Last night on TV I stumbled across the movie The Matrix. I used to love everything about this film and I’m amazed it’s over 15 years old now. The Matrix influenced and change the way action films have been made since then and what I loved about it and had forgotten about it was its mini philosophies and Star Wars-like sayings.
In the imaginary Kung-Fu fighting scene “You’re faster than this. Don’t think you are, know you are.” Morpheus to Neo towards the end of his journey “There is a difference between knowing the park and walking the path” and in the beginning describing the matrix itself – “What is real? How do you define ‘real’? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”
I could go on for hours! The amount of essays I’ve read on the philosophy behind the writing of The Matrix over the years is incredible, but I don’t remember any of the answers and I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert on either The Matrix or modern philosophy however, if you’re not at all familiar with the film I can tell you the background to this scene that struck me so much. Morpheus, a high-ranking officer and spiritual leader in the resistance has been captured and is being lectured by Agent Smith (who is a machine) about the reason for the existence of the matrix, which is reality as we know it. Agent Smith explains to Morpheus that the original matrix was a reality computer program designed to be a perfect human world where no one suffered and everyone was happy so they could keep human bodies in a dream state generating energy for the machines whilst they thought they were living in a perfect place. But it was a disaster and humans did not ‘accept’ the program and would not thrive in this reality. He goes on to say ‘But I believe, that as a species, human beings define their reality through suffering and misery. The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from.’
It’s an interesting idea. I certainly am aware of it. We (particularly Australians) love the underdog, we adore stories of suffering or struggle when it comes good. We feel good knowing that someone’s hardship has been rewarded but we also spend a fair amount of time listening to cautionary tales of woe from people whose life hasn’t gone to plan. We love stories of struggle and see in many disabled people the strength when given support to rise above their disabilities and applaud them for it. It’s generally accepted that a happy relationship must be a dull one and that if you’re not fighting for something you are wasting your time. I don’t know where this has come from except perhaps the simple fact that life is cruel and the desire to make the best of anything and make pain and suffering meaningful so we can accept it.
Having had constant thoughts about how I could make life easier on myself right now I have considered the question… How could I make this the best thing that’s ever happened to me?
I don’t know the answer.