Philosophical Issues in the Movie: The Matrix

Paper Type:  Term paper
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1361 Words
Date:  2022-11-17

The Matrix is a science fiction movie that was released on thirty first March 1999. Almost overnight the movie became a huge success and garnered a huge number of fans in the weeks that followed. What intrigued the viewers are the prefect plot and the amazing screen play. The plot of the movie revolves around one person, Neo. Neo is a computer programmer and a hacker by night. In the past few years he had been suspecting that there was something amiss with his reality. His fears are confirmed when he is given a visit to the matrix by Morpheus. In the year 2199, machines would have colonized the earth and enslaved the human race. Humans are now kept in stimulation where they can perform their day to day activities while in the real sense they are in a pod with their body energy being absorbed. Morpheus tells Neo that he is the one who is to free humanity from the slavery from the machines. This movie is a captivating movie that has a lot of psychological issues. These issues are what I am going to be looking at in this paper.

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The first scene to raise psychological issues is the scene where neo is told to choose between the red pill and the blue pill. If he chooses the blue pill, he would wake up the following morning in his bed without the knowledge of the encounter with Morpheus or the matrix. If he chooses the red pill, he would be kept in wonderland and shown how dee the rabbit hole goes. Here Morpheus is talking about the fact that almost all humanity is kept in pods as cultivations for the machines' source of energy. This scene raises a fundamental question to the nature of human beings. Would you rather be blissfully ignorant or hear the painful truth? Neo decides to take the red pill and be show the truth about his reality. This is the opposite of what majority of the humans prefer. We are told that all humans except those in Zion have been captured and placed in pods and their consciousness uploaded to the matrix. These people do not question their reality but rather accept it the way it is. Neo is different from the masses in that he decides to question his reality and ends up finding out that he has lived a lie all his life. This scene raises a question, how do we know that we are not living in stimulation? The short answer is that we do not and almost all of us are happy with the fat of not knowing. No one has ever tried to question our reality to the pint that they find out we live in stimulation. We are happy and contented about our ignorance and we would rather take the blue pill than the red and return to our dream state and not bother ourselves with the truth.

Another philosophical issue that is raised in the Matrix is the inability of humanity to be happy and maintain a happy society. In one of the scenes when Morpheus is talking to Neo, he tells him how the machines had built a different matrix before the one that they were currently in. This matrix was full of happiness for the humans and there was no suffering. Maybe this was an attempt by the machines to make the humans so happy and satisfied that they would not have a reason to doubt their existence. One would think that since happiness is what everyone chases after, this happy matrix would be peaceful and everyone would be contented. However, the machines, being machines, forgot about the fundamental nature of the human race. Majority of the humans in the first Matrix were full of greed and jealousy that in a matter of days, the software had descended into chaos and violence. Seeing this, the machines decided to make another matrix that would have flaws and suffering and this proved to be what was needed to contain the humans. Here we are confronted with the question of happiness. Is happiness all that humanity seeks or is it that once humans get that happiness they go on seeking something else? Aristotle said that," Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence". Aristotle might have been right but how do we know that happiness is the end? One might argue that like in the movie, if all humans are given a chance to be as happy as they can, how do we know that they would not just chase after another fantasy?

In one of the first opening scenes, Neo hides illegal software in a hollowed out book by a French philosopher called Simulacra and Stimulation. In this book the author talks about how we live in a consumer culture where majority of what we think to be real is actually not true. The author of the book describes a condition called hyper-real. In this condition, consumer culture is a world where stimulation of reality has become more real than reality itself. He goes on to give several examples of how these customer culture is shaping our reality. When Morpheus introduces Neo to the real world he calls it the desert of real. This phrase is in the first page of the book Simulacra and stimulation. This can be interpreted as the movie trying to support the author's idea of unreal customer culture. The author of the book was influenced greatly by another philosopher, Karl Marx. The matrix does not explicitly link to Marx the whole idea of the people in the matrix living in an illusion where they think it is reality is closer to Marx thinking than any other philosopher. Marx argued that the working class was being exploited because it does not see itself as being exploited. This is the same case for the people in the matrix. They do not even consider the fact that they are under stimulation because they cannot see any sign of stimulation around them. The reference of the book in the movie might have been an attempt to identify itself with the everyday activities of normal people.

The main focus of this movie is what true reality means. In the movie, there are two worlds, the real world and the stimulated world, The Matrix. People in the matrix live normal lives and follow their day to day routines and work to make a living. However, the people in the matrix are not aware that they are living in stimulation and to them this is their reality. This stimulated universe is comparable with what Plato's argument of idealism. Plato argued that reality was a non-issue and that it consists only in the mind of the person experiencing the reality. The people in the matrix are unaware that they are in a stimulation and thus do not strive to be free from it. In the words of Sheryl Sandberg, "We cannot change what we are not aware of and once we are aware, we cannot help but change." This shows us that for the people in the matrix to be helped, they first have to be aware that there is a problem with their reality. For a long time, though he had his doubts, Neo was not aware that he was living in stimulation and thus there is nothing that he could do about his situation. Once he knew, he acted on this knowledge and longed to be free from the Matrix.

The Matrix is one of the movies that can be considered one of the best of all time. What intrigues the viewers most ids the deep and in-depth coverage of philosophical issues in the movie. The movies main focus is the question of what reality really is and how can we tell if we are living in a reality or not. This movie has made more people to think more critically about the fact that we might be living in stimulation. This is still a matter of debate but the movie does a lot to raise our awareness to the fact.

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Philosophical Issues in the Movie: The Matrix. (2022, Nov 17). Retrieved from

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