Here’s a Fan Essay by Vasu Re. It’s an interesting read. Take a look:
Why should you watch “The Matrix”?
— Vasu re
(Approx. Read-time: 9 mins)
After a good lunch at a near by Thai restaurant, I was sitting in my office cubicle with my ear phones on. I was enjoying Ian Van Dahl’s single ‘Castles in the Sky’ while checking my email. Suddenly, my attention got diverted to my occiput as someone patted me. It’s Aksh, one of my colleagues.
Aksh joined in our company during the same time as me — also fresh out of school 2 years ago. Aksh and I share a lot of camaraderie. Only one thing that we fight over is our cars. This is something ‘Still on’.
“What’s up dude?”
“Sky!” I said while removing my ear phones. I hate to say this as it became so common PJ (Poor Joke). We don’t even laugh anymore on this. But kinda came out of mouth as an impromptu.
“Did you call me?” Aksh asked me.
“Yeah, I did. I wanted to show you my new screensaver…” While talking to him, I switched on my Linux customized Matrix screensaver.
“Cool dude! Where did you get it?”
I said, “I will email you the link and source code.”
With a gasp, Aksh said, “Thanks man. I still need to watch The Matrix.”
I was shocked and stared at him as if he has committed the worst mistake I could ever imagine. But then, what the heck, this is just another movie. Who cares? “Man! You missed a lot of good stuff all these days by not watching the movie,” I said.
“Yeah I know. I heard a lot about it. But, I never got a chance to watch it.”
“I can lend you my DVDs if you want” I continued, “You can pick them up tomorrow when you come to my place.”
It’s been a month Aksh joined us for our ‘Saturday Soccer’. As the soccer-field is near-by the place I live, he usually gives me a ride after having break-fast at my place.
Aksh said, “Thanks man. See ya tomorrow then, also, could you please give me a brief intro on the movie. I guess that might help”…
“Sure, not a problem will do tomorrow morning while you are at my place. Have fun,” I replied, while watching Aksh leave my cubicle.
I said to myself, “I should give a good explanation to Aksh on ‘Why he should watch The Matrix?’ But where to start from?” I remembered my papa’s quote, “In order to test yourself whether you understood anything, you should be able to explain it to others.” This would be the perfect chance to test myself. I went on a long thinking ride till I hear a phone ring from my next cubicle.
As usual, Aksh called me at 7:45am just to check whether I am awake or not. He also mentioned that, he would have coffee-bread instead of the apple thing which he generally prefers.
I know it would be Aksh, without any hesitation, I opened the door. Aksh came into the living room. By then my home-theater/music-system was playing Karunesh’s Morning Glory from the album Secrets of Life. Also, two cups of Nestle coffee and two plates with wheat bread were ready on the dining table.
Aksh said, “Hi… Maaan feeling hungry…” while moving towards the dining table.
“Then let’s start the break-fast” I said. Without wasting anytime, we started having our break-fast. Both of us turned over to the futon as my cell phone started ringing. It was Tihi, my classmate.
“Hey Tihi” I said.
“Hi. Any plans for lunch?” Tihi asked me.
“No not yet” I continued “Are you planning to cook something special?”
“Yeah planning on Chole-Bhatura,” Tihi with excitement continued, “Can you come over for the lunch?”
“Lunch, sure, need groceries?” I asked.
“No I am good. Can you get bugger Aksh also if he is around?”
“Yeah” I said, after confirming with Aksh.
“All right see you guys then. Bye.” Tihi disconnected the phone after I replied her “Bye”.
Tihi is a good cook and she likes to share the food whenever she cooks something special. Fortunately, almost every week she cooks something special.
While finishing my break-fast I asked Aksh, “Dude, should I start telling you about The Matrix? I am so much excited.”
Aksh said, “Oh yeah lets go through that now.”
Without wasting anytime, I started telling him about The Matrix. My voice had a little bit of seriousness. “Let me give you a brief intro first and then we can dig into the more detailed discussion.”
Aksh looked at me empathetically. I continued saying “Matrix is a trilogy. Directed by Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski. In the series, First movie is called ‘The Matrix’ (aka Matrix-1) second movie ‘The Matrix – Reloaded’ (aka Matrix-2) and the last part ‘Matrix – Revolutions’ (aka Matrix-3). All of them are equally good. I liked them all. In my opinion story is based on ‘Simulacra and Simulation’ by ‘Jean Baudrillard’, a French philosopher, and ‘Bhagavad Gita’.”
Aksh said “Bhagavad Gita? No kidding.”
“Once you come watching all three of them, we can discuss on why I am saying so. Let’s go through the story first,” I continued, “directors wanted to tell the viewers that human beings should live the life according to the instincts, they should realize themselves. Life is not full with the mere physical comforts, rules and regulations. Self-realization is so important; it’s the supreme of all forces anyone can imagine. Let me paraphrase how directors told this — ‘In this world, there are no rules and controls. There are no boundaries and borders, anything is possible.’ In a nutshell, it’s the inner-you that matters, nothing else.”
“Wow getting interesting. Looks like very inspirational movie.”
I said, “Yeah this is one of the inspirational movies that I liked a lot. To get the environment, an environment that has lot of rules and controls, directors came up with the central theme of ‘machine world’. Directors adapted the theme for the machine world from the book Simulacra and Simulation by Baudrillard. According to the Baudrillard, causality is the central rule for all the actions.”
“Causality? What the hell is that?” Aksh asked.
“Simple Newton’s third law, action = -reaction,” I continued “By causality, Baudrillard is trying to say, all the actions turn into reactions. Like Karma if you can understand. Karma, one of the definitions, whatever you do now matters in your next life/years. One example is, daily we are seeing US soldiers getting killed is something, reaction to War against Iraq – but we know it’s not that simple. Baudrillard also raised the concept of hyper-reality.”
“Hyper-real – not so real but real?” Aksh asked.
“Yeah”, I continued, “Imagine you watching news on the TV. You simply believe all those things that are mentioned on the news channel without actually seeing them. This is hyper-real. So Baudrillard believes, one can actually replicate or simulate human being’s feelings and beliefs. For the directors, these theories are perfect platform to get the ‘world with rules and controls — machine world’. To get the story going, directors created an assumption that, man and machines with AI (Artificial Intelligence) fought a dangerous war that erased the power source of machines, sun rays. In an effect, human beings got erased by machines. For machines to get the power, they would rely on human being’s ‘brain electricity’. So simply human beings are turned into batteries. Human beings are raised/farmed by machines. Each human being is sorta raised in a vat. This ‘human farm’ is called The Matrix.”
Aksh said, “Man, Let me go pee, my stomach is bloated as a vat!” Both of us laughed.
While returning from the restroom, Aks said, “Let me guess, so movie is about getting the freedom to the people living in the farm/matrix?”
“Yeah, exactly. How directors portray this process is all about the trilogy. Don’t forget to appreciate special effects, man! Just mind boggling!”
We both got disturbed and looked at the futon where my cell phone was ringing. It was Tihi again.
“Guys what happened? Are you coming for lunch or not?” Tihi asked.
“****, it’s already 1pm. We were discussing about Matrix all along.” I continued. “We forgot about soccer also. Damn.”
“All right, get your tires here within 15mins. Otherwise you wouldn’t get any food.” Tihi said.
“OK… Sure… see you in 14.9mins!”
Aksh and I both walked out of my place while shutting down the music system which was playing Paul Oakenfold’s single ‘Zoo York’. Aksh was carrying my Matrix-1 and Matrix-2 DVDs.
It was morning 10a.m. Aksh called me and said, “I am going to watch Matrix-3 right now”.
With a stunning surprise I said, “What? Did you complete Matrix-1 and Matrix-2 already?”
“Yeah… I was awake till 3am morning watching them twice.”
“You are a nut” I said. At the same time I was feeling happy as my explanation getting some reward.
“All right, I will come to your place after the movie” Aksh said.
“Sure… All right… bye.”
Around 3pm, Aksh called me again. He was excited; I could feel his voice intensity on my speaker phone.
“Dude, watched the Matrix-3 also. Directors made an awesome piece of crap.” Aksh said.
“Wow that’s so cool. Come-on down, we can do some post-mortem analysis.”
Within the next half an hour Aksh and I were again sitting and discussing about The Matrix trilogy.
Aksh said, “Man I am confused!”
I replied with the Einstein’s quote, “If you are not confused, then you are not thinking.”
Aksh with a laugh said, “I found some symbolisms here and there. First one is, the French guy, Merovingian is something directors wanted to portray him as Blaudipaus — talking about causality all the time. What stroked me was his comment, ‘choices/preferences are just illusions created by powerful people.’ In a way I kinda believed him. Because if we look at any store, we find huge choice in the shelf but those are all fabricated by marketing. Like, remember, I wanted to buy a Casio digital camera with 2M pixel last month. Didn’t find any on the selves nor over the internet. This made me believe little bit on Blaudipaus’s comments.”
Aksh continued, “Some of the quotes are so catchy, like, ‘Don’t think you are, know you are’, ‘I am here because of the path behind me not because of the path in front of me’, ‘It’s the question which drives us’ and I am sure I am missing some more.”
Aksh continued, “There are some scenes where, directors completely deify Neo and gave so many powers, that made me wonder.”
“Remember I told you yesterday that we are going to discuss my comments on why Matrix is related to Bhagavad Gita” I said.
With a little bit of seriousness in my voice, “If you look at the big picture, what directors are trying to say is, Neo is another incarnation of god. Just like Rama, Krishna, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, etc… with so much power and influence changing millions of people lives.” I continued. “Here is a quote from Bagvad Gita, ‘he or she (the person said to be incarnated) does not initiate any social reforms, for that is a very superficial treatment of social problems, like treating the symptom and not the disease. The incarnation introduces a new value system, which slowly inspires the heart and mind of the people, out of which will come ethical and humanistic awakening, giving rise to all the necessary social reforms.’ Here with the Neo, directors are trying to say that we should try to appreciate the other world, machine world — with harmony, let us kill the real evil, Agent Smith, full of ego and devilish characters. It is the love which has these powers. And love/harmony is common to both machine-world and human beings”
Aksh said, “So you mean to say all these details are there in the Bhagvad Gita? Similar to the way movie tries to pronounce Simulacra and Simulation?”
I said, “In a way yes. Let me see whether I can resolve some more questions.”
Aksh said, “Why do directors think/feel machine world is not perfect? Why do you think directors came up with the Neo? In the movie, machine world is so complex; it can create anything you want. Remember in Matrix-3, Sati (a small/cute machine) creates the Sun. How do you explain this?”
I said, “Let me see whether I can give you any bulbs,” after a quick search, I could find this quote which exactly fits into the situation and answers the question. I continued, “Quoting from Bhagavad Gita, ‘Machines (not referring to machine world here but in general machines like car, computer, cell phone, etc…) never made mankind happy and never will make. He, who is trying to make us believe this, will claim that happiness is in the machine; but it is always in the mind. That man alone who is the lord of his mind can become happy, and none else. And what, after all, is this power of machinery? Why should a man who can send a current of electricity through a wire be called a very great man and a very intelligent man? Does not nature do a million times more every moment? Then why not fall down and worship nature? What avails it if you have power over the whole world, if you have mastered every atom in the universe? That will not make you happy unless you have power of happiness in yourself, until you have conquered yourself. Man is born to conquer nature; it is true, external nature is majestic, with mountains and oceans, and rivers, and with its infinite powers and varieties. Yet there is more majestic internal nature of man, higher than the sun, moon, and stars, transcending these little lives of ours.’ Get it?”
Aksh made me read the quote twice and commented, “Ha, so Sati who is a machine by nature, perfects to make components of the nature, yet crippled by the basic internal energy.”
I said, “Bingo.”
Aksh asked, “Whats up with the song in Matrix-3, in Sanskrit —
Thama Soma Jyotirgamaya
Mrithtyoma amritam gamaya?”
“This is from one of the Upanishads, here is the meaning,” I continued,
“Lord please lead us from untruth (unreal) to the truth (real)
Lead us from darkness to the light
Lead us from death to immortality.”
Our attention got diverted again with the phone ring. After 5 rings we could find that small machine (cell phone) sitting under the futon. It was Tihi again.
I switched on the speaker phone and said, “Hi Tihi.” Aksh reduced the music system’s volume, which was playing, Dirty Vegas’ single ‘Simple Things’.
“Guys, treat for you. I made some Samosas,” Tihi mentioned.
“Treat for what?”
Tihi said, “Nothing, just like that!”
“Good!” we both looked at each other. “Sure will come over there in half-an-hour”.
Tihi said, “Well! Get me some pepper and salt, I am running out.”
“OK mommy,” we replied with a chuckle.
Tihi said, “See ya bye, drive safe.”
Aksh had an inquisitive face and asked me swiftly, “Why is there a make-out scene in Matrix-2?”
“Not sure.” I replied. “Probably directors wanted to shun dependency on Bhagavad Gita, which tells you to follow celibacy to achieve complete self realization.”
While heading out of the house I turned off the music system which was playing Telepopmusik’s single ‘Just Breathe,’ adapted for Mitsubishi commercial.
Bhagavad Gita – Swami Ranganathananda
Aksh (Urdu) – Reflection
Tihi (Urdu) – Null
Sati (Sanskrit) – Existence
Sanskrit and Urdu – Indian languages
Neo – Lead character in the movie
Bhagavad Gita – One of the Hindu philosophical books
Upanishads – Ancient (Older than Bhagavad Gita) Hindu philosophical guide
Chole-Bhatura – An Indian food; Garbanzo beans curry and bread
Samosa – An Indian appetizer; thin stuffed bread
Above comments are completely author’s own views on the movie. Author tried to do his best job to avoid Sanskrit words and simplify the whole article. If there is something inaccurate or wrong, it was solely, author’s ignorance or limited resources. If above comments/characters coincide with some other persons work, it’s merely a coincidence. Whenever author mentioned about Bhagavad Gita, he is pointing to the one referred.