The novel (and film), Room, is about Jack, a young boy who has been trapped in a single small room for his entire life, unaware that anything exists outside of the room. At five years old, he has never seen a tree, a dog, the ocean, a street, or even another person (but for his mother and the man who is their captor). He has a television, but for him, what he sees on it is simply imaginary.
When his mother tells him that there is a whole world beyond the walls of the room, he cannot fathom it and simply refuses to accept it. How could he? His imagination cannot stretch to something that has no reference point. Even the simple fact that a wall has two sides is unimaginable for him. The walls of the room are the end of his universe.
We are like Jack. Our room is the belief structure that has been built and fortified around us. Those beliefs are as solid and impenetrable as the walls that trapped Jack and his mother. And also like Jack, we simply cannot fathom anything outside of them. From our earliest age, we have been hypnotized to understand the world a certain way and that understanding has imprisoned us in a mental cage. The most insidious aspect of it is that we are not aware that the cage is there. We think we are free.
The visible light portion of the electromagnetic spectrum is a minute portion of the entire spectrum. What we can see and hear is a tiny, almost insignificant part of what exists. In the same way, the path by which we live our lives is such a narrow band compared to what is possible, yet somehow we talk about what is “normal,” barely tolerating the smallest variance from our tiny consensus reality.
And that tiny consensus reality is desperately ill. We exist together on this beautiful planet, with the tools to create unbelievable wonders – everything from technological marvels to the kind of art that makes your heart ache – and yet we choose to create a culture focused on survival of the fittest, with winners and losers, takers and givers. A culture in which the drive for money means that everyone has an agenda, an ulterior motive, and authenticity and integrity are fast fading from our society. A culture that elevates psychosis because it makes for ruthless business management, a society that worships tyrants because it loves power. The tragedy is that it doesn’t have to be that way.
“This is how life is. Don’t believe it if you don’t see it. Science has all the answers. You’ll be happy if you just get that BMW (house, vacation, boat, fill in the blank). A successful career is the key to a good life. Set goals. Stay busy. Be consistent. Take your medicine. Be sure to get your kids vaccinated. Sodium fluoride in the water prevents cavities. Eat at McDonald’s. Drink Coke. Obey your thirst. Get a good job. Conspiracy theories are ridiculous. The science is in. Listen to authority. Be right, no matter what.”
Those absurdities are just the wallboard. It’s the framework that makes up the true bars of the cage. The deep structures underlying our thought processes are based on fundamental assumptions, and those assumptions on which our reality rests are false.
For instance, most people believe that the universe functions like a giant machine made up of tiny parts. But physics has demonstrated incontrovertibly that reality is nothing but probability until consciousness creates it. The tiny parts are 99% nothingness, baffling those scientists who look deep enough. What does this mean about how reality works? If nothing that you see is really “there,” what is it and why are you experiencing it? Modern science has flat out refused to examine these questions, because there is no profit in philosophy. The accepted scientific dogma is that consciousness is simply an accident of evolution, making the human experience, with its subtlety, wonders, and mysteries, nothing more than random atoms bumping around.
Another example: money. Money does not exist. It is an imaginary concept, designed to provide us with a way to trade more efficiently and distribute resources fairly. It only works because we all agree that it has value. But this conceptual aid has taken over our lives completely. We have forgotten that we made it up to be useful, and instead it drives our lives. The economic and banking system is designed to funnel money and resources from the masses to the elite few, yet everyone is so focused on how to get more of it that they fail to notice that the economic system is rigged. The only way out of this slavery is to remember that the entire system is imaginary. If all the money in the world vanished tomorrow, all of the things – farms, buildings, people, cows, etc. – would still be there.
And here is the biggest lie: that you are not good enough. Every message we receive in our society tells us that we are not good enough. We have to do what our parents tell us to earn their love, learn what our teachers say to earn a grade, toil at work to earn money, buy stuff to earn others’ love, even drive ourselves into the ground trying to earn self love. Every advertisement is designed to make you feel inadequate. It is so ingrained that we even do it to one another without thinking. What does a person need to do to be of worth? Why have we decided collectively that our worth comes from our ability to earn money? When you look at a child, is “worthless” ever the thought that comes to mind?
When will we recognize that the cage is closing in? The American population is sick, a physical expression of our belief system. Cancer and heart disease are eating us alive; stress is killing us. And if those aren’t enough, the chemicals in our food, water, and air are slowly poisoning us. Who could possibly think this is a viable way to live, much less the pinnacle of human evolution? We call ourselves intelligent and civilized beings, but we may as well believe the world is flat!
We cannot get out of our “room” until we can see that there is something beyond the walls, just as Jack had to first recognize the reality of outside before he could go there. We have been told what to think, how to act, who to identify with, and what’s true, building the walls of our room. Take a deep look at the room you are living in – do you want to stay there, or do you want to see the world?