|Keys and Messiahs
||[Dec. 19th, 2005|11:45 pm]
Theology of the Matrix
The idea for this post has been stuck in my head, like a splinter in my mind since last night, and this text which dunmoose posted galvanized it:
“O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of Heaven: Come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom.” Isaiah had prophesied, AI will place the Key of the House of David on His shoulder; when he opens, no one will shut, when he shuts, no one will open.” (22:22), and “His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, from David’s throne, and over His kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever.” (9:6).
That comes from today's readings for the Liturgy of the Hours, the Church's official daily prayer, which is prayed by thousands of monks and nuns as well as some lay Catholics, at set times during the day, with different readings for the different liturgical seasons. And of course it reminded me not a little of the part in "The Matrix Reloaded" where Neo has to find and free the Keymaker, who can give him the key to the Source, and so help him continue on his path as the One. I know, from the essay on "The Matrix: Revolutions" written by Bernard White, the devout Catholic actor who played Rama-Kandra in the two sequels, found out that the Wachowski Brothers were raised Catholic (he saw so many Eucharistic and Catholic elements in the films that he ventured to ask the Brothers if they were Catholic), so I couldn't help beginning to wonder if they might have gotten this inspiration (or got an inkling of what might really be going on) from this liturgical text.
There's been a LOT written comparing the plot of the "Matrix" series with the life of Christ; there's one slightly daffy though well-intentioned Evangelical Protestant writer who wrote a book called "The Gospel Reloaded", which, from what I saw of it, sort of fell short of the mark. A lot of Christian writers see Neo, the hero, as a paralell to Christ, but the paralell is imperfect, as Stephen Faller has pointed out better than I can. He isn't *the* Christ, but he is a figure or a type of Christ. The Machines and the humans, probably unwittingly, have played out redemption history on a smaller scale.
In the film, Neo needs the key to enter the Source, where he confronts the Architect, the AI who has designed the Matrix and thus controls it. The Architect has been interpreted by some rather misguided critics, as a figure of God, but I see him as, to use a phrase coined by (I think) Theodore Sturgeon, a "microcosmic god". Rather than act as a benificent entity, the Architect is a coldly malevolent entity who has enslaved the beings in his power -- human and AI alike -- in a system of constrictive rules and regulations which stifle the spirit, where every person, every program has to have a specific purpose or else they are destroyed. But Neo has come, not to destroy the Matrix, not to tear it down, but to transform it through a power which neither the Architect nor Agent Smith, Neo's nemesis and polar opposite, cannot comprehend. So Christ came not to destroy the Old Law, but to fulfill it and renew it.
((Cross-poosted from my own LJ))