[thechat] Matrix Revolutions

Jorah Lavin madstone at madstone.net
Sun Nov 9 17:31:31 CST 2003

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Sean" <ethanol at mathlab.sunysb.edu>
> Plus, the matrix-in-a-matrix idea is really, really lame.

Sorry for the lameness of the idea. I fell under the influence of evil
forces on this site:


IV. Concluding Remarks

Whether we view the film from a Gnostic Christian or Buddhist perspective,
the overwhelming message seems to be, "Wake up!" The point is made explicit
in the final song of the film, Wake Up!, by, appropriately, Rage Against the
Machine. Gnosticism, Buddhism and the film all agree that ignorance enslaves
us in an illusory material world and that liberation comes through
enlightenment with the aid of a teacher or guide figure. However, when we
ask the question, "To what do we awaken?", the film appears to diverge
sharply from Gnosticism and Buddhism. Both of these traditions maintain that
when humans awaken, they leave behind the material world. The Gnostic
ascends at death to the pleroma, the divine plane of spiritual, non-material
existence, and the enlightened one in Buddhism achieves nirvana, a state
which cannot be described in language, but which is utterly non-material. By
contrast, the "desert of the real," is a wholly material, technological
world, in which robots grow humans for energy, Neo can learn martial arts in
seconds through a socket inserted into the back of his brain, and technology
battles technology (Nebuchadnezzar vs. AI, electromagnetic pulse vs.
Sentinels). Moreover, the battle against the Matrix is itself made possible
through technology - cell phones, computers, software training programs.
"Waking up" in the film is leaving behind the Matrix and awakening to a
dismal cyber-world, which is the real material world.

Or perhaps not. There are several cinematic clues in the scene of the
construct loading program (represented by white space) that suggest that the
"desert of the real" Morpheus shows Neo may not be the ultimate reality.
After all, Morpheus, whose name is taken from the god of dreams, shows the
"real" world to Neo, who never directly views the surface world himself.
Rather, he sees it on a television bearing the logo "Deep Image." Throughout
the film, reflections in mirrors and Morpheus's glasses, as well as images
on television monitors point the viewer toward consideration of multiple
levels of illusion.55 As the camera zooms in to the picture on this
particular television and the viewer "enters" the image, it "morphs" the way
the surveillance screens do early in the film, indicating its unreality. In
addition, the entire episode takes place while they stand in a construct
loading program in which Neo is warned not to be tricked by appearances.
Although sense perception is clearly not a reliable source for establishing
reality, Morpheus himself admits that, "For a long time I wouldn't believe
it, and then I saw the fields [of humans grown for energy] with my own
eyes... And standing there, I came to realize the obviousness of the truth."
We will have to await the sequels to find out whether "the desert of the
real" is itself real.56

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