As a huge fan of the movie The Matrix, I put together an epic Twitter thread a while back on the deep philosophy of the movie, exploring the many concepts embedded in the movie ranging from the simulation hypothesis and Plato’s Cave, to Zen and non-duality.
But, since most people may never find that old thread, or bother to click through every Tweet, and with the 4th Matrix movie coming out soon, I figured I’d turn it into a blog post that’s easier for folks to consume.
In the year of our machine overlords, 1999, quite possibly THE best and most philosophical movie of all time was released 😁. I re-watch this movie every year, and I am STOKED to unleash this epic thread: The Philosophy of the Matrix
The Wachowskis worked absolute magic with these movies…and while there are lessons to be learned in all 3 movies and the overarching story arc (which I’ll touch on at the end of the thread), I’ll be focusing primarily on the first movie.
Also, before I dive in…what the fuck was in the water in Hollywood in 1998/1999? The Matrix, Fight Club, The Truman Show, Pleasantville, The Thirteenth Floor, Dark City 🤯🤯🤯 The Simulation Hypothesis and Non-Duality we’re on FULL display.
Alright Mr. Anderson, down the rabbit hole we go 🐇
The very first thing to call out is Trinity’s line “it doesn’t matter what I believe”, because it’s true. Believe what you want, but Truth is Truth regardless of belief…existentially speaking.
Next, the idea of “Agents” whose job it is to police The Matrix and keep things on track is VERY interesting. If we’re in a game or simulation, something like this almost certainly exists…and to a degree, the NPCs sort of serve this function, trying to keep everyone playing.
“The name is Neo”, which means new (or revived form of), but is also an anagram of One. Layers of meaning, but not very subtle 😂
And what’s the first message Neo sees on his computer screen? “Wake up, Neo…” Neo is asleep, on multiple levels of reality. But, he’s aware enough to know his “reality” is off, and to feel that splinter in the mind that compels him to search for answers…
“The Matrix has you…” Literal and metaphorical. Whether we’re in a game, a simulation, or a dream (and I strongly believe it’s one of the three, or some semantic variant), whatever “reality” is, it’s not real, and it has us all.
“Follow the white rabbit” is again literal and metaphorical. Alice in Wonderland is a wonderful philosophical story as well.
Curiouser and curiouser.
As strange as this may sound, I’ve often wondered if Alice in Wonderland was based on someone’s awakening experience in the same way Moby Dick was…
The book Neo has his stash in is Simulacra and Simulation by Jean Baudrillard (a Sim Hyp type book). The chapter he opens to is, ironically, On Nihilism 😂 Nihilism is fascinating, but radically misunderstood…maybe I’ll do a post on that someday.
Keanu actually read this book in prep for his role as Neo (a gift from the Wachowski’s I believe).
The line, “You ever have that feeling where you’re not sure if you’re awake or still dreaming?”, makes me think of Chuang Tzu:
Knock, knock, Neo.
When Choi says, “It just sounds to me like you need to unplug man” 😂 The word choice in this movie is 🔥
Thing is, we can ALL unplug from “The Matrix” by disattaching and living in the now, by going through the awakening process.
Wake up motherfuckers!
When Neo spots the white rabbit tattoo on Dujour 🐇, this is what some call a synchronicity. Many people swear these exist in our “reality”, and I’ve experienced a few things that seemed as such myself (though they could just be false patterns, attentional bias, confirmation bias, etc.). Might be a thread worth pulling at.
That Neo saw it, changed his mind, and followed it though…may we all do as much.
The song in the club, Dragula by Rob Zombie…one of the lines is “Dead I am the one” 😁 Appropriate on multiple levels, and one hell of a lantern for the end of the movie.
But more than that; if Zen is accurate, “you” have to “die” in order to truly wake up to your oneness. “If you meet the buddha on the road, kill him” and all that.
“It’s the question that drives us Neo…What is The Matrix?”
What is real? What is true? What is the nature of reality? = What is The Matrix?
We seem to be deeply wired to ask/seek this, but shy of enlightenment, all you’ll find are more questions.
“The answer is out there Neo, and it’s looking for you. It will find you if you want it to.” Seek and ye shall find, ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened into you. Now you know what that line of scripture really means 😉
Organized religion may be 💩, but it contains some truths (anything that lindy almost certainly has truths embedded in it).
Ahh, the Agent Smith/Mr. Anderson interactions, some of the best!
“You believe that you are special, that somehow the rules do not apply to you.”
If you want out of the cage, you MUST question it all. Authority, rules, tradition. Leave no stone unturned.
Play as if it’s all a game, you’re a character, and you can ad lib if you want to!
Mr. Thomas A. Anderson as a wage slave…mind numbing bullshit job, cubicle, dick boss. No wonder he was searching!
Complacency is a trap. To wake up, you have to want to burn it all down, to escape no matter the cost. That’s what drives the transformation process at the heart of Zen.
Agent Smith talks to Neo about his 2 lives. “One of these lives has a future, and the other does not.”
I see Thomas Anderson as the inauthentic character, the role the Matrix shoehorned him into, but not who he sees himself as.
Neo is actually his true, authentic self. Who he chooses to be…or at least who he wants to be. This is key!
“Listen to me copper top” 😂 Switch just called Neo a battery, lol. But what is a battery? A store of energy, made to be used by something or someone. A functional component of a system. A resource.
To “the system”, we’re all just batteries to be used and discarded. Replaceable. Interchangeable.
“You have been down there Neo. You know that road. You know exactly where it ends, and I know that’s not where you want to be.” Fuckin A.
Enter Morpheus 😍
In Greek mythology, he was the son of the god of sleep, and was responsible for sending human shapes to dreamers within dreams. Quite a fitting name for his role in this movie. His role is that of a guide, someone who has awoken, and helps others to do the same.
“I imagine that right now you feel a bit like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit hole.” This is what it feels like, deep in your gut, when you finally awaken *within* the dream. You KNOW things aren’t as they seem. The illusion is cracked, and there’s no putting Humpty Dumpty back together again even if you want to…so be careful where you start poking around.
“You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically this is not far from the truth.” 👏
When the cracks in the illusion appear, and you realize it’s all false…yep, exactly this.
“Do you believe in fate Neo?
Because I don’t like the idea that I’m not in control of my own life.”
Free will is probably an illusion, but nobody wants to accept that…and frankly, that feels like a boring way to operate.
The most entertaining would be to assume it’s a single player game, and PLAY!
“You are here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind.” 🔥
I’ve literally felt this way my whole life. You?
Morpheus’s description of the Matrix 🤯…”it is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you to the truth”.
In Zen, they would call this Maya.
“That you are a slave Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch, a prison for your mind.” THIS. This is true on multiple levels if you can only open your eyes to see.
My book Screw the Zoo was ALL about this.
“Unfortunately no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.” The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. Nobody can wake you up. It’s a one-way, solo journey.
And if you can’t yet see it, this entire thread will probably sound batshit crazy 😂
“This is your last chance, after this there is no turning back.” The Red Pill vs. Blue Pill scene is 🔥 We all have a choice, painful truths, or comforting lies. Most will choose the lies. The rabbit hole goes DEEP 🐇
The line about disrupting Neo’s input/output carrier signal…if we really are in a simulation or game (possible/likely), something like this makes sense. We’d each have a unique object identifier, to which our location, memories, etc. would be attached. Hmmmm…
“Have you ever had a dream Neo that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world, and the real world?”
Are you *sure* you’re awake right now? Can you ever be sure?
With the bio pod scene where Neo gets flushed, Neo has finally exited the Matrix…or has he? Is he now in base reality? Or has he just moved up one level in a nested simulation a la Thirteenth Floor or Inception? We’ll come back to this idea later, but strange things are afoot at the Circle K 😁
Not a philosophical point at all (more of an aside), but looking at the level of technology available to the machines, and knowing how inefficient humans are at energy conversion, there’s no way machines would have used humans as a power source 😂
They’d have just put solar panels in space, or at least above the cloud cover…or fusion, or fission…that they’d *have* to have access to the sun to run (much less human batteries) is fucking absurd.
“There’s nothing I can say that will explain it for you Neo. Come, see for yourself.”
As Joseph Campbell would say it, this is Thomas Anderson’s call to adventure.
Can you imagine how his life would have played out if he didn’t take the leap?
TAKE THE FUCKING LEAP!
Having just come out of the Matrix, Morpheus takes Neo right back in to experience it with eyes wide open.
“Residual Self Image” is an interesting concept. While the movie uses it physically, we are what we believe ourselves to be, and our mental image of self is the what shapes our reality and our experience of it.
What happens if you change that core self image?
Give it a try!
“What is real? How do you define real? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”
BINGO. We only experience a mental interpretation of reality, not actual reality. We experience the map, not the territory.
Ahh, the whole “AI as the bad guy” routine 😡
This is such a common trope in Sci-fi that it’s become rooted in the human psyche. And it’s absurd.
Because *everything* is illusory, artificial, lol. Quantum physics indicates that we don’t live in a material reality, and that that we may be in a virtual reality.
If so, then WE are AI 😂
“Fate it seems is not without a sense of irony.”
You have no idea! If we exist purely as a form of entertainment for someone/something a level up, then it makes sense that anything that can happen will happen.
“What is the Matrix? Control. The Matrix is a computer generated dream world, built to keep us under control, in order to change a human being into this. (holds up battery)” 🔥🔥🔥
I think about this a lot.
The economic engine runs on human fuel, and if too many opt out, what happens to the engine?
“I can’t go back, can I…
No, but if you could, would you really want to?”
This is the thing with waking up, there is no going back…and some people really wish they could, because the first step brings a HUGE wave of nihilism with it.
That first step is a doozy 🤣
For some, the nihilism is overwhelming, and they end up giving up, going insane, or committing suicide. They want to be plugged back in.
For others, they realize that a world with no defined meaning can be a fantastic playground or amusement park, and so they take it for a wild ride. Rick Sanchez style 🥳
“We have a rule, we never free a mind once it’s reached a certain age.”
This is very interesting…the younger you are, the less egoic cruft has built up, and the easier it probably is to dissolve your self without the necessity of trauma. Things rings true to me.
The story about the first One, a reincarnation story, is interesting. I don’t believe in reincarnation in the strictest sense (“you” coming back again, karmic cycles, yak yak). But in the sense of the finger puppeting you later swapping in a different puppet, then sure why not 🤣
The training sequence…gotta say, of everything in this movie, this is a technology that I would most love to see. Being able to just download knowledge and muscle memory into your brain…gimme 😍
It also makes me wonder though, if we’re all interconnected in some way (part of a single “system”), could there be a way to do this already? Hmmm.
The Morpheus Neo fight scene! 🤜🤛
“You think that’s air you’re breathing now?” LOL.
“Stop trying to hit me and hit me” is actually quite deep. Trying implies conscious thought. Peak performance requires Mushin, No Mind. Fully in the here and now.
“I’m trying to free your mind Neo, but I can only show you the door, you’re the one that has to walk through it…you have to let it all go Neo, fear, doubt, and disbelief.”
Frankly, you could skip all other philosophy courses and self-help books, and just watch this movie.
“I thought it wasn’t real.
Your mind makes it real.”
The mind constructs our “reality”, literally. Whether you believe you can, or believe you can’t, you’re right.
Ok, next up, the “woman in the red dress” training scene. So many bomb quotes and deep thoughts in this one! (No, this pic is not from the actual movie, it’s a joke based on the boyfriend meme.)
“The Matrix is a system Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you are inside, you look around what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters, the very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system, and them makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.”
“If you are not one of us, you are one of them.”
The difference between someone who is “asleep” and someone who is “awake” is night and day, and it’s close to impossible to communicate and relate across that gap.
If you are awake, to the sleeping mind you will appear insane.
“Why oh why didn’t I take the blue pill.”
Ahh, Cypher. Even though he’s a dick, I kinda feel bad for him.
Sorry dude, there is no going back from waking up. It’s a one way street.
You could try to distract yourself from reality via booze or drugs, but it’s a band-aid at best. Better to just embrace it and find a path forward.
“I know this steak doesn’t exist…ignorance is bliss.” In a way, yes.
Many people poke at reality because they are looking for some greater meaning or purpose. Well, there doesn’t actually seem to be one. And if you can’t handle that, then yes, stop poking and go back to sleep.
Funny enough, apparently the Wachowskis have said that given Neo’s choice (red pill blue pill), they’d take the blue pill 😂
I also think this scene with Cypher is an important look at what you’ll run up against if you awaken. The people closest to you probably won’t like it, and they may do things that seem mean or cruel…just remember, it’s not even about you, but about them. No malice, just fear.
“To deny our own impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human.”
This is interesting. On the one hand, the ability to overcome our base wiring seems a key strength.
On the other hand, being inauthentic leads to misery.
The trip to the Oracle, where Neo is looking out at the “real” Matrix for the first time since unplugging, and he feels both a sense of shock/awe and nostalgia.
When you wake up in the dream, it really feels that way. It’s weird as fuck, and took me months to acclimate.
“Try not to think of it in terms of right and wrong…she’s a guide, she can help you to find the path.” Nobody can tell you your path, but some can help nudge you towards insights that will click for you.
Spoon boy 🥄 “There is no spoon…then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.” Your perception defines your reality. The sooner you grasp this, the better.
The Oracle 😍 This whole scene is great, but I love the Temet Nosce bit (Know Thyself) because it’s the key to everything.
It has layers of meaning, depending on your level of awareness. Also, makes me want cookies, lol.
“It looks like you’re waiting for something…your next life maybe, who knows.” While it may not be canon, I maintain that Neo wasn’t always The One, but only *became* The One once he believed it himself. Our characters aren’t written in stone, and we CAN change them (or maybe we can’t, who knows).
On the subject of becoming something, think of this like a sculptor. You have a block of stone to work with…what do you create? Do you create whatever you want? Or do you chip away to find what’s already hidden inside? 🧐
Perhaps a bit of both.
“You’ll remember you don’t believe in any of this fate crap. You’re in control of your own life.”
I wonder about this still…do we have free will? To what degree? Is determinism legit or bullshit? Fatalism?
“What was said was for you, and you alone.” The exact same words given to two different people could be interpreted in wildly different ways. Thus the whole “the Tao that can be told” dealio again.
However…is the Oracle foreseeing the future? Or crafting it cunningly? (I’ll answer this later.)
“A deja vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix, it happens when they change something.”
I’ve wondered about this. Same with the Mandela Effect.
Are there updates, rollbacks, modifications?
If we’re in an artificial reality, who’s to say?
“If you’d have told us the truth, we’d have told you to shove that red pill right up your ass.”
This is probably true for most people.
Read some Jed McKenna…if you can’t handle that, then yeah, take your blue pill binkie and go nite nite.
“Billions of people just living out their lives, oblivious.”
If we are in fact in a game, then I’m guessing most of humanity are NPCs, playing out their narrowly scripted parts. Most people ARE oblivious 😂
Hell, are there really ANY player characters?
I’m not sure…
“I believe that as a species, humans define their reality through misery and suffering.”
Smith’s dialogue in this scene is 🔥
It’s true though, humanity seems wired to focus on the negative over the positive. I actually don’t think we could handle a utopia.
“Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet.”
Agent Smith’s virus analogy is spot on. We do in fact behave more like a virus than like the other animals on our planet.
The question is, why? And must it be that way? Can we find an equilibrium?
“I hate this place, this zoo, this prison.”
This line is actually why I named my book Screw the Zoo 😁
“There’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.”
The Tao, the “way” or “path”, has to be walked.
Just knowing it’s there is insufficient.
“He’s beginning to believe.”
Once again, your belief shapes your reality.
This is why I think Neo wasn’t the One, but *became* the one. He came to believe it, and thus made it so.
And the effort of others led him to that point…he wasn’t a “self-made” One.
“My name…is Neo!” Damn straight.
Outside forces can have an effect, but nobody defines your character but you if you so choose. Like Batman became the primary identity of Bruce Wayne, Neo became the primary identity of Thomas Anderson. You choose how to play your character 😁 (Maybe, depending on the nature of reality and free will.)
The scene where Neo “dies” and then comes back to life, able to see the code underlying the Matrix…I *think* this is meant as a representation of enlightenment. No mind, effortless action, pure awareness. Buddha Neo 😉
“I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you, a world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries…a world where anything is possible.”
Now, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions…frankly, I didn’t find these movies anywhere near as deep, BUT, there are some nuggets to take away, so here goes…
First, there are multiple indications that Zion and the “real world” are in fact just another layer of the Matrix, and it’s clearly stated that Zion was designed as a holding pen for minds that reject the standard Matrix experience. 🤯
Agent Smith taking over a human in Zion, Neo stopping machines outside the Matrix, Neo being able to see Matrix code outside the Matrix after being blinded.
All of these lead to what’s known as the Matrix in a Matrix theory, the idea that everyone who thought they were unplugged were in fact just in a sub-routine within the Matrix for troublesome code. (I’m really hoping this gets addressed in The Matrix 4.)
Thing is, this may be the case for our world as well. A lot of “spirituality”, where people feel they’re becoming free, in fact represent just another layer of trap, a distraction…a holding pen.
How else could people spend a lifetime meditating and pursuing Zen only to never awaken?
Maya is a fucking onion.
And even if you attain “enlightenment,” if such a thing even exists, there’s no telling what’s really up a layer.
One thing we learn in the 2nd and 3rd movies is that everyone in the Matrix, even Neo, was a puppet, and the Oracle was the grand puppeteer 😂 She wanted an end to war and the cycle of reloading of the Matrix and wiping out Zion, and she played everyone to make it so. Why though? We never really find out…
You think you’re free, making “your” choices? Are you sure? 🧐
Lastly, Love. Neo’s first core driver was truth and freedom. Later, his love for Trinity took over. The Oracle used this.
Love is also a key driver in our reality. What is love?
Love is attachment, and there’s no enlightenment while attached.
Do with that as you will.
In my mind, The Matrix is a movie that tackles both the Simulation Hypothesis, and the idea of Non-Duality, all rolled into one. It’s one of those movies that you can watch again and again, and always find something new.
Anywho, thanks for reading! Good luck breaking out 🤣
Jed McKenna, one of my favorite authors (even if it is just a nom de plume) just released this…since it’s Matrix-relevant, here ya go: https://www.wisefoolpress.com/free/the-matrix-revelations/
With the recent release of The Matrix Resurrections (Matrix 4), I put together a dedicated The Philosophy of The Matrix Resurrections thread on Twitter, which I’ll also be adding below 🙂
I’m apparently a dissenting opinion on the new Matrix Resurrections movie, in that I actually loved it! I’ve watched it twice already, and working on a third 😁
I will say, I was super disappointed that they didn’t explore the Matrix in a Matrix theory, which I felt was the best possible next step, but alas, I’m not a Wachowski ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Anywho, without further ado, The Philosophy of Matrix Resurrections:
*Major Spoiler Warning Going Forward*
If you have never seen the originals, this movie will make no sense.
It is NOT standalone.
Frankly, this movie is *hugely* meta, wildly sarcastic, and tongue in cheek.
It breaks the 4th wall.
It may be a “sequel” to the WB execs (who are blatantly made fun of in the movie), but I think it’s something else entirely to Lana Wachowski and the core cast.
If I had to pick a single person in Hollywood who strikes me as Enlightened (or at least on that path), it’s Keanu Reeves. I don’t think he’d have taken on the mantle of Neo again if he didn’t think it was worthwhile. Money does NOT appear to be his motivation.
Before we look deep, I just want to highlight a few of the parts I found the funniest:
Seriously, Simulatte 🤣
Alright, let’s dig deep! First up, “New Morpheus”:
“We can’t see it, but we’re all trapped inside these strange repeating loops.” – Morpheus
This is literally life for most people, endless inane patterns many aren’t even conscious of.
Ahh, another Red Pill Blue Pull scene, but this time around with Bugs waking up Morpheus 🙂 Time to choose?
“The choice is an illusion. You already know what you have to do.” – Bugs
It’s more than that though. Read this.
Easter Egg: As Bugs and Morpheus run away from the agents, you see a marquee that says “Root of All Evil starting Lito Rodriguez”, which is a nod to a Sense8 actor and episode name, also by the Wachowskis.
And Neo (err, Thomas Anderson, professional game designer) is in the house!
LOVE all the Matrix knick-knacks in his office, especially that middle finger lol 🥰
Side note: keep a close eye on reflective surfaces. Things are not as they appear to be.
And of course, here’s Trinity…err, Tiffany. Whatever the joke is, naming her Tiffany, I don’t get it…maybe that was her original name before she woke up the first time? I dunno.
It would have been funnier if they made it Karen 😎
Skip forward a bit, and Thomas Anderson is off to his business partner’s office for a wee chat 😁
“It’s so perfect, it’s gotta be fake.” – Smith (looking out over the city)
Not a day goes by that I don’t see something in our “real” world that makes me think this is all a game or simulation.
“I felt either I’m having a mental breakdown again, or I’m living inside a computer generated reality that has imprisoned me again.” – Neo
The funny thing, waking up (existentially speaking) can appear like a mental breakdown. Read the book The Experience of No-Self by Bernadette Roberts if you want a glimpse at what truly waking up entails…it’s definitely NOT for everyone.
OK, Thomas Anderson’s “psychiatric medication” is Blue Pills, I can’t even 🤣
And this quote in the toilet stall as Thomas takes a dump 😎
Some wise words from Tiffy 😂
“How do you know if you want something yourself, or if your upbringing programmed you to want it?” – Tiffany/Trinity
This is a GREAT question!
So Tom is now a “suicide” survivor huh? Hmmm.
The “jumping off a building” theme actually has dual meaning…not just a reference to that “first jump” scene with Morpheus from the original, but also (I think) to the ending of Vanilla Sky. Great movie, definitely see it.
Also, the therapist psychobabble from NPH’s Analyst character perfectly showcases the lengths to which we go and the BS we’ll swallow to stay asleep. Therapy helps you “make sense” of this dream world…but if it IS a dream world, why does it need to make sense? Can it ever really make sense?
“Looks easy enough. Free my mind…I fly, or I fall.” – Neo
This quote comes at the end of a groundhog day type sequence of Tom’s inane routine, same crap day in and day out. He’s ready to jump off a building (again, apparently) to find out what’s really real.
This is actually the level of dissatisfaction necessary to truly wake up, when potential death is vastly preferable to continuing to live a lie.
“They use bots now, skinned as normal people, which means they’re everywhere and you never know who to trust.” – Bugs
If you spend any time on social media, you know this to be true. Bots. Sock puppets. Deep fakes.
It’s getting harder and harder to know who or what to trust.
Speaking of, want to break your mind? Watch this:
“Set and setting, right? It’s all about set and setting.” – Morpheus
This seems like a pretty blunt reference to using psychedelics, which can be a very effective tool to aid in waking up.
Highly recommended 🍄
“Nothing comforts anxiety like nostalgia.” – Morpheus
Nostalgia is one hell of a drug!
The discussion between Bugs & Neo about manipulation of the DSI (digital self image) seems like both a reference to us thinking the body we see in the mirror is “us” even if it isn’t, and also that how we see ourselves is not how others see us. Could also be a nod to deep fakes & the risk of not knowing who’s real. Layers.
Also, the follow-on discussion about time, where Neo thinks it has been 20 years, but in the “real world” it has been 60 years.
That game time and real time can differ is actually an interesting component of the simulation hypothesis. In theory, you could create a virtual experience that feels perfectly real, and appears to last a lifetime, but that only takes 15-20 minutes in “real” time. Seriously, go take a look at DMT and its time dilation effect. Designer DMT coupled with a full sensory BCI, it’s definitely possible. Wild stuff!
“It appears no one found you because you didn’t want to be found.” – Morpheus to Neo
Interesting…did Neo on some level, perhaps thinking Trinity was dead, WANT to remain in the Matrix so he could still see her? In what ways do we keep ourselves asleep by clinging to the past?
“Are memories turned into fiction any less real? Is reality based in memory nothing but fiction?” – Morpheus
There’s only ever right now. The past and the future are illusions generated by the mind. Memories are far from accurate, highly biased, easily modified, and corruptible.
“Now for the bad news. Your brain is hooked on this shit the Matrix has been force-feeding you for years. Hooked bad.” – Morpheus to Neo
This is pretty much everyone. Hooked on the illusion, hooked on mainstream media, hooked on social/tribal bullshit, hooked on dopamine…hooked on Ego.
“They taught you good. Made you believe their world was all you deserve. Some part of you knew that was a lie. Some part of you remembered what was real.” – Morpheus to Neo
Some part of all of us knows what’s real and sees the lies for what they are…it’s why certain things resonate so deeply and persistently.
“Neo: How am I doing? I don’t know. I don’t even know how to know.
Bugs: That’s it isn’t it. If we don’t know what’s real, we can’t resist.”
Until you know where to effectively project your energy to wake up, all your efforts just keep you sleeping.
“They took your story. Something that meant so much to people like me. And turned it into something trivial.” – Bugs
I can think of tons of ways to interpret this, and it could certainly be a dig at this movie and WB’s money grab, but I also think it’s referring to Enlightened beings whose stories have been corrupted in the name of power and greed…Buddha, Jesus, etc.
“That’s what the Matrix does, weaponizes every idea, every dream, everything that’s important to us. Where better to bury truth than inside something as ordinary as a video game.” – Bugs
And this is what Maya does, weaponizes EVERYTHING to keep you asleep.
As an aside, the name of Bugs’ ship is Mnemosyne, the Greek goddess of memory, whose role was to help the dead regain memories of their past lives. Fitting!
“That’s what I meant, what you changed that nobody believed could ever be changed…the meaning of ‘our side’.” – Bugs
It’s important to see that Neo as a catalyst was able not just to help humanity, but sentient machines as well. Changing sides (which requires admitting being wrong) is no small thing.
“Not all seek control. Just like all do not seek to be free.” – Morpheus
Frankly very, very few actually seek to be free. And many of those still don’t really want what they proclaim to want.
Niobe is still kicking!
“Wise enough to know I don’t know anything.” – Niobe
This is true wisdom, to know that we know nothing. All probabilities, no certainties.
“It’s so easy to forget how much noise the Matrix pumps into your head until you unplug.” – Niobe
Sounds like a plug for a digital fast, no news, no social, just unplug and go into nature and enjoy the peace and quiet.
“Nothing travels faster than light, except gossip.” – Freya
“Nothing can breed violence like scarcity.” – Niobe
Mimetic desire is a real bitch. I highly recommend reading the book Wanting by Luke Burgis to deeply understand mimetics.
“Zion could have never made something like this…Zion was stuck in the past, stuck in war, stuck in a Matrix of its own. They believed it had to be us OR them. This city was built by us AND them.” – Niobe
Progress so often requires a changing of the guard.
Niobe being willing to imprison Neo for the good of IO, putting the well-being of the city over Neo or Trinity…this is what society is, prioritizing the collective good of the group over the individual.
Thus the only way to be truly free is to be separate from society.
“Real. There’s that word again.” – Neo
Takes me back to the OG:
We have no clue what is or isn’t real, even though we think we do…
“Everything was simpler back then. People wanted to be free. Sometimes it feels like people gave up. Like the Matrix won.” – Sheperd
This feels like a clear dig to viewers, people who saw the original movie, got the message, and then went back to sleep. Looking around, I agree.
“I have such dreams Tom. Big dreams…but in order for me to pursue mine, I need to dissuade you from pursuing yours.” – Smith
Our society is an engine that runs of consumption and human fuel…to preserve the system, individualistic dreams must be stamped out.
Hah ,the Merovingian’s rant is actually pretty on point. “We had grace, we had style, we had conversation, not this beep beep beep beep. Art, films, books, they were all better. Originality mattered. You gave us Face-Zucker-suck and Cock-me-climatey-Wiki piss and shit.” 😂
“I’ve been thinking about…binaries that form the nature of things. Ones and zeros. Light and dark. Choice and it’s absence.” – Smith
Good observation actually. Binary, duality, is what *everything* is composed of.
Moving along, now awake Neo goes to chat with still asleep Trinity:
“After we spoke I realized, my life wasn’t alive. At some point I think I gave up searching for something real.” – Neo
That’s the catch when seeking truth, there are many rest stops along the way and it’s SO easy to just stay and stagnate and never move on.
“I know some of this will be difficult to hear, after everything you went through. All that pain and suffering, only to learn the world doesn’t end when you do. Surprise.” – The Analyst (aka The New Architect)
I’m not sure you could better encapsulate the shift to Enlightenment than this!
OK, I kinda love NPH in this role 😂 Didn’t at first, but definitely growing on me!
“Did you know hope and despair are nearly identical in code.” – The Analyst
There’s truth in this…to hope is to focus on the future and wish for things to be different, while despair is more focused on the past and wishing for things to be different.
“Alone neither of you is of any particular value. Like acids and bases, you’re dangerous when mixed together.” – The Analyst
I see a few interpretations of this…
One, that all drama comes from duality, and alone is boring. This is the core of the Advaita/Non-Duality concept.
Two, that making people think they’re alone renders them powerless. This is at the heart of modern divisive propaganda.
Three, that discontent minds must be kept apart to prevent trouble. Those in power don’t want those who question the nature of things to organize.
“You don’t give a shit about facts, it’s all about fiction. The only world that matters is the one in here (points at Neo’s head), and you people believe the craziest shit.” – The Analyst
“Here’s the thing about feelings; they’re so much easier to control than facts. Turns out in my Matrix, the worse we treat you, the more we manipulate you, the more energy you produce…and the best part, zero resistance, people stay in their pods happier than pigs in shit.” – The Analyst
This is mainstream media and politics in a nutshell. Your attention and emotions are being constantly manipulated to keep you focusing energy on staying asleep, instead of focusing it on waking the fuck up.
“Quietly yearning for what you don’t have, while dreading losing what you do. For 99.9% of your race that is THE definition of reality. Desire and fear baby. Just give the people what they want.” – The Analyst
This could not be more true 😞
“The sheeple aren’t going anywhere. They like my world. They don’t want this sentimentality. They don’t want freedom or empowerment. They want to be controlled. They crave the comfort of certainty.” – The Analyst
And that’s really it. As in the original:
What I took away from this movie is this: everything has changed, and yet nothing has changed.
The bullshit persists, just with slightly different packaging.
Many who could resist, and who want to on some level, are just too comfortable to actually do it.
And even the very best of us can be put back to sleep, with the right system and incentives.
And that should terrify the shit out of you.
Wake the fuck up!
Congrats, you made it to the end!
Have a cookie 🍪
Want to read more stuff like this? Try these:
The Philosophy of Fight Club (Twitter Thread)
The Philosophy of The Truman Show (Twitter Thread)
The Philosophy of Pleasantville (Twitter Thread)
The Labyrinth of Ego (Twitter Thread)
A Movie Playlist for Questioning the Nature of Reality (Twitter Thread)
100 Philosophical Images (Twitter Thread)
The Nature of Reality (Blog Post)
Why Things Are the Way They Are (Blog Post)
The Words That Divide Us (Blog Post)
No Fucking Clue (Blog Post)