Another Apocalypse to Enjoy:The Matrix through Plato’s and Descartes’ Looking Glass

Claudia HULPOI


This comparative approach is inspired by the collective volume The Matrix and Philosophy. Welcome to the Desert of the Real (2002), where elements of Buddhism, Platonism and traditional Christianism are generally identifed as the most recurrent themes of the “jazz mythology” on which the narrative structure of the Wachowskis’ movie is based. Our aim is to examine two specifc philosophical views in their relationship to the apocalyptic theme developed in The Matrix: these are Plato’s simile of the cave (The Republic) and René Descartes’ First Meditation (Metaphysical Meditations, 1694). Jean Baudrillard’s theory of Simulacra and Simulation (1981) will also inform our considerations, given that Andy and Larry Wachowski make a clear reference to it in the frst part of the movie as to a possible “mise en abyme” of its philosophical grounds. Topics as reality vs. illusion, freedom vs. manipulation, past vs. present will be identifed along the above mentioned texts as they are mirrored by The Matrix, in the attempt to shape a possible meaning of the apocalypse in our present civilization.

Keywords: Matrix, Plato, Descartes, Baudrillard, simulacrum, alienation, Apocalypse