Chapter D – Too much truth ruins all the fun – Cipher
Cipher's character represents the second stage of the war.
The first war is the liberation war, the war to open one's eyes and see the truth. This is the war of the soldier, lost in navigation, trying to find his way to his destination. It is more of a conceptual nature.
The second stage of the war is the one after awakening. The hard work – to persist, to hang on, to give a fight. This is the war of the soldier, who managed to remember the navigation route, and takes a deep breathe and starts running towards his destination.
Cipher is fed up with the war. He has no more powers to work hard. He only wants to enjoy.
If the truth is so demanding – Cipher would rather live in a lie. As long as he doesn't have to work hard.
He prefers to be a slave to the Matrix – to the illusion – to the senses. Than be a slave to truth, Morpheus' soldier and a Zion warrior.
He claims he wants freedom but he means the freedom to do what his limited senses lead him to do – which is in fact the essence of the “slave house”.
He has difficulties with Morpheus' orders and demands, but he doesn't understand that it is the only road which leads to true freedom- to wholeness, through fulfilling one's essence and connecting with the "Source". He doesn't understand that in order to truly enjoy, one has to first learn. .
In order to fully enjoy, one has to work. The pain and effort of the learning process and its assimilation is the cost for the final sublime pleasure – the spiritual wholeness and the happiness resulting from its fulfillment.
Cipher represents the lowest level of man's mind – the animal consciousness, (hanefesh habehemit). He does not understand that man's mind has other levels, each one with its own pleasure center. The "whole" man is the one who knows how to connect and unify all the centers of pleasure in order to achieve absolute pleasure. The Ramchal in his book Derech Hashem (God's way) tells us that man's purpose is to really enjoy – but in a "whole" way, that includes all the layers of his mind.
For example; there is the possibility of eating a stake like any ordinary animal, and there is the possibility of eating a good meal on one's anniversary with his wife/ husband. This is a way to connect between the physical pleasure (stake) and the spiritual pleasure (wedding is a spiritual value)(see relationship and love chapter).
The purpose is not to ignore one's physical and mental needs but to connect them to higher centers of his personality.
Cipher erroneously thinks that it is truth which ruins his possibility to enjoy life. He thinks that if only he had the possibility to do whatever his body wants to do, he would be the happiest man on earth. If we look, even physically, on a person eating whatever he wants, without rationally considering it, we will witness him slowly destroying himself and becoming ill. The inner mechanism in man is built in such a way that if (like the agents of western society push us to), we ignore the higher mental and spiritual centers and concentrate on only the lower realms (since it is the only one the companies can sell and gain profit from), a self destruction process occurs. An integral mechanism of self destruction meant to alert against a wrong way of living.
The warriors of Zion work according to a plan meant to teach and train man how to turn life's physical pleasures into mental and spiritual ones. To convert the physical pleasure file, bound in a reality of a finite world to a spiritual pleasure file, unlimited and so has an accumulative capacity.
The spiritual man can, by this conversion, accumulate his pleasures and with each new pleasure, fill up even more. The physical person on the other hand, by remembering his past pleasures feels even more empty because in order to reach the same level of pleasure he now has to look for an even stronger physical stimulation. This is why, with the physical man, each pleasure brings deficiency and emptiness instead of wholeness and completion.
The usage of the higher centers of pleasure not only enhances pleasure but also compensates for the habit, boredom and loss of excitement which come as a result of a repetitive stimulation.
For instance – a basketball team fan would rather watch his own team play rather than any other NBA team, even though they play better. Watching his own team play involves his mental center which relates to his identity. The mental pleasure relating to his identity compensates for the physical pleasure which is reduced by his own team's inferior playing level.
In the same way, love (mental) between a couple and the understanding (spiritual) of the immense influence the connection between them has on the whole world, if it is alive and real, compensates for the loss of physical excitement caused by the power of habit and getting used to each other.
However, the plan according to which the warriors of Zion work takes care of this aspect as well, by creating a physical distance causing a longing which enhances the physical attraction and level of excitement.
In a somewhat paradoxical way, it is the limitation in using pleasure which ultimately brings a greater physical enjoyment and using it in such a way brings harmony and a feeling of wholeness.
It is like the difference between drinking a whole bottle of wine in one gulp to slowly sipping and tasting it while eating other dishes. Of course, the latter brings the enjoyment to a whole new level.
Throughout Neo's training Morpheus shows him the immense danger in descending into the Matrix, into the world of trials. When entering into the physical world, Neo forgets the goal he was sent for and is shifted by his primal instincts towards the woman in red. Morpheus stops the “world” and explains that the woman in red is a figment of imagination designed to shift im away from his purpose. The woman in red is in fact a dangerous enemy lurking on each corner, wanting to spiritually kill him . Scary… He was only looking!
Morpheus understands that a “mild” diversion of a small angle here, grows to a huge miss on a large scale. “Do not follow your eyes and hearts”(לא תתורו אחרי לבבכם ואחרי עיניכם)… He teaches Neo that pleasures are a powerful spiritual instrument if they are used to activate the spiritual centers in a person. They then become a bridge connecting to the source. This is achieved if their operation is regulated according to the master plan.
But if they are not closely controlled – they become the number one enemy risking the path of the warriors of Zion.
When the people of Israel left Egypt – when they managed to finally break the spell of the slave house, even then there were those who longed for the desires of the illusionary world – the pots of meat, the zucchinis and the pumpkins of Egypt. “And the mob within them craved the desire”.
In the chapter about Smith/ the angel of death/ Satan, we will discuss the basic “defect” in creation, the defect of the Ego entity. From this defect arise three “evil” forces within man which disturb the disconnection from illusion and the joining with the source. Jealousy, Lust and Respect. Cipher is the embodiment of these three forces in man's mind. Cipher is jealous of Neo, craves blonds and stakes and wants to go back to the Matrix as an actor or someone famous.
These three obstacles appear in the Exodus era, when the people of Israel left Egypt as a preparation for the arrival to the sacred land of Israel – Zion. The physical, and the spiritual one.
Jealousy – Korach and his company, Lust – the cravers, and Respect – the spies.
In summation: Cipher's character teaches us a number of important insights:
That man is always a slave – either to his desires or to truth.
As the Ramchal put it in his book “Mesilat Yesharim”: “The foundation of man's work is to find out his duty in his world”. The basic assumption is that the duty is integral to man's mental formation. He only needs to decide to whom he is obligated, who does he work for? For the limited desires of the senses, or for the "Source" which is the true essence of the whole of existence.
Awakening is not the end of the war. It is merely the beginning of the work. Spirituality is work and we are here to work – “For man was born to work”(כי אדם לעמל יולד).
The physical pleasure, when isolated, can destroy and demolish. It is only when it is connected to higher centers that one can make the most of it and bring it to its goal. The physical pleasure is the fuel, the power which is supposed to activate, revive and excite the higher centers in the mind/ soul.
There is a lower freedom which is in fact slavery to the senses. And there is a superior slavery which brings to spiritual freedom.
"For the slaves of time are slaves of slaves. The slave of God alone is free”.