The Matrix, Truer Than you Think- Part 1
The movie The Matrix which was released in 1990 continues to attract comment because it has become a benchmark in the movie industry for melding sci-fi with philosophy and then projecting it onto the public in the form of an action/thriller. At the time of release the movie was nominated and awarded only one Oscar for Special Effects, but since then there has probably been more theorizing and speculation about the true meaning of The Matrix than any other movie in the history of Hollywood. This movie deals with the most fundamental question of all: What is reality? The hero, played by Keanu Reeves, has a day job as a computer programmer and at night is a geek hacker on the internet where he operates under the name of Neo. The Wachowski Bros. threw in a hotchpotch of allusions to the post-modern theories of Baudrillard as well as Judeo-Christian and Buddhist teachings and to develop the action/thriller motif of the movie the public is invited to adulate Neo as the Messiah, the Buddha and the Terminator all rolled into one. In this article all this pseudo-theology is ignored and we shall address only the core issue of what the movie has to say about reality.
The nerdy, law abiding computer programmer, Thomas Anderson, is contacted by a rebel leader, Morpheus, who attempts to convince him that his everyday existence is in fact a false reality. Morpheus plays a sort of John the Baptist type role heralding the coming of the chosen one, Neo. His job is to make Thomas Anderson question his reality, which is not that difficult because Neo as a cyber-phreak already has misgivings about his everyday life, which to him is almost a torture like a ‘splinter in the mind.’ The name Morpheus comes from Greek Mythology as the god of dreams. His name is the linguistic root of such words as ‘morphine’ (a drug that induces sleep and freedom from pain) and ‘morphing’ (where computer technology enables the seamless transformation from one reality to another). Morpheus asks: “Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream, Neo? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?” Morpheus is setting up the scenario where Neo will discover that his waking life which he thought was so real is in fact a virtual reality, the matrix, that is being fed directly into his mind through the manipulation of his senses by a sinister and all-powerful force referred to as AI (Artificial Intelligence) which now actually rules the human race.