Insight from Revolver: The Formula to Enlightenment

Insight from Revolver - going beyond the ego and all limitations

One of my absolute favorite psychology movies showing the relationship of the ego to the Self is in Guy Ritchie’s, Revolver. While the movie is violent and vulgar at times and is based on a classic Guy Ritchie plot of gangsters and con men, the deeper message of enlightenment is astounding and spot on. The movie gives a perfect example of the ego’s interaction in our mind and throughout the film we get to watch the main character, Jake Green (Jason Statham), battle and transcend his ego with the help of his liberators, Avi (Andre Benjamin) and Zack (Vincet Pastore). The film gives perfect examples of all the common thoughts and belief systems the ego uses to maintain control over us and breed suffering. Also, in an effort to transcend the ego, it shows how desperatInsight from Revolver - Self-Realizatione the ego can become to keep us trapped. I have reviewed this movie countless times over the years and always gain so much from it’s underlying wisdom. I decided to write up an extensive review of the film to share what has revealed itself to me. I don’t want to spend too much time on the plot and drama aspect of it, so sorry if you might seem lost if you haven’t seen it. My focus is on the psychological and spiritual lessons we can learn. I’ll do my best to give a context of what’s going on so anyone can gain from the analysis of the key scenes.

Here’s a summary of the plot for reference, “After seven years in solitary, Jake Green is released from prison. In the next two years, he amasses a fortune by gambling. He’s ready to seek his revenge on Dorothy (Mr. D) Macha, a violence-prone casino owner who sent Jake to prison. He humiliates Macha in front of Macha’s lieutenants, leaves, and keels over. Doctors tell him he has a rare disease and will die in three days; Macha also puts a hit out on him. Loan sharks, Zack and Avi, demand Jake’s cash and complete fealty in return for protection. Jake complies, and through narration and flashbacks, we watch him through at least three days of schemes, danger, and redemption. Who is his greatest enemy?” -imdb

Throughout the film there are clever quotes that come from various sources but all essentially speak of ego qualities or ideals. Here’s a few from the beginning that should get you thinking.


The greatest enemy will hide in the last place you would ever look. – Julius Caesar, 75BC
The only way to get smarter is by playing a smarter opponent. – Fundamentals of Chess
First rule of business, protect your investment. – Etiquette of the Banker, 1775
There is no avoiding war, it can only be postponed to the advantage of your enemy. -Niccolo Machiavelli 1502

“Every game or con there is always an opponent and always a victim. The trick is to know when you’re the latter so you can become the former.”

Process of breaking Jake’s ego…

First Jake is told that he has only 3 days to live by multiple doctors due to a rare blood disease he has suddenly fallen to, literally. This is the first and most intense engagement with the ego since the ego’s sense of self is most intensely attached to the body. Thus the ego from this point on is fully surfaced at all times because everyday and every instant it is intensely fighting to maintain control in the face of its inevitable demise. Also, to make matters more threatening to Jake’s ego, his “enemy” who is responsible for the 7 years he spent in solitary confinement is out to kill him after he embarrassed him by losing a few hundred thousand dollars to a bet in public.

Next Jake is told he can be protected by Zack and Avi (loan sharks) for the next three days but it’s only under certain conditions: He will do everything that they ask, without question or argument, and they will take every penny he owns.


“You will do as we tell you without argument, and answer any question that is asked.”

Jake is being stripped of all choice and independence as well as the ego’s entitlement to always being ‘right’. This process is demeaning/humbling Jake; stripping him of all pride(ego) and attachment to a sense of authorship and control over his life. Life tends to ego check us often by giving us unexpected setbacks and events to teach us this powerful lesson. Hence the saying, “pride comes before the fall” implying that the ego’s fall in inevitable due to its own self-destructive nature getting ourselves in over our heads.
Jake’s humility is compounded by the fact that he’s supposedly going to die within the next two days which makes him question, “why would I spend my last few days a slave to these two men?” This fact is crucial in surfacing his ego since it doesn’t technically matter what happens to his money seeing how he can’t take it with him. Jake asks himself why it still hurts to give it away… this of course, is because his ego’s investment is being identified and ripped from him, which creates suffering through the ego’s projection of importance of the investment(i.e. money) and hatred of watching it leave. Little does Jake know yet, but it is his own resistance to the situation that is causing him the inner turmoil.

We also note the genius in taking his fortune slowly in order to make it harder for the ego to watch the money be taken away piece by piece rather than all at once. By inflicting as much pain as possible on the ego, the opponent(ego) comes forth to resist and is made readily observable. This is a great example of how we can use any negative situation in our lives as an opportunity to see how our inner dialogue (ego) resists and despises our life’s circumstances thus making us suffer and unhappy. Is it possible to be unmoved and potentially even happy and at peace in the face of seemingly awful circumstances…?

Jake’s thoughts to himself (resistance) about losing his money:

“A part of me dies every time I think about it.”
“These sick bastards are making me pay, pay for my own pain.”
“Why are they dragging this on…Why don’t they just clean me out in one hit”
“They want me to suffer.”

Clearly we see how Jake’s ego identity has attached itself to money (one of the most common and biggest attachments in our modern world) and losing it is causing him physical and psychological torment because it has come to form a deep sense of self.

More Backstory Revealed:

While Jake was in prison he spent time locked up in between two convicts, one a chess master, the other a master con man. Basically the three of them passed along notes to each other through books that would get handed out each day. The two had come up with the ultimate formula to the con(ego), the formula to win the ultimate win (enlightenment). Jake intercepted this formula and used it when he got out of prison to con other men’s egos, which is how he amassed a fortune in a very short time. However, the formula is much deeper than what he thinks, the formula is the formula of the ego, the original and ultimate con, which means it also is the formula to transcendence.

Once we understand how the ego works and its formula for survival so to speak, we can then defeat/transcend it by using that knowledge against it. Jake discusses the rules as follows, pay attention to how each rule is referring to ego manipulation or ego ideals. Essentially all cons are just forms of manipulating a mark’s ego, which all operate innately the same. That’s why the number one rule to being a con artist is that you cannot con an honest man. In other words a person who’s aware/conscious enough to not fall for a trick being played on their ego’s greed. Ultimately the ego is the master con artist because even con artists are being conned by their egos telling them they need to steal from and manipulate others, just like Jake did.

Enlightened Insight from Revolver

Rules of the Con/Ego: “The formula has infinite depth in its efficacy and application but it’s staggeringly simple and completely consistent.”

The art is for me to feed pieces to you, and make you think you took those pieces, because you’re smarter and I’m dumber (ego inflation of the mark).
In every game or con there is always an opponent (ego) and there is always a victim (self).
The more control the victim (self) thinks he has, the less control he actually has.
Gradually he (self) will hang himself, I (ego) as the opponent just help him along.”

This first part of the rules are outlining how the ego’s con is to tease, pleasure, and tempt us further and further into selfish desires and greed until we eventually destroy ourselves through our own arrogance and blindness. All the while, we operate under the illusion that we know exactly what we’re doing and that we’re perfectly in control. When that massive wall of deception finally falls it’s crushing to bear, driving us to extreme lows and even suicide.

Rule one of any game or con, you can only get smarter by playing a smarter opponent.
Rule number 2, the more sophisticated the game, the more sophisticated the opponent (the smarter the person the smarter the ego – e.g. blue collar vs. white collar crime).
If the opponent is very good, he will place his victim inside an environment he can control (our mind and thoughts).
The bigger the environment, the easier the control (our mind governs our perception of reality and thus controls our entire universe).
Gradually the victim will play by the rules he is taught to play by and he will be controlled by those rules (boundaries we place upon our infinite selves and our potential for experiencing life; financial, relationships, health, spiritual, intellectual).
Toss the dog a bone (temptation to tease out the mark’s greed). Find their weakness (craving/desire/attachment), give them just a little of what they think they want (basis for all cons – greed).
So the opponent (ego) simply distracts their victim (self) by getting them consumed with their own consumption (constantly asking, “What’s in it for me?”, ego desire, pride, and narcissism thus setting up for the super high and eventual crushing low, the bigger the high, the bigger the low).
However, if this doesn’t work, he (ego) will smother, humiliate, ridicule, or utterly destroy the threat (ego self-preservation; anything that is starting to set us free the ego will seek to find reasons to hate it and destroy it mentally or physically – e.g. Jesus and the countless saints and visionaries that have been murdered from challenging the ego’s control).
The bigger the trick and older the trick, the easier it is to pull, based on two principles. They (us) think it can’t be that old and it can’t be that big for so many people to have fallen for it. (Could all of humanity truly have fallen for this massive con on our divine, infinite souls? Could it be possible we all accepted the ego’s ridiculously small version of ourselves simply because we were never taught otherwise?)
The more the victim (us) invests, the less chance they will turn back (the more invested and attached we are to our ego’s promises the harder it is to transcend it and let them go).
Eventually when the opponent (ego) is challenged or questioned, it means the victim’s investment and thus his intelligence is questioned, no one can accept that, not even to themselves. (Identifying the ego for what it is can be extremely difficult for the mind to accept, it also implies that the majority of the person’s life has been controlled and chasing after illusions of security and identity. Depression and suicide can often be the result depending on the scale of attachment and the use of support systems.)
You will always find a good opponent in the very last place you’d ever look (within ourselves).

Wow, so there you have it. If we really pay attention to these rules of the con you will see that they are an outline of how the ego operates and controls us as ‘the victim’, that is, if we choose to let it. If we really let ourselves sit with these rules, it’s almost creepy in a way because we can feel their reality. As I edit this (4 years since the original post), my mind flashes to several moments when these rules demonstrated themselves as temptations, mistakes, or hard lessons in my life. Make no mistake, this stuff is real, whether the ego is letting you see it or not, there is a battle being raged over control of your mind within every moment. Many have referred to it as good and evil, God and the Devil, Truth and illusion, but regardless it’s undeniably all within you and it is happening right now. By you being here reading this we can assume you are well on your way to liberating yourself and reclaiming your true identity and infinite Self free from all fear and suffering.

Jake’s Radical Realization About the Ego

“There is something about yourself that you don’t know. Something that you will deny even exists until it’s too late to do anything about it. It’s the only reason you get up in the morning. The only reason you suffer the shitty boss. The blood, sweat, and the tears. This is because you want people to know how good, attractive, generous, funny, wild, and clever you really are. Fear or revere me, but please think I’m special. We share an addiction. We’re approval junkies. We’re all in it for the slap on the back and the gold watch, the hip, hip, hoo-fucking-rah. Look at the clever boy with the badge, polishing his trophy. Shine on, you crazy diamond, because we’re just monkeys wrapped in suits, begging for the approval of others. If we knew this, we wouldn’t do this. Someone is hiding it from us, and if you had a second chance you would ask, why?”

Here we get to enjoy Jake’s crystal clear outline of the ego’s obsession with specialness and its need for external approval. We all love being the hero or heroine of our own life story especially with endless social media opportunities to project some idealized version of ourselves and so we must always beware of self-infatuation (it is a hollow con of the ego). Like a hungry animal, the ego is always wanting to fulfill its needs and therefore tends to always be discontent and incessantly searching. The ego is rooted in illusions and thus in attachment to the body, material things, and the external world (e.g. status, materialism, intellectual pride, etc.). The ego is relentless in its pursuit for fulfillment and happiness oblivious to the fact that it will never be found because it’s all ready here now. Therefore, to begin to see this is to realize the question of self-inquiry, “why do we do the things we do?”. “Who or what is so concerned?” “And if approval, happiness, and love aren’t found externally, do they actually come from within me from a source of inner decision and power…?”

Ego’s Self-Destruction Through Process of Greed (Insatiable Desires)

“Nice and slowly, beauty (desire) is a destructive angel. How could anything that looks so good be so bad? But there is no angel as destructive as their greed. In the end, she gets them all. They think they can handle her… but greed is the only snake that cannot be tamed.”
Greed gets them all in the end.” (The demise of all ego driven entities)

Here we get to see the wisdom pertaining to the fact that the ego will inevitably destroy itself based on its own greed to the point that it engulfs itself. This ultimately manifests as absolute narcissism such as suicide or self-destruction through blind arrogance (e.g. going bankrupt, life in prison, or murdered).

Avi and Zack Test Jake on the Formula and Elaborate

Jake quotes rules 1 and 2 then Avi says, “the formula’s the same but where does it stop? Where does this game stop?
(It stops when you start to give me answers) – [Jake’s ego mind talking to him]
You’ve heard that voice for so long, you believe it to be you. You believe it to be your best friend.
(They should believe their opponent to be their best friend).
Where’s the best place an opponent should hide?
(in the very last place you’d ever look…)
There’s no such thing as an external opponent… Do you know who Sam Gold [Ego] is? It’s all up here [Avi pointing to his head], pretending to be you.
You’re in a game, Jake. You’re in the game (ego limited-conscious life). Everyone’s in this game (life), and nobody knows it, and all of this, this is his (ego) world, he owns it, he controls it.
(tell him I’ve had enough, this is starting to do my head in)
Tells you what to do, (look that’s enough), and when to do it. (Tell him… That’s enough Avi!)
Play by his rules, and you are controlled by his rules. Eventually you will lose.
If you change the rules on what controls you, you will change the rules on what you can control.
You only need credit [ego’s need for approval/power] in his world.
The more he gets, the stronger he gets, the more control he has. The remedy to credit is… humiliation. (Nothing hurts more than humiliation and a little money loss.)
He’s behind all the pain there ever was. Behind every crime ever committed.
(How can ‘I‘ be behind all the pain, all the crime, if ‘I‘ don’t even exist?)
And right now he’s telling you that, he doesn’t even exist… We just put you to war with the only enemy that ever existed. And you, you think he’s your best friend.
(And they will protect their best friend with everything they’ve got)
He’s hiding behind your pain Jake. Embrace the pain, and you will win this game…”

Jake’s pain is the ego, for all suffering and sense of loss is a direct product of ego investment/attachment. By embracing our life’s seemingly crappy circumstances it loses all power and sting. It’s a fascinating thing, but as I edit this now years later, what has caused me to look over it again is my own downturns in my life and the epiphany that it has triggered. At first we resist our negative circumstances; angry, frustrated, and feeling ‘wronged’ that ‘bad’ things are happening to us and threatening our sense of control. However, if we take a breath and accept that it just is what it is, and while it may be a low point in our life and it definitely isn’t fun, it hurts, and is a struggle, it will inevitably pass and does not define us. We can say confidently, “Yeah, I’m experiencing a low, so what.” Everyone and all of life has lows, it’s built into the fabric of nature and the universe, it’s just to be expected, without them life would be boring and lack relativity. The low points are not personal, they just are, as in free from judgment, neutral, and in no way, shape, or form define our soul, karma, or sense of self. What does define us however, is how we deal with them! And therein lies the power of the realization of humility, not needing to always be externally “up or high” and our circumstances perfect. Regardless of circumstance we can always be at peace and in bliss at the magic of life because we don’t resist what is.

When we get this, hilariously it becomes just that, so what? And as if we are struck by lightning, our mood can change from pissed off and trapped in negativity to one of laughing at how much life sucks at the moment and guess what, that’s okay! We fight that things aren’t “perfect” in our eyes, but that’s all just the con of the ego telling us it’s not perfect. Everything is always working out for us but only if we get out of the way and let it. If we stop resisting life’s lows we give it no power and thus become free and truly liberated. The circumstances may or may not change right away but they won’t need to because it doesn’t matter anymore. Resistance implies that our life’s circumstances define us as a person, while surrender and nonattachment to the external circumstances implies gnosis of the illusion it truly is, thus giving it no power – the essence of transcendence.

“How radical are you prepared to be Mr. Green?”

This conversation is an entire epic breakdown of the ego and its rules of control as well as simultaneously our ticket to transcendence. One must master the ego/con before one can transcend it, otherwise we will continuously be outsmarted by it. Thus Avi and Zack are testing Jake to prove his mastery of the concepts and then they turn it back on him to apply and make him realize the bigger message of the con. Jake at this point is starting to realize what’s going on and his mind is getting twisted by the paradox that is being presented (“eventually when the opponent is challenged or questioned, it means the victims investment and thus his intelligence is questioned, no one can accept that, not even to themselves.”). This scene is a representation of Jake’s first direct confrontation with the ego at which point it finally ends with Jake a bit lost and confused because he’s starting to see what Avi and Zack are really trying to do… Set him free.

“The more power you think you have in Gold’s (the ego’s) world, the less you have in the real world.
You are still in prison Jake, in fact you never left.
He’s got all the tricks and all the right answers.”
(don’t let them do this to you Jake, don’t let them turn you against you.)

“What is the very last thing you want to do Jake?”
[Face his ultimate fears, lose all his money and investments, embrace death and humility, and love/forgive his enemies]

Transcendence Through Charity – Humility and Surrender

Jake takes another step of transcendence by donating money in Macha’s (his ego’s enemy) name. After which Avi says: “You don’t give because it’s good, you give because it hurts him (ego).”

If one is not careful the ego actually uses this trick of charity to inflate itself. Egoless giving/service is sought to be anonymous since no others are aware of who to give credit to (the ego’s system of value remember). Anonymity makes it easier to control and monitor the ego’s tendency to inflate itself through praise. However, this is still a danger since the ego could inflate itself without the aid of others knowing of its actions in the form of inner pride. That is why Jake donates millions of dollars but specifically puts that the donation was given in his enemy’s name. By doing this Jake is deflating his own ego by purposefully inflating his enemy’s ego. This is unacceptable to the ego’s pride and defense mechanisms thus an excellent source of transcendence. Whenever we do the opposite of the ego’s desires it loses power and control over the mind and we reach a new level of inner peace and calm. Find that which we resist the most and don’t want to do out of fear of what it would mean to us, and then embrace it. Remember, “he’s hiding behind your pain (resistance and fear), embrace the pain and you will win this game…”

More Ego References

“Your friends are close, but your enemy is closer.” (ego is within, hiding behind its own thoughts/illusory creations)
“The only enemy to have ever existed is an eternal one.” (ego controlling our perceptions) – Road to Suicide

Jake’s Transcendence: The Radical Truth

The context of Jake’s final transcendence is asking for forgiveness from his perceived enemy, ‘Macha’, and facing his greatest fear of claustrophobia/being in an elevator. These are significant because it shows a complete disinvestment in the ego’s beliefs and opinions thus officially separating oneself from it and being free of its control. Perfect example of embracing the pain, resistance, and fear. Fear is not overcome by resisting and somehow vaingloriously battling it but by surrendering to it and embracing it and therefore ironically demonstrating fearlessness. For our enemies could never possibly conceive of surrendering to us due to the tight grasp of fear of loss. So who is actually free?

Radical humility, surrender, and gratitude taken to the absolute is transcendence/enlightenment.

“Wherever you don’t want to go is where you will find him. What is it that you’re afraid of Mr. Green?” (fear is the ego, therefore transcendence can only come from confronting, accepting, and subsequently overcoming all fear.)

“Use your perceived enemy to destroy the real enemy.” (The ego is the only real enemy to have ever existed, all else are only a projection of the ego as the enemy.)

Jake Asks for Forgiveness and Bows to His Enemy

Jake battles his ego while trying to forgive his enemy and subject himself to being possibly seen as inferior. He asks for forgiveness for his stupidity, in other words openly admitting humiliation to his perceived enemy. This is a major transcendence of his ego by releasing any attachment to status, pride, or the secret pleasure of grudges, thus eliminating all sources of a perceived ‘enemy’ in the first place. Jake’s ego throughout the plea for forgiveness is begging Jake to kill his enemy (Macha) and take control and establish pride, vengeance, and dominance. The ego uses all thoughts of past wrongs as its supporting reasoning as to why Jake is absolutely justified in his vengeance. This is characteristic of ego thinking, living in the past and never staying in the present moment thus holding grudges and harboring victimization and limiting stories of perception.

Furthermore, the ego uses the argument that “he’d do it to you.” This of course is erroneous to ever assume the enemy’s, or any other being’s, position or response to circumstances. In fact assumption is the very process of creating an ‘enemy’ since there is no specification as to what the other will do, yet we assume negativity and hatred, which then fuels the ego’s battle of opposition. Even if someone demonstrates a common tendency it does not mean we continue to feed the possibility by assuming it’s going to occur, this only reinforces fear and keeps us trapped. All fear is overcome by letting go of resistance to it and likewise all enemies are therefore overcome by letting go of reacting to their negativity (e.g. retaliation, resistance, hazing, argument, anger, fighting, vengeance, etc.) Every time one chooses love and forgiveness one is overcoming ego tendencies. The downfall of the ego is love and radical humility and gratitude. This means embracing our greatest fears of humiliation and death and loving all those who we perceive as an ‘enemy’.

Transcending All Fear

After apologizing and asking for forgiveness from Macha, Jake leaves to go down the elevator which is Jake’s greatest fear (claustrophobia). Yet another ‘enemy’ that was created by his ego. As Jake leaves one major battle with the ego he heads to his next by entering the elevator and getting stuck between the 14th and 12th floor. This of course is Jake’s greatest fear coming to life. Jake’s ego even asks him…“are you doing this to yourself Jake?”

This is the first question the ego asks to begin its onslaught of fear thoughts attacking and invading Jake’s mental peace. The ego incessantly screams in panic and fear that he has to get out or he’s going to die. However, there is no actual danger, Jake is simply standing in the middle of a stopped elevator, he’s in no real physical danger. However, the ego is trying to control Jake and make him extremely anxious and fearful. This is how all ego tactics work from daily fears and anxiety to the most extreme of ‘life and death’. The ego is always fear based and ultimately it is fear itself. All fear is inevitably based and stems from death of the body/mind whether physically or socially (status). However, Jake is beginning to realize all fear is in fact an illusion and fabrication of the mind and is thus becoming truly aware of the ego at this point. After using the experience of loving his enemy, Jake understands the ego and is aware of its voice and has moved to the level of the observer. Jake even mentions directly to his ego, “I’m on to you, I’m coming to get you.”

Sensing that Jake’s true Self is emerging in it’s infinite power and glory, the ego battles with every possible argument it has that Jake is mistaken and that he is talking to himself. “The biggest con that he (ego) ever pulled is making you believe that he is you.” Basically, the ego wants Jake to think he’s just really arguing with himself and that it’s all very silly and he should just listen to it – his thoughts… or more accurately, his ego’s thoughts. However, Jake is awakening and aware of this paradoxical argument taking place within his own mind and rejects all the egos attempts to regain control. After the battle has raged within Jake’s mind for a few minutes he reaches a level of transcendence through the realization that “You(ego) don’t control me, I(observer/consciousness/Self) control you(ego)!”

Blissful Liberation

Upon this realization Jake is truly free and the ego is completely transcended in that moment, meaning all attachment is abandoned and the ego is officially not listened to or taken seriously – it is seen as the illusion it truly is and thus has absolutely no power. Jake is an enlightened state at this point and the elevator starts again and proceeds to the 1st floor. Jake is in radical peace finally since there is no ego keeping him in constant states of fear, anxiety, separation, inflation, investment, lack, need for approval, etc. Upon arriving at the 1st floor Macha is waiting with a gun pointed at Jake demanding an answer for Jake’s unusual (not ego) behavior and to fear for his life (ego’s greatest investment).

Macha’s ego is begging to be feared and opposed, yet Jake doesn’t care, the whole game is beneath him and so not relevant or threatening. Since Jake has no reason to fear anymore he is unaffected by Macha’s threats because he has transcended the ego’s illusion of threat being possible. All fear is only in the mind – fear is not an actual ‘thing’ it is a mental phenomena.  Spiritual transcendence of the ego realizes that there is no ‘end’ possible to the Self thus there is no real fear in the traditional sense seeing how all fear eventually, when traced to the source thought, stems from fear of death of the self/ego/body. Life is eternal and thus there is no actual ‘death’ possible and accordingly there is no actual ‘fear’ possible for there is nothing to actually ever lose. With this wisdom understood Jake is in an unperturbed peace and in a state of serenity. With a humble smile of inner surrender he drops his gun and simply walks past Macha undaunted; to which Macha does nothing but cry and wonder why he’s truly powerless.

Afterwards, Jake Reconvenes with Avi and Zack, Avi tells Jake:

“You know what’s so elegant about this little game? Nobody knows where the enemy is. They don’t even know he exists. He’s in every one of their heads and they trust him. Because they think they are him. It’s beautiful man, you have to admire the opponent’s elegance.” Avi then proceeds to play Jake in a game of chess in which he finally beats Jake by playing the same moves Jake studied while in prison. As he’s approaching checkmate he realizes, through several memory flashbacks, that the two men he was in prison with are the same two that have been liberating him this entire time.

“Wake up Mr. Green…You can’t see what’s right in front of you.”

Finally Avi concludes, “We were always going to take you with us Jake, you just weren’t ready to hear how hard that was going to be…” Jake had to go through the process of being abandoned by his teachers, then creating a massive fortune (pride), only for them to return to him in order to then destroy his ultimate ego of pride and dominance. They returned as his salvation and saved him from his ego (death).

This is a classic teaching tactic and has a lot of parallels within religion and spirituality. Truth is given and then allowed to be abandoned and lost in order to then come back to it with a new fullness of wisdom from time spent wandering. Always eventually being saved by a Savior/Liberator from ignorance and eternal life/immortality being restored (Truth).

Enlightened Insight from Revolver

Jake demonstrates to us how obviously he had to go through the process of application in order for the Truth he knew all along to be all-encompassing and liberate his very core sense of existence. We all know the ego is a lie but don’t want to admit it and thus we go about our lives trying to bolster and support it until finally we have been ‘lost’ long enough and are primed and ready for liberation. At that point the teacher appears… As the adage goes, “When the student is ready the teacher appears” and we can conclude that everyone who comes in contact with this film is somehow in that range of readiness. As far as the film, Jake’s readiness was alluded to by his brother’s comment in the beginning of the movie, “You have more money (pride) than you could ever spend, so what do you think about these days…?” Jake has mastered the ego’s world and is still unsatisfied and thus is truly ready to awaken to Truth. Such is the process of awakening.

Alternate Ending

“We didn’t do this to you because we like you, we did it because we are you.” This is a much more paradoxical statement that Ritchie perhaps left out because it is a little ‘too deep’ for the general population, who knows. The reason I suggest this is because this statement is essentially pointing out that when attachment to the ego is liberated, the Divine Self is realized and it is the radical realization of Nonduality. With all attachment to the ego surrendered all of existence is a reflection of Self and life is revealed as a divine paradox – as if awakening within the matrix. Thus all ‘others’ are in fact finally seen as ‘self’ and there is no duality imaginable and all of life is a projection from one’s own mind. One has realized the Creator and created are one and the same. This was also alluded to with Avi triggering all the slot machines at the end of the film. This stems from the perspective that with the ego transcended all things are possible and one is essentially God-realized. In yoga these supernatural abilities are called the siddhi’s that one can experience in the advanced stages of liberation. Yet this is a whole other discussion, for more information regarding nonduality you can read here.

In closing, the most important message of the film is this: the ego, the only real enemy of life/love to have ever existed is within us and is never external. All perceptions of an enemy is a projection of the ego – all suffering, all pain, all crime, all struggle, all war, and all negativity imaginable is all of the ego and not an accurate representation of reality. Yet the ego is right in front of us and we don’t even see it or want to admit it…such is the mastery of the con.

At the conclusion of the film there are clips from interviews with psychologists and doctors on the concept.

Discussion on the Ego: “The ego is the worst confidence trickster we could ever figure, we could ever imagine. Because you don’t see it…” -Dr. Yoav Dattilo, Ph.D.

“And the single biggest con is that, ‘I am you.'” -Dr. Steven C. Hayes, Ph.D.

“The problem, is that the ego hides in the last place you’d ever look, within itself.” -Dr. Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., FBA

“It disguises it’s thoughts as your thoughts, it’s feelings with your feelings, you think it’s you.” -Leonard Jacobson

“People’s need to protect their own ego knows no bounds, they will lie, cheat, steal, kill, do whatever it takes to maintain what we call, ego boundaries.” -Andrew Samuels, Ph.D.

“People have no clue that they’re in prison, they don’t know that there is an ego, they don’t know the distinction.” -Leonard Jacobson

“At first it’s difficult for the mind to accept that there’s something beyond itself, that there’s something of greater value and of greater capacity for discerning truth than itself.” -Dr. David Hawkins M.D., Ph.D.

“In religion the ego manifests as the devil, and of course no one realizes how smart the ego is because it created the devil so you could blame someone else.” -Dr. Deepak Chopra M.D.

“In creating this imaginary external enemy we usually made a real enemy for ourselves and that becomes a real danger to the ego but it’s also the ego’s creation.” -Dr. Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., FBA

“There is no such thing as an external enemy, no matter what that voice in your head is telling you. All perception of an enemy is a projection of the ego as the enemy.” -Dr. Deepak Chopra M.D.

“In that sense, you can say that 100% of our external enemies are of our own creation.” -Dr. Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., FBA

“Your greatest enemy is your own inner perception, your own ignorance, is your own ego.” -Dr. Obadiah S. Harris, Ph.D.

Hope this made sense for those who haven’t seen the movie and hope you could still gain from it. For those who have seen it I hope you enjoyed the analysis of it and found some insight. I really enjoy this movie and all the learning and inspiration it has given me.

Wishing us Peace and Love always-


Mathew Micheletti

~You shall know Truth by the happiness, joy, and peace it brings~ Go within and start knocking on the Door.


  1. Beautiful movie and article. This movie is highly underrated. My favorite of all times, due to the importance of the subject.

  2. Hello!
    This is a very interesting read. I’ve seen Revolver five times i think. The first four i didn’t understand it at all, but subconciously felt there was something there. I really like games, some of the quotes in the beginning of the film really turned me on. It wasn’t until this last time i understood the point of the “madness” in the elevator where Jack battles himself. That’s why i googled “psychology ego revolver” and ended up here. Your post clarifies it greatly.

    But i do have some (obvious?) questions i don’t get. Now i havn’t read any psychology and very little philosophy, perhaps some of these are fundamental un-answerable ones.

    1. If i erase the ego, what’s left? Apathy and suicide? I thought the ego was responsible for the will to get a better life. The force that keeps you going. Like they say, “It’s the only reason you get up in the morning”.

    2a. Is the point that there are something greater than this life? Like the continuation of the spirit and perhaps reincarnation?
    2b. Or is the point that i should be aware of the ego and while keeping it, controlling it instead of letting it control me?

    While writing this and thinking about it, the most logical answer seems to be: 2b – yes. All else eventually leads to “what’s the meaning of life” which is unanswerable by anything other than religion.

    If that is true i have no idea where to continue.

    Any comment? Should i go get drunk or are there further reading i could do? 🙂

    • First of all sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you, I was taking a break from the blog in order to meditate and work on a book I have been putting together the past several months. I hope this reply makes it way to you nevertheless. Let us begin,

      Answer to question 1:
      That is very wise of you to assume that if you erase the ego that apathy and suicide would arise, however, with some clarification we can overcome such a temptation. First, you are absolutely right, the ego is a survival mechanism, our animal nature, and driving force to live, however as it dissolves its interests and values change. For example, an extremely strong/primitive ego is the epitome of neanderthal man. Life is lived based in extreme fear and absolutely everything is seen as ‘me’ versus ‘you’. Life is a matter of survival and propagation of one’s seed/egoic self. As the ego dissolves the animalistic nature dissolves as well and life becomes gradually more based in lovingness and peace. Therefore, one could say that without an ego there would only be pure love for there would be no perception of ‘others’ to contended with anymore. All would simply be seen as oneself and there is therefore only respect, love, peacefulness, happiness, and kindness that dominates.

      What Jason Statham’s character is referring to when he says ‘it’s the only reason you wake up…’ is that based on how imbedded the ego is it will dictate your life. In this case he’s describing the average human of today who runs the consumer treadmill trying to find satisfaction and fulfillment through external approval. However, back to our example a second ago, this would mean to a primitive ego its desire every morning is to find food and stay alive and kill/remove all others who get in the way. To a dissolved ego there wouldn’t really be desire anymore other than to love life, love all others and go amongst life in peace such as an enlightened sage. Hence after Jake transcends his ego in the elevator he is at peace and even when threatened by death just has a peaceful haze about him and a smirk emerges while Macha is begged to be feared. Jake sees Macha’s ego clearly and simply drops his own weapon that is now pointless and then simply walks away… The ego however is an incredibly sophisticated and cunning mechanism within the human psyche and has a vast range of expression. What you actually depicted as apathy and suicide is the full consuming force of the ego that seeks to desecrate and destroy life, including itself. The abandonment of the ego is actually the fullness of unconditional love and peace, Jake’s unperturbed state at the end of the film.

      Answer to question 2a:
      Yes, the teaching that can be inferred is that without a human ego who are you then? Without and ego identity what/who must you be if you still exist? For example, if you’re not your name… who are you? Furthermore, if you’re not a human body… who are you? If you’re not the mind… who/what are you then? Essentially to dissolve the ego one must pursue the question of how is it that one exists in the first place…
      Reincarnation is the concept that a soul/consciousness evolves eternally and uses whatever vessel appropriate to best continue its growth, in our case, a human form. Human life offers us endless choices to make that can either be loving(ego destroying) or fearful/selfish (ego promoting).

      Answer to question 2b:
      The ego is a false identity that we come to accept. It loses all power when you realize its fallacy and illusory nature. The easiest example is I tell you your name is Jonas when you’re born and you accept that, yes this is ‘who I am’…Jonas… But in reality you’re not Jonas, you’re no name in fact, you just ‘are’. Names are the easiest example of ego identity. Some other easy examples are being a male or female, or your interests or values, your fashion choice, amount of money you have, your job, your hobbies, etc. These things are all just aspects of your experience however, they are not ‘who you are’. With some contemplation one will realize that a lot of what we have come to accept as ‘who I am’ is actually a complete illusion that we’ve come to accept…which is the ego… Hence Jake says, “if you knew this, you wouldn’t do this…Someone is hiding it from us.” He’s referring to the fact that the ego is hiding truth from us in order to not be figured out because if it is figured out it will instantly lose all power. As soon as you realize you are not your name, it instantly has no power over you anymore and it becomes completely irrelevant. As soon as you realize you are not what you look like, it instantly becomes irrelevant. As soon as you realize you are not your job, it instantly becomes irrelevant and has no power over your happiness. As soon as you realize you are not your body or gender it instantly becomes completely irrelevant. You see where I’m going with this? No matter what the ego attaches to it is ultimately an illusion and has no inherent truth to it. All ego attachments lead to fear of loss of the particular attachment and thus suffering. Hence Jake is constantly stripped of every possible attachment he had, particularly money and his dignity, which once all attachments were relinquished he found infinite peace since nothing could possibly take from ‘who he truly is’ which is beyond all ego identities no matter what it may be.

      With that I’ll let you continue to ponder. Your final question I could go into but I think that is something you have to figure out for yourself unless you want to discuss this all further. A hint however would be love and truth. Follow them to the absolute and you will find everything you could ever seek…

      Peace and Love always brother-

    • Jonas,
      1. If i erase the ego, what’s left?
      I will give you two answers from two completely different sources the eastern and the native Indians of the Americas, let’s start with the Eastern one:
      The sutras of Patanjali start by telling you that once you dissolve the ego… ”
      Then the seer dwells in his own nature.”
      It automatically tells you that your enemy ‘attached’ to your mind and made you believe there is nothing else after it. WRONG, that’s where true life starts for a man BUT you must understand that once you dissolve your ego, you are no longer ‘human’ as you know it and furthermore, you will no longer belong to the average and normal world of humans.
      The 2nd answer comes from where I believe the director obtained the whole idea regarding the ego is an enemy: the Books of Carlos Castaneda.
      He called the ego the ‘foreign installation’ or as he said “Every one of us human beings has two minds. One is totally ours, and it is like a faint voice that always brings us ORDER, directness, purpose, The other mind is a foreign installation. It brings us conflict, self-assertion, doubts, hopelessness, CHAOS: it’s ourselves as the me-me center of the world.” He strongly believed that those that could vanquish the ‘foreign installation’, through YEARS of rigorous physical and mental exercises, could obtain ‘liberation’ and once there, ANYTHING THE MIND INTENDED IT COULD ACCOMPLISH (i.e.: mind over matter)… from traveling anywhere in the universe to defying death as we humans understand it. This is not easy, once you vanquish your ego, there is a danger of loosing your ‘own identity’ or the self that’s truly yours.

    • 2a. Is the point that there are something greater than this life? –
      EXACTLY! Once the ego/enemy/foreign installation is dissolved, the MEANT life we were supposed to live starts. Like Neo told the enemy of humanity in the Matrix:
      “I know you’re there. I can FEEL you now (notice he did not say SEE you). I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a UNIVERSE (world) without you. A universe (world) without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A universe where anything is possible.”

    • All else eventually leads to “what’s the meaning of life” which is unanswerable by anything other than religion. –
      NO!!!! Think about it, religion as you know only started about 2000-3000 years ago or so. Scriptures used by religion go back even further BUT… the experiences humans have been having with the TRANSCENDENTAL, experiences usually that happen after great traumas, illnesses or deeper states of mind, such experiences have been happening for a long, long time, before written history. So no, religion has nothing to do with the meaning of life. Religions though… POINT or make a reference to a state where life has a meaning but that’s all they can do, the actual experience must be undergone by INDIVIDUALS.

  3. Hello, I was wondering if you could further enlighten me on some questions that were left unanswered. I do realize that you’re not the director but perhaps you may be equipped to relay the details that leave me puzzled.
    1. The rare-blood disease: How were Avi and Zack able to place and remove the disease that were identified by the 2 doctors?
    2. The people chosen to receive the money: Were the money simply given as charity by the “loan sharks” purposefully who were really not expecting the money back? Were these planned as a tactic against Jake’s ego?
    3. Gold and Walker: It seems Gold may or may not have existed but what was the significance of Walker’s caresses on one of the girls when Macha first met her? Was she really Gold herself?
    4. Homosexuality or Narcissism: At times, Macha and Paul showed some overtly close interactions and Macha at one point says “Jesus Paul! Why don’t you just fucking rape me?: And still, there were phalluses being displayed.
    5. Sorter: Why does he turn good all of a sudden? Because of the little girl? How can one derive a connection to his fatherhood/humanity in this one instance when they did not allude to this possibility earlier?
    I do understand that any of these can play into the story line but any extra insights that you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
    Peace and Thank You.

    • I will do the best I can,

      1. First the blood disease had a specific purpose and in the commentary Guy Ritchie mentions that it was for a reason but he doesn’t explain why. So honestly I don’t know, I just look for the deeper message being presented. Ultimately it didn’t matter why he was about to die, it was only relevant that it was certain and in three days. One could speculate that when the ego is transcended all form becomes able to be manipulated, hence they ‘evaporated’ out of prison. (Which Guy Ritchie doesn’t explain either just simply mentions that when one has transcended the ego one is ‘free’).

      2. Yes, the most important thing that was relevant is that he was losing his money. It didn’t technically matter if it was charity, people who couldn’t pay, or people who could, the only significance is Jake’s ego/attachments to identity, in this case money, is being ripped to shreds. Hence in the shower scene Jake is literally falling apart and his ego is unable to cope which such a profound cut to its identity/attachment. And yes, they were absolutely planned. Everything Avi and Zack do from the beginning is all planned to specifically dismantle his ego and truly set him ‘free’ as promised in prison.

      3. Gold was the ego itself, it wasn’t a real person. Ritchie mentions this in the commentary. Gold is ultimately a symbol for ANY fear and in this case as the ultimate ‘Mr.mystery’, “no one sees Gold, but Gold sees everything”. This is specifically referring to the ego’s ability to mask itself in external things but ultimately it is all within, and therefore no one sees him/Gold. As far as the whole Walker aspect I was confused by it too and they don’t discuss it much in the commentary other than it was a symbol of power, control, and illusion. Macha is totally at a loss during that scene starting with how he gets denied even shaking her hand. The message of that scene continues to unfold as him seeming irrelevant and hardly there at all. Walker ignores him and treats him like he’s a complete pawn. Walker is absolutely crushing Macha’s ego and shows that throughout the film which fills him with fear since the ego is threatened and terrified by humility. One could definitely speculate that Walker was Gold in that situation yes. Once again, the only relevance is that the ego is Gold.

      4. As far as Macha’s behavior with Sorter and Paul it is total narcissism, control, pride, and dominance. The ego is completely false and therefore bases itself in pride and dominance because it has to boost itself up, since ultimately it’s a total lie and therefore has no real power. As a result of this inherent powerlessness it can never appear to seem weak and therefore by Macha being overtly sexually dominant he’s displaying classic ego tendencies of this. We can further conclude it is narcissism based on Macha’s tanning room and his obsession with image (hence his greatest weakness is that he’ll “eat a yard of his own shit, before he’ll look bad in public”). He’s the epitome of the ego’s insecurities, hence him crying and begging to actually be powerful at the end and wanting Jake to fear him. That was the ego begging to be real, begging to actually mean something, actually have true power(which it will never have, since it doesn’t actually exist).

      5. Sorter represents the conscience, this was discussed in the commentary. We notice that throughout the film his sense of feeling develops based on the type of people he’s assassinating. Jake is essentially working to become an enlightened being and thus is more or less benign and working through the dissolution of his ego and moving into the state of serenity thus it would seem ‘wrong’ to harm or kill such a person. This is alluded to in the beginning when he is asked by Macha why he missed and why three times, and he replies with “I don’t know, I had a bad feeling…” This is his conscience surfacing and his character was intended to be a symbol of that. Thus, at the end he finally reaches the last draw with the involvement of the little girl, as the symbol of pure innocence. Also, Paul is the epitome of ‘evil’ and thus Sorter continuously feels uncomfortable with Paul’s pleasure for torture.

      Hope this helps. Let me know if you have more questions.
      Peace and Love always-

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  7. Thank you for taking the time to respond. I appreciated the extra information. I have since been promoting this movie to all my contacts, but I realized that not everyone was able to appreciate or understand the depth of it unless they were ready to receive the enlightenment. Or maybe they just don’t want to let go of their egos?

    • 🙂 Yes that’s an astute observation. All will only awaken when they’re ready to (the Matrix is a good example of this). Some ego’s are too entrenched to even grasp what the movie is about, it just goes ‘over their head’ and they completely misunderstand it or subconsciously ignore its message because it’s threatening to their ego identity/attachments. I too have had to learn that there are only a few people that can properly appreciate exposure to certain knowledge and radical wisdom that challenges limited belief systems. Many are the worldly, few are the enlightened. Peace and Love always brother-

  8. BOY…aren’t we blessed to been interested in such things. And able to begin to receive an understanding of such things.

    Matt thanks bro for this commentary. I really appreciate it. I have watched this film and its dual versions several times. I have had countless conversations about this film and some of the points you bring up add so much light.

    Im preaching on this film tomorrow in church. Seriously, thanks again for YOUR insight. Especially considering Sorter. So on point!


  9. Something just happened to me after reading your blog, Matt. Your Insight on Revolver triggered awareness about the psychological aspects that has been troubling me from the day I started looking at my own thoughts. I always felt that there is a small stupid inside my head that keeps on leading me into resisting my goals.

    For instance, I would walk into a shop with my last money in my pocket that was meant for transport then through impulse, I would spend it in the things I really don’t need. when I get home to realize that I wasn’t myself in that supermarket.

    I have suffered a lot but I hope now I know that I must deal with my inner enemy, I must save myself from me

    • Thank you for your love and kindness. Glad it could help. And you must only save yourself from the ego’s illusions. Your True Self is pure and full of love, peace, and innocence that is unconditional, immutable, and eternal. It is helpful to not think of the ego as an enemy but rather as limitations of ignorance/fear that simply needs to be healed and transcended through compassion and forgiveness which leads to wisdom and enlightenment (Jake’s peaceful state of ‘no-mind’ as demonstrated at the conclusion of the film). We must go within and seek the stillness and silence behind and in between the ego’s thoughts in order to realize it is not who we are. Love you brother-

    • If Ego is not real is not wise to get to war with a phantom! In dealing with Ego one sustains its existence. It is sensible to feel its mechanics and allow it to be there in some corner aware and alert about the potential it has to spring back and poison the awareness. Ego has many substitute names: Evil, God, Me, I, mine, mind, fear, logic, common sense, thinking, self image, self esteem, pride, vanity, and so on, are all inpersonations of it. Ultimately any explanation, talking such as this simply reinforces it…wake up Mr Green.

  10. arent the comments….many are the wordly, few are the enlightened, must look for deeper message presented, message ‘over their heads’, etc just another form of ego? I ask because as i read this blog and the comments about the movie, they all identify with what i believe, but i dont see this path as freedom or higher /’enlightened’.

    people are doing what they can to protect what they believe, think is best, and their identity. rather its someone on the ‘enlightened’ path working hard for money and giving it all to the poor, an enlightened individual obssessed with a ‘deeper’ understanding…which is only the understanding that challenges your first thought or easiest understood/accepted thought, or a person proactivly protecting themselves from social forms of pain by working extra hours, staying in circles of people that identify with their beliefs, doing something for the approval of someone in their life, or someone taking their pain out on the world or making sure nobody else hurts themby killing, stealing, etc.

    Or the one who calls themself balanced…and comes to that conclution by comparing themself to others. Or the preacher who once was lost (not at peace) says he was ‘called’ to teach who dosent realize teaching is the path his soul is best feed by and is now free (at peace). or even the one who manifest extra hard circumstances in life to feed the temporary void filled by the sympothy of others or the pride and achievement felt by overcoming adversity, just to repeat it again while stuck in the loop/cycle their choices and beliefs put them in. To them it looks like life just keeps dealing them bad cards until they refuse to accept it and challenge the ‘ego’.

    as the spirit travels, some paths we call good, and some bad. And we take a path that best fits the ego we want to identify with, and we experience the most resistance when we try to leave the path we’ve (or our ego, or whatever being we want to refer to) been traveling and make choices with different reasoning, judgements with different perspectives, and accept a new life.

    and typically we only do so, or seek to do so when we are not at peace with ourself.

    People pride themselves on being able to “go deeper” and “becoming enlightened” (compared to who……quote from above ‘over peoples heads, threatens their ego, identity, etc’) Yet our assessments and conclutions still include comparing ourself to others rather than just our past against our present.

    The smerk on jakes face as macha begged to be feared wasn’t freedom. it was another form of ego being filled as jake witnessed his preseved enemy fall apart at his feet while he took the ‘enlightened’ path.

    the free being is just the one who is at peace with their life and choices

    • Thank you for taking the time to write and contribute,
      For starters, no those comments are not ego statements but rather reflections of truth as observations within the current world. In Reality all beings are already capable of enlightenment and freedom from suffering. Likewise, all things ‘over one’s head or threatening’ is simply so because one decides it to be. So the comments are not meant as opinion but rather observations of what others reflect. For example, I’m not saying ‘I’ think it’s over their heads, rather, others reflect it by literally saying, “that was over my head, I was lost the entire time…” or “I have no interest in enlightenment, I’d rather go shopping…” These are things determined by the other, not absolutes. Again, Absolute Truth is that all are already enlightened, free, and one with Divinity. All suffering and struggling along a path for anything is simply an ego vanity of narcissism in order to fulfill one’s sense of ‘who I am’. All of which is an illusion just like an actor is not the role/character he is playing. All limited identity and therefore suffering is self-created and not Reality.

      Your next few paragraphs are all essentially demonstrating the above point, as reinforcements of some kind of ego. Hence I’ve explained elsewhere, such as posts, redefining the ego or understanding the ego and attachments, how the ego evolves and can range from pious such as ‘being enlightened’ to extreme, primitive vanity such as shame/self-abhorence or pride and possession such as Hitler wanting to rule the world, all of which are still missing the point. You demonstrate the point that everyone is trying to defend their beliefs and identity… well this is exactly the ego… it’s a set of belief systems that it uses to define itself. All of which are illusory. Our true Selves are all encompassing of the entire universe as a unified whole and are completely ineffable. Alan Watts put it, “trying to describe yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth…” Essentially all statements regarding a personal self are the illusion and are completely limited.

      In the same light, there are no comparisons to be made then because all comparisons are equally illusory. There is nothing to compare to, all is radically the Self. There is no ‘I’ vs. ‘you’, ‘in here’ vs. ‘out there’, ‘here’ vs. ‘there’, ‘subjective’ vs. ‘objective’. All dualities are an illusion. Furthermore, there is only the eternal moment of now and thus there is no such thing as ‘time’, so all past and future are a complete illusion and likewise just as erroneous.

      All evolution comes from as you’ve put it, not being at peace, which is essentially consciousness’ desire to evolve beyond the current dilemma of ego resistance. Enlightenment then is the pursuit of such evolution to the point of realizing all personal identities are the illusion, regardless of what they are. The truly enlightened are equally everything and anything, yet simultaneously nothing, beyond all universes, time, or space and therefore have absolutely no interest in titles or otherwise limited labels such as even ‘human’. In Hinduism it is referred to as the Immortal Brahman or Atman. The essential point being that the Self is beyond all possible conceptualization, labeling, or comprehension as the very source of All That Is which is what we are all equally a part of and at one with at all times and all places for eternity with no separation possible. If we exist then Brahman is.

      I haven’t even begun to explore the more paradoxical discussions on the realms of enlightenment because it is important to provide some what of a ladder for ‘getting there’, that is to facilitate understanding through familiarity with the ideas. In this case this movie is a perfect example of the basic concepts of the ego and its limited identity formation and attachments. Fight Club was another example I’ve used to observe the evolution of the character ‘Jack’ and his ego’s progression from worldly/materialist, fighter, counter-culture, hitting bottom, to eventual aware/centered being among other truths we get to see revealed. And you’re absolutely right about the trap of ‘righteousness’ which is only pride in a sophisticated form. The ego evolves to its highest peak as ‘being enlightened’ or ‘advanced’. The truly enlightened do not claim enlightenment for to do so would be erroneous, there is no ‘one’ to claim it. Enlightenment is reported, not claimed, it can neither be claimed nor denied. It is a radical realization that just ‘is’. The truly enlightened are humble and accepting of all paths for they truly know that all paths lead to enlightenment. There is no such thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, within Nonduality there is only love and progress without opposites. All suffering is an illusion.

      Lastly, Jake has no interest in watching his enemy fall apart, I don’t know where you could have gathered that assumption seeing how the last twenty minutes of the film are explicitly showing Jake fight his ego, let go of attachment and forgive his enemy, thus loving him and surrendering all need to react to him, hence becoming free from all ego identifications. If anything he has empathy for Macha not joy for watching him suffer. Jake is enlightened at the end of the film and at peace, unperturbed by the world or fear, the biggest example of this being forgiving his greatest enemy and being unaffected by threat. This is the entire premise of the movie…I’m sorry but I have to take my stand on that one for Guy Ritchie’s sake as well in honor of his, and everyone involved, work. Throughout the entire film the message is that the only true enemy to exist is an eternal one, that is the ego. Jake transcends his ego by using his perceived enemy, Macha, to destroy his real enemy, the ego. Hence as he’s trying to forgive Macha, the perceived enemy, the ego goes absolutely berserk with anger at what is happening because Jake’s actions completely defy its interests. Likewise Avi’s advice, “wherever you don’t want to go is where you’ll find him” is referring to stepping into fear will surface the ego, which is essentially the very essence of fear. Well Jake’s greatest fear is elevators thus he enters the elevator to bring his ego yet again to the surface in order to realize his ego is completely an illusion. Hence his final conclusion, “You don’t control me, I control you” and as a result the ego dissolves as the illusion it was the entire time. Jake’s enlightened statement is referring to the fact that all fear/ego only has the power we give to it. It is completely an illusion, all suffering is an illusion of narcissism as an extension of the ego, again, regardless of what it is such as “the preacher”, “the ‘enlightened'”, “the poor”, “the ‘balanced'” and whatever else you want to extrapolate, it makes no difference. Jake’s progression throughout the entire film is the transcendence of his ego.

      I hope this helps, thanks for reading.
      Peace and Love always-

      • Any comment is an opinion/ Ego statement. Another form of Ego is manifested Love and the desire for peace, because any desire is of the ego craving for identity/ attention.

    • There is no irony in egoless state…no interactions are necessary altogether. Most are confused and not knowing what they wish for about wanting to remove it and the sheer terror that state represents to the mind. Without the ego there is no goals, no family, no country or friends, no ambition of any kind. Thus the “how radical are you prepared to be?” question. It is a state of undivided inner absorption with no worldly distractions.

  11. incredibly good! thank you

  12. This is a fantastic article with marvelous discussion. Thank you for investing the time to explain these harder to digest parts of this amazing movie.

  13. Matt, I want to thank you for writing this. The piece and the commentary have just about blown my mind. I have never seen the film (a problem I will correct shortly, however to your credit, the post totally works anyway) but your insights have completely turned my day around.

    I was fired December 27th from a very high profile company. It wasn’t much of a job, but the name of the company brought instant recognition. It had become part of me (or as I realize now, what my ego perceived myself to be be). I mean it got to the point where I wore company shirts to bars to pick up on women. Needless to say, it has been a difficult time for me trying to put the pieces back together.

    What you have clued me in on is that none of that matters. I have a girlfriend who inexplicably is crazy about me just the way I am. I use the word inexplicably because she is what I would have considered “out of my league”. My brain still has a hard time wrapping around her taking a second look at me. But when I told her I got fired, there was not a moment of hesitation from her – not even a split second pause that would have lasted a lifetime on that particular phone call. I was very worried it might cause serious problems between us. “The job is not who you are. I know who you are. You know who you are. you’ll be fine and you have my support unconditionally.” I didn’t really understand what she meant, I was mostly just grateful that this was one less thing I might be losing. You have really helped me understand what she said much more.

    So I have been on a bit of a spiritual journey – at least during non business hours. I realize now that what I lost was not even a loss. It was a blessing. an opportunity to grow. a chance to really evolve and become something greater. I wasn’t happy there, so I stopped trying, and I got caught not trying so they fired me. Something wasn’t right inside of myself and the consequences were felt externally. Something subconsciouncely brought that down on me.

    Maybe, just maybe, that was my inner self, my true self, crying out. At the end of the day, the “why” doesn’t really need to be answered – all that matters is making the choice to move forward and doing so in a way that addresses the true enemy: my Ego.

    Thank you again especially if you read all that. 😛

    • Thank you for your kind words, and thank you for sharing some of your journey. That sounds very transformational indeed, and you are wise to utilize the experience as a growing opportunity rather than a source of defeatism and suffering which the ego loves to feed off of. The ego loves playing victim and self-loathing in the idea of ‘poor me’.

      That is also an astute observation that your true self was crying out for indeed it was the case. It seems that when the ego’s limiting belief systems begin to reach an unbearable level and we, whether consciously or subconsciously, have had enough, we manifest a situation in order to bring the limitation/attachment to the surface in order to be identified and transcended such as your experience. All transcendence of the ego is only be invitation, just as all suffering is only by invitation and choice as well. The ego is essentially an indulgence of narcissism and therefore to transcend the ego is to surrender the secret pleasure and appeal of narcissism such as being victim. To surrender narcissism we then turn to the more uplifting decision of unconditional love and self-acceptance thus allowing for ‘mistakes’ or ‘setbacks’ in life but now see them as learning experiences and progress rather than failures. While this decision in Reality is ultimately empowering and liberating, to the ego it is absolutely distressing and unacceptable.

      In this situation your girlfriend seemed to symbolically represent unconditional love and therefore reminded you that the ego’s fears are not real but simply illusions that it creates and are in no way objectively true. This then has the potential to trigger remembrance of the truth that the ego is not who we really are, rather, it is a false sense of self that is composed of limiting belief systems such as fear and possible loss of love. However all love and fulfillment are completely subjective and therefore internal. Nothing external has any power over us, the only power it has is that which we give it/attach to it. The ego is not necessarily an enemy that must be vanquished but rather a false self to simply not be identified with, for in Reality it doesn’t actually exist. Hence in Revolver it is demonstrated how the ego tries to con its way into staying in control by using its nonexistence as an extremely sophisticated manipulation such as, “how can I be behind all the pain, all the crime, if I don’t even exist?” to which Avi then says to Jake as his ego is thinking this, “and right now he’s telling you that he doesn’t exist…(the ego is trying to convince us that it doesn’t exist only so that we don’t become aware of it and challenge it, which one could note is quite paradoxically clever). He’s hiding behind your pain Jake (meaning the ego literally is the source of all suffering/pain), embrace the pain (don’t resist it, pursue it to its conclusion to realize where it’s coming from), and you will win this game (escape the con of the ego through the realization that it doesn’t independently exist and all suffering is an ego illusion). How radical are you prepared to be Mr. Green…(transcend the ego)”

      Anyway, continue to love thyself and go within for fulfillment and the world will hold no sway over us. All fear is an illusion.
      Namaste brother.

  14. Hi , I too have watched this movie many times and always found something new. Thanks for the wonderful article and all the comments.

  15. Excellent. Great article. I’ve watched this film every week for 2 years. I own both versions US and European. The message is the same, but the European version does show the full length that the ego will go to for it’s own purpose. It took me quite some time to understand the meaning or message, but once I comprehended it I was able to apply that knowledge and incorporate it into my day to day life. It does truly set you free. I practice everyday to sharpen my awareness of what my ego tries to say with all aspects of my life. Since finding this film I’m a happier person.

    This is great to find others with the same enthusiasm regarding Revolver. Looking forward to hearing more commentary of the ego.

    • Splendid Chris, thank you for sharing, I’m so happy for your dedication to the happiness of liberation brother. The ego is the only enemy/suffering that ever existed and the greatest irony being that it doesn’t actually exist haha. 🙂 Wishing us peace and love always-

  16. Your insight is truly a much welcome gift, this movie actually “worked” on me, left me feeling very curious =)
    I definitely will watch it again after your very succinct breakdown.
    It also has inspired me to further seek awareness of my own ego.

  17. What amazes me is that only 15 people have found this wonderful and thoughtful work – thank you for this shared opportunity…

  18. If an individual reaches the self, what are the effects, symptoms, morphological psyche. Summarizing what happens?

    • Olavo,
      The movie does a wonderful service of demonstrating such a liberation and Self-realization in the fact that Jake restores his fearlessness and unperturbed peace within his mind. At the conclusion of the film Jake is immersed in the ‘silent-mind’ or ‘no-mind’ that is hallmark of the Self. For the Self is realized within the infinite silence and stillness that is the backdrop of all existence. The ego lives on the surface of life while the Self is the very Source of life.
      To realize the Self is to realize nirvana, satori, samadhi, enlightenment, and ‘buddhahood’. It is all the same Immortal Essence that is being realized, All That Is is equally the Self.

      Accordingly, radical peace, serenity, and freedom/liberation is the first and most obvious change/symptom/effect. There is nothing left to do, no ‘one’ to know, no thing to accomplish, all searches have ended, all is known as Eternal and full of infinite love, comfort, and security. It is the return to the ‘oceanic feeling’ as one is reunited with the Divine. It’s rather ineffable, for the Self and the awareness as such cannot be described by words. It is truly beyond all conceptualization or labeling and the being/avatar that this occurs to is forever transformed by the awe-inspiring Presence of Divinity, the Realized-Self. Some bodily changes are the sense of location being forever ‘misplaced’ for one has transcended all spatial relationships, so in worldly terms one’s location is more general rather than specific. No ‘here’ or ‘there’ actually exists. Next there are sometimes strange burning sensations throughout the nervous system due to seemingly carrying too much energy. I word it as, “it’s like the expanded awareness is too radical and thus overwhelming to the residual ego and takes time to adjust to.” Once adjusted to by surrendering all collective ego resistances the peace prevails. Experiences of kundalini energy flowing through the spine and energizing the higher chakras (heart, throat, third eye, and crown) is also common. Appetite may drastically change. Periods of radically humbling stillness may arise. Everything seems as if in slow motion and surrealistic. Conversation is extremely paradoxical since there is no ‘one’ that people are talking to within the body, the body is an ‘it’ so it becomes funny that people actually think the body is an identity and a person referred to as an ‘I’ or ‘me’. Dealing with time is also a funny thing since the Self is beyond all time and thus participating within an illusory mental creation of time is paradoxical as well because it doesn’t actually exist. All past and future are an illusion, accordingly the memory is unnecessary and all sense of a ‘story’ is abandoned. If a memory is needed it arises otherwise one is seated in the radical present free of all attachments. Lastly, the vision and subjective essence of life is radically transformed and there is no investment into dualities or separation, thus all humanity is seen as the same Self and thus lovingly admired as the Divine that we are. Ability to hold deep, seemingly endless eye contact becomes standard.

      Enlightenment is purely a subjective transformation, which is indeed all there ever is. For the ‘objective’ world only exists subjectively.
      We all only exist subjectively. Without which nothing could ‘be’. And Divinity/the Self is the essence and source of all subjectivity. Thus we are Divinity Self-aware. The Subjective becomes fully aware of itself and ‘overcomes the world’ for the world is now realized as the dream and maya (illusion) that it really is. This is the concept of transcending the ego.
      The ego is the illusion itself, the ego is an illusory creation and attachment to belief systems that become a bondage of separation, causality, duality, victimization, and fear. The ego is a false identity that was innocently and naively adopted as if claiming to be the clouds when one was the sky. So awakening from this illusion one’s vision of Nonduality is restored and the Creator and created are realized to be one and the same. So how would you respond to realizing you are Immortal? 🙂
      The dream character becomes lucid and fully aware that it is the Dreamer and thus all encompassing of the entire existence/dream, Infinite and Eternal. The actor remembers “oh yes, this wasn’t actually real, I’m just playing”. Life is restored to child like perfection and wonder because everything is obviously an astounding creation of divine perfection. Perhaps likened unto a realization of sacred innocence.
      All words fall short when attempting to point to that which cannot be pointed to, put into words that which is truly wordless.

      I hope this helps and can be of service.
      May we walk on a blissful path, Namaste.

  19. Hey Matt. I wanted to share with you that this movie made me see things differently and as soon as I started to understand the movie I got so interested in the ego thing. I also read the book The Four Agreements and I think it’s amazing how it is related to this subject of the inner battle with that voice and that parasite that you feed with your drama. Here’s my story:

    In January my girlfriend of 3 years suddenly decides to end things and that devastated me, I don’t know why cz I was really that kind of guy who things that nothing can happen to him and really REALLY egocentric, and in February my car was stolen. The next day I met her cz I really needed somebody and besides our sentimental relationship she was my friend and I really needed somebody, but that day she was really bitch with me and told me she was already dating another guy who she knew couple of days after she broke up with me… The next days were really awful cz I was thinking and making horrible images in my head with someone I didn’t even knew, until one day I decided to stop. I was being really dramatic and I was tired of being the victim so I remembered this movie and I watch it again and I understood the real message… Those two months that I barely slept and I woke up sad and really angry it was cz my ego, I was taking things personally, everything my ex did that time it really hurt me ( we both are finishing our university studies and I have one class with her ) I have to tell you she is a really egocentric person so one day I decided to stop this game. She was trying to hurt me by showing me she didn’t care and she even told me to my face looking into my eyes that she didn’t loved me no more and she wantd to move on, it really hurtled my cz I asked my self so many times how is it possible to throw to the garbage 3 years of your life. So I start being super nice to her and not showing any reaction to her actions that she only wanted to make me jealous. Every time I talked to her nice, and helped her with some homework my inner voice was killing me telling me to stop, where’s my pride, but as it hurt more I wanted to keep going,( I have to tell you, I am nice to her only when I see her that it is once a week, I’m not stalking her or writing to her every day )“Use your perceived enemy to destroy the real enemy.” So couple of days ago she ask me, ” hey what’s wrong with you, why are you so much peace and love? You are not like this” I look at her and say : I just got tired of the ego game, I’m gonna stop this nonsense game where you or me have to hurt each other to prove a point. Everybody tells me I should be mean to you cz everything you have done to me, but no I’m not gonna waste my time on that. She looks at me really impressed, starts to open herself again to me and we talked that day for 2 hours, thing that we haven’t done long time ago. When she had to go to class she hugs me and says : I like you more this way. I just said its cz of you.

    What I’m trying to show with my story is that I totally played my cards differently with this situation. I used who my ego told me was my enemy and I should take revenge, to kill my real enemy. I’m not gonna say it has been easy, it’s really difficult when everybody around you judges this actions cz they give advice using their ego. I try to explain using the book and this movie but just few ones follow the idea, ” if you try to destroy him to save them, they will destroy you to save him”, and not only the people, inside me there’s and epic battle cz all these years that voice was my best friend, I realized that my ego was also a reason why she decided to leave. Now I’m more into controlling that voice, and I’m using her to do it, sounds awful but it’s true, and I know I’m gonna miss the change to get her back cz by being nice she’s gonna take me for granted, but inside me I know it’s only for my personal change and I’m willing to loose her to be a better person.

    Peace bro.

    • Huosen,
      Thank you so much brother for sharing that story, I honor you and appreciate you. What an amazing gift, I’m so happy for you and the ability to have perceived the ego at its height for the ego is most tempting when presented with an ‘enemy’ that it would be so easy to hate. Your story captures of essence of the ego as well as the miraculous effects when it is let go and surrendered. The ego will always try and seek control and it is the greatest con artist there ever was. It’s incredibly sophisticated and cunning and so we should always be wary of it. It takes perseverance and dedication to being unconditionally loving and peaceful, which is the path of liberation.
      The ego gets all of energy from negativity and your story does a great job of demonstrating that because we can notice how she was using negative emotions to try and push you away as a way of projecting her own ego’s guilt. Then as she does so her ego is craving your negative reaction because it then fuels her continued negativity and gives it reinforcement. You see the ego is a hamster on a wheel. It just goes through cycles and repeats the same ignorance over and over again and doesn’t ever think of changing or being open-minded to a grander, more loving perspective on life. It is rare when this option is realized and hence I honor you and your ability to have seen it and realized, “no, I’m not going to feed into this anymore.” So you liberated yourself from that wheel, that cycle of suffering and negativity.
      And so when confronted with a liberated or more evolved being the negative ego loses all power because the ego needs to be fulfilled, it needs to be pushed against and feed off of ‘problems’ but the liberated don’t do so. (This is particularly demonstrated in the movie at the end by Macha begging to be feared and Jake doesn’t care.) Yet the more mature approach is to remain at peace and honor others at all times free of attachment.

      If someone is rude or deliberately hurtful then it is purely a projection of their own inner suffering and is not true of ourselves. Thus the most obvious approach would be to have compassion and empathy for them because their rudeness is not actually about us, it’s not personal, it’s literally a projection of the other person.
      So in a way all her projections were attempts at demonstrating how she knows she’s lost but didn’t know how to evolve, didn’t know how to stop spinning the wheel. Then low and behold you led the way, and set the example! You saw that it was possible to move beyond and transcend with enough dedication and then you noticed she eventually responded with peace as well. As the ego’s temptations of emotionality/drama are avoided peace and progress are allowed to come forth. Life becomes about growing and maturing and we work together without negativity towards each other. We approach life with mutual respect for all, because we respect ourselves. We know that we are in control at all times and thus we can be an embodiment of more enjoyable qualities. To feed the ego’s narcissism is a choice, all suffering and negativity is a choice and a part of the ego’s vanity. To be truly free one must transcend the ego by having compassion for it and seeing it as the immaturity that it is. Liberation is the most profound fulfillment in the human realm, there is nothing more satisfying. To be liberated from the ego is to reach the pinnacle of human evolution and the evolution of lovingness is completed by the realization of Immortal Peace.

      Thank you brother, may we always continue to be devoted to the liberation of love.

  20. Matt thank you for educating us. I wanted to know if you have heard of the Landmark and its classes. A couple of years ago a family member asked me to go to Landmark and I agreed. The matrix was written by two brothers that did attend the Landmark and from what I was told (hearsay) that the matrix was supposed to about what the brothers learned from the landmark.
    Are there any books you recommend on the ego, or any other books in general about obtaining happiness? Hey Matt good job!!!!!!!

    • Thank you for your kind words. I have not previously heard of Landmark but if they spawned the ideas for The Matrix I can assume they are aligned with truth to some extent. The Matrix does a good job of demonstrating the point of how do we define reality and the ultimate realization of subjectivity and Divinity, which they don’t necessarily uphold throughout the film since there is clearly still duality throughout it and no real discussion on God. Yet as a teaching tool it is helpful for the particular scenes that are relevant.

      And as far as books, you will be guided to exactly what you’re supposed to read. I can only speak for my own journey. It totally depends on what you need and everyone is different. But if we trust that guidance will come it absolutely will without a doubt.
      I studied psychology in my undergraduate bachelors degree, inpatient psychiatry work, endless spiritual study, and a brief time in a Master’s degree in Jungian Depth Counseling Psychology so it’s difficult to say where my understanding of the ego was most clearly revealed. It was certainly an evolution as I craved to understand it more and more. It has a lot of layers to it (e.g. body, mind, soul). My most profound and illumined teacher was Dr. David R Hawkins (who actually appears in the credits of Revolver). His books ‘Power vs. Force’ or ‘The Eye of I:From Which Nothing is Hidden’ may be helpful, they are certainly profound writings that discuss radical enlightening realizations and liberations of the ego.

      Nevertheless, we will always be provided with exactly what we need. Wishing you well on your journey!

  21. Pingback: Revolver (película) | Saber vs Creer

  22. If there were only more people like you matt…. the world would be a more beautiful place. I wish I could be as knowledgable as you on all these deep intriguing topics. The fact you can answer everyone’s thoughts and questions is spectacular to say the least. The guy travis never responded back which I thought was interesting… but anyways I am still trying to figure out who I am, and it’s been a battle for a while. Thanks for everything bro

    • Thank you for your kind words brother. We all are a part of the change, we all have gifts to offer. 🙂 I honor you for even being interested in such subjects as well as pursuing the journey of self-inquiry. To even be here is already highly commendable and we should always have compassion for ourselves and be proud of the fact that we’re even attracted to truth and finding lasting happiness. Many sages say that to even ‘be’ on the quest for truth at all is already a massively impressive karma/gift to revel in. For to have started the journey is to already ‘finish’ it. Enlightenment of eternal happiness and fulfillment is inevitable and waiting within every moment to be realized, it is only a matter of our continued dedication and perseverance to the task. So with that being said, instead of a battle perhaps turn it around and think of it as an amazing journey of discovery to be enjoyed and revealed with gratitude. You are absolutely divine, perfect, and full of inspiration to offer the world, the ego’s illusions is the only thing that keeps us from realizing this. I wish you well in all that you do, may we walk on a blissful path.

  23. hello, what that what you call Self, consciousness is just another face(abstract one) of Ego, a more elevated dress? What i’m trying to make is a connection with advaita(Ramana Maharshi teachings). It’s believed that ego, ” I ” is just a thought, a mental phantom but which never existed as real phenomena. Self, consciousness is just another concept, another thought that describes self, consciousness, so when battling the ego, who is really battling it? ego(mind) is battling himself! One advaita master says that there is no escape AT ALL, It’s all mind game, and the escape is just another bigger illusion to another game(transcendence)!!! The parallel with The matrix, there is an alternative ending where the real world ZION turned to be another matrix and neo is just another element of control, so the idea is that there is no escape from matrix!

    • Fantastic, profoundly astute observations. Yes indeed, consciousness/the soul is ultimately just another extremely sophisticated ego illusion but such a discussion wasn’t ready to be had yet, that is until you brought forth the question. So thank you. 🙂
      Indeed, there is no actual ‘battle’ going on, the ego is simply something that is to be let go of, turned away from, surrendered, and abandoned. It is not real and never has been. It arose of itself as a result of being born human and is an illusory, impersonal, limiting belief system of duality primarily due to not understanding the gift of self-awareness coupled with the confusion caused by perception (The allegory of the ‘fall’).
      The ego is an illusion yet we can’t just say that to people because it only leads to confusion and more ego illusions such as saying, ‘the ego is illusion, I don’t believe in it’, which is actually still the ego saying so. So it’s important to ‘work up to it’ which is what we have been patiently doing for a while now. The ego has to be identified and believed to be real first in order to be purified, understood, and then eventually transcended by the eventual dawning of the realization that it was never actually real the entire ‘time’. Immensely elated laughter of exquisite liberation is usually the result for one has been journeying to absolutely no ‘where’, the journey to where we already are…Eternity is realized in the continuous ‘now’ or more so an alwaysness/foreverness. There has never been anything to ‘have’, ‘learn’, ‘acquire’, ‘do’, ‘think’, ‘feel’, or ‘realize’. All is already complete, total, and entirely autonomous and spontaneous. The universe/Creation runs itself in a sense.

      Thus liberation is immortality realized as all encompassing, all-present, Reality of Nonduality. Enlightenment is already available and present within every moment it is only our own illusions that lead us along a fun little journey to what already IS and has been forever/eternity. Recall Truth/Reality is completely radically obvious and self-existent. Even ‘is-ness’ is an illusion for the Self is beyond such notions along with all ‘beingness’, ‘am-ness’, or ‘is-ness’ since they are still a conception and still missing the point. The Self is the very Source of such things.

      Indeed, even the notion of the eternal ‘I’ is still technically also an illusion and the Divine Self/Creator/Supreme is ultimately the Unnamable, Ineffable, Indescribable Ultimate Reality. It is Ineffably Subjective. It is beyond the Light of Consciousness, the very Source of the Immortal ‘I’. It is therefore, beyond all possible comprehension, labeling, or conceptualization and can only be ‘known’ by virtue of being it. All efforts to serve Truth is to attempt to point to that which cannot be pointed to, word that which is wordless, in hopes of alleviating the suffering of others as best as possible, yet all liberation can only come through one’s own subjective realization.
      Self-Realization is radically profound and immobilizing – Divinity Self-Realized.

      Thank you for pointing out the alternate ending, that is fascinating, I was unaware of such a proposition yet intuited it from how they allude to there being 6 other ‘neos’ before him thus implying that it is a huge cycle. Zion being another layer of the dream/matrix is hilarious and starts to demonstrate the point. Hinduism touches on this concept as well, Indra’s dream of infinite universes comes and goes for eternity. Yet the coming and going of universes is only the result of a limiting perspective and is still the result of an arbitrary point of perception. Nothing is actually ever ‘happening’. Alan Watts referred to the paradox that to seek enlightenment can also be an ego projection because one is still trying to get ‘one up on the universe’ in order to still fulfill an ego identity. I’ve mentioned before in Insight from The Fountain that the spiritual ego wants to ‘be enlightened’ or ‘liberated’.
      So the solution to all this is to realize Radical Humility/Surrender, which I believe is the road to true liberation. Stop trying to escape in order to realize there is nothing to escape. There is no ‘where’ to ‘get to’. ‘Heaven is within’ and entirely all-present. Go beyond all notions of duality, time, space, location, ‘here’, ‘there’, ‘this’, ‘that’, ‘now’, ‘then’, ‘me’, ‘you’, ‘Truth’, ‘illusion’, ‘ego’, ‘Self’ and surrender life itself to Divinity (Technically Unnamable Subjective Source) in order to realize there has never been separation the entire ‘time’. The Creator and the created are one and the same. We are the Dreamer of Infinite, Eternal Reality, be free of attachments to the dream, it plays itself out. Reality is incomprehensible Nonduality.

      Namaste Self

  24. I believe that, unknown to Jake Gold, he is “Mr. Gold”, and so are Avi and Zack, in fact, they would have invented him. Remember, they borrowed Jake’s money as a stake in their own enterprise. That would make Jake, “Mr. Gold.” No one has ever seen him because he was sitting in a jail cell. As far as Zack and Avi go, they are also “Mr. Gold”, in that they are two unknowns, which allows them to see everything without being seen, so to speak. Zack injects Jake with an exotic toxin which leads a couple of doctors to believe his death is imminent, only the toxin wears off of it’s own accord within a few days. Jake hates elevators, which confine him on a single square of space; he isn’t free to move about in whichever manner he might chose, like any chess piece, in which he literally takes it one step at a time. Once he has placed himself into an elevator, embracing his fear, he is checkmated by Macha; Jake cannot move in any direction once the power is shut off and the elevator is stopped; he is checkmated. But he releases his fear, and the gun he has been holding in his hand for self-protection, at this point. Going back to an earlier point, as “Mr. Gold”, Zack are responsible for the large sum of money that was loaned to Macha; this being the same money that Jake has won from him and which they have stolen from his casino vault. Macha in fact has been provided the same opportunity as Jake to experience awareness and enlightenment. They have both experienced humiliation and money loss. In fact, Macha experiences the same melt down as Jake did in the elevator; they both point a gun at their own heads in order to still the voice there but only Macha pulls the trigger. Zack and Avi are not simply a con man and a master chess player; they are “metaphysicians”; Avi is able to make all of the slot machines pay off with a simple gesture of his finger, after all. There is plenty more that I would like to say about this film, but I will instead leave one complaint that touches on the theme: In the “wiki” description of the film, the commentator remarks that Avi is an effeminant black character. Now, “Dorothy” Macha, is a character who wears lycra shorts, speedos, bronzing creme, and enjoys an indoor tanning salon. So, what do you think is going on with the wiki commentator’s ego?

    • Harry,
      Awesome interpretations, thank you for your contribution. And starting with your ending, yes that is a funny observation for sure regarding the commentator’s ego and skewed perspective/projection.
      The perspective regarding the symbolic chess match being played out is awesome and really helpful, thank you for that. I agree, the point is the ego becoming checkmated at which point it has to surrender and accept its defeat. Recall that the ego is an illusion thus it’s demise is in fact inevitable seeing how it was never real to begin with. In the psychology/spiritual community this is termed the ‘hitting bottom’ or ‘dark night of the soul’ in which out of extreme hopelessness the resulting acceptance of one’s inevitable demise or dire situation causes for the ultimate liberation from all fear, that is, enlightenment. For as we embrace the ego’s greatest fear, death/nonexistence – the ultimate ‘checkmate’, we transcend all illusions that death/nonexistence was ever actually a real possibility and go beyond the ego. The notion of enlightenment is to truly realize our eternal, divine nature in which no fear is ever possible again. It is the subjective realization of our ineffable immortality.

      As far as Gold being Jake, Avi, and Zack, or them inventing him I can’t quite follow that one because Gold is more so as a symbolic representation of the ego’s control and fear that runs the world. Which yes, in this case Avi and Zack may be impersonating but it’s not meant to be literal. All references to ‘prison’ are meant as metaphors. Gold is clearly a symbolic figure for the ego, which is even clearly mentioned in the commentary. In the movie itself it’s rather obvious, for example when Avi is explaining to Jake, “Do you know who Sam Gold is? It’s all up here [pointing to his head], pretending to be you… And all of this, this is his world, he owns it, controls it… tells you what to, and when to do it…” The point he’s getting at is Gold is a set of limiting belief systems and the false identity of ‘self as mind’ that we accept of ourselves and thus become entrapped by it, which is the reason for using the symbolism of being in ‘prison’ and having in fact never left (until the end of the movie that is).
      Also yes indeed Avi and Zack are ‘metaphysicians’, but more so they’ve transcended the ego and thus realized the infinite beings of true power that we are, hence being able to ‘evaporate’ from their prison cell, make the slot machines go off, or infect Jake with a disease as well as cure him. This aspect of the film I strayed away from pointing out and discussing because it leads to more so occult and astral interests that are distracting from true enlightenment and surrender to God/Divinity/Love. In the commentary they discuss that to transcend the ego is to become more or less like a Jedi capable of manipulating form to your will. Well this is clearly an elaborate ego temptation dressed up in a sophisticated ‘transcendent’ form and is representative of the creators of the film misunderstanding of the true essence of transcending the ego which is based in love, service, and surrender not the joy of gain or power. All interest into miracles or manipulating form is a distraction.

      Lastly, Macha and Jake are in fact mirror reflections of each other in that they both have equal opportunities for transcendence, Macha is the example of the ego staying intact and maintaing control (living off fear/victimization or its other perspective of needing to be feared/prideful/dominate, as clearly demonstrated throughout the end of the film when Macha’s ego is begging to be feared or worried that others don’t fear or respect him) while Jake represents the path of transcendence and going beyond the ego (humility and acceptance of surrender/defeat), as so demonstrated by his liberation/surrender at the end. Whether he lives or dies is suddenly of no interest which is true power because you can’t ever control such a person. The mystic is all tyrants greatest fear because they can’t control a mystic, a mystic is truly free and beyond being controlled, why do you think all radically progressive/liberated figures/prophets tend to always be assassinated throughout history (Jesus, many of His apostles, Lennon, Ghandi, JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Bob Marley – attempted, Martin Luther King Jr., etc.)… All controlling powers despise the mystic or radically progressive because they remind humanity that we are free, infinite, and eternal. Why would we ever accept governmental control or regulation if we truly knew how amazing and full of power we truly are…?

      Overall, amazing points and I truly appreciate your unique perspective and the contemplation it triggered.

  25. Your article opened my eyes on this movie and, thus, on understanding this ubiquitous thing in life. Thank you, thank you very much.

  26. Matt,
    I just wanted to leave my 2 cents, I just stumbled over this blog in search of more meanings of the movie “revolver”
    I have seen the movie several times and I certainly understand the deeper meaning, but this blog has open my eyes a little more.

    Thanks again…. keep them coming.

    Now on to “fight club”

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  28. Your insight is great I just watched the film for the third time and a Light came on inside me that finally got it. I immediately looked on the internet for any discussion of the movie and its psychological ramifications – and found your web site thank you so much for verifying what I thought – that there is so much more to this movie than just a gangster film thanks again take care Brad

    • So happy to hear brother, it is my greatest joy to be service and help awaken clarity and happiness within others. Thank you for sharing and inspiring me! Wishing you only the best in life.

  29. Pingback: Transcending the Themes of Consciousness: The Mind (Part 2) | The Liberated Lotus

  30. Pingback: The Mountain of Enlightenment – Transcending Duality and the Ego Self (Part 2) | The Liberated Lotus

  31. Dear Matt Micheletti, you are a genius! I would like to share a very important revelation with you, can you send me your email id on

  32. Can u pls recomend more films like this I love this film but sadly I don’t know why some people dont see what we are seeing they just disregard it they don’t get the message

    • Dan,
      Some other movies that come to mind that offer psychological contemplation are Waking Life, Inception, The Matrix, and Vanilla Sky. They all have to do with the dream of reality and the artificial nature of the ego.
      And others don’t understand the message of Revolver because it is a direct attack to the ego so naturally it’s going to detest such a thing. It wants to stay in control after all, so being called out so obviously is certainly it’s least favorite thing. As a defense mechanism it denies the whole thing and therefore appears to let it ‘go over their head’ and choose to not ‘get it’. This of course is just a defense cleverly disguised as confusion so that the ego doesn’t have to admit it totally gets it and thus would destroy itself. Another way of also understanding why certain people don’t understand particular information is the evolution of consciousness and the limitations that we place on ourselves. I discuss this a lot in the posts regarding the evolution of humanity and the progressive themes of contextual awareness. If information is offered that is beyond one’s scope of awareness it is responded with ‘I don’t get it’ while those who are seeking to expand their awareness are eager to try and understand and will take the time to ponder and study. For example I used to watch this film over and over again and analyze every little detail to find all the intricate teachings embedded – I have no idea how many times I watched the key scenes, probably at least over 30 times. I was obsessed with understanding the concepts inside and out. Then eventually when we do ‘get it’ we expand to that grander awareness and suddenly it all seems so clear and obvious and we wonder why we didn’t get it before. Like climbing a mountain the view from the higher point reveals all the obstacles along the path. We have clarity and a grander perspective of wisdom/experience. And so it is with the evolution of consciousness, it is literally the progression along the ‘mountain of enlightenment’ which is the evolution of contextual awareness for our existence.

  33. Hello, let me begin by stating that I appreciate the creation of this discussion. I own the dvd and its by pure coincidence that I decided to buy since I had not heard of it, honestly I was expecting a more comedy/gangster theme as Guy Ritchie has been known to create. Nevertheless I absolutely admire this piece of work. Having studied psychology in college I was deeply enthralled by its message….however, I must confess that all those years of psychology have not helped to “awaken me”. All these years I have been only a robotic repetition of learned works, tactics, knowledge and vague ideas of the human mind in order to help none other than myself. I know how egotistical that is, which is why this is a topic that I have always attempted to decipher to no avail.

    Recently I have been discussing this topic among others that deal with the perception of the truth with a close friend and I have become so chaotic that it has caused my entire self perception to switch between the ego and the self (I have no idea which is which anymore). And while I agree and try to grasp all the information discussed.

    While I try to wrap my mind around this idea, I have come to see fallacies in this truth – now, I do know that this may be the work of my ego, and so I ask for your wisdom regarding the matter of the WHY. The ego in itself is part of the mind, without it, the mind could not find a purpose, reason to advance the body. The Id, the ego and super ego are a balance of power. Thus one cannot be obliterated absolutely, however, I ask –

    1. Society gives a projection of an ego to every mind born. The reason? to benefit society itself, without this projection chaos, mediocrity and complete disarray would not allow society to function as a cosmos. If this is so, then the ego is necessary. My question is: Self advancement, progress and creation are a demand from society; WHAT CAN ONE DO WITH THAT EGO CREATED BY SOCIETY?

    The paradox is – Society is a mechanism that demands the fastest, the strongest, the smartest, the best to carry society on their shoulders so that progress can be advanced and thus help for the greater good. In itself this too is an ego projected onto everyone that says “mold your body into a beautiful and healthy work of art so you can procreate with the best, beautiful, etc; learn skills to advance above the rest, we need creation; exceed your parameters, there is no boundaries; sacrifice yourself to go beyond and above what is expected whether in body or mind. DO THIS AND YOU ARE ACCEPTED IN SOCIETY, YOUR REWARDS AWAIT YOU. I know there is a logical response by an enlightened one, but is that the real truth???

    The catch here to me is: If you dont follow the societal credo of success, you will be outside and we cannot be rewarded. I know that an enlightened one will reason – love, peace and logical reasoning will overcome any barrier. And although true, I also ask

    2. How can an enlightened person find reason for everyday life to better him/herself if the ego is depleted to almost inexistence. Where will the motivation to succeed emerge from? The need to progress and advance will be obsolete since all they would need is already at their disposal (i.e – I bring love, so whom sees true beauty as I am will love me as i am; i work 100 percent which is the fair thing to do – will that get me advanced beyond others?

    In effect what I’m asking is: if a person goes to the gym, exercises purely to be healthy, but in reality is a form to disguise vanity. Or exceeds working his/her mind to advance and receive higher rewards than others.

    isn’t that the ego working on a more subtle, super subconscious way?

    My third theme question deals with the outcome of the complete deactivation of the ego.

    3. Once the self is the true center, and the ego is deactivated, how will the “self” gauge/measure the outer world as it comes into the mind? Will the self be an Artificial Intelligence I left as a result of the ego to supplant the minds need for a balance of power? In a scenario such as this, a person now awoken and without a direct contact with the ego will be in a “self” – comma, in limbo of acceptance from the outer world such as a person that is drugged, hypnotized and has no will of its own to reason and not create a lavish, pure, innocent ILLUSION of enlightenment of a “perfect” world that is controlled by love and happiness.

    I know that this sounds exactly as the ego would and is acting on my behalf. However, I ask that you reason my questions from the point of view not of a person still a slave of the ego or the enlightened person or the person that is oblivious to both and lives unperturbed in a world that seems real, happy and unquestioned. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I search for the truth, whether it destroys the solution to defeating the ego or enhancing it.

    All I have written can be summed up in the following:

    If one arrives at a place where he/she is happy, serene and everything seems to be in order and the ego seems no longer to be in command,




    – if there is love, what is love? For if I was eternal and I searched the world over for my soul mate, the ONE and TRUE love, how is any love truer than the one before? if I can continue loving every person I am compatible with every time I find a love throughout eternity and infinity? Alas, love is as true as long as you accept that there is nothing better and that you are just that and nothing more. Ergo, love is only another center or form that projects my ego its fulfillment and need. – ERLB

    • Esau,
      Thank you so much for sharing your insightful, well articulated contribution and for sharing some of your journey of understanding. It is an honor to meet you. Let us begin,

      The first propositions are regarding society and the ego’s ability to function and produce within that society. You are correct in that society generates, programs, and feeds the ego in order for it to then in return give back to society. Society is in fact an accumulation of the collective ego and all individuals are acting according to the overall ‘game plan’ of the society’s ego. Examples of this would be a society of poverty and struggle in which the majority of the individual egos subject to its influence would behave accordingly and live out lives attracted to the themes and role conceptions of ‘poverty’ and ‘struggle’. The individuals then would simply play the role they feel inclined to play ‘naturally’ even though from a higher perspective they are completely ‘unnatural’. Next then we could suppose a society of a ‘higher evolved ego’ of say, peace and prosperity. These individual egos would then all be contributing to the collective in their own ‘natural’ way, mainly being productive and ambitious towards helping others and striving for betterment. In both cases however the consistency is the collective ego of the society governs the individuals, like a Supermind controlling all the individual minds, or in spiritual terms used by Krishna and other mystics, the Supersoul that is the accumulation of all individual souls. So the individual ego’s guidelines or ‘game rules’ for what is acceptable, expected, or unworthy/rejected in society is based on the collective in which it is operating and thus demonstrates all truth is relative. This is extensively covered in the posts discussing the progressive evolution of the ego/humanity and understanding the ego’s attachments.

      With this relativity understood we can then address your notion of what is an ego to do? 😉 You are correct from a certain perspective that the ego will not be rewarded if it goes outside of the game rules of the society it is within, which again, is completely relative. So when one evolves to this point of self-recognition and the relativity of ‘reward’, one then begins to ponder what true ‘reward’ and ‘fulfillment’ actually is. This then takes one away from looking outside oneself for reward, such as society, parents, friends, authority figures/institutions, etc., and instead begins to dive within to find more lasting and eternal sources of reward. This type of being has evolved their awareness to a point where they, having seen the transience and relativity of the outer world, want to find something more permanent, immutable, and universally consistent – something that is not perturbed by the fleetingness of the world of form (e.g. society). Truth thus becomes the pursuit. As Christ said, all things of the world shall pass, store up your treasures in Heaven (Truth) where moth and dust cannot corrupt. Implying that all things of the world will fade and are relative, lacking, and ultimately an endless pursuit and never actually getting anywhere (e.g. the hamster wheel of consumerism and the wheel/cycle of birth and death). Truth on the other hand is infinitely rewarding, eternal in fulfillment, and universally consistent regardless of the outer world and goes beyond the endless wheel. It is a subjective actualization and is invisible, not capable of being perturbed, immutable, invincible, and immortal.

      With this said now we look at the next question, what is such a being supposed to do in the society they still exist within. Well the answer is simple, they don’t actually look for fulfillment outside of themselves anymore. One can enjoy a healthy body simply for its own sake not because it needs to be approved of or accepted by anyone else (the vanity you spoke of). Likewise, one can enjoy success, intellectual and spiritual wisdom, and exploration of genius, simply for its own sake, it doesn’t need to be ever noticed or recognized by the outside world. The fulfillment is entirely internal and subjective. This of course is actually where all happiness, love, and success ever actually resides. The ego’s perceptual viewpoint of a dualistic world is what created the distraction that the external world actually has any significance/power over us… it doesn’t. All existence is completely subjective, there is no ‘objective’ reality in actuality. All experience of ‘objectivity’ is only possible because it is subjectively experienced… Yet due to the ego’s limiting belief systems the collective consciousness/ego of humanity accepted that duality, separation, lack, ‘objectivity’, and an external world of actual independent existence that is separate from subjectivity was ‘truth’. This is the ‘fall’ of man that is referred to in religious texts. It is the ‘fall’ into duality and illusion – illusion in that there literally is no such thing as an independently existing ‘objective’ world. Hence the ego’s world is often referred to as a house of mirrors. So as one escapes this illusion there is actual immense joy that accompanies each step closer to Absolute Truth. The liberation is self-fulfilling and propels itself by its very nature. Each shedding of limiting belief is it’s own reward, society is irrelevant at that point for it only represents a limiting perception stemming from a naive ego. Thus we conclude we evolve simply for its own sake, we evolve because evolution itself ‘is’ the reward. We love because love itself is the reward, we are happy because happiness itself is the reward. We are finally free form the external world, it holds no power over us. In this movie Jake demonstrates this by being completely fine with accepting his death at the conclusion of the film.

      With this we come to your final conclusions, we shall know Truth and the absence of attachment to ego because it will be unmistakable. When all fear vanishes it is impossible to not notice… Liberation and Self-Realization is unmistakable and beyond question. All who have realized such a state will never be the same again and all reality is transformed forever. As many mystics have said, there is no going back once the Truth is realized. Hence one has to be absolutely committed to making the final leap into enlightenment, accepting the oblivion of the ego (release of all attachments – the source of all fear and suffering). This it seems is truth. The most pure answer to your question is all we have to do is find out for ourselves and then all questions will have been dissolved into actualization. There is no reasoning or divinely inspired articulation I could provide that would ever do the Truth justice, it can only be realized as that which ‘is’. It is fundamental to our core of existence and can only be realized as an all-encompassing subjective realization, a paradigm shift, an utter collapse of all limiting belief systems regarding who and what we think we are, what we think the world is, who we think each other are, and every aspect of this universe that we seem to exist ‘in’. All searches will have ended, all questions answered, and all does in fact stand revealed as infinite bliss with divine clarity. It is likened unto eternal happiness, surrender, love, and ultimately in the highest truth it is indescribable. No names, nouns, adjectives, or otherwise would ever do justice. All language is a substitute and metaphor of Truth. Thus we can only be pointed in the right direction, it is our yearning and fierce pursuit that eventually yields ‘success’ and all ignorance is finally obliterated in the radiance of Truth. Ignorance is the darkness and Truth is the Light that all shadows are replaced by. Actualization is complete of itself and is the ultimate ‘reward’. There could be no higher pursuit or fulfillment within human life and such a realized state is what has been termed ‘enlightenment’ – the pinnacle of human evolution. All suffering is never possible again and eternal serenity of perfect love and peace does indeed reign supreme. This may seem poetically delirious but it is simply so and cannot be denied. All can know for themselves if they so desire, until then there is nothing that will ever ‘prove’ it to any one. In fact there won’t be any ‘one’ to realize anything at that ‘point’ anyway. 😀

      Hope this helps, let me know if you have any questions.
      Wishing us Peace and Love always – Namaste.

  34. I love your website and most of what you say – however in doing research on the ego I don’t think it is something you can or want to destroy. If the film when jake is in the elevator he says “I control you, you don’t control me.” Indicating he is not looking to destroying his ego but just being in control of it instead of it controlling him as it does for most people. A good website that discusses this and even mentions a part of the brain that can regulate the ego is

    Let me know what you think – I love your interpretation of this film thanks take care Brad

    • Brad,
      Thanks for pointing this out. Yes, you are correct, the ego is not literally ‘destroyed’ because then the human avatar would cease to be. As long as the human animal still exists it is in fact an ego… The true meaning of ‘destroying’/’conquering’ the ego is destroying attachment to the ego. Or in other words, taking back control, in that the Self is realized as beyond the ego such as Jake’s realization. Yet it is common for the Self to be psuedo-realized as kind of a new ‘evolved’ spiritual ego, this is a sophisticated trap. It is helpful to recall all dualistic perceptions are an ego identity. So there is no such thing as a ‘controller’ and the ‘controlled’. The most radical realization of Self is beyond yet all encompassing of the entire universe and thus the human experience is an impersonal movie projected ‘within’ the Mind of God (Self). The ego is the superficial layer of Self and it is not actually the ‘real’ Self it is like the actor in a movie while the Self is all encompassing of the movie – the set, the actors, the writer, the director, the camera man, the soundtrack, etc.
      Another analogy is the ego is more so like a radar/trouble shooter that is content oriented and has evolved for survival. It operates according to its programming and is always fluctuating and evolving in order to play its particularly aligned roles. These alignments are often referred to as ‘karma’/’dharma’ in that it is the script the ego is following. Liberation comes from not being attached to the trouble shooter/role anymore and because of this there is suddenly a freedom because we are not looking for ‘trouble/problems’ anymore, we are beyond it, we are not attached to it. We can just enjoy the movie without being attached to it anymore. It is a paradoxical sense of going beyond the human avatar and realizing it is more so like a pet and the Self is the observer, the very core of subjective experience. It is the Presence of Divinity – often referred to as the Eye of the ‘I’. The Self is the very Source of the ego and the entire universe of which it is an extension of.

      So the ego is a perceptual viewpoint and in terms of the movie first we note Avi’s guidance regarding this when he says, “there’s no such thing as ‘problems’ Mr. Green, only situations”. What he’s referring to is that it is only the ego that believes in ‘problems’ because to have a problem requires a stance to be taken, a positionality to be formed based on opinion, judgement, and a ‘me’ that is being subject to a ‘this/that’. Avi’s pointing out the liberated viewpoint of nonattachment and thus all just ‘is’, hence there are only ‘situations’ which is a much more benign stance, it is in fact no stance – more so a radical acceptance of ‘what is’. Enlightenment is the sensation of ‘just relax and enjoy the movie – it’s not real’… Or realizing that it’s all a dream so just enjoy it – it’s not real. As Buddha allegedly said, “When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head to the sky and laugh” – this laughter comes from realizing the divine comedy that is life. There is nothing actually ‘serious’ going on, there are no actual ‘problems’, the world we see is simply a projection of the ego’s limited perspectives and level of evolution. (See post: The Progressive Themes of Self-Identity and Understanding Ego Attachments) There’s no need to be attached to things, whether it be the ego/human character’s experience, life situations, life and death, religion, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, or anything else imaginable. All true satisfaction and joy in life is a radical inner experience that is invisible, immutable, invincible, and completely subjective. One can be completely in bliss and peace even while being nailed to a cross once the Truth has been realized…

      The final note regarding the liberation at the conclusion of the film is that the Self is realized as beyond the entire ego mind’s drama. There is no ‘ego’ to transcend because it doesn’t exist… The ego is in fact an illusory identity it is merely a limited perspective, once realized as such all attachment to it is officially demolished and ‘control’ is restored. All suffering ceases, all fear obliterated, and eternal happiness and love reign timelessly in the eternal now. 😀
      Wishing us Peace and Love always-
      Namaste dear brother.

  35. First of all, really good interpretation and explanation of the movie.

    I don’t think for me the ego is such a complicated mystery. The mental self image we project towards others and have of ourselves is basically just a part of our personality that develops over time. Partially encoded from DNA but mostly learned through experiences and education. The confusion and deception arises from being dishonest to an excess about our value and relevance in the social hierarchy. Once most moderately, balanced people have matured emotionally enough they realize the underlying equality and value of every life, regardless of wealth, station, notoriety etc. Though the ego or mental image we have is an individual aspect of our being it’s difficult to separate it completely from our total person/body. The fear of death and suffering is natural and healthy to a degree. It’s only damaging when it becomes an unrealistic preoccupation. Ultimately, there’s nothing we can do about pain but trying to avoid situations that cause it and the inevitable end to our life, which is beyond our control. Forgiving our past errors in judgement and current, imperfect weaknesses is as close as we come to finding solace with our ego. Peace is not a continuous state of mind, though living for the moment and appreciating simple pleasures is a better existence than the bad habit of stressing beyond any functional proportion.

    A well rounded person with general knowledge, caring, compassion and sense of fairness who contributes to society by trying to be a productive member of it is about the best most of us can hope for. Realizing that we’re each a unique an important part of the great puzzle and cycle of existence helps put our roles in perspective. There is a certain mystery and infinite depth to the soul thru the spirit that cannot be fathomed or reasoned that gives light to the incredible beauty that is life. The only thing wrong is that there’s nothing wrong.

    As far as we philosophically and scientifically can comprehend each person through our perception is an individual center of the universe or reality. We at the same time input information and project reality thru our interaction with it. The physical universe has no center, edges or boundary that we can identify. The world evolved organic matter by instilling physical responses to outside stimuli thereby creating the senses in order to adapt, procreate and perpetuate. We have this entire ecosystem of variety on our planet as a result of environmental conditions conducive to life. Why would a near infinite amount of energy that created countless stars, planets and space make animals? In your responses, I’d say to exist vicariously thru it’s creatures for pleasure and something to do?

    I believe what you’re saying Matt is that there is no such thing as “Me, I or Them” there is only “We and Us”. We can only realize that when we’re not deluded by the senses of the limited ego born of flesh. Our minds can’t grasp the eternal or limitlessness, until we’re released from the prisons of these containers and become one with the infinite source of energy from which we came? I say this because I believe the ego is ALL that we really are and that the human body is merely a temporary facilitator for a permanent soul. The true self is the conscious spirit of life that is unchanging and ineffable. It is the core of all being though it can take on the attributes of any set of experiences and character that transpires with it. It is pure energy that can transform itself into any myriad set of new features that it desires but it does most of these things in a way that we can comprehend thru natural laws.

  36. Beautifully written article. Well done. After watching this film almost once a month for the last few years, I finally caught on to one thing that blew right by me. The line “We didn’t do this because we like you. We did this because we are you” that Avi delivers always made me think that they felt a kinship with Jake. I know understand that he meant that literally. Zack was a master con. Avi, a master at chess. Con & chess. Con/chess. Conscious.

    8 years later and this film is still bowing my mind. Ritchie is a genius.

    • Peter,
      Thank you for the love and kindness. Yes that line is very profound indeed and unfortunately isn’t in the U.S. version. It is most certainly referring to the radical realization of the Infinite Self that is all encompassing of All That Is. In other words, Jake, Avi, Zack, and all beings and existence is in fact all the Self. That is a brilliant note regarding con/chess – conscious, I never thought of that, thank you for point that out for us all. 😀 Genius for sure.

  37. Why Do Avi and Jack Steal Macha’a Coke and Money and then have Jake take credit for it – Is it to drive Macha’s ego even more crazy – to help Macha “hang himself” and are they doing this for Jake? or are Avi and Jack doing it so when Jake finally confronts Macha and he is pointing the gun at him – Macha’ s ego is so crazy with rage because he is so angry about what Jake has done to him – especially in putting him in danger with the fictional Sam Gold – that this is the final test for Jake to be able to overcome his ego by walking by Macha who has so much hate for him and at that moment such a danger to Jake for what Jake has done – to ensure that Jake has truly overcome his ego? let me know what your interpretation about this part of the movie is especially because it takes up so much of the film – I love your website it has really changed my life take care Brad

    • Brad,
      Thanks for your kind words and love, glad to be of service. Your answers to your question are actually quite right as is. It ultimately was all for Jake for he is the subject of liberation. He stole the money and donated it in order to continue to release all attachments. “You don’t give because it’s good, you give because it hurts him (the ego).” Then more specifically as noted in the analysis, he donates the money in Macha’s name to yet again bolster his ‘enemies’ ego instead of his own. This is the ultimate form of humility and surrender, for one is showing love and admiration for one’s enemy. This is then finalized through asking for forgiveness, admitting foolishness and not appreciating his enemy’s greatness, and therefore being humbled at his enemies feet (notice Jake is literally kneeling with Macha’s foot conveniently at his face symbolizing complete humility by purposefully positioning oneself ‘under the foot’ of one’s enemy – which is where they seek to put us). Hence Avi says, “give him what he wants, I’m sure he’ll be very happy.” He’s saying the ego/Macha wants to be to ruler, king, ultimate pride, and so knowing Jake has been screwing him over he admits that Macha really is amazing and he underestimated his power and intellect. So he’s giving the ego what it wants, to be honored as the greatest and most powerful. Yet it seems so strange for it to come so easy, the ego loves the drama, battle, and problems so it must be ‘too good to be true’, which is demonstrated by Macha confronting Jake, “… you speak to me like I’m a f*$king idiot… what’s your game?” In other words his ego can’t even accept when it’s won… It’s still not happy! Which demonstrates the insanity of the ego, even when it’s accomplished everything it could ever desire it still isn’t satisfied and finds something else to worry about… it’s eternally unfulfilled and frankly exhausting.
      Your other points about getting Macha’s ego fired up and enraged could also be seen as truth for it does indeed present the ultimate transcendence of fear for Jake to be at peace amongst an ego that, as you said, has so much hate for him. So I think what you’re already pondering is spot on brother. 😀
      Wishing us Peace and Love always-

  38. Our species is transforming into the realm of “Integral Consciousness”, it is manifesting itself through the presence of our life stories. It is interesting that a form of entertainment has been used as a conduit to help bring awareness of our social and spiritual evolution into the mainstream. Shakespeare was far more a teacher than a playwright, Ritchie is carrying the torch in the modern world. We are blessed to be given the opportunity to bring enlightenment to humanity on a grand scale. When the buddha was asked by one of his students what the ultimate purpose of enlightenment was, he answered that it was the ‘end of all suffering’. A beautiful and timeless description of transcending the ego and becoming our true selves. The full emergence of the fusion with ‘Being’.There are many beautiful souls that are commenting here on this form, it is the realization of the connection with the ‘unmanifested’, we are achieving our purpose, we are dissolving the illusions that cause suffering, and are moving into realization of the real purpose of our existence. Bring the message to everyone you encounter, be the change our nature has prepared us for. Love, compassion, peace, virtue, we are the teachers the Universe designed us for. Rejoice!

  39. In one of the sayings above, it says ” ego created the devil so you can blame someone else” could you also say the same thing about God, that ego created the god? Same as the devil…

    • Akin,
      Great point and contribution, in many ways yes, we could say the ego created ‘God’ but only as an image, concept, a man/person, or a ‘thing’. The ego deals in mental conceptualization, ideas, thoughts, and imagery therefore all human created notions of ‘God’ are primarily fictitious and of the ego for they are merely projections of the ego’s self-agrandizement and obsession with labeling. To even conceive of God as a human is already the greatest ego vanity possible and an obvious projection. It would be like an ant implying that ‘God’ must be an ant… or a fox thinking that ‘God’ must be a fox… the point being it is limiting and vain to imply that the Infinite, Unnamable Creator and Source is one’s (ego’s) own species to begin with let alone the endless implications such a thing carries with it. Most simply though, any concept, thought, or label is ultimately going to be born of the ego for it is only the ego mind that becomes attached to such things.

  40. Hey, Matt!… I’ve read almost all the comments on this blog!… Just wonderful, excellent and brilliant insights by yourself and others!…

    Thank you so much, Matt, for your work on this blog… I’ve also been on my spiritual path for several years… What I’ve found recently that has taken me to the next level is reading the “Disappearance of the Universe” trilogy by Gary Renard and “A Course In Miracles”… They truly tackle these most profound questions and respond with the most profound answers in pure nonduality…

    We are all ONE…


    • Hello Aurelio,

      Thank you for your love and kindness.
      I have read some of those books actually and had a very close teacher and friend who was extremely aligned with them as well. We have had countless, endless discussions regarding all of the profound implications they offer. Thank you for the recommendation for others to now see too.

      We are indeed all One.

      Wishing us Peace and Love always-

  41. Pingback: If I Cannot, I Must – Lessons in Ego Transcendence

  42. Matt Micheletti = Alan Watts 😉
    Super great article just watched the extended version for first time yeah it’s goooood “we did this because we are you” epic!


    • Shiva,

      Thank you for your love and kindness. Alan Watts was a profound teacher and important figure to me so it is particularly an honor that you even joked that I was in the same category. Glad you enjoyed the movie and the article. And the closing alternate ending line is definitely epic for sure! 😀


  43. Reblogged this on michellezgheib's Blog and commented:
    One of my favorite movies, beautiful.

  44. To all reading and contributing to this discussion I say G’day.

    Below is one of my favourite quotes from Russell and always found it poignant but after watching the film and reading this blog, whoa.

    To conquer fear (ego) is the beginning of wisdom (enlightenment)

    Added parenthesis for effect 🙂

    Anyone for a subtle thread diversion..and an abundance of air quotes ?

    I would posit from the infinite possibilities that could have arisen from infinite power/time/space, that sentience is the conductor to enable the ‘Us’ (the Universe) to be aware of the Universe (‘Us’). As for an Unmoved Mover I am still yet to make that ‘Leap’.

    Labels, I find, give with one hand and take with the other. They enable us to dissenminate complex blocks of knowledge to society etc, but for those fluent in more than one language, how many ‘words/labels’ are absent in one and not the other.

    The further along the road I go, I find it harder to distinguish ‘others’ from ‘myself’, in terms of ‘commonality’ apposed to ‘individuality’.

    Anyway I should wrap this up before I start to ramble.

    Big Up Matt Micheletti, ladies and gentlemen for this discussion.

    I wonder if there is an Agnostic version of Namaste ?

  45. Pingback: If I Cannot, I Must – Lessons in Ego Transcendence | OMTravelers

  46. Hi. just watched it for the third time. Why the overt violence? and what is the purpose of the animation?

    • Hi Sara,

      The overt violence and animation is just an aspect of Guy Ritchie’s films/genre and doesn’t really have any relevance to the story or message. It’s just the type of movie he likes to make. The message is what is most profound in this film and it could have been infinite other plots to demonstrate the same point but it is what it is. That’s why I mention in the beginning that I just skip the unnecessary violent parts and enjoy the real depth. Anyway, glad you’re contemplating the film and hopefully found some insight here.

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  53. Very profound explanation. I agree with most of it.
    However I have an interesting spin on things.
    It’s a speculation of course but I think all the characters or at least Zach and Avi are parts of Jake’s psyche. That’s why the ‘We are you’ speech.

    IFS therapy method is based on the findings that human character is comprised of many distinct characters/personalities with different voices and agenda. Scared kids, managers to control the kids and finally The Self.

    The Self should ideally call the shots and mediate between all of them but due to distrust aka low self esteem created by some trauma it isn’t happening. More trauma, more kids, more or stronger managers, more unbalance.

    Ego is then not just single part of mind to get rid off. More like establishing peace between parts of our personality and restoring Self patronage.

    • Hey Danny,
      I love your perspective and definitely agree with its application to our lives and the truth of its findings. It may or may not apply to this specific movie depiction because we do see that Avi and Zack interact with other people and I’m not sure this is a Fight Club type of scenario where Jake is actually them (Avi and Zack) doing so. If you are unfamiliar with Fight Club, there’s an article on this site about it but the plot demonstrates exactly what you are saying that our ‘other sides’ of us come out and play roles in our lives that we may actually perceive as separate from us. Based on how the movie was portrayed I don’t think that was the message trying to be shown, such as it most clearly is in Fight Club, although it is a very fun idea to ponder and certainly can’t be disproven. Based on the commentary by Ritchie though, I believe he was depicting Avi and Zack as Jake’s transcendent gurus and guides and that when we let go of attachment to the ego’s dualistic identity we realize that all of us are extensions of the Universal Self interacting in order to facilitate our evolution, hence “We are You”. The Buddha (Avi and Zack) returns to the world to assist liberating other aspects of HimSelf (Jake) to the joys and eternal peace of Reality.

  54. Hey, Matt.
    When I saw the movie I researched for it but found very little, I’m glad you made an article about it. There should be a lot more info on the subject. I just put the article and every comment so far in my kindle and I read some everyday. Thanks, guys.
    I want to ask you, and everybody that’s following the thread, about practical everyday examples of dealing with ego situations. I’m on my way to at least partial enlightment but this would be very helpful. In order to make it easy to understand, I’ll make a list based on my experiences dealing with ego, hatred and fear. Context: I’m a 37y/o chilean guy, rock guitarist, architect, father and boyfriend, atheist.:
    1.- Here in Chile we have sort of “parking assistants”, bum-like mafia guys who force you to give them money in exchange of “guarding” your car. If you don’t pay, they insult you or throw stuff to your car. I’ve had many discussions getting physical sometimes.
    2.- Explaining to my kid how to deal with bullying. He’s just 5, but he’s starting to meet unpleasant classmates and learn that there’s annoying people in the world. My first teching: Hit them or they’ll come again. What I’m thinking now: Offer them help and ask them about their issues at home or something.
    3.- Discussions with my boss. Sometimes he yells at me if I made a misktake, I stay calm but I threat him and tell him I won’t take any disrespectful behavoiur. He still does it from time to time, we argue, I feel bad and disrespected anyway.
    4.- Just standing up for yourself in any social issue. Maybe some guy cutting in line in front of you.
    5.- Political social injustice. Everyday thing in Chile. I just can’t be calm about people taking advantage and getting rich while they run the country like shit and keep it as the banana nation we still are.
    6.- Fighting with your girlfriend. When she just won’t listen to your reasons, like my opinion on certain things I want to tech to our kid (like collective sports vs individual sports.)

    And so it goes. I hope this goes somewhere, I really need empyrical applied advice for dummies.
    Thanks for everything, Matt.
    PS: I think Nietzsche would very much disagree with all of us. Would you say he was wrong about this subject?

    Juan Pablo Vivanco M.

    • Hello Juan,

      To begin, all the answers to your questions come down to how far or deep do you desire to take the spiritual practice. In context of the movie, Jake was all-in for example, there was no turning back and in his case it was life or death. For most people this level of commitment isn’t practical so I’ll do my best to give some ideas that hopefully will spark somethings for you to ponder.

      1. Regarding the “mafia guys”, I suppose the sage would give them what they are asking for willingly and with a smile. Maybe park somewhere else? What is your other option anyway, if you fought them then they’d just want revenge and then you’d just cause more problems. You could go to the police which would either go nowhere or capture them, possibly leading them to seek revenge. So really that comes down to a case of surrender and if possible even make friends with them and have compassion. I could see a buddha figure being kind to them and looking them in the eyes without fear, acknowledging their true weakness as men that are lost in fear. Any person that makes a living stealing from others is trapped in fear. This brings me to number two.

      2. The basic understanding for humans to know about “bullies” is that for any person to use force (physical or emotional) towards another to take something (so this excludes all self-defense) means that the forceful person lives in a consciousness of fear and lack. They don’t know how to create from themselves so they take from others. They don’t believe they are good enough to make a life for themselves so they take from others. They deep down don’t believe they are good enough and so project their inner feelings of powerlessness out onto others to try and make themselves feel stronger/more powerful. It’s all temporary and fleeting though, so they have to keep doing it because if they ever stop and look at themselves they’ll see how frail they really are. So fighting them is not really going to solve anything, although particular situations it is necessary and the only rational option. Yet nevertheless, the core issue is their own feelings of inadequacy. What I have seen kids do is downplay the bullies threats by turning them into jokes or not taking it serious and always putting it back on the bully or giving the bully ego gratification in the form of compliments or something similar thereby symbolizing not being a threat. Befriending the bully as you said could be useful although not always productive. Yet, I admit there are people who are too deeply entrenched in their suffering, especially by the time they become adults and can’t possibly face the reality of what you’re mirroring back to them and so that could only anger them more. Think of what happened to Jesus, Ghandi, Martin Luther King for example. The more they revealed corruption and ignorance in the “bullies” the more “bullies” wanted to kill them. Thus, it really is a case by case basis and it depends on the level of fear in the individual. The greatest thing is to always look them in the eye and know them for what they really are and reflect the love and compassion that their soul needs. Transcending themes of consciousness: Awakening to Forgiveness, Self-acceptance, and courage covers this in detail.

      3. With your boss you can either demand respect, leave, or ignore his disrespect, look him in the eye and know that it is only a projection of his own weakness and feeling of powerlessness that makes him be disrespectful. Again, we see that all negative human actions towards others is never about the other person, it is always a projection of inner fears being projected and blamed onto others in order to validate oneself. When you react to his disrespect then it shows you somewhat agree with his projections otherwise it wouldn’t bother you and you wouldn’t need to react. Think of a child jokingly saying we’re dumb and they know everything. We don’t flip out and argue with them, we just laugh and move on. The grandest outcome would be for you to know your own divine self-worth and thus reflect that back onto your boss to subconsciously make him feel his own greatness and self-worth thus both of you moving into higher states of truth and peace.

      4. Social issues are case by case but most of time always coming down to being compassionate for other’s limited perspectives and fears. The person is cutting you off, not to be personally vindictive, but because they really think that such drastic maneuvers are somehow going to make them get wherever they are headed slightly faster… fear of being late is therefore driving.

      5. Politics is one pursuit, spiritual evolution is entirely another. Spiritual perspectives are that politics are ultimately irrelevant because the world is fleeting. Therefore, find peace and contentment with what is. Or if politically involved, be nonattached so as to not suffer from your activities. Advocate for changes you find just, but also be willing to accept them not occurring, therefore non-attached.

      6. Spousal relationships are a matter of being willing to understand each other’s level of consciousness, or in other words, understanding the other person’s perspective. This however requires each of you to suspend your own view of things in order to see the world through the other person’s eyes. Something that is very challenging for most people. Thus, both people have to be extremely willing otherwise it will not occur. If you perceive her as not listening it is because she sees a completely different world than you, and vice versa you see a different world than she does. It’s like seeing a blue wall and the other person calls it green and then you argue forever because both are technically correct from their vantage point. You have to seek common ground first, you be the first one to be humble and start with what you do agree with then listen to her perspective when you start to disagree. Take it in, see what she sees and seek to understand why, not to eventually prove her wrong but to genuinely understand why she sees the world that way. Then work from there to find compromise and peace in order to come to a mutual agreement. Both need to surrender the goal/need to be “right” and instead work toward agreement.

      Hope this helps,

  55. This is just wonderful. I was a professor in Master’s and Doctoral programs, now retired and living in SE Asia. This is the paper I was always seeking from students. I am delighted so see so many people who appreciate this film and understand it on many levels. I plan to share the link to this with the few select friends who will appreciate it.

  56. Thank you for your great effort
    I just have one inquiry
    Does the movie concept or the thoughts and teachings included has anything to do with Kabbalism or Kabbala teachings?
    Thanks in advance

    • Hey Ed,
      I am not as well versed in Kabbalism, but I could see how some parallels could easily be drawn, especially regarding the soul’s progression towards spiritual evolution and enlightenment (although I don’t think they refer to it in those terms).

  57. The article above is the treasure to be found by those who ask questions and still have no answers after watching masterpiece by Ritchie. Doing so, they will stay here to be lost in wisdom of every article written by you.
    I’ve read all comments and find them not less important pieces of information to better understand and grasp the notion of this broad movie/topic. Hence, I want to ask a few questions to hear your interpretation and enhance further this discussion.
    1. Imagine one is on his journey to liberate himself. It’s not an easy path to go, but it becomes so much harder when he has so many touchpoints with other people, who are really not even understanding his journey, moreover they (their egos) making him participate in everyday tiny or big battles of Egos. The game where Ego is measured and the strongest and biggest wins. But this person is out of this game, it is not of his concern. Others don’t care, when they (their Egos) defeat him their Ego inflates, they feel like they rule the world. If in that kind of situations this ego-free person is trying to act like Jack, trying to act like it’s really meant to be,surrender, others may just laugh and gain even more points for their Ego. Because somehow it is thought that the world is a cruel place, a system which was designed to appreciate Ego-thinking. In a sense, those ego-people will never think twice at that moment, will not behave like Macha. Of course, we can think that “Greed will kill them(egos) all” eventually. My question is How can we change the world to make it work for the merits of Ego-diminution? If we stand against other person, is it effective turning the other cheek? Somehow it’s paradoxical, we want to change the world without a fight (battle is what ego wants), by changing ourselves we can eventually do it, but isn’t it too slow. Maybe even questionable what’s the end is going to be for humanity.
    2. Some say that Avi and Zack are playing the roles of Super Ego. How can you comment this ideas. Super ego. Ego and Id, from psychological viewpoint, can you see there marks/appearances throughout in the movie.
    3. Why does in the beginning Jack emphasize purple color? What does has to imply?
    “It’s a lovely color, purple, discretely sandwiched within the color spectrum between blue and white. Always a royal winner.”
    4. Chess. There are a lot of chess hints/alludes throughout whole movie. Like Zack and Avi always know what their opponents’ following move is going to be (great players try to predict moves), or colors (red for Lord John and blue for Macha), almost all movie roles can be transformed to chessboard pieces:
    BLACK: Macha – King, Paul (his right hand) – bishop, Sorter – Queen (or maybe knight) and so on.
    WHITE: Zack and Avi – bishops, Jack’s brother’s daughter – pawn, Jack – initially pawn (controlled by Ego) later transcends to Queen (liberated from Ego). He enters last row of the board, the closest to opponent’s (black) king when comes to Macha’s place to surrender and asks for forgiveness. This metaphor also explains why Macha doesn’t shoot the girl in the last scene. It’s like you being checkmated on the next move, what’s the point of “eating” piece (killing girl, pawn). So you lost the game, you can kill yourself or surrender. Macha’s ego didn’t let him surrender.
    So do you have any other chess ideas? if any 🙂
    5. Don’t you ever think of writing a book, all these stunning articles can perfectly fit into a book which can change minds and lifes of so many people.
    Thanks for all your inspiring thoughts!

    • Mathew Micheletti

      Fantastic questions, let’s begin,

      1. The first thing that jumps to mind on this one is to clarify that the liberated beings in this film had a specific goal of liberating Jake. And likewise, Jake was specifically being trained/pushed to transcend his own fears and ego. Therefore, his ultimate test was to be willing to die in that last moment when Macha confronted him. Now, in the world you are absolutely right, and there are plenty of genocides as evidence, that when peaceful people surrender themselves the ego of the other person doesn’t necessarily leave them alone and in fact usually slays them and moves forward with their pursuits. This is why we have to make sure and note context, in terms of certain ego maniacs such as tyrants, dictators, or cult leaders there is absolutely necessity for discernment and extreme action. Sometimes it is better that one man die than an entire nation be led into darkness. A caveat here is what is your real goal, I mentioned this in a reply to Juan yesterday, trying to change the world and trying to become enlightened are totally different things and will require different behaviors, beliefs, and perspectives of the world. Simply put, if your goal is spiritual enlightenment the world is mostly irrelevant and only a vehicle used for transcendence. Whereas, for the vast majority of us that are still very attached to this world, we will need to stand up to the ego’s desires, think of practically every civilization throughout human history; they have all been dictatorships (egos) and have all fallen. So your point was right, “greed will kill them all in the end”. All dictators fall, all egos die eventually. But our liberation is eternal, think of how the great teacher’s actions, teachings, and influence still live on beyond their physical deaths, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Muhammad, etc. No dictator can come even close to the level of influence the above people have. So on the longest time line, the ego loses. What we do in our immediate situation totally depends on each of our themes of consciousness and what we feel is an appropriate response and way to contribute. Anything being “slow” is only from your perspective, meditate on infinite time… Ultimately, everyone will do exactly what they’re supposed to, and all will go as it should – the universe is perfect, there is nothing “wrong” that only exists in our minds as a perception based on our biased opinion. Everyone is doing what they believe is good and best. And I believe what is destined for humanity is most likely ascension, based on history and evolution it would seem inevitable, although I am an optimist. In either case, it actually doesn’t matter, whatever it will be it will be perfect and only for us to determine otherwise.

      2. Avi and Zack most definitely could be seen as symbols for the Super Ego, Macha for Id, and Jake stuck as the ego torn between the two. However my studies of psychology have always used those terms very differently. For example, the Super Ego is our inherited sense of morality and right and wrong from our parents and authority figures. It isn’t really a concept relating to wanting us to “transcend”. In psychology the super ego, ego, and id should be in balance, never eliminated in any extreme or the other otherwise the person has a psychological disorder. Id is the animal, carinal nature. But this includes even things like seeking food, water, shelter, reproduction, etc. but can also become as extreme as greed and pleasure seeking to the point of hedonism. Super ego can become obsessively judgmental and cult-like with religious zeal and bigotry. Ego being the sense of self torn between the pull of both, coming to a comprise and forming a synthesis of both.

      3. I am unfamiliar with that version where he accents the purple, so I have no opinion on that one because I don’t know the context.

      4. The chess identifications are brilliant and I feel totally spot on, I don’t have anything to add. Really clever take on it.

      5. Book has been written and many more planned, all a matter of time I suppose. Thank you for the kind words.

      Hope this provides some insight.

  58. As a university lecturer (and zen buddhist priest) I have shown this movie in my classes, Ethics 101 and The History of Buddhism. I have told friends about it. I don’t know how many actually understand the movie but I show it.

    I have watched it more than ten times. Thank you for breaking it down here. Maybe I can refer people/friends/students to your explanation. 😉

  59. I have quoted and referenced this movie in my classes for years and have wanted to write up something similar to this piece for about that long, now it doesn’t seem that I have to lol

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