Plato, Descartes, and The Matrix
Deception is the foundational issue prevalent in The Matrix, Plato’s allegory of the cave, and Rene Descartes meditations. In each of these excerpts the goal of answering the question of what is real and how to uncover the truth is essential. Another question that arises throughout all three excerpts is whether or not the individuals will be able to handle the truth when it is finally learnt. In The Matrix Morpheus reveals to Neo that the life he had previously accepted as an absolute reality is really a virtual reality that is manipulated by a computer which is essentially controlling the mind of every individual as they lie unconscious connected to this computer system. After taking the “red pill” that allows Neo to uncover the truth, he is no longer blinded by this virtual reality. While one may assume Neo would be grateful to be free of this kind of deception, he alternatively experiences a plethora of emotions such as denial, fear, and confusion. After some reflection on these events, Neo finally accepts the truth, but feels burdened by it. Similarly, “The Allegory of The Cave” is a parable retold by Plato that challenges the misconceptions individuals hold throughout life that are based on senses and experience only. Socrates asks Glaucon to imagine men that lived in an open ended cave with their heads restricted so they could only face one direction. The men saw nothing except shadows on a wall and heard nothing except echoes from above and would presumably believe that was reality. However, Socrates’ argument is that just because these trapped men were never acquainted with the truth, does not mean that their perception on reality is trustworthy, since it is based on senses instead of knowledge. Socrates continues his allegory by illustrating what would happen if one of these “prisoners” were to break free of his chains, be able to move around, and witness a world completely...
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