The Matrix (1999) — Though its award winning special effects are now common place, a Google search for “The Matrix spiritual message” generates 6.5 million results some 20 years after its release. Stunning action sequences combine with the heady sci-fi premise that humans live in a illusory world concocted by their machine overlords. These mental munchies provide a feast for spiritual nerds.
The Matrix vindicated spiritual seekers looking for mainstream discussion of spiritual themes such as the illusory nature of the world, the hidden truth available to those willing to undertake the effort to discover it, and this quest for truth as a fight which also requires an element of letting go. That all this was packaged into a film so visually hip, was icing on the cake. The spiritual search was definitely cool.
The continuing popularity of The Matrix is surely helped by the reams of elaborate gun play, martial arts battles, techno beats, and the sight of Carrie Ann Moss in black, skin-tight PVC. Yet, The Matrix spiritual message is the theme that still deeply resonates with film fans and gives the film a lasting appeal.
A couple of my favorite quotes from the film, both from Morpheus:
The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me.
7 thoughts on “The Matrix spiritual message with a sci-fi punch”
The Matrix presentation as ” Stunning action sequences combine with the heady sci-fi premise that humans live in a illusory world concocted by their machine overlords.” does the opposite of what it intended, i.e. keeps humans in that illusory world that it attempts to dispel.
Why? Because it gives them the IDEA of The Matrix, laced with those sci-fi embellishments, instead of showing them that their illusory world is concocted by their own Minds which see fantasy (The Matrix) as real, and Reality – as fantasy, a dream world.
Ironic, don’t you think, to cinematically replace one untruth with another?
The same criticism could be leveled at any manner of communication. Yet we continue to point fingers at the moon because once in a while someone actually looks at the moon.
That is simply not true, Shawn. Words and body language used in communication – do not lie in themselves. Words are symbols, and body language is inbuilt instinct. How people use them (to what ends, the intent) is what creates the illusion.
I think The Matrix is vastly overrated, because people always prefer illusion to Reality, and it gives them exactly that. What better than to talk about the machine overlords other than to talk about the humans themselves who create the prison for one another.
If so, then the images in a film do not lie, either. They are simply symbols, which we can choose to do with as we will — if we have any choice in the matter!
Symbols, be it words or images, do not lie in themselves, correct. But remember, I said ‘how people use them, the intent behind the creation’.
Symbols create stories. The intent of each story can be revealing Truth OR obscuring Truth, and I do think The Matrix obscures Truth, because the storyline has made it such.
I guess we’ll have to do a survey.
Is there any film that you feel does not obscure the Truth?
Not many. ‘Fightclub’ is pretty good in that it covers many facets of human reality: from the internal Mind split to societal pressures to the meaning of life to inherent cult-like tendencies of humans to consumerism to the loveless role of sex to waking up to realities of life etc. etc… finishing with the utter fruitlessness of all attempts to remedy anything from the outside.
‘V for Vemdetta’ is excellent too, albeit limited in its scope. Most people will only see the antitotalitarian stance in it, but the film is really about human fear.
I am a bit behind in the genre of ‘spiritual’ cinematography at the moment. Kinda lost interest, the same as with any books.