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The Truth in the Matrix

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 02:12 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 63.4 
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Wake Up



Human beings have always had a difficult time establishing the definition of reality.   In The Allegory of the Cave by Plato, prisoners chained to a rock observe shadows on the wall for so long that they believe they are real.   Descartes, the philosopher, wrote that he could not be sure that life was not just a stream of unconscious dreams.   The film, The Matrix, does not attempt to answer this basic human question directly.   Yet, since its release, philosophers have attempted to use the film as a springboard to extract a definition of reality.   Through the motifs of dreams and waking from these dreams, The Matrix displays an amorphous reality for human beings.   Human symbolic language distorts reality in a person’s consciousness, just as the Matrix clouds the minds of humans through their dreams.   Yet, The Matrix shows that awaking from these controls, whether it is language programming or the Matrix dreams, humans can exhibit control over an amorphous reality.   People can only access reality through abstract concepts, and therefore reality is ambiguous and malleable because acquired definitions place reality in a person’s mind.

Dreaming in The Matrix reshapes the reality of the characters.   When Trinity contacts Neo the first time, he is asleep, with headphones on his ears when the computer types “Wake up, Neo.”   Neo responds and immediately looks at the computer screen.   Trinity has somehow gotten into his dreams and shaped them so that his dreams connect with his reality.   The boundary between dreaming and waking blurs and Neo cannot determine what is real.   Philosopher Colin McGin observes, “the dream state is indistinguishable from the waking state from the point of view of the dreamer.”   Because Neo has no suspicion that what he senses is not from his conscious mind, he wakes when Trinity tells him to, and he follows the White Rabbit as she instructs.   The “dreams” that Neo experiences at the beginning of the Matrix manipulate...

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