When the movie “The Matrix” was released in 1999, few could imagine just how ubiquitous it would become in our society with its groundbreaking filmmaking techniques and deeply philosophical meanings.Today, “take the red pill” is a phrase almost everyone seems to know the meaning of as the film continues to stand the test of time nearly 2 decades after its release.
And most impressively of all, despite being nearly 20 years old, the masterpiece still remains relevant in this age of advanced robotics and emerging artificial intelligence, provoking deep questions about what it means to be self-aware human beings.
One of the most popular scenes in the film is when Morpheus, played by Laurence Fishburne, attempts to explain to Neo (Keanu Reeves) what exactly the Matrix is.
Having only recently been unplugged from the computer simulation that keeps the human stock pacified while robots feed off their energy, Neo is receiving a crash course in reality, exemplified by the moment he sees a beautiful woman in a red dress walking by him, which completely distracts him from Morpheus’ teachings.
“Were you listening to me, Neo?” asks Morpheus with a slight grin, “Or were you looking at the woman in the red dress?”
Neo falters, and Morpheus asks him to look again.
Upon turning around, he comes face to face with an “Agent”—the computer avatars enforcing the Matrix’s mental enslavement—pointing a gun directly at his head:
The scene itself is rich with layers of symbolism and deeper meaning—all of which have direct parallels to the modern “matrix” of society we live in.
But before you can understand what the scene represents, you need to know what Morpheus and Neo symbolize.
As Gavin Nascimento puts it in his article “The Esoteric Meaning of Neo, Morpheus, and The Woman In The Red Dress”:
“Morpheus, in ancient Greek mythology, is a messenger of the gods that enters the dreams of mortals to share esoteric knowledge and hidden messages with human beings. He can take on any form, but his mission and message remains the same.
“Thus, he can be called a messenger of Truth, particularly as it pertains to the character in the Matrix.
“Neo in ancient Greek (νέος) means new/young one.
“When we are first introduced to Neo — who has yet to become disillusioned and awaken to what the Matrix really is — he is asleep while searching the internet for Morpheus (ignorant but seeking Truth).”
Morpheus is a messenger of truth, reminiscent of the many figures throughout history who’ve come along to tell us the ultimate nature of reality beyond the shallow limitations of everyday life—Christ, Buddha, you name them—figures who seem to be enlightened ahead of their time, misunderstood so deeply by so many that their words are interpreted as heresy.
Neo, by extension, represents our spiritually-infant selves, still blind, still distracted, still grasping for footing in a world that—much like the woman in the red dress—is constantly capturing our attention.
Gavin elaborates further:
“Morpheus is explaining the Truth to Neo about the Matrix, but then he gets distracted by the attractive Woman in the Red Dress.
“What she represents is simply a distraction that interrupts our connection with hearing the deeper message of Truth. This has nothing to do with her gender, she is simply a mindless product of the system, and has been created for the purpose of distraction.
“Agent Smith, with his gun, represents the danger that the enticing distraction of the Woman in the Red Dress really is when we look beyond the external surface illusion.”
From Madison Avenue to celebrity worship to racial division….The Matrix is an illusory system of control that maintains its dominance through divide and conquer—through a constant reminder of how different and separated you are from others, be it along the lines of race, wealth, politics, or your favorite football team.
“For us,” adds Gavin, “the Women in the Red Dress comes in the form of television, alcohol, drugs, misuse of social media, celebrity culture, pornography, superficial relationships, establishment religion, materialism and the consumer life style, amongst other forms of shallow escapism that prevent us from connecting with the Truth.”
Is this the ultimate meaning of the famous scene? It could be, though it’s very possible you have a unique interpretation, which is one of the most fascinating aspects of this movie.
You Can Watch The Popular Scene Here:
Originally Taken from DavidWolfe
Gavin Nascimento, Founder of aNewKindOfHuman.com