The Gigantic and Fantastic Matrix Unit PowerPoint!. The Players in Our “Trilogy”. In order to “completely” understand the trilogy, we need to understand the following: Characters (humans, programs, and machines) Ships Reasons behind the names Mythology. That’s a Lot to Follow!.
The Players in Our “Trilogy” • In order to “completely” understand the trilogy, we need to understand the following: • Characters (humans, programs, and machines) • Ships • Reasons behind the names • Mythology
That’s a Lot to Follow! • Yes, but I’m here to help. • Never fear.
Neo • A.K.A. Thomas Anderson • The One (well, the 6th One) • Savior of humanity • Anderson = Andro (Greek word for “man”) + Son • Son of Man – Christ • Thomas – Doubter (doubt is his strength!) • Reflects many traditional figures: • The Enlightened Buddhist • The Christian or Gnostic Christ • The Hindu Vishnu
Morpheus • Captain of the Nebuchadnezzar • Neo’s rescuer • A possible stand-in for John the Baptist, or even Moses! • Faithful man who unquestioningly believes the Prophecy
Trinity • Crewmember aboard the Nebuchadnezzar • Helps rescue both Neo and Morpheus • Loves Neo/The One, and contributes to his resurrection • Could represent Mary Magdalene, the Holy Trinity…or something else entirely • After all, she does die…
The Nebuchadnezzar’s Crew • Mouse is the youngest member • He helps design and program the Training Scenarios • Isn’t sure what Tastee Wheat tastes like • May represent the Israelites – but certainly doesn’t subscribe to any school of Buddhist thought • “To deny our desires is to deny what makes us human” • Killed as a result of Cypher’s betrayal
The Nebuchadnezzar’s Crew • Switch (female) and Apoc (male) represent the “muscle” of the ship’s crew • Each serves as a guard during Matrix invasions • Both are killed by Cypher himself
The Nebuchadnezzar’s Crew • Tank (left) and Dozer (right) are Zion-born brothers serving on the same ship • Both names refer to aspects of the Matrix: • Dozer sleep • Tank battery pod • Can’t jack into the Matrix because they lack ports • Tank serves as “ship’s operator” instead, and Dozer pilots the Nebuchadnezzar • Dozer is killed by Cypher’s plasma gun, while Tank survives a shot and kills Cypher with his own gun
The Oracle (Both Shells) • The Oracle is a program from the Machine World • Existing since the first Matrix • Figured out that humans needed to be able to “choose” to accept the Matrix • Intends to find a way to end the war between men and machines; eventually prevails over Smith and assists in the creation of a Matrix where people can choose to leave without consequences • Lost a “shell” to an attack by the Merovingian; agrees to watch Sati despite the attack • Based on the Oracle of Delphi (check your “How to Really Bake Your Noodle” packet)
“Matrix” Villains - Cypher • Cypher is “shallow and stupid,” according to one critic • He serves as a member of Morpheus’s crew, but betrays the others when offered the chance to return to the Matrix • His betrayal leads to Morpheus’s capture, and he murders Apoc, Switch, and Dozer before being killed by Tank • While he’s presented as an amoral monster (Judas?) by the film, he doesn’t quite work as Judas • After all, he’d need to betray Neo to qualify, while he betrays Morpheus • Interestingly, more and more of you felt more sympathy towards his actions as you thought about his options a bit
“Matrix” Villains – Agent Smith • Smith’s role shifts from film to film; • He’s the coldly evil face of the Matrix during the first movie • He begins corrupting the Matrix in the second movie, but remains a threat to Neo and company • By the third movie, he’s controlling Bane, destroyed the human fleet, blinded Neo, and taken over virtually the entire Matrix • He has become a threat that must be destroyed, and ironically serves as the catalyst for a peace agreement between the humans and 01
The Deus ex Machina • The central Machine God/Intelligence • Guards the Source in the Machine City • Teams with Neo to destroy Smith, and ends the war between the humans and machines
Nebuchadnezzar • The trilogy’s main ship • Used to rescue Neo and ferry Morpheus about • Named after a king of Babylon from Biblical times • Nebuchadnezzar was haunted by a prophetic, recurring dream about the rise and fall of empires in the world • He refused to heed the prophicies, and was eventually driven insane when he is humbled by God • Ironic, considering that the ship’s destruction follows an entire film in which characters put too much stock in prophecy
Religion and Philosophy in Our “Trilogy” • In order to “completely” understand the trilogy, we need to understand the ways in which the following are important to the films: • Plato (Allegory of the Cave) • Socrates & the Oracle • Descartes and Dream Skepticism • Soren Kirkegaard, the Nature of Faith, and the Effects of Choice • Causality, Determinism, Compatibilism, and Free Will • Christianity • Buddhism • Gnosticism • Hinduism • Taoism
Let’s Start with Soren • Soren Kirkegaard was a 19th-century philosopher who served as the source for Captain Soren’s last name • Many of Kirkegaard’s philosophical writings concerned the nature of faith (or aspects of it) • Kirkegaard was also fascinated by human beings’ relationship with choice, and the emotional factors that influence choice • The themes Kirkegaard explored fascinated the Wachowskis, who based a significant chunk of their trilogy around the exploration of these ideas (choice, faith, emotion, etc.)
Hinduism and the Matrix • “Everything which has a beginning has an ending” is adapted from the BhagavadGita • Ironically enough, this holy text was a major inspiration for Siddhartha • Hinduism looms large over the trilogy, particularly in the idea that all we see is illusory, and that reality lies behind the lies before our eyes • This idea is tied into the definition of maya, which I’ll get into on the next slide
Maya • Theoretically, everything you experience is not everything there is to experience – you see only Maya, and not Brahman, the ultimate spirit of the universe • This makes Maya part of an illusion – a fake reality that exists only in the parts of our mind that perceive physicality – because it is extremely limited, and serves to divorce us from the “truth” of Brahma • Lesser minds simply accept what they see; these minds are trapped, and will never experience the world as it exists • In order to develop, humans must learn to discipline their minds and see past/reject the illusory world • Sound familiar?
Buddhist Parallelsin The Matrix • The most fundamental problem according to Buddhism is our ignorance of existential reality. •Yogacara, also known as the “consciousness Only” school (Vijnavada), asserts that the objective world we perceive to be real is ultimately a product of our minds. •“What is real?” Morpheus asks Neo. “How do you define real ? If you’re talking about your senses, that you feel, taste, smell, or see, then all you’re talking about are electrical signals interpreted by your brain”
Buddhist Parallelsin The Matrix • Yogacarins emphasize the essential path and process toward to discerning the world free of delusion. • Meditation techniques were developed to, in as sense, deconstruct one’s conditioned way of seeing the world and help one awaken to the way the world truly is. • According to tradition, as one progresses along this path, one procures powers to manipulate the perceived “objective” world. A Buddha actually attains the power to create his/her own cosmic realm. This is shown in the fight scene between Morpheus and Neo
Plato “Ideal Forms” Parallels in The Matrix • For Plato, the Ideal Forms are the highest level of reality. We often mistake our reality for the highest reality, but he says we only experience reality through our own senses, which are always fallible so, our perceive reality can’t be the truest reality. • A good illustration of the Ideal Forms is a story called the allegory of the cave, which Plato attributes to his teacher Socrates in The Republic.
Last Important Slide • Triads/triangles/trinities are almost, if not as, important to the trilogy (look, another three!) as dualism and duality • Hinduism features a triad, called the Trimurti, composed of Brahman, Vishnu, and Shiva • In the trilogy, we can see each of these aspects in the machines/programs • Brahman, who represents “the Source,” is represented here by the Architect (creation) • Vishnu, who represents preservation, is represented here by the Oracle • Shiva, who represents destruction, is represented here by Neo • However, the characters can fulfill many roles; one could argue that the Architect serves as destroyer, and that the Oracle is responsible for just as much destruction as Neo. For that matter, Neo helps to create (resetting the Matrix) and maintain (preserving the Matrix cycle) • …so the Wachowski’s haven’t established a clear-cut framework here. But what else is new?