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Philosopy 210 Essay

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By tapreia83
Words 710
Pages 3

PHIL 201
July 7, 2014

After reading these pieces I concluded that the central theme is being awaken from a false reality but each piece differs in the action that follow the awakening. The Matrix is set in a futuristic setting, where the theory of being controlled by a massive computer is a real possibility. What I find most interesting is that Plato actually describes the concept of The Matrix, almost as if Plato’s dialogue was used an inspiration. In The Matrix and Plato’s dialogue, humans are not physically living the life they perceive as “real” but are stationary beings who are forced to live a false reality prescribe to them. This is where René Descartes’ excerpt differs from the previously mentioned. The person is aware of possibility that what he knows as true could be false, that how could we know if what we are living is done consciously or if our existence is but a dream. All of the excerpts also rely on the reasoning that the mind is the sole contributor of our existence and our physical senses only respond to what the mind knows. The differences in the readings is based on the actions or possible outcomes that occur once the awakening has taken place. In The Matrix, Neo decides to act and decides to embark on a journey to discover reality not being controlled by a computer. Plato’s dialogue is different because this is based on a hypothetically theory, so while there is no physically action the questions lies in how would people respond to the truth. Would man continue to live the false life given to them if the truth was unbearable or not what one expected? René Descartes proposes not that we are being manipulated unwillingly but that our reality could actually be dreams. That the line is easily blurred between the two and how could we distinguish reality from unconscious mind stimulation. Descartes simply argues with himself about this theory, analyzing different aspects of his existence and how either theory could be correct, and finally resolves to remain n the mindset of which he has always been.
These excerpts are more than just similar in topic, one could argue that there is a direct link to one another. Plato first proposes the theory of “false reality” and then asks what man would do if given a choice. In response to this question, Descartes decides to remain in the comfort of this perspective of reality due to fear of the unknown and does not leave “the cave”. But Neo decides to act on this chance of enlightenment and begins to seek his real reality and face whatever obstacles that may lay ahead in search of the truth.
The decisions made by Descartes and Neo leads to the analysis of how humans differ and what may be true to one individual may not be true to anyone else. In this case, I believe the harshness of reality is better than the illusion of “ignorance is bliss”. The reason I feel this way is because of Descartes’ decision to not find the truth but to remain in his present state. To know that there is unknown knowledge to acquire and act on the opportunity restricts one’s growth.
The lie of an illusion will eventually fail, but the truth will always remain. For instance, if Descartes and Neo existed in Plato’s cavern together than my statement will prove true. When the opportunity arose to stay or leave, Descartes decided to stay in the illusion of ignorance and bliss while Neo accepted the harshness of truth. Here’s where the problem occurs, if Neo succeeds in proving that there is a different reality-a life uncontrolled outside of the cavern, then the illusion has failed. How does this effect Descartes? Now that the truth has been revealed Descartes is forced to deal with the harshness that all he has known has been a lie and could cause more damage than voluntarily accepting this fact and acting accordingly as Neo did.

Descartes, R. (n.d.). Meditations on First Philosopy, 1641.
Plato. (n.d.). The Allegory of the Cave. In The Republic (pp. Book V11, 514A1-518D8).
Wachowski, A. W. (Director). (1999). The Matrix [Motion Picture].

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