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>The Matrix is a great movie but a poor expression of Baudrillard's philosophy. The Matrix is quite straightforward, there's no confusion, no paradox: you're either in the Matrix, or you're in the real world. You may not know you're in the Matrix, but that doesn't change the fact that you are, or are not, in it.

This is incorrect - in fact there is a very reasonable explanation that the Matrix is three levels, and what looks like the real world is just another level of the matrix. This is why Neo's abilities bleed over into the real world.

That is the version that most closely aligns to Baudrillard's philosophy.


Someone on a gaming forum wrote a lovely bit of fiction in which "the Matrix" is layer one, "the desert of the Real" is layer two, and you're reading a brief overview of the system written by someone on layer six. He and his colleagues are pretty sure that they're in the final, real world, but they're not making any assumptions, and research is ongoing...


If you find the link, I'm interested. In the meantime, here's the very related Finale of the Ultimate Meta Mega Crossover:

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5389450/


Found it! Note that it's part of a greater thread: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?666317-Bizarre-Fan-theor...


I never liked that particular interpretation. It was too obvious and had been done better elsewhere.

I preferred an alternative explanation, where The One actually comes in two parts, a program in the matrix, and a human in the real world with a direct neuro link to that program. Neo's powers are expressed in the real world because he still has a direct link to the machines.

http://www.cyberpunkreview.com/movie/essays/understanding-th...

I liked the sequels a lot better once I read that. They're still not genius cinema, but they're better.


actually the three level explanation includes this facet through the little Indian girl - Sati. Remember when she makes a sunset for Neo at the end? And the story by Morpheus about the legend of "someone who could make the matrix as he wanted. born into the matrix". Obviously only a program can be born "into the matrix".

I think Sati was really the One and inserting Neo's code into the Source rebooted it, effectively deleting her. This did NOT happen thanks to Neo not choosing the Source (and tge Oracle's tricks).

But the real world is still not real ;)


I like that, it would be similar to Lain... but, I always thought about another possible interpretation: what we call "the real world" is actually pretty similar (if not equal) to a machine. If the Matrix is a simulation of the real world, then why Neo wouldn't be able to hack the rules outside of the Matrix as he did inside of it? Maybe the glitches or errors of the Matrix are actually physically possible (obviously not in classical mechanics).

If that's the case, then, the Matrix is a good thing since it would let us understand in more depth the reality.


This explanation is less elegant because it requires different laws of physics in the matrix real world than our world. "a direct neuro link to the machines" doesn't do anything to explain why neo has telekinetic abilities in the "real" world.


Neo only uses his powers against machines, shutting down the sentinels at the end of Reloaded, blowing stuff up on the way into the Machine City, and in being able to see Smith's alter-ego in the real world. None of that is incompatible with having a wireless transceiver in his brain.


The movie clearly is trying to give the impression that he is using telekinetic powers, not hacking into the robots and causing them to act as if he is using telekinetic powers.


If he actually has telekinetic powers, this scene doesn't make sense:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYawJGlEh3k

His powers don't work on the flesh-and-blood Bane/Smith. He can't swipe the knife away from Trinity's neck at a distance. He can't easily beat Bane/Smith in a fistfight. The best he gets is to see Smith's machine form after being blinded.

All of his powers shown in the real world are against machines, never flesh-and-blood humans.


It's never mentioned he has a wireless transceiver in his brain. He has a wired one, but not a wireless one.


There's nothing to contradict it, either; not all the plot points have to be served up on a nice dinner plate. If it fits nicer than the matrix-within-a-matrix theories, then might as well go with that.


That's what he's saying, though. You're either in the Matrix or you're not. Neo still has powers, ergo you're still in the Matrix. That's it. Neo can see even though he's blind? Still in the Matrix.

No twist, no paradox, no confusion - there was an extra layer.


Wow I was always confused by the ending of the last Matrix movie how Neo did what he did, now I must look up peoples ideas of what the ending really meant.


The matrix ending could have been great - if it ended up being that they were never really out of the matrix. That the human need for choice part of the equation was taken into account by the machines and allowed them to think they've broken free (or were fighting a war) when they were never really free. Neo could have been the extremely rare corner case among millions of cycles that figures out they're not really out.

Instead the movie baked in religious overtones and went the supernatural route (basically invalidating everything they set up in the universe in the first place).


I think that, ultimately, most viewers would rather have a movie that presents a picture of humans having a chance at triumph, rather than one where the truth of the story is that we cannot win (because the computer overlords are merely simulating our win to placate us). The latter is far, far more dystopian.

Interestingly, the Thirteenth Floor did a pretty good job of that overall premise (sims inside sims), but without the dystopian overtones.


_The Thirteenth Floor_ was released same year as the Matrix. I think it's a better execution of the same idea.


World on a Wire is an adaptation of the same book directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (the greatest director of all time), and is definitely worth checking out.


Thank you.


"What matters isn't whether the top stopped spinning; what matters is that Cobb didn't bother to find out."

Exactly.


That's what pretty much everyone I talked with thought… I don't think I'll ever understand why so many people think Inception is some kind of convoluted, brainy and really complicated movie when it's a cool action film with nice ideas but rather straight forward.


I think I would have enjoyed the movie a lot more if I had gone into it expecting a cool action movie with neat ideas, rather than something cerebral. If I'm expecting an action movie, I'm willing to forgive holes and hand-waving in the plot and premise because, hey, it's just an action movie, and look at all the cool slow motion exploding crap.

But if I'm expecting cerebral sci-fi, I have high standards for everything being tight and thought out. With those expectations in mind, I found Inception pretty dumb. It makes me wish I'd seen it without hearing all the hype first.

But at least it was better than Looper.


Indeed, I spent so long refusing to watch it because everyone I knew was harping on about how great and cerebral the movie was - which has a tendency to cause me to want to find flaws. On a whim, I finally watched it a few months ago and was completely shocked at how poorly it was executed, and how much of the plot I had to gloss over to keep up with. I ended up enjoying it as an action flick, but being angry that it was sold to me as an intellectual journey.

I suspect the rarity of filmmakers with talent at the level of, say, Cocteau, drags down the standards of what people are able to comprehend as truly cerebral.


My hypothesis is that it's just very difficult to get a smart movie made without someone influential demanding that it be dumbed down.


I felt its magnificence was its ability to evoke emotion. In the case of the supposed convolutions, it was the ability to evoke confusion. The confusion helped promote and maintain the tension, so that the catharsis was stronger, because the key fact in the whole thing is "Cobb is lost". I, for one, was crying by the end of the movie.

The masterpiece of The Dark Knight was the same thing, except that the emotion was horror: each of the Joker's little atrocities kept building up and building up until the last one was so large that he didn't even need to be on screen anymore.

That's Nolan's trade mark. He uses callbacks and repetition to mount emotion.


This !

I really, really didn't get why so many people on the net didn't get it, or thought it was really complicated !


Everyone needs a reason to live.


With Christopher Nolan own words: “The important thing is that Cobb’s not looking at the top. He doesn’t care.” http://collider.com/inception-christopher-nolan-explains/


That's the TL/DR/didn't watch I was looking for


TL;DR from the video is: When dreaming he is wearing a ring, when awake he is not. In final scene he isn't wearing a ring, therefore he is awake.


New acronym: TL/DR/DW :)


and /DL


Didn't Learn or Didn't Listen ? :P


That article seems far-stretched and circuitous, making things out of its own rather than really explaining what Nolan is trying to say(It's actually not that complicated. Just a hugely commercial movie which is attached too many connotations. For example they had to fight their way through, probably just mainly because the need of cinematic effects). Also it has the very danger of fashioning out massive escapism. "What matters isn't whether the top stopped spinning; what matters is that Cobb didn't bother to find out." What total nonsense. If we live our real life with such an attitude then it's one of the utmost dangers I can imagine. (For example you may play a game all day long and claim that is the "reality" you are fond of being in. While in fact doing so only totally destroys your life as well as lives of people you should be together with, as I have already experienced). We have to have the will and courage to face the real life, to face all the things it throws at us no matter good or bad. True joys only derive from the reality. Any attempts of escapism will in the end only enlarge the problems you're facing and bring more disasters.


>>True joys only derive from the reality.

Well a dream is as real as things get.

The whole problem is really in describing reality. Ask any lucid dreamer and they will explain you than the key to lucid dreaming is to constantly question your current state(are your dreaming or not?).

And after some time it just doesn't matter. Because every thing is just a electrical impulse to your brain. If your brain is sent a signal to treat hot as cold. You will hold a hot iron in your hands and be perfectly OK with it. The reality of things 'hot being hot' doesn't change, nothing changes but your perception of things.

If you ponder deep enough when you dream this is what happens in a dream too. You are perceiving things. Whether they are real are not, is as useless argument because your knowledge of it is the way your brain is telling you about it and not what it actually is.

I've had inception like dream within dream, losing lucidity while dreaming inside the dream and there after. In stages like that its difficult to say what is reality and what isn't. The safest way is to not do any thing harmful or dangerous. In fact I didn't know of it until I woke, it was then during a usual dream recall that I got a surreal feeling that I had woke up from three levels of 'reality'.


You know those days that are totally normal, the routine, what you do for a period of time in your life to just reach to the next level? OK, I had a 4 level deep dream, in which I dreamed that I woke up. I did in glaring detail what I would do, when I actually wake up, including the stupid things like opening the fridge just remember what I was about to do. I didn't notice that I dreamt until a single detail made me curious and I instantly woke up, before I could notice what it was. However this was the 3rd level of the dream and much more realistic than the 4th level. I'll skip the 2nd level, but in the 1st level of the dream I could not find a single thing that made me curious, heck I even did what I would do, if I were suspecting that I was "dreaming", like washing my face with icecold water, phoning to someone I know, asking someone to pinch me. Unfortunately the pain and everything else was realistic so I kept dreaming that I actually woke up now and was somehow fooled to become relieved by that matter. After my routine day (which of course includes brushing teeth, washing face, shower, going out, taking a bus ride, going through the city and such random stuff) I turned back home and was just about to think about the day, when I noticed something was wrong. I couldn't remember what a professor said (you'd think that's normal, huh, haha?). And In the glimpse of an eyeblink I woke up again. This time I was really awake, but couldn't believe it for several weeks until I gave up finding out what's real or not, hoping to be really awake. Everybody who had a very very long dream taking years (in detail), knows that when dreaming there is no time limit. A second can be an infinity in a dream.

After "waking up" into what I think is reality, I experienced a single difference between dreams and reality. In every dream that I woke up, I could see myself from the top and then immediately when my dreaming self opened it's eyes I started seeing things through that perspective .

>> Is sleeping inside a dream possible? If not, that could be a trustable way to find out if one is a dream or not. Much more reliable than a ring ;)


All I can say is I'm a little jealous. :)

I hope some day I dream at such deep levels.


I hope you do not. How will you find out that things are real or not?

It makes you really skeptic and a little more cautions, but also open to risk than you would usually be. Maybe a good attitude for an entrepreneur, but all your logic and fear induced by that logic mostly fades away at some times. That's when you think it could be a dream subconsciously, at that time you start doing things you never would. It's twisted, it could also make you overly cautious, because you start valuing real life as something more wonderful than you thought, a unique thing, something you are deadly afraid of losing control of. The worst is: "What if you understand your multi-level dream as bad as you understood Inception?" Just like some friend of yours who had trouble getting Matrix in example. Could that mean you see draw a pattern and believe reality is the 5th dream? Could that when you really wake up, make everything make appear surreal? Would you try to jump from a window or do something to find out if you're dreaming?

The question that reality is a dream is supported by the Simulated Reality Hypothesis and that is also factor that makes this film a great one. Because there is no answer to that question. You could wake up when you die, or you could die. Using stochastic maths and game theory would suggest to die, but that speaks against everything that makes a game, a dream or life out. Playing is winning. Not playing is losing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ironic_process_theory

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulated_reality


It's always this argument that comes up, and it always seems like bullshit.

First off, yes, our brain offers us an interpretation of the outside world, but no, that's not 'its' interpretation. We are it.

Second - dreaming is not as real as things get. Yes, our perception determines how we react to the world, but it does not actually change the world on its own. In a dream, our perception is expressed as actual physical changes to the structure of what's around us. In other words, in life, I can imagine a house on fire, but it's still standing - whereas in a dream, that bitch burns to the ground.

Third - whether or not I'm dreaming does matter (and the way you try to explain that doesn't really make a ton of sense). If I shoot myself in the face in a dream, I wake up. If I shoot myself in the face at my job during the day, it's a bit different outcome.

Fourth - I can ponder what is in a dream, and I can perceive what is in a dream. This does not carry the same weight as perceiving and pondering the world around me. At most, the dream perception is just fancy navel gazing, it's introspection at its finest (or worst depending on your view). Whereas perceiving and pondering the world around me can directly impact how much I have to eat today, whether or not I get hit by a car, or whether or not I'm on fire.

The argument that dreams are the same as reality because our brain offers interpretations of both has always, to me, seemed to be the 'whoa man, check out how big my hands are' type of stoner bullshit from college. Arguing that our dreams should carry as much weight as our interaction with the world around us has always come across as just a miserable person's way of saying that they're not happy with where they're at in life, but that's okay because it's all about how we interpret the world around us.

I didn't intend for that to be as hateful as it came across. I've read it three times and can't make it any less hateful. Take it for what it's worth.


You didn't get the point I was trying to make. The whole point is the term 'real' is difficult to define. You seem to have definition of the term real, as to some state of wakefulness. But how did you come to that conclusion? How do you know that you are not dreaming at this point in time?

You might simply be treating a level of wakefulness as real.

This is exactly what happens when you have dreams within dreams. You wake up to level, which you think is real. Until you wake to another level and so on.


No, no I didn't.

The term 'real' isn't that hard to define. It consists of everything that exists when I cease to exist. It is everything around me that keeps going when I stop going.

Therefore, awake, asleep, on drugs, it doesn't matter. My perception of the world is just that, my perception. The world exists whether I'm here or not. To argue that reality is dependent on your own personal perception is one of the most egotistical and self-centered things I've ever heard.

Again, the 'everything and nothing is real' argument just comes across as sophomore existentialism, nothing more.


So what is reality? Are sure sure it is realy real? And where is the difference between dreaming you lived 70 years or really living them? You will nver know the difference.

We all create ou own "reality" out off faulty perceptions and memorys.

"Playing a game" is a bad example because it is hardly compareable to the complex illusion we really ( ;) ) live in. The dream world of inception however is as complex as as the "real" world (at least from a humans point of view).

Sorry but you are sailing into a philosphical ocean with only a inflateable animal as support.


Well I'm going to back him up, and blaspheme the memory of George Orwell for good measure.

Sanity is socially-defined. So is reality, at least human-eudaimonic reality. Basically, imagine we live in the Matrix, and you get out, but you're the only one who does get out or ever can get out. Do you live in reality?

In the scientific sense, yes: causal arrows run from your reality to ours.

In the social sense, no: you live in total isolation, have an utterly meaningless life due to lack of social relationships, and quickly go insane from the extreme solitude. (I mean that literally: solitary confinement of human beings causes measurable damage to mental and neurological health.)

Given multiple possible realities, the one that's going to make you sane and happy is the one where everyone else lives, or at least enough of a peer group to keep you sane. Thus, if you break out of the Matrix, you should focus on building Zion.

If we're talking about real-world, non-hypothetical real-life versus, say, World of Warcraft, it's pretty damn obvious that you can have better and more meaningful relationships with more people in real life, and that living almost entirely in real life does much more to support your physical and mental health than living in WoW. We can therefore obviously conclude you should stop playing WoW right now and go out in the healthy sunshine.

Just like your mom used to tell you, but way mind-screwier.


There is a book called "Finite and Infinite Games" that you should read. http://www.amazon.com/Finite-Infinite-Games-James-Carse/dp/1...

It's really metaphor for life.


I think many people will live out their entire physical lives in advanced holodecks of the future. I think that would be perfectly reasonable.


The notion of escape is pretty terrifying to a jailer.




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