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Philosophy & The Matrix

By JoeLabarbera23 Mar 24, 2014 865 Words

Philosophy & the Matrix
In order to complete this assignment I had to watch The Matrix for the first time. I do not know why I’ve never seen this movie, but I was blown away. Easily one of the most intriguing and questioning movies I’ve seen in a while. In fact it was the first movie I watched a second time over since Shrek came out. The Matrix was a raging success when it debuted in 1999 for its ability to capture the audience in terms of grabbing their minds to focus on ideas and concepts about life and reality. This is what drove me to watch it a second time. Philosophical theories and principles are portrayed throughout the entire movie. The movie raises the most universal questions that all humans catch themselves asking such as, “What is reality?” “What is the truth” etc. I believe it was for this reason that the movie was such a success, because the movie appealed to the audience on a different level then most movies does. It captures your imagination and forces you to think about things with a different perspective. It almost takes off the blindfold in a sense and opens up the viewer’s brain to accepting a new concept about life and reality.

When the film begins we meet two main characters, Trinity and Neo. Trinity exemplifies brilliant fighting tactics and gravity defying moves that seem super human. Trinity was being chased by agents who are unsuccessful in trying to capture her and focus on their next target, Neo. This is where the questions arise. Neo wakes up confused and to his computer talking to him and tells him to follow the white rabbit. Neo does so and eventually meets Trinity who takes Neo to meet Morpheus. Morpheus presents Neo with a choice between choosing a red pill and a blue pill. The red pill will show Neo the truth he’s been so desperately searching for about the matrix and the blue pill will make Neo go to sleep and forget everything has happened. However the pills are much more significant than just that, the red pill symbolizes the burden of reality and what’s actually real and relevant and the blue pill symbolizes an ignorant illusion to a false reality. Neo chooses the red pill and this scene is significant to me because it represents his ethical behavior because Neo made a choice on what he decided what the “right” or the “just” thing to do with his life. The basic moral code that governs one behavior in terms of making right or wrong decisions is the principle of Ethics and this was the first scene of it portrayed in the movie.

We learned in class about Rene Descartes who was the first to focus on whether we can prevent skepticism from undermining every claim to knowledge. Descartes was the man who coordinated the phrase, “I think, therefore I am”. Descartes posed the question of how he can know for absolute certainty the world he lives in and experiences is not just an illusion being forced upon him by say some evil demon. He states his senses cannot provide him the proof that the world exists and says for all he knows the whole world could be under control by an evil demon. In The Matrix the evil demon Descartes speaks about can easily be realized as the artificial intelligence that puts humans into a virtual reality in order to harvest there bioelectric energy. It isn’t until Neo is yanked out of the Matrix that he realizes his entire life until that point was a virtual reality. One of my favorite scenes is when Morpheus is rehabilitating Neo and Neo asks why his eyes hurt so much and Morpheus responds by informing Neo that he has in fact never used his eyes. Neo eventually grows to understand not to take anything at face value and to question the existence of everything even things such as chairs that may seem so real.

Many of us from one time or another can recall having a dream that has felt so real and the emotions felt were so vivid. Dreams are often mistaken for reality. In one scene Neo awakes from a dream and is genuinely confused on whether or not he has truly woken up. It was scenes such as this one that best represented to me what we learned in class about Skepticism because of doubt and uncertainty of what’s real.

This movie was a very intriguing and eye opening movie to say the least. It opened my mind to idea of a different concept of what reality could actually be. Movies such as this are my favorite kinds of movies because I like when I’m required to think hard about what is being said and portrayed in the movie. There are many different areas of philosophy covered throughout the Matrix and there are just as many different interpretations and opinions on the movie as well. This movie to me was one that provided me with a visual understanding of the principles of the theories we’ve been learning in class.

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