Postmodern writing evolved around WWII in response to Modernism that dominated the 19th c. The two writing styles share many characteristics, but the defeated modernist wallows in his realizations whereas the postmodernist offers a light or hope in conclusion. There is still a sense of foreboding for the postmodernist concerning science and technology. However, they are able to forge past their distrust, accept it as a logical progression, and begin to embrace some elements of advancement.
Postmodernists have also lost faith in transcendence and spirituality, but to counter this loss they search and find hope in mystical forces or worldly treasures.
Objective reality doesn’t exist for them either, but this is offset by acceptance. Postmodern thinkers are resigned to the fact that not all people will see things the same way. Postmodernists feeling of deception posed by our cultural belief system is coupled with a commitment to understanding the lie, its origin, and believing this effort will lead us closer to the truth.
There is also a strong commitment and faith in eventual political change within postmodern thought.
Evidence of these postmodern characteristics is overwhelming in the contemporary science fiction film trilogy The Matrix. Uncovering an example of loss of faith in cultural belief system is evident within the first hour of the series. The lead character Neo feels that something isn’t quite right in the world he lives in. This sensitivity spawns his search for truth. Truth for Neo comes in the shape of a red pill.
He takes a leap of faith and accepts this offering and is immediately thrust further into the truth than he cares to know.
He learns the origin of his beliefs and his life is forever changed. Neo’s mundane existence as an average social deviant was a lie perpetuated by radically advanced, self serving, technology. His entire world is a computer program developed to maintain a happy imprisoned population. This deception leads to an understandable distrust of technology, but it is the same technology that Neo and his compatriots embrace to overcome the deceptive forces that control the world. Neo comes to terms with his new and bitter reality. Neo’s reality is one in hich his world was long ago destroyed, and most of the population is unwittingly imprisoned by machines that control their every move and thought. After this realization, it becomes a race against annihilation by the machines that have imprisoned them. In the fight to win back reality, Neo and a legion of rebels find it essential to use technology to defeat their captors. Due to their natural distrust of technology the ‘real’ population lives in virtual squalor without even basic creature comforts normally afforded during such a technologically advanced time.
Although technology is missing from their daily routine, they certainly utilize every bit they can access to prevent the further enslavement of the population and their annihilation. This laborious existence leads to many defeated attitudes, but those living this difficult life often find strength to fight through the prophecies of one woman. There are moments spent with the Oracle, an all seeing and knowing entity. She is only seen in the world created by the machines, but her abilities and information have evaded detection by their captors long enough for her to express many thoughts and feelings.
Truth seekers must decipher the mystics’ proverbs on their own; therefore her objective perspective is subject to varied interpretation by her listeners. The soothsayer allows them to come to conclusions on their own. During a session with Morpheus, a leader of the rebellion, she gives him information in which he interprets as a way to find and utilize “The One”. This man will lead and succeed in the war against the machines. When the real population believes that Neo is their savior, they find a new hope they never had before. This new commitment will bring change and faith to the ‘real’ population.
This faith will lead to political sacrifice and loss of life in hope of change for the future. Many are lost on the road to freedom and a world of reality. There is much anguish and suffering due to external and internal betrayal of the population as they seek victory against the machines. Even as all seems lost, and loved ones sacrificed, the insurgents never lose hope that they will affect change. The more it seems they are beaten, the harder and stronger they fight. As this war for freedom continues, it leaves little time, or inclination, for tranquil moments of spirituality and transcendence.
So these underdogs put their faith in something more human and mystical. With the words of the Oracle ringing in their ears, and their hope and faith in Neo, the revolution continues. The crippled population grasps for hope in the foreshadowing of the medium and the unworldly abilities of their proposed savior. Their conviction to affect change, and the hard road they have to travel required help in order to continue. The fact that this help came in the material form of an Oracle and Neo is a truly postmodern. In conclusion The Matrix has many characteristics that categorize it as postmodern.
The characters search for the truth through the lie. They do not accept technology into their personal life, but embrace it as a means to an end. Their lack of hope and transcendence is inflated by an Oracle and their savior Neo. They suffer much through political sacrifice, but have ultimate victory against their dominators. If one simply scratches the surface of the trilogy, it might be nothing more than a difficult to understand science fiction movie. When one considers the film with these intriguing characteristics, it is postmodern brilliance.