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The Philosophy of The Matrix: From Plato and Descartes

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The next stage of Plato’s Allegory is freedom. In Plato’s Allegory it simply states one day the chain connected to the prisoner breaks and he is able to move and be free. In the matrix this part is more nuanced and Neo is given a choice. After being guided by morpheus for awhile and morpheus showing neo his advanced understanding of The Matrix, Neo is then brought to a room where he is told he has a choice. To go back to the regular world or dig deeper and be freed from the simulation. This is an important difference because the prisoner is just thrown into this world of new understanding while neo is seeking it and is more eased into it. Neo accepts and is freed from the cryo chamber and the matrix simulation. Just as the prisoner in plato’s allegory is blinded by the light and feels pain when his eyes are exposed to this new light, the same happens to neo the second he gets out of his cryo chamber. He too just, as the prisoners, have never used their eyes to their fullest ability before. seeing the world in this light scares them and blinds them. This is an important similarity because it mirrors the idea of are minds trying to render are understanding and prevent us from seeing the whole truth. if your able to break that barrier and see past the blinding light, then the goal of true wisdom can be achieved. The next step of Plato’s Alegory is getting used to the light. There a few ways the matrix ties to this idea. For one, morpheus and neo plug into a series of simulation to train neo to be able to tell the difference between the matrix and the real world and how neo can hown his ability on command. The second example of neo starting to see past the shadows like in the allegory is when he is visiting the oracle. A young boy says the only way you can bend the spoon is if your are the spoon. This is one of the key moments when neo realizes what the mind is capable of if he lets his preconceived notions about what used to know go away. doing this he could achieve true wisdom.

Plato’s Allegory ends with the prisoner going back down to the cave to tell the people what he has learned and free them. In the end of the allegory the prisoners declare they would rather kill him then listen to him and break the illusion they are in right now. The matrix cleaveley matches this story but in a little bit of a different way. In the matrix among neo who is the main prisoner there a several other people that are freed in one way or another just not to his ability. One of them being cypher who is a more cynical type of person who is starting to get fed up with this entire struggle to find the truth and the living environment on the ship. About half way through the movie cypher devises a plan to kill the entire ship when there in the matrix and then allow agent smith to boot him back into the matrix where he will be rich and an actor. The way the ending of the allegory and cyphers plan connect is that just as the prisoners in the cave are willing to kill their only hope to be free to maintain this comfortable illusion of reality.

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Cypher is willing to jeopardize the future of the entire thing they have built just so he can live in a false reality and be rich actor. The way these stories are similar are they both would rather be comfortable in there understand ing than have to be challenged and have to seek the truth. That in a nutshell sums up the essenace of what the matrixs and the allegory of the cave are trying to teach us. in this day and age there is a drive to live the most comfrtble reileity possible and never push are minds to there peaks of understanding. The alegory of the cave and the matrix chronicle the contement and walls we have put up in our mind from achieving true wisdom. The similarity of the matrix and the allegory of the cave are uncanny. From the blindness of the light to the willingness of the prisoners desire to be back in their comfortable state of understanding. The bottom line is the matrix and plato’s allegory of the cave are here to teach us to be careful of the way we think and to make sure there are no walls and restrictions we are putting on our minds preventing us from achieving the goal of true wisdom.

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