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Key Points Of Idealism In 'The Matrix'

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Politics
Wordcount: 1433 words Published: 15th May 2017

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One of the best movie trilogy of the decade is “The Matrix” , made by Larry and Andy Wachowski’s 1999 movie. The plot revolves around a young man by the name of Thomas Anderson who lives a double life; by day he is just another ordinary, anonymous citizen in a modern city, but by night, Thomas takes on the character of Neo, a renamed hacker.

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As a hacker, Thomas soon discovers that within the Internet lies a whole other network; one that is much more complex. Through this, Neo discovers that the world he had believed to be real was actually false – a mirage, created by somebody. In reality, his idealistic, Utopian world, run by highly intelligent machines, differed immensely from the actual real world.

One of the main idea that the film portrays draws on the possibility that humans actually hold a skewed image of our experiences, the objects we represent, and the world in general; what we well thought was real may not actually exist. The film Set is in the future after a nuclear war, the planet has been discovered to have been invaded by robots, thus making it uninhabitable by normal means. In order to control and dominate the human race, these robots have implanted small amounts of a special fluid, known as “bio-port”, in the nervous system of every human being. These bio-ports function as a means of brainwashing and influence the minds of the humans, causing them to believe that nothing in their world has changed.

As a result, the humans fail to realize that they have become slaves to the robots. In other words, the world in which the people live in and their everyday experiences are in fact just illusions produced by computer acting directly on their brains (the matrix). People who live in this “world” live in a virtual world, created by the machine.

Nevertheless, some individuals, it is unclear how, managed to escape the action of the computer and see the world as it, the real world. They then try to fight the machine with the help of their savior, Neo so they can live in the ideal world, where the machines are not in power.

The Matrix illustrates the concept or theory of idealism that Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States, wanted to apply international relations/politics. When talking about global politics, Idealist sees international relation as they should be and not how it is (realism). For an idealist, international relation should be harmonious, with a balance of power between different Country and the respect for international law guaranteed by a global organization. Wilson also believed that what was profitable and advantageous for his country would also greatly benefit other foreign nations.

Like Wilson, in movie, the main character Neo and a group of the human population want to fight the machine so they can live in an ideal world, different from the one they are currently living.

Another concept in the movie that relate to idealism is based on the philosopher Socrates’ idea of the “Allegory of the Cave”. In the book “the republic”, Socrates is speaking about his ideal city, but also talk about how people sometimes believe they are living in the best world possible, when in fact they are not. The allegory of the cave describes a situation in which men have been chained inside a dark cave, facing the same blank wall since birth. The closest representations of images that these men have are projections of shadows from the entry of the cave that they cannot see. These projections, while not accurate representations of the real world, are the only images the men have ever seen since birth. Thus, they are regarded by the men to be true representations of the world. When one of them finally leaves or escapes the cave and sees the real world- Like Neo did in the movie by disconnecting himself from the fake world- he will try to tell the people who stayed in the cave that the world that they are living in is false. To relate it to idealism in international relation, we can pick a country like France or the United Sate who advocate idealism in a sense that they want other nations (or people living in other nation) to also live in the best possible country they can. For example, an idealist would like to see the citizens from North Korea live in a country with freedom and democracy, like Neo wanted to make people living in a dream world to see the real world as it was and then build their ideal world by fighting the machines. The movie also shows that not everybody chooses to see the truth even if presented to them, simply because it can be ugly at times. An example would be when Morpheus (the person that shows Neo the real world) in the beginning gives Neo the opportunity a choice between discovering the truth and staying in the dream world, or see the world as it is and make it better. In relation to politics and international relations, an example of a country like that today would be North Korea or Ex-Communist countries such as Russia, where citizens believed that they were living in ideals worlds. In addition, the United States has also had some presidents that used Idealist policies as their international policy, like George W Bush or Woodrow Wilson. They wanted to be like the United States (democracy, capitalism). The good thing is that the US is a democracy, which means that even if they adopt an idealist position as their foreign policy is would not hurt other countries as bad as a communist country like North Korea, the USSR or a dictatorship Germany by Hitler was in power.

Another theme in the movie that related to Wilson’s idea of Idealism is liberty which is by definition The condition of being free from restriction or control . For example, for the founding fathers, liberty was their ideal, so they fought England to become a free nation. In the movie when Neo understand that he is controlled by the machine, he wants to become free.

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Is an individual considered to be free if he/she operates in world he believes to be true, but in reality is not? Is a human considered to be free if he/she is used like a toy in a virtual world? Those questions come in the mind of the viewers while watching the matrix, and challenge them to consider whether they are actually free or if in fact they would never know if they were in a dream. Since Neo had never experienced true freedom, he made the decision to seek out the truth in the real world, that was his ideal, but he also wanted to save the others that were still dreaming.

In creating the character of Neo (who eventually succeeds in crossing the boundaries of his own universe into the real world), the film makers tried to share an understanding that we get caught in different dilemmas, having to be realistic or idealist; Pragmatic or idealist.


The Movie “The Matrix” illustrates the concept of Idealism, which can be applied in the field of International Relations. Many countries strongly believe that their views are the best and attempt to impose their ideals on other countries. President Woodrow. Wilson’s idealistic vision of international relations focused on seeing things as they should be and as one would hope them to be. On the contrary, a realist would see things only as they are (Machiavelli). Wilson also believed that international relations ought to be harmonious and peaceful, enforced through the obedience of states with rules of international law and order guaranteed by supranational organization, “There must be, not a balance of power, but a community of Powers, not organized rivalries, but an organized common peace “(Speech, January 22, 1917 in the Senate, Wilson). Wilson challenged the traditional European diplomacy that was based on different alliances and behind the door contract. As a firm believer in the concept of international alliance, he believed in the cooperation of states and multilateralism; decision making in terms of external action should be taken in consultation with the international community and / or based on joint action. The movie also demonstrates that we should be cautious of any sort of authority and that we should be wary of any form of obedience that requires some kind of blind submission to authority.

Try to recap the MAIN POINTS of your paper at the end here….need a good conclusion…you want to explain how ALL your themes in the movie relate to Wilson’s view of idealism…just make it clear 


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