After watching the movie together, our group decided to analyze ‘The Matrix’ into four parts: The Matrix, Neo, Cypher, and Neo’s Group. These four parts, according to our discussion, give different insights related to the subject of Organizational Structure and Development.
To begin with, we thought of the Matrix as an old mental model. It is actually an internal illusion, but the people living inside the boundary of the Matrix accept it as reality and live without trying to question the truth. The Matrix is a cage which blocks people from thinking differently. In other words, the Matrix can be seen as a big assumption and this blocks people’s range of perspectives. Therefore, people cannot distinguish the truth from the fake world. This shows how people’s thoughts and actions are greatly affected by their mental model, in this case, the Matrix, and they see the Matrix as the reality. If these people just settle in the Matrix, the society may be stabilized without any chaos, but it would not proceed to the next step or have any development. The procedure of selecting the red pill over the blue pill reflects the risk of leaping into the sea of uncertainty. The red pill leads the way to the sea of uncertainty and by picking the red pill, it shows that the person is somewhat aware of the fact that the Matrix is an illusion, and there is an attempt to break out of the big assumption and take the risks facing change.
The person who notices there is something weird with the Matrix and chooses the path of leaping into the sea of uncertainty is Neo. At first, Neo had the same typical characteristics of the other people living inside the Matrix. When Morpheus asked Neo whether he believed in fate or not, Neo replied that he didn’t because he could not control himself. The people living inside the Matrix are like that because they do not like change and they feel more comfortable by sticking to the life they can control their way inside the Matrix. This would eventually lead to the path of slow death. However, what Neo was different from the other people was that he knew something was weird with the Matrix and he questioned the existence of the Matrix. By picking the red pill, Neo shows that he is different from the other people in the Matrix who are satisfied with their lives in the Matrix. Also, this was the point where Neo went through the ‘Unfreezing’ process. His wondering made him get rid of his old mental model, the Matrix, and allowed him to accept the new mental model, the truth. Thus, Neo was the character who successfully shifted his paradigm. After Neo started believing in the truth, and that he was ‘the one’, he started to get stronger. We also thought that Neo showed his BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) when he selected the red pill. His BHAG was ‘not to be controlled by computers and to find the reason for self-existence’. This BHAG falls well outside the comfort zone because it makes Neo leap into the sea of uncertainty and it is very bold and exciting in its own right. Also, we thought that the question of self-existence could be related to the question professor always asked us, “If God had the choice of saving one Neo out of a hundred Neos, why should it be you?” In this way we could also think about our reason for existence by relating it to the movie and thinking in Neo’s shoes.
In contrast to Neo, Cypher is the character who betrayed the organization. Although he knows that the Matrix is not real, he wants to live in the Matrix. He regrets coming out of his big assumption and he continuously sticks to familiar, convenient, and easy things. Cypher ate the red pill at first, but he wasn’t able to make a successful deep change because his mental model has not changed. Therefore, we thought he had a similar mental model with the people who resisted to changes. These people stick to their own mental models and ignore the necessity of deep change. This way, they slowly follow the process of slow death, and that was what Cypher eventually ended up doing.
In conclusion, we decided to analyze the mission, vision, and value of Neo’s group. The mission or purpose is the reason for the organization’s existence, the final destination that a group should pursue like a star in the night sky. The mission of Neo’s group is to reveal the truth and let people know the truth. In the movie, the truth is the fact that the present world is not real. The vision is made up of stepping stones, or processes needed to reach the mission. In the case of Neo’s group, their vision for achieving the mission is finding Neo who is selected as ‘the one’ and destroying the Matrix. Value acts as the fence for setting up the mission and the vision. The value of Neo’s group is trying to think out of the boundaries of the AI (Artificial Intelligence). Overall this was how our group analyzed ‘The Matrix’.
“Free your mind”
What Morpheus tells to Neo in the movie depicts the criteria of a person who leaves for a heroic journey. The sacred difference in the world by hero’s journey is only possible when a person is able to free his or her mind from the old paradigm or mental model and be fully willing to take risks for a transformational change. Though, hero’s journey is not only about the act of leaving the world of certainty but also the strong will to be persistent with the change despite difficulties during the journey. In the movie “Matrix,” the heroic journey begins as Neo takes the red pill.
Matrix is a controlling system that shows the ‘real’ world to people that is actually a virtual world created by machines to enslave humans. As people are tamed within the matrix, they believe what they want to believe and eventually get stuck in the slow death process. However Neo, an ordinary software company worker, keeps on questioning about the existence of matrix throughout his life and experience competing commitment; whether he should follow the matrix or not. Then, he meets Morpheus and decides to take the red pill without knowing what exactly is going to happen. After taking the risk to uncertainty, he goes through the ‘unlearning’ process of assumptions built upon his old mental model and realizes the truth; the real world controlled by AIs. Although he first doubts the truth saying “I don’t believe it”, this deep change in his mental model is solidified by series of unlearning process done with training simulation programs with Morpheus. He finally starts to believe in himself and frees his mind in the virtual world.
When Morpheus got caught by the agents, Neo’s heroic journey was threatened. He was forced to make a difficult choice; going in to the matrix to save Morpheus or letting him die to save the Zion—the last human city left in the planet. When everyone else including Trinity thought it is insane to go into the matrix again and that the death of Morpheus is inevitable, Neo dares to save Morpheus from the agents. Although Trinity tries to stop Neo from entering the matrix again, Neo is convinced with his beliefs based on the new mental model. What he says back to Trinity is, “I believe I can bring him back.” His mental transformation to believe in himself enables him to establish a big hairy audacious goal (BHAG) which is to save Morpheus and the Zion at the same time. While Trinity and the other crew made an error of ‘or’—to either choose one that is more important—Neo achieves ‘genius of both.’ His strong determination to be persistent with the change based on the unlearning process enables Neo to overcome the difficulties during the journey and head forward to his final destination.
Finally, Neo rescues Morpheus and reaches to his final destination to save the human world that is controlled by AIs. Neo redeems the world which was falling into a bottomless pit of slow death, and makes a sacred difference. However, heroic journey is not just a story about ‘real’ heroes like Neo. It is also the journey that ordinary people like us take by going through deep changes within the environment that we are in to seek for direction in our lives and to make difference in the world that we are living in.
We analyzed Matrix, using John P. Kotter’s eight steps to transforming your organization. We have changed the model a bit so that our assessment could reflect the movie better.
John P. Kotter’s eight steps to transforming your organization
1) Establishing a sense of urgency
Human kind only resides in Zion, the unplugged humans' subterranean refuge in the real world. And this fact creates sense of urgency – the urgency to save the mankind.
Fighting against the agents also increase the level of urgency.
2) Forming a powerful guiding coalition
Recruiting people with different functions and skills
These people are determined to save the mankind and win over the machines
3) Creating the core ideology (vision)
The core ideology is to save the world and to free the mankind from the Matrix, a controlled world.
The person who can manipulate the Matrix freed Morpheus and implemented the vision, so he carries this ideology on.
4) Communicating the ideology (vision)
Morpheus sacrificed to save Neo, so that the core ideology could be pursued by other members of the guiding coalition
5) Empowering others to act on the vision
Oracle met members of the guiding coalition one by one, emphasizing and allocating their roles within the coalition.
Each of their roles, strategies to fulfill the vision, is all directly related to the vision.
6) Planning for and creating short-term wins
Throughout Neo’s training, he experiences short-term wins and also realizes his current limits to be overcome.
As Neo strived to save Morpheus, he started to control the Matrix and the team members and Neo himself changed.
Neo goes into the Matrix again to rescue Morpheus.
Before this, Neo was not confident with what he was doing. But through the rescue he began to believe in himself and this brings sequences of change on him.
7) Consolidating improvements and producing still more change
There were further improvements in Neo. Neo stopped the bullet and went into the agent’s body to destroy him. He also resurrect from his mind’s death with a new mind and mental model.
Morpheus also won over his body with his stronger mind and broke the chains over his hands.
8) Institutionalizing new approaches
We can’t find any specific new approaches from the movie since it didn’t show us the whole story but only the beginning of it. So this part portrayed in two sequels of the Matrix.
Our personal analyses and insights
The world without any pain may be idealistic; however, it brings about slow death. People need to face challenges, its subsequent deep changes. Mankind instinctively thrives to overcome those ‘pain’ and feels the sense of urgency.
Neo was not “the one” from the beginning. However, he became the savior and exudes his hidden abilities after he began believing that he “is” the One. By believing in himself, he went through a deep change of his previous mental model.
If one decides to take blue pill, one can continue to believe the Matrix as his/her reality. The Matrix may represent mental model, big assumption, or even a comfort zone. On the other hand, taking a red pill enables one to realize that the Matrix is surreal. Red pill initiates one’s deep change, shattering previously held mental model.
Mental strength wins over physical limitation. Many limitations are derived from individual’s big assumptions. When Morpheus was drugged in the movie, he was able to overcome physical limitations via mental strength, and broke off from shackles that restricted him. Morpheus says that the body cannot live without mind. We interpreted the term ‘mind’ as the Matrix; hence the Matrix itself is a mental model of individuals.
As Neo went through his deep change, he died and reincarnated. Neo’s the old-self died, implying that the pre-existing mental model has to be abandoned in order to accomplish the deep change.
If the purpose and values are not implanted and if the deep change processes are not internalized, true change does not occur. Cypher could not internalize the purpose and values, saying that ‘ignorance is bless,’ and wanting to go back to the Matrix. As a result, Cypher betrayed the team.
Before jumping off from a building, Morpheus tells Neo, “you need to let it all go – fear, doubt, disbelief – free your mind.” This implies that in order to make deep change, individuals need to have unconditional confidence.
A hero can bring about deep changes and enlighten others. However, it is up to individuals to make commitment and efforts to accomplish their own deep change, as the last quote of the movie: “Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.”