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"I'm a humanist! I only provide the ideas." -borgseawolf

    "It's substance driven by style. Of course it doesn't make sense. Thinking about it will only ruin things." -digby_tantrum

"Plot device, is all." -anim8t0rboi

    "When I start trying to make it make scientific or technical sense, the story won't hold, and isn't enjoyable." -myng_rabbyt

The above is from the post "The Yeastrix Has You", dated 26 Sep 2004, in which I complain about the shoddy "humans as batteries" premise of The Matrix, for the apparent reason that anything else would be too complicated for the audience to grasp, or detract from the artistic value of the film. I didn't buy it then, and I still don't, because as I claimed, it's the storyteller's job to devise plot elements that are neither so convoluted as to dispel the illusion for sheer intricacy, nor so simplistic or implausible that they dispel it for sheer stupidity.

That is why we call them devices, isn't it?

Fast-forward two years: now taiji_jian is the one imputing a misapprehension of the concept of willingly suspended disbelief to me. Hey, I don't mind; nearly everyone is told at some point that they have no sense of humor, and this is little different. I don't think it reflects badly on your imagination for human batteries to jar you out of a story you could otherwise get on board with (even for a few seconds), any more than you should be able to sleep through massive turbulence on an airplane. (Oh, BTW: to be fair, borgseawolf's remark is meant somewhat tongue-in-cheek.)

Opinions?

--
Banazir

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
banazir
Nov. 22nd, 2006 01:11 pm (UTC)
Drudgery of reality versus fulfulling fantasy
Oh, don't get me wrong, The Matrix deals with some very important topics in the philosophy of mind - qualia, brain-in-a-vat, consciousness, etc. - and it does it in a novel way, at least cinematically speaking. The problem is that the sheer mundanity of "batteries" makes the whole exercise ridiculous: it reminds one too keenly of the Machine's lack - not of autonomy, it seems, but of the mere imagination needed to devise a better solution than keeping and breeding a renewable energy resouce in humans.

--
Banazir
ankh_f_n_khonsu
Nov. 22nd, 2006 03:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Drudgery of reality versus fulfulling fantasy
The more I got into it, the more fond I became of "The 13th Floor". I think it superior to The Matrix movies in almost every regard.

Namaste.
ankh_f_n_khonsu
Nov. 22nd, 2006 03:34 pm (UTC)
You appear to contradict many philosophers in your endorsement over being content rather than being happy.

One cannot truly be happy within a Matrix-like/VR environment.

Namaste.
(Deleted comment)
ankh_f_n_khonsu
Nov. 22nd, 2006 05:00 pm (UTC)
That depends on what flavor of epistemology you prefer.

I do generally favor techno-philic perspectives, but I generally prefer the quest towards more authentic experience of etic reality versus further emersion within emic realities.

Namaste.
borgseawolf
Nov. 22nd, 2006 01:13 pm (UTC)
"Opinions?"

I still think Matrix is silly in oh so many aspects. What other opinions you want? :)
banazir
Nov. 22nd, 2006 01:20 pm (UTC)
We agree
But what besides plot (and perhaps its somewhat self-aggrandizing, self-patronizing dialogue) did you find silly?

Also: go trask Pag, who seems to take The Matrix more seriously than you and I do. ;-)

--
Banazir
ankh_f_n_khonsu
Nov. 22nd, 2006 03:30 pm (UTC)
If the AI needed neuro-electricity, they could've easier made use of a matrix for cows. They expend more neuro-electricity and they certainly seem much less likely to rebel.

But that wouldn't make a good movie.

As for humans in the vat, they needed more than just neuro-electricity. Apparently they needed conflict and a smattering of other conscious activity to feed on. They fed on more than just electricity, but on cognition/mind itself.

I've read several of the books on the philosophies behind the movies. Holla if you'd like some references.

Namaste.
myng_rabbyt
Nov. 22nd, 2006 04:28 pm (UTC)
I enjoy watching them. They entertain me.
And I want to throw this into the mix, though it's not necessarily relevant vis-a-vis the whole human batteries-as-plausible issue: but how lame is it that the robots needed a human to deal with the Agent Smith problem?

It would seem to me that it would be simple for the Matrix to deal with Smith, without the help of humans, who were fodder anyway.

Though, I still stand by my comment from two years ago: "When I start trying to make it make scientific or technical sense, the story won't hold, and isn't enjoyable." The Matrix isn't classic sci-fi - it's not Asimov creating a realistic universe in which things function, fundamentally, within the laws of nature as we understand them. Nor is it classic fantasy, in which things are explained as magic or esoteric spiritual forces and are accepted as a matter of course within that universe.

I think there are some movies where you simply have to swallow the bad science and move on, if you want to enjoy them. I'm thinking of Donnie Darko when I say that. That was a wonderfully profound and beautiful movie - but if you start dissecting the "science" relevant to alternate universes and the series of events which causes the action of the movie, it loses some of its mystery and beauty. Does that makes ense?
bojojoti
Nov. 23rd, 2006 12:52 am (UTC)
"it's the storyteller's job to devise plot elements that are neither so convoluted as to dispel the illusion for sheer intricacy, nor so simplistic or implausible that they dispel it for sheer stupidity"

Bravo! If only more authors were made to commit that bit of wisdom to memory. I've read several books lately that should have remained trees.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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