The Composers Larry and Andy Wachowski and George Orwell vision of the future in the Matrix and also in 1984 is a representation of their past and present worlds. This visions of the future that we are shown is made to challenge their respective audiences thinking about their past, present and future worlds. We are made to think about Power and control, Technology and the fight for Freedom of the individual. George Orwell’s novel 1984 is a dystopian fiction that was written in 1948 around the times of World War II.
The novel is about the deadly rivalry of men in a world of conformity where humans are controlled through hate and fear by members of an inner circle that use the image of Big Brother as their leader. In the text Orwell shares his concerns for his future world and how he believes it may be an oppressed and controlled world just like the vision he’s portraying. The Wachowski brothers feature film The Matrix is a dystopian fiction movie about the coming of a deadly rivalry between men and machines.
The vision they portray is that of a computer generated virtual world that is constructed and programmed based on the past world that existed in 1999 ‘at the peak of human civilization’. This programmed world is called The Matrix. The Matrix is a constructed web of illusion and lies designed to continue confusion, fighting and disbelief, where there are no absolutes, no real truth, no real love, no real god, no real peace, all evidence unreal, while the real makers exist primarily to secure and sustain their seats of power in the real world.
The real world setting outside of the matrix is somewhere around the year 2199. The real world is a dark and desolate world that has been unintentionally destroyed by humans alone as a result of them fighting for control over their lives against the machines they once created to help them. Something that both of these texts have in common is that they explore an oppressive society that is abusing power. In 1984 it is based on humans being controlled by other humans. These humans that are in control are named the party. The party uses fear to keep in control of their people.
They have a language they use called newspeak. The inner party is where all the decisions are made and where they decide on what to do and what to make people believe. They use the image of big brother as a leader and make everyone follow his law, his rules, the way he wants them to live. This is a reference to Hitler and Stalin in the era this was written and how they wanted just the same before their downfalls. The party also consists of youth leagues, these are the youth league and anti sex league, the youth league being the lower level of the two and at a certain age you get promoted to the anti-sex league.
They use these leagues to brainwash children of all ages into being minute sized spies for the party and informing them on their parents and others they see doing bad things and committing illegal actions against the inner circles belief, such things as not being allowed to begin sexual activity for the pleasure of it. Another way the party monitors their population is through the use of technology, telescreens to be exact. These telescreens are placed anywhere and everywhere and wherever they are placed can be monitored at anytime the party decides they want to.
Even when you think any one of the population thinks they are not being watched at a particular time, they will be. By expressions on your face and every move you make they can see what you are doing and know what you are thinking about. Which is when the thought police step in. The thought police are the ones that can come at any time of the day or night and take people away for even thinking against the party, and once they take you, you will more than likely never be seen again. In The Matrix power and control is also seen as the humans are at war against the machines in the “real” world.
In this real world the machines harvest energy from the humans in a massive kind of human farm to provide themselves with the energy to live. The way in which the machines farm these humans is through the use of special pods that they are born into and attached to multiple kinds of wires and cords that plug their bodies into the computer generated world of the matrix where they are only limited by their minds on what they are able to do, but until they know this they are limited to what they are told to believe by the program itself and are all average humans.
Inside the world of the matrix there are law enforcers that are called agents, they are programmed into the matrix to make sure nothing unusual happens and nothing gets too out of hand. These agents can take over any mind at any time to kind of transport to where they need to be, for example if someone’s mind detects something suspicious going on the agents program will track the happening straight down and attend to it immediately by taking over the mind of that who alerted the program.
The agents are programmed to be no more than human except they know the secret of the matrix and that they are only limited by their minds and thus are the only real thing Morpheus and his team are afraid of, until they find the one, which is Neo, who the prophecy says will one day bring peace to all of mankind by ending the war against the machines.
Outside of the matrix, in the real world, the humans that are part of the colony but aren’t present in their home of Zion, which is where the real world colony of humans reside, will be out on ships jacking into the matrix and trying to complete tasks that the oracle has given them while trying to find reason to which they decided to take the red pill in the first place instead of the blue pill.
The way the machines try and control this happening in their underground sewers is by using proximity drones that travel throughout the underground maze like system and hunt down anything that has energy running through it and destroy it. This can be prevented though through the use of turning all devices off and charging then using an electro magnetic pulse to disable anything that is left on. When this is done the drones cannot pick up any signs on their control panels and keep on their search route.
It seems that in both the texts it is based on a totalitarian kind of power and control. The Matrix, as the Wachowski brother’s opinion of the future, compared to Orwell’s vision we can take into consideration just how so much our present cultures visions of the future have changed between 1948 and 1999. The technological advancement had been extraordinary and so it shows with all the “out of this world” artificial intelligence incorporated machines and the idea that machines will have almost total control over most of our bodies and minds for their own use in just less than 200 years.
Even in 1984 you can see what Orwell’s view on today’s world and what his visions of it were, how we would have a completely oppressed and controlled society in which we live, this relates to what was happening in his world around the time, referring to how Hitler and Stalin saw the future. The fight for power and control in these texts has proven to restrict the populations individuality and freedom and how all individuals have to fight for the right to be themselves and to have that little bit of space to do and think whatever they want.
In the matrix no-one besides the people from the real world have a tad of freedom, they think they do but in reality they are mind slaves and are just merely a source of energy for the machines. In 1984 everything is controlled, if you do find yourself a bit of freedom or some individuality the inner circle who are always monitoring everyone, will find some way to bring you down and in Winston’s case get used as an example to everyone else to not step out of line and be part of the oppressed and controlled society that they wish to have.
Power and control also is sustained through the use of technology in both texts. In The Matrix there is obviously the whole way humans are contained and their energy harvested as well as that the machines made these other contraptions themselves, it is completely ironic that we are at our own demise from what we once created for use by us humans to make almost everything easier and more convenient when they now use us as a major and easy source of energy that is convenient for them.
In 1984 the technology that is used is mainly surrounded with the whole spying technology of the telescreen. Using the telescreens they can see what you’re doing, hear what you’re saying and even tell what you’re thinking, they do this to maintain order and control which results in a world of oppression and control. These telescreens are partly technology based but it needs to be controlled by a human unlike in the matrix where the machines have artificial intelligence and can think and operate for themselves.
The other thing that the telescreens are used for is to show images of wars apparently going on and to generate hate in the minds of the civilization to continue keeping them seeing the illusion the inner circle wants them to see. In conclusion the composers have challenged our understanding of our past present and future worlds in a tremendous amount of ways. Some being Orwell’s visions from the past of the future and how that has effected what our present day minds thought the people of the past thought about what this very day was going to be like and what kind of technology we had and lives we lived.
Whereas the Wachowski brothers vision of the machine controlled future has altered our thinking towards the advancement of artificial intelligence and continuing to advance our technologies as there is a very slight chance that, their vision of the future has a very slight chance of happening if we don’t stop progressing technology at the rate we are this very day.
These two ways are just a few of the many they show and are both great representations of what the cultures thought at the time both texts were created. These respective texts should have both influenced the way we as individuals should each think about our past, present and future worlds and to be prepared for whatever comes next.