The Matrix, Gnosticism, and Buddhism
Huw-Raphael (HR) directed me to a neat little article which showed some fascinating parallels between the movie and Gnostic Christianity. I’ve often maintained that the movie’s Christian shadows fit better in the context of Eastern Christianity rather than western. In this article the author says that the great human dilemma is solved by enlightenment…a term typically foreign to Protestantism, but quite familiar to the East in which we understand the spiritual journey to be staged in three parts: purification, illumination (enlightenment), and Divinization (theosis). One could argue that Neo’s journey is not dissimilar to the journey we as Christians are on as we move toward transfigurment. And in the end, Neo in a state of Theosis is able to overcome the world.
The analogy, of course, will eventually break down and can also be multifaceted – certainly Neo is also an archetype of Christ. The author of this work makes some great points about Gnosticism in the film…the unreality of reality (the Matrix itself) fits well within Gnosticism – at least certain forms of it. I do not think Marcion denied the existence of the world, but rather ascribed to a view that posited that the created world was evil (our bodies included). From the Orthodox view, I saw the Matrix as representing our false interpretation and perception of the fallen world as being “normal.” And in this “normal” world we are trapped in sin, death, and darkness. We escape it by participating in the Life of Him who overcame it, and also by overcoming ourselves.
You know, there really is nothing in Buddhism that I wholly disagree with. In fact recently, as strange timing would have it I received two religious propaganda tracts: one from a local Baptist Pastor at more doorstep, and the other from a friend investigating Buddhism at work. Now I’d studied Buddhism in school, but had forgotten much and so I read both tracts. When I was done, I found myself having more affinity for the Buddhist one. Hmmmm….
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 2:08 PM [+]