Image by Lillian Lake

“There is no spoon” can be a profound statement. What was meant by it when used in “The Matrix,” a 1999 Sci-Fi film? Various people have differing ideas on the meaning. It captured my attention because I’ve endeavored to look outside the box for as long as I can remember, even while feeling trapped in it. I can’t bend a spoon (yet), but like everyone, I can bend my mind. I’ve questioned whether things exist or are figments of our imagination.

I was a 20-something dreamer in UMF’s Dr. Karl Franson’s college Shakespeare class in the 80s when so many decades ago, as Dr. Franson (still my all-time favorite professor) brought Shakespeare’s plays to life, I’d consider the ideas in “Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

I’d wonder what parts were genuine and what were make-believe. Although, sometimes, we delved into individual words and phrases too deeply, profoundly searching for more when it was nothing more than what it was. Or was it?

So when I heard the words, “There is no spoon,” I was startled because long before, Dr. Franson had prompted me to consider more deeply my idea that a chair is a chair only because we call it a chair and it only exists because we say it exists.

If it’s used as something else, is it still a chair? Ideas that began to come to me as a child playing in the Maine woods rather than sitting in front of a TV, today’s equivalent of a video game or Instagram. Rather than being absorbed by the thoughts of others, I was encouraged to use my imagination.

Years later, when studying Quantum Physics, I realized that other people, too, were wondering about the truth of what exists. A new thought lifts us to another level of thought to transform something we’ve been trained to think and to which we collectively agree.


We each have the innate, gifted ability to consider beyond what we are trained regarding recognition and identification. How many have corrected a child when they insisted a chair was something else? Perhaps, a raft riding the waves on a high sea! How else do we squelch thought change?

Dr. Franson inspired me not to think small. He inspired me to question what appeared to be obvious and ponder if, perhaps, there was something else left unseen. It was a magical lesson, considering I had spent most of my educational years being instructed in how and what to think and when to think it.

For instance, in front of the class, my high school English teacher mocked my essay that explored the idea of not naming children until later when we might consider a better name. An economics professor shushed me for seeing beyond the “obvious.” These other lessons showed me that we are culturally taught to think small in small ways.

Let go of what you think you know. “…Instead, only realize the truth…there is no spoon. Then you will see that it is not the spoon that bends; it is only yourself.”

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