Buddhism and Gnosticism in The Matrix

Philosophical Action movies appears to be a sign of the times..

In 1999 (I know it is three years ago) The Matrix were released

upon the world, and currently there are plans for a 2nd Matrix..sequels

being instrumental in disseminating all the potentional nonsense which

somehow didn`t make it into the movies…

The linked article : Wake Up! Gnosticism and Buddhism in the Matrix, by Frances Flannery-Daily and Rachel Wagner

is featured in the Journal of Religion&Film and were brought to my attention at

Tinka`s Sixth.Edition weblog as a fun and interesting link.. Im trailing through

the weave of weblogs now to find kindred as well as new inspiration, and this article

were indeed interesting.

The abstract/blurb (which I hope the authors of the article will forgive me for citing)

says :

[1] The Wachowski

brothers’ 1999 hit release The Matrix draws

on multiple religious traditions to establish its

complex worldview. Two of the most prominent are

Gnostic Christianity and Buddhism, which, like the

film, pose humanity’s fundamental problem and its

solution in terms of ignorance and enlightenment.

Because of ignorance, people mistake the

“material” world for something real, but

they may “wake up” from this dream with

help from a guide who teaches them their true nature.

This article explores the film’s pervasive allusions

to Gnosticism and Buddhism, which in turn opens up

the question of the film’s overarching message and ultimate

view of reality.

This is precisely the reason why movies like The Truman Show and The Matrix

deserves note as having some relevance in terms of the discussion concerning

the re-emergance of Gnosticism or The Gnostic Revival in Modernity, which

is how I personally would term it. A boy of Six might indeed be capable of asking

questions of an Ontological complexity which stifles contemporary Philosophers.

What is real? is ancient and perhaps instinctual to all growing children,

especially in context of being indoctrinated into a mode, not only of “understanding”

reality, but also of accepting context.

The response of prince Siddharta`s parents, to the prophecy that their son would

renounce his birthright and become a great “seer” – were to build a new “world”

wherein all subjects,animals and servants alike, would not _apparently_ be subject

to old age,poverty,sickness and all other ailments which would provoke a questioning

attitude towards the _nature_ of the World, in its nakedness. Parents don`t want their

children to experience anguish or pain, and would dearly like to shelter them from the

sight of evil (as we can see in the endless Censorship campaigns, while children are

being protected from products which “corrupt” them morally, the product of such

_apparent_ safety is precisely that, and what is more treacherous and fragile than

an outright lie, may I ask?)- as such, the response to the unease in themselves

about the _nature of the world_ and the fact that there are things which do not

explain or even lend support to _things as such they are_, since they are not

– sets off the parents in the manner they are conditioned to respond: Shut everything off, close the blinds and hope that it blows over..

However, I have derailed..

A.I. – the intelligent organism of ultimate technology, is the hidden god-mind

in the Matrix “mythos”, and upon discovering that what brings about the doom

of mankind is the autonomy of her creature: Technology, we recognize a theme which isn`t necessarely wrought out of a conscious reading of the Gnostic mythos when it comes to

past cinematic and literary escapades in the same territory… Science Fiction is riddled with Doomsdays brought about by the sudden Autonomy of Technology..

What makes it relevant is the presentation of how _things are only so in appearance_,

that the world we are likely to see, upon leaving the dark of the movie theatre..

possibly could be an artificial one we are conditioned to accept and relate to as

real, and that behind its paper-thin facade the “truth” lays lurking, namely, we

have been had.. Buddhism and Gnosticism shares in common an _attitude_ towards

consensual reality (not reality itself, but a judgment/definition of what reality is)

– namely that the senses and even the analytical mind which processes the signals from

our senses – can only reach as far as the illusion, and therefore they cannot reinforce

anything but the illusion.

More reading on the same

The Matrix: Gnosticism Reborn

Share on Facebook

3 thoughts on “Buddhism and Gnosticism in The Matrix

  1. I AVE ASKED FOR THE MATRIX AND BIDDHISM AND U GIVE MY ALL OF THIS. NONE OF IT HAS GOT O DO WITH WOT I WANT AND U STILL GIVE IT ME NOW I AM MAD!!! I AM GOING TO TELL MY R.E TEACHER ABOUT THIS AND HE WILL NOT BE PLEASED EITHER!?!?!?!?!?! I AM WRITING THIS LETTER OF COMPLAINT BECAUSE U AVE A RUBBISH WEBSITE AND I HATE YOU!!!!! LOTS OF HATE ME…

  2. Debra, Letting you know what I think of your comment: Initially I thought that I should remove it since it contains profanity..Then I thought that would cause offence. Again, I also considered your comment would put you in an embarassing situation, especially if you bothered to read what you wrote a little while after having a tiff.. From my perspective you just rushed into my livingroom and screamed into my ear that you did not appreciate being cheated out of something I personally had promised you.. at the time I was writing in my diary. It is a private little thing, about a year ago I thought I should share some of my findings on the net, some of my thoughts and experiences with my friends. I began “blogging”, writing a so-called Weblog, a journal. the 5th August I discovered someone had made a connection between Gnosticism, my main interest – and the Matrix which I had seen a few months back and appreciated greatly.

    Ms Frances O`Flannery had written an erudite but a little scholarly article on the subject of the Matrix and its possible religious influences… I thought it would be neat to others who read my blog, mainly my friends – to see the article and make up their own mind. I added a few scribbles and considerations which connected to the subject and article *as I appreciated it*. The result being the little entry in my journal you commented on. I don`t get a lot of comments, and most of the comments are spam, junkmail.. and here you rush in and make me feel bad because I didnt “give you what I had promised you”.

    My thinking is that you mean you searched the web and among the many results you got on “Matrix+Buddhism” were my blog for some reason.

    I don`t decide what pops up in your search window. However, do you know what a personal homepage is? I am sure your R.E. Teacher knows about it, and if he doesnt, perhaps he shouldnt let you search the net for your research. Why? Because there are a lot of misleading and wrong information available, especially on the subject of religion.I have seen a lot of good info on Buddhism and Pop-culture, also the Matrix and its not that far a search away…its even in Time magazine complete with Wachowski brothers interviews..but its print copy, which means a stroll down to the library could do a lot to your chosen topic. Anyways, I hope you have cooled off and found what you were looking for. I only write this comment to your comment because I fear you have misunderstood the purpouse of this site and the posts I make to it.. Thank you.

  3. I’m interested in the link betwen Gnosticism and Modernity/Postmodernity e.g. popular culture and social theory.Any advice on areas to pursue or examples, would be much appreciated. Thank you,Glen (UK).

Comments are closed.