Mr. Spock articulates the nature of LRH’s magical subjectivism—that something is real only by experience and consent. Spock holds up the inconsistent physics of their recent experience as proof that the world is an illusion. Surprisingly, this fact doesn’t make much of a difference, for an illusion that is believed-in is all powerful. In fact, it can kill you. Belief is stronger than fact.
Spock has the gnosis—having seen through the false reality, he is no longer susceptible to its placeboic effects. Spock, that is to say, is Clear. But the others—Scotty, Bones, and Kirk—are mere humans, and while they can infer that the coming bullets must not be real, they do not grok their unreality to the same depth as Spock does. That is, Spock has experiential and schematizing knowledge, while the others have “mere intellectual understanding.” Knowing that the bullets cannot be true by inference from inconsistency in physical law is inferential and merely intellectual, but not thing-making. Wisdom of this type is not sufficient to undo their lethality.
This is a better analogy for the Buddhist Three Levels of Wisdom than The Matrix. The three levels:
- Srutamayi prajña—Wisdom that is merely heard (sruta). Scotty, Bones, and Kirk hear Spock say the bullets cannot be real. Their hopes are lifted, because Spock has been wrong only twice while First Officer, and two divided by countable infinity is zero.
- Cintamayi prajña—Wisdom that is developed through thinking (cinta). The three humans think through the premises just as Spock did. (1) Real reality is lawful. (2) Laws admit of no exceptions. (3) The physics in their experience has been inconsistent. (4) Therefore, it must be the case that their experience inheres not in reality, but in fabrication.
- Bhavanamayi prajña—Finally, there is wisdom that is developed through causing-to-become (bhavana). This is total ingestion of an insight into the core of one’s being, so that that insight becomes an axiom and presupposition of all subsequent thinking, acting, and perceiving. The insight becomes a new way-of-variation for the process of internalization of experience, which is the process of analysis-and-synthesis.
The experienced world is the subject-constituted world. Objects become known only through the process of analysis-and-synthesis. First, objects arrive by arising for the subject as opaque complexes. These are then digested through analysis, or the division of the material down to simples. Simples are ideal. These ideal simples are then combined according to the internal ways of combination that constitute the intra-relations of knowledge. This internal regeneration of being inside the ideal is a re-constitution of reality that weaves the understanding into the matter of the known object.
Bhavanamayi prajña is insight that subsequently becomes the nature of things as such. Spock has attained this level of insight. He knows that the bullets cannot kill him because he knows how he knows objects in general. That is, his intentionality is present during acts of object-making. That is, he now acts as foreman during the acts that construct them.
Spock saves the others by transmitting his bhavanamayi prajña to them via Vulcan Mind Meld.
MCCOY: A piece of lead in his body.
SPOCK: Wrong. His mind killed him.
MCCOY: Come on, Spock. If you've got the answer, tell us.
SPOCK: Physical reality is consistent with universal laws. Where the laws do not operate, there is no reality. All of this is unreal.
MCCOY: What do you mean unreal? I examined Chekov. He’s dead.
SPOCK: But you made your examination under conditions which we cannot trust. We judge reality by the response of our senses. Once we are convinced of the reality of a given situation, we abide by its rules. We judged the bullets to be solid, the guns to be real, therefore they can kill.
KIRK: Chekov is dead because he believed the bullets would kill him.
SPOCK: He may indeed be dead. We do not know.
KIRK: But we do know that the Melkotians created the situation. If we do not allow ourselves to believe that the bullets are real, they cannot kill us.
SPOCK: Exactly. I know the bullets are unreal, therefore they cannot harm me.
KIRK: We must all be as certain as you are, Mister Spock, to save our lives.
MCCOY: But that’s not possible. There’d always be some doubt.
SPOCK: The smallest doubt would be enough to kill you.
MCCOY: We’re just human beings, Spock. We don’t have that clockwork ticker in our head like you do. We can’t turn it on and off.
KIRK: We must. Spock, a Vulcan mind meld.
SPOCK: Very well, sir. Engineer?
(The clock strikes five. Wyatt Earp puts on his gun belt.)
SPOCK: (to Scotty) Your mind to my mind. Your thoughts to my thoughts.
(The marshals gather as the lightning flashes and the wind blows.)
SPOCK: (to McCoy) The bullets are unreal. Without body. They are illusions only. Shadows without substance. They will not pass through your body, for they do not exist.
MCCOY: They do not exist.
(Holliday joins the Earps.)
SPOCK (to Kirk) Unreal. Appearances only. They are shadows. Illusions. Nothing but ghosts of reality. They are lies. Falsehoods. Specters without body. They are to be ignored.
(The melds have been completed when the four killers arrive at the Corral.)
(Kirk reaches for his gun, and the Earps fire. We see the bullets splintering the wood behind the landing party. The Earps empty their guns, then Kirk engages Wyatt in good old-fashioned fisticuffs. He beats him but chooses not to shoot him. Everything disappears. The Quadrinity reappear on the Enterprise bridge.)