Dissolving the philosophy of ‘The Matrix’ trilogy

The Wachowski siblings really put a lot of deep thought into the city matrix Movies.

Recently, the term “red pilling” has been popping up on all social media. It refers to someone taking the same pill that Neo was taking The matrix, the one who wakes him up to the damaged world around him. Of course, this term was co-opted by white supremacists and then somehow from Kanye West. If you want to scroll down sites like Reddit, you’ll see popular memes like “There’s No Spoon” and “I Know Kung Fu,” and I still pretend to dodge things in bullet time.

But the fact remains the same The matrix has had an amazing impact on society and internet culture since its release in 1999. I can’t name a modern film that has had such an impact on culture. But the most interesting thing about this effect is that it is based on a centuries-old philosophy.

Today I wanted the philosophy of The matrix and take a look at what went into the Wachowskis’ incredible writing on the series.

The philosophy of The matrix trilogy

When looking at a trilogy of films, I think it would be more helpful to break down the main philosophical points or people the films are from and then give you their general application.

I don’t think this is an exhaustive list. There are whole books on the subject. But I think it gives you a starting point from which to go deeper into these philosophers and their influences.

So let’s look at what I’ve come up with and talk about it The matrix.

Plato’s cave

We’ve covered Plato’s cave before at this point, but I want to give you a refresher.

First I should introduce you to a cave. The people in the cave were born there and lived in the cave all their lives. They have no idea that there is an outside world or that anything exists in this world. They are chained so that they can only see the cave wall in front of them.

A fire burns behind them, providing light for shadows. Between the fire and the prisoners there is a parapet for puppeteers to walk along. The puppeteers use puppets that cast shadows on the wall of the cave.

No prisoner can see a puppet or a puppeteer, only the shadows. And they can only hear the echoes from objects they don’t see.

Hence, without further knowledge, the prisoners think that the shadows they see are indeed real. But it’s not reality, just the appearance of reality.

In this sense, the Wachowskis ask the same question that Plato asks with this allegory: “How do we know what our reality really is?”

In the film, Neo and other people themselves are chained in a cave, connected and realized by the machines. Little did you know that the shadows on the wall aren’t real until they “red pill” out of them.

‘The Matrix’Recognition: Warner Bros.

The Oracle of Delphi

There are oracles throughout Greek and Roman legend, but none are as famous as the Delphi Oracle. She was known to deliver cryptic messages to people who were looking for her, which they had to interpret in order to know your fate.

In direct connection with this we see Neo visiting the oracle in The matrixand then see her again in subsequent films. The original oracle in Delphi had a plate in their temple that said, “Know Yourself,” which is what finding the oracle in the movies is. Only when Neo can overcome his ignorance can he gain true knowledge of who he is and what to do.

Jean Baudrillards Simulacra and simulation

This philosophical reference is actually tangible in the Matrix universe. Neo actually hides his illegal computer programs in a hollowed-out copy of the philosopher Jean Baudrillard Simulacra and simulation.

It’s a book about consumer culture. It’s about how simulations or imitations of reality have actually become more real than reality itself, a state called “hyper-realistic”.

This, in addition to Plato’s cave, forms the basis of what we feel and see within The matrix. We are in a reality that feels more real than the one presented in Zion or the tunnels.

Karl Marx

Yes, there is a great Marxist allegory at the heart of the Matrix. As you may know, argued Karl Marx that the working class is exploited by the ruling classes. Or the ruling machines in this case. Marx said that the exploitation of the working class is only possible because it does not perceive itself to be exploited.

Make people into The matrix Do you know that they are part of a huge battery field? Definitely not. So you are being controlled without knowing that this control exists.

These Marxist tendencies don’t stop there. We can see the destruction of the globe and the takeover of machines into authoritarian rule as the impact of capitalism on society. We can see the human insurrection as a workers revolution that overturns capitalism in favor of communism. We see echoes of communism in Zion, where everyone shares a goal and all resources.

‘The Matrix’Recognition: Warner Bros.

The work of René Descartes

Best known for the saying, “I think that’s why I am,” Descartes published the book Meditations on the first philosophyin which he asks how he can know for sure that the world is not an illusion forced upon him by an evil demon.

This in turn reflects the idea of ​​a simulated world or the world in a cave. The evil demon in Descartes was interested in changing our dreams, and since Neo dreams in the Matrix, there is direct manipulation of the room he enters knowing that he is in control there too.


There are many religious influences in the film, from Buddhism and Judaism to a few tenement houses with many different and obscure world religions. I chose the big one because – well, “the one”. Christianity is the belief that the Savior of mankind, Jesus, came to fulfill the prophets of the old days and to be “the one” who will save us from the devil.

They also have names like Trinity, Zion, and a dispute between fate and free will. Some people think that the film is actually a metaphorical retelling of the Gospels. With Morpheous as Old Testament God, the Trinity as the Holy Spirit and Neo as Jesus.

The religious implications Within The matrix are complicated because the simulation these people live in is populated with the religions and philosophy that the film embodies. A real mind twister!

in the The matrixMorpheus is waiting for a savior to be taken from the Matrix to rise and actually save humanity from the machines. Neo’s development as a Christ-like character in the films shows us that he is not just a powerful prophet, but someone with real powers. In a final scene, he is even crucified by the machines, turning out of his hands and side, imitating Christ’s wounds on the cross as he straddles him in a Jesus-like pose.

There are a few arguments between Christianity and Gnostic Christianity that modern religious figures have discussed in correlation with the film, but I’ll leave that argument for them. The point is, The matrix borrows many Christian pictures and words to tell the story of a Savior who rose to defeat the machines.

Summary of the philosophy of The matrix

As you can see, the trilogy is from matrix Films take up many different teachings from the world and delve deeply into how these perspectives can be turned into fictions. With a fourth Matrix movie coming soon, it will be interesting to see how these ideas expand in the world. Are we going to add more philosophy or are we going to stick to the pillars that were created in the original films?

We will see.

Let us know your predictions and reactions in the comments.

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