There’s this little machine. It’s about the size of a bowling ball, but within it is all the pleasure and all the misery and all the wonder I’ve ever experienced. I take it everywhere I go. It’s always working. It’s not that remarkable looking although some have admired it time to time. It’s extremely powerful, the most powerful machine in this world, but there is no chord to plug it in. It’s attached to a collection of wires and limbs about the size of a small tree. This little machine is capable of creating the world around it. It makes the rain and it makes the sun; and it makes the rain wet and dreary, or cozy and romantic, and it makes the sun bright, or oppressive. It makes friends and lovers friends or lovers. It can write poetry. It can tell a joke. It can wake you up in the morning with a purpose. It can lay you down at night heavy and pensive. Although we all have these machines, they don’t always work for us. Sometimes they’re built in ways that actually trick us, push their own agenda over and over, until we believe they’re our agendas. Sometimes one person’s machine will convince another person’s machine to believe in their own machine’s agenda. This is when the machines become really powerful, when they’re all working together. I used to try to turn it off, but that just made the damn thing stronger, because then you can’t see it working. You can’t feel it moving its gears toward its own agenda. It’s in control at that point, and you’re helpless to stop it. What does this machine want? It wants to create the world in its image. With its particular narrative and cause and effects. Why does it want to make the world in its image? Like you and me, it just wants to survive. And it does that by giving you wants and fears that keep you out there — running, grabbing, pushing — looking to the world for control, instead of inside the machine, where the world actually exists, and where true control happens. But you can’t fight the machines. You have to know the machines, and teach the machines to work for you, for your agenda. And together you can make the world the way you want. Friends and lovers, lovely rain showers and beautiful summer suns. The machine doesn’t want you to know that the hurt and damage is fleeting and passing; the pleasure and triumphs, fleeting and passing, too. It wants to make you believe in its narrative, its unconquerable inevitability, so it can control you. Forever.
But it’s just a light show. It’s just the world. And it’s just in your head.