MATRIX — one of my favorite philosophical films of all-time.

Part 1

Dear friend,

I just finished re-watching the MATRIX; and oh man, this movie is so epic– not only in terms of the concept behind the film, but the ‘pop philosophy’ sayings are pretty good as well. And the cinematography is pretty solid as well.

Read Part 2: MATRIX Philosophy and Cinematography >


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Watch this film

So if you’ve never watched the MATRIX, please please please watch it. I recommend watching the first one — the second two are good to watch if you’re a Matrix fan, but not necessary.

Anyways, if you don’t know the plot of the Matrix, it is simple: The ‘real’ world isn’t real. Instead, machines (AI–artificial intelligence) has turned human beings into batteries. We are hooked up to this false reality called the ‘matrix’.

Now to me the premise of this movie is fascinating, because it was one of the first movies to make philosophy more accessible to the masses (at least of people of my generation). A lot of philosophy is brought into question, like Plato’s cave — where prisoners are stuck in a cave, and only shown shadows of the real world, yet they think it is real. This similar scene is in the film ‘El Topo’ by the film-maker Alejandro Jodorowsky.

on nihilism2
on nihilism4
on nihilism - zoom.jpg

10 Philosophical Lessons from THE MATRIX

Anyways, here are some of my takeaways from the film, in terms of philosophy:

  1. You can create your own reality. “There is no spoon” means that you can bend your own perception of reality.
  2. We are special — the rules don’t apply to us.
  3. If we lose self-belief (like how Neo says, “I can’t do this”) then we will lose.
  4. Nobody likes that they don’t have control over their lives.
  5. A lot of modern society blinds us from our own inner-truth.
  6. The truth: we are slaves to the system of 9-5 employment, in order to ‘make a living’, and we are also constantly suckered by advertising/marketing/consumerism to continue playing this capitalist game.
  7. The true prison is the prison of our own minds; we create our own self-inflicted prisons, yet we don’t know that we can break out of it, and that “there are no rules”.
  8. Taking the red pill (true reality) is better than taking the blue pill (false reality). By taking the red pill, we are like Alice from Alice in Wonderland — we discover “How deep the rabbit hole goes” (seeking truth).
  9. “Time is always against us”: Life is of limited time; our lives is figuring out how to best effectively utilize our human metabolism before we die.
  10. Rebirth: Themes of rebirth are prevalent through the film — like when Neo takes the red pill, and wakes up into the “real world”.

Anyways there are more themes to cover in the film, let us continue by talking about the cinematography:


Contact Sheets

To start off, here are the contact sheets from the film. Note the prevalent green tones in terms of the color palette, highlighted with touches of red. Later on in the film, the scenes which are predominately red symbolize danger:


System-Green Kanji Computer Code

One of the most visually-iconic things from the film is the iconic System-Green Kanji Computer Code:

The Wachowski Brothers (now known as the Wachowski Sisters) have noted that they got their inspiration from Japanese Kanji/text.

To me the symbolism of the computer-code kanji is significant, because in some ways– the information we perceive in the real world can all eventually be abstracted into data. It is how we interpret this data which creates our own reality.

Skipping ahead in the film (spoiler alert), there is a point where Neo believes in himself, and he is able to see the false reality of the Matrix simply encoded as all green-computer-code-kanji:


Low angle shot of just Trinity’s eyes, then the camera slowly pans downwards, to reveal the cop lights, and then her hands up

To analyze this, note the negative black space from her computer which starts from the top of the frame, then lowers:

Elbow framing

Another nice shot: first starts off from the back of Trinity (her arms behind her head, with elbows in a triangle shape), then the next shot you see the cop’s head framed in-between her elbows/arms:

Note the triangles made with the elbows:

Then in the next shot, note the new angle, with the elbows blocking out the rest of the shot:


Gun scene

When Trinity is first running away from the agents, she jumps through a window, then draws her guns, waiting for the agents to enter. Note this nice change of camera angle and cinematography:

Note the leading lines:

Note trinity outlined in pink; the epic perspective, and the leading line of the stairs on the right in cyan:


Phone focus

Nice shot of the phone on the far left of the frame, then the next frame which focuses on trinity. A simple yet effective cinema technique:


Trinity about to get killed by truck

Next epic scene, note the shift of camera perspective, then trinity holding up her hand (as a gut instinct of fear):

Especially note the use of the red blood on her left eye, which is a nice contrast with the green/blue tones of the film.

Especially nice: the fingers on the far right of the frame, then the shadow on her eyes:


Searching ….

Metaphor of ‘searching’ — as humans we are all searching for something deeper– something with deeper meaning:

NEO is just a symbol and metaphor for all of us. A lot of us are lost…lost in our devices, the internet, and technology; striving for something deeper in our lives.


Wake up Neo…

Then Neo is prompted to ‘wake up’. Kind of us like us– we must all wake up from our techno-dream-daze of false reality:


On Nihilism

Then a fascinating scene; Neo sells some hacker-disk to some punks in exchange for money, and hides it inside a book that is called ‘Simulacra and Simulation’ — a book by Jean Baudrillard, on this essay on ‘Nihilism’ (philosophy of nothingness):

This is fun, because it takes us down a rabbit hole…of following the ‘White Rabbit’.

You can read the essay: “On Nihilism” here >


Part 2

Read Part 2: MATRIX Philosophy and Cinematography >


Notes from the matrix:

MATRIX NOTES


‘welcome to the real world’
‘why do my eyes hurt? because you’ve never used them before’

what is real? how do you define what is real?

real is just electrical signals interpreted by your brain…if we don’t perceive something… is it not real? does it not exist?

‘you’ve been living in a dream world’

built to keep us under control

turn a human into battery?

not easy, but the truth.

  • once you go find the truth…u can’t go back. but would you even want to?

‘the mind has trouble letting go’

change whatever you want inside matrix; whatever you see fit!

human race needs to be free.


we need training.

‘you want some more? hell yeah!’

’10 hours straight; he’s a machine’

what rules can be broken…besides physical laws like gravity?

what rules in life can we break…what social rules can we break?

what are you waiting for? you’re faster than this. you’re stronger than this!

don’t think you are; know you are!

stop trying; just do it.

‘I’m trying to free your mind, neo’


how to free your mind // but i can only show you the door–youre the one who has to walk through it

you have to let it all go; fear, doubt, and disbelief. free your mind.

‘i thought it wasn’t real. your mind makes it real’

The body cannot live without the mind.

The system is our enemy

Most people not ready to be unplugged.

Fight the gatekeepers.

Agents; based on rules…break from the rules! The rules don’t apply to you!

Agents will never be as strong or fast as you an be // because others are held down by rules!

You can dodge bullets//you won’t have to dodge bullets!

Bullets can’t harm you! ***

Don’t run against agents; stand your ground and fight!

‘Ignorance is bliss’

What does food really taste like…and why?

‘To deny our very impulses…is to deny the very thing which makes us human’

Are you your memories? What if your memories aren’t real? // or what if you mis-remembered?

Try not to think of right or wrong; she’s a guide.

Help find the path; but there is no right and wrong

I can only show you the door; you must walk through it ***


The truth: ‘there is no spoon’

It isn’t the spoon that bends; only yourself! ***

Do you think you’re the one?

Temet nosce: know thyself (latin)

Without him,…were lost.

Im a guide; keep helping guide others *** // but others must find their own way , only show them the door.

=–

Film as a more engaging philosophy ?

Make films that have philosophy?

FIRST MATRIX supposed to be perfect human world

How to direct your own evolution


‘I believe in something’ — we all need something to believe in!

Neo; Nobody has anyone done anything like this… ‘thats why its gonna work’

Agent smith: I need to get out of here…I need to become free!

Can you fly that thing? Not yet. [not yet!] ***

Symbolism of breaking chains?

I knew it; he’s the one!

You’re the one!

Theres a difference between knowing the path and walking the path

Everything the oracle has told me has become true; except this!

What is he doing? He’s beginning to believe!

My name…is Neo!

‘Neo; im not afraid anymore’

See everything is just green code???

‘You’re afraid of change ‘ // why be afraid of change?

A world without controls or borders or boundaries. ‘A world where anything is possible’

Where we go from there, is a choice I leave to you.


Cinematography

Cinematography and life lessons:

Part 2

1

Continuing our series on MATRIX:

. If you’re new to the series, read Part 1 on the Matrix:

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Follow the white rabbit

I love this part — when TRINITY tells Neo to ‘follow the white rabbit’.

To me this is significant because in real life, we are given the opportunity to take a risk, to take a chance. Neo fortunately takes the chance and follows the white rabbit:

There is an ancient Venetian proverb:

The ocean is deeper the further you go into it.

The same philosophy with ‘following the white rabbit/follow the rabbit hole’ (concept from Alice in Wonderland).

In real life, we have the option to take the ‘safe’ option, or we have the option to go into an unknown rabbit hole. I think to live a more interesting/epic life, we should go down more unknown rabbit holes, and go on more adventures!


Window wiping symbolism

There is this funny scene, when Neo wakes up and he is late for his boring job.

The cinematography is this: you see a window with soap suds, being wiped off.

To me the symbolism is this:

Neo is about to have his ‘false reality’ wiped– so he can see ‘real reality’


On not taking risks

One scene is when Neo gets a call from Morpheus, telling him the agents are coming after him. He is instructed to go out of the building, and onto a very dangerous cliff on top of the skyscraper.

Neo then chickens out, and he says, “I can’t do this”, and he ends up getting captured by the agents:

I think the moral lesson is this:

If you don’t take risks in life, you will end up in a worse situation.


Take the red pill, or the blue pill?

Then one of the most iconic parts of the film:

When given the opportunity/choice, do you take the red pill (reality) or do you take the blue pill (false reality)?

To me, this is a great symbol of real life.

In real life, we have options for the red pill/blue pill:

  • Red pill: Pursue truth/philosophy in life
  • Blue pill: Ignorantly blissful

When you go on a journey of self-searching and studying philosophy, you realize that the road will be painful, arduous, and difficult, yet– you would prefer to discover the ‘truth’ of reality, rather than being a happy ignoramus (blue pill).

I particularly like the cinematography here, with the shift between the close-up on Morpheus’s hands (with the two pill colors), then a close-up to his reflective sunglasses, which show both his hands (and both pills), and the reflection of Neo:

Closeup of the hands:

Closeup of Morpheus’ sunglasses/reflection:

Good job Neo, taking the red pill!

You have the option.

Philosophical idea: Morpheus doesn’t force Neo to take the red pill; he simply gives the option/choice to Neo.

Same thing for us in real life– we always have an option in life– we can control which path to take!

Reality isn’t what we think it is

When Neo takes the red pill, he starts to realize…the ‘reality’ isn’t what he thinks it to be:


Awakening

When I watched the film in 1999, (almost 20 years ago!) I was around 10 years old. I still remember when I watched this scene, I remember how shocked/horrified I was:

Essentially this is when Neo wakes up, and realizes the totally fucked up reality:

Humans are just little batteries.

Neo wakes up, and realizes that he is a slave. He is fed via this pipe which is shoved down his throat, and he is also “plugged into” the matrix, via the wire on the back of his head. Note his shock when he realizes this truth:

From a philosophical perspective, I wonder:

  1. In modern society, we are essentially like cows: we just shove food down our throats, via junk food.
  2. With modern technology (email, smartphones, etc), we are essentially ‘plugged into’ the matrix (mindless social media, blogs, websites, Netflix, etc).

The unplugging

The excruciating pain of unplugging from the false reality of the matrix:


Welcome to the real world

  • Morpheus: ‘Welcome to the real world’
  • Neo: ‘Why do my eyes hurt?’
  • Morpheus: ‘Because you’ve never used them before’.

Lesson: When you see ‘real reality’, it will be painful.

And I also love this metaphor of ‘rebuilding your body’. When you discover a deeper truth in life, you’re going to be weak…but you’re going to have to rebuild your metaphorical muscles to strengthen yourself for the real world:


Part 3 coming soon

Coming soon…

Until then, here are more of my notes for the film:

Notes

what is real? how do you define what is real?

real is just electrical signals interpreted by your brain…if we don’t perceive something… is it not real? does it not exist?

‘you’ve been living in a dream world’

built to keep us under control

turn a human into battery?

not easy, but the truth.

  • once you go find the truth…u can’t go back. but would you even want to?

‘the mind has trouble letting go’

change whatever you want inside matrix; whatever you see fit!

human race needs to be free.


we need training.

‘you want some more? hell yeah!’

’10 hours straight; he’s a machine’

what rules can be broken…besides physical laws like gravity?

what rules in life can we break…what social rules can we break?

what are you waiting for? you’re faster than this. you’re stronger than this!

don’t think you are; know you are!

stop trying; just do it.

‘I’m trying to free your mind, neo’


how to free your mind // but i can only show you the door–youre the one who has to walk through it

you have to let it all go; fear, doubt, and disbelief. free your mind.

‘i thought it wasn’t real. your mind makes it real’

The body cannot live without the mind.

The system is our enemy

Most people not ready to be unplugged.

Fight the gatekeepers.

Agents; based on rules…break from the rules! The rules don’t apply to you!

Agents will never be as strong or fast as you an be // because others are held down by rules!

You can dodge bullets//you won’t have to dodge bullets!

Bullets can’t harm you! ***

Don’t run against agents; stand your ground and fight!

‘Ignorance is bliss’

What does food really taste like…and why?

‘To deny our very impulses…is to deny the very thing which makes us human’

Are you your memories? What if your memories aren’t real? // or what if you mis-remembered?

Try not to think of right or wrong; she’s a guide.

Help find the path; but there is no right and wrong

I can only show you the door; you must walk through it ***


The truth: ‘there is no spoon’

It isn’t the spoon that bends; only yourself! ***

Do you think you’re the one?

Temet nosce: know thyself (latin)

Without him,…were lost.

Im a guide; keep helping guide others *** // but others must find their own way , only show them the door.

=–

Film as a more engaging philosophy ?

Make films that have philosophy?

FIRST MATRIX supposed to be perfect human world

How to direct your own evolution


‘I believe in something’ — we all need something to believe in!

Neo; Nobody has anyone done anything like this… ‘thats why its gonna work’

Agent smith: I need to get out of here…I need to become free!

Can you fly that thing? Not yet. [not yet!] ***

Symbolism of breaking chains?

I knew it; he’s the one!

You’re the one!

Theres a difference between knowing the path and walking the path

Everything the oracle has told me has become true; except this!

What is he doing? He’s beginning to believe!

My name…is Neo!

‘Neo; im not afraid anymore’

See everything is just green code???

‘You’re afraid of change ‘ // why be afraid of change?

A world without controls or borders or boundaries. ‘A world where anything is possible’

Where we go from there, is a choice I leave to you.

Part 3:

Let’s dive deeper into the rabbit hole with MATRIX:

battery

MATRIX

red pill or blue pill.jpg

MATRIX Philosophy and Cinematography:


How do you know what is real?

When Neo wakes up in the Matrix and chats with Morpheus, Neo contests and says, “This can’t be real!”

Morpheus then says,

“What is real? How do you define what is real? Real is just electrical signals interpreted by your brain…if we don’t perceive something… is it not real? Does it not exist?”

Food for thought.

Most of us never define the concept of “real”. To myself, something which is “real” is something which exists in the physical world. For example, my coffee cup is real, because it exists in the real world.

But at the same time, videos, pictures, and text which exist on the internet are “real”, yet not tangible.

I think a more important question is:

“Is this significant or not?”

Because if we think about it philosophically, there is a lot which is “real” which we cannot perceive. For example, humans cannot perceive infrared light with our eyes, yet– it still exists! But if we cannot perceive something– is it not real? I don’t think so.

Anyways, Neo realizes this truth via Morpheus:

‘You’ve been living in a dream world’.

The significance of this concept is this:

Many of us are living our day-to-day lives also in a ‘real life’ dream world. We are dreaming about the new fancy car, the next fancy home, the next raise at our jobs, and we are suckered by advertisements, false concepts of happiness, etc. Thus, we are effectively in a dream world as well.

The solution: Realize we are stuck in a false dream world (false world of consumerism), and wake up!

Why was the matrix created?

Question: Why was the Matrix built? Morpheus tells us that it was “built to keep us under control”, and to “turn a human into a battery”.

Neo revolts, and is overwhelmed.

Morpheus then says,

“It isn’t easy. But it is the truth. The mind has trouble letting go. Once you find the truth, you can’t go back. But if you could go back, would you want to?”

Ideas for us to process:

  1. In real life, what was built to keep us under control? Well, in my opinion, I believe that modern institutions/companies/government have the unintended side-consequence of keeping us all as generic worker-bees. But the optimistic thing is this: we can re-train ourselves to NOT be kept under control.
  2. The mind has trouble letting go: This is true. If you’ve created your own world-narrative for your entire life, and then you realize that it was a false reality– imagine the insane stress that your brain would go through to try to make sense of what is going on.
  3. Question: If you could go back (and become ignorant), would you? For myself, no. I would prefer to suffer under reality, than be a happy ignoramus.

You can change whatever you desire in the Matrix

The optimistic thing: inside the matrix, you can change whatever you desire– whatever you see fit!

I think the Matrix is just a metaphor for the real world. To be honest, most of us are living in some sort of “Matrix”; whether we are plugged into online video games, whether we are plugged into our jobs and email, or whether we’re addicted to some sort of online/internet/media culture.

This is the fun thing: You can warp/change/mold your own reality however you see fit!

But Morpheus says the ultimate goal:

“The human races needs to be free.”


Human batteries?

Philosophical question: are humans more than mere batteries?

I think so.

I believe the first problem is that humans always use analogies to describe humans/humanity/human nature/how humans biologically function.

We see this a lot in history, especially with the rise of technology.

During the time of steam engines and railroads, a lot of psychologists built up these theories that humans had to ‘let steam out’ when they got angry (using the analogy, that steam engines work on pressure). Consider the saying,

“Don’t crack under pressure.”

But humans aren’t steam machines, nor do our brains function like steam machines.

Or in modern times, we use the internet/computers as analogies to describe our humanity. For example:

  • “I’d love to help you, but unfortunately my bandwidth is maxed out.”
  • “Don’t ‘multitask'” (what computers are good at)
  • “I’m so tired and out of power.”

I believe the human being in terms of our biology is infinitely more complex than we realize. Even my friend Natalie Ma (studied Ph.D. in Biology at YALE) says that there is still so much uncharted territory in biology, and we humans still have so much left to learn.

Anyways, the practical takeaway is this:

Let us stop using ‘batteries’ and other technological-analogies to describe our humanity.


Tank teaches jiu jitsu to Neo

Morpheus then tells Neo, “We need training”. Neo needs to train himself and become stronger (just like we need to train ourselves).

This next scene I quite like: Neo meets the ‘operator’ (Tank) for the first time, and Tank is super excited and pumped, because he heard that Neo is the “one” (NEO spelt backwards). Neo is apparently the messiah-savior figure that Morpheus prophesies that will save humanity (note the obvious Jesus analogy here).

Anyways, Tank straps Neo into the console, and then “downloads” the Jiu-Jitsu program and other fighting programs into his brain. Note the funny-looking Floppy Disks (I remember having things like this as a kid):

Another thing which is interesting, if you study the UI (user interface) of the computer program, note how insanely dated it looks. In the time of the film MATRIX, it is supposed to be year 2100 or something. Why do computers still look like they’re from the 1980’s?

Lesson: Film-makers should be more ambitious when predicting future computer-interfaces and AI, just like how they hired Jaron Lanier when designing ‘Minority Report’, with the 3D interfaces.

“Whoa, I know Kung-Fu” – Neo

The human brain doesn’t work like a computer program. We cannot just “download” or “install” knowledge into our brains. Yet at the same time, I do like the idea that with enough intensity, dedicated focus, and effort– we can teach ourselves anything. This is a very optimistic philosophy:

Tank then asks Neo, “Do you want more?” Neo then says, “HELL YEAH!”

Morpheus checks up on Neo and asks him, how is he doing?

Tank then says,

“10 hours straight, he’s a machine!”

Which makes me wonder: if we trained ourselves with intense and dedicated focus for 10 hours straight, what could we achieve?


First fight against morpheus

Then one of my favorite scenes: the first fight against Morpheus.

Morpheus tells Neo that in this training program, it isn’t real.

Which makes you wonder: If you were inside the Matrix, and you knew that the rules of gravity were false; what rules could you break?

Which brings you into a deeper philosophy about real life:

  1. What rules of reality can be broken, besides physical laws which govern the world like gravity?

This takes us back to ‘first principles’ thinking from Aristotle. Almost anything is possible for us to do/achieve/create in reality!

Then the second question:

  1. What social rules can be broken in modern society?

Anyways, Morpheus then tells Neo:

  • “What are you waiting for? You’re faster than this. You’re stronger than this!”
  • “Don’t think you are; know you are!”
  • “Stop trying; just do it”
  • “I’m trying to free your mind Neo”.

Then we should also consider for ourselves:

  • What are we waiting for in our lives, if we wish to attempt do do great/epic shit. We’re smarter, stronger, and faster and more innovative than we think we are!
  • There is a difference between giving yourself ‘positive psychology’ to just trick yourself into believing something– versus knowing that you already are that state.
  • Don’t force yourself to try with “effort”; rather, let go, and let the work effortlessly do it self (Taoism concept of ‘wu-wei’)
  • Free your own mind: Don’t doubt yourself: you can do anything.

Morpheus also tells Neo: You must free your mind. And Morpheus also tells Neo:

“I can only show you the door. You’re the one who has to walk through it.”

I love this– because it tells us that in life, we always have the option of going through a certain door, or pursuing a certain path. Nobody can force us. We have free will!


To be continued in Part 4…

MATRIX Philosophy and Cinematography:

red pill or blue pill

Part 4:

Continuing our MATRIX series, what happens when you free your mind, and stop doubting yourself?

The prior scene (Matrix part 3) Morpheus says

I’m trying to free your mind, Neo, but all I can do is show you the door. You’re the one that has to step through. Tank, load the jump program.

I love this philosophy because it’s the best way to teach — show others the door, but don’t super impose the choice onto them.


Jump program

Loading the jump program: you free your mind, because in the Matrix, laws like gravity aren’t real.

To make the jump, you must commit 100% to it. And not to just ‘believe in yourself’, but to know you can do it.

Kind of like the metaphor of “burning your ships”; all or nothing.

But if you even have an ounce of doubt, you’re not gonna make the jump.

Neo doesn’t make the jump the first time, and falls flat onto the concrete.

He then gets unplugged from the Matrix, and finds he is bleeding from the mouth. He’s confused and asks, ‘Why am I bleeding? I thought it wasn’t real’. Then Morpheus says, ‘Your mind makes it real. The body cannot exist without the mind.’

Lesson: In life, it’s often fear and self doubt which holds us back. But recognize, it’s usually our own self doubt and fears which hold us back, not others! In other words, our own mind is the only thing holding us back.


Most people aren’t ready to be unplugged from the Matrix (or perhaps, don’t want to be)

Or getting unplugged from the Matrix might be too traumatic for most people.

I like the cinematography here, especially the contrast of red vs green colors.

Nice low shot of Morpheus with Neo reflected.


Why do people live for their stomachs?

The next scene you see Cypher (bad guy, traitor) talking to Agent Smith saying how he knows the steak isn’t real, but it’s still so delicious — and he doesn’t care whether it’s real or not. He just cares about the taste.

Which makes me wonder about real life as well –we optimize so much of our lives around food. But why?

My philosophy: food is obviously essential for survival. More-so in today’s world, the best part of food is just bringing people together — for us to have the chance to socialize and share our soul with others.

But I still mirror Socrates sentiment:

Others live to eat, I eat to live.

But then you see the “real world” with the crew eating this snotty goop. Obviously we wouldn’t want to eat this — even if it did have all the nutrients to sustain us.

But still — despite how shitty the food is, the crew is loyal to one another and unified. Almost looks like a scene from the last supper with Jesus. And it’s kind of true — most of the crew gets betrayed by Cypher (who is Judas):


Meeting the oracle for the first time

Love the minimalist and simple, yet effective cinematography here.

First, closeup on Neo looking worried.

Then pan out, Neo on left of the frame, and Morpheus on the right of the frame.

Then the camera totally turns around, they switch spots. You see from Neos perspective, now looking at the back of Morpheus head:

Elevator opens, they walk out. Then a nice hallway shot with leading lines, from the opposite side:

Then the camera is on the left of the corridor, leading lines to the door about to open:

There is no spoon

Then one of the greatest and most memorable parts of the film — there is no spoon!

The concept is the kid says something like:

You think you’re bending the spoon, but you’re just bending yourself. There is no spoon!

Now this philosophy is super interesting to me because it signifies that in reality, we shouldn’t only change the external world, we must seek to change and bend ourselves!


Time to see the oracle

Neo then sees the oracle, and finds out that he’s not “the one”. Interesting that Neo is an anagram of the word, “oNe”.

I love the palette of the room with the oracle: the lovely orange and greens. Also surprising to see the Oracle was an old black lady:

The scene I found quite significant was this idea of “temet nosce”, which means “know yourself” in Latin. The idea that true wisdom isn’t knowing others, but truly understanding ourselves — our own desires, our own tastes, our own worldview, our own biases, and our own life philosophy and beliefs. The idea that we can dictate our own beliefs.

Neo is a bit disappointed to hear he’s not the one, but Morpheus encourages Neo to keep what he heard from the Oracle to himself. My interpretation is that Morpheus believes so strongly that Neo is the one, that he doesn’t even care if the Oracle told Neo otherwise:


The betrayal

Then the betrayal by Cypher:

First, there’s a glitch in the matrix as shown above by the “deja vu” of the two black cats:

Then Cypher unplugs and kills the crew one by one. I especially found the lighting in the eyes of Trinity absolutely beautiful — as she still believed that Neo was “the one”.

Neo and Trinity are the last ones alive, and they then are planning to save Morpheus (who gets kidnapped by Agent Smith).

Camera panning up, reflection of helicopter

Nice cinematography:


Agent Smith trying to hack the mind of Morpheus


Morpheus in the real world

They’re not sure whether to unplug him and kill Morpheus, because if they hack his mind, the robots will have the access codes to Zion, the last living human city:

I find this framing absolutely beautiful — perfect balance, spacing, and different placement of the subjects:

Tip: When you see shots like this, first of all, see where the subjects are placed, and what directions they are also facing/looking! See how all the arrows are dynamic, point in different directions, yet balance themselves out!

Anyways, note the crew is dead. I like this shot, with trinity in the far left, and the dead bodies in the background, covered:

Then a simple cinematography technique I liked: the shift of Trinity from the far left of the frame, moving to the center, then to the right of the frame:

Tank is about to unplug and therefore, kill Morpheus, but Neo stops him.

How are they gonna save Morpheus? It’s simple —

“We need guns, lots of guns.”- Keanu Reeves


Dynamic Composition

Really good and dynamic compositions here:

First, the triangle composition here:

Then, the beautiful and minimalist side silhouette of Morpheus face, with the soft blue edge lighting around his face:


Part 5 coming soon…


Matrix

MATRIX Philosophy and Cinematography:


Matrix NOTES II

MATRIX

matrix notes

  • you are special.. the rules don’t apply to you.
  • ‘i can’t do this’ // gets caught.
  • ‘you are the one, neo’
  • i don’t like the idea that I’m not in control of my life
  • the world pulled over your eyes….to blind you from the truth
  • truth:’you are a slave’
  • you were born into bondage
  • prison…for your mind
  • you have to see it for yourself (truth)
  • how deep doe the rabbit hole go? —truth/philosophy? seeking truth?
  • ’time is always against us’
  • dream world vs real world?

-rebirth
‘welcome to the real world’
‘why do my eyes hurt? because you’ve never used them before’

what is real? how do you define what is real?

real is just electrical signals interpreted by your brain…if we don’t perceive something… is it not real? does it not exist?

‘you’ve been living in a dream world’

built to keep us under control

turn a human into battery?

not easy, but the truth.

  • once you go find the truth…u can’t go back. but would you even want to?

‘the mind has trouble letting go’

change whatever you want inside matrix; whatever you see fit!

human race needs to be free.


we need training.

‘you want some more? hell yeah!’

’10 hours straight; he’s a machine’

what rules can be broken…besides physical laws like gravity?

what rules in life can we break…what social rules can we break?

what are you waiting for? you’re faster than this. you’re stronger than this!

don’t think you are; know you are!

stop trying; just do it.

‘I’m trying to free your mind, neo’


how to free your mind // but i can only show you the door–youre the one who has to walk through it

you have to let it all go; fear, doubt, and disbelief. free your mind.

‘i thought it wasn’t real. your mind makes it real’

The body cannot live without the mind.

The system is our enemy

Most people not ready to be unplugged.

Fight the gatekeepers.

Agents; based on rules…break from the rules! The rules don’t apply to you!

Agents will never be as strong or fast as you an be // because others are held down by rules!

You can dodge bullets//you won’t have to dodge bullets!

Bullets can’t harm you! ***

Don’t run against agents; stand your ground and fight!

‘Ignorance is bliss’

What does food really taste like…and why?

‘To deny our very impulses…is to deny the very thing which makes us human’

–\

Are you your memories? What if your memories aren’t real? // or what if you mis-remembered?

Try not to think of right or wrong; she’s a guide.

Help find the path; but there is no right and wrong

I can only show you the door; you must walk through it ***


The truth: ‘there is no spoon’

It isn’t the spoon that bends; only yourself! ***

Do you think you’re the one?

Temet nosce: know thyself (latin)

Without him,…were lost.

Im a guide; keep helping guide others *** // but others must find their own way , only show them the door.

=–

Film as a more engaging philosophy ?

Make films that have philosophy?

FIRST MATRIX supposed to be perfect human world

How to direct your own evolution


‘I believe in something’ — we all need something to believe in!

Neo; Nobody has anyone done anything like this… ‘thats why its gonna work’

Agent smith: I need to get out of here…I need to become free!

Can you fly that thing? Not yet. [not yet!] ***

Symbolism of breaking chains?

I knew it; he’s the one!

You’re the one!

Theres a difference between knowing the path and walking the path

Everything the oracle has told me has become true; except this!

What is he doing? He’s beginning to believe!

My name…is Neo!

‘Neo; im not afraid anymore’

See everything is just green code???

‘You’re afraid of change ‘ // why be afraid of change?

A world without controls or borders or boundaries. ‘A world where anything is possible’

Where we go from there, is a choice I leave to you.


MATRIX NOTES

‘you have to focus, trinity’

‘thats impossible’

‘GET UP’

‘follow the white rabbit’

‘simulacra + simulation ‘ – ON NIHILISM
‘yours my savior; my own jesus christ’

‘are you ever sure if you’re not awake or dreaming?’

all the time — MESCALINE — its the only way to fly.

‘it sounds to me like you need to unplug’

My name is trinity — THE trinity?

‘you’re looking for morpheus?’

‘i was once looking for the same thing’


I was looking for an answer; it is the question that drives us.

Window wiper; false reality?

‘You have a problem with authority=- you believe you are special and the rules do not apply to you’

Cubicle hell.

‘You take a chance either way — I leave it to you’

‘Terrorist’

‘What good is a phone call if you’re unable to speak?’


prison for your mind//born into bondage into a slave?

when pay taxes, etc?

nobody can be told what matrix is; you have to experience it for yourself

all i’m offering is the truth; nothing more.

‘welcome to the real world’

‘why do my eyes hurt? you’ve never used them before’

‘see for yourself’

MADE IN THE USA // 2069

‘real’ — what is real? just electric signals to your brain?

‘you’ve been living in a dream world’

what is the matrix? CONTROL!

keep humans under CONTROL//for battery

the mind has trouble letting go

man can remake the matrix as he sees fit!

I AM THE ONE!!!

10 hours straight training!

some rules can be bent..some broken.

do you believe me being faster or stronger has anything to do with muscles in this place?

‘you think you’re breathing air?’

‘what are you waiting for? you’re faster than this.’

don’t think you are faster than this— know you’re faster than this.

‘i don’t believe it’

‘I’m trying to FREE YOUR MIND neo’

but i can show you the door— you need to walk through it.

LOAD THE JUMP PROGRAM

‘you have to let it all go neo—fear, doubt, and disbelief’

don’t fear, don’t doubt yourself, don’t have disbelief!

‘free your mind’

‘i thought it wasn’t real’ — your mind makes it real’

‘The body cannot live without the mind’

save the minds of the people

‘most of these people are not ready to be unplugged’

so many people are dependent on the system; they will fight to remain part of the system

‘i am not going to lie to you’

‘where they have failed; you will succeed’

agents; their strength and speed is based on a world built on rules. because of that— they will never be as strong or as fast as you can be.

YOU CAN DODGE BULLETS

‘when you’re ready— you won’t have to dodge bullets’

‘You’ve been down that road; you know where it ends’

one piece of advice— be honest.

Dont believe in fate; because I like to think I can control my life!

Why didn’t I take the blue pill?

‘So you’re here to save the world’

‘I know this steak doesn’t exist. The matrix tells my mind that it is juicy.’

After 9 years— ignorance is bliss.

’To deny our impulses— is to deny the very thing that makes us human’ — don’t deny my impulses?

‘I have all these memories from my life— none of them happened’

your memories cannot tell you who you are.

Symbolism for blind man?

I can only show you the door; you need to walk through it.

‘You are right on time’

There is no spoon

‘Do not try to bend the spoon’

Dont try to bend the spoon— thats impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth.

Truth: there is no spoon

Not the spoon that bends; only yourself.

**Dont try to bend reality; bend myself! **

Change myself; not reality?

Temet nosce—know yourself

Without morpheus were lost.

You have a good soul

‘What was said was for you; and for you alone’

Im tired of being cold and eating the same goop everyday.

‘He set us free’ — you call this free?

Human beings define reality through misery?

‘The peak of your civilization?’

Give my life in what I believe in.

Humans are VIRUS

No-one has ever tried anything like this; that is why it will work.

Who can I save?

‘Can you fly that thing? Not yet’—

Know that I (yet) cannot do things; but I can do anything!!!

Break the chains of oppression!

‘I knew it; he’s the one’

‘Theres a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path’

DONT RUN!

‘Hes beginning to believe’

BEGIN TO BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

Rewatch old boy and snow piercer— I can be a director like him!

‘My name is Neo’ (new)

‘Neo—I’m not afraid anymore.’

Id fall in love; and the person I fall in love with is the one.

You can’t be dead; because I love you.

‘NOW GET UP!’

To bulletS: “No.”

Dont be afraid of the future.

A world where anything is possible

Part 5 [Final]

This is our last installation for the cinematography and philosophy of the Matrix film:

Philosophy lessons

1. Have something you believe in

‘I believe in something’ — Neo

I think in life we all need something greater than ourselves to believe in. This is what gives us a sense of purpose and direction in life.

In the film, Neo has his “awakening” moment when he announces he has something in which he believes in.

Lesson: Let us reflect and determine what we believe in, and then stick to pursuing that thing we believe in!


2. Do something that hasn’t been done before

Trinity: “[This isn’t going to work]. Nobody has anyone done anything like this…”

Neo: “That’s why it’s gonna work.”

Before Neo and Trinity go to save Morpheus, Trinity shows doubt and fear. Why? Nobody has tries to infiltrate the top security of the agents.

But Neo says something super empowering; when we attempt the “impossible”, we’re actually more likely to succeed. Why? Because nobody else has done it before, thus it is more unexpected and more likely to work, because it’s so “out of left field”.

Lesson: Take big risks in life; things which haven’t been done before. This means ignore business books which tell us what has worked with “successful” past entrepreneurs. We must attempt the unknown to truly innovate!


3. “Not yet”

When Neo is looking at Trinity and asking her if she can fly the helicopter she says,

“Not yet”.

Then Tank downloads the instruction manual to her head, then Trinity hops into the helicopter then flies off.

Lesson: “Not yet” is an awesome phrase we should all incorporate into our lives. It is super positive and optimistic; it signifies to ourselves that we are capable of learning anything; we just need to simply apply ourselves in order to learn or do anything!

**

4. Break your chains!

In the Matrix, we are all prisoners of our own mind. Morpheus conjures all his power to break his (metaphorical) chains.

Reflection: what kind of self-imposed ideology keeps us back and chains us up?


5. What are you capable of if you’re no longer afraid?

‘Neo; I’m not afraid anymore.’ – Trinity

In life, how much could we achieve or do…if we didn’t feel afraid anymore?

6. Seeing reality

My favorite scene in the Matrix is when Neo finally “sees” the reality of the matrix for the first time; it is all just false green code.

It’s like in real life, once we can see past the false bullshit of life; we are truly free to do anything and everything! This is our “enlightenment” moment.

7. In this world, anything is possible!

At the end of the film, Neo gives us a little pep talk. He tells us that “You’re afraid of change”, yet encourages us to imagine a “world without controls or borders or boundaries. A world where “anything is possible”.

“Where we go from there, is a choice I leave to you.” – Neo

Ultimately we have the choice to live our lives however we desire.

Go beyond your (self-imposed) limits!

Therefore to conclude,

  1. Don’t be afraid of change.
  2. Recognize the world doesn’t have any boundaries; anything is possible in this world.
  3. We can learn anything, and do anything we desire; as long as we put in the effort.
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BONUS: Life Lessons From the MATRIX

How you can become Neo (the one):

1. Dodge bullets

You cannot change the fact that people will shoot bullets at you (hate on you, or tear you down in real life). However, we have the power to dodge the bullets.

In real life, people will shoot their hateful malice at us (like bullets). But we have the strength, speed, and ability to dodge those insults. To rise above them.

The lesson is: the next time someone insults you, visualize yourself dodging bullets like Neo from the Matrix.

2. Stop bullets in mid-flight

The next level, you won’t even need to dodge bullets anymore. Rather, you can stop to before they even hit you.

Remember that last scene in the Matrix, where all the agents are shooting at Neo. Neo lifts his hand, and stops the bullets in the air before they touch him. Then, they fall harmlessly to the ground.

The lesson is we have the power to overcome and stop our adversity, pain, and suffering in life. The secret is just knowing that you already have the inner power that allows you to overcome, or even stop adversity.

3. There is no spoon

We don’t bend the spoon. Rather, we bend ourselves.

The little kid said, “There is no spoon.”

To me, I think that means we cannot bend reality at will. Rather, we need to bend our own perceptions of reality.

We cannot become a trillionaire over night. But, we have the power to not want to become a trillionaire.

We cannot change the fact that we had pain and suffering in life. But we can change our life story, to think of our lives as a heroic battle, rather than us being the victim.

Conclusion

Be like Neo from the Matrix. You can do anything, as long as you belive in yourself.

No fear. No self doubt. We are all agents inside a false reality of a Matrix.

Like once held prisoners in Platos cave, we have seen the light (we took the red pill). Now it is our duty to help others see the light.

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