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					Simulated Bodies, Simulated Worlds
   Becoming One . . . With the Net
• Both Kusanagi & Neo become something more
  than what they were. A kind of evolution?
  Limitless possibilities suggested.
• Kusanagi: merges with Puppet Master, “dies,”
  and is “reborn” in child's body. (Quotes from the
  Bible: Corinthians)
• Neo = the One. Christian symbolism, prophecies,
  signs; cast as savior, sacrifices himself (for
  another), dies, and is reborn.
• Rebirth = transcending human?
    The Human Self & Technology
• Kusanagi's merger with Puppet-Master said to
  overcome the limitations of "me," of the self.
• No longer human? Or evolution of human?
  Merger with technological. A hybrid or dispersed
  identity, no longer singular?
• In contrast, Neo's rebirth/transcendence seems to
  result in an even more powerful Human Self (the
  One). Superhuman?
• Here, the power of (human) One/Self to control
  technological, simulated world (and simulated,
  technological life-forms) is re-established.
      Transcending "Reality"
• But transcendence of the human/self in
  Ghost and Matrix also suggests a
  transcendence of "reality."
• The question that The Matrix poses:
  "What is the Matrix?" is also a question
  about "what is real?" and about how we
  know what's real as opposed to what
  appears to be real.
• The Matrix draws on long history of
  questioning “reality” and perception.
        Seeing Beyond "Reality"
• I Corinthians, 11-12: When I was a child, I spake as a
  child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but
  when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now
  we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now
  I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am
• Cf. Plato's Allegory of the Cave (obvious source for The
  Matrix), where prisoners see only shadows which they
  take for reality.
• Plato calls these shadow-images "simulacra" or
• In each case, the appearance (simulation?) of reality is
  deceptive or partial. A greater knowledge or truth is
  presumed to exist beyond what we perceive.
The Matrix and "Reality"
           What is the Matrix?
• A dream-world (as in Alice in Wonderland)? A
  kind of virtual reality? A simulated reality?
• A false "reality" or delusion, which hides the
  "real" reality behind it:
• the destroyed Earth that Morpheus calls "the
  desert of the real."
• "the desert of the real" is a phrase from
  Baudrillard, but he uses it differently: the
  emptying out of the real, wh/ is replaced by
• The Matrix, however, maintains that there a real
  reality behind the illusion of the Matrix.
        What is the Matrix?
• But how are we to interpret what this film
  suggests about our own sense of reality?
• Buddhist idea: “There is no spoon.”
           What is the Matrix?
• Buddhist idea that the world is illusory. As in
  Ghost, suggests our belief in “reality” limits us.
• Neo is the One who is able to see differently.
  Sees through the simulated “virtual reality” (to the
  “real” codes beneath). Like a hacker or
• No longer bound by the appearance of reality that
  others accept, he does not die when “killed” in the
• Also indicated by taking “the red pill” as opposed
  to “the blue pill” of accepting "reality” (world of the
What is Simulation?
         • Baudrillard's ideas,
           however, suggest a
           different reading of The
         • And Baudrillard's book
           Simulacra and Simulation
           appears in it.
         • Of course, in the film, the
           book is hollowed out: just
           as Baudrillard says reality
           has been.
         • The book is itself a
           simulation of a book.
        What is Simulation?
• For Plato, things in the “real” world were mere
  simulacra--copies/shadows of true, Ideal
  Forms. Images were therefore copies of
• For Baudrillard, however, simulation is (or
  becomes) more than just a copy or substitute.
• What is simulation for Baudrillard?
• For B, simulation linked to
  reproductions/copies made possible by
  technology: photos, film, media, computers &
  digital images.
• Simulations come to precede--and replace--
  the original.
What is Simulation?
    • In technologized, postmodern
    • No longer an original or reality
      to copy.
    • There is only copying; there is
      only simulation: copies of
      copies that no longer refer to an
      original, or reality.
    • What Baudrillard calls
      “hyperreal”: which doesn’t mean
      “more real,” but a replacement
      of the real by simulacra.
           What is Our Matrix?
• Baudrillard argues The Matrix misunderstands his
  ideas, particularly their socio-political aspects.
• It leads us to believe that our own “reality” is real,
  rather than a simulated world.
• But, as in the Matrix, the reality we perceive as
  real is based on our acceptance of it.
• Formed through the various attitudes, beliefs (the
  ideology?) that we have been told are true.
• Thus, we are just like the people who believe that
  the matrix is real.
          What is Disneyland?
• Consider Baudrillard’s Disneyland example
• Baudrillard: “Disneyland is presented as
  imaginary in order to make us believe that the
  rest is real, when in fact all of Los Angeles
  and the America surrounding it are no longer
  real . . .”
• Disneyland = a simulated, fantasy world that
  allows us to believe that the “real world” is
  real (not simulated or ideological).
• I.e., the belief that our world is real is itself an
  (ideological?) illusion; an effect of simulation.
           What is The Matrix?
• Consider: similarities between Disneyland & the
  movie The Matrix.
• As Clover notes, when we see The Matrix as a
  fantasy, a simulation, a movie, it allows us to
  believe that “our world” is real.
• We think we know what “Reality” is-- because we
  can point to something that isn't real.
• But Baudrillard suggests that our “real” world is
  just as simulated or hyperreal as any theme park
  or movie.
• We are already in the matrix (of ideology), but for
  Baudrillard there is no real world outside or
  beyond it. No Zion.
I Am Legend (2007)
         I Am Legend (2007)
• I Am Legend based on a famous sci-fi/horror
  book of same title, which very much focuses on
  issues of what is human and what is not.
• But movie differs from the book & from previous
  movies based on the book: The Last Man on
  Earth (1964) and The Omega Man (1971).
• And the differences are revealing.
• The readings for next week will explain some
• We’ll also look at ending of The Last Man on
  Earth & alternate ending of I Am Legend.

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