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Wachowski, L. Wachowski, A. Cartwright, D. (2005). β-Mentality in The matrix trilogy. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(1):179-190.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(1):179-190

β-Mentality in The matrix trilogy Language Translation

Review by:
Director Larry Wachowski

Director Andy Wachowski and Duncan Cartwright

The matrix trilogy, written by the directors, fits the general genre of action-orientated science fiction. The trilogy is most popularly known for its well-choreographed action scenes and groundbreaking special effects. In addition, however, the script, clearly influenced by the likes of Orwell's 1984 and Kubrick's 2001: A space Odyssey, is an intelligent commentary on age-old debates about the nature of reality and its relation to our origins, the power and seductiveness of ‘the machine’, and the mind-body problem. Even the enthralling special effects do not escape the film's astute narrative intentions: to seduce the senses. The Wachowski brothers, in effect, jar their audience into asking questions about the nature of experience: How do we know what is real? Are we truly awake, or do we exist in a dream within a dream? Is there life beyond the senses and their seductive hold on reality? Such questions have always been grist for the mill of philosophical and existential debate. They are also, of course, questions about self-discovery (of both inner and outer reality) and the dynamic forces that drive humankind; it is here that the trilogy's symbolism meets with psychoanalytic conceptions. My intention here is to elucidate how the narrative might be understood as representing ongoing dilemmas between psychotic and non-psychotic parts of the personality, especially the perversion of reality that threatens when the psychotic part of the personality dominates. In many ways the trilogy brings to life the mythic reality—in the Bionian sense—of a ‘β-world’, a β-mentality that has its own coordinates, rules and reasons for existence.

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