MuhAMMAD ALI “Blue pill or the red pill?” – “You take the blue pill, the story ends… You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe… You take the red pill; you stay in the Wonderland. And I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes,” Morpheus asks Neo in Wachowski’s blockbuster film ‘The Matrix’ launched in 1999. Do these well-known traces from Wachowski’s blockbuster film ‘The Matrix’ launched in 1999 ring a bell in our minds? Was Matrix only a sci-fi film or way more than that? What was the precise plot of the film? (I wager majority of us are nonetheless struggling to search out out the actual reply).
Was there any connection between the essential story line of the film and Jean Baudrillard concept of ‘Simulacra and Simulation.’ What 1000’s of years outdated Plato’s ‘Allegory of Cave’ has to do with the film and the idea of Simulacra? The solutions to those intriguing and mind-blowing questions are in all probability as advanced because the film itself.
Nevertheless, let’s attempt to make an endeavour to reply a few of these questions. Let’s begin with the extra advanced ideas, Baudrillard’s ‘Simulacra and Simulation.’ Maybe the well-known French thinker and cultural theorist Jean Baudrillard received inspiration from Plato’s ‘Allegory of Cave’ which turned the premise of his well-known e book ‘Simulacra and Simulation’ revealed in 1981. No matter he prophesized, a long time in the past, is showing to be true in current instances. Nevertheless, majority of us misunderstood him when he proposed such concepts. Alongside JeanFrançois Lyotard’s, Baudrillard too was satisfied that we stay in hyperreality.
However he went a step forward in proposing his philosophy. What’s Hyperreality in spite of everything? Baudrillard sees it in a distinct perspective. In keeping with him we stay in a Simulacrum; that means a digital area the place the truth has been changed by simulations, representations, pictures and extra exactly false pictures. The setting is so fluid that we can not distinguish between the actual and the unreal. He took the world by storm when he made essentially the most controversial assertion (for some), “The Gulf war did not take place,” that means that the truth of the warfare was introduced to the world as (mis) represented of re-represented by the media. The photographs and media setting seemed extra actual and influencing than the actual. Once more, majority of us misunderstood what he truly meant.
Baudrillard was of the view that in modern instances the hyperreality is so intoxicating, fascinating and mesmerizing that we wish to stay inside it. As a result of the actual seems to be boring, laborious to digest, stuffed with challenges that’s why knowingly (or unknowingly), we wish to take refuge in hyperreality. Santa Claus is hyperreality, Disneyland is hyperreality, the tooth fairy is hyperreality. We’ve got grown up all these years believing that Disney was actual and it had princes and princesses, kings and queens, dwarfs, Cinderella and Snow White and what not.
Mickey and Minnie mouse had their actual houses in Disneyland. Santa Claus lived in North Pole alongside together with his associates and flies world wide on his sledge pulled by reindeers (with the pace of sunshine) carrying items as per youngsters’s needs. However on the age of ten or so, this so-called actuality (hyperreality) began to collapse. Do you keep in mind the expression of your little one once you disclosed to her or him for the primary time that Santa Claus was not actual. And it was your mom who put cash beneath your pillow final evening as an alternative of the tooth fairy. The expression would let you know all. Different examples will be the IR and VR video games the place the matrix seems higher than actual and we want to stay in it a lot of the instances.
That is nothing however the idea of ‘Suspended Disbelief’ as coined by nearly all of hyperreality philosophers. However how this Simulacra works. Baudrillard defined that the Simulacra and Simulation occurs in 4 levels, every consultant of a historic period. The primary stage, the ‘Sacramental Order’ refers back to the period of pre-modern instances after we had the trustworthy, first copy of the actual time occasion or object and the picture was unanimously acknowledged as only a place maker for the unique.
Then got here the second stage of simulacra which remained dominant throughout the industrial revolution branded because the ‘Order of Maleficence.’ On this stage, the truth exists however is extremely distorted in illustration. The excellence between the actual and picture started to breakdown as there was mass manufacturing of the copy of the unique utilizing the mass media means. Within the third stage, known as the ‘Order of Sorcery’ which dominated the trendy and starting of postmodern period, the simulacra introduced the trustworthy copy with out the presence of the unique.
Right here the indicators and pictures claimed to have originated from the unique however that’s not true. Within the fourth stage, the product of postmodern instances, we’re solely left with the ‘precession of the simulacra’ that means there was completely no relationship between simulation and the truth. It was essentially the most intriguing idea the place indicators and pictures confer with different copies and pictures solely. A perspective of ‘total equivalency’ the place no person cared that there was an unique or not. The fictional cartoon, film characters and summary artwork are a few of the examples.
To summarize, the simulation determines the unique or precedes the unique. Let’s rewind and return to 12 months 1999 to analyse the block buster film, ‘The Matrix’ and attempt to perceive its hidden message and discover out any relevance with the present-day world. The principle character ‘Neo’ (performed by Keanu Reeves), lived in a synthetic world construct by a pc program often called the matrix and so are the thousands and thousands of different folks inside it till someday when he comes throughout ‘Morpheus’ (performed by Laurence Fishburne).
When supplied to search out out ‘the truth,’ Neo takes the purple tablet. One vital level to notice within the film that the actual world proven was darkish, colourless, boring and life much less whereas the so known as simulated unreal world ‘The Matrix,’ created by laptop program and machines was lively and color. Neo notices this distinction when he goes again to the matrix for the primary time after taken the tablet. It’s very laborious for him to imagine that the matrix the place he had handed his total life pursuing his targets, accomplishments and good instances, was not actual. Nevertheless, there was one other character ‘Cypher’ (the villain) within the film who lived exterior the matrix onboard Morpheus ship ‘the Nebuchadnezzar’ for years. He had taken the purple tablet too however thought-about it to be a flawed determination. He needed to return to ‘The Matrix’ as a result of he thought-about it to be extra charming and provoking. Similar to these youngsters who when come to know in the course of time of their lives that Disneyland was not actual (identical to matrix), nonetheless needed to imagine in it, nonetheless needed to stay in that fantasy world all through their lives. However the query is Why? The reply lies within the Baudrillard’s fourth stage of simulacra as defined earlier. In current instances let’s first take instance of the media and its ever rising invasion on our cognition, attitudes and behaviours.
The aim of the media isn’t just to supply info and present us the truth however to re-represent the truth in its personal perspective and persuade us to see the world and our society via the lens of their introduced (or represented) pictures of the so-called actuality. The media considers us a commodity and as an alternative of offering info they produce cultural merchandise within the garb of juicy information, cleaning soap operas and discuss exhibits. Promoting campaigns, digital advertising and e-commerce platforms on social media persuade us to purchase and make purchases of merchandise and items even when we’re not in want of them.
Nevertheless, they create that false want via simulated actuality displaying hyperreal objects, characters (within the type of celebrities) and filtered info that we fall pray to it. One other space which influenced our international village is the idea of ‘exchange-value’. It implies that the cash has grow to be the ‘universal equivalent’ towards which every little thing in our society is measured, it determines the value of every little thing in current instances. Right here once more the paper foreign money signify the perceived actuality that are distant from the actual objects, actual items and their actual meanings. These are the instances when we have now stopped considering of bought objects or items by way of their ‘use-value’ however their ‘perceived value’. As per Jean Baudrillard, we stay in hyperreal world, the world wherein we have now no distinction what’s actual and what’s fiction. Each are blended interchangeably and seamlessly that it’s laborious to search out out the place the boundary of which one ends and the place the opposite one’s begins.
It’s as if we’re ‘living in the blur’. Nevertheless, essentially the most attention-grabbing facet is that for majority of us the truth seems to be difficult, laborious to digest and a lot of the instances brings sorrow and grief. That’s why the folks, right this moment, willingly choose to stay in hyperreality the place they’ve full management over their lives (identical to the character of ‘Cypher’ within the film), the place their simulated ‘Avatars’ can carry out the unimaginable, the place the simulated fantasy can deliver them bliss, the place they’ll discover refuge from the cruelty of the reality, the place the ‘bots’ masquerading as actual people might do the super-hero stuff, the place via the usage of ‘Virtual Reality’ video games you possibly can create your personal model of actuality, the place the mass media persuades the mass societies to imagine that the illustration is extra essential than what’s being represented.
One ultimate query stays. Have all of us wilfully and knowingly taken the ‘Blue Pill’ by alternative? And wish to stay trapped inside Baudrillard ‘Simulacra and Simulation’ for a extra gratified digital that means of our lives. Or there are some daring and the brave like ‘Neo’ who’re keen to take the ‘Red Pill’ and make an earnest endeavour to search out out the truth or the target reality. However there may be one other query, ‘Is there any reality left anymore in present day hyperreal world?’ I depart it to you to investigate and make a ultimate determination.
‘The Blue Pill or the Red Pill.’ –The author is a PhD Scholar and will be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org