Shamanism and Media in The Digital Age

A talk given at The European Men’s gathering in Denmark, August 2019

Andrew Sweeny
12 min readSep 2, 2020

The Matrix

In the film Matrix, Neo is given a choice. Is he going to become the ‘new man’, and take a radical risk, which means a dangerous trip down the rabbit hole? Or will he remain in the dark, narrow, comfortable, familiar, known womb called the Matrix.

Neo is, metaphorically speaking, a Shaman in training. And the first step of his training — and our adventure here as well — begins with feeling that ‘there is something wrong with the world’. This is what the buddha called, dukkha, or dissatisfaction.

If you don’t have a sense of dissatisfaction then you might as well just have a good life in the Matrix. Shamanic training is not usually recommended. However, when you get a sense of what Kurtz called ‘The horror!’ then you might start to consider a prison break.

Matrix means ‘womb of the mother’. Some people never leave this Matrix. They might appear quite happy, as long as there is no glitch. The problem is the glitch in the Matrix, the tear, the real — always arrives at some point or another.

Conversely, a real spiritual life — the journey toward being a Shaman, begins in suffering, when the real enters. However, over time it…



Andrew Sweeny

Compressed scraps of angel melody, stories, essays, rants against reductionism, commands from the deep.