Neoalicism

After talking about the parallels from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to The Matrix, and reading this blog post, I literally fell down a rabbit hole, into a room of doors, each with a different place to go. So much to talk about, and so small attention spans to appeal to. So I will restrict myself to a more obvious theme within both stories, the question of existence.

But if I’m not the same, the next
question is, Who in the world am I?
Ah, THAT’S the great puzzle!

So, like so many authors before, Carroll has finally arrived at the age-old question of whether we exist. Interestingly, he is able to package a thought process intriguingly similar to Descartes derivation of “Cogito ergo sum”.
Alice concludes by simple exclusion, a logical principle that even a child can approach, that she must be Alice, and not anyone else. She may not put it this way, but the fact that she is wondering about her existence and her identity proves that and who she is, not her exclusion. Like Descartes she, or rather Carroll, who is really just using Alice to speak to his audience, is wrestling with the principle of existence.
Interestingly we find a similar approach to existence by The Matrix. Because Neo thinks about the world not being real, because something doesn’t feel quite right, he can escape the matrix. Once more, thought sets Neo free from the matrix.
The matrix is, after all, very similar to Alice. Yes, it has big guns in it, people getting shot and killed, and all the usual sexual tensions, but what it boils down to is simple, yet difficult. Both Alice and The Matrix ask very elemental questions about humanity and its existence and purpose. Alice asks it in a seemingly playful manner, yet both she and Neo fight their mental battle in a checkered room. While she eliminates possibilities, he shoots the security. While she struggles with her own existence, Smith asks Morpheus about why humanity should exist.
But both of them leave questions open. If the world is a matrix, why should this “real world” be real? If Alice is down a rabbit hole, which world is real, the one left behind or the one she is in?

The next interesting layer of meaning can be unraveled by recalling Carroll’s comment on how Alice should not be analyzed. If reality is fake, is it really worth escaping from it? To quote Cypher from The Matrix “Ignorance is bliss”. If we never consider the possibility of our own nonexistence, what are we to loose? Isn’t reality just as real as we make it? When the matrix is telling us that our steak is juicy and delicious, is it not as real as anything we could experience in reality, and what is reality after all? Do we not define it ourselves?

So, to put all of these rhetorical questions into one honest one, is the knowledge of whether we exist important, and, if so, how would your actions change if you discovered that none of this is real?

2 Responses to “Neoalicism”

  1. Jason Kern Says:

    Might also want to look into Plato’s Allegory of the Cave http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/allegory.html

    In the end are they truly any “new” ideas? 🙂

  2. Jason Kern Says:

    The question of whether we exist or not only becomes important when you ponder if it is correct? If you never question anything then will you ever be unhappy or worried? On the other hand will you ever grow and become a better person?

    Let me sum it up this way…Is the unexamined life worth living?

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