(I’m continuing my theme of movie quote article titles)
One of the most riveting scenes in The Matrix, aside from the gravity-defying bullet ballet that is still cooler than pretty much anything released in the 15+ years since, is Agent Smith’s sit-down with Morpheus.
In his condescending monotone voice, he says, “I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed, and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague, and we…are the cure.”
At first I bristled to hear a fictitious movie character malign my species this way, but the notion wormed itself into my brain and hasn’t let go since. Of course I do not agree – human beings are God’s masterpiece, and He sent His Son to die for their sins. Yet the analogy is uncomfortably accurate. Human beings do behave as a virus according to this description, though the fallacy lies in equating mankind’s worth with that of a virus, a creature that is usually scorned.
Yet when we turn on the news and see report after report of inhuman horrors happening across the globe, it’s hard not to think that Agent Smith might have a point. Science fiction is packed with stories of leaders/aliens/robots/whatever trying to subdue humanity’s baser urges and make them docile, compliant, and soulless. Sometimes I wonder if that might not be a better option; drones don’t kill each other in the streets.
But then I remember the truth. Humanity is fallen and cannot redeem itself. Sin is part of our very essence, but it is this darkness that drew the Light to Earth. And despite what the news media blares in our faces 24/7, there are far more acts of kindness and decency every day than terrible ones, and they are done by people of all faiths and creeds.
Human beings are not a cancer; the sin inside our hearts is the cancer. The cure is not control, subjugation, drugs, or harvesting. The cure is believing in Jesus Christ’s death as full payment for our sins and in His resurrection as our hope for the future. I’ll take that over the Matrix any day.