Friday Dec 24, 2010

Tron: Slaves in the Machine

Tron Poster, 1982

The new Tron Legacy film has recently been released.

I wrote about the original Tron movie in An Artist Empowered. Here is the excerpt:

There was another film that explored reality and truth nearly twenty years before The Matrix (1999) delved into the same metaphysical territory. In the 1982 movie, Tron, a young computer programmer gets sucked into the virtual world of a computer where he must fight for his life playing life-or-death video games run by the evil Master Control Program (MCP).

With the aid of a good warrior program named Tron, the programmer must put a stop to the MCP and set things right in the computer world before returning to his own reality.

The programmer meets many different programs (who have human form) inside the computer; these programs are looking to live and work within a free system without the tyranny of the MCP.

The programs in the computer machine are called programs; of course, this is a metaphor for people who are programmed to behave in a certain way. Tron presents us with another intriguing concept: the different programs that inhabit this virtual reality have a mythology about the users. Do they exist? The programs believe they do. Users, like the programmer, are the gods who created them.

Of course, the MCP sees the users as a threat to its ultimate authority, so it is eager to have the programs renounce the users, which it deems a superstitious and hysterical belief.

It is easier to see the machinery and values of another culture than it is to evaluate your own society where you can’t see what is going on because of acculturation, assimilation, and an ethnocentric bias—unless, of course, you can break free from social conditioning—the MCP—and see reality from the outside in, or, in the case of Tron, from the inside out.

Dear Eden,

I like how you can take the lessons from a movie many will view as pure entertainment.

Good “seeing into.”

Janet Riehl

Posted by Janet Riehl on 01/05 at 05:30 PM.

Hi Janet:

Having fun is a good way to learn. Anytime I can poke the fat belly of social conditioning is a day well spent.

Posted by Eden on 01/06 at 03:01 PM.

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