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New Age Philosophy and Zen Philosophy

QUESTION: New Age Philosophy – Zen Philosophy in Popular Culture


Cosmic Humanist philosophy finds its way into popular culture through music and movies. For example, in The Matrix, Neo goes to see the Oracle. While waiting, he focuses on a boy in Buddhist robes sitting cross-legged on the floor, bending metal spoons simply by staring at them. The boy explains to Neo, “Don’t try to bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Only understand the truth...there is no spoon.” The boy’s statement reflects a classic Hindu/Buddhist conception of reality—that what we see is an illusionary world. There is no objective world, only the reality of our mental state.

New Age Philosophy – The Matrix
Larry and Andy Wachowski, the writing/directing team behind The Matrix, are candid about their purpose in bringing a Cosmic Humanist dimension into their film: “We think the most important sort of fiction attempts to answer some of the big questions. One of the things that we had talked about when we first had the idea of The Matrix was an idea that I believe philosophy and religion and mathematics all try to answer...a reconciling between a natural world and another world that is perceived by our intellect.”1 In the same interview, the Wachowskis admit Buddhism plays a major role in their understanding of religion.

As pop culture commentator Roberto Rivera observes, “You can see Zen’s fingerprints everywhere, including the way Morpheus talks to Neo. Instead of answering Neo’s questions in a straightforward manner, he insists on [Buddhist-style] koans such as, ‘I can only show you the door, you must walk through,’ and ‘when the time comes, you won’t need to dodge the bullet.’ Or my favorite, ‘[the Oracle] didn’t lie, she told you exactly what you needed to hear.’”2


Rendered with permission from the book,Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews(Rev. 2nd ed), David Noebel, Summit Press, 2006. Compliments of John Stonestreet, David Noebel, and the Christian Worldview Ministry at Summit Ministries. All rights reserved in the original.

1 Interview with Larry and Andy Wachowski, November 6, 1999,
2 Roberto Rivera, “So, What is The Matrix? Rethinking Reality,”

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