13 October 2010
What if the world everyone perceives as a reality is only an elaborate deception? Human beings believe they are living in realities because they do not know of anything else. What they feel, see, hear, taste, and feel all contribute to their subconscious belief of physical existence. As people dream, however, they usually cannot recognize that they are not living through the events—that is, until they wake up. What if they do not wake up? How would they know the difference between their false perceptions and reality? The Ancient Greek philosopher Plato explores this concept within an example he uses in his work The Republic. In his example, known as the “Allegory of the Cave”, Plato uses an allegorical cave to show how humans are uncomfortable when exposed to the truth and that they are manipulated by higher authorities. In their 1999 motion picture The Matrix, the Wachowski brothers use a computer program to display similar ideals of Plato's allegory, including how humans are controlled and negatively react to the truth. Plato's “Allegory of the Cave” serves as a philosophical basis to The Matrix, as both works suggest that humans express discomfort while exposed to truth and both argue that people are controlled by higher authorities. Both The Matrix and Plato's “Allegory of the Cave” suggest that humans experience discomfort when confronted with the truth, especially when it contradicts their prior beliefs. This discomfort may be so great that they will not accept the reality and resort to their previous beliefs that are false. Plato imagines prisoners in a cave—seeing nothing but shadows cast on the wall. While spending their entire lives in the cave, the chained prisoners are only able look forward at the shadows cast on the blank wall, which are projected by people and other objects passing between the prisoners and a fire. Since these shadows are the only images the prisoners see, they must constitute the real...
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