Public Nuisance

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The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Friday, June 06, 2003
 
Matrix Redux

[Warning: Spoilers for Matrix Reloaded.]

I might just be the last one to catch on to this, but Neo has Superman powers in the Matrix becuase he knows it isn't real. But at the end of the movie, he starts having the same powers in the 'real world' outside the Matrix. That implies that the real world is just another level, no more real than the Matrix. And the statement of the Source, that the machines have already repeatedly destoyed Zion, seems to clinch the point.

It's reminiscent of a story by Lem, The Futurological Conference, that handled the same material more playfully and very well. In a furture paradise, a researcher discovers that everything around him is a drug-induced illusion, but then the reality under that proves to be just another illusion, hiding a new reality which turns also to be unreal, etc. I don't actually remember how Lem's story ends, but then the ending of a Lem tale is nearly always less interesting than the ideas he plays with while getting there.

When Neo pulls back the next level in M3, as I presume he will, will the film tell us the real story, or imply a more Buddhist perpective, that all realities are as real or as illusory as the viewer accepts them? Given the philosophic implications of the first two (and the movies do possess remarkable philosophic showiness, considering that they are at least 40% fight scenes), I suspect they will try to be ambiguous and have it both ways.



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