Plato, Descartes and the Matrix

725 Words3 Pages
As intellectual beings we seek to know the reality of how things appear to be versus how they really are. Historically the question, “what is real?” has been the subject of much philosophical conjecture. In comparing the synopsis from the movie The Matrix, Plato’s The Republic (The Allegory of the Cave), and Descartes, Meditation 1, I find both similarities and differences. While all three deal with the concept of false realities, both the Matrix and The Allegory of the Cave explore more the concept of two worlds, one world that has been created (an illusion) by outside sources, and the real word which is eventually revealed thus destroying the reality of those involved. While in contrast, in Meditation 1 Descartes takes a more introspective approach by analyzing reality with systematic doubt. In his systematic approach, Descartes peals away the layers of his reality purposely doubting both his senses and reasoning imposing on himself the possibility of an unknown world, ultimately concluding that we can have no certain knowledge of reality. In both The Matrix and The Allegory of the Cave the people live in controlled worlds where their reality has been altered by outside influences. In the Matrix, the primary character, Neo, discovers that the world in which he lives is a simulation created by a computer (The Matrix). Neo exists not in the reality that he has experienced but in a giant machine, along with the rest of the human population, where he is attached to a computer that controls all his experiences. Upon discovering the truth, Neo goes through a series of negative emotions including fear and disbelief with regard to this newly discovered wisdom but ultimately embraces it and vows to enlighten the rest of the world. Similarly, the men in Plato’s The Allegory of the Cave live as prisoners in a world where the only reality they experience is restricted by
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