Flying into LaGuardia, the City shimmering outside the airplane window — labyrinth of light beneath squid-ink sky. Bridges spanning black waters, buildings silhouetted against dark vistas, boulevards radiating in concentric directions. Circuit board of the digital economy.
“City of hurried and sparkling waters!” sang Walt Whitman, “city of spires and masts! City nested in bays! my city!”
Do you ever get the feeling that we’re being secretly manipulated? That we’re trapped in a dream world, with some kind of puppet master jerking our strings, while life slips away, and with it the opportunity to pursue the goals that really matter.
I sometimes get that feeling…. for instance when I’m staring at the computer screen, wondering how I’ve ended up chained to a desk, when I’d rather be outdoors, running through the mountains and exploring life.
That feeling is the hook of the 1999 sci-fi thriller, The Matrix, and it must have resonated because the movie sold a lot of tickets and also won four Academy Awards.
Early in the film, Morpheus (played by Laurence Fishburne) explains that feeling to Neo (Keanu Reeves):