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The Philosophy Of The Matrix Essay

1125 words - 5 pages

The Wachowski Brothers continually highlight in their film, The Matrix, the importance of choice. The Matrix follows Neo, a computer programmer who is drawn out of a simulated reality, the Matrix, and into "the real world". This journey of leaving the Matrix and discovering a greater reality parallels the plight of the fugitive in Plato's Allegory of the Cave. However, in The Matrix, Neo's experience diverges from that of the prisoner's because Neo has choices. That element of choosing what to do or what to believe provides the certainty necessary for determining reality, according to Bertrand Russell's Problems of Philosophy. The defining moments of Neo's journey that detach The Matrix from Allegory of the Cave are Neo's three major choices: the choice to leave the Matrix, the choice to save Morpheus and the choice to believe that he is the One.
Up until the point of Neo's first choice, the choice to leave the Matrix, The Matrix follows Plato's script. Those living in the simulated reality sense nothing is wrong; to them, their reality is everything. However, there is one person who defies the rest. This person, the prisoner for Plato and Neo for the Wachowski Brothers, discovers the true reality. However, their finding out is very different. the prisoner is unchained and forcibly dragged, while Neo is pursued, yet both getting that final push to follow the truth. Yet, the prisoner "conceive[s] some one saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but that now, when he is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned towards more real existence, he has a clearer vision". The prisoner is compelled to find the light and leave, he is never warned about the consequences that will follow this discovery. Neo is. Morpheus tells Neo "that [he is] a slave […] Like everyone else, [he was] born into bondage, kept inside a prison […] for [his] mind" directly referencing Plato's situation. And while the audience can deduce how the story will continue, Morpheus creates a plot twist by holding out two pills. Neo gets to decide whether he wants to "take the blue pill and […] wake in [his] bed and believe whatever [he] wants to believe" or "take the red pill and [be] show[n] how deep the rabbit-hole goes". Neo picks the red pill. This choice is significant to the whole plot, even disregarding the fact that had Neo picked the blue pill, the movie would end, in that, in the words of Russell, "in the search for certainty, it is natural to begin with our present experiences, and in some sense, no doubt, knowledge is to be derived from them" (Russell, 1). The difference between being told to follow the light versus to actively search for that light is Neo's first major diversion from the fate of the prisoner.
Once in their respectively realities, Neo and the prisoner work to understand what they are seeing and experiencing. Both battle with Russell's proposed argument about a table, which in essence, represents reality as a whole: "the senses seem...

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