Yr 9 Matrix Course
Dr Nicholas Coleman, Wesley College, Victoria
This Religious and Ethics Education program implements some key concepts of “Learning in the Spirit” (LITS), the Wesley College philosophy of religion. The program is trans-disciplinary, multi-faith, investigative, reflective, and driven by Christian values of faith, truth and social justice.
The whole program spirals through a media study of the film The Matrix and aims to involve students in wondering about themselves, life and the unknown. Who am I? What is the World? How should I live? These questions of Identity, Duty and Reverence, are central to LITS and the film The Matrix offers an inspiring opportunity for students to explore and develop their views on such issues.
LITS is not a syllabus but an attitude towards learning and life. LITS curricula affirm Identity (the spiritual dimension of human existence), Duty (the spiritual journey in search of meaning), and Reverence (the presence of eternal spirit in every occasion of life).
The program presents ideas and teachings from individuals such as the Old Testament prophets Jonah, Jeremiah and Isaiah, the Gospel Jesus, Fr Thomas Merton, Dr Martin Luther King, the Rosicrucian Dr Harvey Spencer Lewis, and the Christian exclusivist David Koresh. Literary works introduced include Huxley’s Brave New World, Carol’s Alice in Wonderland, Baum’s Wizard of Oz, C. S. Lewis’ Shadowlands and the Nania books, Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. Topics in philosophy and religion include Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and theory of the World-Soul, Native American shamanism, Hebrew and Hindu Creation stories, Greek mythology, Gnosticism, and foundation stories and basic teachings of Buddhism.
Further themes in the program include the family and peer group, social justice, human rights, the grounds for authority, the distractions of consumerism, and the possibility of authentic living. Students have opportunities to discuss and develop the skills of asking questions, taking measured risks, exercising independent thinking, setting personal spiritual goals and making positive life decisions in favour of truth and wholeness.
Much of the text and many of the graphics for this REE program were developed from a whole unit of work co-authored and kindly provided by Dr Felicity McCutcheon, Melbourne Grammar School and Mr Murray Bean, Kings College, Auckland, NZ.
Photos were liberally drawn from Internet web-sites about The Matrix. The lively work by Jake Horsley (2003, Matrix Warrior; Gollanz: London) also contributed some challenging ideas and good examples.
The Matrix Unit includes the following topics:
- Art and Belief
- 1 Story, 3 Rules, 5 Questions
- Detecting the spiritual world
- The spiritual self
- Milarepa of Tibet – a Neo of his day
- Welcome to the real world
- Follow the white rabbit
- Mysticism and the Matrix
- Time to make a choice – Time to take a risk
- Beyond the comfort zone
- ‘I believe that you wish to do the right thing’
- Interlude: A Man called Horse
- I Love Huckabees
- Truth and Reality
- What is the Matrix?
- There’s more to life than meets the eye (a Meditation)
- The World around me
- Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
- Shadowlands and The Lord of the Rings
- Identity and community in Nature
- Innate ideas versus inert ideas
- Good and Bad Matrixes
- The Story of Procrustes
- Prophets: Reminders of the Real
- Martin Luther King – a True Prophet
- Prophets in the Bible
- Philosophy, Religion and Meditation
- The Story of Prince Siddhartha
- The Four Noble Truths
- The Eightfold Path
- Rules of the Real
- Doors and Gatekeepers and Gnosticism
- Restlessness and pacifiers
- Ignorance in Bliss
- Back into the Matrix? Brave New World
- Get Real (The Matrix and Merton)
- Asking questions – a key to cracking the code
- Peace through Understanding
ORDER A CD of the complete Matrix Unit (86 pages)
To request a CD of the entire Yr 9 Matrix Unit, please email the EO with your school postal address.
An invoice for $55.00 including postage will be sent with the CD.