Analysis Paper: The Matrix
The Matrix is a science fiction film produced in the 1999’s by the Wachowski Brothers that revolves around the idea reality is not what it seems to be. The movie is essentially about machines that have enslaved the human population, using people for means of bioenergy; that being body heat and electrical activity. The main protagonist is the character of Neo, a computer programmer, who finds himself continuously concerned about the idea that his world isn’t all he thinks it to be. What Neo doesn’t know is his world, reality, life is a type of simulated “dream world” created by The Matrix. To the public The Matrix may just appear to simply be another film complete with sensational effects, seat gripping suspense and a “happy ending”. In actuality, the film itself references and associates with multiple philosophical individuals as well as their ideas. Several of those philosophical references are as follows; Plato’s Allegory of The Cave, Descartes's Meditations and the book Simulacra and Simulacrum by Jean Baudrillard. Each of which contribute to the underlying story of The Matrix and can be found throughout influencing the entire movie with specific believes belonging to each philosopher.
One of the most apparent and easiest philosophical ideals to spot is the concept of Plato’s Allegory of The Cave. Plato was a Greek philosopher, a former student of Socrates and also taught another famous philosopher who was named Aristotle. In Plato’s Allegory of The Cave, he tended to focus upon the idea that the world is not what is seems. The world in this point of view is extremely similar to the shadows that dance along the walls of the cave in his writing. Plato believed we cannot see the world for what it truly is and that it is merely a shadow of what we believe exists. In his belief of Theory of Forms, Plato defines something as “truly real” not based off external perceptions but intellectually uncovering the true form which can only be achieved intellectually. Things around us are less than real forms in this sense because they are simply the “visible world” and are not the true form. In Plato’s Allegory of The Cave, the individuals assume that the shadows dancing on the wall are the “true forms”. They believe that what they are seeing is reality, the true form of the object, when really it is simply an illusion of the truth. Plato argued reality was comprised of two types of worlds this being known as metaphysics. The visible world, images of physical objects and the knowable world, which is forms. Plato debated we cannot know the true form, the true reality of something unless we stop looking at the appearance or images. The Matrix does well to incorporate this ideal into the movies underlying plot; that reality is not reality.
Plato does have a point in his beliefs that images cannot be trusted. I personally would agree to every extent that images or appearances can definitely be misleading. In The Matrix for example Neo’s world is completely artificial, a type of cyberspace created by the machines. In this sense Plato would be completely right arguing that images or things around us cannot be trusted. One can only find the truth or reality when we stop portraying the world through appearances. When we stop using images to define what is real around us, that is the time we can find the truth in things. In the movie, after Neo consumed the red pill he was “awakened” from the dream world the machines had created. This is similar to the Brain In A Vat experiment seeing that it literally was Neo’s brain that received the signals to “dream up” his reality. Aside from similarities in the movie, simple occurrences in life can also prove Plato to be correct. Take people as an example. Someone may look extremely nice on the outside but that is simply appearance. Outside appearance can’t be trusted because that person might have the ugliest personality ever. Plato really is the epitome of the...
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