It is blog action day, with the theme of poverty. One way people and societies attempt to address poverty is through revolutions. One type of revolution that fits with the theme and title of this blog is…Matrix Revolutions.
The concept behind the Matrix films is a fascinating one. If one treats the matrix as a symbol of society, what is suggested is that this human creation in fact also turns around and enslaves us. And when we think we are managing to fight against it, it turns out that even that effort at rebellion is simply part of the way the system works.
Societies have a certain status quo. When one individual’s amassing of wealth or power begins to impinge too much on others, equilibrium is threatened. Revolutionaries and heroes may rise up. But “the One” is always counterpart to another “one” who is doing the opposite. And revolutions never seems to lead to anything other than a new society with a new status quo. The Matrix films thus ask the really profound question of whether society is not something greater than us, which exerts a controlling influence over its component individual human beings that there is no way we can genuinely transform society in a profound and genuine way.
If we want to address the issue of poverty, it will take radical changes to the ways things are done. Has our global society taken on its own autonomous existence to an extent that we are merely like cells in its body, capable of rebelling but not capable ultimately of transforming this “organism” into something else?
The Matrix movies don’t hold out much hope. When Neo confronts Smith and restores the system, he is most likely where he would have been if he had gone through the other door. If he had chosen a different pill earlier, someone else would have become “the One”.
But pessimism is appropriate only if we think society is something from which we need to be free. If we embrace being part of society, and view some “matrix” as inevitable and indeed necessary, then we can stop seeking to escape or destroy and work to transform.
We cannot escape being part of some matrix. But if we come to understand it, as Neo does symbolically in the movies, then there is hope that we can make whatever matrix we are in a better place for all its inhabitants.