The Matrix Reconsidered: Thinking Through Binary Logic in Science Fiction and Social Reality
Gunkel, David J.
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This article employs the conceptual opposition of the red and blue pill that is presented in The Matrix trilogy as a mechanism for investigating the philosophical antagonisms and structural conflicts commonly associated with the ‘information society’. The text is divided into two main parts: The first reconsiders the logical structure of this pharmacological dialectic, arguing that the choice between these two alternatives originates in the history of western thought and demonstrating how this binary arrangement organizes not just science fiction narratives but our understanding of social reality. The second part reconsiders the choice of the red pill. It critiques the assumed value of ‘true reality’ that is expressed in the cinematic narrative and suggests alternative ways to think outside the box of this rather limited binary structure. The objective of such an undertaking is not simply to question the philosophical assumptions of what has been defined as the ‘right choice’ but to learn, through such questioning, to intervene in and undermine its very system. The article, therefore, suggests an alternative method by which to challenge and critique the established network of conceptual oppositions that goes beyond mere revolution and the other familiar strategies of social change.