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From Plato’s allegory of the cave to 21st-century movies, the concept of reality has continued to intrigue people. The world of The Matrix is one of the examples of the precarity of that, which may be called the real world as perceived by the beholder. Tying together the notions of the film with the philosophical issues presented by Rene Descartes permits further analyzing what people understand by existence.
The Matrix and the Philosophy of Rene Descartes
Distinguishing dreams from life-like circumstances and separating the simulation from the authentic is the core intention of both Descartes’s Meditations on First Philosophy and the 1999 action movie. Descartes raises the conception of mind without physique and vice versa, which is seen in The Matrix when the consciousness operates in virtual reality without affecting the actual body. Furthermore, Descartes raises the question of how could people identify an object, which is not by touch or perception, but through “God’s help” that grants understanding, which parallels with the unplugging from the matrix (Perry et al. 154). Thus, the intertwinement of these ideas comes together to stimulate further thought on the impact of human perception on existence.
Avoiding subjectivization of the observable object may be a task that is difficult to achieve, influencing our reality to differ from its actual existence. Questioning what we believe to be true through the application of non-variable criteria becomes an essential aspect of searching for the truth. Therefore, skepticism and critical thinking may be outlined as the key ideas that are propagated by both, Descartes and The Matrix.
Perry, John, et al. Introduction to Philosophy: Classical and Contemporary Readings. Oxford University Press, 2015.