Return to Source: Philosophy and The Matrix

Return to Source: Philosophy and The Matrix

2004, Philosophy  -   99 Comments
Ratings: 8.60/10 from 257 users.

This documentary goes over many philosophical concepts that inspired, and are presented in, the trilogy. They spend the first half on the original film, and the rest of the time then goes over parts 2 and 3, with a couple of things on the Animatrix shorts.

It consists of clips of aforementioned releases and interviews. It does a good job of informing the audience about the various thoughts, although it would obviously take far longer to go over all the symbolism in them, and one can ask the very appropriate question if something anywhere near that definite and final is even desired, by viewers or the Wachowskis alike.

That does mean that this is limited, but it is likely enough to enlighten and provide food for thought. In line with the series, this may provoke debate, rather than give answers set in stone. Whether one cares for this or not may depend on the extent of their knowledge on the subject, the old ideas, as well as how much they've thought about the presence of such in these three silver screen efforts.

Obviously, it also makes a difference if one particularly wants to think about the meanings one could possibly take out of them.

Directed by: Josh Oreck

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99 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Solatle

    The movie has only one over-reaching philosophical message that is absolutely true: we live in a fake world. Every macro system is fake; the political, economic, financial, legal, and social systems are rigged for the evil banksters and their ilks. We "have been living in a dream world."

  2. Aharon

    From a Judeo-Christian view:
    The architect is represented as GOD The Father of all, the oracle is the devil inspiring those young children, predominantly of "eastern religions to rebel against him, Thomas Anderson (NEO) is the to-be-determined antichrist who is groomed, trained, and instructed on how to defeat the adversary to humanity, Agent Smith is the anointed messenger (Messiah) sent by the architect to restore balance and clone Himself in ALL of the world's inhabitants.

    1. George

      The Christian God is not represented in the matrix. The relationship between the architect and oracle is more akin to the distinction between lucifer and satan. Christian God is seperate from existence. Whereas the matrix is the world in which Satan is god. Everything depicted in the matrix happens within the matrix.

  3. Pachacouti

    The Borg queen tries to flatter Data. He ask's, who are you, she says, I AM borg, to which Data replies, that is a contradiction in terms, correcting her, pointing out the Borg are a COLLECTIVE, (like the bro's), to which the queen says I AM BORG. Sounds like Data was the true ONE in this episode for sure, but I'll also point out, that Neo was not of a group mind like the bro's or borg, he was THE one, as his gang members said, while betting on him actually BEING the ONE. His gang havine doubt's as to him being that ONE.

    I am not one with the bros, but I AM the one, knowing they can hear me, and respond every day to my thought's, proof? feel free to ask, but the bros need only ask bro ed ferguson and his live in bro john, they love to reply to the one voice in their mind, that never speaks, but is heard, and replied to every day as they wind me up till I wind them up stating dead head ed, repeat after me: ed, ed, ed, ed.... in my head ;)

  4. bob

    matrix is made for all those slaves with shirt and tie, making them thinking there is hope, there is an escape, there is something more than this, but there is not and so they try a new cappuccino at starbuck and everything is great again, cattle

  5. Sogi

    Matrix is not a movie it is lifechanging documentray which reflects the truth of human being ,the difference btw conscious human and unconscious one/prisoner.the concept and the procces of transition is shown very artisticly.

  6. Fred Flintstone

    YabadabaDoo. This is a good review. Eye's wide open, not with intrepidation, but elation! Thank you for an amazing adventure inside us. 'Education is a wonderful thing!' - A very close friend.

  7. Michael

    Every one of you, us, are correct.. which means for me to acknowledge all of this, we, you, also have to be wrong.
    Life is energy. There is a positive and a negative for everything thing to have existed. We are Neo, Trinity, Morpheous, Agent Smith, The Oracle, The architect. All at once, and all at different times. The architect only sees his reality... Neo only sees his.. and Agent smith.... UNTIL they see each-others energy. Then energy becomes too positively charged, as we see in that moment we are all us.. we are all one. We always have been and will be.

    ... OR NOT :)

  8. T2

    Why does it seem so difficult both to recognize and to accept the limitations of human consciousness? In the hierarchy of known species, we readily define the range and the limitations of intelligence for every known life form on the planet, that is, except for our own.
    It is obvious that no life form can apprehend any state of consciousness superior to its own, and that even awareness of the existence of another species is always dependent on limits of range and perception. Why then, do we presume that no such limits apply to Homo Sapiens?

  9. We_are_tat

    @Achems_Razor You obviously never heard of Amit Goswami and neither has Hawking if he said what you claims.

  10. Mpundu

    Wow matrix is quantum, the energy and connectivity of the reality.

  11. lsdstrfghtr

    What if I told you there is no truth

  12. Mealer

    The irritating, constant background music in this documentary completely destroys the message .
    Why do so many documentaries nowadays run a constant music score in the background?
    Please stop !!!

  13. david

    what if philosophy is just following the protocols of the mind. If the mind is not perfect, can it be possible to get something perfect from it. why does it lose itself when presented with quantum evidence, could it be that it's 'wiring' or the biological circuity that allows its function is flawed and its impossible to see the flaw since its subjective to its criticism? what if

  14. watwat

    So many comments and not one mention of the anime.

    Whats the name of the anime being showed here>?

  15. Mox

    This document is much blah about nothing. I wasted one hour of my matrixed life.

  16. anagnoresis

    still one of the best movies ever.

  17. LoloDaGreat

    wow...simply wow...i watched all the matrix movies when i was younger and didnt think about things like this so it didnt occur to me how much religion based it was, makes me want to go back and watch em again

  18. Derek Seymour

    fascinating! watching the matrix again

  19. Minh Duong

    I walked out of the first movie saying " Hmm. Buddism 101". Not 5' behind me someone said, "Wow, Christianity 101". LOL

  20. jaberwokky

    I've watched this a number of times now and it's still quite good. It even makes the 2nd or 3rd Matrix movies easier to watch :)

  21. Yassin Ismail

    free....your mind ?

  22. DigiWongaDude

    What a find! Or...did it find me?

  23. Mars Sentinel

    if your answer is a paradox, your question is mal-formed. check premises and assumptions.

  24. Jack Troughton

    Blocked on "copyright" grounds in Canada. Ownership is pretty outdated, Warner Bros.

  25. Alan Gonzalez


  26. AlfBeta

    Thanks! No not travelling world, only about a half-acre; plants, stars, sun...working on my own assorted upload projects..I notice good new docs, but downloading is down to a trickle, another week before I look. BTW while this page was opening from disqus, it flashed a page of yours from Myspace for 2 seconds, have seen such flashes here before.
    The science/religion thing is an interesting confusion!

  27. devlinwaugh

    as for the question about ( Wachowski Bros) they wrote this movie while getting stoned and manipulating the cerebrum.I don't think they intended that people would perceive this film as deep,this is a reflection of the world in most parts but deep i wouldn't call it deep.I would call it a true reflection of reality and control as used over the last few thousand years.

    1. Jae Guevara

      The Matrix was actually a plagiarism of the book "The Third Eye" by Sophia Stewart - look her up

    2. Deejay Es

      u mean Sophia Stewart wrote the movie

    3. Tru

      I think you have a different concept of "deep" then most. And I would be interested if you specified a depper movie about the universe than this! In interviews they even said themselves "This is probably the deepest triology ever made" and I can only concur about that.

  28. devlinwaugh

    i saw myself in the mirror what i thought i was seeing was myself,i realized i wasn't me just the image of me that was created by synapses and neurons.I then asked who and what am i,what is my purpose i know full well all the answers to these questions.I do have fun with my brain sometimes!!! it controls and does 97% of my thoughts and auto muscle reflex.All or most humans get 3% to work with damn its like a crazy hard drive or operating system like vista (elephant stuck in mud).WHY DOES MY BRAIN USE ALL MY RAM!!! i would like a reformat and create a larger section drive please god you noob.Apple do a far better system and we evolved from monkeys!!!!!!.

  29. Namit Sinha

    quite watchable must watch for every one , and it has got excellent blending of information with movie , my view of THE MATRIX is changed forever GOOD WORK WHO EVER THE PUBLISHER OF THIS DOCUMENTARY IS

  30. ed

    Just a question, do you think that the Wachowski Bros really intended this or really incorporated this much philosophy into the film or it's just how people / philosophers perceived it?

  31. LLaqui

    I love the way Philosophy opens minds

  32. Henry Czuprinski

    duplicate message-- deleted

  33. Henry Czuprinski

    Sadly it appears the majority of interviewees are quoting Western philosophers, while the concepts of the story are actually grounded in Eastern thought.... a realm of reality that western logic cannot penetrate.
    The realm beyond language, in fact. Consciousness itself. IMO
    OK, Ken Wilbur is the exception, right.

  34. Henry Czuprinski

    Finally , a philosophical discussion of the Matrix..... I've rewatched the Trilogy just recently, and its spiritual (philosophical) richness is astounding for a couple of geeky writers first major films.
    Interestingly I've also just rewatched Little Buddha (1993) in which Keanu portrays Siddarth the Buddha, and mention an Oracle is is part of his story as well. (Not entirely a coincidence, I suspect.)
    Not since Kubricks 2001 has an adventure film seemed this deeply spiritual/philosophical to me. The incessant fist fights-gunplay with Neo DID get somewhat weary to me, but I expect that was necessary to get it made.

  35. Karen Fernández

    how is spelled the other type of christianity that is mentioned in the second part??? sounds like asti, nasti, lasti.... anyone??

    1. Ray Vellest

      That was Agnosticism, hope it helps! :)

    2. rose fivefold


  36. Karl Jacobs

    religious philosophy, here it comes... Krishna & Co

  37. Karmiccontrail

    Krishna's philosophy is the ultimate undefeatable philosophy.
    When your finished with your illusionary movie world and want to know the absolute truth read any books on Krishna consciousness or read online and go to your local temple, other wise you stay in illusion no matter how many coloured pills you take.


    1. Anwiya Youkhanna

      I'm sure you believe it's undefeatable. Yes, the belief supports survival instinct, does it not?

    2. Thang Tran

      To claim that any philosophy is undefeatable is to not understand philosophy.

    3. Ash Sharp

      What is the philosophy of Krishna??????????? Why is it unbeatable? I can guarantee without even knowing much about the philosophy i can find many flaws in it. Up for the Challenge?

  38. Atomic_Hog

    And there was me thinking that the matrix was just another film... Some very interesting concepts and interpretations, and i dont think i'll ever see the matrix as just a film anymore.

  39. Aidan Skillings

    I've always found the matrix very interesting, though admittedly....I think I might have a missed a few of it's (open to interpretation) meanings. What I got out of the matrix movies was, "Is it really okay to be independent and truly free, if it means contradicting my happiness?". Well, either way, I still don't plan on converting to Sheeple-ism. x'D

  40. Davily Guy LaRiviere

    Some good points and interesting readings, what is lacking in this one, though, is any kind of critique of the Matrix as propagating a Platonic system. Certainly there is an acknowledgment of the Platonic "good" as related to "the One", the ineffable "Model" as it were, but nowhere is there the observation that this supposedly divine, certainly "heroic" subject is placed at the privileged peak of a hierarchy that has always been the moralizing road-map to despotism. The Matrix makes sexy our most innate colonial entitlements with a humorless, wooden delivery, bogged down in its own lead-weighted self-importance, and it does so because it assumes that its own masterful production values have made it a bona fide "Model" of sorts. Its surprising that, for all of the well spoken and intelligent people that they gathered to speak to this film, nobody raised the specter that the matrix "illusion" may well be the philosophy it pedals: one that denigrates this existence, the present alive for a speculative, inaccessible/transcendental other. Nihilism is the denigration of this existence in deference to a speculative other that denies difference, totalizes being into an "essential truth", and finds the present existence blame-worthy and in need of judgment. Too bad that that little bit of Nietzsche didn't sneak into and of the perspectives offered in this film

  41. vishnunkk


  42. Vic Seay

    Just watched this. Very informative. I think the documentary is dead on about the ideas presented. I do not think we will ever see another film series which presents these ideas and concepts in such a stunning and imaginative way again. I remember when the Matrix first came out..the other movie studios were scrambling and trying to come out with "Matrix" like movies...."The Thirteenth Floor",etc.....and none could even come close to the Matrix in terms of dealing with these ideas.

  43. CapnCanard

    12 years ago when I first saw the Matrix I saw those connections but I never bothered to watch the next two films, D'oh! but now I see that it is essential to watch them, and to reread the Upanishads, read some Taoism, and more Hindu mythology etc. Nice little Doc. Well done Vlatko!

    1. Vic Seay

      Just watch the movies and enjoy them. If you want to drag through Hindi texts and such and such that is up to you. Why not watch the films and watch this again instead?

  44. Alex Wang

    God Exists if you Believe. Everything is subjective. If you have an imagination powerful enough to delude you into thinking you can fly, YOU CAN FLY.

    1. Vic Seay

      so....what are you trying to say? Are you sure that is what you are trying to say? Or are you just trying to say what you are supposed to try to say and if you believe you are saying that...are you sure YOU are saying it?

    2. Marcy White

      I wanna fly .....

  45. Hammer2Fall

    We can disregard all movies as works of art however sometimes parallels can be drawn with our own environment. If the book is still in print and the author is respected, the book will be advertised and referred to constantly, whenever opportunity arises. The printed book has much to answer for. A few further thoughts....

    As far as I am aware the Wachowski Brothers had no religious ideas on their mind, when they produced the matrix series but we do know for sure, religious symbolism has been reinforced everyday of their lives and the spirit world is voiced by every religion. MAtki Bozej indeed!

    Given that most people including religious folk are imprisoned in conformity and dependency, we can expect little in the advancement of research and enlightenment from these blockheads, living inside the prison walls of their own minds.

    Human beings have restricted vision therefore we are not really in a position to judge our environment based on visibility alone. Technology has done a splendid job of hammering in the limitations of all human beings.

    Invisibility? There has never been a positive and financial benefit in any social structure globally, for those ranked #1 to divulge information about anything, including the Old World Order (if you don't have knowledge of the Old World how can you claim something is New?), and any "supposed" matrix type structure that might exist, to the mass blockheads lower down at #10.

    So for those claiming "nothing is happening" because they can not see it or they have no knowledge of it, think again. Stay humble, I know, that I know nothing!

    1. Vic Seay

      Oh I am sure the Wachowski's knew what they were doing. There is just too many references to these ideas in the films. I have to agree on one point though. Once you learn something...doesnt always mean that that knowledge is necessarily a GOOD thing. Sometimes ignorance is bliss...remember Cypher in the first film? Once you KNOW....there is NO going back. Not for everybody is knowledge says Yoda...LOL!

    2. Guest

      And Jack says, "You can't handle the truth!" (lol)

  46. lex lexich


  47. Achems_Razor

    Am watching, why is this doc. discussing christianity and their Jesus, can't believe it, no matter what you do, where you go, or what you watch, always the religee's are there.

    This is about a simulated universe, computer generated, not formed by any hands of any invisible gods. And not similar to any religions even thou they try to make it so.

    1. Guest

      Like the one commentator said, these films are really a kind of "jazz philosophy". There are all kinds of philosophic and religious ideas strewn throughout them in a hodgepodge... The very first time I watched the first film, it was impossible to miss the "messiah" motif in Neo, but I don't think they intended "Jesus" so much as "Jesus-like," in the sense of a savior of the people, and then it carries on from there in very different directions. No one is required to worship Neo, for example. You might just as easily look at the character as a variation of Beowulf... As for invisible gods, that's in reference to some of Descartes' ideas about the limits of our ability to understand our ultimate reality, and is really the central theme of the whole business; his argument about the "evil genius," and all that.

    2. Achems_Razor

      Right, but I do not see any religious motifs in the matrix's at all, I suppose because there is no god thoughts or god references of such in my mind at all.

      The way I see it is that the religious see their gods in everything all the time even in a computer simulated world, that seems to be the most upper-thing in their minds.

    3. Guest

      I do wonder a little bit how much of what these people say is there was actually intended by the film-makers.

    4. kman67

      I think you're missing the whole VALUE of the Matrix and what was discussed in the doc; it is really about inner truth which leads to self or spiritual enlightenment. What value does a computer generated universe have?

      Science and technology isn't the world's saviour --- if we don't resolve our indifferences and ethical deficiencies 'scientific breakthroughs' won't mean crap if there is anarchy and destruction everywhere.

    5. Achems_Razor

      Right, rub on, wipe off. I as a rule do not miss anything. Just because a kid bent a spoon on the matrix does not mean spirituality, or religious. See if you can bend a spoon with your mind in real life. Uri Geller? fake.

      You can basically read anything you want into the movie.
      A computer generated universe has as much value as the universe we live in, zilch! There is no past, not real, and the future basically never arrives, each one of our now's are instantly transposed into the past spontaneously.

      Science and technology is the "ONLY" saviour there is for the world and human survival, religion is the cause of all strife, and when that is obliterated, peace shall reign, because the money elite that use religion as control cannot survive. Religion was invented so the poor wouldn't kill the rich.

    6. Marshall Jarreau

      Religion has caused a slew of problems, but nuclear bombs weren't built by Christians or Muslims. Scientists did that. We are all responsible for the current state of our world.

    7. Achems_Razor

      @Marshall Jarreau:

      Right, and how do you know that some of the scientists were not, or are not religious, did you ask them?

    8. Epicurus

      i understand your point but think about this.

      the scientists that created the bombs didnt drop them. they used their knowledge acquired through the scientific method to produce something that WORKS.

      i would say that the people who made the decision to use the working bomb were religious (however i highly doubt their motives to use it were driven by religion).

      just when people say religion causes problems its because one religion makes one claim and another one make the same claim or an opposite claim and this causes strife.

      when there is disagreements in science it doesnt lead to death or wars. that is the big difference.

    9. David Foster

      "the scientists that created the bombs didnt drop them. they used their knowledge acquired through the scientific method to produce something that WORKS."

      In other words: "Just doing their job."

      Sometimes I hope there IS a god just so I can hear his reaction to that line!

    10. Epicurus

      doing their job or not, the job they did works showing the method they use actually works. that was my take away point.

    11. Michael Marquis

      you're pretty spot on about what religion has become... but the spiritual aspects BEHIND (some) religion are what will bring peace.

  48. Hammer2Fall

    A refreshing documentary and a positive stimulant for watching the Matrix and V for Vendetta again.

    Has anyone here found an answer yet, for: Why am I here? We don't seem to be doing much on planet earth, except exist.....

    1. Noah

      Create peace and be peace

  49. Paul So

    YES FINALLY!!!!!

  50. Charles Alderson

    Did I miss something while I was asleep? These post seem to indicate I did :( Maybe it was just changed or deleted.

  51. Guest

    A baby learns to express no before yes by mimicking, as it becomes a child.
    A child is taught to not ask stupid questions as it becomes a teenager, an ego driven person.
    A teenager learns that present science and/or specific religion knows an infinite amount of things he has no clue of and never will catch up, as he becomes an adult.
    An adult looks at his life as reality.
    This goes on for the majority!

    I am an adult who no longer is told what to not think. I am an adult who is not ashamed of asking "stupid questions". I am an adult who thinks: "if we had it all right, it would be alright". I am not intimidated to say i was wrong as much as i am not intimidated to say "I think" i am right, which doesn't mean I am right.
    And when i have no clue, i listen because it is always someone's turn to learn something

    Try this. Do a miracle. Pick something easy, and change it by will. Don't pray to a God outside of you, gather the energy of the Godly inside of you and just stare connected to it for a minute or two (eye gazing in a mirror helps)...really connected and then Let go... and wait.
    If it worked don't tell anyone, do it again, telling brakes the flow.
    The more you are God, the more we are God. One person can only be a sand size God, but millions of particle created one earth, one God could be created the same way.

    I am not saying God exist, i have been saying it could exist.
    All we need is to get "pregnant" of IT.

    Dear Graduated from education,
    Please ask your Self. In all the years you were in school, did you ever have the thoughts you see coming from people you mock so quickly here? You may have let society answer for you and therefore suggest to others to do the same.

    a great DOC about 3 great films
    @Achems I do believe a loaf of bread was kneaded here if not baked yet.


    1. Guest

      Are you annoyed (or even angry?) because so many of us had a problem with the conclusion of the pyramid doc? For myself, I can promise you nothing I said over there was directed at anything you had to say in any way. Maybe I don't know enough about the subject, but I just don't think, based on their work, the film-makers were being intellectually honest in reaching the conclusions they did, however precisely they qualified that by calling it a mere supposition.

    2. Guest

      "A lot" about the pyramid is supposition. To some the accepted theory might sound just as intellectually dishonest.
      A doc is doc and to make a doc you need money and ideas.
      To allow one to pass an idea, in this case the age of the pyramid, one has to bend to what the world (on average) will watch while seeding some important truth...which is precisely what they had to appears to me.
      Thousands and thousands of non curious about the GIZA pyramid will at least pay a bit of attention now.

      Mad, and yes
      I find bullshit to be a big brown word but i also know that when i plant my Hubbard squash they do a lot better when i plant them directly in horse dirt!

      I also think i was getting a little bit out of hand with our personal joking. Vlatko would agree, i think. The world loves to laugh, so do i, but they need to get the joke in forums like this one and many times the jokes, were inside jokes.

      I am not hanging my smile, but at the moment something a little more serious caught my attention.

    3. Guest

      You weren't getting out of hand at all, from my point of view. That would be me, all the way. The way I see it, I need to "lighten up and get serious." (lol)

      I'm going to head back over to the pyramid site and ask you a question about them...

    4. verseinu

      I don't think it is fair to limit your question to 'Graduated from formal education'. Thats a question for every human being regardless of education. All our lives we are all exposed to information coming from many different sources, and I think we all inevitably pass some of it along.

    5. Guest

      agreed and changed...sounds a lot better like this, includes any 1.
      thanks for reading!

    6. Achems_Razor

      I still say philosophy bakes no bread, no matter how much it is kneaded, seems like that is all it does is knead, philosophy that is. Now I will watch the doc.

    7. lex lexich

      c'mon friend, philosophy is mother of all science, and it will be mother of all (evolutional) progress in human thought

    8. Achems_Razor

      @lex lexich:

      Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds, according to Richard Feynman.

      Stephen Hawking uses his new book.."The Grand Design" to admonish philosophers for failing to keep up.
      Hawking's believes that since science has so far outstripped philosophy it is time for the thinkers to leave the field to the guys with the protractors and pocket calculators.

    9. Vlatko


      It should be noted that every major science, including physics, biology, and chemistry are all disciplines that originally were considered philosophy. As speculation and analysis about nature became more developed, these subjects branched away. This is a process that continues even today; psychology only split in the past century. In our own time, subjects such as consciousness studies, decision theory, and applied ethics have increasingly found independence from philosophy as a whole. Because of this, philosophy seems useful because it makes new kinds of science!

      Taken from aunt wiki.

    10. Achems_Razor


      Yes was considered as philosophy because the word scienctist was not invented as yet.

      English philosopher and historian of science, William Whewell, coined the term "scientist" in 1833 and it was first published in Whewells anonymous 1834 review.

      Taken from uncle wiki.

    11. Guest

      We are the oven and until we turn ourself ON....we will continue to get uncooked dough that keeps rising.

    12. CapnCanard

      az, intriguing ... are you suggesting Psychomanteum? Personally I have no faith in a god(s). But the idea of consciousness is impossible to ignore and the many branches of thought(mostly eastern) do suggest the idea of connectivity. Since I have had some success with intentional methods I will try to do a miracle. Sometimes the wacky needs wackiness, or rather it is natural to for the wacked to be wacky..

    13. Guest

      I wasn't because i had never heard of the word, but yes in my own way for many years now.
      The more you do it, the more you do it. I am almost a wacky "expert" ( is that scientist in English?).

    14. AlfBeta

      That post was a good breakfast meditation!
      "I am not saying God exist, i have been saying it could exist.
      All we need is to get "pregnant" of IT."
      your/our ways of expressing things not easy to 'explain', your metaphors, add to our experience, and remind me of the enormity of the power of little black marks on white in the human reality, cascading thru our emotional and physical states such as a smile...hullo again!

    15. Guest

      Hi there...been a long time since you last visited.
      Were you travelling the world?
      Not much changes here....same old same old religion versus science arguments. But many good docs have been posted.
      You got some watching to do.
      Welcome back!

  52. NAND Gate


  53. Charles Alderson

    Time to re-watch some old movies! Never thought much of love fitting into my idea of enlightenment. Maybe this is the piece I have been missing from the puzzle that is me.

  54. pulunco

    Love this doc, great find Vlatko!!

  55. Guest

    @Atheist13, where have you been? I really want to hear what you have to say about this one.