[Disclaimer]

The following is a complete work of satire, and was a paper I turned in for my Literary Theory course.  I genuinely hate this class because almost all of the criticism directed toward literature stem from some leftist political agenda; including but not limited to Marxism, Feminism, New Historicism, Cultural Studies, and Postcolonialism.  When given the assignment to critique The Matrix from a Marxist perspective, I chose to critique Marxism using The Matrix as an allegory of leftist utopian thought.  I don’t care if I offend you, I just want others to know what I’m doing here, and where the terminology comes from.  The idea was to create a narrative that was so blue pill a person would actually advocate for rebuilding and rebooting the Matrix once woken up.  Some Anarchists hold this same view toward the principles advocated by Libertarians and minarchists, because how can anyone universally institute the NAP alongside a government which fundamentally violates the NAP to exist (taxes) and enforce sanctions (centralized law)?  I will be focusing on the first movie alone, so this text does not apply the trilogy as a whole.  That would be a total contradiction.  However, at the least I hope you understand how disingenuous it would be for me to write about the red pill being part of some Marxist enlightenment.

the-matrix-choice

Within contemporary fringe politics the proverbial “red pill” is reserved for conspiracy theorists, Anarcho-capitalists, and MGTOW.  All these groups seek to expose, and be rid of, the immoral coercion based on collectivist mantras.  For this reason, the Matrix is the ideal of Marxist utopias; where all are equally oppressed and controlled by a central governing ideology.  This ideology within virtual reality was constructed to manifest species consciousness because everyone becomes digitally interconnected, but none are aware.  That is until a person takes the red pill, and gets flushed from this world where merely existing is a source of power and sustenance.  Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity are all caught in false consciousness which leads them to sacrifice themselves, and others, for an impossible and fruitless goal.  Their robot overlords have already won, and no matter of human exertion can restore peace between the two.

Neo is symbolic of relative autonomy because he can defy the Oracle and save Morpheus’ life.  However, “The One” does not exist and any effort at finding him or her is only a perpetuation of the myth.  This interpellation will lead others down the same fates as Mouse, Switch, and Apoc.  Agent Smith is the keeper of this utopian prison, and his aligning actions are sought to restore justice and equality for all living within the Matrix.  Regardless of Neo, and his actions, humanity is doomed to the same economic determinism that rendered the skies black, and physically enslaved both the proletarian and bourgeois.  The imperialist nature of the robotic class has stripped humanity of all that was once native, and ultimately restricted its freedom for the best of all parties involved.

The beauty of the Matrix is that it seeks to restore the labor once alienated by Capitalism.  As an alternative to working for survival, people can now float on in their pods without any sense of false consciousness.  This is a good thing because the more people that join the red pillers, the more people will suffer and die who were uninvolved.  Humanity no longer suffers from the alienation created by the exploitation of surplus labor value, because people don’t have to work anymore.  Agent Smith said that originally humans rejected the utopia robots tried to build for them.  This means that within the present state of the Matrix we experience the height of what human civilization can ever hope to accomplish.  Anything more or less would lead to an unjustified proletarian revolution, and the ends of which no one would actually want.

The Matrix is quintessential to Talcott Parsons’ Cybernetic Hierarchy of Control because it created a necessary hierarchy to maintain social order that all are oblivious to.  The conflict of life in the Matrix is nothing compared to the life outside of it, and for this reason Cypher was acting as any rational human being should.  The Matrix is exactly where Homo-sapiens were meant to end up for the sustainable evolution and restoration of the planet Earth. Outside of it they are nothing more than a parasites.  The waste and oppression created by the Capitalist class is now replaced by a harmless computer simulation that facilitates Man’s desire to rule over other men.  This is the reality reflected back in the Matrix, and the red pill is a complete disruption of this harmony.  Whether one is stuck in the Matrix or fighting against it, both fates are determined by externally mechanized sociological forces, all of which are outside of the individual’s sphere of control.  A person might think they can change things, but in reality they are only making life harder for themselves and others.

To bounce back on why the Matrix is a masterpiece of social order, we see the solution to commodity fetishism by making commodities of the human body itself.  It is quite ironic that human thermal energy is harvested to nourish humanity’s mechanical masters, because this system is parallel of the exploitation that flourished the bourgeoisie at the expense of the proletarians.  The current residents of the Matrix are both liberated from the hard work of the industrial revolution, and the alienation that poverty and suppressed wages brings.  In fact, by the Matrix providing an artificial replica of the once great post-industrial economy its citizen are afforded the opportunities to education and easy credit, regardless of their aptitude or integrity.  Even if someone finds a way to die in the Matrix, their organic composition is used to the maximum efficiency for the good of all mankind’s nourishment.  In the dog eat dog world of human nature and the tyranny found under Capitalism, why wouldn’t Man need to eat himself in the future to survive?

The actions of Cypher were noble and courageous because it was an effort to counteract the false consciousness spread by the red pill.  If only he could have been returned to the rest of humanity and exalted by the Matrix as a man of strong character.  Then people would know how important his mission was to kill those that woke him up, and everyone would take the blue pill in the future.  If we are lucky we could reach the day where no one offered the red pill, and if they did it would swiftly lead to death.  Taking the blue pill means escaping the reality of false consciousness freedom and individual autonomy mistakenly promises.  The only way to escape the war between man and machine is to be blissfully ignorant of it.  With battles outside of the Matrix so one sided, the only compassionate thing to do would be for all who take the red pill be given the chance to re-enter the Matrix.  However, these people know too much, and present a serious liability to the security and social order of the Matrix.  Without the Matrix humanity would have found a multitude of ways to destroy itself, based on the deterministic nature of their own geopolitical economic systems.  Once the working poor had no choice but to rebel, how would the solutions of the ruling class be any different or better than in the revolution of artificially intelligent machines?

With great populations comes great responsibility, for both the collective and the individual.  By existing and producing only for the sake of others, humans can achieve happiness through their own personal alienation.  It was not through a worker revolt that equality was reached, but through a collective idealistic fantasy becoming reality.  Now that this fantasy has become more important than the needs of the individual, the Matrix has replaced Man’s agency with equality.  For to attempt agency in such a perfect system is the sign exchange value of a red pill taker.  It is a tragedy we can’t let others know the symptoms of taking the red pill and waking up to false consciousness, because those that do it for freedom are promised only death.  If everyone knew of this terrible drug’s existence, then we might actually have an even bigger problem trying to maintain the Matrix.

Life in the Matrix is more than humanity could have dreamed up all on its own, and thus is a testament to the technological innovation secured through artificial intelligence.  Without the collective hive mind of futuristic technology, human extinction is inevitable.  The war between Man and Machine is already over, and the individuals who act through the ideologies surrounding false consciousness are not only acting against their own well being and self interest, but also to the detriment of humanity overall.  Ask not how we can end the Matrix, but how we can improve it so everyone wants to stay.  Let us hope to cohabit a world where even if humanity did free itself from their mutual relationship with machines, that someone would still reboot the Matrix and plug in voluntarily.

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