Plato, Descartes and The Matrix
Plato, Descartes and The Matrix; what a trio of reading that if not for my ability to read without believing everything that was before my eyes, I would not know what to believe. After reading the three synopses I had to regroup and think, did I read this or was this a dream? I will now try and compare and contrast the three and show if there were any similarities and differences. I will start with comparing Plato and the Matrix in that there are similarities between the two.
The similarities are that in both synopses the players (Neo of the Matrix and the people in the cave) are being deceived by what is before them.
The people in the cave are fooled by items carried on the head of people walking on a raised walkway behind them. These items cast a shadow on the wall in front of them; not knowing they are shadows the prisoners believe they are real. The noise that came off the wall made by sound from the walkway was thought to be real sounds made by the shadows on the wall. In reality they were chained feet and neck and could not see the fire behind them that caused the shadows on the wall as people would walk by.
In the Matrix we have Neo who believed he was a computer programmer for a software corporation, at night he would work on his computer hacking into other computers. He was told that in reality his world was an illusion, which was designed to keep people under control. In the allegory of the cave Socrates stated that when one was freed and had to stand up and turn his head and look around seeing light for the first time he would be unable to discern the items whose shadows he once saw on the wall.
When told that the items was made of stone and wood and other materials and not real, it would be hard for him to believe. In the Matrix; Morpheus tells Neo that the entire human race is unconscious with a giant machine keeping them alive. He then offer him a way out by taking the red pill, which he does and find out what is really going on. When we look at Descartes meditation compared to the other two synopses, there are some differences. First the Matrix and Plato are both fooled by perceptions of what is real and what is not.
In the Meditation Descartes is not really fooled, he want to reject all beliefs in things that are not completely certain, and create what can be known for sure. To do this he must first weaken his beliefs by bearing in mind the fact his senses had fooled him previously. He then proposes other reasons to doubt that his beliefs are true. Next he bring up his evil demon theory which could deceive him, he then consider if he is mad or dreaming. He want to suspend judgment on his beliefs even if there is any doubt what so ever.
In conclusion we have two synopses that have some similarities and differences and one that is completely difference. The Matrix and the people in the cave have allusions that are not real. Where as in the Meditation we have one that want to forget everything that he ever believed to be true, and start over to form a new way of believing what is true and what is not true. All three synopses did however make you think what if? But believing in a God that created all things and everyone, I do not believe that I am dreaming.