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Is Reality a Soul Trap, or a School?

2023-03-01 Cynthia Sue Larson

Is life a series of lessons we can learn and grow from, or a prison or soul trap?
Is the message from Plato’s allegory of the cave true–are we stuck in a soul trap?
This past month, I received a question via email:
“Your friend and colleague Christopher Anatra did an interview with Howdie Mickoski, not sure you know of him or if you saw the interview but my question is basically;
What’s your thought on this whole idea that we the people are being “farmed” for energy in this reality? Basically Plato’s Cave with a layer of energy farming from the Arcons, that we’re being held prisoners in this reality.
I hold you and your thoughts in high regard and i am very curious to what your take on this is, would absolutely love it if you made a video about it and if not, just for you just to give me your thoughts here.
I have a feeling that this idea of Howdie Mickoski can be a trap of its own, it certainly isn’t asking how good can it get, more like the opposite.”
This is a terrific and timely question, especially since so many people recently have been feeling more stuck and trapped, due to a variety of events unfolding globally these days.
Soul Traps and Plato’s Cave
Howdie Mickoski’s idea that humanity is caught in a “Soul Trap”  appears to be a valuable topic of discussion, since apparently so many different people have come to similar conclusions with a sense that this is some kind of prison planet (as David Icke describes), or a loosh factory (as Robert Monroe once mentioned), or that we’re all in something akin to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave–chained and restrained and only able to see shadows moving on the cave walls.
 It seems there may be value in taking a look at the points Howdie is making, with regard to the “Soul Trap” idea.  First of all, I like Howdie’s observation very much that there seems something strange about the configuration of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, in the sense that it seems weird that people are trapped inside a cave.  Having pointed out this peculiarity, Howdie proceeds to advocate preparing to intentionally leave the existence we’ve come to accept in our lifetime, with an idea that there must be access to something beyond.
What lies beyond 
Plato’s notion that we can step outside Plato’s cave, and Howdie’s notion that we can step outside our current conceptualization of reality provide us with an invitation to rise above current limitations of sensing and knowing true reality.  While it makes no logical sense that we can ever ‘escape’ or leave the foundational reality we are part of, what does make sense is that there may exist levels of conscious awareness within the oneness of consciousness, reality, and All That Is.
The philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz wrote in New Essays on Human Understanding:  
Conscious perception arises gradually “by degrees from [perceptions] that are too minute to be noticed.”  (ie: unconscious perceptions)
With awareness of such levels of perception, we can envision how higher levels of consciousness steadily arise, as a natural part of how we see the outside world, and how our mind internally represents what we perceive.  Leibniz is sometimes referred to as “the last universal genius,” making brilliant contributions to the fields of metaphysics, epistemology, logic, philosophy of religion, mathematics, physics, geology, jurisprudence, and history.  Leibniz was one of the two people credited with the invention / discovery of Calculus, the other being Sir Isaac Newton, and Leibniz provides further clarity with a bit of a mathematical feel to this statement from Principles of Nature and Grace, clarifying how these perceptions arise: 
“… it is good to make a distinction between ‘perception,’ which is the internal state of the monad representing external things, and ‘apperception,’ which is ‘consciousness’ [conscience], or the reflective cognition of this internal state, which is not given to all souls, or at all times to the same soul.” 
Leibniz has thus provided us with a sense of how consciousness provides both a first-order perception of ‘x’ and a second order reflective perception of the original perception of ‘x.’  And Leibniz posited a unified field of reality and consciousness. In about 1710, Leibniz wrote a letter in response to someone asking him what philosophical school he followed; Leibniz replied that he follows the school of the perennial philosophy, Philosophia Perennis. 
School?  Or Soul Trap?
The idea of the reality of humanity’s existence being one of two things–either a School, or a Soul Trap–seems over-simplified to me. 
I can appreciate how some might narrow down reality to life being a School, based on the idea of reincarnation and people getting a memory wipe so most of us don’t remember past lives.  I observe that the only things any of us truly know are those things that we can never forget. It seems to me that we best learn those lessons that resonate for us emotionally in powerful ways–and these are the true lessons we actually know, and are the basis for us being able to transcend such things as the emotional drama of “playing the part” of:  Victim; Rescuer; or Perpetrator in what Stephen Karpman described as a ‘drama triangle.’  For people caught up in all the drama, it’s easy to feel that the true nature of reality involves both an aspect of it being like a dream (or simulation), and also like there is no free will, and people are trapped and stuck, like the prisoners in Plato’s allegory of the cave.

perennial philosophy GodThe ‘Drama Triangle’ can feel like a kind of trap for people who live their lives mostly at the Egoic level of identity, without reaching a level of connection with higher self connecting to what Leibniz called Philosophia Perennis.  For those feeling trapped in the drama triangle, roles are moved through such that many of us start off feeling like sad, helpless Victims; many of us then move out of that role and move on to becoming anxious Rescuers, concerned about the troubles in the world; and many then proceed on to righteous anger about what they know to be wrong, where they become Perpetrators.  Escaping this unhappy merry-go-round can thus provide freedom from feeling imprisoned or trapped.
To the question, why do we need to suffer in order to learn more, we can see some kinds of what we take to be suffering can be for our benefit, because we are multi-layered conscious beings.  We operate at multiple levels of conscious agency, and this is the biggest secret that’s been right in front of us all along.  We can learn that we ourselves have the ability to rise above the root source of suffering, and this knowledge is powerfully beneficial to us, not just as incarnate beings, but also as spiritual entities when we exist before we are born and after each life.  There is a kind of wisdom known as the Perennial Philosophy, which acknowledges that there exists a sense of highest conscious identity operating outside of space and time.  In this state of changeless infinite eternity, we can experience awareness that there is a Divine Spark within each and every one of us–and this powerful point-source of our being was forged from the pure state of infinite, eternal consciousness.  
The Biggest Question  
One of the biggest clues to what is really going on–Soul Trap? Or School?–lies in one of the biggest questions that usually goes unasked.  It goes unasked by physicists, and it goes unasked by psychologists and philosophers.  It goes unasked because it seems so simple and basic as to be obvious.  Yet, if we really stop to think about it,we can start to realize the vastness of it, and the way it can provide us with a better appreciation about what life and reality is truly all about. 
This question is:  “Who am I?” 
Awareness of levels of conscious agency–levels of self–provides us with the idea that we have both Free Will, and also Destiny.  When we are living our lives from the Egoic (drama-filled) state of being.  Some (high) level of ourselves have the Free Will, and we can operate with awareness that these higher levels of ourselves are who we really and truly are.  When we own this truth, we gain the responsibility of living with Free Will–which lifts us above the feeling of being stuck in a deterministic, pre-planned storyline. 
For those feeling trapped or imprisoned by reality, and wishing to escape boundaries and limitations, where do they imagine they will be, after breaking free?  Might they arrive in nothingness itself?  If so, they may be interested in contemplating the true nature of nothingness.   Leibniz points out:
“It is true that as the empty voids and the dismal wilderness belong to zero, so the spirit of God and His light belong to the all-powerful One.”
Miracle-Mindedness at Higher Levels of Conscious Agency
I feel a sense of intrinsic freedom via my connection with God / Creator / Source of the Philosophia Perennis that was first named by Leibniz.  For those with awareness of divine source, who are open to living in a state of mind of miracle-mindedness, we are operating outside the realm of manipulation by outside forces.  This awareness of sovereignty of spirit arrives thanks to surrendering to living in accordance with our highest principles, ethics, and values.  We can reform those beliefs and assumptions that had been instilled, due to the fact that beliefs can be reviewed and changed, and we can reprogram our beliefs (as I point out in my book, “Reality Shifts”) by noticing what beliefs are circulating in our thoughts and minds, and flipping around and reversing negative beliefs (those that feel sickening or weakening) to their positive opposites.
We can gain a finer sense of who we truly are and what level of conscious agency we are currently operating with by observing our thoughts and feelings, and becoming increasingly clearer that we are not our thoughts and feelings–we are the observer of those thoughts and feelings.  We can gain this awareness through meditation, and these meditations can prepare us to retain a sense of higher conscious agency, even after being “memory-wiped,” as occurs sometimes when we dream, and when we move from this life to the afterlife.
We need not have any karma or shame when facing our full life review, thanks to training ourselves to rise above the drama of guilt, shame, and regret.  Those emotions are so much a part of the Drama Triangle of Egoic self, yet we are capable of witnessing these emotions and feelings, and realizing while we are alive that we are not those feelings.
Practicing lucid dreaming and meditation into silence and nothingness are wonderful ways to train ourselves to access higher levels of our own conscious agency.  From that state of consciousness, we have the ability to practice being in astral / out-of-body form, in order that our lives when we are in material bodies can be the fullest and richest possible.
With respect to an Allegory for reality that I feel best aligned with, I love the idea of Axiogenesis, described by philosopher Nicholas Rescher.  Axiogenesis has been defined as:  A form of metaphysical optimism in which the state of affairs which actually obtains is the one most favorable (of all possible states of affairs) to the development of intelligence and the interests of intelligent beings. Such a philosophy is more in keeping with life and reality providing us all with learning opportunities, rather than being a soul trap.  And for those who are agnostics or atheists, such a positive philosophy can be most welcome.
I personally love the idea of the Holy Spirit; I love the idea of the Tao.  There is a beauty in the silence of nothingness, and there is a fullness of experiencing the bliss of being an eternal, infinite spirit. When we come out of such meditations, we feel recharged, refreshed, and gain a sense of knowing who we truly are.  And this sense of self identity (with associated level of conscious agency) provides us with much deeper and richer awareness of who we truly are, what reality actually is, what we genuinely are living for, and what has deepest meaning to us.
I find there is great value in sovereignty, which seems to be the great gift we can receive from adopting Howdie’s “soul trap” / Plato’s cave view of reality.  I feel we can actually find our greatest sovereignty–and our greatest Free Will–when we live our lives from the highest level of conscious agency identity we can retain.  We can learn through lucid dreaming and meditation how we are doing toward our goal of discovering what we retain even after “memory wipe.”
Some of the daily practices I follow on a daily basis is practicing the meditation of aching with the entirety of my being to experiencing living the answer to the question, “How good can it get?”   By asking this question, we provide ourselves with the opportunity to feel strong emotions that motivate and inspire us, and give us a sense of self identity and meaning, while steadily gaining higher levels of conscious agency, and higher emotional vibrational levels of such feelings as:  compassion, kindness, unconditional divine love, and reverence. 

You can watch the companion video to this blog post on YouTube here:

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Anatra, Christopher and Howdie Minckowski.  “Exposing the Matrix.”  Symphony of Realities Podcast.  Episode 15.  31 Jan 2023.

Karpman, Stephen. “Fairy tales and script drama analysis.” Transactional analysis bulletin 7, no. 26 (1968): 39-43.

Larson, Cynthia Sue. Reality Shifts: When Consciousness Changes the Physical World. RealityShifters, 2011.

Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm, and Gottfried Wilhelm Freiherr von Leibniz. Leibniz: New essays on human understanding. Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm. “Principles of Nature and Grace (1714).” (1992).
Rescher, Nicholas. Axiogenesis: An essay in metaphysical optimalism. Lexington Books, 2010.
Novak, Michael. The experience of nothingness. Transaction Publishers, 1970.


QuantumJumps300x150adCynthia Sue Larson is the best-selling author of six books, including Quantum Jumps.  Cynthia has a degree in physics from UC Berkeley, an MBA degree, a Doctor of Divinity, and a second degree black belt in Kuk Sool Won. Cynthia is the founder of RealityShifters, and first President of the International Mandela Effect Conference. Cynthia hosts “Living the Quantum Dream” on the DreamVisions7 radio network, and has been featured in numerous shows including Gaia, the History Channel, Coast to Coast AM, One World with Deepak Chopra, and BBC. Cynthia reminds us to ask in every situation, “How good can it get?” Subscribe to her free monthly ezine at:


Thoughts on Simulation Theory and ‘Glitch in the Matrix’

I recently saw the documentary, “Glitch in the Matrix,” where filmmaker Rodney Ascher asks the question “are we living in a simulation?”  He includes film footage of Nick Bostrom, and Philip K. Dick, as well as others intrigued by this idea.  Here are some highlights from the documentary, from my perspective.

Philip K. Dick and the Mandela Effect

I’d been looking forward to see “Glitch in the Matrix,” since I’d heard that it references the Mandela Effect.  One of the highlights for me in watching “Glitch in the Matrix” was the inclusion of Philip K. Dick’s 1977 talk in Metz, France, entitled, “If you find this world bad, you should see some of the others,” around the time the first Star Wars movie came out in theaters.  Philip K. Dick (PKD) gave this talk three years after having an extraordinary experience in his life on February 3, 1974.  After that experience and other epiphanies, PKD’s  interest in the idea of other parallel possible realities became much more pronounced.  In his 1977 talk in Metz, France, PKD expressed his expectation that some people will recall other possible histories.  In 1977 when Dick gave this talk, I was experiencing reality shifts and what would come to be known as the Mandela Effect, and I am favorably impressed by his comments about the significance and importance of people noticing alternate histories.  By the year 2010, the term “Mandela Effect” would come to be acknowledged as a worldwide phenomenon.  In his 1977 talk in Metz, PKD said, “We are living a computer programmed reality, and the only clue we have to it is when some variable has changed, and some alteration in our reality occurs.  We would have the overwhelming impression that we were reliving the present deja vu, perhaps in precisely the same way, hearing the same words, saying the same words.  I submit that these impressions are valid and significant and I will even say this such an impression is a clue that it’s in past time point a variable was changed–reprogrammed as it were–and that because of this, an alternative world branched off.”

While I certainly appreciate the view that abrupt changes such as reality shifts and Mandela Effects to what has supposedly ‘always been true’ might seem similar to what we’d expect to see if we were living in a computer-programmed simulated reality, the Simulation Theory itself seems more like a description of the way we sense and experience the world, rather than a comprehensive and complete true theory of the nature of reality.

NPCs and Nothingness

The “Glitch in the Matrix” documentary shows how some people have experienced a sense of vast nothingness, when going beyond awareness of others around them.  It makes the point that such an experience of nothingness can feel quite bleak.

I had a profound experience of feeling a sense of nothingness during the time I underwent a Kundalini awakening in 1994, which was part of my spiritual awakening.  At that time, I felt a deep loneliness far beyond anything I’d ever felt before or since. I recognized in that experience that any kind of existence disconnected from all relationships with others is a truly intolerable sensation.  I found my way through that experience by knowing at a deep level that I refused to be alone, and by knowing that other realities and other worlds exist, so therefore I would make contact with other consciousness(es).  It seems to me that the meaning of noticing such vast nothingness is to remind us that we need relationships with others in a very deep, profound, and fundamental way.

Some people believe NPC (non player characters) exist, such that some people are not truly inspired nor motivated, and “Glitch in the Matrix” presents this concept–along with the potential dark side of possibly making a mistake in treating others as NPCs in a given moment, which we can come to regret when we were not acting with kindness nor compassion. When I was a little girl, I had an experience where I was shocked to witness that people–including my own family members–sometimes move through daily like on autopilot, as if they are not fully and completely present and sentient and actively making choices in each moment.  I write about this idea that so many of us are running on autopilot in my book, Reality Shifts. I discuss the importance of getting past our masks and facades, and our tendency to think, speak, and act on autopilot.  We can all be ‘called in’ to be more fully present in our lives, and this can be part of our spiritual evolution, both individually and collectively as a species. 

GANS and Human Purpose

“Glitch in the Matrix” presents the idea of GANS – Generative Adversarial NetworkS–where two (or more) Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems are in competition with one another as they create simulations.  One is the FORGER whose task is to create human beings who look enough like humans to fool someone. Another AI system is called the INSPECTOR, whose job is to tell the difference between fake and actual people. Some feel it’s possible that the human role in Simulation Theory is to fine-tune and improve the Simulation according to this GANS process. 

While I agree with those in the “Glitch in the Matrix” documentary that humans are certainly capable of channeling and editing inspirational ideas, it seems clear that without any underlying sense of meaning and story and relationships, these simplistic roles would seem to hold little long-term interest for most humans.

The Dreamtime and Plato’s Cave

“Glitch in the Matrix” points out that in the movie, “The Matrix,” Neo keeps his money and special things in a book, “Simulacra and Simulation,” which is a tip-off at the start of that movie that all is not what it seems. There is a long tradition within indigenous societies of acknowledging dreams within dreams, and ‘the Dreamtime.’ This idea of dreaming the world into existence, with layers and layers of dreams and awakenings is a much more ancient concept even than Plato’s cave, to the point that there exist words to express how seemingly real physical reality is just ‘maya’–just illusion

When Neo first awakens, and wonders why his eyes don’t work, Morpheus explains, “Because you’ve never used them before.” This matches what we know scientifically, as I’ve shared in a podcast I did with Dr. Donald Hoffman:  Perception, Truth, and Reality with Donald Hoffman.  Dr. Hoffman describes how our sense of the world through our perceptions is not truly real—our experience of true reality is filtered.  Donald Hoffman talked with me about his interface theory of perception, in which what we typically assume to be “out there” is not necessarily reality–but rather something akin to the desktop user interface on a computer. And just as we don’t need to execute machine language commands in order to send an email or delete a file, biological evolution has been proven to favor perceptual fitness over truthful completeness and accuracy of perception.  As Hoffman writes, “… to experience is to construct, in each modality and without exception,” and new findings in quantum physics and quantum biology increasingly provide scientific evidence to show this is true.

Similarly, in the allegory of Plato’s Cave, the true light of the world is much more brilliant than the shadow world as seen within the cave. When Plato comes back into the cave, he sees his friends are still watching the shadow play, giving one another acknowledgement for being first to spot what’s going on. This allegory of the cave reminds me of how anyone who has enlightenment experiences feels transformed when returning to everyday life. Quite often, it’s impossible to interact with friends, family, and colleagues the same as before the epiphany and transcendant experience. It’s also challenging, if not impossible, to explain or properly convey the experience fully to others.

Will We Recognize Our Reflection?

In “Glitch in the Matrix,” Jesse Orion expresses feelings of frustration when noticing he’s been stuck in digital worlds that aren’t going so well. And then when he gets out of those games and simulations, he’s noticed he was still stuck in a reality that’s not going so well, either. And he can’t help but draw parallels, since “the grass is dead on both sides. It’s like they’re ‘quick-patching’ reality,” because (just like in glitchy games), real life is not going that well.  “People are broken. Cosmologies are broken.”   This sounds to me like “glass half full” kind of thinking, where whatever we focus our attention on, we will see more of whatever we happen to be focusing on. 

I notice that humans are becoming more capable of instantaneous manifestation, at which point our ability to maintain good emotional and energetic hygiene (keeping to good and nurturing thoughts) is becoming ever more essential to our personal and social well-being. We can start to observe how we can experience more of whatever we focus our attention and energies upon. Many of us have habits of dwelling on complaints, worries, fears, and observations of lack—rather than nurturing gratitude, appreciation, and reverence. 

PKD writes about worlds which may be inhabited by just one protagonist, or who may have others who join them in their peculiar world, or those others remained in their own worlds throughout. PKD wrote on these themes of ‘pleuriform pseudo-worlds’ because he, “was sensing the manifold of partially actualized realities, remaining tangent to the actualized one—the one that the majority of us, by consensus gentiem, agree on.” I love how PKD was so tuned in to the way that it seems people can—and often do—experience simultaneous parallel realities. I love how this matches some recent experimental findings in quantum physics, in which observational devices even at the same place and time can witness different events. This seems to clearly indicate that there may be no such thing as one ‘objective reality.’

Another character in “Glitch in the Matrix” asks the question:  “When we know we may be in a simulation, how do we ethically deal with others—when we also know others are there like me, who aren’t simulations? How do I deal with someone who’s behind a false avatar, but who I really want to communicate with?”  He also points out: “Simulation theory seems to kind of solve problems, but it really makes the problems more poignant, and in your face.” 

Again, this is such a perfect juncture to invite ourselves to find a story line we actually wish to inhabit—it’s such a great opportunity to care more about our relationships with other people, animals, plants, things, and the Earth and moon and sun and stars and sky.  When we make the most of our epiphanies through lucid dreaming and recognizing how our physical senses merely show us a kind of illusory facade that is not complete reality—we can become the change we wish to see in the world.  We can become more caring, more compassionate, more kind.  We can care more about our relationships with others. 

Divine Awakening

“Glitch in the Matrix” mentions that PKD’s friend, Tom Disch, first suggested to him that his experience on Feb 3, 1974 sounded like “Enthousiasmos” by Elijah, and PKD liked the idea, and found it pleasant.  The experience of feeling inspired by God seems uplifting, and like it would have given PKD a feeling of spiritual epiphany, which seems to have been the case.

One character in “Glitch in the Matrix” points out that: There are fundamental metaphors we have about reality, such as “life is like a journey,” and “Waking up from a dream”—and shifting between ontological realities (sometimes quite abruptly, or with intense emotions) is a fundamental, cognitive experience—is “stitched into us.” 

Yes; humans do seem to be wired to experience many levels of awakening, in order to discover many levels of identity within ourselves. Perhaps the greatest unasked question, and the question that potentially can do the most for us in terms of answering all our questions and solving all our problems is simply, “Who am I?”  

This question of identity can enable us to begin to realize our true identity is involved with co-creating our experienced dream-within-a-dream; and also that we have many levels and layers to our conscious identity. 

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I invite you to keep focusing on “How good can it get?” and watch the companion video to this blog at:


QuantumJumps300x150adCynthia Sue Larson is the best-selling author of six books, including Quantum Jumps.  Cynthia has a degree in physics from UC Berkeley, an MBA degree, a Doctor of Divinity, and a second degree black belt in Kuk Sool Won. Cynthia is the founder of RealityShifters, and is president of the International Mandela Effect Conference. Cynthia hosts “Living the Quantum Dream” on the DreamVisions7 radio network, and has been featured in numerous shows including Gaia, the History Channel, Coast to Coast AM, One World with Deepak Chopra, and BBC. Cynthia reminds us to ask in every situation, “How good can it get?” Subscribe to her free monthly ezine at:

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