Sunday, September 21, 2003
Reference Site

I got this from an e-mail the other day. It is a good reference site for the films, absolutely chock full of information.

Give it a look.
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Plotinus and "The One"

A friend of mine told me the other day of a Greek philosopher he had learned about in history class named Plotinus, and how some of his concepts may apply somehow to The Matrix, he just didn't want to look into it. So, I did a little research and there seems to be some possible connections between Plotinus' philosophy and The Matrix. I found an excellent website that from what I can tell has all of his works organized and available. Here are some more pertinent excerpts from the stuff that I read, and here is the link if you want to check out all of it.

To quote from the website, Plotinus developed a complex spiritual cosmology involving three hypostases: the One, the Intelligence, and the Soul. From this it is easy to see the almost immediate implications that Plotinus could have on some ideas that exist in The Matrix. Reading further however it is also easy to find a lot of ambiguities, meaning that some of his ideas could be associated with The Matrix if one wants to believe that. What I am trying to say is that if you are trying to find some connectino between Plotinus and The Matrix, then you will find one. This does not mean however, that there was meant to be a connection found. Anyways, as stated above there are three main pervading ideas in Plotinus' spiritual cosmology, I will look at them in three separate parts. So, today will be the first part, which is appropriately Plotinus' idea of "The One".

The One: Part 1 of 3

The 'concept' of the One is not, properly speaking, a concept at all, since it is never explicitly defined by Plotinus, yet it is nevertheless the foundation and grandest expression of his philosophy. Plotinus does make it clear that no words can do justice to the power of the One; even the name, 'the One,' is inadequate, for naming already implies discursive knowledge, and since discursive knowledge divides or separates its objects in order to make them intelligible, the One cannot be known through the process of discursive reasoning (Ennead VI.9.4). Knowledge of the One is achieved through the experience of its 'power' (dunamis) and its nature, which is to provide a 'foundation' (arkhe) and location (topos) for all existents (VI.9.6). The 'power' of the One is not a power in the sense of physical or even mental action; the power of the One, as Plotinus speaks of it, is to be understood as the only adequate description of the 'manifestation' of a supreme principle that, by its very nature, transcends all predication and discursive understanding.....

The perfect contemplation of the One, however, must not be understood as a return to a primal source; for the One is not, strictly speaking, a source or a cause, but rather the eternally present possibility -- or active making-possible -- of all existence, of Being (V.2.1). According to Plotinus, the unmediated vision of the 'generative power' of the One, to which existents are led by the Intelligence (V.9.2), results in an ecstatic dance of inspiration, not in a satiated torpor (VI.9.8); for it is the nature of the One to impart fecundity to existents -- that is to say: the One, in its regal, indifferent capacity as undiminishable potentiality of Being, permits both rapt contemplation and ecstatic, creative extension. These twin poles, this 'stanchion,' is the manifested framework of existence which the One produces, effortlessly (V.1.6). The One, itself, is best understood as the center about which the 'stanchion,' the framework of the cosmos, is erected (VI.9.8). This 'stanchion' or framework is the result of the contemplative activity of the Intelligence.

In bold are some key words or concepts that help secure the tie between The Matrix and Plotinus, but I also decided to make the references to the "Intelligence" bold because the "Intelligence" is the second part of Plotinus' cosmology.

So, we have here some pretty vague things that need to be expanded upon to make them a bit more crystalline. We read here about the One itself is something beyond comprehension and reason, it is something that exists to lay a foundation and give a place for all of existence to well, exist. This can be brought back to Neo quite easily with the notion that his job is to clear out the machines and make safe a place for all of mankind to exist, or, to at least make it so that both mankind and machine can co-exist. Also, there is a mention to the power of The One. Plotinus states that the power of the one is not a physical, or even mental power, but rather it is " the 'manifestation' of a supreme principle that, by its very nature, transcends all predication and discursive understanding". Meaning again that The One, and the powers that he would posess bypasses all human understanding and reason. This says a lot because at the end of Reloaded we see Neo able to bring his "powers" over into what we believe is the real world. The whole time this is happening everyone is saying that it is impossible, that Neo can't do that, but if there is any validity in the tie between Plotinus and The Matrix, then I believe this definition of The One may shed some light on our confusion.

The second part of Plotinus' explanation of the one holds some interesting terms,such as "the source", "the Intelligence", and "ecstatic dance of inspiriation". First off, we read that to understand The One, to perfectly understand The One, is not thinking that The One exists in a primal state or simplistic state, like that of someone who reaches Nirvana in the Buddhist fate. This correlates loosely to the point in Reloaded when Neo disregards the Architect and leaves the source. The Intelligence isn't something that I am going to elaborate on now, because it is the focus point of the second part of this, but it is something to be thinking about. Finally though we read about how The One, and how his "undiminishable potentiality of Being, permits both rapt contemplation and ecstatic, creative extension". Very loosely said, this could have something to do with the whole rave/dance cave scene after Morpheus' speech in which he promises an end to the war, and eludes to the potential resurgence of the human race. Indirectly all of this is tied to Neo, and that is where the connection occurs.

In conclusion, one could read into Plotinus' cosmology pretty deeply and no doubt find many connections. At the same time though, one must entertain the idea that these are only coincidences, and maybe not purpseful. Either way, I believe this is fun, and thought provoking, and again,here is the link to the site that has the entirety of Plotinus' works available to you, The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

So, leave me some feedback with your thoughts, and as always, if you have something of your own that you want other people to read, just send it my way and I'll put it up, my e-mail is
Monday, September 08, 2003
Some New Links

It has been a while, and I apologize, I have been getting aclimated to the college lifestyle. I am pretty settled in now, so I will start back with the banter. I recieved an e-mail from David with some pretty interesting links. As he said in his e-mail..

[The first is fun (how to have a Matrix party); the second is a more serious (but short!) philosophical article, about why the Matrix is real and in fact, man has always been a "world-builder".]

It is some pretty interesting conntent and I would recomend checking it out. Here are the links.

How to throw a Matrix party.

Men as World Builders

Here is a little excerpt:

The problem of the matrix in The Matrix is not that the humans are in an artificial environment; we've been in artificial environments ever since we built our first homes. The problem is that the matrix is a prison – it's an environment that people are unaware of, and cannot (easily) escape from. As the character Morpheus says, it is a “prison for your mind.”

Thanks for staying with me all this time, there is more to come so stay tuned.