What is the Matrix, again?
The Matrix Resurrections has arrived in cinemas and on HBO Max – and everyone has questions. Many, many questions. The original Matrix movie was a mind-boggler, and the sequels confused things further. Now, the fourth installment adds more layers to the already puzzling series. And if you’re looking for a little helping hand understanding what you’re watching, then you’ve come to the right place.
At it’s heart, “The Matrix” examines whether it is better to live a comfortable lie than a harsh truth. The forces in Zion want to “free” humanity but it becomes clear about half way through the movie that not everyone wants that.
The pills represent a choice we have to make between accepting the truth of reality (red pill), which could be harsh and difficult, or maintaining our blissful ignorance of the world (blue pill), which is way more comfortable.
Of course, the machines depend on most of humanity wanting to accept the lie. Say what you want about the sequels, but at least they further examine the basic proposition and take it one step further – maybe some people would prefer the harsh truth if it was presented to them and they were given a choice.
“…the truth will set you free” John 8:32
“The Truth Will Set You Free, but First, It Will Piss You Off” – Gloria Steinem
“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.“―Morpheus to Neo
In the context of the Matrix, a person who picks the red pill will become aware of the Matrix itself and what the machines are doing to them. Someone who takes the blue pill gets to continue living in ignorance, none the wiser of what they are being used for.
General definition – A matrix is a grid of numbers. They are objects of interest in linear algebra, group theory, mathematical physics, and more. But as far as I can tell, “the philosphy” of matrices is not meaningfully distinct from philosophies of maths and number systems in general.
A main philosophical question in The Matrix was: Do we choose to become aware of factual reality, or do we cling to the more subjective depictions and perspectives we find most appealing ( “the matrix”)?
Our destiny is connected to our choices regarding awareness and understanding of developments and issues in the world. Do we desire and choose to be more aware or do we desire and choose to remain blisfully ignorant, for our own gratification, complacency and perhaps even at our own detrement?
“You know, I know this steak doesn’t exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? Ignorance is bliss.”
If we extend this to a philosophical standpoint, we are faced with the deeper meaning of the choice. Are we ok with living an ignorant life as long as we are happy? Or will we want to search and find the Truth even if it will be a difficult truth to embrace?
The answer as Morpheus points out rests solely with us.
Stay safe, marathon the Matrix and take care,