In the thrilling, climactic scene of The Matrix, Neo is being chased by Agent Smith and his men intent on killing him. However, as the agents fire their guns, Neo has a stunning revelation: the solid world he perceives is actually nothing more than a computer code made up of ones and zeros running in the background. This realization allows him to manipulate the code and avoid being hit by the bullets. He watches in amazement as the bullets fall harmlessly to the ground. The scene is a powerful moment that highlights the potential of science and technology to transform our understanding of reality. However, it is important to recognize that this moment is purely fictional and should not be confused with reality. It may seem unnecessary to point out this obvious fact. However, from this simple truth, some people bizarrely jump to the conclusion that with sufficient understanding and appreciation of the digital nature of reality, we too can manipulate our reality and achieve seemingly “magical” results just as Neo did.
In the film, Neo’s understanding of the digital nature of reality allows him to manipulate the code and stop the bullets from hitting him. This scene is a dramatic expression of the power of technology to transform our understanding of the world around us. It suggests that if we can understand the underlying code of the universe, we can manipulate it to our advantage.
In the make-believe world of Hollywood, we have an exciting, superb piece of fantasy created brilliantly by the Wachowskis’. However, in the real world, when Neo has his revelation about the digital nature of reality, the bullets will still strike him, and he will still fall down, bloody and dead. The laws of physics and the limitations of the human body would prevent him from altering the path of the bullets or teleporting to safety.
Despite this, the scene still has value as a thought experiment. It encourages us to think about the potential of technology to transform our understanding of the world and to imagine what might be possible if we could manipulate reality in the way that is depicted in the film. However, it is crucial to recognize the limits of our knowledge and to base our beliefs on empirical evidence and scientific inquiry.
Films like The Matrix can be great fun. They can even be expansive and inspirational. They challenge us to flirt with the limits of our own understanding. That is all to the good. However, crossing that line where one confuses fantasy with reality can lead to a life lost in a “matrix” of superstition and other harmful beliefs. Such a self-made matrix and be very difficult or impossible to escape from, indeed. No, Elon, this is not a simulation. Sorry, Dude!
9 May 2023
Originally posted 2023-05-09 08:13:39.