Matrix: Reloaded Explained
The essay
Selected reader comments

Matrix: Revolutions Explained
The essay
Selected reader comments

The movie will begin in five moments

02 Feb, 2008 | Brian

Ever since I first took the chains off of this...this, and let it run its course (which against all odds it does not yet seem to have run), I have had the honor to receive a bona fide flood of email. The ostensible subject of these emails was a triad of films, but underneath, much to my profound joy, I discovered a deep sea of poignant, extraordinarily well-put philosophical questions. What is evil, anyway? What is the point of doing something that you've been told to do? How far can reasoning take you to knowing about God? How can you know anything at all? What about suffering?

Some of these questions I had begun to raise during the writing of the Reloaded essay. Well - maybe that's not quite right. I had begun to raise these questions a lot earlier than that, but the essay crystallized a lot of it out of me. And when the emails started pouring in, so many people asking exactly the same questions, and so many expressing their agreement with the answers I had suggested, it fueled my interest in these questions even more. I made up my mind to put together new essays that addressed these philosophical topics directly.

I quite seriously started three different essays. But, as happens with writing projects, I became bogged down by my lack of clarity about the topics. Everything was so meshed together in my head that I had a hard time teasing the ideas apart into discrete essays. Within each essay I kept having to reference the other two, so I'd decide the structure of all three documents needed to change. On and on, round and round. Ultimately I just got frustrated and put it all aside.

And there the ideas sat, unexplored; questions unanswered and unconsidered. Keep in mind, now, that when I wrote the first essay, there was hardly such a thing as "blogging." A few people had barely started plinking down some lines of code, with an intention to someday make it easy to post up your ideas online. It certainly wasn't easy then. Honestly, it isn't that easy now - at least, not from the setting-it-up point of view. Easy-er, yes. More importantly, along with it getting easier (-er), the tools gravitated toward a serial model. Syndication, as the kids say. No more need for thinking like a book publisher, that's the prize.

I felt like here, at last, was the key to unlocking what I had been wanting to write about. I'll just bang out the philosophical equivalent of a letter to the editor once in a while! The sad truth is that in my case I do so much in-process editing that even a short missive takes me ages to complete, but I'm hoping the ability to work through these topics a lunch hour at a time will let me get through them.

Here's to hoping it works!

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