I am one of those late starters to hollywood when my friends used to discuss the Matrix four years back i was very much irritated . As a normal ego centric human being my mind cannot accept intelligence that i cannot participate.I have started disassociating with the mind often these days.I managed to watch the movie very late and frankly i was understanding the basics like all human beings are in a A.I simulated matrix in which inputs are fed to the brain to make them experience delusion.I was astonished how Neo was able to fly , or defy the physical realm like blocking bullets etc. I was ignorant of the tremendous philosophical implications of the movie.
Long back Descartes in the nineteenth century researching on the metaphysical realm of reality argued that human beings can never know reality.This was followed by philosophers like Kant arguing that everything we perceive are mind generated.
This is what the Matrix is all about.What if our entire Life is just a dream after all dreams are so near to reality how would we ever be able to prove that what we see is a reality.(I am no good a philosopher neither my language is so lucid enough to explain complex ideas).Thus Matrix is a A.I generated world which is not an experimental device put forth by Robert Nozick that gives you any experience you desired but a mental realm in which two minds feel things.Say for example say two lovers have sex in the matrix world two minds are fed the experience of having sex although their bodies never involve in any sexual intercourse.Matrix literally means a womb so humans are merely pre-natal dreamers.So the events shown in the movie are just dreams.Most human beings don’t have the power of controlling dreams and those few who can are the Ones.Hence the instant Neo believes that he can fly the computer system feeds him with the experience of flying how that is done is not explained.
This is what Morpheus calls “bending the rules” . After knowing the truth about illusion,Neo does not see different things but he is able to do things that he couldn’t do before (like bend spoons) and that affects what he sees (the spoon bending).He believes that a spoon can be bent in a dream or i can go ahead and fly breaking all rules of gravity in a dream.Thus when he starts believing it the computer system feeds him with the experience.The matrix lacks causality that is the principle every event has a specific cause thus the realities of the Matrix are very different.
This also questions the nerd mentality among human beings i.e we take it to granted most of the principles taught to us without questioning as Socrates pointed out.Even in a dream we follow the undefined rules brought to us by conditioning for thousands of years.
The Matrix also has a Gnostic or Budhistic interpretation underneath which dwells on the illusion of the material world (samsara in budhism) and attainment of Nirvana (enlightenment) as the eternal happiness.In Gnostic terms Gnosis means knowledge about the real world and reaching the heaven or the zion as the ultimate salvation.Jesus Christ is considered the messiah who enlightens human beings with truth.in a similar sense Neo ( an anagram for one) can be considered as the jesus christ who is out there to save people out of the Matrix World.Morpheus can be considered as John the Baptist and Trinity as the god and when Neo is saved from death by the kiss of Trinity it is equivalent to resurrection.According to Agent Smith the Matrix world was originally designed as a heaven with just happiness unlike the real world but the human beings were very skeptical of it and woke up from dreams .Thus humans could not lead a life without anxieties.I was reading this book called The Matrix and Philosophy in which there was an analysis about the the real world and Matrix.
What is the difference between the real world and the matrix?
Why not prefer the matrix world as Cypher did in the movie?
The difference between the real world and the Matrix is evident when you consider the lives of leaders say people like Mahatma Gandhi who seldom had precedents.The Matrix has limitations of choices when it designs experiences or new worlds.The leaders created new worlds like Che fought for a Brave New world for the poor and Martin Luther King fought for the rights of the black .
Another argument put forward for is that Matrix is a viable alternative to the Desert of Reality..As agent smith says in the movie the humans had their time and now its the time for the machines.Say due to global warming or a nuclear calamity the earth may become totally uninhabitable for thousand years so humans can be put in Vats and fed artificial reality into their brains and when the earth becomes habitable they can be woke up from their dreams.
Given a chance how many people will select the Matrix world over the real world its all your experience that matters.This is what Cypher says in the movie
You know, I know this steak doesn’t exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize?
[Takes a bite of steak]Ignorance is bliss.
The majority would believe in this staunch reality that after all the steak matters, that its just a silicon chip that gives you the experience does not.How many of us know that McDonald’s and Pizza are junk food yet we are conditioned that its awesome . How many of us know that Apple ipod shuffle is a grossly overrated gizmo and even after our friends reminding of alternatives like Creative Zen stone plus go ahead and buy it ( sorry dear i have to get this one here 😦 ) .
Matrix was a big hit among people for its action flicks especially in India yet it has a philosophical background that maybe interesting if you are so idle like me 🙂 .