The Matrix: Unknowable

Many enjoyed “The Matrix”, and were inspired to create their own fiction in that world. What other stories would I want to tell?

(1) I saw “The Matrix”, and I liked it. Watched alone, I think it stands up: as a thematic whole, with paranoia and unreliable narrative throughout. Character interactions and setting minutae are secondary. What you’re seeing instead are symbols of characters – “Cipher”, “Dozer” – casting shadows on blank screen. The story is, overall, a redpill: it halts the narrative its in and reaches out to the viewer perceiving it. There was once was a Thomas, and he was not the One; he died. But, he was not dead, and he returned as the One. Freedom granted him limitless power.

(2) I was an undergrad, battered by the throes of the computer science curriculum: too much all-nighters, too much caffeine, all CRT screens and halogen lights, buzzing sounds and naps sitting upright or dreaming. It was a cruel education; although, I think there were some nights, as I strained to climb the stairs back to my room, that I almost felt the stairs give way, slightly. I almost felt the hardened world swish around me as I ceased to pay attention, and perhaps if I looked past the corner of my eye, I’d see the bright yellow-on-black outlines and edges where detail broke through, and the thin structure of the simulation would finally show itself.

(3) In the first movie especially, there’s so much uncertainty and gray weariness aboard the ship, The Nebuchadnezzar. What year is it? Is there really a Zion? (We never see outside the ship.) (We don’t need to, you see.)

(4) If you emulate a genre or story, you do want to service its characters, settings, details: all the bits you cherished and wished for more of. You want to service the story you’re emulating. However, some authors would plead that you not do this: you are taking material of the story to be its subject, when they are only its object and stage. The subject is at arms length, and you’ve missed it already. It is not for us to continue the story or retell the story, but to retell its telling to us, for that’s the only accurate story there is.

(5) I was reading a Johnny Cash biography, and there were references to the Christian phrase: “God’s Kingdom”. The semantics of this, to an American liberal, sound initally like a claim towards an inherently Judeo-Christian America, but I realized this wasn’t the point. Instead: imagine that, trapped in all of this current world – your Car, your Job, your Aunt – are a few threads of what is actually real – (death + pride), (greed + sloth), (vices + virtues). You could scald away much of the world, and indeed your own body would eventually come apart from this world, but there’s something real beyond it that remains. The real world, that you give your heart for, day in and out. A real world that will, one fine day, crash down upon the world we live in, making us free at last. When a believer is speaking, what do they see?

(6) I saw the final movie of the Matrix trilogy; looking back, I could make some sense of it all if I reimagined all these events as the muddled, re-creolize, reinterpreted Gospel that parents within a matrix tell their children. Yes, my darlings: the world we have is a much greater one than the one before, due to the sacrifice of the One. And yes, if you believe hard enough, you will come to understand and overcome the world you are in; you’ll see beyond this world, and the next, just like the One.

5 thoughts on “The Matrix: Unknowable

  1. Oh man, please tell me this is the beginning of a game. I can’t tell you how much 4 and 5 grabbed at me. The idea of a spiritual/emotional “Matrix”, and the idea of telling the same story about the same fundamental thematic threads in completely different ways is really exciting.

    (And this is coming from someone who hated the second two Matrix movies)

  2. I think this is, at least, a flag in the ground about what kind of Matrix game I’d like to play (or what fanfic I’d write). I don’t know if its own game design; maybe simply for a game to ad-hoc together and play, possibly.

    Incidentally, what’s really cool is watching the first movie with the subtitles on and just the soundtrack (no dialogue; it’s a real audio-track option!). It’s quite impressive.

  3. I have been wanting to run a Gnostic parable game for a few months now, and have had ideas rattling around my head for it. Mostly I’ve been thinking about hacking up the Don’t Rest Your Head Rules for my purposes. Nothing may ever come of it, but it’s funny we’re having similar notions.

  4. I really like the idea of fanfic that recreates the original subject of its fandom rather than running parallel. You probably could have guessed that from 108 Bravos, though. Make an oracle and we’ll play this shit. You can play the Doubting Thomas, if you want. I bet you could say “Whoa” convincingly :)

    Also, you make me suspect that there are multiple reasons that the One is named after the apostle who supposedly went to India, wrote the most famous non-canonical gospel, and was by some accounts Jesus’ twin brother.

  5. Pingback: FGJ Games » Blog Archive » Matrix: rules roundup

Comments are closed.