Re: Matrix Shmatrix

Paul Hughes (
Sun, 11 Apr 1999 01:26:38 -0700

"Michael S. Lorrey" wrote:

> I just saw the movie tonite, just got back in fact. This movie is
> powerful stuff, memetically. I left the movie with the most intense
> sense about the unreality of reality that I've ever had. I've always had
> this sense in the back of my mind that reality was thus, which would
> come to the fore after an intense meditation session, or after being on
> nitrous oxide for a long while at the dentist.

You too? Yes, I also experienced the most prolonged sense of irreality (reality?) that I have ever felt after leaving a film. It was very intense for at least an hour afterward. I even had an occasion 'flashback' when though about over the proceeding week.

> Driving home, I was on a country road that is normally difficult to
> drive any faster than 35 or 40, yet when I looked at the speedometer, I
> was doing 65 and it only seemed like I was doing 30.

I have always been an adrenaline junkie - fast cars, skydiving, etc. Now that I'm entering my thirties I am starting to mellow. This film made me feel like a kid again with the same intensity to break loose.

> This movie is also very dangerous in that it plants in people minds the
> idea that the Singularity that many of us predict for around 2025 is
> going to be an evil thing (Morpheus says that's when the AI enslaved
> humanity).

Yes, it could set a negative precedent for the ideas of radical technological change. When I first learned of nanotechnology back in 1986 while attending the University of Arizona, I was simultaneously astounded and disturbed by its implications. For the first year, my mind was reeling from the possibilities and especially the pitfalls of advanced molecular nanotechnology. The essential essence behind 'The Matrix' was one of a myriad number of hell's that I pictured. Several times during my first year of trying to grasp the fuller potential of nanotechnology, I asked myself many times, is my entire life a simulation in a nanotech matrix? Maybe nanotechnology was invented in the 1960's and we are already being enslaved. Maybe reality is a simulation being run by aliens who created us out of their own imagination. By the second year, such metaphysical and sometimes dark speculation bordered on the absurd. I decided it was healthier to adopt an more optimistic and pro-active attitude, while remaining skeptically open minded about the nature of reality.

Paul Hughes