2 The Matrix Realizing the Moral Ideal of the Highest Good (3)
Common sense • 1) Common sense theory of perception • We see things outside of ourselves where they actually are • Aristotle’s theory supports this • But Aristotle also says that the sun goes around the earth
Scientific theory of perception • 2) Modern science • The earth goes around the sun • Reality consists of invisible molecules and atoms • Perception: a process that begins with an object outside of us, e.g., a tree • Signals pass from the object through the medium of light waves • affecting the visual system of the eye, moving through electrical signals into the brain • producing an image of the outside thing inside us
Illusion and reality • 3) Therefore, the common sense view is an illusion • We don’t directly see the thing outside of us • We directly see the image of the thing inside us, which represents the external thing • And so it would be possible to substitute artificially created electrical signals, as in The Matrix • How would we know the difference between this “virtual reality” and reality?
Matter and Spirit • 4) What is the image that we see? • (Eliminative) materialism: it’s a material thing, • a pattern of atoms and molecules, • an event in the brain, • even though it does not look like that • Dualism: it’s qualitatively different from matter, an ideal entity • in the “mind” or spirit of the perceiver • There is a mind, a consciousness or spirit, that is not reducible to matter or the body
Plato was right! • 5) So when we think we are directly seeing a reality outside of us • We are really in a mental space • Perceiving images of a reality • On a mental wall • Plato’s allegory of the cave is true • How do we go from the image to reality?
Why did the first Matrix fail? • The first Matrix failed • Human beings rejected it • And so the Architect created a world that is like our world of 1999 • Thus we implicitly, deeply choose the world we live in • We create it by the choices we make • to see ourselves as separate from each other • or as connected to each other
What is reality? • Implicitly people create their own world • > world seemingly governed by external laws • But choice is at the basis of this appearance • We semi-consciously produce our own existence as governed by these laws • Reality: collective humanity chains itself • The duty of truth > destiny: to liberate humanity from this enslavement • I.e., the duty to create a just society: human cooperation based on truth
Morality and the highest good • The moral choice leads ultimately to the ideal of the Highest Good. • The good— • those who put humanity (truth) first— • should be rewarded – have their desires met. • The bad, egotistical actions (deception), • should produce suffering. • Justice: happiness only for those who deserve or merit it
Antinomy of Practical Reason • Can the Highest Good (“Zion”) be realized? • If not, morality is an illusion • Highest Good: keystone of morality (implicit in particular moral duties, e.g., tell, seek truth and avoid deception) • Implies a world based on truth, on sharing, cooperating between human beings • But the Highest Good seems impossible • Consider the laws of science • Consider the way our economy works
Evidence against the possibility of the moral world • Happiness requires having one’s needs and desires satisfied • This depends on money • Do people receive money based on their performance of duty? • i.e., are the rich the good people, and the poor the dishonest shirkers?
Morality and economics • Kant’s third formulation: the ends of economics should be subordinate to moral ends. • But the laws of the market are not in fact subordinated to morality • Adam Smith: economics is based on self-interest, not morality
Who is more rational? • What are the chances of success of the Nebuchadnezzar? • Cypher’s rational calculation of the odds • Morpheus’ belief in Neo as the Savior. • Is it right to die for what you regard as an illusion? • with lots of evidence! • Don’t we have the right to save ourselves by any means possible?
Cypher • 1.cypher - a mathematical element that when added • to another number yields the same number • 0, nought, zero, cipher • 2.cypher - a quantity of no importance; "it looked like nothing I had ever seen before"; "reduced to nil all the work we had done"; "we racked up a pathetic goose egg"; "it was all for naught"; "I didn't hear zilch about it“ • goose egg, nada, naught, nil, nix, nothing, null, zero, zilch, zip, zippo, aught, cipher • 3.cypher - a person of no influence, nobody, nonentity, cipher • common man, common person, commoner - a person who holds no title • pip-squeak, small fry, squirt - someone who is small and insignificant • jackanapes, whippersnapper, lightweight - someone who is unimportant but cheeky and presumptuous
Cypher’s choice • Cypher: the forces against success (victory of Zion and the Highest Good) are too strong • He chooses survival for himself (steak) in the illusion • He will be a famous actor • And be deservedly rewarded!
Science and morality • If behavior is governed by deterministic scientific laws • then morality is impossible • Morality contradicts causal laws of science • But if those laws are about appearances, not reality, • then morality is possible
Status of causality • Kant: Causality is an a priori condition of the scientific approach to the world • Not an objective truth about the world as it is in itself • Suppose someone could really bend spoons by their free thoughts • Spoon boy: “that’s impossible” • Science: there must be a hidden physical cause • Causality is an assumption of scientific thinking
A priori character of causality • Kant: The search for causal explanations is an a priori condition for doing science • Whatever is there, we perceive it in terms of a priori conditions for our own experiencing. • And so science does not grasp the thing in itself • (e.g., myself as a free agent)
Knowledge and faith • Kant: “It is necessary to deny knowledge, in order to make room for faith.” • Faith = postulates of morality • 1) Freedom • 2) God • 3) Immortality
Postulate of Freedom • Science is deterministic • But applies to appearances only • What then is reality? • Morality presupposes free will • This cannot be known (science) • But we believe it is the reality behind our actions • So free will must be an object of practical faith or belief— • a necessary assumption or postulate of moral experience and practical life
Neo’s next choice • The Oracle: You're going to have to make a choice. In the one hand you'll have Morpheus' life and in the other hand you'll have your own. One of you is going to die. Which one will be up to you.
Three kinds of freedom • Freedom as doing what I want to do. • But desires are caused by circumstances, education and nature. (science) • So “free” people have no free will. • “Free market” is governed by deterministic laws • Freedom as not being bound by external laws • (free will—negative freedom) • Freedom as realizing a law I give to myself • (positive freedom)
Postulate of God • Individual feels powerless to change the way the world works • But united humanity contains a power to change everything • Duty: way for each of us to connect with the power of our shared humanity • Kant: “the divine human within us” is the source of moral experience • And so with a power that raises us above our feeble strength as separate, isolated individuals
The Power of the Market • We must believe that we have the power and intelligence to realize the Highest Good. • Q: But how can we counteract the enormous power of the Market? • A: This is our own power, alienated (heteronomy)
Two conceptions of God • 1) as an external power capable of saving humans • through a god-like Savior • 2) as a power with which individuals are capable of connecting when they link to one another • “The Kingdom of God is within you.” • “The works that I do, shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.” (John 14: 12)
Spoon Boy • Spoon Boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth. • Neo: What truth? • Spoon Boy: There is no spoon. • Neo: There is no spoon? • Spoon Boy: Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.
How move matter? • 1) We have the power to move matter by acts of free thought • Example • 2) But only if we do not regard this matter as external to us • It’s my body
Neo as Savior? • Mr. Anderson: Son of Man • He’s also “doubting Thomas” (at first) • Choi: Hallelujah. You're my savior, man. My own personal Jesus Christ. • Cypher: Did he tell you why he did it? Why you're here. Jee-zus. What a mind job. So you're here to save the world. What do you say to something like that?
Two theories of Christianity • 1) Jesus saves a sinful humanity • 2) Jesus teaches us that we are all “sons of God.” • E.g., “Our Father.” • The works that I do, shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.” (John 14: 12)
Neo as Teacher • Neo: “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.”
Postulate of Immortality • One life-time is too short to fulfill our duty to HG • Duty of HG: in this world • So other-worldly immortality of traditional Christianity does not help • Rather: reincarnation of Plato, Buddhism and Hinduism. • The Bodhisattva
Plato’s argument for the immortality of the soul • 1) Eternity of Beauty, of certain truths of geometry (the theorem of Pythagoras), etc. • 2) We can recognize (recollect, remember) these truths • 3) So we have in us something immortal which enables us to know immortal Reality • 4) I.e, the God-like element is within us, the soul.
Real nature of knowledge • 5) To know something is to commune with that thing – to identify with it, be one with it. • I.e., real knowledge is more like love: a transcendence of separate ego identity • E.g., experience of transcendence (“losing yourself”) in creative knowledge or love.
NDE of the Soldier Er • Er’s voyage to the Elysian Fields • Next life lottery • Odysseus’ choice • Recall teleology: what is the purpose of my existence? Why was I born to my parents?
Fear of death • Cypher: Did he tell you why he did it? Why you're here. Jee-zus. What a mind job. So you're here to save the world. What do you say to something like that? A little piece of advice. You see an agent, you do what we do. Run. You run your ass off. • =Fear based rule • Neo chooses to risk his life for Morpheus (following the Oracle’s prophecy)
Neo stops running • Trinity: Run, Neo. Run! What is he doing? • Morpheus: He's beginning to believe. • = no longer afraid of death, and so free of the ultimate power of the Matrix • (But after fighting for a while, Neo runs, and is killed)
The power of love • Trinity:Neo, I'm not afraid anymore. The Oracle told me that I would fall in love and that that man... the man that I loved would be The One. So you see, you can't be dead. You can't be... because I love you. You hear me? I love you. • [She kisses him.] • Trinity:Now get up!
Neo’s three lifetimes • 1) Prior to film • 2) Up to his “death” in the Matrix • 3) After being “resurrected” by Trinity’s love • Why “Trinity”?