Matrix Analysis “That is because you are seeing for the first time.” What is he seeing? How is he seeing? These questions are often asked when referring to philosophy. Philosophy is based on questioning and searching for truths. In Matrix, the search and questions were for the truth about our own existence. We see that we are here on earth. We feel things and know things, but why? Is it because we are told to believe these things? The whole movie symbolized a path of life which most of us have come across once or twice.
This path is to answers. Neo, the main character, is our guide through this movie. He drags us through his thoughts and doubts which have been in all our minds. As a child did you ever think that your life was just a dream? One day you would wake up and you would be in a crib. You wouldn’t remember anything.
This movie portrays the minds and thoughts of anyone who has ever wondered or was intrigued. What is the matrix? Well it can be perceived as anything one wants. The matrix is the artificial mind. It is the blank slate in which we can program what we want. The world as we know it now is just a program.
The movie portrays the mind as a white room. There are no walls, no furniture, just space. The matrix installs the ideas, emotions, and sense that we think are real. Yet as we have matured, our minds have been taught to believe that we are in a reality. What is real? How can someone tell you it is real? Someone can call a color pink but what is pink? To me I may see red, but I am told to think pink.
Just as Shakespeare wrote, “A rose is a rose by any other name it will still smell as sweet.” Philosophy is integrated well in this movie. It is not hidden, it is relevant. The names of the characters in themselves mean a great deal. Thomas Anderson, a computer hacker, becomes the chosen one. He has been picked by Morpheus.
Thomas Anderson doubts everything. He is referred to as the biblical character “doubting Thomas”. His name is change to Neo after he is chosen. This is his “real” name. Neo, which means new or change, symbolizes the need to find the truth. Once Neo believed, he found himself like a Christ-like figure.
He had to face a decision to die for all. He was chosen to free us, who are slaves to the material, dream world. This is similar to Christ dying for us. Morpheus, who is the guide to the “truth”, is considered the biblical figure John the Baptist. He is searching for the chosen one and is relying on his faith to deliver him. John the Baptist prayed all his life to find the Messiah. Finally he came just as Neo had.
Trinity, who is a follower of Morpheus, symbolizes the Holy Spirit. The combination of all three strengths into one person. She is able to incorporate herself into Neo when he is on his death bed. She is the breath of life. These biblical references opened the door to many other philosophies. Throughout the whole movie, Descartes’ and Locke’s ideas were being introduced and often used.
Although I had previously stated that Neo symbolized, Christ, he also had symbolized Descartes himself. “I think therefore I am” that was the only thing Descartes was ever certain of. He questioned everything and anything. The movie the Matrix stressed the use of machines as the program of motion for humans. Descartes saw that all motions were mechanical processes, but the soul can not be controlled. In one scene, Neo fights Morpheus in a kung fu bout. Neo is programmed to be a fast fighter.
He at first does poorly because he tries to use his mind to control his actions. Then he realizes that it is not his mind controlling him, it is machine. He believes the human body is a perfect machine. Descartes feels that his life is a dream. He has no way of distinguishing between dreams and reality, therefore he doubts everything. “The greatest minds, as they are capable of the highest excellencies are open to likewise to the greater aberrations; and those who travel very slowly may yet make far greater progress, provided they keep always to the straight road, than those who, while they run, forsake it.” This quote sums up all the ideas, thoughts, and doubts that Descartes eve had.
He knew that one could not go through life with out wondering or thinking. As long as you go towards the right path, then you will find your answers. Throughout the movie, many references were made to the idea of senses. It is believed by every human that to know reality is to experience through your taste, smell, touch, hear, and see. Locke believed that this was true. “There is nothing in the mind except what was first in the senses.” Locke’s point of view contradicts Descartes and even the movie itself.
Locke believed our mind is an empty slate. This idea parallels to the ideas in the Matrix about the mind being an empty room. Locke, though, insists that when we begin to use our senses we start to have ideas. How are we to know that our senses are not programmed? There is no correct answer. No one knows.
Locke does state that the mind at birth is the blank slate. In the movie, Neo was reborn into “reality”. He had wires and cords to machines. When they released them, he had no control over anything. He had no understanding. The world was “new” to him.
Neo eventually “learned” everything again. He was taught through computers, though, he never used his senses. Lock feels that the connection of the mind and soul is through the senses. You can never have a full understanding of life without feeling, seeing, tasting, etc. Does Lock have the right answers? No one knows.
In the Matrix, the minds of every individual was bombarded with questions and ideas that were foreign to them. It is hard to say that a philosopher has the right solution to a complex puzzle. Yet it seems that the thoughts of an individual can influence anything. Morpheus said once, “You can believe what you want”. I feel that is a very accurate statement.
No one can ever force anyone believe anything. That is a freedom that we are allowed. The movie is basically saying that you should never just accept what one says. Life is meant to be questioned. Our existence is meant to be challenged. Our minds are meant to be expanded.
Every human should look at a child and admire him. For he is the one who is closest to reality. A child’s mind is always yearning to learn. As humans we feel once we reach a certain age, we have learned all we need. Do you really believe that? Or do you just accept it?.