English 738T, Spring 2015
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Matrix and Baudrillard Questions

Posted by Justin Thompson on Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 at 10:25 am
    1. Explain, in your own words, Baudrillard’s concept of the simulation and the simulacrum. Give an example (and feel free to take one of the examples from the book).

    2. What is the real? What is the hyperreal? What does it mean to no longer have referents?

    3. Based on this week’s reading, how do you understand the distinction between real and digital in The Matrix? What role does the gaze or the eyes play in this negotiation?

    4. In his stages of the real (see handout for clarification), is Baudrillard saying that we had access to the real during an earlier historical moment?

    5. What about capitalism (and the industrial revolution before) caused us to lose access to the real?

    6. Baudrillard says that the real no longer exists. Do we agree? What are the implications for philosophy, for art, for technology if Baudrillard is right?

    7. The Matrix goes so far as to name the area where liberated humans are introduced to the idea of the matrix as the “desert of the real.

    8. How does the film interpret Baudrillard? Is the Matrix a simulation? Does that mean Zion (and the machine world) are the real?

    9. What does it mean that “naturally” born characters, like Tank, do not have access to the simulation? Are they more human? Is this possible?

    10. References to religion are numerous in The Matrix. How does the Matrix complicate the concepts of (pro)creation, origin, and finally femininity?

    11. Are the humans in the Matrix actually machines? Where is this line drawn in the movie? What characters transgress these boundaries and what does this mean?

    12. What, ultimately, are the humans defending?

    13. How does the movie reinterpret and play with the system of the sign (referent, signifier, signified) previously discussed in Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation?

    14. How does the Matrix utilize the affordances of the digital environment, as outlined by Murray?

    15. What about the separation between mind and body? How does it affect the notion of the self?

    16. In the world of the Matrix, only the “mind” can enter the simulation, even though choices made in the simulation can affect the body in the real. Is the film endorsing a mind/ body dualism or is it rejecting such philosophy? Or is the discussion more nuanced?

    17. Would Baudrillard take the red pill or the blue pill?

    18. Who was Neo speaking to at the end of the film?

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