Virtual Reality: It’s Easy to Say That Nothing Would Ever Beat the Real World When We’ve Never Had a Decent Contender

A thought-provoking little video from the team at THUNK, a video podcast series devoted to science and philosophy.

I wasn’t that crazy about The Matrix, honestly, but I freely admit that I probably wasn’t who the Wachowski siblings had in mind when they made the movie: I was in my mid-twenties when it came out and was already familiar with the philosophical conundrums with which Neo and gang were wrestling. When I heard Morpheus say “Free your mind” it probably didn’t help that all I could think in response was “…and your ass will follow!” – Thanks, Funkadelic. I do think that the movie was a fantastic way to get a lot of kids to start questioning things, thought, and you look at it that way, The Matrix itself was a major Red Pill.

Regardless of my feelings about the film as a whole, I’ve often considered Cypher’s choice, myself: For all he or anyone else knows, the war being waged by Neo and friends is another illusion, and not a very enjoyable one at that. The best any of the warriors can hope for is to throw off the yoke of the machines and stake a claim for what’s left of the radiation-blasted, polluted Earth.

My choice is between coughing up blood and pulling metal shards out of my feet every time I go out to fight for the last botulinum-swollen can of cat food for the rest of my short, miserable existence, or a rock star life of pure pleasure and fulfillment that is indistinguishable from the reality I won’t remember anyway and can’t be sure isn’t another, crappier illusion? Hmmm…. Pass me that steak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Juan

    That’s funny. You saw it in your mid-twenties, and I saw it in my late thirties.
    I loved the movie. Still do.
    I was just so totally blown away by the fact hat I was watching a big Hollywood movie with actual ideas. And not just ideas, but major, important ideas. I was picking up Plato, Nietstche, Taosim, Buddhisim, and a whole bunch of other threads of various philosophical traditions from all over the world.
    It also did not hurt that the thing was simply stunning to look at as well.
    And yes, I agree, the movie itself was and is a major “red pill.” If it gets people thinking and questioning what is going on around them, then that’s very positive, as far as I am concerned.

  • Thurlow Weed

    The Matrix was accessible in the same way as Occupy Wall Street was. Hard critics of both expected much more than was ever promised by either, and discount or conveniently ignore how provocative each was.

  • BuzzCoastin

    simply by using one’s sensorium
    one creates and artificial reality
    which then is processed through mental filters
    wee might get a handle on reality
    if wee admitted wee don’t really know what reality is

  • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

    Reading The Invisibles again recently, it is unavoidable noticing the obvious parallels and influence it has had on the Matrix series. Matt, in front of God, country and the nsa, have you ever ingested space fruit aka Psilocybin mushrooms previously? If not what gives man? ;)

    • Matt Staggs

      I like what I’ve read of ‘The Invisibles’, but have yet to get back to reading it. I can clearly see the influence, but have never thought of it before. Good observation.

      I’m fairly certain that you and I have discussed my feelings on psilocybin privately before, but I may be wrong: I know I’ve spoken about it a good bit on the podcast, though, so maybe I’m just getting mixed up. Not a problem in any case for me to reiterate my position, be it in front of God, Country, NSA, or Disinfonaut:

      I’m not interested in them, personally. I can easily leave right now and grab a handful of them with very little inconvenience and little to no chance of being hassled by the police. My loved ones wouldn’t care, either. I’m not afraid of them, believe them to be dangerous, or find them morally objectionable in any way at all, and I’ve had plenty of opportunities to try them. I’m just not at all interested.

      Regardless of my personal interest, I’m an unyielding advocate for their legality, and believe very strongly that you should have the right to utilize them (and other substances) to alter your consciousness in any way that you like, so long as you don’t hurt anyone. Like cannabis, I find it mind-boggling that anyone can declare something that grows on the Earth and be readily harvested for use “illegal.”

      I also find the medical research that they’re doing regarding their benefit for end of life care and PTSD extremely interesting, and consider it shameful that our government has done so much to restrict further research in the topic.

      I hope that the content here at Disinfo speaks to my principles on the topic of entheogens/psychedelics. I’ve tried very hard to include – and even cultivate (pun intended) – material regarding the topic.

      I believe that Graham Hancock said it best when he wrote, “…if we are
      not sovereign over our own consciousness then we cannot in any
      meaningful sense be sovereign over anything else either.”

      I agree with him, and also believe that sovereignty of consciousness includes my choice to *not* utilize psilocybin mushrooms, if I don’t want to. I can’t imagine that Hancock would disagree with my right to make decisions for myself regarding this and other personal matters regarding my mind and body, but I would no more be able to respect him or anyone else who issues some kind of mandate that I *must* use these things than I would the government that mandates I must not.

  • Juan

    Thanks. I’ll look for Solaris.
    Wonder if it’s on Netflix?

  • Matt Staggs

    Oh, I don’t know about hypercritical – I just said I wasn’t crazy about it, and was probably not who the siblings W. had in mind when they made the film. Well, that and it made me think of that Funkadelic track. None of that counts as a scathing indictment, does it? I’m glad people liked it, though.

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