Jeffrey Fisher on Sun, 20 Apr 2003 11:45:02 +0200 (CEST)

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RE: <nettime> the matrix returns eternally

On Sat, 19 Apr 2003 01:14:07 -0400, Andrew Jones wrote:
>> As smart as The film is, it is not culturally enriching.   It is a vehicle
>> for the commercialization of important ideas -- ideas 
>> like Nietzche's philosophy
>> on Language being a compromising structure for people not 
>> to kill each other,
>> ....
> Was I the only person who thought The Matrix was going
> to be William Gibson like, and discovered it to be a mostly
> boring action film? Hadn't really thought about how the world
> of the matrix takes in all these different philosophies, but
> is knowing Baudrillard really that much of an achievement
> in this day and age? And for that matter sucking the life out
> of Baudrillard isn't a bad thing to do, and to some extent
> neither is it with Neitzsche. While both thinkers of great
> weight, perhaps their reception into popular culture will
> help spur some new thoughts.
> -
> A

I actually thought "the matrix" more effectively 
phildickian than any movie (with the exception of blade 
runner) that i've seen based on an actual philip k dick 
story. i still think that. it's like _ubik_ in a _time out 
of joint_ setting with a certain kind of _divine invasion_ 
or _valis_ sensibility. from the conspiratorially deceptive 
nature of perceived reality to the desert of the real 
papered over by that illusion to the gnostic-religious 
understanding of resistance and even salvation, it's way 
more interesting than, say, "screamers" or "impostor", and 
while i also thought "total recall" was pretty well done, 
it's not nearly as rich as "the matrix". i'm not convinced 
"matrix" exhausts the philosophical concepts it deploys or 
the issues it raises in the way eduardo wants to say it 
does, but i agree that it does not hang together so well 
that it stands up to intense scrutiny. that is not to say, 
however, that it can't be a good  jumping-off point for 
such considerations, even if they are not teased out to our 
satisfaction by the film itself. i haven't been following 
the development of the sequels. i am curious to see whether 
they attempt to pick up any of the philosophical-religious 
threads of the first film, or just leave them dangling. 
unless they do something substantive with those issues, 
they would be better to let the discourse go altogether, 
imo: tossing out rote references to baudrillard or lacan or 
whomever as bones to hip critics will get really really 
annoying really really quickly.


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