Everything Is a Remix

Posted on by TheLastPsychiatrist and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

The Matrix is the greatest movie ever compiled.

There’s plenty to say about movies, so I’ll offer only a short diversion to the subject of personality. The film The Matrix was a representation of the “schizotypal state”– accepting reality and the boring march of time while simultaneously allowing for “magic” (possibilities) to occur in the right circumstances. It wasn’t about “reality isn’t real” but an interpretation of identity diffusion from the perspective of The One. “Since I’m not complete, the world isn’t complete.”

The way the movie was made parallels the way identity is made. Homage/callbacks/allusions/plagiarism, to varying degrees at varying times. Sometimes the “copy” is deliberately obvious (e.g. the checkerboard floor in Dark City and The Matrix) and other people are expected to understand where it came from, because it saves the person the more difficult work of having to convey that meaning from scratch; other times it’s for internal use only, to remind you of your character and story. Everything is a remix, including people.

Also worth repeating: The Matrix is a great movie but a poor expression of Baudrillard’s philosophy. The Matrix is quite straightforward, there’s no confusion, no paradox: you’re either in the Matrix, or you’re in the real world. You may not know you’re in the Matrix, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are or are not in it.

A true Baudrillard Matrix would be a single world that became so fake that you no longer needed the original. The whole world becomes a fake; there is no recourse to the real world. You’ll know it happened when you look at a copy of something, the original of which you have no actual knowledge, and say, “oh, that’s so authentic.”

 

Related posts:

  1. The Adjustment Bureau Does More Than Adjustments
  2. The Human Centipede is back, and longer than ever
  3. Codebreaking: Do You Think This Girl is Beautiful?
  4. The end of original ideas, until the new one
  5. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows 2

13 Responses to Everything Is a Remix

  1. Guy Fox says:

    Sonnummabich. So much for the air I thought I was breathing.

  2. sunshinefiasco says:

    Just wanted to point out that from a remixing/borrowing/stealing stand point, the Kill Bill video (http://vimeo.com/19469447) is absurd… both in the amount of copying and in how little they changed what they copied. That said, more people are probably aware/know this kind of stuff about Tarantino.

  3. Comus says:

    I find your view of the self rather interesting, and would love to here about it from greater detail. If I’m reading you right, your ignoring the cognitivist-Kantian route, where we external reality is viewed via representations of things, and going for a more post-modern way of the mind working via references? Which would inevitably lead into a Gödelian strange loop, where the system of the self is circular (as proposed by Hofstadter). Which makes self as an entity merely an illusion that always returns to itself to create a sense of (false) continuity.

    So, if you bear with me through this embarrassment of a thought, if the self is seen as referential, it should be constituted by relation to something. This something is culture and other people; especially the main caregiver through whom you gather your first reference points of you as a subject, the core of you. Now in my reading of traditional analytic or constructivist theory, the coherence and the strength as it were, of the core self, the self-upholding view of “me” needs less external validation than a more fragmented one.

    Now, enter the Matrix. Does this not then appear merely a phantasy of a person with a fragmented self, hitting the true narcissistic jackpot? If we follow Gödels theorem of closed systems, and assume selfhood to be one, Neo being the One is a fault in the system. An outside intruder. This rips apart the closed system and introduces a new reality (maybe even the Real), where the indivisible remainder, the one thing that is left when the referential self is followed to the end, is Neo. Everything is in reference to Neo. In a word, Neo is a god. And god is exactly what every infant wants to be.

    So, after this rather rambling and incoherent post, I ask this: Does the Matrix reflect the needs of that majority that exhaustively builds themselves from brands? That it brings home the main idea where under all these referential relations is a true coherent being, a proper Core Me. So instead of the brands labelling them, they can say or at least believe that they make the brand. It fills the phantasy of it all being about me. Which is schizotypal state in a way. The self is illusory because it is built from fragments of external (heuristic) things.

    So my point is, yeah, you’re right. That’s what I meant to say. Cheers.

    • Comus says:

      excuse the typos. Long day. With a capital d. And l. And others.

    • claudius says:

      Excellent points. You’ve clearly outlined how ridiculous The Matrix is. Not only does the story itself describe narcissistic phantasy in the world, the character who introduces the real is himself a representation of narcissistic phantasy.

      The fact that the character Neo is a narcissistic phantasy within a narcissistic phantasy shows a flaw in the story (from a more classical standpoint), and it says something about our culture as a whole. Usually, in stories (historical or fiction) about messiah figures that turn what people think to be real on its head, there is 1) a complete rejection of The Real and 2) the ultimate sacrifice on the part of the messenger of The Real. There are myriad examples of this in classical stories (e.g., Socrates, Jesus, Simon in Lord of the Flies.

      The point is that, although Neo dies at the end of the trilogy, it’s not a battle between him and the ignorance people have of The Real. It’s a battle between him and Agent Smith. At that point, the story begins to go awry, and either 1) the directors or 2) our culture as a whole rears its ugly mug.

      What would have given The Matrix an incredible ending was if the people in The Matrix had killed Neo for trying to wake them up from The Matrix.

      But perhaps that ending would have been too real.

      • claudius says:

        *I should make one stipulation, that is, the reason that the messenger of The Real is killed in classical stories is because he is a messenger of The Real, and for no other reason. And he is killed by the very people he is trying to help to understand The Real. Through his sacrifice, years later, they can come to know The Real a bit better.

      • Comus says:

        Exactly. One minute detail I’d like to emphasize. We through around the word narcissist a lot, but we must not forget that often where there are narcissists there are also the borderlines. The basic structure is similar, but for borderlines they want something external to validate themselves through, whereas narcissists validate themselves with them. To make it more clear, narcissists need to superior themselves, borderlines crave for some others superiority they can bask away in. They are lenders, and often easy prey for a narcissist. My clinical hunch, which you cannot rely on too much, is also that children of narcissists often have more borderline states (as they have existed only to function as partial objects to their parents poor ego). Which would make the generation following the Dumbest Generation of Narcissists in History – a’la TLP -, be the _____ generation of _______ in _____.

        So, not only does Matrix get the narcissistic people who projectively identify themselves with Neo, but also the borderlines who see Neo as a superstructure to fill themselves with. They are happy to have found god, as where Neo is happy to be one.

        Now in regards to your view of the ending, which is superb and would create a better catharsis, it would also be too much for narcissistic or borderline people to handle, as it would have rather nihilistically nullified the whole existence of Neo. The Others would have rejected him, and he only existed and was the One for the people. Now that is a narcissistic wound of quite the proportions. It would have made his dependance on others (and the true motivation for his deed) too painfully obvious. It would have restaged the underlying narcissistic trauma of not being validated by the Other.

        A narcissists reaction would have been “they are insane/stupid/cowardly”, bordelines’ “there is no god, everything is useless, I’m faulty”.

        That is also the greatest part of the Christian myth, where the people choose Barabbas over Jesus, and effectively bring on Jesus’ death (even if it was predetermined). Or when Josef K rings the bell in the beginning of the Trial to bring about his own downfall. These are awesome scenes because they do not let us go gently into the good night. These are scenes you measure yourself up against, whereas Neo being killed by agent Smith is of no use in estimating any proportions of any two objects.

        Even if it aims to show the futility of the existentialist struggle it is mainly just boring.

        • claudius says:

          Dumbest Generation of Narcissists in History – a’la TLP -, be the _____ generation of _______ in _____.

          The Smartest Generation of Boderlines in history?

      • vprime says:

        “The point is that, although Neo dies at the end of the trilogy, it’s not a battle between him and the ignorance people have of The Real. It’s a battle between him and Agent Smith. At that point, the story begins to go awry, and either 1) the directors or 2) our culture as a whole rears its ugly mug.”

        The movie doesn’t want to address the idea that these faceless others in the Matrix might have some choice in the matter. Because really, could you imagine everyone choosing the world of burnt-out sterility, bad sweaters and porridge at every meal over the excitement and variety of the Matrix?

        I think your speculation on the people rising up to kill Neo quite right. Would have made a much better end to the series.

  4. claudius says:

    The meta point here is everything is a remix, including this post.

  5. Or says:

    “A true Baudrillard Matrix would be a single world that became so fake that you no longer needed the original. The whole world becomes a fake; there is no recourse to the real world. You’ll know it happened when you look at a copy of something, the original of which you have no actual knowledge, and say, “oh, that’s so authentic.” ”

    That was covered when Cypher said, “I think the Matrix can be more real than this world.” Admit it, the first movie was better than you realized at first.

    • vprime says:

      The second movie tantalizingly played with the idea that the “real” world–the wasteland patrolled by octo-bots–was just another matrix or piece of the matrix, which seemed like an exciting possibility. For the people who would find reasons to resist the simulation, another simulation was constructed that verified their apocalyptic/heroic fantasies. But the movie turned away from this possibility to focus on the more important flying-through-the-air-shooting-two-guns-at-once scenes.

      It seems that the characters accept the wasteland as “real” because of how bleak it is, never considering that with no knowledge of what is real, they have no basis for judging authenticity.

Leave a Reply