4. You think that’s air you’re breathing?
A shift of gears now away from drama and comedy and romance to a bit of genre-defining sci-fi, courtesy of The Matrix. Neo is being trained and stretched by Morpheus, who is trying to shift his thinking away from the “reality” that he has so long been presented with and understand the limitless potential of what he can achieve within the Matrix. Much like Kuato’s “open your mind” to Quaid in Total Recall, Morpheus is trying to get Neo to expand his horizons, to look beyond what he can see with his eyes and believe in something bigger, better, other.
At its most affecting, it is a question that might empower us to stretch our own wings, to believe in a potential beyond the constraints of our merely human limitations and achieve something of supernatural import and impact. Much was written back into the summer of 1999 about the mish-mash of religion, quasi-religion and philosophy that went into the melting pot of The Matrix’s worldview and what it all might “mean”. As with all the best films, you can to some degree make of it what you will and take away from it what you choose to. As a seemingly simple rhetorical question though, it’s a corker. You think you know what this is, that this is real? You think this facade you have been presented with is the extent of your reality? Do you not know what you could do? Do you understand your power, your potential?