Imagine living through life completely bound and facing a reality that doesn’t even exist. The prisoners in Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” are blind from true reality as well as the people in the movie “The Matrix” written and directed by the Wachowski brothers. They are given false images and they accept what their senses are telling them, and they believe what they are experiencing is all that really exists. Plato the ancient Greek philosopher wrote “The Allegory of the Cave”, to explain the process of enlightenment and what true reality may be.
In the movie “The Matrix”, Neo (the main character) was born into a world of illusions called the matrix. His true reality is being controlled by the puppet- handlers called the machines who use the human body as a source of energy. In the movie, Neo, finds and alternate reality and he has to go on a journey to discover himself and what is around him. Much like “The Allegory of the Cave” the prisoners in a dark underground cave, who are chained to the wall, have a view of reality solely based upon this limited view of the cave which is but a poor copy of the real world.
Both the prisoners of the cave, and Neo from the Matrix, have to transcend on the path of enlightenment’ to know the truth of their own worlds. Deep within the cave the prisoners are chained by their necks and have a limited view of reality. Around them, by the distant light of the fire, they only see shadows and outlines of people or objects. From their conclusions of what they may think is real, are false. “The Matrix” parallels Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” in a number of ways. Similar to the prisoners of the cave the humans trapped in the modern day puppet-handlers (the machines) want them to see.
In the movie, Neo is a computer hacker, and on day he suddenly realizes that his world is fake, by finding out the truth after he was released from the pod. Neo discovers that what he has been presented with his entire life is only reflections or merely shadows of the truth. The theme is recognized throughout the movie as we see many objects, as well as Neo, reflected in other objects. The puppet-handlers (the machines) represent what Plato calls the influential and powerful members of society. The objects making the shadows in “The Allegory of the Cave” are also creating a false conclusion for the prisoners.
In “The Matrix” the puppet-handlers and the machines spawned from a singular consciousness called AI (artificial intelligence). In both “the Matrix” and “the Allegory of the Cave” the puppeteers have created an artificial surroundings as a way to control and manipulate the information the prisoners receive. In “The Allegory of the Cave,” Plato also stated that eventually one of the prisoners, who Plato would say was the philosopher or intellectual, would break free from the cave and into the outside world.
The one prisoner that Plato refers to, would also reflect Neo in “The Matrix” when he in being released from his pod that the machines have created. Once the prisoner of the cave has broken free he can now look all around him, and see the objects as they really are and the people carrying them as well. While in the movie “The Matrix”, Neo is using is own eyes for the first time and sees that he is actually living in a human factory. In Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” he states that the freed prisoner would be shocked by the outside world, he would not be able to see the realities that he was used to deep in the shadows of the cave.
The prisoner would try to think that what he saw and experienced before was truer than what is he sees now. When Neo is revived from being detached from the pod, Morpheus tells him what state the world is in now and Neo is in a state of disarray and denial. This new knowledge of the truth, overwhelmed Neo so much that he vomited and passed out. The released prisoner in “The Allegory of the Cave” might feel that what he is seeing was the illusion and shadows on the wall were even more real. In the movie “The Matrix, a character named Chypher tells this to Trinity, “I think the matrix can be more real than this world.
The freed prisoner would have thoughts of going back to the cave, just the same as Neo had thoughts of going back to the matrix because it is more familiar to him and less painful. According the Plato the freed prisoner would have to wonder where the shadows came from or even what there was beyond the cave. He must have sensed something was wrong and he sought out the truth. This is the only way that a prisoner is able to escape, this is the prisoners choice and wanting to learn the real truth.
Neo, while on the computer, also has that same pondering idea, to learn more about the truth. As Plato indicated that the sunlight would hurt the freed prisoners eyes, leaving him momentarily blind. It would take a while for the prisoner to gain some patience to allow him to see, also he would have to fully grasp his new surroundings. At the same time this is what happened to Neo when he was released from his pod, and Neo asks the questions why his eyes hurt, Morpheus replies with “you’ve never used them before.
Plato later indicates that the prisoner would share his discovery of the real would with those who were also trapped in the cave, but he would have no desire to go back to his life in the cave. In the end his desire to help his fellow prisoners would prevail and just like in the matrix this somewhat explains the crew of the Nebacanezzr. Upon the prisoners arrival back to the cave to tell him companions about the world that exists outside of the cave. The prisoner would have great difficulty in telling them the truth because he would either not be understood or they would not believe him no matter what.
In the Matrix, when Morpheus introduces the matrix more to Neo, he says: “Unfortunately, no one can be told what the matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. ” The prisoners allies would only start to mock him and decide that he must be insane. Also they would realize how he would have difficultly adjusting from light to dark. Its almost as it he has become accustomed to the light, and he would be them blinded by the darkness. The other prisoners would be offended because he questioned the idea theat there reality may be flawed.
The prisoners would fear that they would become blind, unable to see the only reality they have ever known if they left. Plato explains that some men would prefer to even kill one another then allow anyone to take them out of the cave. In “The Matrix,” a character named Cypher loses his mind and kills several of the crew just so that he could go back to the matrix (the cave). When Morpheus tells Neo in reference to the people still plugged or trapped in the matrix, “You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged (released from the matrix or the cave).
And many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it. ” The closeness between the movie “The Matrix” and Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave” almost gives the idea that the movies writers may have had a lot of influence from Plato’s allegory. The creation of this movie gives and futuristic prospective of “The Allegory of the Cave” letting the people who have seen the movie think about reality and the truth.
In conclusion, Plato’s story of the cave brings up many philosophical points and most significantly, addresses the topic of society’s role in our lives. On some level, we are all influenced by the thoughts and actions of everyone else, but at the same time, we as humans have the ability to question, make our own conclusions, and finally make our own choices. Trinity tells Neo, “The Matrix can not tell you who you are”. Neo is brave enough to walk away and take the red pill, just like the freed prisoner, Neo , and human kind itself, are making the first step towards personal independence.