It’s Good to Believe that The Matrix Could Be Real

20 Aug 07

I pondered over whether this piece should be called It’s Good to Believe that The Matrix Could Be True or It’s Good to Believe that The Matrix Could Be Real. As you can see, I opted for the latter. This was on account of the fact that I perceived it to be easier to believe in the possible reality of the world of The Matrix that the possible literal truth of the story of The Matrix. In respect of what I am about to say, I don’t know if it would’ve made a heck of a lot of difference either way, but… well… rather than being trapped in some sort of eternal epistemological loop of titular indeterminism, I had to make a choice. As one does. So I did. And so, the choice having been made…

What (you might ask) am I on about?

This issue has rendered itself visible in the sandpit of my consciousness, as I have arrived at having read 13.3% (approx) of the novel, The Traveller, by John Twelve Hawks. The kind of story being told herein (on “the nature of reality” and so forth) often does raise such issues within my awareness – and, although I baulk at the sense of predictability inherent in this declaration, so, in this case, it has. The issue to which I speak, which I have thus far skirted more or less vaguely around, being…

…that it is (in my opinion) valuable, as a human being, to reflect upon the aforementioned “nature of reality.” Especially where such reflections reflect upon the reflections reflected upon in such stories as that related in the film, The Matrix, its sequels and all its various offshoots. Such reflections being highly suggestive of the possibility that everything we think we know is a lie and that all of perceived reality is a construct of the powers that control us. In the case of The Matrix, these “powers” are the machines who are using us flesh-and-blood humans as mere batteries, and are feeding us an “acceptable” version of reality in order to keep us in a state of docile unwitting compliance of their conspiracy. I don’t, at the 13.3% (approx) point, quite know what is going on in The Traveller yet, but I am sure I shall become enlightened of such soon enough.

Generally, such “versions of reality” as those presented in the stories mentioned above (and there are, I would warrant, “many more where they came from”), tend to be dystopian in nature. Why then (you may wonder) would it be valuable (as a human being) to reflect upon the possibility that we are all mere drones in a vast, unfeeling machine (or the like)? Well…

To be aware is to be “free” – as it were. Yes, it is humbling to think that we may have far less control in our lives that we may have previously thought. The truth, however (whatever that is), is the truth, and it doesn’t become any more or less so upon our awareness of it. We may indeed be cogs, but how can anyone ever hope to be anything more that a cog, unless one is aware that one is a cog? Okay, this could be said to be a circular argument (if one is not aware of being a cog, does it matter that one has no desire to transcend one’s cog-ness?)… but…

Is it not generally better for us, as humans, to be in a position to be able to be more aware of “the truth,” to have a greater sense of our contextual framework in existence, to at least be provided with the platform to enable us to ascend to greater heights of fulfilment, meaning and “being”?

Perhaps not.

Perhaps we are “better off” as drones.

Perhaps it is okay to be cogs if we are blissfully ignorant cogs.

Aristotle once said that…

every other good is a means to an end, but happiness is the end [*1]

… or something like that.

Is it only possible to be truly happy if we are fully cognisant (or as cognisant as we can be) of the existential nature of reality?

And furthermore…

Can believing that the world of The Matrix may be real enhance our cognisance of the nature of actual [*2] reality?

… To be continued! (perhaps…)


*1 I feel I must mention that this is not (as far as I am aware) a direct quote from a work of Aristotle, but rather a quote of a quote of a character in the rather magnificent Stephen Baxter novel, Transcendent.

*2 i.e. non-fictional – allegedly! 😉


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