The Matrix

In the movie The Matrix we may see many similarities between the society that is the Matrix and that of our own society. Though this movie is an extreme exaggeration of our situation it nonetheless lets us see how we endure these same problems of being “plugged in” every day and how we are fighting those who seem to have control over our lives. However, the question still remains, are we getting anywhere? And if so, is it safe for all of us to unplug at once? Could we handle it?

In The Matrix, computer technology finally developed to the point of producing artificial intelligence; a thinking, willing, self-determined computer. It continued to learn and grow, gaining control over human society incrementally to the point of almost total control. Human revolt took the form of a mass cataclysm, nuclear in nature, intended to block sunlight from the surface of the earth and shut down the solar-powered computer. The computer then started to breed humans for use as a power source. They were born, grew, and died within gel-filled pods, fed nutrients intravenously while their body heat and electro-chemical impulses were tapped to power the computer. To keep people alive as long as possible, the computer created a program called "The Matrix," a virtual reality world serving as an exact duplicate of late 20th century earth. Humans in the pods were plugged directly into the computer network through implants at the base of their skulls. Individuals within the matrix perceived themselves as living out a normal life somewhere on 20th century earth, while in reality their lives were spent within a pod.

This situation can be directly applied to our lives today. All you would need to do is simply replace the robots with all those who are in our government and exercise power amongst our society. Then we would change the nuclear war to racism and terrorism towards each other. And the program is not the Matrix, but “values” which are instilled in us by society to tell us what we should want, do and be. This is how we become “plugged in.” Instead of rejecting the program and attempting to discover where these ideals came from, we simply accept them and move on with our lives. This is what keeps the system working, the fact that the system feeds off of our ignorance to the obvious, being that we are the worker bees who continue to work at the expense of our independence and ourselves and at the benefit of the queen bee.

This is the exact nature of the matrix. In the film, twentieth century earth is gone. The real world is a nuclear wasteland; cities are charred and empty and life on earth is only possible beneath the surface. But an exact copy exists in the form of a computer program. People are living life in simulacra, a copy that is its own reality. Exploring this type of pseudo-reality is the next step for modern science fiction. Early science fiction projected the pioneer impulse onto outer space; just a quick survey of science fiction from Buck Rogers to Star Trek reveals that older forms of science fiction were nothing more than pioneers fighting Indians to conquer new territory -- nothing is changed but the clothing and the weaponry. While our planet still carried with it some element of mystery, so long as there was a frontier, the human imagination could project this frontier to outer space. The frontier is gone, and with it the older forms of science fiction.

The very world of the matrix was a "model of simulation" given the feeling of the real, done so for the sake of maintaining control and reducing human beings to "coppertops," energy sources feeding the system upon which they are dependent for their survival.

This is the world in which we live. We work to earn money, spending the money in grocery and clothing stores, paying our mortgages, living as model citizens (just as Neo was pressured to do) for the sake of our survival. We take money from the system and feed it back into the system, like cattle fertilizing the ground upon which they graze. The film assumed that reducing a human being to a "coppertop" was an