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The Matrix Anthropology

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It’s been determined that the view of the human person at work behind “The Human Zoo” exhibit is best exemplified by Agent Smith’s monologue from the original installment of “The Matrix.”

“Do you hear that, Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability.”

While Morpheus is held captive, Agent Smith tells him the following:

I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species. I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to an area, and you multiply, and multiply, until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet, you are a plague, and we are the cure.

He continues:

I hate this place. This zoo. This prison. This reality, whatever you want to call it, I can’t stand it any longer. It’s the smell, if there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink and every time I do, I fear that I’ve somehow been infected by it.

This comes, of course, from a piece of software representing the machines who view humans as essentially batteries and feed the liquidated dead to the living. It is perhaps not the best anthropological foundation to adopt.

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, where he also serves as executive editor the Journal of Markets & Morality. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary. He has authored articles in academic publications such as The Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, and Journal of Scholarly Publishing, and has written popular pieces for newspapers including the Detroit News, Orange County Register, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In 2006, Jordan was profiled in the book, The Relevant Nation: 50 Activists, Artists And Innovators Who Are Changing The World Through Faith. Jordan's scholarly interests include Reformation studies, church-state relations, theological anthropology, social ethics, theology and economics, and research methodology. Jordan is a member of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA), and he resides in Jenison, Michigan with his wife and three children.

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Comments

  • My friend Jordan Ballor notes that those in charge of a new human exhibit at the London Zoo have adopted an anthropology akin to that of Agent Smith from the Matrix: I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve…

  • “It is [i]perhaps[/i] not the best anthropological foundation to adopt.”

    Congratulations! You are officially in the running for my 2005 Blog Understatement Of The Year Award. So droll, with just the perfect hint of sarcasm. Bravo!

  • Topping today’s Science/Nature section at BBC News, “Population size ‘green priority’”, by Richard Black. The article focuses on the thoughts of Professor Chris Rapley, Director of the British Antarctic Survey, who contends t

  • While doing research for my upcoming lecture at the Drexel University Libraries’ Scholarly Commmunication Symposium, I ran across this excellent book by Janet H. Murray, Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace (New York: Free P

  • Bryan

    Smith: I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had, during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you aren’t actually mammals.

    Morpheus: Actually we are, you see the boobies
    (morpheus opens shirt and shakes nipples at smith)

    Smith: Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with its surrounding environment,

    Morpheus: My ass they do, many mammalian species will over breed, over feed, cause extinctions to other species, destroy their food source and suffer a population crash.
    (morpheus shakes ass at smith)

    Smith: You move to an area and you multiply, and multiply until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area.

    Morpheus: Actually what we have done is find ways to produce our own natural resources (agriculture) or exploit new ones. If what you say is true there would be only a small band of humans migrating around the world were in fact we see stable human populations surviving for a long period of time.

    Smith: There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is?

    Morpheus: Elephants.

    Smith: A virus.

    Morpheus: No elephants do it!

    Smith: I Like elephants

    Morpheus: That’s neither here nor there but the fact remains elephants move into an area decimate the foliage and move away.

    Smith: I still say it’s viruses

    Morpheus: Its debatable whether or not viruses are even organisms, but many viruses have quite a long term and low impact on their hosts.

    Smith: Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You are a plague, and we… are the cure.

    Morpheus: Are you even listening to me? Cancer? What’s that got to do with it, i thought we were talking about elephants?