PLATO, DESCARTES, AND THE MATRIX 5
The reading regarding the Matrix and readings of Plato and Descartespresent various similarities and differences with regard to reality.In the Matrix, it is clear that the programmer, Neo, has been livinga lie which was revealed to him by Morpheus and his group ofdissidents (Wachowski & Wachowski, 1999). It is clear from thissynopsis that at times, dreams present situations which seem as true.Dreams present situations which seem like real and it would bedifficult for someone to differentiate between the dream and thereality. Similarly, Descartes argues that dreams are sometimesimminent with aspects which appear as true. However, Descartes isquick to point out that in a dream, the objects seen such as hands,the body and the head are a representation of real objects. It isclear that the similarity of the three readings seems to revolvearound the point of argument that people are living a lie. Plato’sreading depicts people who live in caves and are never in touch withreality. One of the prisoners, however, is released and is able tosee the reality.
The three readings present situations where a person is able torealize what the reality is and discovers that he or she has beenliving a lie and has been seeing illusions. In the synopsis of theMatrix, the author clearly stipulates the life that Neo, theprogrammer has been living. It comes to his realization, throughMorpheus that he has been living under an illusion. Neo has been aplayer in a computer simulation and that he was living a virtual lifethat was being controlled by a computer program named the matrix.This is the same case with the prisoners in the cave. The prisonershave been living believing that the shadows they see are the reality.However, it is clear from the reading that one of the prisoners wasreleased and found out that what they have been seeing was not thereality. The prisoner found out that there were other more realthings such as the real statutes than the shadows (Plato & Lee,1996). When he got a chance to get out of the cave, the prisonerfound even more real objects than the statutes in the cave. In thisregard, it is abundantly clear that the Matrix and the reading on theallegory of the cave by Plato have various aspects in common.
The Descartes’ reading and the matrix also share an element incommon. In both readings, the authors have pointed out to the elementsenses such as visions and touch. In the allegory of the cave, it isalso abundantly clear that the prisoners had to use the sense ofsight to perceive what to them seemed as real. Therefore, the use ofsenses to perceive reality has been applied in all the readings.However, there are a number of differences in the ideas and pointspresented in the three readings. To start with, the Matrix hasconcentrated on the element of a computer program called the matrixthat controls the lives of the people. The matrix is said to makepeople live virtual live from birth to adulthood and later to death.Sensual signals in the matrix are sent through wire cables to thebrain. However, in the allegory of the cave, the author does notpoint out to a computer program as the basis of controlling people.The slaves use their senses to perceive reality. However, in theallegory of the cave, Plato states that reality exists but not in theshadows. Additionally, Descartes also believes that there is realitybeyond the dreams and that dreams are also based on real objects.Equally, Descartes points that artists paint existing things and evenif they do not paint existing objects, they still use real ink topaint (Descartes & Pascal, 1999). Another disparity betweenDescartes and the movie is that Descartes believes in the power ofGod and believes in his existence whereas the movie hardly recognizesGod.
In trying to find out whether the world we live is real, thewritings of Descartes can be used. It is abundantly clear from thereading that she believes in God as the provider of reality and asone who cannot deceive mankind. In this regard, Descartes believesthat the senses are provided by God and therefore whatever weperceive through our senses such as sight and hearing cannot be alie. Descartes describes God as the most real and therefore he cannotdeceive us. In this regard, it is abundantly clear that the world isreal as people perceive it. According to the philosophy of Descartes,at least people are not living in a platonic cave or are not beingcontrolled by a matrix. However, if one looks this question from theperspective of the Matrix, it can be argued that people are living anillusion and that the world people live is not real. The matrix wouldforce people believe that they are being controlled through acomputer program.
Descartes, R., & Pascal, B. (1999). Meditations on firstphilosophy. Beijing: Zhongguo she hui ke xue chu ban she.
Wachowski, A. & Wachowski, L. (1999). The Matrix. Directedby Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski. Los Angeles: Warner BrosPictures.
Plato & Lee, H. D. P. (1966). The republic.Baltimore: Penguin Books.