Carrie-Ann Moss as Trinity, destroyer of false consciousness
I don’t waste time on current politics, as others cover that far better than I could, and today I’m not even going to bother with current culture. Instead I’m going to take you on a nostalgic journey, back five years or so to some movies I will just collectively refer to as “The Matrix.”
Keanu Reeves. Laurence Fishburne. Women in skin tight black leather. Slow motion martial arts and gunfights. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Maybe I betray myself, particularly with the skin tight black leather part. The first was an OK action movie, the second one kind of sucked, I didn’t bother to see the third, which I think was the reaction of most people.
But what stuck in my mind was the portrayal of reality in these films’ universe and how it reflects the way liberals and socialists understand the world.
To recap the plot, Keanu Reeves is an office drone who is deeply dissatisfied with his life and realizes something is wrong. He has some dispute with some authority figures, possibly FBI agents? (hey it wasn’t that good, how am I supposed to remember everything?) and wakes up from his dream and finds he is in a pod with numerous electrodes attached, from which he is ejected and finds himself naked and wet in a hellish industrial world.
He is taken in by other ejectees who explain what in the Sam Hill is going on. The “reality” of the people in the pods is completely imaginary. They think they are leading normal, possibly happy, lives, working, eating, commuting, lounging at home, but in fact they are sleeping in pods wired with electrodes so the evil robot masters of the world can use them to generate electricity. The “reality” these people experience is just an elaborate computer program, called the Matrix, which has been generated to fool them into thinking they are happy or at least content while the machines suck the juice out of them.
Rarely one of the pod prisoners will realize this, in which case they are ejected from the system. The ejectees try to fight the robots but they can also plug themselves into the Matrix with electrodes attached to their heads. They can explore and gather intelligence but they must leave before they are discovered or they can be killed.
The “mystical” part of this is the prophecy that eventually a man will come along who can go into the Matrix and having such a strong mind and deep understanding of the Matrix that he can actually overcome its illusions and defeat the program and the robots that run it from within.
OK, so is this a dumb but maybe entertaining science fiction movie, or Marxist-Leninist propaganda? I’ll go with number 2. See, it’s all an illusion. The people (or should I say The People) are being fooled. They think they are happy, they think they lead lives of meaning with those they care about, but they are really just mindless slaves to the machine. A few realize this, and fight the machine. Someday one man (perhaps we might refer to him as The One) will come along and destroy the illusion once and for all.
This is a reminder that if liberals seem disconnected from reality, we need to remember they have an entirely different idea of what reality is. Human nature as a constant over time that changes little and slowly is simply not the case for them. Social reality is simply a construct of the powerful that can and should be overthrown. It’s very hard because people cling tightly to it, in their foolishness and ignorance, but it must be done so the foundation of a brave new world can be constructed.
And in fact, socialists have had long periods of time in which they had total control of the culture in which to try to accomplish this. Human nature has stubbornly resisted this makeover, but that’s another story.
Next week- left wing terrorism! On TV Friday night! On the Fox network!