The Woman In The Red Dress

I hate to admit this but I’m that guy.  I’m that one guy who never saw the Classic movie “The Matrix”.  Over the years I have heard folks refer to the film repeatedly having to nod along as if I had a modicum of a clue as to what they were talking about.  It is for this reason on my most recent lengthy overseas flight I finally decided to once and for all end my period of “Matrix” ignorance.

Now most of you are familiar with the film but for the few who like me avoided it intentionally or accidentally, it is a film that exploits that gnawing feeling we all have that we are living in some sort of controlled universe parallel to and separate from true reality not unlike the “Truman Show”, but darker.

In this parallel universe, people live under the false impression that they live lives of free will and self-determination, when in fact every aspect of their existence is planned and manipulated by the machines that are unbeknownst to them controlling every aspect of their lives.  In short, they are being placated by a series of false and superficial distractions designed to keep them content and more importantly compliant.  First, let me say the film was decent and held my attention even though I will never be able to watch Keanu Reeves (Neo) without thinking of “Ted” of “Bill and Ted” fame.  In the film, Reeves’s character Neo has been identified by Lawrence Fishburne’s character (Morpheus) as “The One”.   This means Neo was capable of outwitting and outgunning the Agent Overlord (the machines) and ultimately freeing all of humankind from the shackles of a false existence.

This is the time as with all of my musings that you must be losing patience and wondering how I’m going to tie the review of a 20-year-old movie into our world of Wealth Accumulation and Maintenance. As always…hang on.  You see investors like Neo are tested early and often. In what could be described as his “Training Phase” Neo is put through a series of tests and simulations one of which involves the infamous “Woman in the Red Dress”.   In one scene Neo moves through the somewhat bland and hypnotic grey-and-white world that is the manipulated human existence when he is suddenly distracted by a woman in a bright red dress. This woman is an intentional distraction designed by Morpheus to illustrate to Neo how humans are easily placated and or distracted by things that address their simple needs for short-term solutions or satisfaction.  In my mind, it’s akin to the short-term Dopamine release we get when engaging on Social Media, Partisan Politics, or burying our faces in our phones when faced with even a moment of potential boredom.

For our purposes, the “Woman in the Red Dress” comes in many forms.  The machines have figured out that things like Crypto, Meme Stocks, Day Trading, and the “next big tax avoidance secret” are just enough of a distraction to keep you from focusing on the long term and spending in the short term.  The machines come in many forms.  Politicians, Get Rich Quick Youtubers, Influencers, Large Trading Platforms, Can’t miss real estate deals, Currency Scams, and Nigerian Princes in need of a short-term cash infusion.  The machine could be your obnoxious in-law that swears he can turn your ten grand into twenty grand overnight or a giant investment firm suggesting that their trading platform with pretty blinking lights is not just a “dopamine hit”, but all that stands between you and eternal happiness.

My job as I see it is akin to Morpheus or as John Quincy Adams once said, “My aim is to protect your interests from your inclinations”.  We together must always remain vigilant and wary of the “machines” and their self-serving need to feed off of our impatience and propensity for short-term and superficial dopamine hits.  Dopamine the neuromodulatory molecule that makes up that warm fuzzy feeling we get when something pleases us, is often a short-term buzz with negative long-term consequences.  The Woman in the Red Dress comes in many forms. She’s that glance at your phone while driving or the selling of your quality stock portfolio to buy the new crypto your son-in-law says “can’t miss”.   The Woman in the Red Dress is as she was for Neo, not real.  She was designed to distract and satiate. She is not interested in your long-term success but merely in distracting you for the benefit of the machines.

Consider this part of your ongoing training and reminder that the machines are everywhere. They are pointless political dogma and shiny can’t miss opportunities.  They are gambling sites and media-based “enrage and engage” ad sales tactics.   For the most part, the machines want you to be complacent and easy to manipulate.  They want you to expect wealth accumulation and even life to be easy thus making it easy to sell parallel solutions that are not reality.  Those that expect the journey to be hard yet rewarding, will never become stuck in the Matrix.

Good luck,

Morpheus -(Scott)

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