Dan’s MatrixReview: THERE IS NO SPOON
In his explanation of what the Matrix is, Morpheus bitterly relates that “sometime in the early 21st century mankind was united in celebration, marveling at our own magnificence as we gave birth to artificial intelligence.” Morpheus preaches humility and modesty. How ironic then that at the conclusion of the video version of the film, the viewer is treated to an analysis by the filmmakers on why this film is so technologically groundbreaking and how the marriage between photography and computers will change our lives forever. “Fate,” says Morpheus, “is not without a sense of irony.”
The question “What is real?” is one we encounter every day. Reality is an interpretive act. Two people will often experience the same conversation and hear two completely different things. Biases, prior experiences, agendas, delusions, selective hearing, misunderstandings; effective communication should be nearly impossible. As Morpheus says, it is one’s mind which defines reality. This subjective nature of reality immediately brought to mind a similar realization from an equally dark tale, Heart of Darkness, where a defeated Marlow concedes that “it is impossible to convey the life sensation of any given epoch of one’s existence – that which makes its truth, its meaning – its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live as we dream – alone.”
In The Matrix, the true present on Morpheus’ ship is a colorless world of bland food and serious danger. That reality is so gloomy that Cypher rejects it entirely and chooses happy delusions instead. He views the true year 2199 as undesirable and longs for the blissful ignorance of the Matrix. The irony, of course, is that Agent Smith sees the same situation under a different lens, viewing the Matrix as an infected rathole and longing for the beauty that is life in 2199. Two interpretations, two perspectives, and therefore, two realities.