News today that some scientists have theorised we may be living in The Matrix. This is based on the idea that the fact that cosmic rays always hit earth with a specific maximum energy of 1020 electron-volts, this somehow implies that this limit is controlled from outside by mysterious beings who are running this Universe as a simulation.
However: just as Neo and his friends had the Agents called Smith, Jones and Brown to spoil their fun, so we have Agents of our own called Thomas Bayes and Pierre Laplace! I.e. in all their theorising, the scientists have not once accounted for how probable it is that these results can also be explained by the Universe not being a simulation.
Nevertheless, this has prompted me to write an occultist’s explanation of the whole deal. The Matrix has been described as a parable of Gnosticism in the past: however, this is a rather superficial analysis. In actual fact, the viewpoint of the fictional millieu evolves from a Gnostic to a Neo-Platonic setting as the Trilogy progresses – as I shall explain below.
The basic premise of Gnosticism is that humans are enslaved within the material universe, which is a prison. The ultimate aim of existence is therefore to defeat the spiritual forces which are enslaving us, escape from the material universe, and re-take our place in the “real” or Spiritual Universe.
At once there are some immediate parallels with The Matrix, to wit:
|The Architect is the Demiurge, the creator of the material universe, and hence ultimately responsible for enslaving humankind.|
|The Agents are the Archons, who actively work to prevent us breaking out of the material universe.|
|The Oracle is Sophia.|
|Neo is the Logos, who helps us poor souls break out.|
|The Red Pill is Gnosis, the key whereby to achieve spiritual freedom.|
|Zion is the Pleroma, the real Universe where everybody is free.|
However, this straightforward correlation to Gnosticism was complicated – along with most other things in the Trilogy – by Matrix:Re-Loaded and Matrix:Revolutions. The main problem is the concept of the existence of rogue sentient programs such as The Merovingian and his chums, the Key-Maker, Seraph etc – and ultimately Agent Smith himself. These characters – who exist within the Matrix, but are independent of the forces controlling it and thus follow their own agendas – don’t really have parallels in Gnosticism – but they do in certain Neo-Platonic frameworks.
The Oracle remarks in the second film that these entities are in fact left-overs from previous versions of the Matrix. This basically mirrors the cosmological view espoused by Martinez De Pasqually – the founder of the Elu Cohens and by extension an inspiration behind Martinism - in his Treatise on the Reintegration of Beings. To wit: the so-called Demons of the material universe are in fact spiritual beings that did not fit in nicely in with previous emanations of the spiritual universe. Thus they were consigned to this universe as a sort of prison.
In the third film, this parallel is taken to its logical conclusion when at the climax, the forces of the Matrix, instead of fighting against Neo and friends, ask Neo to defeat Agent Smith, the quintessential rogue sentient program for them. Neo’s prize for doing so is that the war is ended, those that want to be released from the Matrix are freed, and everyone can now play nicely with each other. This is the scenario envisaged by De Pasqually i.e.
|Neo becomes “Yeheshuah,” the mystical Jesus, sent to save the material universe.|
|The Architect is still a demiurge-type figure – the “Supreme Architect of the Universe” as De Pasqually has it – but now he has become a Neo-platonic demiurge – i.e. one that is willing to be merciful to the souls of the virtuous who are trapped within the material universe.|
|Agent Smith – collectively – represents the various Demons, whom “Yeheshuah” (Neo) has to defeat and drive back to ensure that the inhabitants of the material universe (the Matrix) have the chance to achieve their spiritual potential.|
Thus, the Matrix Trilogy collectively represents a development from Gnosticism in the first film, to Martinez De Pasqually style Neo Platonism in the third film – with the second film being a transitional mish-mash between the two.