What did you learn from the Matrix? Let's talk Movies
Philosophy of the Matrix
What Can We Learn From The Matrix?
The Matrix- It was a great movie. The heavy action, the fight moves, Neo's bullet Dodge and much more. Yeah, it was awesome. But let’s move away from all the action and such; what exactly did you learn from the movie? I can see you getting ready to shoot a range of philosophical answers so let’s get right to it, shall we?
Think of what philosophers like Socrates and Descartes taught; what they all really sought. Was your answer "the truth"? You're so right. The two, like any other philosopher seeks the truth- true knowledge. This is actually one of the reasons you may find that a majority of philosophers are not religious. It is not easy for them to simply accept what religion teaches, and have to ask questions and even challenge what is taught in religion and the society in general.
It is the belief of some individuals that the world we live is an illusion- some people actually believe this. But who are we to say they are wrong? Can we say for sure that they are wrong? Can we provide sufficient evidence to show they are wrong? Oh! you think you can huh? Well go right ahead. Give it a try...
That is not a discussion I would want to engage in. Not at all- It would only consume so much of our time and lead us down a rabbit hole we can't come out of. So let’s not go there. Ok mate?
The Matrix is the type of movie that makes more sense to someone who has some knowledge of philosophy than someone who is just there to enjoy some good action. In the movie, machines have taken over the world and derive energy from human bodies. The system is also set in such a way that humans live in a simulated world, which appears to be more comfortable and ideal. The real world however is run by machine and nothing is desirable about it.
Living in the Matrix represents the reality of the world we live in today. People choose to live in ignorance rather than actually deal with issues affecting them. Raising questions and seeking the truth for a majority of people not only consumes too much time, but also presents a variety of risks such as discrimination. For this reason, many will opt to remain ignorant accept what they are taught without question, follow the rules to the letter and abide by the set standards. I'm sure you've heard of individuals like Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald. What do they have in common? You guessed it, they made some truths public. What has this done to their lives? They were sought to be arrested and charged. Some had to escape and seek refuge in other countries; others like Chelsea Manning were arrested and charged with espionage while history shows that others have been assassinated. Now do you see why the greater majority prefer the simple life of ignorance? It is less stressful without many complications- or is it?
In the film, Neo is given two pills (a blue and a red one) and asked to choose one. With the blue pill, he would go on living in the simulated world and therefore not get to learn about the real world. With the Red pill however, he will get to learn the truth about the Matrix and thus gain true knowledge. Red Pill- You can already associate it with danger. In the world we live in, seeking the truth is a dangerous path. It involves going up against the system- Against set institutions and those running these institutions. Socrates did the same thing- He asked questions, challenged the status quo and sought to find true knowledge on his own. This resulted in his death. Remember Galileo Galilei? Why was he placed under house arrest for the remainder of his life? He was charged with heresy for proving that the earth was not the center of the universe. This challenged the beliefs and teaching of the Catholic Church and they would not have it.
Ignorance is bliss for many people and they will therefore prefer living the un-examined life. This means allowing those in the leadership positions and those running institutions to make all the decisions on behalf of the people. The problem with this is that many people have become zombies. They are simply told how to live, what to do and what to believe. To live what appears to be a comfortable life, they have to accept everything without question and abide by certain rules. This situation has seen a good number of leaders get away with a lot without being criticized. It is interesting to see people support their leaders wholeheartedly without pointing out where they go wrong. They will not stop and point out where these leaders have faulted, but rather follow them to whatever end. This is both wrong and dangerous and can have dangerous consequences on the people themselves.
For the fear of being labeled a traitor and other harsh words, many opt for the easy road and thus staying out of controversial topics.
What's so wrong with living in ignorance?
This would result in injustices, discrimination and unaccountability among those in power. It would result in an abuse of power by institutions and result in the ordinary person being forced to toil for those in power. Like is the case in the Matrix, human beings would only serve the purpose of keep the machine alive. In this case, the machine is the system and human efforts would go to keeping it alive and strengthening it further. Whoever we are, we should not be afraid of searching for the truth. This means not accepting everything as gospel.
Have you seen an infant trying to make sense of his or her surrounding? Seen how they gradually learn about everything around them as they grow up? That is the equivalent of seeking for the truth. They have a drive to know- It is natural for them. However, this is not the case when we are grown. We certainly realize the dangers of doing so and simply stop.
Become a child again- seek true knowledge.