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Sophie's Matrix A Philosophical Overview Of Sophie's World By Jostein Gaarder In Cojuction With The Film The Matrix

1174 words - 5 pages

Sophie's Matrix, essay on Jostein Gaardner's Sophie's World Jostein Gaarder created a relatively concise history of philosophy in his book Sophie's World in which he masterfully weaved through important philosophical questions regarding human life as a part of our world and the entire universe. The unique ending of the novel promulgates the idea that our knowledge of the world is extremely limited and going beyond our limitations is essential; however knowing too much can create a different existence with its own negative aspects. As we go through Sophie's World, we are told the story of Sophie Amundsen and her philosophy teacher, Alberto Knox, who are stripped of their existence as real people when they realize that they are simply characters in the mind of a U.N. Battalion major - Albert Knag - writing a book as a present for his daughter's fifteen-year-old birthday. Sophie's world is merely a dreamlike existence in the major's imagination and Sophie herself is comfortably "asleep" in a pod, unaware of the true nature of reality or life. The irony is even greater when we see that her whole course of philosophy emphasized not being part of the majority who surrendered to the world and didn't dare to question it. Alberto writes in one of his letters, "We who live here are microscopic insects existing deep down in the rabbit's fur. But philosophers are always trying to climb up the fine hairs of the fur in order to stare right into the magician's eyes." (Gaardner, 14) This suggests to Sophie that a real philosopher will never get used to the world no matter how comfortable it seems and will be inquisitive as to gain more knowledge or at least understanding. Many philosophers hold the belief that the only thing we know for sure in our world is that we are utterly ignorant. Sophie's World includes this thought in almost all the lessons Sophie receives from Alberto. The irony of the story lies in that the idea "I think, therefore I am" is not applicable in all situations. This is one of reasons why the realization that Sophie and Alberto aren't real becomes such an important factor in the end of the book when they try to escape the major's mind. We see that no matter how real our surroundings or our vision seem, it can all "melt away". It also prompts us as readers to question just how true our most certain knowledge and values are. Gaardner incorporates in the author of Sophie's World an ultimate power that has control over Sophie and Alberto. This provides a powerful metaphor for our own existence and things that might have power over us as human beings. The mind controls us, just like Albert controls Sophie's world, by having us believe that our identity is our thoughts and our past. Instead of really knowing ourselves, we only know thoughts about ourselves. Since the mind controls us, we are its slaves, its prisoners. The question then arises as to how to become free, how to break out of this prison? To become free we must let go of...

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