The following is my hastily written English II Honors essay comparing The Matrix and Fahrenheit 451.
I'm a Sophomore, spare my brittle soul.
If I use Everything as an academic instituion, do I pay tuition?
In the book
and movie, the ruling bodies as they are control human society to different
ends but with similar means.
Matrix, the computers control the human populace by controlling the world
in which they live. They do not appear to care for the happiness of human kind,
only that our bodies function as sources of power. They claim to have tried to
make all humans happy in the first version of The Matrix, but the
human mind would not accept a perfect world and cease to function, therefore
killing the body. They have therefore made human happiness a non-issue. In Fahrenheit 451, the sole purpose of the
governments many injustices are to increase human happiness. They do
this not through physical control of the world in which people live, but
through control of all information that people receive. The government provides
or filters all information that the populace receives, and books are outright
banned as a medium. This is logically because transmitted information such as
video transmissions are much easier to scrutinize and control then stored
information such as books or magazines.
Matrix, humans are an easy commodity as they are grown en masse, and
are therefore easily expendable. Agents kill or take over the minds of Matrix
inhabitants in order to perform tasks such as tracking down dissenting
factions who wish to destroy The Matrix. In Fahrenheit,
firefighters and police may kill a single or small group of persons in
order to preserve their concept of happiness in the populace as a whole. This
may be because the victim is a rebel, or simply because a scapegoat was
needed. In The Matrix the computers do it for their own good, they
simply want the electrical power and physical heat. In Fahrenheit it
is being done for the people, successfully or not.
systems, there is the Overseeing body, which knows the full truth. In The
Matrix this is not an issue. But in Fahrenheit, it is a fatal
flaw in the ideology, as the concept is only to let people have “happy”
information. But the Overseers have all the information, so are therefore
unhappy, which means the system has failed its purpose of making everybody
happy. But maybe the Overseers have decided to make that sacrifice, if
it is a sacrifice, and lose their ignorance. If the Overseers are human,
which they most probably are, then they must be recruited at some point when an
old one dies. To be recruited, won’t they have to be told what their job will
be? And to tell them what their job will be, wont they have to be exposed to
“bad” information? And if they decide they don’t want to be Overseers,
then what? Let them go back to society unhappy?
systems, the people are unhappy. In The Matrix, the computers have
introduced much suffering to the world, as they believe it is totally necessary
to a “healthy” human mind. In Fahrenheit, the people believe
they are happy. All the news they get is good news; all the material things
they worry about are when they can afford the next big entertainment item. But
they are not really happy. Suffering is hopefully not a requisite to
human existence, but maybe the people know they are not being told all. Maybe
they know they are living a lie, and that they cannot escape alone, and that
they have no leadership to organize them. Maybe they know that there is huge
suffering in the world, and that they are part of it.
unhappy due to the system, yet they still defend it, as it is all they know and
therefore deeply rooted in their sense of priority. The police in The
Matrix may not be happy, but the computers have made the rebels who enter The
Matrix fugitives, so the police attempt to capture them simply because it
is their job. In Fahrenheit people are not happy, but they still call
to Fire Department hotline to report people, or come out to watch books
burned. But in both places, the people are not aware they are being controlled,
so cannot be blamed for supporting the system. In both systems, the Overseers
have scapegoats for unhappiness. In The Matrix it is the rebels, in Fahrenheit
it is those who keep and publish books. Both are quite convenient and easy to
implement for the Overseers, as those who oppose them have no means to spread
their information widely.
Matrix and Fahrenheit 451 both show very different totalitarian
worlds that share common traits. I do not think a world as described in Fahrenheit
would ever come to be, not even in an isolated place on a small scale. The populace
would rebel or escape before it could be fully implemented. I also doubt that The
Matrix could ever exist, as the robots couldn’t possibly capture all
humans and put them in The Matrix at the same time. If they could have
they would simply have killed all the humans before they scorched the
atmosphere. And if they couldn’t and it was a gradual assimilation of all
humans, I believe that humans would have seen it coming, and made a last stand
rather than end up in The Matrix.