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Caught in the Matrix

It’s been a while since I wrote last. But my boss has asked me to churn out an article and I am feeling sleepy after almost a week of sleep deprivation studying for entrance exams. More than the effort of writing itself is the effort put into searching for a suitable subject to write about. Skimming the frothy surface of my own brain I could only find a rather heavy and philosophical theme that had been the center of conversation just a couple of weeks ago with my friends over an afternoon cup of tea in my rather shabby college canteen. So if you are not in one of those moods to talk heavy then you can save your self the anguish and move to the jokes section of this site.

It’s an old subject. Probably was the center of conversation at intellectual and pseudo intellectual parties where snooty guests with a glass of wine in their hand pondered over the reality of the world one lives in and whether their Porsche would run just as smooth in any alternate reality. Trying their utmost to make an impression while letting their eyes wander to locate that bloody waiter who is serving the grilled shrimp .It 's also provided fodder for spiritual columnists who have drawn parallels between it and the eastern concepts of maya and enlightenment.

 

      

I am pretty much at the risk of rambling on here so I guess I should without delay reveal that I am talking about the Matrix…. the movie of course .It’s earned it’s share at the box office….. earning like a billion dollars worldwide, maybe a couple billion (out of which about 50 $ would be mine after having seen the first part of the trilogy 5 times on the big screen alone).When I saw it first I was completely mesmerized .I didn't understand the whole of the concept in one go but the special effects and the whole slow motion thing with bullets alone got me to go Ga Ga over it. But I came to appreciate it even more in the next 4 visits as the concept behind the matrix became clearer still .I haven't liked the sequels too much(except for Monica Bellucchi and her hour glass figure) which for me have been too loud and basically just an over exertion of the concept with some more ide effects.

 

The matrix raises a few familiar philosophical questions. It forces one to question ones own reality and the reality of the world that surrounds oneself. For the unacquainted I will present the concept of the film in short.

It’s the end of the world as we know it .The machines rule the world .They need electricity to carry their functions which in the absence of sunlight (blocked of by the polluting haze created by mankind) raise crops of people to serve as battery cells .The matrix is the computer generated dream world into which the minds of people are plugged to keep them from realizing their present situation while also keeping them alive. Matrix mimics the world of humans creating the scenario of the year 1998 all the time making the mind believe it is in the real world.

The concept of the matrix is very familiar to the concept of maya in eastern spiritual philosophy. Which terms the world and all the objects of sensation, our inner spheres of thoughts and emotions as unreal while only allowing the atman or the Brahman to be the sole reality. One can realize this deeper reality by contemplating on the inner being while understanding the outside world and the mind to be unreal. As in the matrix it is this outer world of sensations received through senses and the relations with the outer world one gets into that dissuade us from realizing the deeper reality and thus one needs to tear of this veil of maya to realize ones true identity. In the matrix one can be unplugged from the matrix and thus move in and out of the matrix and the real world. This I guess would be the anomaly with regards to the maya theory. Because in the matrix while one does arrive in to a more real sphere by disconnecting with matrix (after choosing the red pill) this sphere is no less miserable than the matrix , infact its even more so. In eastern philosophy unplugging from this Maya( the realization of the self) is the advent of a blissful journey, the realization of one’s self is also the realization of bliss… the realization of complete freedom.This realization then is more amply demonstrated by Neo’s transformation. Infact the Matrix is nothing if not symbolic of the journey to self realization where neo realizes this essential reality while still in the matrix, thus giving him complete freedom from all previous restrictions (inside the matrix knowing its only a projection of the mind and has no real physical restrictive dimensions) posed by his own mind. Then Neo’s realization that “ he is the one” is analogous to Buddha arriving at Nirvana or enlightenment. He is the essential Christ figure the son of god who has surpassed human restrictions.

At a purely philosophical level not buying into the spiritual ideas, the matrix still poses important questions. A viewer of The Matrix is naturally led to wonder: How do I know I am not in the Matrix? How do I know for sure that my world is not also a computer generated program put forward by some higher intelligence in such a way that I cannot possibly detect the hoax? Deceiving me into believing everything I believe and have supposed . The Matrix dramatizes Descartes’s proposition that , since all we ever experience is our own inner mental states, we might only be living in an illusion .How can I be sure that everything I know about reality is not false or a superimposition. Eventually wondering quite correctly …who am I?

I wouldn’t even dare to suppose that I can answer that question. What is important is that the question is raised. Whether it takes one self any where I can't say. But the matrix compels one to question each and every notion we have held as true.To ask if there is a higher dimension.Whether there is Something more that needs to be explored before that higher reality will unmask itself .Something maybe more personal than scientific. Something deeper than further…

And so I take ur leave. Promising that next time I will be out with something lighter more humorous.(may be my fake encounter with a physiatrist .)



--Sid--

 


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