Star Wars & The Matrix ARE Examples Of Modern Mythology
Video: Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth (1988)
The following are links to pod-casts of an interview that Bill Moyers did with Joseph Campbell a year before he died:
The Matrix and Star Wars are modern retellings of age old cultural truths (i.e. views of the world that many different cultures seem to hold in common). Which is why they can capture attention and spawn a whole culture of their own.
"The spiritual elements in the Matrix films are similar to those in The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars in that they're vital to our understanding of the films and what they are trying to say about ultimate questions," says Greg Garrett, co-author of The Gospel Reloaded: Exploring Spirituality and Faith in The Matrix. "There are a number of comparisons to Christ, not least in that Neo is killed and comes back to life."
For those less religiously inclined, the movie had plenty of literary references, including Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; Morpheus offers to show Neo "just how deep the rabbit hole goes." Comic book fans were quick to notice the influence of Captain America illustrator Jack Kirby in several action sequences.
Here are some mythological references in The Matrix Trilogy:
"You can read as deeply into the movies as you want and take something new each time," says Moss, who reprises her role as Trinity, Neo's love interest and a soldier in the war to protect Zion, the last bastion of humanity. "You can sit back and enjoy the action, or you can watch it five times in a row to get all of the religious references."
And there are plenty. Matrix made its mark with special effects, namely "bullet-time," the slow-motion trick in which the camera twirls 360 degrees around its subject to turn fistfights into kung fu ballets. But the film was really an amalgam of religious faiths disguised as an action flick.
- Christ translated from Greek means "anointed one," while Neo (an anagram of "one") is referred to in the film as "the one."
- Rebel leader Morpheus (in Greek mythology, the god of dreams), preaches Buddhist-inspired themes to Neo, namely to free his mind from the illusions of a material world.
- Our heroes fly about in the Nebuchadnezzar, named after the mighty Babylonian king from the Bible who searched for the meaning of his dreams.
- Their mission is to protect Zion, the last human outpost located near the center of the Earth that takes its name from the ideal society envisioned by Judaism.
Some Modern "Pop" Mythology Parallels In The Matrix
Morpheus On The State Of Humanity
(basically, 'humanity is asleep')
Gilgamesh fell asleep, as stated, while Utnapishtim is yet completing his instructions to remain awake, and the duration of time Gilgamesh sleeps is six days and seven nights - the exact amount of time he was instructed to remain awake. Gilgamesh sleeps for the duration of the test. If we consider, allegorically, his inability to remain awake, then we can interpret it as representative of the state of sleep in which many of us live our lives. In other worse, Gilgamesh is insufficiently conscious to meet the requirements of Utnapishtim's test. This correlation of sleep with a state of relative unconsciousness, or of lapses in consciousness, can be recognized in other literature Homer thematizes the state of sleep as being a condition of dangerous vulnerability. The Gospels repeatedly instruct us: "Awake":"Sleep not"; "be on watch." Christ's disciples, we are told, "fell asleep" as he sprayed for the last time. Among the sayings of the prophet Mohammed is: "Sleep is the brother of death." And the same theme is central to the teaching of Sufism. "Humanity is asleep, concerned only with what is useless living, in a wrong world," wrote the Sufi master Hkim Sanai, as his analysis of the human condition. Gurdjieff's body of thought, connected as it is with Sufism, is built upon the premise that the majority of humanity remains asleep in a state of unfulfillment. "Man's possibilities are very great," he wrote; "but nothing can be attained in sleep."
The "ones" trained by "Morpheus" can do stuff like this (metaphors):
The Matrix Reloaded Agent Smith Fight
The Matrix Reloaded Vampire Chateau Fight Scene - Perfect Fight by Neo
When Einstein discovered the equation E=MC2, he didn't realize it would lead to the atomic bomb and I think he regretted it. But the implications of that equation go further than that. It says that matter and energy are one and the same. My body is made of the same components as the bed I am sitting on. As the moon at night or the sun in the day, everything in the universe has the same essential building blocks (from the quantum world) Atoms are mostly space. We are made of space! In other words, QM shows that the environment and observer are together while substance is mostly just empty space. Thought influences the environment. Now we can no longer separate the physical universe from us and call it a machine. This universe actually responds to our thoughts. That in itself is a mind-blowing discovery. This brings an interesting verse to mind.
Now the question arises. Can this reality be perceived? Or, is this something which can only be hypothesized and theorized about in science.
There have been men and women throughout history who have talked about a reality that exists but the language they have used has been cryptic and incomprehensible to the common man.
For instance, the Tao Te Ching - one of the most paradoxical books around. For example it says everything that needs to be done can be done by doing nothing.
So, are these people crazy or are they trying to explain an actual reality which seems to make no sense. The best example I can think of is Plato’s allegory of the cave.
There are a bunch of men who live in a cave. A fire reflects their shadows on the wall and this is their rality. They live in a world of shadows. Now suppose one man were to step outside the cave? He would witness an array of color, even his sense of self would be different as he can now see his body but before only saw himself as a shadow reflected on a wall. When he goes back into the cave, how does he explain the reality outside the cave to those still living in their world of shadows. His words would sound crazy, maybe paradoxical. He would most probably be ridiculed or killed.
Most mystics have been ridiculed or ignored by the populace. Mostly because their words are next to impossible to understand as the people have not experienced what they have.
In fact with some thought it seems like our entire system of language would be completely inadequate. We developed our system of language from our ‘world of shadow’ naming a tree, a tree, when its reality may be something which is beyond our comprehension. A person perceiving reality has just the language of the world by shadows to explain what he has experienced. Hence it’s cryptic.
Okay, what have I done so far. Shown a possibly misconstrued history, the possibility of an absolute reality, the interconnections of the universe that QM implies and its mind-boggling conclusion about the quantum world and the possibility that the absolute reality has been perceived but it is beyond our everyday understanding.
“But man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time.” Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) from the ‘Self Reliance’ essay, 1841
We don’t know where we are. The world is a strange place. Our history may not be what we previously believed. Our perception through our five senses is extremely relative. The world of the very small, observed through quantum mechanics is just plain strange and we are all composed of it. W have aspects to ourselves that we are not necessarily aware of in our day to day lives.
What would it take to cut a civilizational lifeline like power of gas for the entire eastern seaboard of the United States for months? A category 3 hurricane. What if there is a category 4? Probabilities dictate there will be at some point or another. In other words we seem to build our civilizations in a way that makes collapse a part of it's life. The Tower of Babylon is now. We already know how it ends.
We seem to be just repeating what we, as a race, have done before. History repeating itself ... but it's span is longer than the lifespan of one person so we don't realize till it's too late (like an archetypal nightmare that's been programmed into our collective consciousness & unconscious by thousands of years of trauma and habitual behavior (Matrix?). It's like a child that has been abused and so grows up to abuse/bully others.) As a civilization, we are traumatized, constantly grasping at straws, apathetic, lazy, compelled to act in the face of disaster, always trying to fix major problems with duct tape and self-destructive.
Why this happens is unknown. What we do know is that we do not know what a person is, i.e. we don’t understand the meaning of the self. We don’t understand how people are composed and where they came from as well as where they are going. The fact is we don’t know why we do in fact exist.