Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The ultimate point of the Matrix Trilogy is the infinitely nested interdependence of all beings. Neo needs Trinity and Trinity needs Neo. As Neo says to Councillor Hamaan, the humans needs the machines and the machines need the humans. Men need women and women need men. Conservatives needs liberals and liberals needs conservatives. Management needs labor and labor needs management. Environmentalists need corporations and corporations need environmentalists.

A religion or philosophy or politics that promises freedom from this interdependence through the triumph of one side or the other---like Morpheus’ prophecy---reflects a false, shallow, infantile spirituality, and can only be another system of control by one side or the other. Instead, a true, profound, adult spirituality sees the intrinsic worth in all beings and trusts in that worth---as Niobe trusted in Neo. It sees all beings as light.

A true, deep realization of this interdependent nature of all of existence would bring about real peace. Not a post-apocalyptic peace in which one side will triumph over the other, as is prophesied in fundamentalist religion, but a dialectical peace in which apparent opposites continue to resolve their different perspectives with trust and good faith, rather than with suspicion and violence. What needs to be eradicated is not an entity, but instead each person's pathological approach to this dialectic. This pathology is represented by the Smith.

Then there is the theme of choice. The nihilistic Merovingian is correct that the phenomenal world is a grid of causality and that there is no such thing as metaphysically libertarian (uncaused) free will. However, we can guide ourselves toward subscribing to a one-sided, dualistic conception of existence that sees some (or all) beings as enemies, or towards seeing all beings as light, as reflectors of God’s image. So amidst causality, a higher autonomy is possible.

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