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The Matrix

The Matrix is a movie that is actually more popular than I imagined it would be, especially out here in Japan. Whenever I bring it up, it seems that people have at the very least heard of it, and the fact it stars Keanu Reeves. Considering it is an old movie this often surprises me. I can only guess that they must have had a very good promotional campaign in Japan when the movie was released.

People who know me know that I like computers and so they might expect that The Matrix inspired me in some way to want to become a hacker or is the sole reason why I like to spend so much time on a terminal when I use a computer. However, the real way that The Matrix inspired me was through the philosophy found within it. The following contains light spoilers for The Matrix series.

The idea that in the world of The Matrix everything is an illusion generated to secure the resources for some while taking advantage of the energy of others appealed to me as a youngling, as not only was it seemingly a justification for the disparity in the reality around me and the limits of my then strong imagination, but it also encouraged me to further look into the matter from a philosophical perspective. This solidified an ability to keep track of lore in many subsequent stories I enjoyed and it also reinforced, more so than school ever could, a drive to want to research things. I already had these tendencies before I watched The Matrix, but the movie and its sequels were a not-insignificant motivator to further invest energy into these pursuits.

From Plato’s Cave to the concept of the One, as described in Eleaticism to, what I then found to be similar concept, the Dao, I was awash in readings that would go on to challenge my young mind, and frankly lead me to have a voracious appetite for all that was out there. Touching upon this small corner of written human works, I began to feel both excitement and fear as I realized I might never come to understand all of it and that I could spend a lifetime simply reading.

Luckily, it was only a few years later before I accepted that it was hopeless to want to learn everything by reading, or even for reading and general information parsing to be the primary way to spend one’s time. I am still guilty even now in my daily life of wanting to continue to collect and parse information, but more and more I am faced with the pressure that knowledge and ability are not always as related as they seem to be, and that ability is a kind of knowledge that is established through repetitive patterns that become merely temporarily seared into our biological machine, and as such there is not only an investment of time that is required, but also a much greater concentrated energy investment that calls upon more than just your eyes and mind, but often extends to your entire being.

I have always created as a form of play and studied as a kind of raison d’être, but now, as the burden of age becomes apparent, I find that I would feel more comfortable doing the exact opposite.

Ivan




Vocabulary

terminal (n) – a computer or a combination of a keyboard and a video display that is connected to a system and used for entering or receiving data
disparity (n) – a noticeable and often unfair difference between people or things
lore (n) – background knowledge, beliefs, and stories about a place, subject, or group
pursuit (n) – the act of following or chasing someone or something
Eleaticism (n) – a form of philosophy, which began in the town of Elea, in Greece
voracious (adj.) – having a tendency to consume a large amount of something
parse (v) – to study (something) by looking at its parts closely
raison d’être (n) – the most important reason or purpose for someone or something’s existence

 

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