Nothing troubles the mind more than the thought of living in illusion. However, as Plato’s Cave Allegory and the film The Matrix reveal, living in illusion is not far from mankind. Using philosophical symbolism, Cave Allegory and The Matrix prove that day to day experiences construed as reality reflect the inability of humans to go beyond their natural limits. In Plato’s Cave Allegory and the film The Matrix, people’s sense of reality is warped; therefore, whatever they think of as reality is far from the truth.
People living in a cave would not know the reality of life outside their caves. This is exactly what Plato describes in the tale Cave Allegory. In the Cave Allegory, the men chained facing the wall give names to the shadows they see. For example, one of the men says that the shadow represents a book. In his mind, the shadow is a book. However, this is far from reality. The perception of reality in this case is distorted. In this tale, Plato challenges the notion that conceptual experience of physical objects is on the same level as perception. The chained cannot turn their minds to see the real objects. This makes it easy for the puppeteers standing behind them to trick their minds.
As one of the prisoners comes to realize, the shadow he has been looking at is not the truth. It is just a shadow cast on the wall by the puppeteers. He also sees the fire which has been casting the image of objects held by the form holders. As he steps outside the cave, he comes face to face with the sun that illuminates all objects. At this point it becomes clear that reality is different from the experiences of the cave. The awareness of what is real shocks the prisoner.
The film The Matrix explores a similar concept of reflective understanding. Reality is not what humans perceive; what people perceive is simulated reality known as “the Matrix.” With the help of Morpheus, Neo becomes aware of the world and how everything works. As Neo comes to realize, he has been living in simulated reality since birth. “The Matrix” agents control the lives of people. As a result, people live in “slavery” because their day-to-day experiences are under the control of agents; people grow hooked onto wires (The Matrix). Just like what happened to the prisoner, Neo is awestruck by this mind-boggling realization.
Plato’s Cave Allegory bears some striking similarities to the movie The Matrix. In the Cave Allegory, Plato narrates about some men chained to a wall. Behind the men is a fire. At some point, the chained men see shadows before them. They then make attempts to tell the nature of the shadows. However, knowingly or unknowingly, they do not realize that whatever they describe is not reality; it is only a perception. The same concept of warped sense of reality receives attention in n the film The Matrix. In the movie, Neo and the rest of the people are not aware that they live in illusion. Their sense of reality is distorted. As a result, their lives are programmed such that they would not think beyond what they experience in their daily lives. True sense of reality is only realized when both men step outside their natural boundaries.
Heidegger, Martin. The Essence of Truth . New York, NY : Continuum, 2002. Print.
The Matrix . Dir. Wachowski Brothers. Perf. Keanu Reeves, et al. 1999. Film.