On Concepts from “The Matrix”

The concept that all existence is actually a dream is eerily possible. I don’t think we can control our dreams, or freely move around and exercise free will while dreaming, but what if we are so able to control our dreams that we don’t even realize that we are dreaming? I once (ok, more than once) knew a man who drank like a fish for years and never seemed drunk, until the first time I saw him sober. What if we have never been awake?

The human race shares a few unflattering characteristics with viruses, but it is stretching the analogy to call us a virus. I have never heard of a virus caring what it kills, or what it eats. We kill and eat anyway, but at least we feel bad about it and hold the occasional telethon.

I think the red pill is like the apple offered to Eve in the Garden of Eden. While the Bible infers that Eve had a choice, and that she could have turned the apple down, on a certain level she never really had that choice. Once the apple was offered, she could never go back to her old life knowing that the apple was out there. The red pill, once offered, would be incredibly difficult to turn down by an intelligent human being. How hard would it be to take a pill that was going to return you to a state of stasis when you had the option to be awake, and you were aware of that option?

I thought the most interesting concept in the entire film was the concept of a perfect world that Agent Smith talked about. I find the concept of a perfect world infinitely imperfect. Page 254 of Dream Weaver expresses the sentiment through the lyrics of an un-named band: “Without dark, there is no light; without wrong no right.” I’ve always felt that perfection makes for a worthy goal, but a horrible result.

When I play games I always, always try to win, but once the game is over I hardly ever remember whether or not I won five minutes later. I’ve read more than once – in autobiographies of successful people – that they miss the old days when they were still struggling. They missed the challenges, and the feeling of striving towards something. The successful conclusions they reached were only satisfying for a short time, but the sense of being alive they got from the struggle was stronger and longer lasting. Gamblers struggle to quit, not because they miss winning but because they miss the hope of winning. The moments leading up to the resolution give them that same alive feeling that the young strivers feel while they work their way to that goal of perfection. Once the game ends, or the struggle is over, instead of feeling satisfied the feeling is more one of emptiness.

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