The Matrix and Platonism/Gnosticism

The Matrix is often referenced when speaking about the truth; most people understand the Matrix-derived phrase “red pilled” as meaning that one has woken up to a certain truth. There’s a truth to this, but also a large, heaping pile of irony–which I’m going to serve to monsieur.

In order to understand the true meaning behind the Matrix one needs to have a philosophical language. The reason for this is 1) that there is nothing new under the sun; every idea has been rehashed a million times over, and 2) that it helps to fully define the concepts which are being used with (some) subtlety in the movies.

First I’ll drag you through a crash course in Platonism, so buckle up:
Plato believed there’s a world of pure, abstract forms which the real world is modelled off. His world of abstract forms was more “real” than the physical reality which we experience on a day-to-day basis. The best example of his philosophy is the very short allegory of the cave.

Here’s Gnosticism: There’s an evil Demiurge which created the physical world; The physical world is bad and tainted. The real way to break free is through knowledge.

You may be tipping your fedora violently at hearing this. You may even be whipping your bible around in a fit righteous autism. In any case, I understand that the ideas which I have expressed are not exactly commonplace–yet they are everywhere; these ideas are as old as we could possibly imagine, and they take on different shapes with every generation that passes, but at their core they are all very similar.

Let’s look at The Matrix in order to fully understand this:

Neo is inside a simulation run by evil machines (Demiurge, Gnosticism.) There’s a reality outside of the immediately perceived world (Plato’s allegory of the cave.) The Matrix is a lesser state of enslavement (Plato, Gnosticism.) Neo must download information into his brain (Acquisition of knowledge, Gnosticism.) Morpheus’ name comes from Morpheus in Greek mythology, denoting that Neo must become “woke” from his sleep in the Matrix (Platonic philosophy.)

The list of parallels goes on and on, but suffice it to say that The Matrix is Gnosticism and Platonism rehashed with leather suits and sunglasses indoors. This isn’t to say that the movie isn’t great, but the points which I’m going to gently touch upon to sum it all up are far greater:

  1. to be truly woke–as The Matrix suggests–implies that one needs to understand the HISTORY of ideas such as these. There is nothing new under the sun.
  2. The idea that either pure materialism or pure platonism/gnosticism are in a dialectic war with each other is completely false. Material reality and the metaphysical realm are not in tension with each other. Neither one is bad–or non-existent, for that matter. Reality is TRIADIC, not dualistic or monistic. THREE is the magic number, not two, and not one.
  3. Philosophies which favor mind over matter, such as Platonism and Gnosticism must surely be the favorite philosophies of men LARPing as women, no?
The Wachowski brothers engaged in a roleplay.