Plato, Descartes, and The Matrix – Essay

Prompt – Compare and contrast The Matrix with the readings from Plato and Descartes.

The movie The Matrix focuses on character named Neo who is among the people plugged into asuper computer, whichregulates the reality of those connected to it. Neo is helped by Morpheus to discern that the Matrix and his life are not real and that the super computer instructs all his thoughts and experiences (Wachowsk&Wachowski, 1999). In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, the situation is very similar in that there are prisoners who are chained down and they stare at a wall all day long. Behind them is a fire that projects shadows of people waking by on the wall for hostages to see (Ferrari, 2000). Like in The Matrix, the prisoners believe in only what they perceived. When one of the prisoners is released, he discovers that the real world. In Descartes’s Meditation I, the Descartes says that he doubts everything he believes except he is absolutely sure of the certainty of the conviction. He believes that human senses have the ability to deceive them (Descartes, 2013).

What are some similarities and differences?

There are a number of similarities and differences between the synopsis from the Matrix, Descartes Meditation I, and Plato’s TheRepublic. All the characters in the three stories, Neo, Socrates, and Descartes, all feel manipulated by a mastermind that allowed them to see and do only the things it wished for them. They all questioned the certainty of the world that they knew; they wondered whether it was the reality or an illusion. This made each one of them want to leave the world they lived to search for answers. Another similarity is that each character’s view of the real world commenced from an early age. Both Matrix and Meditation I make indications of the possibility of the characters being in a dream state but TheRepublic does not.

The Matrix and Plato’s cave stories are however more alike because the characters used in both stories are living in a world where they are being deceived by external forces while Descartes’s illusions are caused by an internal force. In the Matrix, when Neo discovers that everything he believed was real was only an illusion is comparable to when the prisoner in Plato’s story were seeing sleuths on the walls of the cave. In both stories, the characters experience a fake world and a true one andafter being offered the opportunity to see the truth, they are perplexed.After gaining the new knowledge, the prisoner in Plato’s story informs the others of his revelation but feels that the truth was harder to except. Neo in The Matrix wanted to learn more andunderstand thereal truth was (Wachowsk&Wachowski, 1999). Although both characters were interested in discovering the truth but they received it differently.

One of the major differences between the stories is the sources of control. Neo is controlled by a computer system, Socrates are is held captive in prisons that are controlled by human beings, and Descartescontrolled by his false perceptions of demons. Additionally, towards the end of the stories, Neo declares his determination to uncover the truth and inform the people about the Matrix, theprisoner escapes the prison in order to pursue the truth and Descartes is seen questioning the possibility the world that he lives in being an illusion. Descartes,in Meditations I, argues that he trustswhat he dreams and so he cannot expect hissenses to inform him the difference between his dreams and the reality. Descartes deems that individuals cannot rely ontheir senses for the truth. Unlike Neo who goes back to help others who were plugged in the Matrix, the prisoner is seen reflecting on a life lived in prison since childhood and pitying his fellow prisoners. However, his return to help those who are imprisoned remains uncertain.

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