Monday, October 24, 2005

Trapped in virtual reality

Nick LaClair


Book Seven of The Republic of Plato clearly illustrates the classic metaphor of someone being blinded from reality, and then revealed to a unfamiliar new world. We see this as the subjects have lived in the cave their entire life, completely uninfluenced by any true reality. They are restrained, and stare straight ahead only able to see the shadows from the figures in back of them illuminated by fire. These subjects witness these shadows and interpret them as the true reality, blinded by the cave and its darkness. We see in book seven this metaphor has become quite famous even in the big budget film industry.

The allegory of the cave has become a very popular metaphor used in many hit movies that form a appealing and exciting plot. These movies have in fact become so popular that many of them lye at the top of the charts. The Matrix is an example of a blockbuster hit that made 27.8 million dollars at the box office the first weekend, and It contains the classic example of the Allegory of the cave. The Matrix tells the story of one person, Neo who is meant to lead a movement to tear down the Matrix and reveal the true reality to the inhabitants of the world. In the movie machines have taken over and control the surface of the earth where the sky is black, and humans are forced to live underground. But the matrix does not exist on earth. It is a cyber world acting as a program to control the minds of humans for one goal. That goal is the control of human energy which these machines depend on. The Matrix was created by the machines as a dream world which is a curtain pulled over the eyes of the inhabitants of the world. In the matrix the only way the curtain can be pulled up is from others outside the matrix.

The Matrix is simply meant to restrict all the people from the truth and reality. The people live in the matrix, much of which resembles our world today. The people of the Matrix don’t know of any other reality, only what is presented to them as does the subjects of the cave in book seven. Only when the subjects of the matrix are pulled from the program do they discover the truth. The same reactions of Neo and the other characters freed by the matrix act very similar to those of the cave. The world is somewhat too much to bear for the subjects and is most surprising.

The Matrix shows a more complicated version of the Allegory of the cave as it deals with software and advanced technology, and the ropes are the only technological restraints of the cave that tie down the subjects forcing them to look straight. These inhabitants of the matrix are tied down mentally only allowed to look in one direction: toward virtual reality.

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