I watch the trilogy at least a couple of times a year. I mean, who can forget the opening scenes where Trinity is caught by police and is in the process of being handcuffed, when in startling demonstration of the power of the alter-reality, disarms the officer, kicks the chair at the other officer with super human effect, and disarms the other two cops…. running around the room on the walls! What an opening scene, and the movie only got better from there.
A central theme that coursed through the movie was that the world that seemed so concrete and real was in fact an illusion. And even when the knowledge of this was understood, the Matrix at times was more attractive than reality. Check out a couple of key dialogs from the movie:
Trinity: The Matrix isn't real.
Cypher: I disagree, Trinity. I think that the Matrix can be more real than this world.
And later as he finalizes the deal with Agent Smith to betray Morpheus:
Cypher: You know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? Ignorance is bliss.
It is an odd tension we must live with, that being that both Trinity and Cypher are correct. The Matrix wasn’t real, they both knew that. But it was a reality. It was a real alternative to the reality they were currently living. Cypher had seen both realities and wanted the old one back.
In order for Cypher to enjoy the original reality, he seemed to know that he had to have the current knowledge erased – the truth had to be removed from his consciousness. He told Smith, “I don’t want to remember nothing.” Not knowing, not recalling the truth was his preferred reality.
Cypher is the dirt bag in the movie – a traitor, a deceiver. I wonder how many of us are like Cypher. I find that I often prefer the illusion to the truth. ‘Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies,’ says the song from Fleetwood Mac. We opt to stay in the Matrix rather than get out and deal with the truth. We have habits that are destructive, but we rationalize them as ‘that’s just the way I am’ or ‘this is the way I was raised.’ Our thinking is negative, but we prefer it over the work it takes to become positive.
Part of the midlife transition involves the battle for the truth – our truth. It seems that during this season, we become plagued by foundational questions of truth: What is true? What is this life all about? Who am I? What am I here for?
It is a powerful and life-defining struggle, one that each soul must work out for himself. I cannot work out your path for you, nor you mine. It is each man’s journey. No pinch hitters allowed.
There is a scripture that says ‘And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.’ I wonder if I want to know the truth, or is the Matrix just fine. Only time will tell whether I am Morpheus or Cypher.
About the Author: Master Hobbit