Last Updated 28 Mar 2017

Unearthing the meaning behind “the matrix”

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What will you do if one day you wake up plugged into a computer, and that computer gives you a reality that is far from what you know? Will it change anything? Will it give less sense of the things that you thought are real?

The Matrix is a dazzling depiction of the adventure of a computer programmer as he seeks to find answers to his mind’s multitude of questions.

The Matrix was first shown on March 1999. It is a futuristic film which predicted that in the near future, humans’ lives will revolve around Matrix, a simulated reality. It tells the story of a computer programmer who lives under the pseudonym “Neo”. At the same time, he’s also a hacker who’s been dying to know the real enigma that lies behind the Matrix. In his desperation to find answers, he came across Morpheus, a man who promised him that he’d know the answer if he’d swallow a red pill.

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Neo doubtfully obeyed Morpheus and after he took the pill, he is unconsciously taken to a strange place wherein his body is connected to a wide array of wires. He woke up to an artificial program that nurses human beings by sustaining them with manufactured and trashed realities. He is rescued by a group of escapees by removing him from the pod that he’s attached with. The group saved Neo, for they believe that he is the one destined who will save the humankind from their doom.

In the latter part, Neo found out that he’s in the year 2199 wherein a current rage between humans and intelligent machines is happening. Neo came to a realization that the world that he has inhabited in 1999 is just an illusion. It was made and developed by certain intelligent machines to keep the human population peaceful. Thus, it gave birth to the name Matrix. Morpheus and his team are lucky enough for they are free. Their duty is to remove other humans from their attachment to the Matrix and in return give them inhumane abilities. They believe that Neo is “the One” who will end the war because of his infinite control over the Matrix.

To completely become a member of the group, Neo is trained to possess several self-defense disciplines which primarily include martial arts. Alongside with this, he’s also informed of the dangers that entail the Matrix life.  All the injuries that he will acquire in the Matrix will manifest in his physical body in the real world.

As the time progressed, Neo gradually tagged along with the team’s operations. The group entered Matrix wherein Neo met the Oracle. She told Neo that he possessed a gift for being “the One” but that he is waiting for something. After this, the group was ambushed by Agents, the fast programs whose aim is to eradicate any threats to the simulation. Unfortunately, Morpheus is the only one who was captured by the Agents. All the members of Neo’s group died except him, Tank, Trinity and Morpheus. It turned out that they were betrayed by their own member, Cypher.

A lot of things still happened but one of the most gripping scenes is when Neo

is captured by the Agents and he was shot dead by one of them. Neo should’ve been dead if not for Trinity who kissed him. Long before that occurrence, Trinity was already warned that she would fall in love with “the One”. It’s hard for her to accept Neo’s sudden death so she kissed Neo. To her surprise, Neo’s heart starts beating again. The Agents tried to shoot him but Neo just raised his pal and stopped their bullets in the mid-air.  And finally, Neo saw the Matrix- an infinite number of streaming green lines. Hence, he became “The One”.

The Matrix is indeed one of the most compelling examples that can illustrate some of the facets of the cultural anthropology. Anthropology, as defined “is the study of humankind, both ancient and contemporary.” ( Anthropology also examines the various facets of the society without any biases. Thus, it envisages society without putting any kind of stereotypes.

The Matrix contains a lot of implications that which in return are just manifestations of humankind. The film somehow portrayed that humankind is currently driven by a lot of implicit yet unnoticeable things. Some might think that The Matrix is just a great and dazzling action movie but if you’ll really scratch beneath the surface, you’ll discover that a lot of realities about humankind are hidden in the film.  Innumerable people have watched this movie, but only few really understood the superb analogy that covers the film.

Cultural anthropology is indeed vast as it curtains a lot of cultures from different sides of the world. However, The Matrix was able to come up with a coherent comprehension of what is happening in the cultures right now. Cultures now including its people are living in an illusory world that’s full of deceits, slavedom, economic turmoil, fear, media stereotypes and material indulgence. What humankinds fail to realize is that a real Matrix also exists within their cultures.

They are driven by the wrong things that they gradually forget to value the things that really matter. Because of their struggle to be wealthy and powerful, their task to nurture and enrich their culture is disregarded. The Matrix gives the image of an existence that’s full of superficiality and trivialities. The image shows that people do everything to block an upsetting reality by wallowing themselves with material pretensions. It is quite intoxicating for some cultures that are drenched in wealth while the other cultures are wallowing in misery.

The Matrix can also be connected to cultural anthropological perspectives as it neatly depicts the demarcation that the cultures have right now. The film evidently showed the conflict that’s present between Neo’s side and the Agents. It showed that cultures, despite some of their similarities with other cultures will still remain to be poles apart. It is primarily because these cultures live up to diverse ideals and beliefs.

The Matrix is undeniably a worth watching film because it’s not just an ordinary action movie full of explosions, special effects, and adrenalins.  It is a movie that truly makes sense as it will help the people to reflect and realize what’s really going on. The film might also show them how to modify their distorted principles about their cultures. A film like this is quite moving because it offers the possible things that might happen to humankind in the future if the continuous clashing of culturally-acclaimed principles will continue.

Although you have to really ponder on the film to see its relation with cultural anthropology, it’s still worth-watching because of its profound illustration. The entire hidden implications of the film are completely and utterly true. The Matrix is a ground-breaking film as it changed how action and sci-fi movies are supposed to be made. It demonstrated its own unique sense as it made people change how they look at their cultures.

There are lots of symbolisms that were used in the film. Nevertheless, the spirit of humankind still managed to shine in its own way. Neo's journey toward understanding his real fate teaches a lot of lesson regarding culture. The diversities of the people in the film can be clearly related to the present culture. It gives a lot of anthropological manifestations, yet it still pursued the coherence of the factors that revolved around the film.

The movie has generated a lot of controversies and questions until now- questions that remain undiscovered and will still continue to raise unfathomable debates and discussions. It was a revolutionary movie filled with mind-boggling questions and intrigues. Though many films before have already demonstrated their assumptions, nothing can beat The Matrix as it presented its ideas in a more graphical way.  In the end, it just sums up the film in a single question: “Are we really living in a real world right now?”


Cedarcrest Education. (2008. April). The Anthropological Perspective. Retrieved

April 26 2008, from


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