Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Five Types Of Characters In The Matrix (And The Real World)

A decade has passed since 'The Matrix' presented a peek into an alternate future. Robots ruling over an Earth shrouded in perpetual gloom. Humans trapped in a virtual reality prison. Very disturbing indeed. And even long after the movie credits have rolled, many amongst us can't stop pinching ourselves, unsure whether we are truly awake or asleep.

Why does the Matrix enthral us so much? Perhaps it chillingly reminds us how our own reality is not so different after all. Overpowering governments, with their harsh laws and intrusive security measures. Monopolistic corporations, with their insatiable greed and immoral labour practices. Righteous religions, with their uncompromising dogma and witch-hunting zealots.

What Morpheus says is true:
"The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work... when you go to church... when you pay your taxes. It is the wool that is pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth."

How do we find the truth? Well, the truth is out there, hidden but not unknowable. But first, we need to discover our own identities. As the Oracle advised Neo: "Know thyself."

"What is the Matrix?" isn't the all-important question here. "How much do you want to know about the Matrix, and what would you do about what you know?" - that's what that really matters.

New Machines had a farm... ee i ee i oh!

1. Overlord

They're the Machines. Enhanced by superior artificial intelligence. Enslaving humans for precious power - just like batteries - from cradle to grave. Inside the Matrix, black-suited Agents roam around, quelling the slightest hint of resistance. Outside, swarms of Sentinels armed with deadly tentacles and laser guns are sent forth with one sole mission: search and destroy each and every human rebels living underground in Zion, the last remaining human city on Earth.

They're the people who cling to power. They rule over the lives of the masses. Some move in plain sight, like politicians and priests. Some lurk in the shadows, with innocuous names like executives and consultants. They're the gatekeepers. They build the system. They make the rules. Oh, they're also fond of claiming they have our best interests at heart. Bullshit. They're happy being on top, and will do everything in their power to make sure they stay on top. They can't be trusted. They're silently laughing at all of us. Bastards.

2. Minion

Almost the entire human population grown in farms. Tubes as chains. Tanks as cages. Plugged into the Matrix, plunged into a never-ending dream. Worse of all, they don't even know that they're living in an artificial world. Every aspect of their pitiful lives are watched over and controlled by unseen Overlords. Everything they see, hear, feel, taste and touch are merely bytes of a computer program. Nothing is real. Not even the air they breathe.

Why are they stuck this way? Few reasons. They've been taught from young not to ask questions. They're required to blindly follow rules. They're easily swayed by primal desires. They've been duped by false promises. They're weak and vulnerable. And ultimately, they don't have much of a choice. For the overlords have crushed their bodies and spirits, and lock them up in a labyrinth of lies.

3. Loyalist

As the war between the Machines and humans rages on, there are some who stand by the side-lines. Free-thinking programs broken loose from their original programming (Merovingian). Weary human rebels sick of fighting and living on stale protein broth (Cypher). Arms crossed. Watching on indifferently. More than happy for status quo to remain, so that they can enjoy a life of blissful extravagance in the Matrix.

And yet, for all their intelligence and skills, they choose to do... nothing. Their excuses are plentiful: "I have a family to feed", "I have bills to pay", yada yada. Cowards. Too selfish to look pass their own interests. When trouble looms, they'll look and hide away. Or worse still, they'll secretly throw their support behind the Overlords, for they fear that change will cut off their profits and privileges gained from gaming the system. Yes, I'm talking to you, dear professionals - bankers, lawyers, accountants. Don't play innocent.

Admittedly, exclusive loyalty programs have attractive perks
4. Usurper
Then again, there are some rare enlightened ones who do try to make a change. Fuelled by envy and hatred. Vowing to take down the system, at all cost. Goes by the name of Agent Smith. Good news is, he wants to destroy the Matrix. Bad news is, he also wants to destroy Zion and the Machine City. He's no random psychopath, and does bring up a strong damning case for human extinction: "Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops an equilibrium with the surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed... There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern... A virus..."

It's easy to mistake a Usurper for a benevolent Saviour. They can be rather charming and convincing. They have a way with words. They know how to manipulate others do their bidding. Good news is, they're plotting to overthrow the Overlords. Bad news is, if they do succeed, they'll reign as the new Overlords. They're the Napoleans and Stalins of the world. Don't be fooled by their sweet smiles and stirring speeches. For what lies beneath are dangerous minds with cruel intentions.

5. Saviour

Imagine being obliviously imprisoned in the Matrix from birth till adulthood, and once set free, realising that everything you've ever believed in and lived for is but a lie. It's natural to vow vengeance against the Machines, and aim for nothing less than to wipe them out. But no, Neo doesn't think so. His focus is not only to save humanity, but to bring peace to all. He's not afraid to fight, but more importantly, he's not afraid to die.

And therein lies the difference between a Saviour, and enlightened pretenders (Loyalist and Usurper). A Saviour fights not for himself, but for the common good. A Saviour is willing to sacrifice his life to save the lives of others. He cares not for riches and luxuries. He cares only that the world is peaceful and just. Does it border naivety and futility? Perhaps. Wars will always erupt, injustices will always exist. But someone's got to keep them in check, lest the world spirals into self-annihilation. The world could do with more Saviours.

The One Who Truly Gives A Shit

Choose Your Destiny

Seeing truth from lies is a conscious choice. But as Neo finds out, choosing the red pill over the blue pill is only the beginning of a long journey paved with even harder choices. Knowing the truth isn't enough. Knowing what to do with the truth - now that's the true test. For the truth is never pleasant. And the truth doesn't always bring happiness. To embrace or escape the Matrix - not a simple choice, after all.

Humans can be broken down into five different types. Those playing god, those tricked into oppression, those happy living a lie, those lusting for power, and those striving to make the world a better place for everyone. Which type are you?

Know thyself. Make thy choice.

1 comment :

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