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The Matrix (1999)

Related: self-referentiality - science-fiction similacrum

The Matrix way of knowledge - Erik Davis

From the Gnostic gospels to the visions of Descartes to the shamanic quests of Eastern mystics, the Wachowski brothers' pop opus weaves a dense web of philosophical and metaphysical allusions.
--Erik Davis, 2003

The Matrix (1999) - Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski

  1. The Matrix (1999) - Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski [Amazon.com]
    Postmodern thought plays a tangible role in the movie. In an opening scene, Neo hides an illegal minidisk in a false copy of Jean Baudrillard's Simulacra and Simulation, a work that describes modern life as a hyperreal experience of simulation based upon simulation. Interpretations of The Matrix often reference Baudrillard's philosophy to demonstrate that the movie is an allegory for contemporary experience in a heavily commercialized, media-driven society, especially of the developed countries.

    Some academics have argued that the Matrix series is consistent with a Marxist analysis of society. Professor Martin Danahay and then PhD candidate David Rieder co-wrote a chapter of the best-selling book The Matrix and Philosophy: Welcome to the Desert of the Real (ISBN 081269502X ) in which they argue that the movie gives a visual image of Marx’s ideas, particularly in the scene where Morpheus tells new recruit Neo that the computers have reduced him to nothing more than a battery.

    “Humans in The Matrix must produce electricity to run the machines that enslave them, just as workers in Marx’s analysis must produce surplus value through their work,” Danahay explained. “Also, the rebels in the movie liberate Morpheus from an office, and they rescue Neo from his white-collar job. The rebels are trying to get workers to wake up and realize they are being exploited, which is one of Marx’s aims, too.”[1].

    Danahy and Rider also argue that rebellion against the machines' domination is an analogy for the modern-day workplace with the evil agents dressed like corporate executives, and Neo escaping from his cubicle to escape them. When he ambushes the evil agents later in the movie, they are in an office high-rise complete with impersonal decor. (Source: Arlington Star-Telegram, June 10, 2003).

    Similarly, the Maoist International Movement has adopted the Matrix as one of its favourite films asserting that they "could not have asked for more in a two and a half hour Hollywood movie" and views it as an exercise in dialectics in which a new mode of production is explored, the "battery mode of production". [2]

    The youth wing of the Russian Communist Party has also embraced the Matrix and its sequels with youth wing leader Oleg Bondarenko asserting there is "no difference" between Neo and Lenin as revolutionaries.[3]

    See also: the philosophy section of the official matrix website. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Matrix [Sept 2005]

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