Is this all an illusion? Am I truly here on this planet revolving around the sun or am I a dream in someone else’s imagination? Is my mind my own or the extension of a large factory?
The movie The Matrix poses these questions with superb symbolism and poetic ideologues. Through the use of a futuristic world whereby a machine race has enslaved mankind as a renewable energy source we both question our own existence and our purpose here on Earth. If we are living but a dream inside of an elaborate world of dreamers, controlled by the dream-makers is there any free will? How can we fight against injustice and for liberty if this is only an image? Is it truly the image makers that we are in conflict with or are we fighting our own alter-egos?
As the story unfolds we find ourselves intrigued by the young man, Neo who searches for something he calls the Matrix. Is this not a symbol of our own search for a spiritual existence in a technical world? As we further remove ourselves from a natural existence and find comfort and company ever more in electrical images does it not make sense that a quest for spirit would take place on the Internet? Yet when Neo delves deeper into this world of computers he finds not a God but a race of machines who have declared themselves God. So, does he embrace them and kneel before their alters? No! On the contrary! He joins a force which seeks to destroy their temples in a holy crusade. He is an unbeliever at first. He doubts what he cannot see or touch. But then again, what has he ever felt or touched that he can trust?
Morpheus says, “Welcome to the real world.” But Cipher quips, “Why didn’t I take the blue pill?”
Do we keep taking the blue pill today? We wrap ourselves up in computers VCRS TVs, cellular phones, cars, and cubicles. This cuts us off from our interaction with the real world. Hell, we could have hundreds of conversations in a day and never touch another living human being.
Although violence is often a gratuitous tool used by Hollywood to entice movie goers, in this film the violence is essential to the plot. How else could our protagonist realize that he is not of the Matrix World than to combat within it. It is a symbol of man’s own struggle within himself of the intellect vs. the body or a life of choice vs. a life of enslavement. As he fights his way through we see him overcoming his own doubts about who he is and where he is going.
Just like me.
A teacher, Laurie Woodward is the author of several novels including Forest Secrets, and the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles. She also cowrote Dean and JoJo: The Dolphin Legacy and was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes her novels on the Central Coast of California.