Wednesday, October 05, 2016


Matrix, our mind in digital and industrial degeneracy: hope permitted


It is vain to retell these films, or this trilogy. But I would like to insist on the general structure of the world that is depicted in these movies.

There are three worlds. First of all the normal human world we know, New York essentially, that is in fact only an illusion created by the matrix, a program or a vast set of programs invented by the Architect who does not have any other identity and who pretends he is not human at the end. This illusion of a normal human world in which billions of people live has been created to simply control humanity in their growth, development, everyday life, etc. In other words we have a total digital dictatorship of which no human is conscious, well nearly no human is conscious. To keep this world in place and in peace the Architect has invented a set of Agents all called Smith, all similar, dressed the same, physically the same, etc, who have special powers to transport themselves at will where they want and to penetrate and possess any human being.

There is then Zion, the resisting human underground world in vast caves mostly artificial and with some kind of metallic skeleton. This world is human because the people living there are humans, but otherwise it is an artificial world, but it is managed by a council of representatives though we do not know how they are selected or appointed. Apart from this council the main institution is the armed forces since this underground world is under attack and in the midst of a war with the third world that seems to be in some kind of objective alliance with the matrix world. Note this human world is so cut off from the normal human, world, because of the matrix, that the only way is to jump from the underground world to the matrix world and the very few who can cross have to be plugged on some kind of digital program that transfers them, body and mind, to the over-ground world and yet keep their bodies underground, though they are then connected to the underground managing unit, though it seems this managing unit for that kind of transfer is on board of one vessel or ship that is some kind of space ship that can get out of the underground city and circulate outside  though they cannot normally reach the matrix world and they believe they can’t reach the third world.

The third world is the world of machines. Apparently they raise human beings to get their energy and thus fuel their machines. Only at the end the main hero Neo will reach Machine City and cast a deal with the representative of this machine world. That deal will enable Neo to get some kind of truce in the war that is raging at the very moment, then an alliance between the two worlds, Neo’s and the machine world, against the Matrix because the Smith program has gone out of hand and the original agent Smith has multiplied to millions and has been able to simply take over the matrix world with only one clandestine link between the matrix world and the underground human world entirely controlled by a Frenchman, the Merovingian, who uses the Trainman and his train to smuggle things from one world to the other. With this alliance Neo is able to be sent to the matrix world that has become Agent Smith’s world and to have the final fight with the original Agent Smith that will decide of the end.

The color of the matrix is green, like all the lines of codes on the computer screens, lines that work from top to bottom and then it is not clear if it is from left to right or from right to left. Green is the matrix color, though the Architect is dressed is some light creamy white suit. The illusion of a human world created by the matrix is multicolored like our own human world. The underground human world is highly dominated by brown and all brownish shades of brown, and there are quite a few: the people are vastly diverse in ethnic origins and heritage. They are dressed in all shades of brown, with an alternative light grey. Agent Smith is dressed in black and is white, a color intending to imply we are dealing with a very pure white world. He is dressed in black and wears black glasses more like some kind of blind man than sunglasses. Finally the machine world is all kinds of dark grey and black but with systematic red eyes because these machines have red eyes, have eyes. At the end it is revealed that blind Neo is able to see this machine world as pure light from white to bright yellow and bright orange.

The stake is thus to liberate the human world we know of this digital dictatorship of the Architect and let it go back to the normal palette of colors we know from sunup to sundown. It is clear too that modern civilization, science and technology can only produce what H.G. Wells already described in Time Machine, an industrious and industrial world living in total darkness and genetically descending from the working class, the Morlocks, exploiting and raising for meat a human species descending from the bourgeoisie, the Emoi, except that this machine world has no human presence at all, except as an animal raised to produce energy. On the other hand in its digital branch this modern world, science and technology can only enable one man to control the whole world and even to create a police of “thought,” an omnipotent corps of robotic androids. Imagine an army of millions of nanobots in all human bodies, all nanobots connected to one central unit managed by one man. The digital evolution leads to that. But there is hope because some humans will resist, and yet they need the vision of an oracle (a black lady that ages fast) and of a One who is a white man who can save the world with the help of Trinity, a white woman he is in love with and who is in love with him. This trinity of Oracle-One-Trinity is not the only trinity. The Oracle goes along with an East-Asian Seraph and a little South-Asian girl. We have there a strong reference to Christianity. Trinity and Neo will have to be sacrificed for the prophecy to come true and the matrix to be defeated. The sacrifice of Neo is typically in a crucifixion form, arms outstretched perpendicularly to the body and light effects are super-impressed on him in the form of a roman cross, and this roman cross will turn into a Greek cross of light. This Neo is thus a new Christ. This very strong Christian reference is founded on three worlds: the human world controlled by the matrix, the underground human world of the resistance and the distant machine world. Add to this that most teams in this trilogy are groups of three people. It is a ternary vision, though the digital world is based on a binary language. The dominance of the ternary figure is thus very clearly ideological, meaningful.

All in all it is a very fatalistic vision with a touch of hope in the form of a blind Messiah and an Oracle.

THE MATRIX – 1999 - Human cattle enslaved as Duracell batteries

The film is science fiction. We know every thing about this. The principle is simple. What we think is reality, real life, is a world of flesh and bone that is entirely controlled by some matrix, some entirely mechanical principle and intelligence. Human beings are nothing but some species of mammals that are raised like cattle but they have no freedom, no control over their life, nothing at all, not even the freedom to breathe that can be denied any time without any possible protest.

Against this totally inhuman world there is a resistance, a resistance of super machines that are controlled by men, of super heroes and supermen who are faster than the lightning, and even the light itself, not a new species of human beings, just the good old stock that modern life and consumerism had killed. They are ready to sacrifice everything for the freedom of their human brothers and sisters.

To achieve this they have special powers that have been worked into them through some mechanical procedure and mechanical device. They are human beings in feelings and courage made machine in power and velocity. Then there must be transportation channels between this resistance and the real world controlled by the machines.

These transportation avenues are the information highways of the telephone and computers, in other words the Internet. And that's where the film becomes more interesting. We do not know after a while where real reality is and where virtual reality starts and ends. We have to believe that we can retain in real reality some of the capabilities we have in virtual reality, and in virtual reality some of the human sentiments and feelings we can only experience in real reality.

Then the film becomes an imbroglio of various realities that are so intertwined and interlaced that we do not know any more which one has spliced into the other and which one has been spliced onto another. If you get lost in this interwoven splicing, it is the proof that this film is disquieting and should be shown to all kids in the world for them to maybe realize that the world is not what it looks like nor life what it tastes or smells like. It may stink at times, and yet that stench is just the beauty of life because if there were not bad smells we would not even know what a perfume may be.

MATRIX RELOADED – 2003 - Getting ready for the final battle

We know what the matrix is, altogether, since we have seen the first episode. We know that machines have taken over the world and have decided to control all human life. Humans are slaves serving machines. Nothing very new. In this second episode we enter the final phase of this machine-controlled world : the eradication of human life, and first of all of Zion, the city that is a concentrated vision of human and urban life. The human race is trying to get organized to resist this final apocalypse, but human beings cannot much without machines and their machines are not that good when compared with the machines of the other realm.

Yet some human beings, a small team of them are following a prophecy and have the capacity to navigate mentally but in a pseudo-physical state from their back world into Zion and the human world. When they thus navigate between layers of material life they leave their heavy and hard bodies behind and enter new bodies that have tremendous powers. It is these powers they need to defeat machines. This second episode of the saga is interesting because it enables us to meet with the mathematician who has constructed the whole matrix. First he is human and no explanation will be given about how he can survive in the realm of machines, and how he can expand his life into some timeless eternity.

Second he announces that he programed everything, including the prophecy that is then a lie, and that Zion and its destruction is necessary to keep the balance of this matrix and that the final destruction that is announced will be the sixth destruction. We note that there is no explanation about this number six, about why and how Zion can survive every destruction. The most surprising is of course the number six, the number of Solomon that has nothing to do with the end of the world. Yet Zion leads us to the bible and the main prophecy we can think of is the Book of Revelation.

But then the number of this apocalypse is not six but seven. In other words we are not in any kind of a meaningful allusion to the bible. The film is only using these allusions to create an atmosphere of secrecy, of spirituality that helps making the film a lot less pure action. It gives some inspiration to what would otherwise be nothing but brutal movement. Third this film transforms battles, fights and action into some kind of 3-dimensional ballets that can be very pretty at times. These ballets can be set in any place whatsoever : in an open square, in the hall of a Renaissance mansion, or on the roof of a truck on a highway.

The general impression is that one or two heroes are fighting against a never-ending and constantly reinforced army of cloned individuals than can become hundreds in one instant and multiply to thousands in less than ten seconds. Just the time it takes to open a door and to bring them out. And yet these ballets have some beauty even if it is a little bit repetitive hence slightly long. But what can the meaning of this film be ? We will probably come to the final meaning in the third episode.

But here we do have a very negative vision of a mechanized world in which human beings are becoming completely dispossessed of their life and of their future. The human race is also tremendously reduced in vision and even the will to really fight for their survival seems to have been tremendously reduced. The future of the world, when it is menaced with utter destruction, lies in the hands of half a dozen people at the most. That does not make a crowd, does it ?

Then there emerges from the film a tremendous sense of fatality. Is there any hope ? If we believe the two or three who say yes, but if we look at the real and hard facts given in the film, no, absolutely no. And this fatalistic vision is emphasized of course by the nearly black and white pictures that are in a way filmed in all the possible shades of grey.

THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS – 2003 - Fascist manipulation debunked

The third film finally gives the secret. For one, it is probably slightly better as for the fights because they are more in the air and that makes them look like surreal comic strip fights. The technique is superb and the cameras are sublime. There is not one strange and normally never used shooting angle that is not used at a moment or other in the shooting of these fights. For two, the machines are brilliant. Of course we all think of Aliens because some of the fighting equipment looks a lot like what we had in Aliens. But the beings, the machines, the mechanical fighters are absolutely unique and they look both very elegant like some giant sea creatures Octopuses maybe but with so many more legs.

Machine City is also great with the allusion to these machines not being able to live in the sunshine. Follow my eyes and read my lips. H. G. Wells is not very far with his time-traveler. The will to show schools of them flying or floating through the air makes these creatures more computer animated and governed because they get involved in some pretty heavy mass movement. But that's great. The master machine is given some kind of a human face and voice, why not since machines are born slaves and slaves imitate their masters. But this meeting with the master machine finally leads us to the real meaning of this saga. But before getting to that it is important to speak of the characterization of the main characters: they look human, they are very expressive in their faces and gestures. They do have the face and body language they need to make us believe we are in real danger.

But of course, the main point of them all is the meaning the way it comes up. The machines not more than the humans want to go on with the war that is supposed to destroy the human race. It becomes very clear that the matrix was planned and produced by some human minds in order to make human life ever better than what it had ever been by giving all the dirty and heavy work to machines all maintained and locked up in Machineville. This idea is typically western in thinking, even though it is implied that humans being what they are doomsday is possible everyday of the week. It is a rewriting of H.G. Wells' Time Machine. Actual working and producing was the task of an underground race living in darkness. The change is that these producers are here machines and nothing but machines.

The human race then can have it easy at enjoying life. That's a change from H.G. Wells again because for him daytime humans had become unable to do anything except enjoy living and being hunted by the underground species like wild animals or rather submissive cattle. What went wrong is that a special species of men have taken over the control of both human and machine worlds for their own interest and somewhere pleasure. They have highjacked the computer program that is behind the Matrix. The fight then takes place between Neil, aka Mr Andersen, and Agent Smith. Agent Smith has the power to clone himself into any other human being.

So he has become an army and he controls the world and he has decided to get rid of the human race. Against him an Oracle, a black human woman who knows more or less what is going to happen, and Neil who has special powers too and can stop Agent Smith, but no more than stop. So he has to trap him into a common ending, a common death because he has to destroy himself if he wants to destroy the fascist. The rest is for you to discover. Very effective. So the world can survive for an unspecified period of time. Peace has been concluded through this final sacrifice. Here we have some good old Christian allusions.

First of all the long cassock looking robes he is wearing, our Neil. Second his sacrifice for the survival of humanity. But there will be no resurrection, no rebirth of the world because his girl friend dies before him. No Mary Madgalene secret. And then there will be no surviving procreating couple to reinvent humanity. Humanity has been saved for a while. No Apocalypse. But a victory in the war against the machine like in Frank Herbert, but the machines are not destroyed, the equilibrium of this mechanized world is not changed, there is no promise of a savior one day.

The Christian allusion is thus reduced to a dire minimum. The meaning is also reduced to a dire minimum : for humanity to go on enjoying life we have to get rid of all machines, productive work and pollution far away from us and we have to have a few courageous and inspired warriors that are ready to sacrifice their lives for humanity to go on living. In other words good old traditional patriotic courage. That does not make this trilogy the piece of imagination that will revolutionize the world, but it is an entertaining film. And if you really get into it try to identify all the allusions to Stephen King's novels. I can tell you there are many.


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