The Matrix Metaphor – going a little deeper

August 10, 2012

Even when we think we’re free, when we believe we have discovered our deep, inescapable truth, our ultimate reality where we can live from a place of sacred authenticity … it is only a place of illusion, not real …. And yet, it is the starting point for the next journey.

I have been contemplating some deeper insights arising out of a viewing of the second Matrix movie, titled Reloaded, recently.

In it, our hero, Neo, exhibiting very superman-like qualities, does battle in the machine-created, virtual reality, Matrix. After lots of kung fu and shoot ‘em up action Neo meets The Architect, the Sigmund Freud lookalike “father” and creator of the matrix. During their conversation, daddy points out that Neo is the sixth incarnation of the aberrant programming error that makes him the “One,” that the free city of Zion will be destroyed by the machines and Neo will chose a few number of surviving humans to start again. That is the way of things. That is his destiny as the One. Of course, Neo chooses not to follow his predestined path instead choosing to save his one true love, Trinity and sets us up for the third movie installment, Revolutions.

In the first movie, Morpheus frees Neo from the wires and connections of machine world (a world which “grows” humans in huge hive cities to harvest their energy) and in doing so, frees Neo’s mind from the Matrix. By the end of the first movie he has become a human that operates in the matrix but is not part of the Matrix.

But what if Neo never escaped the Matrix? We all assume he did in the first movie. And yet in the second, the Architect suggests that Neo’s destiny, the city of Zion and the “reloading” of reality every so often is pre-determined and that ultimately he has created and guided it. At the end of the movie Neo, in the underground tunnels comes face to face with real-time machines and is able, using his superman powers, stop them dead in their tracks. This suggests that the reality that Morpheus, Trinity, Neo and the rest of humanity that lives in Zion believe is “real” is not. It is still within the Matrix.

The Matrix movies are great metaphors for the journey towards one’s deeper, personal understanding of the Self. My own personal journey has seen its share of fights and shoot’em up moments as I’ve battled with the conflicting, and sometimes violent, forces and fears that make me tick.

And it feels now, after a night of reflection on Neo’s and Zion’s journey, that I stand on a precipice asking the question: what is truly real? And the answer that comes, rising like a strong wind, is: nothing. Nothing is real. It is all illusion.

Is Neo’s “awakening” in the first movie simply just another form of illusion created by the machine for the purpose of control? Is my awakening to the deeper Self that I am simply an illusion created by my controlling Ego?