Cypher's Choice in "The Matrix"

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The widely popular science fiction movie, “The Matrix,” directed by the Wachowski brothers deals with a false reality. In this, people are kept in shells as energy sources and plugged into a computer simulation of a world that they believe is real and concrete. The premise is that artificially intelligent machines surpassed the intellect of humans and have risen up against them. Cut off from the sun, their source of energy, they turn to humans as the ultimate renewable source of energy. The story centered on Neo and his quest to learn what, in fact, the Matrix actually was. Eventually a man by the name of Morpheus who was the leader of a group trying to destroy the Matrix invites Neo to take part in a journey to discover the truth. Neo took a pill and was released from the Matrix to discover what the world had become. While in the real world, Neo became part of a group fighting the reign of these machines and trying to free the human race. Cypher, a member of Morpheus's group, decided he would rather go back to an easier life in the Matrix than keep fighting for this cause. Although initially idealistic, Cypher eventually lost faith in Morpheus and his so-called “The One”. Cypher decided to cooperate with the Agents that act to protect the Matrix, and conspired with them to kill his former crew members. Cypher essentially believed that there was no use in fighting anymore because there was the possibility of never actually winning the battle. Cypher justified his decision, declaring, "Ignorance is bliss" (The Matrix). Although Cypher's statement does have some validity, he ignored all of his duties to himself, his peers, and most importantly, the human race. Cypher clearly made the wrong choice in deciding to abandon "the desert of the real" in favor of an easier lift in the Matrix. Ultimately, he was killed and never returned to the Matrix. His needs to fulfill his duties as a citizen and a revolutionary were not only shown throughout the movie, but also specifically in other works written by great thinkers, such as Plato, about the complexity of reality.

Cypher's decision to leave the real world went against the ideas of some of the greatest thinkers to have ever lived. Plato stated in his "Allegory of the Cave," "But if you continue to seek truth, you will eventually be able to handle it better. In fact, you want more! It's true that many people around you now may think you are weird or even a danger to society, but you don't care. Once you've tasted the truth, you won't ever want to go back to being ignorant" (Plato Cave). Cypher took the easy way out; his inability to handle reality was a direct result of his lackluster effort to pursue the greater truth of the Prophecy. Plato's allegory continued to explain the prisoner's unique dilemma, which is also quite similar to Cypher's situation. The prisoner's community survived while living permanently fixated to look at shadows projected by a fire onto a cave wall. The prisoners had no conception of reality; they thought the shadows were real. The cave situation was very similar to the false realities of the Matrix, whose inhabitants sincerely believed that the world they experience is real. The prisoner was unique from his counterparts; he was set free to learn the realities of the world as opposed to the false world of the Matrix. The prisoner eventually came to terms with the new world and realized how misled the other prisoners are. Much like Cypher, the decision to spread the truth troubled the prisoner. Unlike Cypher, however, the prisoner felt a moral obligation to his people and felt that he had a duty return to the cave to tell his counterparts. Plato praised the prisoner's correct moral decision best, stating, "Better to be the poor servant of a poor master, and to endure anything, rather than think as they do and live after their manner" (Plato Cave). Applying this quote to Cypher's situation, Plato and other sensible thinkers would have argued that it is...
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