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Type “matrix” into the library catalog search…

September 12th, 2003 · No Comments

No, I’m not really a Matrix aficionado (maybe I’m married to one ) but one July afternoon I decided to do a search in our local library catalog . I typed in “matrix” and found 26 items (think I must have used the title/key word box) including an MIT algorithm book, a few sci fi novels, a couple books on depression, and, along with the Animatrix , the Matrix DVD , Matrix Reloaded soundtrack, and a couple books actually about the Matrix movie, there was also Desiring God by John Piper. Quite a soup!

I was just curious – but in a moment of spontaneity I decided to put nearly every item relating to the movie on hold – including the Animatrix, the movie soundtrack CD, a number of new-circa-2003-Matrix-books and Desiring God.

Earlier that morning, while in downtown Seattle by myself for an annual dr. appt., I had some spare time while I waited, and wandered into a bookstore near the hospital. After I asked about a book in the window sill – I think it was intriguingly titled, probably Exploring the Matrix – visions of the Cyber Present – I found myself launched into a conversation about the Matrix with the store’s two employees who were planning to see Matrix Reloaded at the IMAX that night.

“Are you a Matrix aficionado?” they asked me immediately. While I liked the first movie, “aficionado” is not a title I would claim. But I do appreciate the themes of faith, reality, prophecy, perception, freedom, truth, choice….lots of interesting ideas. Ted and I resisted seeing the movie for a while but when we finally gave in, a couple years ago, we were both surprised at how much we enjoyed it. It is a powerful story: we often find ourselves quoting it as illustration and allegory. We now own the DVD – a requested Christmas gift last year – and I think I have watched the movie now 3 times, a record for me and any movie. After the conversation I had at the bookstore, I came home and went on-line to the library to find that book and others….

So far. the only items to arrive from my hold list have been the Animatrix DVD, Desiring God and Taking the Red Pill . Desiring God I think only appears in the list because Piper uses the word “matrix” to describe his chapter on marriage or something like that. But this trio – particularly the two books – got me thinking…what do all these items have in common? (Like a Sesame street ditty, yes, I know…)

I started thinking about the common themes, the common scenes mentioned in “Red Pill” and the core of Desiring God. The common questions and issues.

The two big themes to me appeared to be
1)passion and
2) the nature of reality.
What does it mean to have desire?
Is there another reality? Is there more to life than this daily dreary grind?

These two questions also appear in Animatrix shorts in different ways. And these two questions together ask a bigger one: What does it mean to be human?

In the Matrix, as Mouse describes, desire is what it means to be human. “To deny our own impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human”
Yet as Agent Smith says to Morpheus : “But I believe, as a species, human beings define their reality by suffering and misery…” Passion for steak, for women in red, for answers, for love shapes the story.

And these issues of passion, reality and life are also issues Piper addresses in Desiring God, agreeing that we humans are indeed defined by desire, made for desire, and that this desire can lead us to a new reality.

Below in my blog are reviews of both books….I wanted to give a little introduction and explanation here first …

Whew, glad I got all that written up….wanted to be sure to get it all done in time…it’s taken me quite a few days of typing this all in “draft” mode… and now there’s only 56 days or so left until Matrix Revolutions …

Tags: matrix