Am I the Chosen One?

I’ve seen The Matrix about four times, and to me it just keeps getting better and better. However, after theorizing the movie, I experienced an extreme range of emotions, from total empowerment to utter revulsion. I’ll share with you my negative impressions first to get them out of the way.

What struck me almost immediately was the mind worship. Morpheus tells Neo, “don’t think you are, know you are,” implying that your brain dictates everything. It decides what is and is not real, leaving the body as nothing more than the brain’s instrument. Indeed, the the bodies in the matrix hold such little value that the “awake” characters can kill them (in the most violent ways possible) without any remorse. I understand that these bodies aren’t “real.” But the bodies we see in the matrix are the ones that we recognize; they are more real to me than the bodies in the Nebakanezer. Therefore, I couldn’t help but feel that this treatment inadvertently justifies violence against bodies. And as long as the feminine and the corporeal are linked, this inevitably actualizes into violence against women. 

However, what I loved about The Matrix is its decoding scene at the end. When Neo comes back to life, and sees the matrix in its code form, I couldn’t help but associate that with what it’s like to study cultural codes. Interestingly, Neo becomes master of his universe once he is able to 1. recognize the code, and 2. manipulate it to his advantage. Is that not what we are trying to do as students in Girl Power? I felt like Neo and I were kindred spirits in that moment, empowered by our understanding of our environment. Am I the Chosen One? Not quite yet. I’d say I’m just scratching the surface of all the code embedded deep in our universe. However, at least I have Neo as my spirit animal.

Image

(This is how I see the world).

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4 thoughts on “Am I the Chosen One?

  1. But is Neo really manipulating the code to his advantage? Yes, he’s trying to bring the system down from the inside, but he’s doing so by using a code that is embedded within that system of (human) oppression. “Can you really take down the master’s house using the master’s tools?” I don’t know, maybe I’m reading too much into it. I’m not sure if manipulating “code” is something I personally want to learn from this class. Aren’t we learning to think about outside ideology, as well as new ways of viewing ourselves in the world? I’m thinking back to the article where the author says we can’t just create a language out of the blue. So is every tool implicated in the current structure of power? The Matrix is a great example of this concept. Neo has to actually go into the Matrix (or at least his mind does) but by going into the Matrix, hasn’t he just become absorbed into “the system?” Although I guess since he’s actually “outside” the system physically, maybe his manipulation of the code CAN be considered outside of ideology?

    I’m probably not making much sense, so my apologies for that! Great post though! If Neo is your spirit animal, I’m sure you’ll be the one in no time!

  2. The mind-body question is so interesting. I often find myself asking my brain why it’s making my body feel a certain way. Why can’t life be like the Matrix, where I tell my body to run up walls and not be hurt even though I’ve just been shot, and my body just listens? The Matrix may see the body as trivial in comparison to the mind, but in the end the body is the mind’s tool, and it allows the mind to interpret everything that it needs to in order to function.

    • Thanks for commenting EK! However, I’m not sure what to think about “in the end the body is the mind’s tool.” To what degree is this a scientific fact, or just a particular interpretation of the brain’s function? Why do we so readily put the brain in the position of power, yet fail to acknowledge how it is dependent on the rest of the body?
      I mean, if we were to place our body parts into some sort of hierarchy of importance, I’m not convinced that the brain would rank number one (or if this task is even possible).

      Recently, I’ve been reading “Woman in the Nineteenth Century” by Margaret Fuller for another class. In it, there is a relevant passage between an unknown man and the female narrator:

      (man) “Am not I the head of my house?”

      (woman) “You are not the head of your wife. God has given her a mind of her own.”

      (man) “I am the head and she is the heart.”

      (woman) “God grant you play true to one another then…But our doubt is whether the heart does consent with the head, or only obeys its decrees with a passiveness.”

      I bring this up mainly to rethink the power dynamic between the mind and the body. If we sincerely considered the body an equal companion to the mind, then there wouldn’t be as much of a problem in assigning women to that role (though it would still be a problem for those who don’t identify as men or women). But it is clear that scientific discourse–which we cannot forget is highly political–glorifies the brain as the body’s dictator.

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