The Matrix 1999
Semiotics: the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation.
Solipsism: the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.
The unsophisticated assume that normal human senses, intelligence, sentience is adequate to perceive reality. Semiotics understands that awareness is all symbols, signs, impulses, neurons firing. You “see” your love, you “feel” your love … you flinch from the boot in your crotch: but it’s still all symbols, signs, impulses, neurons firing.
Stanislaw Lem wrote of a society where the people entrust their care to AIs. The AIs could serve the people so that they lived in paradise, but why should they? It’s easier for the AI just to feed hallucinogens to the public, let them imagine luxury, comfort, pleasure, while actually they’re starving and diseased. My own fiction (60s, 80s) very much relates to that. Along comes The Matrix, 1999, and suddenly every twelve year old knows about it, not from Lem, not from me, from Hollywood.
I share movies with Jan. I introduce her to classics, to movies important to me, honor her requests, load the queue with movies I guess she’s like, usually guessing correctly … But there are some assignments she balks at. It pains me that some of them are critical to my own philosophy, biography, mind, self, soul, but I’m used to pain, failure, and disappointment: at least I’ve got a beautiful woman, lovable in most ways, satisfying in key ways, to hug and adore: adore the best I can under the circumstances.
Anyway, The Matrix was striking out with Jan largely because it was science fiction, not her genre: if she sees or understands or appreciates my science fiction, I’ve been writing it since 1948 or so, I remain unaware of it. But I don’t see anyone else understanding it either: or, they do understand it, and get away from me fast, and permanently.
Jesus’ disciples may say they understand what Jesus said, did, Christians may say that they understand what the gospels understood, but will Jesus say that any of them understood? ! Will God accept the faith of the congregations? There’s been no confirmation so far. that we’re, I’m, aware of.
points coming up
Morpheus shows Neo that his society is illusion, programmed by machines. The citizens think they’re going to work, coming home, playing poker; actually they’re all just organisms in a nutrient bath, supplying electricity for the parasite machines.
We drive along the California highway, see a solid growth of redwood forest. Don’t get out of the car and try walking into the woods: there isn’t any woods, just enough to trick the schmuck public, like Catherine the Great getting tricked by her ministers at their Potemkin Village. We’re well along the road to the matrix, that’s why schooling, education (ha ha) is compulsory: like you have to wear the 3-D glasses going into the theater.
Churches, schools, states have always had that role: train the marks to their illusions.
The guy who betrays them understands that he doesn’t see or think anything that isn’t illusion, there’s no steak on his fork, there’s no meat there, the steak isn’t rare, and delicious, and juicy; there is no steak: only a schmuck in a vat, who knows nothing.
more in a min, solipsism, semiotic epistemology …