if I wanted to smoke a bowl. I had been clearly instructed not to bring or buy any drugs on this journey but there hadn’t been any directives around accepting kind offers from strangers. So I happily accepted. My ‘trip’ was off to a wonderful start.
A few moments later Gary pulled off on a dirt road and parked under towering redwoods. He loaded the pipe and lit up.
As we sat under the dripping trees, the live Dead (concert) bootleg continued to play on crackly speakers, permitting a comfortable silence between two acknowledged heads. When the band broke into Cassidy – a song about Neal Cassady, the legendary Beat writer and troubadour, and the holy ghost in Jack Kerouac’s On The Road – Gary used it as a segue to ask me where I was going. I deflected the question by telling him I had hung out with the song’s lyricist, John Perry Barlow, a few times in New York. Which took the conversation into easier tributaries.
By the time the tape finished, we had finished chatting for a half hour. Gary asked again:
“Where you headed?”
“Just going south, to warmer weather.”
“You in some kind of trouble?”
“No, I just… hit my limit with consensual reality. Testing out some spiritual theories.”
“Kind of like… a vision quest. Just not in the woods.”
My glistening eyes told him, you get me.
Gary smiled and announced he was taking the rest of the day off to drive him as far as Olympia, if I wanted.
“There isn’t much except trees and loggers between here and there, you’ll get some good traffic once the freeway breaks after Olympia.”
I gently reminded him he wasn’t in any kind of a rush, but told him I’d be grateful for an hour of road.
“Then I know just the place to drop you. A good omen for your travels.”
So Gary left me at a shoreline rest stop/campground with an offer for some weed for the road. I was amazed at the unhesitant thanks but no thanks that came through my mouth; I had been smoking pot pretty much on a daily basis since Channel Zero went down, and was glad to see some deeper part of myself done with that unhealthy reliance.
I smiled at the sign that revealed itself when Gary drove off. I was standing in Potlatch State Park, which considering my mystical and possibly karmic relationship with the shamanic narratives of northwest coastal tribes, just made too much sense.
I whispered a blessing to Gary and was happy to be on my own again, resuming my slow walk down the misty 101, my lungs taking in the moist atmospheric alchemy of ocean and redwood.
I’m not going to profile each of the rides I got on this early leg of the trip. These were easy days; the easiest of the journey.
And for a reason.
Dressed like a happy jester and throwing off vibes of zero-fucks in the world, I was in one of the most profound flow states of my life.
In this way, maybe I was medicine for the people who came to ferry me down each part of this unfathomable expedition. Each in their own way, perhaps, seeking a reminder that there was always a choice in their lives, a solitary but liberating path away from the structure and heaviness of the worldly world.
If they could unhitch themselves from their self-crafted yokes.
My next ride was a woman named Janice, who stopped and bolted twice before coming back. Unrolling her window she nervously offered:
“I’ve never picked up a hitchhiker before. Especially not a man. But you seem ok.”
I was more than OK.
Being out there, in that frame of mind, conferred profound symbolic and metaphysical meaning on each driver that stopped. This was medicine for me as well.
Being in that position of the grateful passenger, one is not required to speak and, in fact, quietly thanked for not filling the space and time with idle words. This freed me from my wild thoughts and devastating losses. Seen through fresh and unfamiliar eyes, I was a new person, with no past to qualify or quantify.
Before I found the check from my uncle Ian, I had been prepared to sleep in the forest and under bridges. And to fast until I was either offered or found food; I’d even bought a book on foraging, just in case. So these pick-ups were all magic, and with just under 5000 dollars in my possession, I knew he would always find a warm motel bed when that day’s rides had closed out.
There was a system of grace out there on the road and I finally understood why hitchhiking is romanticized as a metaphor for life.
After Janice were the two boys from Olympia who stole their parents car to go overnight mushroom picking in Oregon. A truck driver who blew a tire in the middle of a traffic jam in Portland, a Mennonite family in a van. A traveling salesman. And one man who didn’t say a word and just dropped me at a Motel 6 in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night.
But that first leg with all its wonder and ease came to an abrupt end on the fourth morning of the trip, when I walked out of that dingy Super 8 just outside of Bakersfield, CA. There was a pronounced shift in the vibe of the road and I felt exposed and vulnerable under the beating sun.
Things were about to get weird and hard, whether I was ready or not.