Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Kaitlyn, Steven, and Noah #8 - Matrix and Philosophy Presentation Summary

     In the Matrix, humans are kept strapped down and forced to perceive a limited version of reality, completely unaware of the true reality they live in. The main character Neo is set free and allowed to experience reality. At first Neo has difficulties understanding the true reality he is exposed to, but he gradually accepts living in this whole new world. Another character, Cypher, abandons reality and decides to continue living in the Matrix, preferring to live in blissful ignorance of the truth. This scenario seems to be very similar to Plato's cave, although Plato probably didn't have neuroscience and a malevolent A.I. in mind. Both the Matrix and Plato's cave highlight the philosophical issue of perception versus reality--the truth. What both the prisoners of his cave and the humans connected to the Matrix share is the how they perceive this limited and fake version of reality. But does this mean it's better to experience the "true" version of reality? Plato's cave has a negative connotation, as the inhabitants are prisoners; but the reality within the Matrix seems to be a better place to live opposed to the dystopian real world. Is what we perceive actually reality, or are there things that cannot be observed through our limited senses?
     In addition to the Platonist themes, the Matrix also has a strong Gnostic undercurrent to it. Ideas such as an antagonist demiurge (in the form of the Matrix), a liberating snake in the Garden of Eden(Morpheus), and a plethora of symbolism all contribute heavily to this theme. Other ideas borrowed from the Gnostic thought include the falsities of the material world (borrowed in turn form Platonism) and the rejection of these trappings as harmful.
     And lastly is the Socratic reference used comparing Neo to Socrates. Socrates believed himself to be the hero in charge of making the people of Athens see the truth, which was that they didn't know what they thought they knew. Similar to Neo, who everyone believed to be the hero that would save those still under the delusional control of the Matrix. Both were meant to be the heroes that would show the people that their lives were filled with lies and deception, and show them the light--the true world. Another parallel is that they both went to visit an Oracle that would tell them their fates. The Oracle of Delphi told Socrates told him he was the wisest in the world, not because he knew everything, but because he could except that he didn't know everything. On the other hand, with Neo, the Oracle lets him tell his own fate, which eventually leads to him becoming the one simply because he knows he is. Both have in common that self-knowledge is the key to accepting the truth. A person has to know his/herself before they can gain any sort of wisdom.  

1 comment:

  1. I've always wondered why nobody thought to challenge Morpheus: how did he know the difference between the red and blue pills?