A Deep and Dark, Yet Sexy Epic

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A Deep and Dark, Yet Sexy Epic

Many of us have been leading double lives.

In one life, you lead a pretty normal existence. You go to work, have dinner with your family, party with your friends on weekends, and help your community. The other life is lived inside your mind and online. It is spent thinking, dreaming, reading, hearing, and viewing. In this life, you spend time with all kinds of ideas and philosophies that you find interesting. But they rarely translate into something concrete that would affect your first life. Most of the time, it looks as if the second life is just a bunch of stories you tell yourselves, purely for entertainment purposes.

Occasionally, you may come across people who have decided to turn some aspect of their second life into something concrete in their first life. Some of these people have gone really far – they have completely transformed their lives into something totally different.

May be you take inspiration from them and decide to follow that path yourself. May be something happens to you that makes you “wake up” and change your direction completely. This then begins a journey that can lead you to some weird but wonderful places. The journey is treacherous, and you may even regret having started it, but once you have started it, there’s no way to go back. It’s like, once you have lost your innocence, your only choice is to cross the dark chasm and then hopefully climb all the way up on the other side, towards wisdom. There’s no other way.

There are, of course, a few signs and guideposts along the way – left behind by those who made the journey before you. There are books, movies, works of art and so on, that, at appropriate times, present themselves and guide you forward.

If you are lucky, you might come across an epic that opens a huge treasure trove in front of you. It helps you to connect many of the dots. And it does that in a very accessible, interesting, even sexy way. One wouldn’t expect wisdom to be sexy, but I guess it can be.

Ok, what the heck am I talking about?

Well, let’s just get on with the story, shall we?

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So there you are, just settling into your chair as the movie starts. 

Hmm… Interesting background music. Full of intrigue, kind of dark, electronic. Cool. I like that stuff.

Lines of letters moving across a screen. Undecipherable. Ok, kind of cool, but nothing too unexpected so far. Typical sci-fi stuff.

A phone conversation. Some lines about the line being traced. Something about someone special who is going to be killed. Surveillance, intrigue, mysterious target, cool sounding code names. Sounds like a typical sci-fi-spy thriller.

A bunch of cops break down a door and storm in. A woman dressed in black leather is sitting calmly facing the wall. Ok why not? Woman dressed in black leather? Pretty much standard issue wardrobe for a spy thriller.

Outside, a bunch of cops are waiting. Another car pulls up. Predictably, a couple of guys in black suits and dark glasses step out. A very typical pissing match involving very typical department rivalry ensues. Something about “Juris-my-diction”. Ok, I hadn’t heard that one before. But, really, someone should have thought of that long ago. Someone probably did. It’s almost obvious.

Nothing particularly out of the ordinary so far.

But then, the woman turns around and jumps up in the air. They freeze her in the air in a perfect kick jump pose. Cool! And then, while she is frozen in the air, they pan the camera around her a full 180 degrees!!! You see her fantastic pose in its full glory.

Yikes! I’m suddenly gasping for air!

What did I just see? Only the coolest thing ever!

Ok, remember to close your mouth. Gulp. Catch your breath.

The heart is racing now. A chase ensues. Up to the roof and then on to it. Then across it. Up and down up and down. From one roof to another. From one building to another. Kind of a stretch, but the buildings aren’t too far apart. Believable. Someone like her with martial arts expertise should be able to do that, right?

But then, she comes to the edge of a building and the next building is clearly too far. But she simply and effortlessly jumps and takes an unbelievably long leap and lands it! Then one of the black suits does the same thing!

Eh? “That’s impossible!” You and one of the cops, both say, almost in unison.

Ok, so we are not in a spy thriller anymore. Nor a martial arts drama. This is Superman territory. Able to leap tall buildings and all that.

But then, there’s something about the phone again. She finally makes it to some phone booth, picks up the phone. But the cops ram a huge truck hard into the booth. They go through the rubble. She isn’t there. Where did she go?

What happened? That’s not quite Superman either. Some sort of occult / supernatural stuff? Not my thing, really.

What the heck am I watching here?

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Wrong questions, silly me-from-20-years-ago! Not even close!

What you should have been thinking all along was, “Cherish these precious little moments, because, you are about to witness something so amazing that years, decades later you will wish you were back in that chair again, that innocent little child who hadn’t yet seen the Matrix!”

🙂

This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of the first Matrix movie! 

Let that sink in. Yes, 20 years! Makes you feel really old, doesn’t it? 

But, set that feeling aside. What you are really missing is your innocence, the pre-Matrix you. How cute!

Anyway, given the momentous nature of this moment, I had to make my own little offering to one of my top 5 movies of all time. (Oh, and Matrix 1 and 2 are two out of those 5.)

Anyway, coming back to what I started with, something boring about religion and philosophy and wisdom and stuff.

Well, let’s make that boring stuff interesting again! In the expert hands of the Wachowski brothers (now sisters, apparently), boring old stuff that old people say and no one believes turns into spellbinding, brain-numbing, mind-altering scenes and dialog. 

Too much has been said about the Matrix movies already, but let me emphasize one of the main aspects that I found most amazing – the dialog.

Here are some of the lines from these movies that have deep philosophical meanings, but they have been woven so wonderfully into the narrative, they just flow naturally and sound cool and sexy at the same time. How did they manage to do that? What a feat!

Morpheus:What happened happened, and couldn’t have happened any other way.
Neo: How do you know?
Morpheus: We are still alive.

Morpheus: There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

Morpheus: You are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind. 

Agent Smith: Without purpose, we would not exist. It is purpose that created us. Purpose that connects us. Purpose that pulls us. That guides us. That drives us. It is purpose that defines us. Purpose that binds us.

Merovingian: If we do not ever take time, how can we ever have time?  

Merovingian: You see, there is only one constant, one universal, it is the only real truth: causality. Action. Reaction. Cause and effect.
Morpheus: Everything begins with choice.
Merovingian: No. Wrong. Choice is an illusion, created between those with power, and those without.


Merovingian: This is the nature of the universe. We struggle against it, we fight to deny it, but it is of course pretense, it is a lie. Beneath our poised appearance, the truth is we are completely out of control. Causality. There is no escape from it, we are forever slaves to it. Our only hope, our only peace is to understand it, to understand the “why”."Why” is what separates us from them, you from me. “Why” is the only real social power, without it you are powerless.  

The Oracle: Because you didn’t come here to make the choice. You’ve already made it. You’re here to try to understand why you made it.

The Oracle: We’re all here to do what we’re all here to do.

The Architect: Hope, it is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and your greatest weakness.

Cypher: I know this steak doesn’t exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? Ignorance is bliss.

Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth. 

Neo: What truth?

Spoon boy: There is no spoon. 

Neo: There is no spoon? 

Spoon boy: Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.  

There are probably a few I missed. 

Heady stuff. I can’t believe someone was able to put all that into a movie. And it’s a really fantastic movie even if you don’t care for philosophy. You are there just for the special effects? No problem. Sexy characters? Yup. Twisting, pulse-racing plot? Check. How did they manage to do that? That’s just mind-blowing!

By the way, in case you didn’t notice, the words for the electronic trance-type music that plays during the credits for the last Matrix movie are the famous mantra from the Upanishads, “Asato ma sad gamaya” (which means: take me from falsehood to truth, take me from darkness to light”.)

Listen to it, it’s like you went into some alternate universe where Hinduism is some sort of a techno-futuristic religion.

And here’s the opening scene. (By the way, the 180-degree panning shot is called Bullet Time in movie parlance. Technically, some primitive versions of it had been done a couple of times before, but Matrix was the first time someone did it really well and made it popular.)

What’s your most favorite part of the Matrix trilogy?

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