6.1 Simulated reality
Simulated reality is the skeptical hypothesis that reality could be simulated -perhaps by computer simulation- to a degree indistinguishable from “true” reality. It could contain conscious minds which may or may not be fully aware that they are living inside a simulation.
This is quite different from the current, technologically achievable concept of virtual reality. Virtual reality is easily distinguished from the experience of actuality; participants are never in doubt about the nature of what they experience. Simulated reality, by contrast, would be hard or impossible to separate from “true” reality.
6.1.1 Types of simulation
126.96.36.199 Brain-computer interface
In brain-computer interface simulations, each participant enters from outside, directly connecting their brain to the simulation computer. The computer transmits sensory data to the participant, reads and responds to their desires and actions in return; in this manner they interact with the simulated world and receive feedback from it. The participant may be induced by any number of possible means to forget, temporarily or otherwise, that they are inside a virtual realm (e.g. “passing through the veil”, a term borrowed from Christian tradition, which describes the passage of a soul from an earthly body to an afterlife). While inside the simulation, the participant’s consciousness is represented by an avatar, which can look very different from the participant’s actual appearance.
188.8.131.52 Virtual people
In a virtual-people simulation, every inhabitant is a native of the simulated world. They do not have a “real” body in the external reality of the physical world. Instead, each is a fully simulated entity, possessing an appropriate level of consciousness that is implemented using the simulation’s own logic (i.e. using its own physics). As such, they could be downloaded from one simulation to another, or even archived and resurrected at a later time. It is also possible that a simulated entity could be moved out of the simulation entirely by means of mind transfer into a synthetic body.
An intermingled simulation supports both types of consciousness: “players” from the outer reality who are visiting (as a brain-computer interface simulation) or emigrating, and virtual-people who are natives of the simulation and hence lack any physical body in the outer reality.
The Matrix movies feature an intermingled type of simulation: they contain not only human minds (with their physical bodies remaining outside), but also sentient software programs that govern various aspects of the computed realm.
184.108.40.206 Simulation argument
The simulation hypothesis was first published by Hans Moravec. Later, the philosopher Nick Bostrom developed an argument distinct from the skeptical hypothesis, that we may be living in a simulation. Roughly, his argument proceeds as follows:
– Human descendants might not survive long enough to achieve an advanced civilization capable of creating computer simulations that host simulated people with artificial intelligence (AI) comparable to the natural faculties of their ancestors.
– Such ancestral simulations might be intellectually or culturally prohibited in some way, even a modest interest could plausibly generate billions of simulated people (for research, genealogy, reenactment, nostalgia, recreation or other reasons).
– Informing an artificial person that they are living in a simulation would defeat the authenticity of the simulation — better that they genuinely go about their daily business, for all intents and purposes, given a high-fidelity historical reproduction of the real world.
Barring extinction or prohibition, it is much more likely than not, that we are living in such a simulation — and should it come to pass that we, ourselves, run such simulations, it is all but certain.
In greater detail, Bostrom is attempting to prove a tripartite disjunction, that at least one of these propositions must be true. His argument rests on the premise that given sufficiently advanced technology, it is possible to represent the populated surface of the Earth without recourse to quantum simulation; that the qualia experienced by a simulated consciousness is comparable or equivalent to that of a naturally occurring human consciousness; and that one or more levels of simulation within simulations would be feasible given only a modest expenditure of computational resources in the real world.
If one assumes that humans will not be destroyed or destroy themselves before developing such a technology; and if one assumes that human descendants will have no overriding legal restrictions or moral compunctions against simulating their ancestors; it would be unreasonable to count ourselves among the small minority of genuine ancestors who, sooner or later, will be vastly outnumbered by artificial simulations.
Epistemologically, it is not impossible to tell whether we are living in a simulation. For example, Bostrom suggests that a window could popup saying: “You are living in a simulation. Click here for more information.” However, imperfections in a simulated environment might be difficult for the native inhabitants to identify, and for purposes of authenticity, even the simulated memory of a blatant revelation might be purged programmatically. Nonetheless, should any evidence come to light, either for or against the skeptical hypothesis, it would radically alter the aforementioned probability.
220.127.116.11 Relativity of reality
As to the question of whether we are living in a simulated reality or a ‘real’ one, the answer may be ‘indistinguishable’, in principle. In a commemorative article dedicated to the ‘The World Year of Physics 2005’, physicist Bin-Guang Ma proposed the theory of ‘Relativity of reality’. The notion appears in ancient philosophy: Zhuangzi’s ‘Butterfly Dream’, and analytical psychology. Without special knowledge of a reference world, one cannot say with absolute skeptical certainty one is experiencing “reality”.
Computationalism is a philosophy of mind theory stating that cognition is a form of computation. It is relevant to the Simulation hypothesis in that it illustrates how a simulation could contain conscious subjects, as required by a “virtual people” simulation. For example, it is well known that physical systems can be simulated to some degree of accuracy. If computationalism is correct, and if there is no problem in generating artificial consciousness or cognition, it would establish the theoretical possibility of a simulated reality. However, the relationship between cognition and phenomenal qualia of consciousness is disputed. It is possible that consciousness requires a vital substrate that a computer cannot provide, and that simulated people, while behaving appropriately, would be philosophical zombies. This would undermine Nick Bostrom’s simulation argument; we cannot be a simulate consciousness, if consciousness, as we know it, cannot be simulated. However, the skeptical hypothesis remains intact, we could still be envatted brains, existing as conscious beings within a simulated environment, even if consciousness cannot be simulated.
Some theorists have argued that if the “consciousness-is-computation” version of computationalism and mathematical realism (or radical mathematical Platonism) are true then consciousnesses is computation, which in principle is platform independent, and thus admits of simulation. This argument states that a “Platonic realm” or ultimate ensemble would contain every algorithm, including those which implement consciousness. Hans Moravec has explored the simulation hypothesis and has argued for a kind of mathematical Platonism according to which every object (including e.g. a stone) can be regarded as implementing every possible computation.
A dream could be considered a type of simulation capable of fooling someone who is asleep. As a result the “dream hypothesis” cannot be ruled out, although it has been argued that common sense and considerations of simplicity rule against it. One of the first philosophers to question the distinction between reality and dreams was Zhuangzi, a Chinese philosopher from the 4th century BC. He phrased the problem as the well-known “Butterfly Dream,” which went as follows:
Once Zhuangzi dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn’t know he was Zhuangzi. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Zhuangzi. But he didn’t know if he was Zhuangzi who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Zhuangzi. Between Zhuangzi and a butterfly there must be some distinction! This is called the Transformation of Things. (2, tr. Burton Watson 1968:49)
The philosophical underpinnings of this argument are also brought up by Descartes, who was one of the first Western philosophers to do so. In Meditations on First Philosophy, he states “… there are no certain indications by which we may clearly distinguish wakefulness from sleep”,and goes on to conclude that “It is possible that I am dreaming right now and that all of my perceptions are false”.
Chalmers (2003) discusses the dream hypothesis, and notes that this comes in two distinct forms:
– that he is currently dreaming, in which case many of his beliefs about the world are incorrect;
– that he has always been dreaming, in which case the objects he perceives actually exist, albeit in his imagination.
Both the dream argument and the Simulation hypothesis can be regarded as skeptical hypotheses; however in raising these doubts, just as Descartes noted that his own thinking led him to be convinced of his own existence, the existence of the argument itself is testament to the possibility of its own truth.
Another state of mind in which some argue an individual’s perceptions have no physical basis in the real world is called psychosis though psychosis may have a physical basis in the real world and explanations vary.
6.1.5 Computability of physics
A decisive refutation of any claim that our reality is computer-simulated would be the discovery of some uncomputable physics, because if reality is doing something that no computer can do, it cannot be a computer simulation. (Computability generally means computability by a Turing machine. Hypercomputation (super-Turing computation) introduces other possibilities which will be dealt with separately). In fact, known physics is held to be (Turing) computable, but the statement “physics is computable” needs to be qualified in various ways. Before symbolic computation, a number, thinking particularly of a real number, one with an infinite number of digits, was said to be computable if a Turing machine will continue to spit out digits endlessly, never reaching a “final digit”. This runs counter, however, to the idea of simulating physics in real time (or any plausible kind of time). Known physical laws (including those of quantum mechanics) are very much infused with real numbers and continua, and the universe seems to be able to decide their values on a moment-by-moment basis. As Richard Feynman put it:
“It always bothers me that, according to the laws as we understand them today, it takes a computing machine an infinite number of logical operations to figure out what goes on in no matter how tiny a region of space, and no matter how tiny a region of time. How can all that be going on in that tiny space? Why should it take an infinite amount of logic to figure out what one tiny piece of space/time is going to do? So I have often made the hypotheses that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement, that in the end the machinery will be revealed, and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the chequer board with all its apparent complexities”.
The objection could be made that the simulation does not have to run in “real time”. It misses an important point, though: the shortfall is not linear; rather it is a matter of performing an infinite number of computational steps in a finite time.
Note that these objections all relate to the idea of reality being exactly simulated. Ordinary computer simulations as used by physicists are always approximations.
These objections do not apply if the hypothetical simulation is being run on a hypercomputer, a hypothetical machine more powerful than a Turing machine. Unfortunately, there is no way of working out if computers running a simulation are capable of doing things that computers in the simulation cannot do. No-one has shown that the laws of physics inside a simulation and those outside it have to be the same, and simulations of different physical laws have been constructed. The problem now is that there is no evidence that can conceivably be produced to show that the universe is not any kind of computer, making the simulation hypothesis unfalsifiable and therefore scientifically unacceptable, at least by Popperian standards.
All conventional computers, however, are less than hypercomputational, and the simulated reality hypothesis is usually expressed in terms of conventional computers, i.e. Turing machines.
Roger Penrose, an English mathematical physicist, presents the argument that human consciousness is non-algorithmic, and thus is not capable of being modeled by a conventional Turing machine-type of digital computer. Penrose hypothesizes that quantum mechanics plays an essential role in the understanding of human consciousness. The collapse of the quantum wavefunction is seen as playing an important role in brain function. (See quantum mind-body problem).
6.1.6 CantGoTu Environments
In his book The Fabric of Reality, David Deutsch discusses how the limits to computability imposed by Gödel’s ‘Incompleteness Theorem’ affects the Virtual Reality rendering process. In order to do this, Deutsch invents the notion of a CantGoTu environment (named after Cantor, Gödel, and Turing), using Cantor’s diagonal argument to construct an ‘impossible’ Virtual Reality which a physical VR generator would not be able to generate. The way that this works is to imagine that all VR environments renderable by such a generator can be enumerated, and that we label them VR1, VR2, etc. Slicing time up into discrete chunks we can create an environment which is unlike VR1 in the first timeslice, unlike VR2 in the second timeslice and so on. This environment is not in the list, and so it cannot be generated by the VR generator. Deutsch then goes on to discuss a universal VR generator, which as a physical device would not be able to render all possible environments, but would be able to render those environments which can be rendered by all other physical VR generators. He argues that ‘an environment which can be rendered’ corresponds to a set of mathematical questions whose answers can be calculated, and discusses various forms of the Turing Principle, which in its initial form refers to the fact that it is possible to build a universal computer which can be programmed to execute any computation that any other machine can do. Attempts to capture the process of virtual reality rendering provides us with a version which states: “It is possible to build a virtual-reality generator, whose repertoire includes every physically possible environment”. In other words, a single, buildable physical object can mimic all the behaviours and responses of any other physically possible process or object. This, it is claimed, is what makes reality comprehensible.
Later on in the book, Deutsch goes on to argue for a very strong version of the Turing principle, namely: “It is possible to build a virtual reality generator whose repertoire includes every physically possible environment.” However, in order to include every physically possible environment, the computer would have to be able to include a full simulation of the environment containing itself. Even so, a computer running a simulation need not have to run every possible physical moment to be plausible to its inhabitants.
6.1.7 Nested simulations
The existence of simulated reality is unprovable in any concrete sense: any “evidence” that is directly observed could be another simulation itself. In other words, there is an infinite regress problem with the argument. Even if we are a simulated reality, there is no way to be sure the beings running the simulation are not themselves a simulation, and the operators of that simulation are not a simulation.
“Recursive simulation involves a simulation, or an entity in the simulation, creating another instance of the same simulation, running it and using its results” (Pooch and Sullivan 2000).
6.1.8 Burlyman Entertainment
BurlyMan Entertainment is a comic book company created by Andy and Lana Wachowski, best known as the writer/director duo behind the Matrix Trilogy.
BurlyMan Entertainment first started as the publisher for the Matrix Comics series started by the Wachowski Brothers, which was published into two separate volumes. Burlyman Entertainment also published some new, non-Matrix related comics: Shaolin Cowboy, written and drawn by comic book artist Geoff Darrow, who also served as the conceptual designer for the Matrix Trilogy, and Doc Frankenstein, written by the Wachowski Brothers and drawn by Steve Skroce, the storyboard artist for the Matrix Trilogy, and previously worked with the brothers on the comic book series, Ectokid.
Since the start of the company, the release of the two ongoing series were irregular, with a professed bi-monthly release schedule that has yet to be fulfilled. As of April 2010, it has been years since a new issue for either series has been released or since the website has been updated. This has led to speculation that the company has become officially defunct.
Among its canceled projects, the first volume of “The Matrix Comics” featured an advertisement for “The Art of The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions”, a book which has yet to be published. There have also been rumors of an “Art of the Animatrix” book.
The company made an appearance at the 2004 Comic-Con in San Diego which included an actual “Burly Man” (looking very much like their company mascot), and two “Burly Babes” passing out giveaways branded with the company logo and ongoing series’ titles. Later, the Wachowski Brothers appeared and asked questions from the audience, making it one of their few public appearances over the last decade.
In the movie V for Vendetta, posters for a film ‘Burlyman 7′ can be seen in the background of a tube train and several street scenes.
– The Matrix Comics
– Shaolin Cowboy
– Doc Frankenstein
– Burlyman Entertainment at the Grand Comics Database
– Burlyman Entertainment at the Comic Book DB
18.104.22.168 External links
– Official website
6.2 Red pill and blue pill
The red pill and its opposite, the blue pill, are pop culture symbols representing the choice between the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue) and embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality (red).
The terms, popularized in science fiction culture, derive from the 1999 film The Matrix. In the movie, the main character Neo is offered the choice between a red pill and a blue pill. The blue pill would allow him to remain in the fabricated reality of the Matrix. The red pill would lead to his escape from the Matrix and into the “real world”.
In The Matrix Neo hears rumors of “The Matrix” and a mysterious man named Morpheus. Neo spends his nights at the computer trying to discover the secret of The Matrix. Eventually he is introduced to Morpheus by another hacker called Trinity.
After some explanation of the Matrix by Morpheus and the truth that he is just a small part of the Matrix and one of the Matrix’s “slaves”, Morpheus explains the choice to Neo:
“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill- the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. (ignorance of illusion) You take the red pill- you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. (acceptance of reality)”
Neo chooses the red pill and is shown the true nature of the Matrix; a detailed simulation of Earth circa 1999, which keeps the inhabitants, whose physical bodies are stored in massive power plants, complacent in a mental prison, in order to convert their heat and bioelectrical energy into power for machine consumption.
An essay written by Russell Blackford discusses the red and blue pills, questioning whether if a person were fully informed they would take the red pill, opting for the real world, believing that choosing physical reality over a digital simulation is not clear-cut. Both Neo and another character, Cypher (Joe Pantoliano), take the red pill over the blue pill, with the latter showing regret for having made such a choice, having stated that if Morpheus fully informed them of the situation, Cypher would have told Morpheus to “shove the red pill right up [his] ass.” Blackford argues that The Matrix trilogy sets things up so that even if Neo fails, the taking of the red pill is worthwhile because he lives and dies authentically. Blackford and science-fiction writer James Patrick Kelly feel that The Matrix stacks the deck against machines and their simulated world.
In the book “The Art of the Start”, author Guy Kawasaki uses the red pill as an analogue to leaders of new organizations, in that they face the same choice to either live in reality or fantasy. He adds that if they want to be successful, they have to take the red pill and see how deep the rabbit hole goes.
“Matrix Warrior: Being the One” author Jake Horsley compared the red pill to LSD, citing a scene where Neo forms his own world outside of the Matrix. When he asks Morpheus if he could return, Morpheus responds by asking him if he would want to. Horsley also describes the blue pill as addictive, calling The Matrix series a continuous series of choices between taking the blue pill and not taking it. He adds that the habits and routines of people inside the Matrix are merely the people dosing themselves with the blue pill. While he describes the blue pill as a common thing, he states that the red pill is one-of-a-kind, and something someone may not even find.
6.2.3 Other uses
– The reference to the pills is also implemented in a special type of malware that utilizes the virtualization techniques of modern CPUs to execute as a hypervisor; as a virtual platform on which the entire operating system runs, it is capable of examining the entire state of the machine and to cause any behavior with full privilege, while the operating system “believes” itself to be running directly on physical hardware, creating a parallel to the illusory Matrix. Blue Pill describes the concept of infecting a machine while red pill techniques help the operating system to detect the presence of such a hypervisor.
– Until they were removed from the Maemo operating system application installer in January 2010, certain advanced features were unlocked by a “Red Pill Mode” easter egg to prevent accidental use by novice users but make them readily available to experienced users. This was activated by starting to add a catalog whose URL was “matrix” and then choosing to cancel. A dialog box would appear asking “Which pill?” with the choices “Red” or “Blue”, allowing the user to enter red pill mode. In “Red Pill” mode the installer allows the user to view and reconfigure system packages whose existence it normally does not acknowledge. In Blue Pill mode the installer displays only software installed by a user, creating the illusion that system software does not exist on the system.
– The terms Red Pill and Blue Pill are colloquialisms for certain recreational drugs such as MDMA. This is an accepted popular culture reference in the rave scene, where it refers to the suggestion that taking a pill “releases” your mind from the “constraints of a fabricated reality”; a direct parallel with the subplot from the Matrix. (MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine) is an empathogenic drug of the phenethylamine and amphetamine classes of drugs. MDMA has become widely known as “ecstasy” (shortened to “E”, “X”, or “XTC”), usually referring to its street pill form, although this term may also include the presence of possible adulterants).
– The choice between taking a blue or red pill is a central metaphor in the 2011 Arte documentary film ‘Marx Reloaded’, in which philosophers including Slavoj Zizek and Nina Power explore solutions to the global economic and financial crisis of 2008–09. The film also contains an animated parody of the pill scene in The Matrix, with Leon Trotsky as Morpheus and Karl Marx as Neo.
– During the debate over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Obama made news by saying, in both a press conference and an interview “If there’s a blue pill and a red pill, and the blue pill is half the price of the red pill and works just as well, why not pay half price for the thing that’s going to make you well?” While the reference might not have been intentional, critics and supporters alike made frequent references to the Matrix in the subsequent debate.”ABC News Transcript”. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=8091227. Retrieved July 15, 2009.
– The red pill-blue pill metaphor is frequently used by the Pickup Artist community to symbolize acceptance of humans’ shallow, self-serving mate selection tendencies.
6.3 Mega City
Mega City is an enormous virtual megacity in which the inhabitants of the Matrix live their lives in the Matrix series. The City is a conglomeration of many cities, fused into one large city with a gigantic downtown and an impressive skyline.
6.3.1 Design and description
The city was designed to represent an amalgam of any number of major cities in the United States during the 1990s; e.g., gray and utilitarian with small pockets of color and entertainment.
According to the films’ graphic designer Suzanne Buljan, companies and utilities in the city were uniformly given generic “City” names which are seen on signage and vehicles throughout the films, such as City Metro, City Waste, City Rail, City Post and City Power:
“Everything is City—something; all the facilities are City related.”
6.3.2 Philosophy and hyperreality
The concept of the City in The Matrix and its sequels is an archetype of the hyperreality theory proposed by Jean Baudrillard and developed by Umberto Eco; that is that the virtual “city” constructed by the machines controlling the society is more convincing and realistic to its inhabitants than the “real world” – a dystopian futur noir portrayed in stark contrast to the virtual one.
The harsh, gray, uninteresting landscape was implemented to make sure the unknowing inhabitants of the Matrix did not question their living space, lacking an alternative. It is possible that the City is an inhabitant-unique environment, in which no one sees things the same way. The visualization of the City as gray and unnatural in The Matrix could possibly be a result of the redpills’ experience outside of the Matrix. Further, Agent Smith describes to a captured Morpheus that earlier instances of the Matrix which were cheerier did not meet the (subconscious) expectations of the humans hosted within.
6.3.3 Locations and references
Mega City as it appears in the Matrix films is an amalgam of various cities of the late 20th century, in particular:
– Sydney, Australia (where most of the movies were filmed)
– Oakland, California (where some of the car chase scenes in The Matrix Reloaded were filmed)
– Chicago, Illinois (where the Wachowski brothers were born and raised)
Excluding the car chase sequence in The Matrix Reloaded, the Matrix films were entirely filmed in the Australian city of Sydney.
Although such distinctive landmarks as the Sydney Harbour Bridge (which is still visible in the final scene of the earliest film) and the Sydney Opera House were digitally removed or shot around, there are several clearly Australian buildings, companies and signs visible throughout the trilogy, particularly the first movie.
– Buildings: Sydney Tower is visible on the construct TV screen. Martin Place, St James railway station, and various locations near Central station and Surry Hills are also recognisable. The UTS tower building is also seen in the rooftop ‘bullet’ scene.
– Companies: Aon Corporation (201 Kent St, Bullet-time fight scene was filmed on the roof of adjacent Symantec building), Australian Associated Press (aap) (259 George St, Signage changed to AAPT in Matrix Reloaded, currently Suncorp), AWA Limited (Television in Morpheus’ Room is an old AWA), AMP Limited (50 Bridge St), Citigroup (Old logo on Old Building seen in Matrix, new Building at 2 Park St seen in Martix Reloaded), Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Dymocks Booksellers, KPMG (45 Clarence St, now RBS), IBM Corporation (201 Sussex St, now Commonwealth Bank, Macquarie Bank (20 Bond St), MMI, Westpac (Several buildings, 60 Margaret St, where the Company Neo works for, is now known as ‘Metcentre’ has no signage), CityRail.
– Signage: Australian English spelling and terms, such as “Authorised personnel only” or “Do not use lift in case of a fire,” appear occasionally. This may be because production designer Owen Paterson is Australian, rather than because Australian locations were used.
22.214.171.124 Alameda, California
The highway scenes were shot on a specially-constructed set at the Naval Air Station Alameda, near Oakland, California. A two-mile purpose-built highway complete with overpasses, onramps and offramps, and highway signs was erected on portions of two unused aircraft runways on the former military base. After filming, the movie set was taken down and removed (although the darker pavement on top of the lighter concrete runway is still visible in satellite imaging programs). The preceding chase sequence from an underground car park was shot in various Oakland streets. The Webster Tube, which goes under the Oakland Inner Harbor between downtown and Alameda Island, was also used. A highway sign reading “Whipple Ave. ½, Woodside Rd. 1½, Marsh Road 3¾” is seen on an overpass during the motorcycle chase scene. These roads are connected to US Route 101 on the San Francisco Peninsula, and a street sign with those mileages would be seen on southbound 101 in the Redwood City area, although no scenes were photographed in that area.
Early drafts of the screenplay identified the city as Chicago, and most of the street and landmark names referenced in the films are from Chicago, such as Wabash and Lake, Franklin and Erie, State Street, Balbo Drive, Cumberland Ave, the Adams Street Bridge and the Loop Train.
Some street names, such as Paterson Pass and Wu Ping Ave., are derived from names of production staff.
In a brief screenshot of the first movie, wherein Tank zooms in a map on the screen to give Cypher directions to the telephone, the map of the city shows a coastline similar to that of Chicago’s Lake Michigan Coastline.
The city also has a Chinatown district, as seen in Enter the Matrix,The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, and The Matrix Revolutions.
126.96.36.199 Map for the Matrix Online
The Wachowskis provided a map of Mega City for the designers of the MMO game The Matrix Online, which splits the city into four main districts: Downtown, International, Richland (ironically called the “slums” by the redpills), and Westview.
The map shows that the actual shape of the city represents the Y-shaped symbol seen at the end of the code sequence in The Matrix Revolutions.
A series of “factoids” appearing on computer screens within The Matrix Online game imply that Metacortex, the company Thomas Anderson worked for in the first film, was responsible for obtaining the data required to create the city: “Metacortex is involved in several government programs to index and catalog the history of all citizens in order to provide greater security for you and your family.”
188.8.131.52 Club Hel
In the Matrix series, Club Hel is a nightclub run by the Merovingian, a ruthless, powerful elder program in the Matrix. The club appears in the film The Matrix Revolutions and the games The Matrix Online and The Matrix: Path of Neo.
The club is located in the basement level of a building in the Mega City. The entrance is guarded by armed supernatural programs having gravity-defying capabilities.
In The Matrix Revolutions, Morpheus, Trinity, and Seraph defeat these guards before proceeding to the inner chamber. Here they meet with the Merovingian to barter for Neo’s escape from the Mobil Avenue Station, a computer construct run by the Merovingian’s henchman, the Trainman. After Trinity starts a fight and creates a Mexican standoff with the Merovingian, Neo is freed.
The name is drawn from the realm of Hel in Norse Mythology, where a goddess of the same name ruled over the spirits of those who died ingloriously or who broke oaths. Similarly, the Merovingian does many dealings with the Exiles in the Matrix universe, the programs who have broken their oath to report for deletion.
The name of the Merovingian’s wife Persephone is a reference to Greek mythology, in which Hades, the god of the underworld, kidnapped and married a young maiden named Persephone, who always remained resentful of him and unhappy with her marriage. Similarly, The Matrix’s Persephone is constantly working against her husband and trying to undermine his endeavors, even though there is never a mention of the possibility of their separation.
There is also some allusion to hell. The décor of this club is theological and mythological in nature. Eve of biblical fame can be seen in the background holding the forbidden fruit of knowledge, which she had eaten and fed to Adam.
The club is a depiction of a gothic/fetish nightclub, filled with stereotypical members of goth, punk, and other modern subcultures. Some of the patrons even appear to be engaging in heterosexual and homosexual acts. It is similar to the club in the first Matrix film in which Neo first meets Trinity. The patrons are Exiles in fact, and their attire and mannerisms are tied into the supernatural beings they are thought to be emulating (two Exiles standing guard to the Merovingian’s balcony look like Satyrs, or possibly Minotaurs). A majority of the Exiles present are Vampires, Lupines, and other creatures from previous versions of the Matrix.
184.108.40.206 Locations outside of Mega City
The revelation that the Matrix films and games take place in a single megacity was surprising, as there were several references to other places and cultures throughout the series. This gave rise to the speculation that the Matrix contains only one city, wherein the names, media, and language differences exist to convince the inhabitants that an entire world exists outside it. References to other places are shown below.
– During Neo’s online search for Morpheus, the headline “Morpheus eludes police at Heathrow Airport” and an Arabic newspaper appears, suggesting that London and the Middle East are simulated to some degree in the Matrix world, unless the City’s airport is called “Heathrow”. Alternatively, London exists only in name and the news article was just propaganda to make inhabitants of the Matrix afraid of Morpheus and see him as a terrorist criminal instead of liberator.
– The presence of an airport and a post office in Enter the Matrix implies that City-dwellers can travel, or seem to travel, to other cities and countries.
– In The Matrix Reloaded, Neo is transported to a remote mountainous area resembling the Alps or the Himalayas (supposedly the location of the Merovingian’s mansion), from which he has to fly “500 miles due south” in order to return to the City.
– In The Matrix: Path of Neo, Neo, Morpheus, and the Keymaker enter the United States Congress, which is then overwritten by Smith. The presence of a national government suggests that there are other nations within the Matrix.
– In Beyond, one of the short films from The Animatrix, the setting appears to be that of Japan – East Asian lettering can be seen on signposts, and the main character Yoko owns a cat called Yuki, indicatively Japanese names. In addition, in World Record, another Animatrix short, the runner wears running gear emblazoned with ‘USA’, and a nurse mentions her aunt who lives in the south of France. This seems to suggest that not only are there regions outside the City, but other nations too, leading to the possibility of the Matrix being larger than previously thought.
– While interrogating Neo in the original film, the Agents view some of his biographical data. Neo’s birthplace is shown onscreen as “Lower Downtown, Capital City”. The idea of a ‘Capital’ city suggests that there are other cities, else the term ‘capital’ is meaningless. Another thought is that the name of Mega City in the Matrix universe is Capital City.
– During the same interrogation, a glimpse of Neo’s passport is visible, upside down. It clearly shows that it is a United States of America passport, issued in Capital City, USA.
– Neo’s passport briefly shown during interrogation in The Matrix 1999. It has never been stated that there is only one location in the Matrix, just that the entire frachise is set in the same unidentified megacity.
6.4 Matrix digital rain
Matrix digital rain, Matrix code or sometimes green rain, is the computer code featured in the Matrix series. The falling green code is a way of representing the activity of the virtual reality environment of the Matrix on screen. All three Matrix movies, as well as the spin-off The Animatrix episodes, open with the code. It is a characteristic mark of the franchise, as the opening crawl is for Star Wars.
In the film, the code that comprises the Matrix itself is frequently represented as downward-flowing green characters. This code includes mirror images of half-width kana characters and Latin letters and numerals. The effect resembles that of the older green screen displays, since the letters leave a fluorescent trace on the screen.
The 1995 cyberpunk film Ghost in the Shell, a strong influence on The Matrix, features opening credits similar to the digital rain.
No official version of the code’s typeface actually used in the Matrix trilogy and in the website for the game Path of Neo has been released. Several imitations have been made.
6.4.2 Fictional concept
In the films, a few people can understand what happens inside the Matrix by looking at the code on computer monitors. Operators from Zion, unable to enter into the Matrix, concentrate on ways to read the scrolling code, or “rain”, and infer data from it such as the location of a person in the City, possible exits, and so forth. As the character Cypher explains in the first film, the programming of the Matrix is so advanced that it is impractical to view an image translation, as “there’s way too much information to decode the Matrix.” The complex “Matrix code” of raining green characters and pictograms allows the Matrix program to be concisely represented and thus read more easily. The character Neo is the only human that can see the code of which avatars are composed while in the Matrix, and is therefore able to see their “true” digital form. By contrast, some programs are not seen as part of the green code, but as golden code (e.g., Seraph).
6.4.3 Cultural impact
Because of the popularity of the movies, the effect has become noted in itself and a part of pop culture. It has influenced other franchises and has been used in new-tech advertisements, TV spots, video-clips, posters and appeared in other high-tech topics, such as flash intros of cyberpunk related websites.
6.5 The Matrix phone
The Samsung SPH-N270 or Matrix phone is a bar style mobile phone released in 2003, made to resemble the phone used in The Matrix Reloaded. The design crew of the Matrix worked closely with Samsung to develop a phone whose features and release date would coincide with the movie. The SPH-N270 was not intended as a mainstream phone for everyday use. Instead it was marketed solely to fans of the series as a piece of rare, high quality merchandise.
Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the phone is its spring-loaded earpiece which snaps up to reveal the screen. A small amount of the screen is left visible when the earpiece is down to display important status information. The phone can be configured so that snapping up the earpiece answers an incoming call.
The 1000mAh lithium ion found in the N270 has a backplate matching the matrix phone, making it somewhat proprietary. Three connectors are present on the SPH-N270. The two ports on the bottom are used for a wall charger/car adapter and a variety of extensions including a USB cable. The port on the top is meant for a headset but most users of the phone do not employ a headset because the SPH-N270 is designed with aesthetics in mind.
Other than physical conveniences, the phone features an Assisted GPS receiver, English and Spanish languages, multiple alarms, a calendar, a to-do list and a simple calculator. A notable emphasis of the Samsung SPH-N270 is integration with voice. While 300 contacts stored in the phone can be dialed automatically from the menu, utterance of their names also triggers a phone call. In addition, phone digits can be spoken for contacts not present in the phone book. The phone has an option to match text to the user’s speech. Digits displayed on the screen would be read aloud by the user to improve voice recognition.
6.5.2 Relation to the Matrix
The green code on a black background, made famous by The Matrix (cf. Digital rain) is found in many menus of the phone by default. The phone is mostly made of black plastic and the buttons show stylized green digits. The manual, box and collector’s tin also feature the “Matrix code”. The charger is the only item in the package with no reference to the Matrix films. It is also the only item in the package compatible with multiple phones.
Samsung is only displayed on the phone’s casing and Sprint is only mentioned on-screen when the battery is improperly inserted. When it boots up “The Matrix” is displayed on the screen, and when the phone is turned off, the message “GOOD BYE” is shown, in a manner reminiscent of Neo’s first encounter with the Matrix. Three screensaver themes that come with the phone are Reloaded, The Animatrix and Camera, even though the SPH-N270 cannot be used as a camera. Several ringtones from the first two Matrix films can be selected along with a beep option and a vibrate option. These ringtones can be applied to contacts individually
220.127.116.11 The Matrix
Unlike the Nokia 8110 which appeared in The Matrix but existed already, the SPH-N270 was made specifically for the second Matrix film. Many fans initially pleased with the phone’s release expected the phone to be the exact prop used in The Matrix Reloaded. Unfortunately, the prop used in the film was slightly different and presumably not functional. The phone was used only twice in the movie, but accurate 3D models of it were portrayed in Final Flight of the Osiris and Enter the Matrix.
Even for 2003, the Matrix phone was by no means a high-end product. While USB transfer was available to some extent, the phone did not support Bluetooth or IrDA and had no video or MP3 capabilities. Many users chose not to buy the phone because it is not web-capable. No web browser or means of sending text messages was included in the firmware. The SPH-N270 is also not a camera phone even though Samsung is regarded highly for its camera-phones.
The Samsung N270 was only sold on a special section of the Samsung website running exclusively in Flash. The website has since been taken down as all of the phones have been sold. Only 10,000 Matrix phones were ever produced and each one was clearly numbered. However, the number of phones actually produced remains in question as serial/production numbers higher than 2500 have not been verified or seen for sale on eBay or through other sites. The phone cost $500 and was restricted for use with Sprint PCS. However, since the phone is considered a collector’s item, it can sometimes be found on eBay for sale at prices of up to $1,000 or more. It was also restricted for sale in the U.S., since Sprint PCS is an American network, although many fans have successfully used it in other countries with CDMA networks through analog and digital roaming.
6.6 Bullet time
Bullet time (also known as frozen time, the big freeze, dead time, flow motion, or time slice) is a special and visual effect that refers to a digitally enhanced simulation of variable-speed (i.e. slow motion, time-lapse, etc.) photography used in films, broadcast advertisements, and video games. It is characterized both by its extreme transformation of time (slow enough to show normally imperceptible and unfilmable events, such as flying bullets) and space (by way of the ability of the camera angle —the audience’s point-of-view—to move around the scene at a normal speed while events are slowed). This is almost impossible with conventional slow-motion, as the physical camera would have to move impossibly fast; the concept implies that only a “virtual camera”, often illustrated within the confines of a computer-generated environment such as a virtual world or virtual reality, would be capable of “filming” bullet-time types of moments. Technical and historical variations of this effect have been referred to as time slicing, view morphing, slow-mo, temps mort, and virtual cinematography.
The term “bullet time” is a registered trademark of Warner Bros., who first used it in March 2005, in connection with the video game The Matrix Online. The term had previously been used in the promotion of the 1999 film The Matrix, and in reference to the slow motion effects in the 2001 video game Max Payne.
The bullet time effect was originally achieved photographically by a set of still cameras surrounding the subject. The cameras are fired sequentially, or all at the same time, depending on the desired effect. Single frames from each camera are then arranged and displayed consecutively to produce an orbiting viewpoint of an action frozen in time or as hyper-slow-motion. This technique suggests the limitless perspectives and variable frame rates possible with a virtual camera. However, if the still array process is done with real cameras, it is often limited to assigned paths.
For many years, it has been possible to use computer vision techniques to capture scenes and render images of novel viewpoints sufficient for bullet time type effects. More recently, these have been formalized into what is becoming known as free viewpoint television (FTV). At the time of The Matrix, FTV was not a fully mature technology. FTV is effectively the live action version of bullet time, without the slow motion.
In The Matrix, the camera path was pre-designed using computer-generated visualizations as a guide. Cameras were arranged, behind a green or blue screen, on a track and aligned through a laser targeting system, forming a complex curve through space. The cameras were then triggered at extremely close intervals, so the action continued to unfold, in extreme slow-motion, while the viewpoint moved. Additionally, the individual frames were scanned for computer processing. Using sophisticated interpolation software, extra frames could be inserted to slow down the action further and improve the fluidity of the movement (especially the frame rate of the images); frames could also be dropped to speed up the action. This approach provides greater flexibility than a purely photographic one. The same effect can also be produced using pure CGI, motion capture and universal capture.
The technique of using a group of still cameras to freeze motion occurred before the invention of cinema itself. It dates back to the 19th-century experiments by Eadweard Muybridge, who analyzed the motion of a galloping horse by using a line of cameras to photograph the animal as it ran past. Eadweard Muybridge used still cameras placed along a racetrack, and each camera was actuated by a taut string stretched across the track; as the horse galloped past, the camera shutters snapped, taking one frame at a time. (The original intent was to settle a debate the governor of California had engaged in, as to whether all four of the animal’s legs would leave the ground when galloping.) Muybridge later assembled the pictures into a rudimentary animation, by placing them on a glass disk which he spun in front of a light source. His zoopraxiscope may have been an inspiration for Thomas Edison to explore the idea of motion pictures.
Muybridge also took photos of actions from many angles at the same instant in time, to study how the human body went up stairs, for example. In effect, however, Muybridge had achieved the aesthetic opposite to modern bullet-time sequences, since his studies lacked the dimensionality of the later developments. A debt may also be owed to MIT professor Doc Edgerton, who, in the 1940s, captured now-iconic photos of bullets using xenon strobe lights to “freeze” motion.
Long before the emergence of a technology permitting a live-action application, bullet-time as a concept was frequently developed in cel animation. One of the earliest examples is the shot at the end of the title sequence for the 1966 Japanese anime series Speed Racer: as Speed leaps from the Mach Five, he freezes in mid-jump, and then the camera does an arc shot from front to sideways.
In 1980, Tim Macmillan started producing pioneering video work in this field while studying for a BA at the (then named) Bath Academy of Art using 16mm film arranged in a progressing sequence of pinhole cameras.
The first music video to use bullet-time was “Midnight Mover”, a 1985 Accept video. In the 1990s, a morphing-based variation on time-slicing was employed by director Michel Gondry and the visual effects company BUF Compagnie in the music video for The Rolling Stones’ “Like A Rolling Stone”, and in a 1996 Smirnoff commercial the effect was used to depict slow-motion bullets being dodged. Similar time-slice effects were also featured in commercials for The Gap (which was directed by M.Rolston and again produced by BUF), and in The Matrix defense.
6.7 The Matrix defense
The Matrix defense is the term applied to several legal cases of a defense based on the movie The Matrix where reality is actually a computer generation —simulism— and that the real world is quite different from what reality is perceived to be.
In using this defense, the defendant claims that he or she committed a crime because they believed they were in the Matrix, and not in the real world. This is a version of the insanity defense and considered a descendant of the Taxi Driver defense of John Hinckley, one of the first defenses based on blurring reality with the movies.
Regardless of whether the defendant actually believes that he or she was actually living inside the Matrix, this defense has been used successfully to acquit. Tonda Lynn Ansley of Hamilton, Ohio, was found not guilty by reason of insanity using this defense after shooting her landlady in the head in July 2002. Vadim Mieseges of San Francisco offered a “Matrix” explanation to police after chopping up his landlady, and was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial. Joshua Cooke’s lawyers were going to attempt this defense in 2003 in his trial for the murder of his adopted parents, before he pleaded guilty. The case of Lee Malvo also included references to The Matrix, who mentioned it in the writings taken from his jail cell; he reportedly shouted “Free yourself from the Matrix” from his cell after his arrest, and told FBI agents to watch the film if they wanted to understand him.
shot either simultaneously (producing an effect similar to previous time-slice scenes) or sequentially (which added a temporal element to the effect). Interpolation effects, digital compositing, and computer generated “virtual” scenery were used to improve the fluidity of the apparent camera motion. Gaeta said of The Matrix’s use of the effect:
“For artistic inspiration for bullet time, I would credit Otomo Katsuhiro, who co-wrote and directed Akira, which definitely blew me away, along with director Michel Gondry. His music videos experimented with a different type of technique called view-morphing and it was just part of the beginning of uncovering the creative approaches toward using still cameras for special effects. Our technique was significantly different because we built it to move around objects that were themselves in motion, and we were also able to create slow-motion events that ‘virtual cameras’ could move around – rather than the static action in Gondry’s music videos with limited camera moves.”
In 2003, bullet time evolved further through The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions with the introduction of high-definition computer-generated approaches like virtual cinematography and universal capture. Virtual elements within the Matrix Trilogy utilized state-of-the-art image-based computer rendering techniques pioneered in Paul Debevec’s 1997 film  and custom evolved for the Matrix by George Borshukov, an early collaborator of Debevec.
Following The Matrix, bullet time and other slow-motion effects were featured as key gameplay mechanics in various video games. Cyclone Studios’ Requiem: Avenging Angel, released in March 1999, features slow-motion effects. Remedy Entertainment’s 2001 video game Max Payne contains a slow-motion mechanic that allows players to view the paths of bullets, an effect explicitly referred to as “Bullet Time”.
Bullet time was used for the first time in a live music environment in October 2009 for Creed’s live DVD Creed Live.
6.8 Sentient programs and Exiles
The Machine World is sustained by computer programs based on Advanced Artificial Intelligence. These programmes are so powerful that they have acquired a life of their own and, in some ways, behave like if they were people. However these programs are not humans, or machines, and as such have no physical body. They are only computer instructions, or codes, but they are based on so advanced and powerful Artificial Intelligence that they behave like people. They see/notice each other and communicate between themselves.
These programs have reached such a stage that they have a life of their own; they live in the Machine World in what looks like their own community; they have their own opinion on most subjects and they reproduce themselves. In the Machine City these programs, although invisible, are in fact the thinking brain of the Machines that, without them, would be useless metal assemblies.
However to exist in the Machine World they must have an accepted ‘Purpose’ and, if they do not have one, or if their purpose has become useless or obsolete, they are normally deleted or destroyed by the machines themselves. In order to avoid destruction the purposeless programs try to go and hide into The Matrix where they are known as Exiles.
Escaping from the Machine World to The Matrix is not easy. Some people, among them the Merovingian, provide this service, at a price. The Merovingian is a powerful Mafia-type person living in the Matrix who built a train operated by The Trainman to do this unlawful journey.
Sati is the daughter of two Sentient Programmes which both have their purpose. They made Sati by choice and out of love. However Sati has no purpose, no stated function, and could be eliminated anytime. To save her, as any parents would do, they pay the Merovingian to smuggle her into the Matrix. There are already so many Exiles there; she should be safe and hardly noticed among the crowd of virtual human slaves that populate the Matrix. As she has no body she could not be taken to the real world unless she was inserted as a program into a robot-doll.
Satient programs’ purpose is chosen/imposed on them by the Head Power of Machine City. Since the abundant sun energy is not available anymore, its replacement, the energy collected from the human prisoners, is scare and very precious in Machine city and its efficient use is necessary for the survival of the Machine World. As all programs consume some energy, the Head Power of Machine City is bound to make sure that none is wasted; as a result those without purpose or outdated are systematically deleted.
Even in The Matrix, as the Oracle said, everyone must work and do their daily duties, even the Sentient Programs hiding there. Only the virtual human prisoners are free from work as long as the machines can suck-up the energy of their real bodies kept in vats.
In the movies there are many sentient programs among them:
– Agent Smith and the other agents
– The Oracle
– Seraph (also known as ‘Wingless’, the ‘Prodigal Son’ and ‘Resurrected’)
– The Archirect
– The Merovingian
– His wife, Persephone
– His bodyguards
– The Traiman
– The Keymaker
– The Indian couple at the train station and their daughter, Sati
These sentient programs remain in the Machine World as long as they have a Purpose. When their purpose disappears, or if new more efficient programs replace the old ones, these purposeless programs are deleted or destroyed. Generally these programs refuse to disappear and some of them escape inside The Matrix where they are known as Exiles. Sati is a good example of such an Exile.
Agent Smith was a special Sentient Program whose purpose was to find and destroy any free human coming from Zion (that is all those people not plugged in the Matrix as slave) as they were of no benefit to the Matrix, in fact quite the contrary. He was needed for the war. He was there to uphold the status quo. He was also in charge to disrupt or better impede person to person communication from Zion to the Matrix. The Machines did not want Zion people to come into the Matrix to snatch any slaves. So Smith had to stop the slaves to have any contact with Morpheus, Trinity and any other free humans slave snatchers.
Agent Smith had a clear purpose but he lost it when Neo defeated him at the end of the first movie. So the Machines decided to replace him by a new and improved version of an agent. But Smith, as a person and not just a virtual machine, he started to feel human emotions normal for somebody being fired from his job. And the more so as he was faced with possible deletion; he found himself vulnerable in addition to purposeless.
Agent Smith did not have any interest besides doing his job: killing free humans. He did not love, have any other activities such as golf or dancing or even try a new wardrobe. He was the personification of death. However he wanted to be free but he was confused about what freedom meant.
6.9 The construct
The Construct as a virtual room in each hovercraft. It is already outside the real world and is, in fact, under rules very similar to those in The Matrix. The physical rules are different from what they are in the real world and, for instance, once inside the people can fly as the gravity parameters are different. It has two related uses:
– It is the parting point for the crew members who are preparing to go to the Matrix. The bodies of the humans sent to the Matrix remain in the hovercraft and only their brains, inserted into a virtual perfect copy of their body, is going there. Here the people are supplied with all they need for their stay in the Matrix such as arms and ammunitions, clothes, vehicles, virtual tools, …
– The crew members use it as a play/training ground taking advantages of its special Matrix-like physical rules. It is especially used for combat training practices.
When Neo is waiting to see the Oracle for the first time, some children are present in the waiting room. They are presented to him as “Potentials”. This means that these children who are all bluepills will someday have the possibility to take a red pill and live in the free world. Spoon Boy was eventually freed as he requests the Kid to give a battered spoon to Neo in Zion in The Matrix Reloaded.
However at that time Neo does not possess any special power, he is a “late bloomer” among the gifted and exceptional people who have discovered that The Matrix is a program that can be manipulated. In fact it is possible that among the “Potential” children mentioned above there could be The One who fulfil the prophecy and end the war instead of Neo.
When he meet the Oracle Neo wants her to tell him that he is not “The One”. The Oracle tells him what he wants to hear, that he has the potential but it is like he is waiting for something to happen. Neo is relieved and he is skeptic to the idea of somebody being born with such a purpose. For him the story is too flat, too bland, and lacking a lot of undertone and interior dialogue for him. In other words he does not take things at face value, he does not believe in that ‘fate crap’.
The Oracle tells Neo that Morpheus believes in him and that nobody, not even her, the Oracle, can change Morpheus’ mind. He is ready to scarify his own life to sane Neo’s life if necessary. The Oracle tells Neo that he will have to make a choice: save Morpheus’ life or his own. One of the two must die and the choice will be up to Neo. She is sorry for Neo and tells him that as soon as he leave her he will not believe anymore in this ‘fate crap’, that he is in control of his own life.
So at that point he was a ‘potential’ but not the One. However he became The One later on because he needed to save Morpheus, not because it was imposed on him from the outside. It had to feel right to him. After his rescue Morpheus explained that there is a difference between ‘knowing the road and walking on it’. Morpheus knew that he too was a potential among others and he knew that the Matrix could be interacted with to create a new relationship with its code: some laws could be bent and some could be broken completely.
6.11 The Matrix versus Alice in Wonderland
The Matrix movie and the novel Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll, have much in common. The main characters of each are abruptly thrown out of normalcy, a world which they thought to be true, and into a confusing new “dream world.” In their new surroundings, they must both decipher between what is the truth and what is purely their minds playing tricks on them.
To launch Neo on his journey to find “the matrix,” a reference to Alice in Wonderland is made as his computer types out “Follow the white rabbit”. Just as Alice follows the rabbit to begin her adventure into the unknown, so does Neo. Both do not know what they will find once they follow the white rabbit, but curiosity has got the best of both of them. In The Matrix, Neo’s white rabbit comes in the form of a tattoo on a woman’s shoulder. The directors decided to adapt Alice references to fit a more modern world in which the movie takes place, also making it easier for the audience to understand even if they had no knowledge of the book Alice in Wonderland.
Much like Alice, Neo is discovering more and more about the new world he is chasing as he goes along. Morpheus says to him, “I imagine that right now you’re feeling a bit like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit hole”. What Morpheus is referring to is Neo’s uncertainty as he is about to find out what this “matrix” finally is for which he has been searching all his life. Alice is also uncertain at first while tumbling down the rabbit hole, but she is not yet unwilling to find out what lies ahead. Neo relates to this “scared but willing” mentality as he readily chooses the red pill from Morpheus’ hand which will show him “the truth”. Morpheus again references to Alice in Wonderland when he explains, “You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes”.
In the Lafayette Hotel, it is not just a coincidence that the floors are all black and white checkers. Chessboards play a big role in Alice in Wonderland, and this is why the floors of the hotel in The Matrix are a more subtle, but definite, reference to the children’s novel. The flooring also reminds the audience that Neo is now in “the matrix” and not the real world because the chessboards in Alice in Wonderland are seen in Wonderland and when Alice passes through the looking glass, and not in her real world life. Neo notices a cat walking over the checkered floors. Neo says, “A black cat went past us, and then another that looked just like it”. In the novel Alice in Wonderland, Alice is very fond of her cat Dinah, whom we see while Alice is still in her real world, and Alice makes constant references to her while in Wonderland .
Neo, Trinity, and the others are in the hotel and being chased by the agents and the police. They decide to hide inside of the walls, crawling down a long, narrow shaft in single file, each person climbing their way down to safety. Here is a more subtle reference to the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland. Neo is falling down the shaft in similar way to Alice falling in the rabbit hole.
In The Matrix, the character named Switch wears an all-white costume, has bleached hair, and unlike the rest of the team, wears sunglasses with a pinkish tint to the lenses. Keeping with the Alice in Wonderland theme, this character is an obvious reference to the white rabbit. In the novel, the white rabbit is described as “a white rabbit with pink eyes”.
In The Matrix, reality and non-reality are the basis for the plot. The viewers are constantly trying to find out which is which. The question is constantly being asked, “What is real?”. Anything can be doubted, and it is strong belief in something that causes you to swear it is real. When dreaming we are unable to distinguish waking experiences from experiences of the sort we appear to have in dreams, until after we awake. In The Matrix, Morpheus is saying, to Neo: “Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?”.
Morpheus tells Neo, “I can see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, this is not far from the truth”. This statement confirms that Neo does not feel like he is in the real world while he is in “the matrix.” His world feels more like a dream that he has yet to wake up from, but he has spent his whole life living in this world, so he has been brainwashed to believe that it is the truth. The writers are playing with reality and non-reality here by confusing the viewer, making him or her wonder what is real and what is not. Suddenly, what Neo thought was real is not, and “the truth” has been hidden from him all his life. The thought of living as puppets to an unknown puppeteer is a scary thought to a normal human being. The Matrix does just this to get the viewer to imagine the possibilities of his or her life in someone else’s hands. Just as Neo says, “I don’t like the idea that I’m not in control of my life,” the audience is also going to have the same fears. By playing on every human being’s fears, the directors of the movie can reach their audience better by getting them to think outside of the box.
The Matrix is a complex movie relying on the audience’s so-called knowledge of what is the truth to create a fear in the viewer that makes them afraid of the question “What if?” Throughout the movie, Alice in Wonderland is referenced to in subtle and not so subtle ways, with the purpose of helping the viewer better understand what is happening by showing the similarities between the movie and the children’s novel. Playing on the audiences’ fears, the directors make sure they keep the viewer guessing what is and is not real. For believers in the movie, all that must be kept in mind now is that “There is no spoon”.
(Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. New York: Appleton, 1865)
6.12 We are all holograms ruled by reptiles (David Icke)
David Vaughan Icke (born 29 April 1952) is an English writer and public speaker, best known for his views on what he calls “who and what is really controlling the world.” Icke was a BBC television sports presenter and spokesman for the Green Party, when in 1990 a psychic told him he was a healer who had been placed on Earth for a purpose, and that the spirit world was going to pass messages to him so he could educate others. In March 1991 he held a press conference to announce that he was a “Son of the Godhead” and the following month told the BBC’s Terry Wogan show that the world would soon be devastated by tidal waves and earthquakes.
He continued nevertheless to develop his ideas, and in four books published over seven years- The Robots’ Rebellion (1994), And the Truth Shall Set You Free (1995), The Biggest Secret (1999), and Children of the Matrix (2001)- set out a moral and political worldview that combined New-Age spiritualism with a passionate denunciation of totalitarian trends in the modern world. At the heart of his theories lies the idea that a secret group of reptilian humanoids called the Babylonian Brotherhood controls humanity, and that many prominent figures are reptilian, including George W. Bush, Queen Elizabeth II, Kris Kristofferson, and Boxcar Willie.
Icke combines metaphysical discussion about the nature of the universe and consciousness with conspiracy theories about public figures being satanic paedophiles, and how apparently unconnected events are in fact attempts to control humanity. He argued in “The Biggest Secret” that human beings originated in a breeding program run by a race of reptilians called Anunnaki from the Draco constellation, and that what we call reality is just a holographic experience; the only reality is the realm of the Absolute. He believes in a collective consciousness that has intentionality; in reincarnation; in other possible worlds that exist alongside ours on other frequencies; and in acquired characteristics, arguing that our experiences change our DNA by downloading new information and overwriting the software. We are also able to attract experiences to ourselves by means of good and bad thoughts.
Icke argues that humanity was created by a network of secret societies run by an ancient race of interbreeding bloodlines from the Middle and Near East, originally extraterrestrial. Icke calls them the “Babylonian Brotherhood.” The Brotherhood is mostly male. Their children are raised from an early age to understand the mission; those who fail to understand it are pushed aside. The spread of the reptilian bloodline encompasses what Norman Simms calls the odd and ill-matched, extending to 43 American presidents, three British and two Canadian prime ministers, various Sumerian kings and Egyptian pharaohs, and a smattering of celebrities such as Bob Hope. Key Brotherhood bloodlines are the Rockefellers, the Rothschilds, various European royal and aristocratic families, the establishment families of the Eastern United States, and the British House of Windsor -Icke identified the Queen Mother in 2001 as “seriously reptilian.”
The Illuminati, Round Table, Council on Foreign Relations, Chatham House, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group, the International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations, are all Brotherhood created and controlled, as are the media, military, CIA, Mossad, science, religion, and the Internet, with witting or unwitting support from the London School of Economics. At the apex of the Brotherhood stands the “Global Elite,” identified throughout history as the Illuminati, and at the top of the Global Elite stand the “Prison Wardens.” The goal of the Brotherhood—their “Great Work of Ages”—is world domination and a micro-chipped population.
Icke introduced the reptoid hypothesis in “The Biggest Secret” (1999), which identified the Brotherhood as descendants of reptilians from the constellation Draco, who walk on two legs and appear human, and who live in tunnels and caverns inside the earth. He argues that the reptilians are the race of gods known as the Anunnaki in the Babylonian creation myth, Enûma Eliš. According to Barkun, Icke’s idea of “inner-earth reptilians” is not new, though he has done more than most to expand it.
Lewis and Kahn write that Icke has taken his “ancient astronaut” narrative from the Israeli-American writer, Zecharia Sitchin, who argued –for example in “Divine Encounters”(1995)- that the Anunnaki had come to Earth for its precious metals. Icke argues that they came specifically for “monoatomic gold,” a mineral he says can increase the carrying capacity of the nervous system ten thousandfold. After ingesting it, the reptilians can process vast amounts of information, speed up trans-dimensional travel, and shapeshift from reptilian to human form. They use human fear, guilt, and aggression as energy. “Thus we have the encouragement of wars,” he wrote in 1999, “human genocide, the mass slaughter of animals, sexual perversions which create highly charged negative energy, and black magic ritual and sacrifice which takes place on a scale that will stagger those who have not studied the subject.” Lewis and Kahn argue that Icke is using allegory to depict the alien, and alienating, nature of global capitalism.
Icke writes that the Anunnaki have crossbred with human beings, the breeding lines chosen for political reasons, arguing that they are the Watchers, the fallen angels, or “Grigori,” who mated with human women in the Biblical apocrypha. Their first reptilian-human hybrid, possibly Adam, was created 200,000–300,000 years ago. There was a second breeding program 30,000 years ago, and a third 7,000 years ago. It is the half-bloods of the third breeding program who today control the world, more Anunnaki than human, he writes. They have a powerful, hypnotic stare, the origin of the phrase to “give someone the evil eye,” and their hybrid DNA allows them to shapeshift when they consume human blood.
In “Children of the Matrix” (2001), he added that the Anunnaki bred with another extraterrestrial race called the “Nordics,” who had blond hair and blue eyes, to produce a race of human slave masters, the Aryans. The Aryans retain many reptilian traits, including cold-blooded attitudes, a desire for top-down control, and an obsession with ritual, lending them a tendency toward fascism, rationalism, and racism. Lewis and Kahn write that, with the Nordic hypothesis, Icke is mirroring standard claims by the far right that the Aryan bloodline has ruled the Earth throughout history.
The reptilians not only come from another planet, but are also from another dimension, the lower level of the fourth dimension, the one nearest the physical world. Icke writes that the universe consists of an infinite number of frequencies or dimensions that share the same space, just like television and radio frequencies. Some people can tune their consciousness to other wavelengths, which is what psychic power consists of, and it is from one of these other dimensions that the Anunnaki are controlling this world—though just as fourth-dimensional reptilians control us, they are controlled, in turn, by a fifth dimension. The lower level of the fourth dimension is what others call the “lower astral dimension.” Icke argued that it is where demons live, the entities Satanists summon during their rituals. They are, in fact, summoning the reptilians. Barkun argues that the introduction of different dimensions allows Icke to skip awkward questions about which part of the universe the reptilians come from, and how they got here.
In “Tales From The Time Loop” (2003), Icke argues that most organized religions, especially Judaism, Christianity and Islam, are Illuminati creations designed to divide and conquer the human race through endless conflicts, as are racial, ethnic, and sexual divisions. He cites the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11 as examples of events organized by the Global Elite. The incidents allow the Elite to respond in whatever way they intended to act in the first place, a concept Icke calls “order out of chaos,” or “problem-reaction-solution”. He writes that there are few, if any, public events that are not engineered, or at least used, by the Brotherhood:
You want to introduce something you know the people won’t like. … So you first create a PROBLEM, a rising crime rate, more violence, a terrorist bomb … You make sure someone else is blamed for this problem … So you create a “patsy,” as they call them in America, a Timothy McVeigh or a Lee Harvey Oswald. … This brings us to stage two, the REACTION from the people—”This can’t go on; what are THEY going to do about it?” … This allows THEM to then openly offer the SOLUTION to the problems they have created …”
In “Infinite Love is the Only Truth” (2005), Icke introduces the idea of “reptilian software.” He says that there are three kinds of people. The highest level of the Brotherhood are the “Red Dresses.” These are “software people,” elsewhere called “reptilian software,” or “constructs of mind.” They lack consciousness and free will, and their human bodies are holographic veils.
A second group, the so-called “sheeple”—the vast majority of humanity—have what Icke calls “back seat consciousness.” They are conscious, but they do whatever they are told and are the main source of energy for the Brotherhood. They include the “repeaters,” the people in positions of influence who simply repeat what other people have told them. Doctors repeat what they are told in medical school and by drug companies, teachers repeat what they learned at teacher training college, and journalists are the greatest repeaters of all. The third group, by far the smallest, are those who see through the illusion; they are usually dubbed dangerous or mad. The “Red Dress” genetic lines keep obsessively interbreeding to make sure their bloodlines are not weakened by the second or third levels of consciousness, because consciousness can rewrite the software.
The Moon Matrix is introduced in “Human Race Get Off Your Knees: The Lion Sleeps No More” (2010), in which he writes that the Earth and the collective human mind are manipulated from the Moon, a spacecraft and inter-dimensional, inter-density portal controlled by the reptilians. The Moon Matrix is a broadcast from that spacecraft to the “human body-computer,” specifically to the left hemisphere of the brain, which gives us our sense of reality. He writes: “We are living in a dreamworld within a dreamworld—a Matrix within the virtual-reality universe—and it is being broadcast from the Moon.” Unless people force themselves to become fully conscious, their minds are the Moon’s mind, an idea further explored in his “Remember Who You Are: Remember ‘Where’ You Are and Where You ‘Come’” From (2012).