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Where realism and idealism meet Tony Brasunas, author of Double Happiness

Are You Living in the Matrix?

How do you know if you are accurately perceiving news about the world?

How do you know if you are accurately perceiving news about the world?

A quick test to understand your viewpoint in today’s bizarre political media landscape.

It was a political year in which up was often down, and right masqueraded frequently as left. The year 2016 then wrapped up with a steady stream of diametrically opposed media stories all clamoring for recognition as “the truth.”

The mainstream media featured incessant talk of “fake news,” and pundits propounded conspiracy theories about Russians hacking email servers. The independent media continued to analyze piles of evidence showing collusion on the part of the mainstream media and the two political parties who ran the worst presidential campaign in modern American politics.

With all this news and theory swirling around, some of which must be false, it has become difficult to know at any one time whether you’re reading the news correctly, whether you’re seeing the role of the media itself clearly, or whether there’s a Matrix-like veil obscuring your comprehension of national events.

Here’s a quick test to determine whether

you’re “in the Matrix” right now with respect to world and national political news.

The Test

Pull out a piece of paper or your favorite electronic recording mechanism, and jot down your points as you go.


Do you personally agree or disagree with the following statements:

  1. The Democratic Party must dramatically change its strategy and overhaul its leadership if it wants to connect with everyday people and win more elections than it loses.
    Absolutely: -5. Yes: -1. No: +3.
  2. Julian Assange and Wikileaks disseminate “fake news” that deceives everyday Americans.
    Absolutely: +5. Yes: +3. No: -1.
  3. Russian hackers played a significant role in the presidential election.
    Absolutely: +5. Yes: +3. No: -1.
  4. Barack Obama has halted plans to put the DAPL pipeline through crucial Native American watersheds and sacred burial grounds at Standing Rock.
    Yes: +5. Not sure: +3. No: -1.
  5. Some voting machines were hacked in both the primary and general elections, but it was done by Americans with local access to the voting machines.
    Yes: -3. Maybe: 0. No: +3.
  6. Hillary Clinton was a dramatically better candidate for president than Donald Trump.
    Absolutely: +5. Yes: +3. No: -1.
  7. “Fake News” is a new and significant political problem in this country.
    Absolutely: +5. Yes: +3. No: -1.
  8. Russia’s military intervention is the major reason for the horrific civil war in Syria right now.
    Absolutely: +5. Yes: +3. No: -1.
  9. The CIA has a track record of providing the truth to the American people at important times.
    Absolutely: +5. Yes: +3. No: -1.
  10. Jill Stein and the Green Party had a real impact on the results of the 2016 election.
    Absolutely: +3. Yes: +1. No: 0.
  11. The Democratic Party lost the presidential election primarily because they ran a weak, establishment candidate in a year when anti-establishment candidates did best.
    Absolutely: -3. Mostly: 0. No: +1.
  12. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a complicated trade deal few people truly understand, and while it will help people in certain countries a little bit and hurt people in others a little bit, on balance it’s a decent deal.
    Yes: +5. I guess: +3. Not at all: -1.


To determine how thickly your perception of national events is veiled by a media matrix, add up your answers. With your total score, use this key:

25–50 pts: My friend, you are deep in the matrix. But like a fish in the water you probably don’t see it. Unplugging from CNN, Fox, NPR, and your corporate newspaper might be dangerous to your mental health, so do it slowly. But do it. Steadily introduce yourself to alternative media news and perspectives.

15–25 pts: Yes, you are in the matrix. But you’re also aware that there are several sides to most news stories, and you explore them when you have time. You stay quiet about what you see, though, as you don’t want others to judge you. With a little courage and determination you can see more clearly and deeply, which would be of benefit to you and your community.

0–15 pts: You are alert, you ask questions, you are often confused. You have one foot inside the matrix and one foot outside. Given the ridiculous situation we are in, and how busy you probably are, this is a normal condition and an understandable quandary. Keep broadening your media diet; your perspective is valuable.

-20–0 pts: You left the matrix some time ago. You see clearly that the corporate media perspective is just one of many, and that it has a particular history of deception. You can be a hero to others, primarily by approaching people gently and by continuing to read more broadly yourself.


As within the philosophical or spiritual realm, the way to free oneself from a political Matrix is to broaden one’s perspective, to question one’s assumptions, and at least for a part of every week to unplug from one’s normal stream of news and take in a broader variety of data, perspective, and information. It isn’t necessarily easy, but perceiving truth has rarely been a straightforward affair. Nevertheless, perceiving accurately is a service of paramount importance, and in 2017 we need everyone’s minds and eyes as open and as attentive as possible. This year is likely to be even more eventful, confusing, and inspiring than 2016.

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
– George Orwell

Posted in In the Media | Peaceful Revolution | Politics
by Tony Brasunas on January 4, 2017

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