The Many Meanings of The Matrix

Originally published at:

The Matrix trilogy is the most successful cinematic venture of the past several decades — together, all three films have grossed over three billion dollars worldwide, an impressive accomplishment within any genre (let alone science fiction.) The attention of audiences worldwide has certainly been captured by the mind-bending storyline and phenomenal special effects, but the perennial question remains: What does it all mean?

The quality of the recording is not good enough for me follow the conversation. Is there any other way to hear the directors commentary by Ken Wilber and Cornel West than tot buy the DVD?

I ran across this video yesterday.
It’s a bit exaggerated (because that’s what the algorithm demands, lol)
But if you screen through the exaggeration, hype, and constant repetition of Mark Zuckerberg’s name - it does present a sobering reality - where the majority of society is headed towards a kind of Matrix like dystopian existence.
What is maybe left out or just understood among anyone involved in various gaming cultures - is what is going on in the MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) gaming industry where people are willing to fork out thousands of dollars for digital equipment, homes or even companions. There is also a gambling loophole because you can gamble for these things using something that is not money (but does need to be purchased with real money). For example, in Elder Scrolls Online you purchase decks of cards with real money and get a chance to win special mounts, costumes, etc that are only available through this gambling method. I myself never gamble, but there are people who get addicted to wanting these special digital items and literally spend thousands of dollars trying to get some unique digital pixels.
Then also left out is that with COVID, it is now becoming the norm for people to work virtually - so industry will also be a part of this Matrix and in order to be employed you will have to pay a subscription and buy a digital suit, digital vehicle, and digital office and apartment.

The reality is getting to be pretty insane as Gaming industry exploitation strategies meet social media and virtual worlds.

Isn’t it so odd that they are trying to build the metaverse from Snow Crash, by acting like the one-dimensional antagonist from Ready Player One? They are trying to dominate the space before it even has a chance to emerge. I really hope a different VR company is able to out-compete. I would trust Steam with the metaverse far more than I would trust the Zuck :slight_smile:

What Facebook needs to do in their next step of Global Domination is acquire a premier MMO Game Development company. These games are actually designed now from the bottom up with the primary intent to create addictive behavior that will result in purchase of virtual property and / or “work”. It was a moment of revelation to me a few years ago when I realized that I was logging in daily or even twice daily just to do some “chores” (daily quests that are basically not fun and very repetitive) in order to get some reward daily that would stack up and give a larger reward later.

Here is a video about how Sid Meyers kind of accidentally discovered the formula for making games addictive. It involves having immediate short term goals intertwined with mid term achievements and long term achievements.

That was over 20 years ago and modern game design has gotten much more sophisticated in integrating these addictive models into monetization.

These trends in game design in my judgement become more nefarious when we look at the aspirations of companies like Facebook to make virtual worlds an increasingly significant part of our social life. How simple it would be to trade out daily quests for a bit of data entry or other virtual work. If you log in twice a day and do a half hour of work, after 3 months you get a special virtual item that gives you status in the virtual world but has no real actual value outside in the real world. It does not exist except as an entry in a database and some pixels on the screen.

Here is a good look at the darker side of game design - in very factual and data-driven analyses.

and here:

Proteus, the mythical sea god who could alter his appearance at will, embodies one of the promises of online games: the ability to reinvent oneself. Yet inhabitants of virtual worlds rarely achieve this liberty, game researcher Nick Yee contends. Though online games evoke freedom and escapism, Yee shows that virtual spaces perpetuate social norms and stereotypes from the offline world, transform play into labor, and inspire racial scapegoating and superstitious thinking. And the change that does occur is often out of our control and effected by unparalleled—but rarely recognized—tools for controlling what players think and how they behave.

Using player surveys, psychological experiments, and in-game data, Yee breaks down misconceptions about who plays fantasy games and the extent to which the online and offline worlds operate separately. With a wealth of entertaining and provocative examples, he explains what virtual worlds are about and why they matter, not only for entertainment but also for business and education. He uses gaming as a lens through which to examine the pressing question of what it means to be human in a digital world. His thought-provoking book is an invitation to think more deeply about virtual worlds and what they reveal to us about ourselves.

Our insistence that these worlds are just games have blinded us to how much work is really being done in these worlds. These environments use a rewards cycle to train players to perform well. Over time, players are seduced to “play” industriously for 20 hours a week. Players who become pharmaceutical manufacturers or guild leaders often complain that their “fun” has become like a second job. And along come “sweatshops” from developing countries with the sole purpose of generating profit from these environments. By labeling these worlds as games, we in fact fail to see how they have blurred the boundaries between work and play