Re: The Matrix

From: Dan Fabulich (
Date: Wed May 31 2000 - 07:59:28 MDT

The Matrix has deeper problems than human-Duracell and "why is he
using Kung fu in the first place?" if you make any attempt to assume
that the Matrix is virtual reality, but it resolves its own problems
if you grant it its ontological presuppositions.

The Matrix is NOT virtual reality. You DON'T die when your VR Avatar
dies, unless the system is specifically designed to kill you when that
happens. What's Morpheus's explanation for this? "The body cannot
live without the Mind." Oh, yeah. THAT explains it.

Here's the can-stand-on-two-feet-barely explanation:

The Matrix is not a set of funny sensations sent to your nervous
system. It's an array of Consciousnesses, of the spooky variety.
Think "souls" here. These AIs are not Turing machines. They're
Artificial Consciousnesses. (How they got to be that way is up to

So, for the confused:

In this movie, Consciousness has a linguistic component, represented
by the "code" of the Matrix. The rules of the Matrix are the rules
generated by the Consciousnesses in the Matrix via belief; strong
enough beliefs can and do change the rules. ["You can't be dead,
because I love you."]

The Matrix is not a computer, though it has some robots. The AIs can
change the rules both via beliefs as well as by Fully Understanding
(tm) the code. Neo can too, only, for some reason (some SPOOKY
reason), he's better at it than they are. This IS spooky, and has
nothing to do with bandwidth. This is metaphysical humanism, NOT hard
science. (Look at their message! Why would they care about hard
science? Look at how awful their science is!) One of the niftiest
and most useful tricks you can perform via Complete Understanding (tm)
is tabernacling into the object of your choice: if you have that kind
of transcendental knowledge of a person in the Matrix, you control
them completely, even to the point of acting through / replacing them.
The AIs can do this to most of the unawakened people in the Matrix.
Neo's good enough that he can do it to the AIs. (ACs? ASouls?)

The Matrix has no hard science explanation. Do not seek one out; do
not try to rewrite it so it acquires one. Not even an explanation
like: "The movie claims that all our physics is wrong, so everything
that happens in it could happen in whatever physical universe they
inhabit." That's fine if you're willing to call metaphysical humanism
a physical theory, but the movie just doesn't bow to realism, and to
fully enjoy it, you have to come to terms with that. :)

Under the right interpretation, you can rescue the Oracle, as well as
The One, and even the Duracell batteries as elements in the Matrix
ruleset believed in by its participants.

Now make an RPG out of THAT.

Oh, right, that would be Mage or Changeling, depending on your mood. ;)


      -unless you love someone-
    -nothing else makes any sense-
           e.e. cummings

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