Idol Chatter

matrixpicic.jpgAs a professor at Boston University, occasionally I (and my colleagues) get email blasts advertising a new movie that’s coming out that might be of interest to members of the department, or even a non-BU lecture or art exhibit.
But recently, one of them really gave me pause. It was from “The Undersecretary of Matrixism.” I’d almost just deleted the message, when I noticed the signature and went back for a look. Hmmm, I thought to myself. As in the trilogy of movies? Oh yes, apparently! Here’s what I learned:

“The purpose of this email is to make you aware of a rapidly growing new religious movement called Matrixism or The path of the One. Matrixism is a messianic religion based on the screenplay The Matrix, the Baha’i Faith and some of the writings of Aldous Huxley. Matrixism’s growth has been bolstered by the attention it has received in the media over the last few years. Unlike other new religions associated with popular culture Matrixism is in fact genuine. In contrast to religions like Pastafarianism and The Jedi Knight religion [the Jedi Knight religion? What??!!] Matrixism is neither a satirical response to established religion nor something that originated as a hoax. From its inception The path of the One was intentionally and sincerely designed. Another element that sets Matrixism apart from other “pop” NRMs is the fact that it is tied into both Abrahamic and Dharminic religious tradition via recorded history….History is just one of the many elements that make Matrixism appealing. Some of the other original and surprisingly well fit elements of our religion include: sacrament, signs, holy days and martyrs.”
Um, wow. So if you go to the Matrixism website, you learn even more, er, history, about this “tradition”:
“Though made popular at the turn of the millennium by the motion pictures the history of Matrixism actually begins in the year 1911. In that year Abdul Baha, son of the prophet Baha’u’llah, first made reference to “the matrix” in a series of speeches given throughout the United States. These speeches were recorded and subsequently published in 1912 as The Promulgation of Universal Peace. In this book Abdul Baha is quoted as saying “In the beginning of his human life man was embryonic in the world of the matrix.” This is just one of many quotes in this text where “the matrix” has been referred to explicitly.”
Anyone wanna join? On the “join page,” it appears that all one needs to do is click a box that says “I’m hip. Count me in,” and provide an email address. No full immersion baptisms. No endless RCIA. Just a declaration of coolness required. (And perhaps a bit of Tom Cruise-like psychosis.)

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