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Philosophy: The Matrix - Essay Example

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Philosophy: The Matrix

Everybody finds it more comfortable to sit inside his or her own comfort zone, enjoying things that appear to be real and reliable because we have so much practice in thinking of the world in fixed and familiar terms. Gracia and Sanford ask the basic questions “What is a person? What is the relation between mind and body? What is the connection between free will and fate?” (p. 56) and lead into a discussion about appearance and reality. It is explained that this kind of question lies at the heart of metaphysics, and that the article deals not just with the actual film of the Matrix, but the whole world in which it takes place. One of the interesting contributions that the article makes is to map ancient metaphysical concepts onto modern vocabulary, so that for example the appearance/reality dichotomy that Plato uses becomes now a virtual/real dichotomy. (p. 60) The real and the virtual have different causes and exist in different ways. Neo, with his reason and his feelings, crosses over from the one dimension to the other and so spans the dualism of the film’s world. The gap between mind and body is narrowed when Neo and the others slip in and out of virtual and real worlds. The article is a very useful guide to the deep concepts that underpin Plato’s image of the cave and the flickering shadows on the wall. As so much of modern life happens in computer mediated zones, it is interesting to reflect on whether modern humans will have a better understanding of these dilemmas. People nowadays conduct friendships and even relationships online, suggesting that there is an inbuilt human tendency to construct emotional connections which do not directly involve physical presence in the same space as the other person. Dreams, hallucinations, and role playing make a fruitful use of the world outside the physical senses, and this makes us think that there is more to the world than just what our senses tell us is real. In the film, there is a scene where Morpheus offers Neo a blue pill or a red pill. This is a visual representation of the age old question whether human beings should take from the tree of knowledge (in religious myths) or leave the cave (in philosophical exploration) . Neo is asked if he believes in fate, and he says he does not, because he doesn’t like to feel he is not in control of his life. Morpheus describes existence as a prison, and human life as slavery and so Neo’s hopes of freedom seem to be dashed. Interestingly, the solution that Morpheus offers in the shape of the red pill , is knowledge, and this is just what Plato recommends. The answers will not solve all of humanity’s problems but the search for knowledge is what makes people truly understand who they are and what the world is. Neo follows the hints and guesses that he had as a youth, and takes the scary step out of his familiar world in order to test out all the theories that he had. By crossing from the virtual matrix into the real world and back again he breaks the barrier between body and mind. This means that he has two different perspectives, and in using both of them he has a better chance of understanding the world and human beings. It is probably a good thing that the matrix film raises more questions than it answers. The point of metaphysical exploration is just as much about the process as the destination. There ...Show more

Summary

Philosophy: The matrix. The main idea that is explored in the article by Gracia and Sanford (2002) is the search that the character Neo undertakes in the film The Matrix to find out about the meaning of existence. The whole world inside the matrix is likened to the dark cave in Plato’s writings and the real world outside is likened to the real world which the people sitting in the cave can only dimly conceive of…
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Philosophy: The Matrix essay example
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