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November 24, 2003

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enthymeme

Nonononono. Schopenhauer is the good guy.

Smith = bad guy = Nietzsche.
Neo = good guy = Schopenhauer.
Morpheus = all-pulverizer = Kant
Oracle = oracular = Hegel
Architect = Plato
Merovingian = Derrida
Machines = Randroids

jholbo

Enthymeme, much as I like Schopenhauer, I must insist that the brothers have cast him as the villain.

I admit that Schopenhauer preached pity and the value of contemplating art, not the value of caving in Keanu's ribcage in the rain. Nevertheless, Smith preaches escape from the meaninglessness of the Matrix - count no man fortunate unless he has never been born; which corresponds to Schopenhauer's ethical message to deny the world as representation. The meaningless, ever-rotating wheel of desire - beneath which lies only seething will (humans at batteries). Everyone must realize they are all one will (Smith) and deny the world. And Smith as Schopenhauer - rogue Platonist, basically - fits with Smith's relation to the Architect.

Nietzsche is the inversion of this Schopenhauerian message, and it comes by way of amor fati - love of fate. Which is what the Oracle preaches. Although you are right that there is something Hegelian about her, just because there is something Spinozist about Hegel, to say the least. I will accept your emendation. But her line about not being able to see past choices you have already made unless you understand them - straight Spinoza. The Merovingian only seems like Derrida because he's ... so that way.

:)

bryan

haven't seen revolutions yet, but I'll tell you why I really liked Reloaded; because the only real characters, meaning characters recognizable by dialogue alone, were programs.

If you were to present me with a text in the voice of the Oracle, The Architect, Smith(not so sure about Smith, much of his character is dependent on rhythm - not content), or the Merovingian I feel confident I would recognize it, even if it didn't use any of their known tropes. Neo, Morpheuz, Trinity, etc. are interchangeable, except when they're talking to each other of course. The only way you know that Morpheuz or Trinity can't be Neo is because otherwise they wouldn't be talking; and of course Morpheuz is recognizable by doing a count of how many times the word belief or believe comes up in a paragraph.

This struck me as an interesting, and thought out behavior, with pleasing connotations for the meaning of literary character as a concept.

otherwise it also reminded me of the first matrix where Smith says something like: "...once we began to think for you, it really became our civilization."

Walt Pohl

My complaint about Matrix Revolutions was that it didn't seem to mean anything. It didn't really expand my understanding of the movies' world. If you really think it answered your questions, I'd be curious to hear what you thought the answers were.

enthymeme

Nice one sir.

But Schopenhauer denies both will and representation! He preaches the negation of the will, because it is the will which gives rise to desire and thence suffering. This corresponds to Neo's wish to free humanity from the Mayan veil of illusion (representation) and enslavement (will). (Trinity's death is itself an allegory: love dying = part of the process of denying one's will = attainment of non-suffering and enlightenment.)

Why would Smith want to stop Neo from rebooting the Matrix? Answer: Because Smith denies the spin of Ixion's wheel! He doesn't want rebirth. Having (almost) mastered the world of phemomena - he doesn't want to lose the thrill of embracing representation. Like Nietzsche, Smith is in effect placing primacy on the world of representation - anything over and above representation is without reality, without significant import for him.

Nietzsche's love of fate underscores my case. For it is the world as representation that is determinist. For Schopenhauer, freedom of the will stems from outside of the world of phenomena. Smith is himself enamoured of fate after the absorption of the Oracle. Ergo he embraces the world as representation where fate has purchase. Nietzsche is will-to-life affirming, fate-loving and hung up on phenomena. To embrace life is to take pleasure in phenomena as well as to suffer its attendant evils. A fortiori Nietzsche is Smith. Schopenhauer is will-to-life denying, and is keen to transcend phenomena by escaping both its pleasures and its suffering; which entails denying both will and representation in a non-destructive way (e.g. suicide not allowed). Clearly then, Schopenhauer is Neo. QED.

:)

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