Every few months, I watch the trilogy “The Matrix” by “The Wachowski Brothers” (1999-2003). Certainly I’ve watched it more than 5 times. At the beginning I certainly was fascinated by the action and fight scenes which have drawn me in their spell but in addition to that I have the feeling that there is something described, what I know intuitively for a long time. On a specific level the film describes our reality.
The basic question of the film is a deeply philosophical. What is reality? Is only what I can perceive with my senses, real, or does reality exist on a complete different level beyond the visible? Who is a bit familiar with philosophy, may feel immediately recalled to Plato’s “theory of Forms / Ideas”. Or even at Buddhism. Real is not what I can perceive with my senses, because everything in time and space is empty because transitory. Life is more than what I can perceive with my senses.
Morpheus also believes that, who is on the search for the chosen one – prophesied by the oracle. He is like John the Baptist from the Christian tradition, who prepares the way for the Savior, whom Morpheus claims to have found in “Neo”. But Neo himself doubts that he is the chosen one. He lacks faith in himself.
Only slowly, he grows into his role as Savior. Just in time, at the last second, the consciousness is awakened in him, I am the chosen one. He must first go through the experience of his own death, to be then brought back to life by the love of Trinity, who was prophesied by the oracle, that she will fall in love with the chosen one.
What is it about? The machines, which first served the humans, have developed that far that they no longer serve the humans but control them. After a great war between humans and machines, the sun has been obscured, which solar energy the machines needed to function. But they discovered the humans as a substitute for the solar energy. On giant fields, people are wired in a nutrient solution and serve the machines as an energy supplier. For them, humans are not more than a battery.
Humans’ lives, what they consider to be life, takes place only in the matrix, which is only a virtual space, but in which humans live in the illusion of real life. The not yet wired people who are born in freedom and still know reality, and the no longer wired, liberated humans live in the city of Zion, which is located within the Earth. But Zion is threatened, and the machines dig with terrifying speed towards Zion through the earth, to destroy the last free humans. And the machines are numerous: 250,000.
For every human in Zion, a machine. So many? Yes, because that is exactly the thinking of a machine, such as Morpheus noticed. Will the chosen one make it to free the world from the domination of the machine and to save Zion?
The Senator, who draws off two additional ships of the line of defense of Zion, that the contact to the oracle can be maintained, knows: It’s more than just a physical battle between human and machine. The victory is ultimately decided not by human power, but on a spiritual level.
What is the human? Sure, no energy supplier for machines. But also not only brain that moves and lives in virtual worlds through the power of thoughts. Morpheus, who believes solid like a rock in the chosen one, against all appearances, reveals that the human is not only body and mind but also heart or soul.
The movie “The Matrix” is a child of the Internet age. It describes and warns against the dominance of virtual realities and spaces, as they exist in this form only since the Internet. Moreover, he criticized the alienation of human in his trinity of body, soul and mind by the industrialized and technological world. As a further alienation of humans can be foreseen, and the computers obviously will keep going on to draw humans under their spell, “The Matrix” is a criticism of the existing situation and a prophetic warning in the future.
“The Matrix” is not explicit a Christian film, even if the savior figure “Neo”, who wants to liberate humans from the bondage of machines to their actual humanity, offers such an interpretation. Even if we become acquainted in the figure of the “architect” with the creator of the matrix, so he is only the creator of this virtual reality and not of life itself.
The film gets along without a Creator God. In addition, “The Matrix” includes a number of allusions to Buddhism, everything is based on the principle of “cause and effect”, “Karma” is mentioned but interestingly, this causal thinking is only used by the actors of the matrix, the chosen one “Neo” decides against this principle and acts like his heart is telling him: He is against all reason, unreasonable, out of love.
He risks his life to save Morpheus against “the truth” of the “oracle”, who had “predicted” that either he or Morpheus would stay alive. Neo does not care about this prophecy, but acts like a real Savior, according to his own heart. And both survive. As the life of his girlfriend Trinity is at stake, and the architect deceives him he could either save Zion – thus 250,000 people – or Trinity, he decides out of love for Trinity. I don’t want to reveal, what will happen to Zion.
As I have already indicated at the beginning, “The Matrix” is a film that has more to offer than technically top-class action cinema, what indeed reveals itself to the viewer only after several times of watching. (Volker Schunck)