If you haven’t seen the Matrix, the idea is the rules we’ve been using to operate within the world are entirely arbitrary. Why can’t we move fast enough to dodge bullets? It’s because we have adopted the rules of the superstructure and are bound by its limits. Neo, the protagonist, is “freed” from the Matrix and can now willingly enter it. Because he is “free” from the Matrix, when he plugs in he basically sets his own rules. It’s deconstruction.
The rules of the Matrix are only the rules because the machines running the Matrix say those are the rules. It’s like the meaning of words – the actual words (signs) we use to communicate only mean something because we’ve agreed they mean something. There is no inherent meaning in sound or symbol combinations; we must assign them.
D&G play with this in a somewhat exhausting way. They constantly – ENDLESSLY – use familiar signs (words or terms) in ways that do not conform with our current understanding. In a way, we need to pretend we don’t know what those terms mean at all and be willing to “free” our minds from our current semantic usage.
Personally, I have to adopt a very “Zen” state of mind when I approach this text. I have to let go of what I think I know and open my mind to a completely abstract, non-concrete space. When I do this, I still don’t fully understand what D&G are discussing on first read, but at least these ideas can begin to float around my head space and form into something less ethereal.
- 1 dimensional thinking: Moving in a single direction. Unwilling to consider ideas that counter current cognitive trajectory. Everyone else is seen as inherently “wrong” if they are different. Everyone who thinks differently, other news networks, other media outlets, other belief systems, are all “wrong” and not to be considered.
- 2 dimensional thinking: Able to change move directions. Thinking may reverse itself, although thinking tends to stay “on rails,” using the cognitive models handed to us by the superstructure.
- 3 dimensional thinking: The freedom of movement among, between, around philosophies. Able to shift cognitive models and thinking structures freely. Also able to combine cognitive models to create new philosophies and thinking patterns. Still linear, but in all directions.
- 4 dimensional thinking: Free from linearity, time, and other structural limitations. D&G seem to communicate in this way. Not approachable from lower levels of thinking. Difficult to approach without extremely high cognitive ability, but also suited to the highest concept ideas.