Saturday, June 4, 2011

Meaning Behind "The Matrix"

My family and I talk a lot about the movie "The Matrix."  Last night we decided to watch it again, as it had been a few years since our last viewing.  For those of you not familiar with it, this film revolves around the concept that what the character's perceive as reality is actually a computer program designed to make individuals believe all is well.  However, in truth, humans are being used and manipulated by those in power.  

Over the years, I have been questioning the "status quo."  First, after some health problems that conventional medicine did not help, I began investigating the health and food industries and saw the complex web of powerful corporations whose bottom line was profit, leaving the consumers of their products as a mere side thought or even nuisance.  I saw how healthcare and agricultural executives in the private sector would would make career changes that put them in a position to dictate government policy, only to return to the private world to benefit from the very policies they helped to set.  

We are encouraged to want more and faster and better, and we are discouraged from wondering about the limits of our resources or the byproducts of the manufacturing process.  I broadened my quest and began to question industry as it pertains to the very health of our planet.  Where does it all come from and where does it all go?  This line of questioning, of course, led to my stepping back and taking a look at the big picture.  Seeking information about other countries and cultures, I discovered that so much of what we consider normal really isn't and that the whole consumerist mindset is like a runaway train.  Unless we do something to put on the brakes, it will all come crashing down.  It has happened in other countries - why are we immune?

One of my favorite quotes from the movie is from Morpheus, the mentor to Neo, the main character.  Prior to revealing the matrix to Neo, Morpheus offers him a choice:  "This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes."  

It's as if I've taken the red pill and now I can't go back.  Sometimes, I feel like Cypher, another character in the movie, who says, "Why oh why didn't I take the BLUE pill?" and later adds, "Ignorance is bliss."  Yes, ignorance can be bliss and knowledge can be painful.  I talk to many people about some of the problems with the world, and the usual response is, "I don't want to know about it."  Maybe this is because once you've taken the red pill, you see that there are huge problems in the world, problems that are often preventable, and you can't go back.  Life as we know it starts to seem frivolous and functions as a distraction from reality.  You find yourself compelled to do something.  

There are times when I can relate to Cypher.  I don't want to see behind the matrix.  I want to embrace the fiction of the good life.  However, I cannot take the blue pill and find bliss because I've already taken the red one.  I see that much of what we do is wrong and destructive.  Keeping quiet about it would be a disservice to my fellow human beings.

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