The Matrix and Illusion

The Matrix and surplus-value


The Matrix is sometimes thought to have philosophical relevance in that it seems to deal with the issue of the reality/illusoryness of the physical world. It’s sometimes used as an illustration of the armchair philosopher’s question ‘is this table real ?’. This is a “question” which a ‘hyper-radical’ will ask to show how really, really radical they are because they are prepared to question everything. But this is a bogus “question”, it is a sham –  in the sense that no-one asks it so as to seriously doubt the existence of the external world (What would they do if they acted on that doubt? How would living that doubt differ from not living with it?).This alleged relevance seems to me to render the movie a disservice.

The nature of the illusion in The Matrix is societal. That illusion is generated for a political purpose: to obscure from view the fact that humans live as energy-generators in a world ruled by non-humans, by aliens – even though these originated from human AI experiments.

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