The Wachowski Brothers and the Matrix

Introduction

1. Background

2. History and Myth

a. The Myth before the Myth: the History of the Matrix

b. The Matrix in Judaism and Christianity

3. Social Structure

a. The crews as microcosms of society

b. The Women

c. The Social Outcasts

d. Homosexuality and Lesbianism

e. Inter-Racial Relationships

4. Forms of Government

a. Democracies

b. Dictatorships

c. Utopias/Dystopias

d. Other Forms

5. Politics and International Relations

a. Overview

b. Treaties and Conventions

6. Law and Order through Space and Time

a. Traditional ways of settling legal disputes and reaching verdicts

b. About the contemporary legal system

c. Examples of contemporary Legal Dilemmas

Protection of Privacy

Genetic Engineering/Cloning

Freedom of Information

d. About the futuristic legal system

The Prime Directive

Time Travel and Time Machines

Birth Control

Genetic Engineering

The use of Telepathy and Telekinesis

Criminal Law

Nanotechnology

Cryonics

Definition and Rights of Intelligent Life

Laws of Robotics

Corporate Laws

The Internet and the Control of Information

Election Laws and Procedures

7. Technology

Summary

 

The Wachowski Brothers and the Matrix

 

Introduction

 

 

1. Background

 

 

2. History and Myth

a. The Myth before the Myth: the History of the Matrix

In the beginning of the 21st century an AI was created, and it gave birth to a race of machines. When the machines decided that humans are expendable, a war broke out between the machines and the humans, and world was destroyed. The machines turned the surviving humans into sources of energy which are bred in special habitats as a substitute to batteries, and created the Matrix so that the humans will never know the difference. In one of these habitats lived the one who was chosen to be the savior of the people of Zion, Thomas Anderson, AKA Neo (the New or the One), the Hero of the Matrix...

b. The Matrix in Judaism and Christianity

The War

Christianity

Armageddon

Judaism

War between man and the Golem

The Matrix

War between Man and the Machine

The Victory Celebration

Christianity

A Pagan Orgy instead of a prayer

Judaism

 

 

The Matrix

A Pagan Orgy instead of a prayer

Neo

Christianity

The Messiah who will bring Spiritual Salvation to the people of Zion

Judaism

The Messiah who shall rule forever and ever (instead of a Flesh and Blood King)

The Matrix

The One, the Savior (and the only one who had his name changed)

Five stages in the Messiah's life:

 

1. Birth, acceptance of the call and assuming the leadership

Christianity

Rebirth /baptism/the promise of salvation

Personal Salvation Vs. General Salvation

Spiritual Salvation Vs. Material salvation

 

Judaism

Moses is reborn from the water

"And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens" (Exodus 2 11);

Did Moses know they were "his brethren" and how? According to one of the commentaries, the explanation is simple - Pharaoh's daughter did not keep Moses's origin a secret from him, which is a slight deviation from the Campbellian model.

The promise of salvation – from the Burning Bush to Mount Sinai

Personal Salvation Vs. General Salvation

Spiritual Salvation Vs. Material salvation

 

The Matrix

Neo is reborn from the Matrix

Neo sits by his computer and searches for something - "the road to salvation"? This is the first step on the way out of the Matrix.

The promise of salvation:

"I know you're out there. I can feel you now. I know that you're afraid. You're afraid of us. You're afraid of change. I don't know the future. I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it's going to begin. 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. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you."

Personal Salvation Vs. General Salvation

Spiritual Salvation Vs. Material salvation

2. betrayal

Christianity

The Betrayal of Judas Iscariot; The Lord accepts Jesus's sacrifice: "Father forgive them for they do not know…"

 

Judaism

Aaron's betrayal – The Calf

Exodus 32, 32: "Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written."

Moses assumes responsibility but God rejects his sacrifice and punishes him too 

Deuteronomy 32 52:

"Yet thou shalt see the land before thee; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give the children of Israel."

The Matrix

Cipher's betrayal

3. Death

Christianity

From the moment he is chosen he is destined to be betrayed and die for his people.

Judaism

 

The Matrix

Going up to Heaven in a blaze

4. Resurrection

Christianity

The Descent from the Cross

Judaism

 

The Matrix

 

5. Ascension

Christianity

 

Judaism

 

The Matrix

The "peace agreement" between Neo and the Machine

Trinity

Christianity

 

Judaism

Jochebed, Miriam, Zipporah (Moses’s mother, sister and wife, respectively).

The Matrix

The Trinity (but never the One, why?)

Morpheus

Christianity

 

Judaism

Aaron, Joshua and Caleb?

Numbers 13, 30: "And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.

The Matrix

The God of Sleep becomes the God of Awakening; See the speech before the war:

Morpheus: Zion! Hear me! It is true, what many of you have heard. The machines have gathered an army, and as I speak that army is drawing nearer to our home.

Crowd: [whispers]

Believe me when I say we have a difficult time ahead of us. But if we are to be prepared for it, we must first shed our fear of it! I stand here before you now, truthfully unafraid. Why? Because I believe something you do not? No! I stand here without fear because I remember. I remember that I am here not because of the path that lies before me, but because of the path that lies behind me! I remember that for 100 years we have fought these machines. I remember that for 100 years they have sent their armies to destroy us. And after a century of war, I remember that which matters most. We are still here!

Crowd: [cheers and applause]

Tonight let us send a message to that army. Tonight let us shake this cave! Tonight let us tremble these halls of earth, steel, and stone! Let us be heard from red core to black sky. Tonight, let us make them remember. This is Zion! And we are not afraid!

The Oracle

Christianity

The Mother

Judaism

On true prophets and false prophets; On the last of the true prophets

The Matrix

"…Thus the answer was stumbled upon by another - an intuitive program, initially created to investigate certain aspects of the human psyche. If I am the father of the matrix, she would undoubtedly be its mother.

Neo: The Oracle.

Architect: Please. As I was saying, she stumbled upon a solution whereby nearly 99% of all test subjects accepted the program, as long as they were given a choice, even if they were only aware of the choice at a near unconscious level…"

The Temptation

Christianity

Temptation and seduction away from the true path; the Red Pill (The Blood of Jesus) symbolizes total acceptance of the true path.

Judaism

 

 

The Matrix

The woman in red; The Blue Pill Vs. the Red Pill

The Seducer

Christianity

Satan

Judaism

The Serpent

The Matrix

Agent Smith (succeeds in seducing Cipher, but not Neo)

The Sinner

Christianity

The traitor, Judas Iscariot, a man of little faith, gives up eternal salvation for momentary pleasures, salvation of the soul for carnal pleasures, committed a sin in the sin of hubris, known as one of the seven deadly sins.

Peter who denied Jesus three times.

Judaism

Korah and his company?

The Matrix

Cipher, the naught, a man of little faith, wanted to keep his flesh (or steak) pot and lost everything, even though he was offered a chance to be the One and forfeited it.

The Creator

Christianity

The Creator agrees to spare his beings and restrain Satan

Judaism

The creator as a punisher, avenger and destroyer (He accepts Abraham's plea and destSodom only after He makes sure the only righteous man, Lot , is spared).

The Matrix

Architect: Hello, Neo.

Neo: Who are you?

Architect: I am the Architect. I created the Matrix. I've been waiting for you. You have many questions, and though the process has altered your consciousness, you remain irrevocably human. Ergo some of my answers you will understand and some of them you will not. Concordantly, while your first question may be the most pertinent, you may or may not realize it is also the most irrelevant.

Neo: Why am I here?

Architect: Your life is the sum of a remainder of an unbalanced equation inherent to the programming of the Matrix. You are the eventuality of an anomaly, which, despite my sincerest efforts, I have been unable to eliminate from what is otherwise a harmony of mathematical precision. While it remains a burden assiduously avoided, it is not unexpected, and thus not beyond a measure of control. Which has led you, inexorably... here.

Neo: You haven't answered my question.

Architect: Quite right. Interesting. That was quicker than the others.

TV Neos: Others? How many? How many others? What others? Answer my fucking question! I don't believe anything.

Architect: The Matrix is older than you know. I prefer counting from the emergence of one integral anomaly to the emergence of the next, in which case this is the 6th version.

TV Neos: 5 `One's before me? 4 3 2 What are you talking about?

Neo: There are only two possible explanations, either no one told me, or no one knows.

Architect: Precisely. As you are undoubtedly gathering, the anomaly is systemic - creating fluctuations in even the most simplistic equations.

TV Neos: You can't control me! I'm gonna smash you to bits! I'll fuckin' kill you!

Neo: Choice. The problem is choice.

Architect: The first Matrix I designed was quite naturally perfect, it was a work of art - flawless, sublime. A triumph equaled only by its monumental failure. The inevitability of its doom is apparent to me now as a consequence of the imperfection inherent in every human being. Thus, I redesigned it based on your history to more accurately reflect the varying grotesqueries of your nature. However, I was again frustrated by failure. I have since come to understand that the answer eluded me because it required a lesser mind, or perhaps a mind less bound by the parameters of perfection…

 

...While this answer functioned, it was obviously fundamentally flawed, thus creating the otherwise contradictory systemic anomaly, that if left unchecked might threaten the system itself. Ergo those that refused the program, while a minority, if unchecked, would constitute an escalating probablility of disaster.

Neo: This is about Zion.

Architect: You are here because Zion is about to be destroyed - its every living inhabitant terminated, its entire existence eradicated.

Neo: Bullshit.

TV Neos: Bullshit!

Architect: Denial is the most predictable of all human responses, but rest assured, this will be the sixth time we have destroyed it, and we have become exceedingly efficient at it.

Architect: The function of the One is now to return to the Source, allowing a temporary dissemination of the code you carry, reinserting the prime program. After which, you will be required to select from the Matrix 23 individuals - 16 female, 7 male - to rebuild Zion. Failure to comply with this process will result in a cataclysmic system crash, killing everyone connected to the Matrix, which, coupled with the extermination of Zion, will ultimately result in the extinction of the entire human race.

Neo: You won't let it happen. You can't. You need human beings to survive.

Architect: There are levels of survival we are prepared to accept. However, the relevant issue is whether or not you are ready to accept the responsibility of the death of every human being on this world. It is interesting, reading your reactions. Your 5 predecessors were, by design, based on a similar predication - a contingent affirmation that was meant to create a profound attachment to the rest of your species, facilitating the function of the One. While the others experienced this in a very general way, your experience is far more specific - vis a vis love.

Neo: Trinity.

Architect: Apropos, she entered the Matrix to save your life, at the cost of her own.

Neo: No.

Architect: Which brings us at last to the moment of truth, wherein the fundamental flaw is ultimately expressed, and the anomaly revealed as both beginning and end. There are two doors. The door to your right leads to the Source, and the salvation of Zion. The door to your left leads back to the Matrix, to her and to the end of your species. As you adequately put, the problem is choice. But we already know what you are going to do, don't we? Already, I can see the chain reaction - the chemical precursors that signal the onset of an emotion, designed specifically to overwhelm logic and reason - an emotion that is already blinding you from the simple and obvious truth. She is going to die, and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

Architect: Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength and your greatest weakness.

Neo: If I were you, I would hope that we don't meet again.

Architect: We won't.

The Universe

Christianity

The Kingdom of Earth and the Kingdom of Heaven

Judaism

The Material World Vs. the Spiritual World; Ascension and breaching the boundaries; Crossing over from the Material World to the Spiritual World in the search for purpose, significance and destiny - that is the only way to real happiness and harmony between the sons of Shem (the Semites) and the sons of Japheth (the Hindu - European);

In the physical level- the Matrix as a mega corporation;

In the spiritual level, Man is a captive in a prison of false consciousness of his own making. In order to overcome the fear of accepting the metaphysical reality, a software was created which some people got used to viewing in the "pure" form of source code. But every such software has a tangible representation, or an Avatar, which is very popular in computers, in virtual reality and in Sci Fi.

The Matrix

If we see the Matrix as an ultimate representation of a mega-corporation and Neo's journey as a process of lifting (or piercing) the corporate veil (from the Oracle to the Architect…) here too we find that at the head every corporation, as big and terrorizing as it may be, when all is said and done, we find a single individual…

 

3. Social Structure

 

 

a. The crews as microcosms of society

 

 

b. The Women

Just like Terminator's Sarah Connor (and perhaps Lilly Potter, and Stargate SG-1's Samantha Carter), Trinity is only the Savior's right hand and protector, but never the Savior herself, and just like her she dies before he fulfills his destiny, even though she is an indomitable warrior in her own right.

c. The Social Outcasts

 

 

d. Homosexuality and Lesbianism

 

 

e. Inter-Racial Relationships

 

 

4. Forms of Government

 

 

a. Democracies

 

 

b. Dictatorships

 

 

c. Utopias/Dystopias

 

 

d. Other Forms

 

 

5. Politics and International Relations

 

 

a. Overview

 

 

b. Treaties and Conventions

 

 

6. Law and Order through Space and Time

 

 

a. Traditional ways of settling legal disputes and reaching verdicts

 

 

b. About the contemporary legal system

 

 

c. Examples of contemporary Legal Dilemmas

 

 

Protection of Privacy

 

 

Genetic Engineering/Cloning

 

 

Freedom of Information

 

 

d. About the futuristic legal system

 

 

The Prime Directive

 

 

Time Travel and Time Machines

 

 

Birth Control

 

 

Genetic Engineering

 

 

The use of Telepathy and Telekinesis

 

 

Criminal Law

 

 

Nanotechnology

 

 

Cryonics

 

 

Definition and Rights of Intelligent Life

 

 

Laws of Robotics

 

 

Corporate Laws

 

 

The Internet and the Control of Information

The Matrix

Election Laws and Procedures

 

 

7. Technology

The technology of the Matrix, the technology of the Machine City and technology of Zion.

Summary

The way the Wachowski Brothers use the story of Alice in Wonderland has been discussed a lot. Note also the way Orson Scott Card uses the story of Pinocchio as a parable on life in cyberspace, sometimes from the viewpoint of the creator and sometimes from the viewpoint of the Puppet, in order to discuss the question of choice and free will of a creature supposedly lacking choice and free will.

For the Christian Symbolism of the Matrix see The Matrix - A Cyberpunk Parable?

For Neo's Hero's Journey click here.