This year The Matrix, one of my favorite movies, turns 20. The occasion gave me reason to revisit a paper I wrote in college, synthesizing themes from The Matrix as well as The Truman Show, another favorite. The paper explores the question of whether we might choose to live in a simulated reality rather than in the real world, whether we would give up authenticity for security and happiness.
Reading the essay (and experiencing my old writing) taught me many things:
- Sometimes you can cite too many philosophers in a single paper.
- It’s okay to end a sentence before the third (or fourth) dependent clause.
- I learned to rein in my comma usage at some point in the last decade.
- I still love both movies.
- I’m no longer sure there is a “real” world at all––at least not one we can “really” access outside our own experiences.
- There definitely is no spoon.
Here is the original paper from 2009: