Film Feature: The Matrix (1999) | The Memory Loss of Reality

Released in 1999, Wachowskis’ science fiction and action film The Matrix has captured the interest of both young and mature audiences and has stirred a lot of arguments and debates regarding the ever-controversial question of the Red Pill/Blue Pill polemic.

Eighteen years after it has disturbed mainstream media with its complex plot and hardcore philosophical and epistemological underpinnings, The Matrix continues to bemuse and befuddle the popular imagination, and continues to challenge our views as to the nature of reality that exists outside of us.

But eighteen years after The Matrix has debuted, we find ourselves entering, (or have entered) in an age of technological progress and massive production of information. With the advent of post-industrialism comes also rapid advancements in science and technology. Part of these technological transformations are groundbreaking researches in various fields of knowledge as well as more advanced transmission and dissemination of acquired knowledge, the consequences of which include the transformation of knowledge from its previous totalitarian stance to codified, if not commodified knowledge, translatable and convertible to computer knowledge.

In a world where reality is restrained and refashioned only after the interests of those who are in power, the basic question of the nature of our reality comes to the fore.

With the advent of hyper-modernist culture, escorted by the mass production of capitalist economy, reality as we know it shifts into a kind of hyper reality, an unconsciousness of reality, so much like a state of memory loss of reality [1] It is an age where man is unable to recognize and separate reality from reproduction, in the words of Baudrillard, the simulation and the simulacra, due to the excessive and forceful conditioning on one’s consciousness to make-believe in a certain kind of a pre-fabricated reality.

In other words, we are led to believe in an image or illusion crafted to disguise the real, so much that when we come in contact with an altogether different reality, our consciousness of reality tends to shift into a kind of an amnesiac consciousness, a forgetting of the real. The system feeds us in a simulation built for the annihilation of memory, and man is made to believe that apart from that system, consciousness ceases to exists.

But a reality such as a false reality is a non-reality. Which brings us back to the original question: Which one would you choose, the Red Pill or the Blue Pill? Are you going to alter the system or are you going to forget even more?

___________

[1] A chapter of the same title was discussed in “Hypermodernism: the Memory Loss of Reality,” in Introducing Postmodernism, by Richard Appignanesi and Chris Garrat, ed. Richard Appignanesi, p. 126, (New York: Totem Books, 1995). 

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