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Matrix Trilogy

The premise of "The Matrix" is that the world in which most people live is imaginary. The real world is a world in which we may live only if we wake up by taking a red pill. This is very Buddhist, but it is also very Platonist. The Middle Ages in Europe were not much influenced by Buddhism (perhaps they were not influenced at all), but they were influenced by Plato and neo-Platonism.

Despite the influence of Platonism and neo-Platonism, I think that medieval men and women were more tied to their real, physical world than we are today. We post-moderns have the luxury of living in our heads, because survival is easy. Even though most people do some type of work, few people in the United States, Europe or Japan do manual labor. Millions of people work in offices, or schools, or perhaps as psychologists. Few people actually make anything physical; few people work on the land; few people grow food and then eat it. For us post-moderns who work with our minds rather than our bodies, and live in a society so complex that no one individual human person understands it all, and some understand almost nothing, it is easy to imagine that the world in which we live is not fully real. During the Middle Ages, however, people were much closer to the land. Most people were farmers, and many of those who were not farmers were craftsmen who made things. Few then spent their lives shuffling papers or talking all day long. Their lives were simpler, and because they were simpler it was possible to understand. A farmer then understood where his food came from, because he grew it himself. He understood everything in his house or village, because none of it was too complex. The two upper classes - clergy and nobles - did not work the land, yet even they were closer to the physical world than we are. Monks copied books by hand, using ink and paper that they made themselves. This is far different than typing words on a computer screen as I am now doing. Noblemen were warriors who hunted and lived often outdoors. Peasant women had to take care of children, and without modern conveniences to help them, this task must have been rather difficult. Noble ladies did not have to take care of children, but they did usually go through several pregnancies and give birth repeatedly, which would tend to tie them to the real world and prevent them from living in their imaginations. In "the Matrix", people awake and get out of the false world when they eat the red pill. Though I have not the experience, I can imagine that going through a pregnancy and the giving birth would work even better than a red pill to wake someone and force her to live in this world.

At the end of the Matrix trilogy, the main character, Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, sacrifices his life to save the people he loves who were then on the verge of destruction fighting for their city, named Zion. This is very Christ-like. Not only is the sacrifice of self Christ-like, but also the way in which he sacrifices himself. Neo had escaped from the Matrix and thus did not belong there, yet he chose to enter the Matrix so as to fight the Smith virus. He thus became a man in the matrix much like the SON of GOD became the man JESUS CHRIST in this world. GOD belongs in Heaven, yet He came to this world so as to fight sin. In the movie, Smith apparently triumphs over Neo, and then infects him with the virus so as to turn Neo into a copy of Smith. Then, in his apparent moment of triumph, Smith realizes that he has lost, because Neo was attached to the machine city and could be terminated. When Neo became Smith, it became possible to destroy Smith by terminating Neo. This is similar to JESUS CHRIST, for HE became sin, as St. Paul writes, so as to defeat sin, and at the moment of death upon a cross, when it seemed that Satan had won, CHRIST defeated Satan, thus transforming Satan's apparent triumph into his ultimate defeat. Thus, the trilogy which begins with Buddhist-inspired ideas ends with Christian symbolism. The Buddhist ideas would probably by incomprehensible to most medievals, except perhaps for a small number of neo-platonists. The Christian symbolism, however, would be obvious to people in the Middle Ages.