Red Pill or Blue Pill?
This is actually what this class is about. Just how much are you willing to allow yourself to know? Are you interested to know what forces are behind events that shape your life? Or would you rather not have to think about such things? When you see a homeless person panhandling on the street corner are you interested in that person's story? Or are you merely repulsed, or, perhaps, simply not interested at all? Take the blue pill and you can remain that way. Take the read pill, however, and find that there are up to three quarter of a million US veterans are homeless sometime during the course of a year? Take that red pill and be reminded that the poverty rate in the US is now at sixteen percent (over fifty million people). Take the blue pill, and things remain the same. Take the red pill and feel a bit more uncomfortable - and in the best of circumstances, become a part of change.
STORYLINE (From IMDB, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0133093/ ):
Thomas A. Anderson is a man living two lives. By day he is an average computer programmer and by night a hacker known as Neo. Neo has always questioned his reality, but the truth is far beyond his imagination. Neo finds himself targeted by the police when he is contacted by Morpheus, a legendary computer hacker branded a terrorist by the government. Morpheus awakens Neo to the real world, a ravaged wasteland where most of humanity have been captured by a race of machines that live off of the humans' body heat and electrochemical energy and who imprison their minds within an artificial reality known as the Matrix. As a rebel against the machines, Neo must return to the Matrix and confront the agents: super-powerful computer programs devoted to snuffing out Neo and the entire human rebellion. Written by redcommander27
What is real?
One need not go as far as Zen Buddhism for an explanation of what is real and what is not - however it actually may be more successful than the social sciences, I just don't know. But reality, in the social sense, is a construction. But the question then, is, who constructs it?
I find this simple analogy all too appropriate. It truly explains how the "system" works. The battery is the labor force. It is you and me working, often excessively, and certianl -for the most part- needlessly, to power the Matrix.
The Matrix is a System:
Our social world is not immutable (fixed for all time). It is extremely resiliant. It is systematic its construction primarily through the interconnectivity of institutions. Albeit, we create and maintain these institutions, but they also control us. Just as we as individuals are networked through friendships and family, institutions are networked in a manner consistent with their needs.
Ignorance is Bliss:
This is the real crux of the story as a metaphor for our current existence in the modern/postmodern world. It is one made of images. It is one of created needs. Cypher wants to go back into the Matrix. Why? "I want to know nothing" he says. Clearly many (most?) of us in our corporately managed matrix prefer to be entertained than to understand. It is much more comfortable to live in a fantasy, even a difficult and painful one, than to take responsibility for managing our social structure.