The Real Matrix 3-4
The Real Matrix 5-6
The Real Matrix 7
The Real Matrix
By Steven Yates
The Matrix, easily the most thought-provoking film in a
generation, tells the story of a computer hacker going by the
alias Neo (played by Keanu Reeves) who discovers that the world
he has taken for granted his entire life, is an illusion. The
"Matrix" is a virtual-reality simulation created by a powerful
Since birth, Neo has been wired directly into an immense
computer system that can project a panorama of sensory
information directly into his brain and central nervous system.
This creates the illusion of his living in a world where, by
day, he is Thomas A. Anderson, a programmer for a software
giant. One of the working premises of the film is that the
majority of human beings are born, live out their lives, and die
inhabiting cocoon-like structures, plugged into this system,
never suspecting the truth. Their life-experiences are
fabricated, while their life-energies sustain the ruling entity.
The "real matrix," is then, a world
most of middle America takes for granted—a world where
"they hate us because we are free," and where the public
schools educate. A world where we can trust the federal
government, and believe Dan Rather. A world where the
former obeys its founding document, the U.S.
In other words, a fantasy world.
Neo has long suspected that something is amiss, without being
able to put his finger on it. It was this something that drew
him into hacking, and into the world of computers generally. His
presence became known to Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), leader
of a band of rebels fighting to free the human race from bondage
to the artificial intelligence. Of course, Neo's nocturnal
computer explorations have also become known to the "agents,"
living programs who service the artificial intelligence. The
first half-hour or so of the film is a race to see which side
can get to him first.
One of the rebels, Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), hacks into his
computer, and lures him to a Gothic nightclub. There she
confronts him with his unease:
"I know why you're here, Neo. I know what you've been doing.
I know why you hardly sleep, why you live alone, and why, night
after night, you sit at your computer. You're looking for him. I
know, because I was once looking for the same thing. And when he
found me, he told me I wasn't really looking for him. I was
looking for an answer. It's the question that drives us, Neo.
It's the question that brought you here. You know the question,
just as I did."
Neo: "What is the Matrix?"
Trinity: "The answer is out there, Neo. It's looking for you.
And it will find you, if you want it to."
The pivotal scene occurs when she introduces Neo to Morpheus.
With a thunderstorm in the background, some gripping dialogue
Morpheus: "I imagine that right now you're feeling a little
like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit-hole… I can see it in your
eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees,
because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, this is not far
from the truth… Let me tell you why you are here. You're here
because you know something. What you know, you can't explain.
But, you feel it. You've felt it your entire life. That there's
something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but
it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is
this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm
Neo: "The Matrix?"
Morpheus: "Do you want to know what it is?"
Morpheus: "The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us,
even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out
your window, or when you turn on your television. You can feel
it when you go to work, or when you go to church, or when you
pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your
eyes, to blind you from the truth."
Neo: "What truth?"
Morpheus: "That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you
were born into bondage, born inside a prison that you cannot
smell, taste, or touch. A prison for your mind. Unfortunately,
no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for
yourself. (Produces a box containing two colored pills, one blue
and one red). This is your last chance. After this, there is no
turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends, you awake
in your bed, and believe whatever you want to believe. You take
the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep
the rabbit-hole goes. (Pause. Neo reaches for the red pill).
Remember: all I'm offering is the truth, nothing more. (Neo
swallows the red pill with a glass of water)."
After that, things happen pretty quickly. Neo is jerked free
of the artificial intelligence and finds himself in the "desert
of the real," with Morpheus, Trinity, and the others on board
the Nebuchadnezzar, who are struggling to free the human race
from control by the artificial intelligence, while
simultaneously battling superhuman "agents," and monstrous
mechanical "sentinels" sent to destroy them.
Science fiction, right?
Unquestionably, many viewers watched The Matrix,
convinced that all they were seeing was a science fiction action
film—entertainment, without further significance.
I believe it's more. The Matrix—which has begun to
generate a secondary literature in academic disciplines like
philosophy and cultural studies—may be seen as an allegory for
our present situation after the past hundred-plus years. The
allegory is about power and concealment.
The "real matrix," is then, a world most of middle America
takes for granted—a world where "they hate us because we are
free," and where the public schools educate. A world where we
can trust the federal government, and believe Dan Rather. A
world where the former obeys its founding document, the U.S.
Constitution. In other words, a fantasy world.
Let us conduct a thought experiment. Let us remove the
obviously evil artificial intelligence and its minions—"agents"
and "sentinels"—and substitute a power system controlled by a
few hundred extremely wealthy and well-placed individuals—a
super-elite, I will call it. I use this term to distinguish it
from visible, national elites.
This super-elite operates at an international level, outside
all national loyalties. Its only loyalties are to money and
power. It exercises control by controlling, not just much of the
Western world's finances, but much of the information released
to the public. It controls the mainstream mass media (television
networks and newspapers, mostly owned by six or so
megaconglomerates), and most education through top-down policies
permeating the prevailing form of education in this land:
government ("public") schools.
So-called higher education is part of this system. The
super-elite bent academic disciplines, such as history and
psychology in the direction it wanted them to go, by generously
supplying foundation and grant money to compliant graduate
students, who then become compliant professors and
administrators. Through the endowment system it gained control
over Ivy League universities. The latter, via their enormous
prestige and control of flagship organizations within academic
disciplines (such as the American Historical Association, or the
American Psychological Association), set the course for those
disciplines that others can be expected to follow automatically.
Members of the super-elite that controls this power system
were never elected to anything, but elected officials in
national elites answer to them. Those without the tacit approval
of the super-elite have no chance of coming within a thousand
miles of the Oval Office.
The masses of people, meanwhile, will have been "educated" to
adjust to society, which in this context, means following the
crowd and automatically withholding support from anyone who
"can't get elected."
Combine these two, and you have a reason why no Libertarian
Party or Constitution Party candidate has a chance of becoming
President of the United States, or even reaching high office at
the state level, as long as this power system remains in place.
The media elites continue to promote a system which plays
Democrats against Republicans, although both parties are
controlled at the top. There exists, in other words, a strict
gatekeeping system. Only those with certain values and
attributes, and a certain mindset, need apply.
Let's now go beyond the thought-experiment stage. Does this
super-elite really exist, or is this just more armchair
"conspiracy theory?" It is not a theory. It is now quite well
documented. The information is available to anyone willing to
seek it out. To paraphrase what Trinity told Neo in their
initial conversation, the answers are out there, and will find
you, if you want them to. Or, you can find them, if you go
Like most of academia's tenured class, Professor Carroll
Quigley of the School of Foreign Affairs at Georgetown
University, dumped on "conservatives." In the Cold War
environment of the mid-1960s, it was kosher to ridicule the
McCarthyite idea that a legion of communists had infiltrated our
government—and represented a dangerous leftist conspiracy, run
out of Moscow.
Quigley, after all, knew the truth. The real agenda was not
run out of Moscow, but from banking empires long established in
New York City, London, and elsewhere. These empires had actually
bankrolled communism. They had maneuvered nations into wars by
secretly financing both sides, and then setting them against one
another. Quigley's 1,300-plus page tome, Tragedy and Hope: A
History of the World in Our Time, mocks the conspiracy
theory of the anticommunists as a "myth," but then suddenly,
offers one of the most extraordinary revelations ever penned by
someone of Quigley's stature:
"This myth, like all fables, does, in fact, have a
modicum of truth.
There does exist, and has existed for a generation,
an international Anglophile network which operates, to
some extent, in the way the radical Right believes the
Communists act. In fact, this network, which we may
identify as the Round Table Groups, has no aversion to
cooperating with the Communists, or any other groups,
and frequently does so.
I know of the operations of this network because I
have studied it for twenty years, and was permitted for
two years, in the early 1960s, to examine its papers and
secret records. I have no aversion to it, or to most of
its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to
it, and to many of its instruments. I have objected,
both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies…
but in general, my chief difference of opinion is
that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role
in history is significant enough to be known." (p.
950, emphasis mine)
Professor Quigley was openly telling us of a hidden power
system—a super-elite—operating behind the scenes. He identified
it as the "Round Table Groups." These controllers "wish to
remain unknown" as they work out their plans for the world. What
are their plans for the world? Quigley elaborated:
"[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another
far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world
system of financial control in private hands, able to
dominate the political system of each country, and the
economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be
controlled in a feudalist fashion, by the central banks
of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements,
arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences.
The apex of the system was the Bank for International
Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned
and controlled by the world's central banks, which were
themselves, private corporations. The growth of
financial capitalism made possible a centralization of
world economic control, and use of this power for the
direct benefit of financiers, and the indirect injury of
all other economic groups." (p. 324)
In other words, the super-elite wanted both wealth and power,
and this meant placing the rest of us at a systemic disadvantage
in our own pursuits. Later, Quigley outlined the truth about the
two-party system in America:
"The chief problem of American political life for a
long time has been how to make the two Congressional
parties more national, and international. The argument
that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and
policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of
the Left, is a foolish idea, acceptable only to
doctrinaire and academic thinkers.
Instead, the two parties should be almost identical,
so that the American people can "throw the rascals out"
at any election, without leading to any profound or
extensive shifts in policy… [E]ither party in office
becomes, in time, corrupt, tired, unenterprising, and
vigorless. Then it should be possible to replace it,
every four years if necessary, by the other party, which
will be none of those things, but will still pursue,
with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies."
Quigley identified shadowy organizations, such as the Council
on Foreign Relations, based in New York, and the Royal Institute
of International Affairs, based in London, as front
organizations for the Round Table Groups he mentioned—sometimes
specific individuals such as J.P. Morgan, the banking titan.
He claimed to have studied the super-elite's secret records
for twenty years, and to identify with its goals and most of its
policies. His only major disagreement was with its desire to
"remain unknown." This disagreement got Tragedy and Hope
into trouble. Its publisher, Macmillan, allowed the book to
disappear, despite thousands of back orders. Inquirers were told
it had gone out of print. In addition to the disappearance of
nearly every copy, the original plates were destroyed, making
new printings impossible, given the technology of the time.
There can be no doubt of an attempt to suppress the book.
Quigley lost control of his own work, as pirated editions
began to appear. He wrote, near the end of his life, that the
book "has brought me many headaches as it apparently says
something that powerful people don't want known." A smaller
companion volume, The Anglo-American Establishment,
failed to find a publisher during his lifetime.
Quigley's account of these organizations and their
development, both in Tragedy and Hope and in The
Anglo-American Establishment is authoritative and
definitive. Under no circumstances can we dismiss Quigley as a
"conspiracy nut." Quigley was established, with a solid
reputation as a macrohistorian: a historian specializing in the
larger, long-term tendencies governing the rise and development
of entire civilizations.
Earlier, he had written an important and very well-received
work of macrohistory, The Evolution of Civilizations.
Carroll Quigley would not have deliberately sabotaged an ideal
career, one with enormous perks, privileges, and access to the
centers of influence. There can be no reasonable doubt that he
knew what he was talking about.
Quigley became mentor to one William Jefferson Clinton, and
helped Clinton get the Rhodes Scholarship that sent him to
Oxford. (We will say more about Cecil Rhodes and Rhodes
Scholarships below). Quigley was the one person Clinton would
thank by name, after assuming the presidency in 1993. That was
the year our nation took a quantum leap towards globalism:
beginning with so-called "free trade" agreements such as the
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the National
Partnership for Reinventing Government, and the President's
Council on Sustainable Development, put in place in response to
a United Nations "soft law" document called Agenda 21.
What results from taking Quigley seriously is a quite
different picture of American and Western political history,
from what we get from history and political science
textbooks—and of the political process from what we get from the
It suggests that the conventional picture, in which the
history of the past hundred years is just a series of
unfortunate accidents and blunders, is a masquerade—and partly
the result of the hijacking of academic disciplines such as
history. We come to realize that most Americans are indeed
plugged into a "matrix"—created not by a malevolent sci-fi
machine, of course, but by controls over their education, and
the information that reaches them.
They are "plugged in" as children, attending first public
schools, and then colleges and universities. They "learn" to
trust government information, the academic-bureaucratic complex,
and the mainstream news media. This creates the "real matrix." A
few, like Neo in The Matrix, may suspect that something
is wrong. But, fear of being branded paranoid usually ensures
their silence. If they write down their suspicions and publish
them, they are ignored. There is, after all, enormous loyalty to
the fabricated world.
Those "plugged in" have their own gatekeeping systems.
Certain ideas—e.g., those having to do with "conspiracy
theories"—are automatically screened out. The super-elite, then,
need not work so hard, or even remain entirely secret. If the
schools do their job right, its members need not micromanage
every institution to make sure everyone follows the rules. The
power system runs on a kind of autopilot.
Steven Yates is an independent scholar who earned his Ph.D.
in philosophy in 1987. He is the author of "Civil Wrongs: What
Went Wrong With Affirmative Action" (San Francisco: ICS Press,
1994), "Worldviews: Christian Theism versus Modern Materialism"
(Columbia, SC: Worldviews Project, due out in early 2005); and a
co-author of "The Free Person and the Free Market" (Lanham, Md.:
Lexington Books, 2002).
He is also an adjunct scholar with the Ludwig von Mises
Institute. He has also worked as a clerk in a state agency,
written obituaries for the local newspaper, earned a public
health degree from the University of South Carolina (1999), done
a stint as the writer, editor, and consultant for the South
Carolina Cancer Research Network writing the organization's
"Cancer Research Needs Report" (2004), and worked as a customer
service representative doing computer technical support.
He has other projects underway, including a science fiction
novel. Most recently, he joined the Stratia Corporation as a
consultant, and formed the Worldviews Project, to further public
discussion of the issues between the Christian worldview, and
that of modern materialism. He lives in Columbia, South