I wanna talk about a scene from the film Matrix, where the character of Cypher makes a deal with Agent Smith, the main antagonist of the film.
Cypher makes a deal that he will help Agent Smith capture Morpheus, the most important man to the last human city in the world and in exchange Cypher wants to escape the real world, re-enter the Matrix, forget about everything that happened prior to this and live a life happily ever after.
Watching this scene made me wanna think about my own life and how sometimes I desperately want to escape reality by entering a fantasy world and never ever coming out of it. But me feeling this way raises a lot of questions.
Why do I want to go into the matrix in the first place, why can’t I continue to live in the real world and make the best of it?..., well because Cypher made me feel like it. So if Cypher made me feel like it, then on some psychological level I connected with him. So if I connected with him, it means that Cypher would happily betray his friends to get the luxuries of life so if given the choice, would I do the same?
Before waking up from the matrix, Cypher was presumably living just an okay life because when Morpheus gave him the option to choose the red pill or the blue pill, he went for the red one because some part of him wanted to escape the matrix and he thought that the real world might be a much better place psychologically. But then later on in the movie, he admits to Neo, the regret about choosing the wrong pill.
Cypher is now frustrated with the struggles of living in the real world, he has clearly been doing it for a while now and he just wants to end it somehow and bring up the standard of his living. So even if he comfortably spends the rest of his life in the last remaining city, it won’t be able to provide him with the peace of mind that he’s looking for. He wants something more and meaningful even if that’s not real and the only way he can get that is by making a deal with the devil himself.
So the root cause of Cypher’s motivation to betray his friends is frustration with the real world. When he took the red pill, he was expecting the truth to be better than the dream world, but it gave him nothing but disappointments one after the other and all these disappointments lead him towards making a brutal choice.
But once he goes back into the Matrix, he will not remember any of it. The life he spent in the real world, the time he spent with his friends and the betrayal he’s decided to go for. Everything will be erased from his memory so in the end, it wouldn’t even matter to him if he betrays his friends or not and that is perhaps the biggest motivator of his decision.
You wake up every morning, go to your job, come back and realize it’s not enough to build someone else’s dream so you begin to work on your own passion project. It goes well and good for a little while and life seems pretty stable as if it will work out just fine but then everything crumbles. You lose your job, your passion doesn’t work out and you look at yourself in the mirror as a big fat loser. If someone puts a scenario like this in front of me and then gives me the same choice as given to cipher, would I still go for it? I honestly don’t know, but what I do know is that I want to know your thoughts about the scenario I gave you and what would you do if given the same choice as Cypher?
Some people would argue that you shouldn’t be so pathetic and miserable that you would betray your own friends to escape the hardships of your life. They would argue that when you fail, you should take a break, get your thoughts together and then get back into the battlefield. But I’m not currently talking to those guys, I’m currently talking to those people who have failed again and again so miserably that they come to the point where all you need is a back door to the exit of your worries and this exit is in the shape of the choice that is given to Cypher.
Now, would you take this backdoor or would you not? Whatever is your answer, think about it and leave it in the comments. Until then subscribe to this channel, so you can stay tuned to some film philosophy every Monday.
In the hopes of connecting with film lovers all over the world, this is Mr. Zeecon, in the making of a great story.
I would love to hear it from you guys in the comments if Cypher's frustration with the real world justifies the choice he makes or does the choice simply makes him a horrible person?