Perceptions of Reality in The Matrix
Student: Jyl Alampay
Student Number: 250431312
Due Date: December 02/09
The question of ‘reality’ has always intrigued people throughout the world. It has been perceived as tangible and exact but at the same time intensely vulnerable. The frailties of ‘reality’ have been exposed by the many differing ways in which it can be perceived. These differences of perception can be attributed to factors such as age, sex, nationality, religion, and political views, all of which alter the way we process what is presented to us as ‘facts’ by our senses. It has been reasoned, that every living person, or person that has ever lived must have a unique sense of reality, a point of perception so tailored to his or her own identity that it could never be shared exactly with anyone else. Having considered this idea, one may arrive at a primary solution that there was no such thing as a shared reality. Furthermore, the word ‘reality’ should only be used tentatively and only accurately in relation to a specific individual’s view of a subject. However, having arrived at this conclusion one may become aware that allowing individual realities is not a solution, it merely raises more questions. The brain is a complex organ relying on naturally produced endorphins and chemicals such as serotonin to maintain a state of perceptive normality, if this chemical balance is altered then the individuals perceptions of reality are also subject to change. How is the reality of the individual affected if they are suffering from depression? Is it the bleak or the hopeful that forms the reality for that individual? How are we to view the differences that occur in the mind when intoxicated through drugs or alcohol? These are complex factors that would need addressing in order to solve the question of ‘reality’. The release of the Wachowski Brothers’ film The Matrix is one of the reasons more and more people began to question what ‘reality’ really is. This science fiction film presents the idea that the world around us is an illusion. What we perceive to be reality is in fact a computer simulation called ‘The Matrix’, which is inputted directly into our brains making us believe that we are living normal lives when in fact our inert bodies are providing heat to power the machines which, after years of human service became intelligent enough to have taken over the world. In addition to the basic questioning of reality within the story line, The Matrix explores the importance of other areas concerned with perceptions of reality such as dreams and fate. Coming as it did at the very end of the 20th century, The Matrix deals with the ultra-modern and an apocalyptic view of the world. At a time when it was thought by many that the end of an era was approaching, with ‘The Millennium’, subconscious fears arose. While advances in technology have left us less to fear than ever before in terms of injury and disease, technology itself fills the void. In this case, The Matrix deals with the common fear of an over dependence on machines. At a time when the world at large was concerned about the effects of ‘The Millennium Bug’ machines turning on humans was, to some, a valid concern. While not concentrating on the likelihood of machines taking over, the growing part they play in constructing and maintaining our realities is important to consider. Where do we draw the line between what we perceive as ‘reality’ and a computer generated representation that may be more ‘real’ than the original? In answering this question one may refer to the work of Aldous Huxley, specifically The Doors of Perception, in order to provide a view into the significance of enhanced hallucinogenic realities. Building on the idea of chemically enhanced reality one can examine, using the writings of Jean Baudrillard, the extent to which artificially created reality, in terms of media presentation, has affected our perceptions of...
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