The Matrix in the movie is a computer system, that is controlled by robots. This computer system holds all humans under control in a virtual world. A virtual world is a computer based simulated world. Reality is a thing that is actually experienced or seen. Therefore whatever is actually seen or experienced by one’s self is real. An experience is something that you can feel, touch, see, smell or hear. It is sometimes said after a person has had a severe head trauma that the person is no longer in tact with reality; but really, people say that because person A, B and C’s reality is much different then person D’s reality. Person D now just experiences reality different from the other three, but person D still experiences things, making that person’s reality true to them. Truth is something that a person believes to be correct and the normal. An example of perhaps seeing reality differently is the idea of colours. A person can never explain a colour, people just know green as green and red as red. An idea is a concept or a mental impression. A mental impression is how a person sees something to them. So perhaps person A sees the colour differently, from what person B sees it. As there is no definite way to know, it makes both realities real to each different person. Therefore both the Matrix, the ship and the so called real world are all reality to different people. The real world is the world which the robots rule as it has limitations. A limitation is a condition of limited ability; a defect or failing. Enlightenment is attainment of spiritual knowledge or insight. So the Matrix is reality to the people within the system, and the people enlightened of the real world that is their reality.
The philosopher Plato backs this up with his Allegory of the Cave story. This Allegory of the cave is just like the Martix and Neo. The people in the cave were chained and forced to stare at a wall their entire lives, only seeing the shadows off of the fire. One day one of the three prisoners are released and shown the real world. The one sees everything that had been casting the shadows and the reality of the real world. The one goes back and tells the other two but the other two do not believe because the shadows are their reality, and to them is the only thing that actually exists. Making their reality true to them. This makes their reality part of a bigger reality. This is much like The Matrix, as everyone is in a virtual world hooked up to machines. The people in the matrix believe that it is the complete real world and have no idea of anything else out there. Neo was known at “The Chosen One”, and was given the option to take the red pill, to be enlightened of the real world. Neo like the person in the cave was shown the reality of the real world. If Neo went back into the Martix and tried to tell the people of what he has seen, people would say he was crazy and not in tact with reality. Someone who is crazy is someone who is mentally unstable. Someone who is mentally unstable is someone who is not aware of the so called real world. So to the people Neo would be unaware of the real world because everyone else’s reality in the Matrix is different. So it is like Plato infers that the world we see is a mere shadow of what truly exists and have never seen the real world, just like the people in the Matrix.
The Matrix in itself is another form of reality. Despite its existence as a simulation, the actions people perform within the Matrix are perceived by the mind as actually real. Thus, if you are killed within the Matrix, you will die in the real world as well because your mind perceives it to be real. Thus whatever exists is reality, like the shadows on the wall of the cave and the Matrix. They are both just part of a bigger reality. Existence is the fact or state of living. Thus again the mind believes everything within the Matrix is real,