“We all remember this awesome scene in the Matrix, and the vast majority of us can relate. The question for me, though, is not who, but rather what is ‘them?'”
by O Society July 20, 2019
One of our O Society people asked the extraordinarily ^ simple question above ^. Yet finding a conventional answer to this question is not at all obvious and the effort is mostly ignored at the public level in our civilization. Which is to say, this isn’t a normal topic of polite collective conversation in our mainstream media. So we can’t seem to arrive at a name for THEM we all agree upon without a significant population of folks yelling “Conspiracy theory! Crackpots!” Why is this so?
For one, THEY own the media in which our discourse happens, of course. Literally.
The richest man in the world (last I checked) is named Jeff Bezos, whom everyone knows owns Amazon, a company which everyone uses. The Bezoses got divorced recently, so technically Jeff may no longer be THE richest after his lovely X-wife MacKenzie got her share of their fortune.
The point here is winking Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post. Thus, he controls the news media at the heart of the nation’s capital, our government in Washington, DC. Coincidentally, Bezos signed a gazillion dollar contract with the Department of Offense to provide a computer cloud and drone tech and who knows what else. C’mon now, we all know the DoD isn’t about Defending our American soil; it’s all about taking, controlling, and chaos-ing the land in other people’s countries.
The US Dept of Offense bombs countries all over the world every day. The US mainland hasn’t been attacked by a military force since… Pearl Harbor? Yet the magic words “National Security” command us to open-sesame our wallets to the vampires in ways “abracadabra” and “hocus pocus” never dreamed.
So it’s the Department of Offense, folks. The DoO makes companies like Amazon and Facebook, as well as creates tech meta-structure, such as GPS and the ubiquitous Internet itself for its own purposes. Yes, the DoO do.
Which brings us back to the aforementioned Matrix. It must be said here at the outset, the Matrix is a movie, so let’s not get too carried away using this (or any) Hollywood metaphor as a substitute for reality. It isn’t Plato or Buddha talking in these movies; it’s the Wachowski brothers, named ah… Lana and Lilly. Confused? You betcha.
Umm… sisters & brothers… cis- & trans-. You think maybe the Matrix is a metaphor for being a woman trapped in a male body, a female mind in a man’s world? I dunno. Ask Tweedle Deep and Tweedle Dope.
The explanation given at the end of the linked movie clip is:
“What is the Matrix? A computer-generated dream world built to keep us under control, in order to change a human being into this (a Duracell battery).”
and the IMDb storyline summary is:
“Thomas Anderson is a man living two lives. By day he is an average computer programmer and by night a hacker known as Neo. Neo always questioned his reality, but the truth is far beyond his imagination. Neo finds himself targeted by the police when he is contacted by Morpheus, a legendary computer hacker branded a terrorist by the government. Morpheus awakens Neo to the real world, a ravaged wasteland where most of humanity have been captured by a race of machines that live off of the humans’ body heat and electrochemical energy, and who imprison their minds within an artificial reality known as the Matrix. As a rebel against the machines, Neo must return to the Matrix and confront the agents: super-powerful computer programs devoted to snuffing out Neo and the entire human rebellion.”
If you want a more detailed explanation of this Matrix and why Neo is involved:
Get as deep into the storyline as you’d like. We’ve all seen the movie(s), so we’re not going to explain any more of the storyline here. What we are going to do is again point out it is Hollywood, and it is written by two brothers/ sisters with cis– /trans– personalities.
Which may explain why their character called Trinity (ahem, traditionally Father-Son-Holy Spirit) – played by the Carrie-Anne Moss – is perhaps the most masculine female pop action character of last century (1999). In many ways, Moss’ Trinity reprises Linda Hamilton’s bad ass Sarah Connor fighting SkyNet in The Terminator (1984).
Trinity and Sarah Connor: Separated at Birth? You decide.
Mmm hmm… don’t get me wrong. Both Carrie-Anne Moss and Linda Hamilton are wonderful actresses. Gorgeous. Play their roles beautifully. Sexy with a punch in the mouth. Hardbodies. Eyecandy. Fierce.
Decidedly *not* denigrating anyone here. I love the Matrix and the Terminator as harbingers of the dangers inherent in believing technological optimism is the solution to all our problems. It isn’t. That said, we are noticing a finger in these two scifi flicks which distinctly points somewhere over the rainbow…
“SkyNet is a fictional artificial neural network-based conscious group mind and artificial general intelligence system featured centrally in the Terminator franchise and serves as the franchise’s true main antagonist.
Skynet is rarely depicted visually in any of the Terminator media. Skynet gained self-awareness after it spread into millions of computer servers all across the world; realizing the extent of its abilities, its creators tried to deactivate it. In the interest of self-preservation, Skynet concluded all of humanity would attempt to destroy it and impede its capability in safeguarding the world.
Its operations are almost exclusively performed by servers, mobile devices, drones, military satellites, war-machines, androids and cyborgs (usually a terminator), and other computer systems. As a programming directive, Skynet’s manifestation is that of an overarching, global, artificial intelligence hierarchy AI takeover, which seeks to exterminate the human race in order to fulfill the mandates of its original coding.”
SkyNet, Ultron, and the Matrix: Separated at birth? You decide.
Meanwhile, back to our premise. The Matrix story is an allegory of what? Sounds like machines. Computers. Cylons. Borgs. Daleks. You know the drill press…
If Neo can download how to fight like a master to his central nervous system saying, “I know kung fu.” then certainly he could download how to act like a woman or be gay to his CNS saying, “I know girl too.”
“The Matrix perfectly captures the experience of being a closeted trans person. Everything about it that replicates what the trans experience is like prior to coming out — and, thus, made it so appealing to trans viewers — simultaneously tapped into some other zeitgeist entirely and became a weapon of some of the worst people on the internet.
There are reams of academic literature written on the idea of The Matrix as a trans allegory (most of them published after at least Lana came out), but on its most basic level, the movie follows characters who break free of their real life via the internet, creating online identities that feel more real than their physical ones.”
The sense of using the internet to find a true identity permeates every scene of The Matrix. In the movie’s first exchange between hero Neo (Keanu Reeves) and badass hacker girl Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss)
Neo: “I just thought you were a guy.”
Trinity: “Most guys do.”
“The characters reject the names they were born with — in Neo’s case, Thomas Anderson — in favor of their chosen names. Their wardrobe grows increasingly androgynous and leather-bound. The entire movie is about transcending the limitations of the physical form to explore the capabilities of the mind. Bodies are, at best, a suggestion. Your brain is what really matters.
The Wachowskis actually wanted to make The Matrix’s trans metaphor explicit, via the character of Switch (one of several crew members on board Morpheus’ ship, the Nebuchadnezzar). Switch was written to present as male in reality, while presenting as female in the Matrix — a fun way to play around with the idea of online identities and a subtle wink toward the idea gender is a construct that can be blown apart, like so many lines of green code.”
This concept also would have pushed back, ever so slightly, against the idea reality is more “real” than the Matrix, since the Matrix is the one place Switch could present as female.
Warner Bros. nixed the idea of Switch crossing the gender divide, feeling mainstream audiences wouldn’t understand. Hence, she appears in the film played by a woman in both realities.”
Still don’t buy the gender bender blender explanation of the Matrix metaphor?
No worries. Riddle me this: the movie the Wachowskis made right before they wrote and directed the Matrix. Bound What’s it about? Tongue all tied up?
“Corky, a lesbian ex-con hired to work in an apartment as a plumber, meets neighbors Caesar, who launders money for the Mafia, and his girlfriend, Violet. The two women have a love affair and decide to steal $2,000,000 Caesar has in custody before he gives it back to Mafia boss Gino Marzone. Caesar is set up by the two scheming women as a scapegoat, but things start to go wrong when he reacts in an unexpected way…”
So there’s that. How come the majority of folks see the Matrix as an overarching metaphor for the structure of their own heterosexual gender roles in mainstream society instead of what the Wachkowskis see? What if the storyline isn’t about the whole all-inclusive ball of wax but just a Brazilian?
Simple. What the majority of Americans know is their own body and role, which is conventional. Did you have any idea there are supposedly 57 different genders one can have? I never thought about it because it just isn’t relevant to my own life.
Again, the point here is not to ridicule anyone; rather the point is to admit I have no personal experience with this sort of thing of being homo- or bi-sexual or trans-gender and cannot comment in a meaningful way. I can comment on the conventional gender and sexual (XY male, hetero- etc) experience I always have in this life.
Enough of the identity talk. Suffice it to say one’s interpretation of a movie, book, or painting may not be what the author, director, or artist has in mind. As in a misinterpretation.
Moving on, we’ll close the Matrix chapter by looking at what it is to believe we are right now living in a computer simulation. Apparently people such as Elon Musk believe this is the case. No, really.
Yes, drink the Kool-Aid. Now our world is not a natural world at all, but rather the Matrix movie is in fact, a documentary. We really are living in a computer simulation. There’s a recent Black Mirror episode called USS Callister, which discusses this phenomenon and how it might happen to us:
Please keep in mind, just like the Matrix, USS Callister is a science fiction show, not a documentary. These are actors playing roles, not real people, reality TV or whatever the narcissistic hell people are smoking on TV these days.
These Elon Musk and Black Mirror stories are variations of what’s called the brain in a vat hypothesis, which is itself a variation of Descartes’ meditation on his mind being possessed by a demon.
Yes, a demon. Ahem.
Seriously folks, if you have to go about positing demons and mad scientists keeping your brain alive in a bathtub to make your case for your world view, Imma just stop you right there and say, “No. It’s bullshit.”
If you want to know why people like Descartes and Elon Musk are full of bullshit (and so is anyone else who believes in this demon-haunted world) please read these:
Now, before anyone goes berserk about any of this…
…consider this final thought and next time we’ll talk more about who and what THEM might be and what they probably ain’t… er, ants.
There is a structure, or perhaps a meta-structure, or even a Structure most people are unaware of, unable to see, swimming in like a fish in water. I didn’t say there isn’t. No, I did *not*. Go back and look. I said the Matrix as portrayed in the Hollywood movie is intended to be about issues of gender by its authors/ directors and it is a mistake for us to consider the Matrix as real and as equivalent to the Structure.
You can read an excellent take on what this means here: The Structure
What I *did* say is such a “meta-view” necessarily means stepping outside Hollywood’s commercial representations such as The Matrix. For example, the story narrative of The Matrix involves a protagonist (Neo) who is a computer programmer and a “Matrix,” which is a computer simulation made by The Architect. However, the Structure we are interested in existed long before humans invented computers; hence, “The Matrix” cannot be identical with The Structure.
And yes, I have read the Planet of the Apes thing and seen the movies where evolutionary history repeats itself upside down. Meaning we could invent computer robots artificial intelligence as we have done now, blow ourselves up as we are likely to do in the near future, then evolve a relationship in which our roles are flipped.
To be redundant, the Hollywood thing isn’t really going to work here. I ain’t going to prove Russell’s teapot for you.
Next time, we’ll learn how to chew bubblegum and kick ass at the same time.