David Brin (b.1950) is an American scientist and award-winning author of science fiction. He is the author of several books including Sundiver and Startide Rising —part of his Uplift series. His award-winning novel The Postman was adapted as a feature film and starred Kevin Costner in 1997. Brin's nonfiction book The Transparent Society won the Freedom of Speech Award of the American Library Association and the McGannon Communication Award.
The Matrix: Tomorrow May Be Differentby David Brin
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It is a smug cliché - that you alone (or perhaps with a few friends) ¬happen to see through the conditioning that has turned all the rest into passively obedient sheep. Cyberpunk plays to this image, by portraying a lone individual ¬or perhaps just a few - scurrying like rats under the dark towers of the ruling masters. In The Matrix, the masters are evil computers. In Johnny Mnemonic they are the rulers of faceless corporations. In The X Files it is a government conspiracy. What these myths share in common is the grimly satisfying image that the masses are useless bystanders, lowing and mooing in confusion.
In fact, it never occurs to the heroes of these tales (above all X Files) to actually appeal to the very masses who pay the hero’s wages and deserve his loyal respect. The common man or woman cannot help resist the Dark Power, because they were long ago indoctrinated into dull, unquestioning obedience.
Ah, but here is the ironic twist. Look around yourself. I’ll bet you cannot name, offhand, a single popular film of the last forty years that actually preached homogeneity, submission, or repression of the individual spirit. That’s a clue!
In fact, the most persistent and inarguably incessant propaganda campaign, appearing in countless movies, novels, myths and TV shows, preaches quite the opposite! A singular and unswerving theme so persistent and ubiquitous that most people hardly notice or mention it. And yet, when I say it aloud, you will nod your heads in instant recognition.
That theme is suspicion of authority - often accompanied by it’s sidekick/ partner: tolerance.
Indeed, try to come up with even one example of a recent film you enjoyed in which the hero did not bond with the audience in the first ten minutes by resisting or sticking-it to some authority figure.
Excerpted from THROUGH STRANGER EYES (paperback, Nimble Books, 2008). Active TOC.
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