Gasp! Someone Disagrees about the Matrix!

I read your article about the Matrix, and disagree. When I saw the movie, I recognized a strongly Gnostic strain in it. I will grant you that it is incarnational, but the Gnostic elements (salvation by knowledge, the deep alienation – to quote Voegelin – of the characters, the quest for arcane powers, etc.) are unmistakable.

I think that the early Gnostics disdain for the body was not necessarily central to their philosophy, but rather the source of their alienation. This implies that modern Gnostics need not be anti-incarnational to be Gnostic.

Or so it seems to me.

I can see your point and I certainly don’t go to the mat trying to prove they are artists trying to make a Christian point, much less inspired prophets. I freely grant there is something of an admixture of the normal sci-fi gnosticism there. But the enormous reliance on Christian and Paschal themes is too pronounced and too careful to be an accident either. You got yer John the Baptist (Morpheus). Ya got yer Judas Iscariot (the bald guy, whose name I can’t remember). Ya got yer Trinity. The very first words in the film (on the computer screen) are from the baptismal liturgy “Wake up, Neo” (“Awake sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”) Ya got your demons (Agents Smith et al). Ya got your liberation from this world of lies. Ya got yer Incarnation, baptism, death, resurrection (at the kiss of the Trinity), descent into hell and destruction of hell from within. Ya even got yer Ascension.

Yeah, there’s a lot of other stuff thrown in, Alice in Wonderland, anime violence, the Oracle at Delphi, etc. But the Paschal theme is simply too obvious not to be intentional.

I’m not sure I buy the idea that gnosticism can be incarnational. I’ve never seen it be so. There’s always a hostility to creation at the root of it, in my experience. Also, the idea of some element of secret knowledge is present in Christianity, though always with the caveat that “what I whisper in the ear you will shout from the housetops.”

Anyway, interesting note! Thanks!


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