Updated: Aug 18
Recently the directors or the Matrix trilogy have confirmed what the trans community long suspected: that the story is, at least in part, a tale of gender, dysphoria and transition. It gave me cause to revisit the films. I'd been planning to do so for a while but like any thing in life other stuff just got in the way. One of my long time favourite parts is in the second film when Neo, Morpheus and Trinity meet the Merovingian, an information program who knows everything and has been around a long time (six iterations of the matrix no less) It is brilliantly played by Lambert Wilson, with a delicious irony in that the point about causality is the very undoing of the character. (or was it?) Since if everything has a purpose in the matrix then presumably Persephone (played by Monica Bellucci) also has a a singular purpose. Persephone, by a very probably deliberate non coincidence on the part ofthe directors, is the name given to the queen of the underworld. Zeus had given Hades permission to to abduct Persephone, since her mother was unlikely to allow her to live in the underworld. He made her his Queen and she grew to love him. Although she returned to the surface world at the behest of her mother, she was obliged to spend one third of the year in the underworld having tasted the food of the dead. (Hades had tricked her into eating some seeds before she returned to the surface) Cause and effect.
Since he tricked her, one might reasonably call into question then if Hades actually loved Persephone, or merely wished to possess her. I mean one wouldn't seriously expect honourable conduct from the god of the underworld right? But c'mon... tricking her..? Not cool bro, not ...cool ...at ...all...
In any event the Persephone of the matrix uses the Merovingians repeated infidelity, and dismissal of her, as cause for allowing Neo access to the key maker. The subtext in this one single little section is intriguing. Not only does it cast the merovingian as an irreverent Hades, and the couple as the keepers of the computer program underworld, (the train man works for the merovingian remember?) but also that she knew her husband would behave in such a way. She knew that he was only able to view the effect of his actions though the lens of of his own "playful" manipulation of others, forgetting in the process that those others will react to said manipulation....
"It is nothing.. it is a game it is only a game" She plays him right back "So is this... have fun my love" The beauty of this scene (for a sociologist at any rate) is the complexity of causality that it highlights. Actions will have reactions, some anticipated, others not so much. Occurrence 1 as Cause has an effect (2), and effect has consequence (3), which of course is just the effect (2) being a causality in and of its self thus 1,2 and 3 exist simultaneously in past present and future at any given moment. Not sure? think back to episode one of the matrix...the oracle says "don't worry about the vase.." Still wondering if Neo would have broken it if she hadn't said anything? There's ya consequence of Cause and Effect.
So what is my point in all this inane rambling? Simple. The matrix of the film is a dream world, the subjective idealism of the mind, writ large to enable control of the human race. The writers suggest this is allegorically representative of the Gender Binary. Moreover the chocolate cake is a metaphor for the matrix AI's interpretation of determinist heteronormativity. qua reproductive sexual desire. To exist within in it is to play a game built on rules, preconceived ideas, and crucially, predetermined logical outcomes. Paradoxically to exist within in and yet attempt to subvert those rules is to be no less dependent upon them. Its odd then that in the years since the matrix was written, trans conversations have returned to this point of physicality and so called determinism or essentialism. Greater knowledge of biological diversity re writing the collective knowledge of our own existential programming language. In so doing somewhat paradoxically creating freedoms of expression once denied on the basis of limited knowledge of the very same causalities.
"hmm upgrades..." The Merovingians game continues of course, played via perceptions of who should be what, how so, and in relation to whom. However, as Morpheus correctly(?) points out: "everything begins with choice" for a human being at any rate, and of course one has to be aware of the existence of such a choice, if even at only a subconscious level (Hello foreshadowing of the architect much)
It seems therefore to be the case that this choice that faces us is
"what does one value, and what cause would one wish to fight for?" The game? Autonomy? People? Knowledge? Wisdom? Truth? or Peace? Because each cause will visit an effect upon the others: "I never desired to please the rabble. What pleased them, I did not learn; and what I knew was far removed from their understanding"
It is case of player beware, because just like the unfortunate Merovingian, the outcome may not be the effect you yourself logically predicted you might cause. Why? Because (emergent) Anomalies. Time for me to log off. Have fun my love. Sarah.