Analysis Of The Allegory Of The Matrix

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The 1999 film by Andy and Lana Wachowski, The Matrix, introduced a generation to an important epistemological question: How can a person be certain of what his senses tell him about the world he lives in? This question, explored modernly in the film by portraying reality as nothing more than a computer simulation implanted into humans’ sensory receptors by a race of intelligent super-computers, is nevertheless an idea that has intrigued philosophical thinkers for many ages. For example, in 1641, Rene Descartes wrote about his doubts of perception in Part I of Meditations on First Philosophy, and as early in history as about 380 BC, Plato describes an alternate reality with “The Allegory of the Cave” in his work, The Republic.
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The Matrix centers around the life of Neo, who is pulled from the Matrix by Morpheus, who becomes his mentor and guide. Morpheus explains that the Matrix is a control mechanism, built by computers to subdue the human race, whom they use as a power source. “The Matrix is a computer-generated dream world, built to keep us under control.” (Wachowski & Wachowski, 1999) Morpheus also explains to Neo that those who are free from the Matrix are attempting to defeat the computer race and restore humanity to a free state. Unlike The Matrix, Plato does not offer a reason as to why the prisoners are bound in their cave or by whom. He does, however, describe that when freed from his bounds, the prisoner (reluctantly at first, as he is inclined to cling to what he has always known) begins to gain a greater knowledge of the reality behind what caused the shadows in the cave to appear. He begins to perceive color, texture, and details that had been obscured before, and eventually Plato surmises that the freed prisoner will return to free the other prisoners so that they too can gain this greater knowledge. (Plato) Descartes’ theory of the evil demon came about from his rejection that a good creator God would allow humans to be constantly deceived regarding their beliefs constantly, so instead possibly he was created by a

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