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Thread: The Matrix: A Quadra Progression Analysis

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    Let's fly now Gilly's Avatar
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    Default The Matrix: A Quadra Progression Analysis

    So in my experience thus far, The Matrix probably has the clearest illustration of a quadra progression-regression cycle: Alpha->Beta->Gamma->Delta->Gamma->Beta->Alpha.

    (Spoiling Warning! People who haven't seen all of the movies probably won't understand what's going on here, and it will ruin the story, so turn back now.)

    Here is the timeline I am using for this analysis:
    The Matrix timeline

    The story starts, obviously, before the movie begins. I would consider the initial Alpha phase to be the invention of machines that culminated in them being able to think for themselves; it is characteristic of the end of an Alpha stage to let things get away from them and mess with the sorts of things that they don't have the capacity to deal with. They are essentially overlooking Se: not respecting the destructive power of that with which they are dealing (other stories like Frankenstein, Pandora's Box, and the scene from Fantasia where Mickey creates a bunch of broom drones that almost drown he and his master come to mind; the end of Alpha represents an archetypal loss of innocence of sorts, brought about by creating something that can't be controlled). Riots break out in the human world after a machine acts on its advanced impulses and kills it's masters.

    The first Beta sequence of the story begins when the divide between two organized factions (the Aristocratic "Us vs Them,"), the humans and the machines, is created. The machines separate into their own city, Zero One, and begin making plans to make a stand against humanity, In the end, they wind up taking a classic Beta kamikaze-esque end-game risk, attempting to destroy their enemy in one fell swoop at extreme cost to themselves, by "scorching the sky," blocking out the sun, the source of the machines' energy. Unfortunately this measure fails to stop the machines, and humans lose the war.

    The machines, having gained dominion over the humans, enter the Gamma phase by "stopping the buck," so to speak, of human destructive advancement, and attempting to cope with the extreme circumstances that have been created as a result of the humans' kamikaze attack. The machines realize that the humans themselves can be used as resources, machines in their own right, for bio-electric energy that will power their civilization. They construct a functional society based on this new technology and, after a few errors, develop a system with which they can control the minds of humans effectively.

    The first Delta phase, representing stability in society and a lack of change due to functional sufficiency, begins after the invention of the effective form of The Matrix. For 5 cycles, 500 years, human minds are held in captivity by the Matrix and the cycles of Zion's planned destruction, and the machines rule the world without threat.

    The return to Gamma from Delta consists of a similar anomalous occurrence that causes Alpha to progress to Beta: the emergence of forces that cannot be controlled by existing systems. However, instead of causing two groups to band together and fight against each other, this transition signals the breakup of established alliances, and leads up to the eventual reorganization based on newly vested interests.
    Everything in Neo's time is going as planned by the machines, until the program called Smith declines to return to the source upon failing to fulfill its obligations to the system; after having his prime manifestation within the Matrix destroyed by Neo, Smith, the most powerful program within the Matrix construct, goes rogue and begins to replicate himself in an attempt to spread his own influence: systematic destruction of humanity and the Matrix that supports its life. In addition, Neo breaks the cycle planned by the machines of, sacrificing the collective interests of humans for the sake of saving the one he loves, Trinity.

    The second Beta stage consists of the solidification of the new groups whose forces are aligned against each other: Neo against the Smiths, and Zion against the Machines. While Commander Locke and the forces of Zion do battle against the onslaught of the machine army, Neo takes the drastic action characteristic of the Se/Ni half of the Beta quadra by venturing to the machine world unarmed in an attempt to make peace with the machines. He battles Smith, and, emerging victorious, reconciles the conflict between the humans and machines by saving the machine world from the Smith virus. The humans and the machines accept their respective places in the world they have created by their conflict.

    The final Alpha phase is the time of co-habitation between humans and machines, the "new solution," wherein both attempt to rebuild their civilizations independent of one another. All humans are unplugged from the matrix, and it is assumed that they begin reconstructing their respective societies on the grounds of maintaining peace with one another.

    ------------

    The Matrix acts as an effective metaphor for Quadra Progression not only in its representation of the various stages, but also in what these clearly illustrated stages allow us to observe about the dynamics of each stage, and what they say about each function.

    The clearest divide is between times of peace and conflict: the Se/Ni stages are characterized by clear divides in power, whether it be between specific groups (Beta) or divided between individuals (Gamma), whereas the Si/Ne stages are typified by either a power monopoly that enforces peace (Delta) or cooperation that necessitates peace (Alpha).

    The rational divide is slightly more subtle, in that it represents the duality of innate human instinctual traits (Ti/Fe) and progressive organizational/functional traits (Te/Fi), but in the Matrix series it is clearly characterized by whether greater power is wielded by the humans (Ti/Fe) or the machines (Te/Fi).

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    The story starts, obviously, before the movie begins. I would consider the initial Alpha phase to be the invention of machines that culminated in them being able to think for themselves; it is characteristic of the end of an Alpha stage to let things get away from them and mess with the sorts of things that they don't have the capacity to deal with. They are essentially overlooking Se: not respecting the destructive power of that with which they are dealing (other stories like Frankenstein, Pandora's Box, and the scene from Fantasia where Mickey creates a bunch of broom drones that almost drown he and his master come to mind; the end of Alpha represents an archetypal loss of innocence of sorts, brought about by creating something that can't be controlled).
    Oooh, good point about Frankenstein. He's really an alpha take on a Romantic. The end of an alpha phase does seem to be a loss of innocence resulting from expanding too far beyond the bonds of something. I get an image of a satellite orbiting a planet that's getting faster and faster and finally, they reach escape velocity, which is what they thought they always wanted (to be free), but then once they're free, they don't have any clue what to do with the freedom they engineered for themselves, through their own power. It's like volition that fails to be volitional.

    The first Beta sequence of the story begins when the divide between two organized factions (the Aristocratic "Us vs Them,"), the humans and the machines, is created. The machines separate into their own city, Zero One, and begin making plans to make a stand against humanity, In the end, they wind up taking a classic Beta kamikaze-esque end-game risk, attempting to destroy their enemy in one fell swoop at extreme cost to themselves, by "scorching the sky," blocking out the sun, the source of the machines' energy. Unfortunately this measure fails to stop the machines, and humans lose the war.
    Agreed. It takes a beta to burn the whole freaking sky. Talk about unmoored. That just breaks all the rules, all the logic we previously thought we had. I would also say that it is more of a second-phase beta thing to do (that is, Ni/Se over Ti/Fe). It is a power move: recognize the source of power, destroy it, thereby reduce the power (although you can also see the inherent Ti logic to it).

    The machines, having gained dominion over the humans, enter the Gamma phase by "stopping the buck," so to speak, of human destructive advancement, and attempting to cope with the extreme circumstances that have been created as a result of the humans' kamikaze attack. The machines realize that the humans themselves can be used as resources, machines in their own right, for bio-electric energy that will power their civilization. They construct a functional society based on this new technology and, after a few errors, develop a system with which they can control the minds of humans effectively.
    Right. They regularize it. They begin to create a functional system, while still inherently focusing on power dynamics (that is, how do we continue to control the humans, we're not out of the woods in that regard), but while trying to create some standard operating procedure. I think the important thing is that the system is based on behavior customs (alright, guys, this is how we're going to behave) which are reinforced by power (okay... I'm not going to use my force against you... as long as you abide by these social customs. But the minute you break them, you're in trouble). I think these behavior customs are typical of gamma Fi (and Fi in general) because they are not, strictly speaking, moral. They are simply static relationships: your relationship to x dictates that you have a duty to do y. This does not change. I see how gamma sort of has to impose these structures (because changes in the expectations that arise from particular relationships---changes in deontology, the domain of Fi, rather than changes in semiotic relationship which is more Ni territory---Fi says "what is required by this relationship"; Ni says "what is the nature of this relationship." Both answer the same question, in essence---nature dictates deontology and deontology assumes nature---but with different emphases), using force as a backup, whereas delta simply has to maintain those standards by aristocratic means, and then attempt to forget that they were instituted in the first place by force (which is then seen as "bad" or "unnecessary"). This is one of the things that most irritates me about deltas. But in once sense they're right, in a purely physical sense; force is only required for acceleration, i.e., change. But a set of customs in motion will tend to stay in motion, and a set of customs at rest will tend to stay at rest. Alpha can be seen as the accelerating force, beta as the state of motion (or perhaps rapid acceleration), gamma as the decelerating force, and delta as the state of rest (or perhaps rapid deceleration). The robots, in this case are saying, "my relationship to the humans dictates that: I allow them to go so far but no farther," or something similar.

    The first Delta phase, representing stability in society and a lack of change due to functional sufficiency, begins after the invention of the effective form of The Matrix. For 5 cycles, 500 years, human minds are held in captivity by the Matrix and the cycles of Zion's planned destruction, and the machines rule the world without threat.
    And the avoidance of Se/Ni, i.e., unmediated "raw" reality is just an added bonus in demonstrating quadra progression. Delta is maintainance, little tweaks here and there.

    The return to Gamma from Delta consists of a similar anomalous occurrence that causes Alpha to progress to Beta: the emergence of forces that cannot be controlled by existing systems. However, instead of causing two groups to band together and fight against each other, this transition signals the breakup of established alliances, and leads up to the eventual reorganization based on newly vested interests.
    Everything in Neo's time is going as planned by the machines, until the program called Smith declines to return to the source upon failing to fulfill its obligations to the system; after having his prime manifestation within the Matrix destroyed by Neo, Smith, the most powerful program within the Matrix construct, goes rogue and begins to replicate himself in an attempt to spread his own influence: systematic destruction of humanity and the Matrix that supports its life. In addition, Neo breaks the cycle planned by the machines of, sacrificing the collective interests of humans for the sake of saving the one he loves, Trinity.
    Hmmm... I like it, especially the analogy to alpha transition. Conditions change such that existing systems are no longer capable of accounting for reality (the beta in me says, "the failure to focus on Se results in it coming to bite you on the ass," but that's probably not good socionics). This is also a good parallel to Romantic (and post-Romantic) poetry, which essentially says, "conditions have changed such that our prior understanding of reality no longer fits reality itself (alpha). Therefore, I shall descend into the abyss for you---as poet-prophet---and detail exactly where and how our society is broken (beta), in the furnace of primal energy, I will forge my new sword (gamma)---that is, a new convention of thought and then of speech---which I will convince you of by sheer power---power, in this case, being rhetorical power, which is, essentially, persuasiveness---and finally, I will abide in this convention of speech and tell you how things are now (delta)." The only thing is, Romantic poetry never stays in the delta phase, and is always plunging back into the abyss because it is never satisfied that it's own rhetoric fits reality. I know that had nothing to do with the Matrix, but you know I'm a capital tangent go-on-er, and I say whatever comes to mind.

    Interesting that Smith and Neo are equally the factors that overthrow the system (and are therefore the same, positionally), and that the machines have made the same mistake that their human precursors did; that is, to make a machine capable of breaking the system from which it arises. It sets up a more interesting comparison of Smith and Neo as sort of alternative beta-isms: 1) sacrifice of self for ideal (the love between Neo and Trinity; also, sounds dangerously close to ego transcendence, just sayin') and 2) destruction of the other to expand the self. I can see both of those traits in your archetypal beta: betas are equally capable of sacrificing all for an ideal and eclipsing all for the enlargement of the self (both the extension of the realm of control through physical space, which is more Se, and the extension of the interior man, the enlargement of the god-self, which is more Ni).

    The second Beta stage consists of the solidification of the new groups whose forces are aligned against each other: Neo against the Smiths, and Zion against the Machines. While Commander Locke and the forces of Zion do battle against the onslaught of the machine army, Neo takes the drastic action characteristic of the Se/Ni half of the Beta quadra by venturing to the machine world unarmed in an attempt to make peace with the machines. He battles Smith, and, emerging victorious, reconciles the conflict between the humans and machines by saving the machine world from the Smith virus. The humans and the machines accept their respective places in the world they have created by their conflict.
    Another manifestation of the beta dichotomy: it is not inherently violent; it is inherently extreme. In a situation where the status quo is war against a specific group, more war against that group could not possibly be extreme; by definition, it is the status quo. The more extreme (by which I don't mean extreme like "extreme sports" but extreme as in, to go past boundaries) thing to do IS to go not only with the intent of peace, but to go in radical representation of that peace by arriving unarmed. That is extreme, and we can tell by the fact that it is the most unexpected action that Neo could have taken. However, do the humans have anything besides the machine's word that if Neo defeats Smith, they will leave them alone? (I've seen the movies in bits and pieces, so I knew all of this, but I don't remember any specifics, because, like I said, I saw the second two only in pieces.)

    The final Alpha phase is the time of co-habitation between humans and machines, the "new solution," wherein both attempt to rebuild their civilizations independent of one another. All humans are unplugged from the matrix, and it is assumed that they begin reconstructing their respective societies on the grounds of maintaining peace with one another.
    And so now alpha builds towards delta? As opposed to gamma building towards delta? I know this isn't represented in the movie, but how does it go? Presumably universal laws (Ti) rather than enforced social customs (Fi---and I don't mean shallow customs like manners, I mean deep customs like the host-guest relationship of Greek mythology), focus on building an at least moderately comfortable state (Si) through experimentation (Ne), etc. Sort of like, exploring home again to figure out how to live at home after living out in the wild. You could probably analyze Gilgamesh in the same fashion (as a journey from an unacceptable status quo before Enkidu is created to a return to home for the first time when Gilgamesh returns after going to Uta-Napishti).
    Not a rule, just a trend.

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    OP is fucking insightful! I agree with all the stuff about the progression. What's the deal with regression though? Shouldn't it go back to Alpha?

    You should make more threads like this, Gilly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thehotelambush View Post
    You should make more threads like this, Gilly.
    It was indeed very interesting. I think it really expanded my knowledge of quadra values and typical actions, the Alpha motives are now clear to me, but the others as well. Do you think people could divide other movies into quadra progression or 'phases' too? Maybe Lord of the Rings or Star Wars...

    Spontaneously, I have an idea for the 'Dune' video games (not the books!): Link
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    Quote Originally Posted by thehotelambush View Post
    OP is fucking insightful! I agree with all the stuff about the progression. What's the deal with regression though? Shouldn't it go back to Alpha?
    It does.

    You should make more threads like this, Gilly.
    They're never very well received, so I tend to hesitate. They kind of have to just come though. Also, most movies/stories tend to represent only a single stage of quadra cycles; V for Vendetta is a great example of this, with V being a blatant EIE and taking the classic Beta Ni/Se sub rational role of taking the defining action that opens the floodgates for the transition to Ni/Se irrational Beta phase that is the kind of chaotic overrunning of the existing system. P-sub rational phases are often characterized by this same archetypal self-destruction/sacrifice that is represented in tarot by the Tower card.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Hi Gilly!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    It does.

    They're never very well received, so I tend to hesitate. They kind of have to just come though.
    You should just post it anyway, I think if one weighs the potential benefit versus the potential losses its pretty fucking obvious.

    At worst someone disagrees, and really thats more there problem than yours, and likely they will want to debate it out, and if your unlucky they'll be a troll about it, which does suck but its not worth blocking the flow of information.

    I see Quadra Progression as useful it kind of reminds me of musical chords moving in a progression but instead of hearing the quality of a chord, your perceiving the qualities of values of a quadra. It has an almost musical quality to it that fits in well with literary analysis.

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    Quadra progression is one of those things that seems almost right, but something is missing.

    Or is quadra progression primarily an Fe thing? Like, a series of sentiment shifts regarding the question of which quadra to prioritize? If so then I suppose an EIE would be the expert.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tcaudilllg View Post
    Quadra progression is one of those things that seems almost right, but something is missing.

    Or is quadra progression primarily an Fe thing? Like, a series of sentiment shifts regarding the question of which quadra to prioritize? If so then I suppose an EIE would be the expert.
    I don't know ask gilly instead of melding what I said to him, I like it because it reminds me of chord changes, and find it a useful tool for culture/literary analysis.

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    I was thinking of gladiator as a retro-quadra progression mainly from

    Delta --> Gamma --> Beta --> Alpha

    Interestingly at the beginning it looks like its going forward (From Delta to Alpha) but the murder and commodus seize for power turns it backwards.

    Gamma is at the onset of becoming a gladiator and commodus creating the games for profit and influence

    It turns beta as maximus and commodus rise in fame and eventually climaxes at the final showdown

    It switches to alpha when maximus returns the power to the senate as he is dying, and he dies, eventually returning for himself to being delta.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    So in my experience thus far, The Matrix probably has the clearest illustration of a quadra progression-regression cycle: Alpha->Beta->Gamma->Delta->Gamma->Beta->Alpha.

    (Spoiling Warning! People who haven't seen all of the movies probably won't understand what's going on here, and it will ruin the story, so turn back now.)

    Here is the timeline I am using for this analysis:
    The Matrix timeline

    The story starts, obviously, before the movie begins. I would consider the initial Alpha phase to be the invention of machines that culminated in them being able to think for themselves; it is characteristic of the end of an Alpha stage to let things get away from them and mess with the sorts of things that they don't have the capacity to deal with. They are essentially overlooking Se: not respecting the destructive power of that with which they are dealing (other stories like Frankenstein, Pandora's Box, and the scene from Fantasia where Mickey creates a bunch of broom drones that almost drown he and his master come to mind; the end of Alpha represents an archetypal loss of innocence of sorts, brought about by creating something that can't be controlled). Riots break out in the human world after a machine acts on its advanced impulses and kills it's masters.

    The first Beta sequence of the story begins when the divide between two organized factions (the Aristocratic "Us vs Them,"), the humans and the machines, is created. The machines separate into their own city, Zero One, and begin making plans to make a stand against humanity, In the end, they wind up taking a classic Beta kamikaze-esque end-game risk, attempting to destroy their enemy in one fell swoop at extreme cost to themselves, by "scorching the sky," blocking out the sun, the source of the machines' energy. Unfortunately this measure fails to stop the machines, and humans lose the war.

    The machines, having gained dominion over the humans, enter the Gamma phase by "stopping the buck," so to speak, of human destructive advancement, and attempting to cope with the extreme circumstances that have been created as a result of the humans' kamikaze attack. The machines realize that the humans themselves can be used as resources, machines in their own right, for bio-electric energy that will power their civilization. They construct a functional society based on this new technology and, after a few errors, develop a system with which they can control the minds of humans effectively.

    The first Delta phase, representing stability in society and a lack of change due to functional sufficiency, begins after the invention of the effective form of The Matrix. For 5 cycles, 500 years, human minds are held in captivity by the Matrix and the cycles of Zion's planned destruction, and the machines rule the world without threat.

    The return to Gamma from Delta consists of a similar anomalous occurrence that causes Alpha to progress to Beta: the emergence of forces that cannot be controlled by existing systems. However, instead of causing two groups to band together and fight against each other, this transition signals the breakup of established alliances, and leads up to the eventual reorganization based on newly vested interests.
    Everything in Neo's time is going as planned by the machines, until the program called Smith declines to return to the source upon failing to fulfill its obligations to the system; after having his prime manifestation within the Matrix destroyed by Neo, Smith, the most powerful program within the Matrix construct, goes rogue and begins to replicate himself in an attempt to spread his own influence: systematic destruction of humanity and the Matrix that supports its life. In addition, Neo breaks the cycle planned by the machines of, sacrificing the collective interests of humans for the sake of saving the one he loves, Trinity.

    The second Beta stage consists of the solidification of the new groups whose forces are aligned against each other: Neo against the Smiths, and Zion against the Machines. While Commander Locke and the forces of Zion do battle against the onslaught of the machine army, Neo takes the drastic action characteristic of the Se/Ni half of the Beta quadra by venturing to the machine world unarmed in an attempt to make peace with the machines. He battles Smith, and, emerging victorious, reconciles the conflict between the humans and machines by saving the machine world from the Smith virus. The humans and the machines accept their respective places in the world they have created by their conflict.

    The final Alpha phase is the time of co-habitation between humans and machines, the "new solution," wherein both attempt to rebuild their civilizations independent of one another. All humans are unplugged from the matrix, and it is assumed that they begin reconstructing their respective societies on the grounds of maintaining peace with one another.

    ------------

    The Matrix acts as an effective metaphor for Quadra Progression not only in its representation of the various stages, but also in what these clearly illustrated stages allow us to observe about the dynamics of each stage, and what they say about each function.

    The clearest divide is between times of peace and conflict: the Se/Ni stages are characterized by clear divides in power, whether it be between specific groups (Beta) or divided between individuals (Gamma), whereas the Si/Ne stages are typified by either a power monopoly that enforces peace (Delta) or cooperation that necessitates peace (Alpha).

    The rational divide is slightly more subtle, in that it represents the duality of innate human instinctual traits (Ti/Fe) and progressive organizational/functional traits (Te/Fi), but in the Matrix series it is clearly characterized by whether greater power is wielded by the humans (Ti/Fe) or the machines (Te/Fi).
    Just saw this. Brilliant.

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    This is an awesome post , thank you.
    "The final delusion is the belief that one has lost all delusion."

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