The Matrix Revolutions – Truth Part 1

I have heard people say that they were disappointed by the 3rd movie. Well I did not experience that. I found my interest increasing through the entire series and did not feel unresolved at the end. I loved the whole thing and plan to watch all 3 several times. It really needs to be taken as a whole. The individual pieces do not mean as much when considered separately although they each have plenty in them to stimulate discussion.

So I want to discuss the fight scene near the end of the piece between Neo and Agent Smith. The entire scene is really rather surreal. The rain. The dark. The intensity of it all. At one point near the end of the confrontation, it appears that Agent Smith has gotten the upper hand. The exchange goes like this: 

Agent Smith: Why, Mr. Anderson? Why do you do it? Why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you’re fighting for something? For more that your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Is it freedom? Or truth? Perhaps peace? Yes? No? Could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson. Vagaries of perception. The temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose. And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself, although only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love. You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now. You can’t win. It’s pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?
Neo: Because I choose to.

Or if you prefer to watch it, this:

Well there is so much in this I could probably write a book. But I want to deal most specifically with the idea of truth that Agent Smith suggests to maybe be that thing for which Neo is fighting. I think that truth is the very foundation on which Neo is fighting. Of course, if you know the story, on the surface he is fighting for love. But that love is founded in truth.

Neo existst in two worlds. The false “vagaries of perception” which is the Matrix is one. This is where the majority of humanity is living, content with just jumping through the hoops, not even realizing that what they see and believe to be truth is a lie. But Neo has been enlightened. The scales have been removed from his eyes. He mainly exists in the hard core reality, only entering the second world of The Matrix when necessary to serve the purposes for which he and his comrades are fighting.

Neo knows the truth because he was willing to challenge the mainstream. He was willing, way back at the beginning of the story, to question the Koolaid that everyone else was drinking. He was willing to do the work. He was willing to confront the lie. He was willing to take the risk. His pursuit of truth was not met with favor by most. His pursuit ticked a lot of people off and his enemies increased. But his trek for truth also led him, contrary to the words of Agent Smith, to that greatest of human emotions and experiences. Love. And when you’ve gotten to love, my friend, I believe you’ve gotten to God.

I will follow this up with a part 2 post on what was the nature of the truth which Neo sought. Sometimes it was empiric. But sometimes it was in his gut. Sometimes, truth was something he had to choose to believe in without a lot of empiric support.



16 responses to “The Matrix Revolutions – Truth Part 1

  1. I believe when Jesus said the greatest two commandments were to love God with all our heart and soul and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourself, he indicated love to be the very core, heart, and soul of life itself. But humanity seems incapable of love in that way without divine help. Love always enhances life enabling it to thrive. Evil always destroys life. And those seem to be the two great forces contending in the world.

  2. the rest of this blog, from now until forever, can just be your insights into these movies. this is spectacular!

    “And when you’ve gotten to love, my friend, I believe you’ve gotten to God.”

    hell yeah!

    and i love how the robotic and reasonable Agent Smith can’t understand Neo’s motivation, his faith, despite the evidence. i see a change happening in our culture… away from the Enlightenment projection of reason and universalities and “objective, imperical” truth. Descartes’ dictum “i think therefore i am” is falling away… postmodernity’s defining element is imagination and fantasy.. and rather than blurring our reason, it has become our reasoning tool, a principle means of constructing self-identity. we “choose to” vs. “we are forced.”

    to put it another way, a shift away from “how do i conform” to “how do i choose” that is so eloquently captured in this clip.


  3. Luke. I am enthused by your enthusiasm. The three posts that have done thus far are just top three that I could easily recall, that meant something significant at the time I was watching. I’m afraid I have much more. But I’ve got to watch them again now. I have a philosophy and “The Matrix” book coming from Amazon. Whereas before my interest in philosophy had been sparked, after watching these, it is now a raging fire. I will continue to put my insights down. It may just be you and me talking back and forth. But even that will be great.

    I like what you have said here about postmodernity and how our culture is changing. It is so interesting how culture goes from one extreme to the other. The Enlightenment brings about new insight into the power of reason so we apply it to every frackin’ thing under the sun including formulation of systematic theology and even evidence for God. I am amazed at how the atheists I have met on decon and some other sights will only believe in the objective and empiric. They are so very harsh toward fundamentalist religion, mostly Christianity since that is from where many of them came, which is based partly on “reason” and “literal” when it shouldn’t be. They themselves realize eventually that the bible doesn’t fit together very well and God doesn’t look all that good when reason is the lens you use to describe it and solve the puzzle. But then they go so far the other direction, only believing in that which can be proved, that they are almost making the same mistake fundamentalist bible readers make, just on the other end of the line.

    I am realizing that faith is not all about reason and evidence. Sometimes it is about what you feel in your gut and making a choice. “The Matrix” is full of that.


  4. I’m still reading your blog, Doug, but don’t have much to comment about since I still haven’t seen the movie. Not only are movies not my thing, but sci-fi movies? No way. Sci-fi is something way more appealing to guys than gals. Oh well, eventually you’ll probably talk about something else, right? :)

    Anyway, I like your comment, everything in moderation. Too much going with your gut feeling and it’s all mushy nothing, but insisting everything must be proved beyond a shadow of a doubt is nothing as well. We don’t even require that in law courts.

  5. “I am amazed at how the atheists I have met on decon and some other sights will only believe in the objective and empiric.”

    it’s funny, like really, really funny. not like ha-ha funny, more like “cry yourself to sleep” funny. i can only think of Saul/Paul. Saul was a Jewish jerk who ran around telling people what to do. Paul was a Christian jerk who ran around telling people what to do. how things swing so far but are essentially the same.


    there’s so much left out in the middle.

    @Yael: sci-fi just for guys?! just ask my wife about the new Battlestar Galactica series… she’ll talk to you for hours about it.. plus i think you’d dig that show. great characters.

  6. Ah, ah, ah, Luke. I didn’t say sci-fi was just for guys but that it is way more appealing to guys than gals. Not the same thing!

  7. societyvs

    Doug, thanks for the Rob Bell video and the hand-written note – nice touch. I was thinking you were going to send me a used copy of the video and here it is a new copy – wrapped in plastic still – must say – very nice on your part!

    I was also thinking it would be longer – turned out to be like 15 mins (or shorter?) and it was just Rob Bell talking (acting I would call it).

    Rob was right up to a certain point – but I get the feeling this person has never been burnt (as it were) in such a way that made it tough to forgive. Stace found some of the points very good – I found some it very good also.

    But, I struggle (not with revenge) but with how the process is supposed to look in a much bigger level – and Bell seemed to know little about that.

    Plus, in one section Bell becomes hypocritical. He tells everyone how they are totally forgiven and to not forgive is ‘acting better than God’. Then in one section he turns to the camera and talks about forgiving and not forgetting (even leaving a repeat offender altogether)…but I asked myself…is this what God would do to us (if we were repeat offenders?)? One must conclude ‘yes’ if we are given the biblical directive to do so (to the logical chagrin of Mr. Bell). Again, grace with limits.

    But the gesture alone was worth it’s weight in gold and I very much appreciate it!

  8. Yes, Yael, I will be writing other stuff. Although I will say that I am a bit captivated by the magnitude of stuff in these movies. I am far from a TV and movie junkie, just don’t have the time and would rather train, but I do occasionally find something that is significant and this is. I don’t really even like sci-fi all that much, but it is not the sci-fi or the effects that is mind grabbing about these movies. It is all the philosophy and religion from all sides that is so intimately woven into this trilogy. I don’t really think I have ever scene anything like it. Maybe I’m just a dumb boy, but these are really interesting. I’ve watched them all once and feel I have only nicked the surface of what is there. If you are ever going to break down and watch a movie, this is the place to start. Although if you do watch them and hate them don’t blame me. It takes an especially sharp intellect to truly appreciate them. :)

  9. Luke. Very well stated. There is so much in the middle of the line….and it is a very long line.

  10. Yael. I don’t think you would watch a movie if it bit you in the nose. I officially issue a canon challenge to Yael to watch just the first Matrix movie. (And if she doesn’t find something of value in there, even just a “splinter in [her] mind” :), I think we will need an intervention.)

  11. Jason. Thanks for watching it. And I agree, there is good stuff and mediocre stuff in there. I like Rob Bell and have read a few of his books. He has been very helpful in my transition from hard core fundamentalism to a more real belief in God. In fact, he may be one of the main factors in allowing me to keep my faith instead of ending up with the de-cons. I hope some of it is helpful to you. If not, no problem. I just wanted you to have it. Pass it on if you like. Or don’t. And remember that I am in no way trying to evangelize or preach to you. I am just providing something that may be helpful. Or not. I felt strongly prompted to send it to you so I did. Thanks.

  12. (Written in good humor just so you know!)

    Now in my defense I never said anything about guys being dumb! (Doug: I’m just a dumb boy). I am mom to two of the smartest kids on the face of the earth and they are both boys! Of course, their mom is smarter, but that goes without saying. Their mom is smarter than pretty much everybody! :P

    I do watch movies, just not very often. I don’t have that kind of time. Usually if I start to watch a movie I fall asleep right away. I mean, think of all the things you and your wife do with and for your kids. Now take away your wife and it’s all left for you. Think of all the things you and your wife do to keep up a household. Now take her way and it’s all left to you. Now add in a second job and a bit of volunteering as well. I joke with people that I get most of my sleep behind the wheel and the scary thing is that it’s not always a joke.

    When I get time a little free time, which for me means the washing machine and the dish washer are both running so I can sit down a minute, I prefer to do what I enjoy, read an interesting book, study Torah, or write something. If I do decide to watch a movie I just want mind candy, a comedy or a chick flick, nothing too long, nothing too serious.

    When I want my sharp intellect put to the task I read. As you all have probably deduced by now, I have little patience. Since I speed read I can fly through books in no time at all. Movies are too slow. If they would just write out the script I could have it read in a few minutes and be on to something else!

    Now stop bugging me you bully! I think it is your fundamentalist upbringing coming through again that you cannot handle someone who won’t fall into your movie line!

    Need to be going here. There is silence in my house which means I need to move laundry from washer to dryer and start another load. Kids will be gone for the weekend, which is nice for me, but….so much work to get them gone!

  13. A bit defensive are we?

  14. It is my humble observation that the places where we are often the most defensive, are also often those places where we are the weakest. Just some food for thought. ;)

  15. Pingback: The Matrix Revolutions – Truth Part 2 « Tri Doc – Philosophy AND Triathlon

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