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The Matrix: Reloaded, Redux

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I saw The Matrix: Reloaded again. This time I went prepared. I had a sheet of paper with a few names written on it, suitable for taking notes on those character’s conversations. The Architect’s speech had never penetrated my skull very deeply, and it was fading with time, so I jotted down some quotes from it. After doing so, and watching the film again with my wild theory in mind, I have to throw some of it out. Most of it, actually.

The same warnings apply to this as last time. Please don’t read any more if you haven’t seen the movie. If you do, I’m going to ruin it beyond all measure, quoting entirely huge swaths of conversation from the final minutes of the movie, revealing all. Don’t do it. You’ve been warned.

The Architect
The Architect especially seems to be quite clear. He states that he created the matrix, but also refers to himself in ways that make it quite clear that he is an AI. He refers to The Oracle as an intuitive program. Now it is possible that both of those characters are still human and merely choose to see themselves as programs. After all, given a determinist philosophy, aren’t we all programs? As the Merovingian said, it’s all about causality. Cause and effect, and as we respond to stimulus, how are we more than programs?

Still, if we take The Architect at face value, and there doesn’t seem to be any reason not to, he is an AI that created the matrix to handle the human problem. As we’ve been told before, the first matrix was a failure, because something in human nature apparently renders us inacapable of accepting a conflict-free life. As The Architect put it, “The first matrix I designed was quite naturally perfect; it was a work of art. Flawless. Sublime. A triumph equaled only by its monumental failure. The inevitability of its doom is apparent to me now as a consequence of the imperfection inherent in every human being.” He then goes on to explain that the second matrix failed as well, despite being populated with conflict. Success with the matrix only came when the character we know as The Oracle, described by The Architect as “an intuitive program,” came up with the solution: Choice.

Again I am drawn back to The Merovingian and his pondering on causality, and to The Oracle and her pondering on choice. I’ll sidetrack myself here long enough to point out that The Oracle may be wise and able to see many things about the future, but she sure doesn’t give it away much, and she sure doesn’t know everything. In the first film she told Neo that he had “the gift” but seemed to be waiting for something instead of telling him one way or the other whether he was The One. That’s odd, because her “prophecies” seemed to be much more explicit for Morpheus and Trinity. Given the new information from the new movie, I can now understand the specificity of her prophecy to Morpheus – it was part of the overall scheme of the matrix. But her prophecy to Trinity had to do with Trinity falling in love with The One, yet The Architect makes it clear that none of the previous The Ones had been motivated by love. Was the role of Trinity originally destined to be that of one pining for The One, love unrequited? Is there a bigger plan underneath it all to try to provoke an AI into true love, as I posted in my previous essay on the new film?

So The Architect and The Oracle together devise a plan that handles 99% of humans. They all have a choice, though they don’t realize it, and the existence of the unknown choice is apparently enough to satisfy most mind, and they live life within the matrix, blissfully. That remaining 1% escapes to Zion. So Zion, we learn, is an escape valve. It must exist to enable the 99% to function correctly, and it holds the 1% that won’t play ball. It’s a system that works better than the previous two, but that 1% is dangerous. Again in the words of The Architect, “While this answered function, it was obviously fundamentally flawed thus creating the otherwise contradictory systemic anomaly that if left unchecked might threaten the system itself. Ergo those that refuse the program – while the minority – if unchecked, would cause an escalating probability of disaster.”

I happen to think that it is important to pay close attention to what The Architect says. He describes the matrix as “older than you know.” From the perspective of the humans in Zion, it is around a century old. Yet it might easily be 600 years old, or even older than that. The Architect said that he prefers counting “from the emergence of one integral anomaly to the emergence of the next,” making this the sixth version. Imagine a system in which cruft slowly builds up. That shouldn’t be difficult – just imagine your desktop PC. Every now and then, enough garbage builds up in the system that it is necessarily to reload it. If you are a program running on the PC, you would count reality from the moment it was last rebuilt, because you would have no way of knowing what came before. Morpheus wasn’t lying to Neo or the people of Zion, he was explaining reality as he believed it, as all of the humans in Zion believe it. But he was wrong.

It would be easy to determine from these statements of The Architect that everything will be reset to avoid the “systemic anomaly,” but I’m not sure he explicitly says so. He does state that Zion will be destroyed, but I think that the rest of the matrix is safe from the direct intervention of The Architect or his compatriots. Instead, after Zion is destroyed, that “systemic anomaly,” unchecked, will eventually disrupt the matrix. While there is a very short window of time during which Zion can be saved, the matrix itself has no such stated time limit. Instead, Neo is told that “failure to comply with this process [of selecting a new batch of 23 people to start rebuilding Zion] will result in a cataclysmic system crash killing everyone connected to the matrix.” One presumes, based on the previous statements of The Architect, that this will be because the 1% will no longer have that escape valve, and nobody will really have a choice, unconscious or not, and so this matrix will at some point achieve the same instability that plagued the first two versions of the matrix.

The Architect plays this up by pointing out that if everyone connected to the matrix is killed, and Zion has been exterminated, the entire human race will become extinct. I’m not sure I buy that, for several reasons. First and foremost is that the first two versions of the matrix failed in just the way that this one apparently will, and yet there were apparently still humans around to populate the third version which is the current version. It is possible that they never risked the entire human population in the first two versions, but that does beg the questions of what they did with the humans during that time of testing, and how long it took to realize that the systems were unstable. The second reason I don’t buy it is that The One has obviously developed in ways somewhat unexpected, or at least unpredicted, by The Oracle or The Architect. When The Architect describes The One (or the 1%) as a “systemic anomaly that, if left unchecked, might threaten the system itself,” was he referring only to system stability, or to some sort of ability for The One to actually seize control of the system and take control away from The Architect?

So far I’ve kept myself within the framework of the film, preferring to solve the puzzle within the rules laid down by the Wachowski brothers, but it is worth noting that there is another two-hour film coming, and whatever happens next must surely fulfill the expectations of movie-goers for raising the bar, as well as living up to the title of “Revolutions.”

Now we come to the crucial part of the conversation with The Architect, the reason for Neo’s existence, the “Why” that is the only true source of power according to The Merovingian. The Architect questions first whether Neo is ready to “accept the responsibility for the death of every human being in this world.” Leaving aside for the moment the question of whether the choice of “this world” instead of “the world” means anything, since it may not, I wonder about the overall construction of the sentence. Is the goal of The Architect that Neo does accept that responsibility, or that he does not? There is no question that The Architect is exercising another system of control, manipulating Neo, and he seems to try to manipulate Neo into making the decision to save Trinity. When control meets choice, which wins? The overall system of the matrix is designed to exert control on those plugged into it. For the system to work, there must be a choice, but only 1% of the inhabitants of the matrix make that choice, or are even aware of it. This is a systemic anomaly that seems to defy absolute control, leading Neo to state that “the problem is choice,” a statement with which The Architect does not disagree.

Does the entire existence of the matrix, the success or failure of the matrix, depend on Neo’s choice? Remember The Oracle’s statement that, “You didn’t come here to make the choice. You’ve already made it. Now you must understand why.” How applicable is that to this situation?

The Architect says “Your five predecessors were, by design, based on a similar predication – a contingent affirmation – that was meant to create a profound attachment to the rest of your species, facilitating the function of The One. While the others experienced this in a very general way, your experience is far more specific vis a vis love.” From this statement we can understand that whatever choice the previous five anomalies faced, it either wasn’t between saving the world and saving someone the anomaly loved, or it was a much easier choice for them to make. Perhaps that is the point. The previous five anomalies faced no real choice at all. They simply did what was clearly right for them to do given the circumstances, and they picked out the next 23 inhabitants of Zion so that the matrix would continue. What then is the challenge? How is it that The Architect has failed so miserably that despite its “sincerest efforts” to eliminate the anomaly completely, the latest eventuality is actually more powerful and more human than the previous five? Either The Neo is truly an anomaly among anomalies, or The Architect has an unstated goal that runs counter to his statements.

“Which brings us at last to the moment of truth, wherein the fundamental flaw is ultimately expressed and the anomaly revealed as both beginning and end. There are two doors. The door to your right leads to The Source and the salvation of Zion. The door to the left leads back to the matrix, to her, and to the end of your species. As you adequately put it, the problem is choice. But we already know what you are going to do, don’t we? Already I can see the chain reaction, the chemical precursors that signal the onset of an emotion designed specifically to overwhelm logic and reason. An emotion that is already blinding you from the simple and obvious truth. She is going to die and there is nothing you can do to stop it.”

An echo of the red pill – blue pill choice lays before Neo again. It seemed clear to most fans of the movie that Neo could have made no choice other than to take the red pill. For one thing, there wouldn’t have been much of a movie otherwise, would there? For another, who would spend the rest of their lives wondering what things would have been like otherwise? So too here, Neo’s choice seems obvious. So obvious he had really already made it. Now he must understand why, and even that seems clear. One could even assign mathematical values to each choice. I forget the proper way to do this, but let’s say that taking the door to Neo’s right is 100% certain to result in Trinity’s death and 100% certain to result in Zion’s repopulation and the survival of humanity. That seems to balance out with a score of 0 (-100 and +100). Now let’s say that taking the door to Neo’s left is 80% certain to still result in Trinity’s death and only 10% certain to result in the survival of Zion in any form. Now we’ve got a score of -70 (-80 and +10). But wait! Add the numbers differently. The first scenario gives a 100% chance of failure for saving Trinity and a 0% chance of failure for saving humanity, for -100. The second scenario gives a 20% chance of success for saving Trinity and a 10% chance of success for saving humanity, for 30. Of course, such a reckoning is silly. A 10% chance is very nearly no chance at all, and percentages don’t add together. But such is the human mind that any chance at all seems worth taking. Even a 1% chance of saving both Trinity and humanity beats a 0% chance if you take the other option. The Architect describes it as “Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion. Simultaneously the source of your greatest strength and your greatest weakness.”

But what can The Architect have been expecting? Knowing that Neo is what he is, the choice is already made. The why seems clear, but perhaps it isn’t as clear as we thought. Digging deeper, I suppose that the question of “why” could refer to why Neo is different from the previous five that held the role of The One.

Agent Smith
One of the new concepts introduced in this film are “exiles,” or programs that refuse to die. As a unix hacker, I’m familiar with runaway and zombie processes, and certainly processes blocked on I/O contention can resist termination quite stubbornly. In none of those cases would I consider the processes in question to be fully in control of themselves, but I can accept that in the much more complex computing environment of the matrix, things are a little different. Lending further support to my theory that the matrix itself has not been reset six times is a statement by Agents Smith. Early in the film, Smith states that, “It’s happening exactly as before.” Another copy of Smith replies, “Well, not exactly.” Smith seems to have some memory of the earlier cycles of The One traveling to The Oracle and The Source, and is able to show up at the appropriate places and times to try to put his own plan into motion. What that plan entails isn’t clear, since Smith is obviously acting on his own as an exile now, but his memory of previous cycles is a clue.

Similarly, The Oracle is obviously aware of previous cycles, as is obviously The Architect. What about the others? The Merovingian and Persephone, the werewolves, the twins, the other agents, are all of them aware of the cycle? I need to watch the first movie again with this frame of reference to see how well this awareness and this repeating cycle might fit with Agent Smith speech to Morpheus about humans and their stench. The agents are certainly aware of exiles, as they are very concerned with recovering the Keymaker and refer to him as an exile in the process. But Smith might be more aware of things than the other agents. After all, something is different. This cycle has changed, because Neo is different.

It appears that everything was going according to plan in the first movie until Neo destroyed Agent Smith. That was “unexpected.” But Smith went into exile, refusing to die. Not just refusing to, but “compelled” to. In addition, he gained new powers, and perhaps a new awareness. There is a link between Smith and Neo now, the exact nature of which is unclear. Smith seems to be alternately pursuing his own nefarious goals and acting under some sort of compulsion to either kill or assimilate Neo. Perhaps in the cource of “destroying” Smith, Neo left a part of himself behind, so there is a little bit of The One in Smith. Maybe Smith’s plan is to disrupt Neo, to stop him from fulfilling the cycle. Maybe Smith’s plan is to instead replace Neo, taking on the role of The One himself. Why he would want to do either is not certain.

One thing is certain, Smith is now operating near Zion, in “the real world.” Seeing the movie again has only confirmed that Bane was taken over by Agent Smith before being recalled out of the matrix. Whether Smith’s control of Bane is total, I’m not sure. Perhaps Bane cutting his own hand represents a struggle between Smith-within-Bane and Bane himself, or perhaps not. But Smith-within-Bane attempts to get his ship sent along on the mission to recover Neo, and failing that attempts to murder Neo in Zion. After that comes to naught, he apparently manages to prematurely trigger an EMP, drawing the wrath of the sentinels down on hidden ships of Zion and incidentally dashing any slim hopes Zion might have had of surviving the onslaught from above. When we see Bane for the last time within this film, he appears to be in some sort of coma similar to Neo’s. At what point exactly he entered that coma is unclear. I’m inclined to believe it was the exact moment Neo entered his.

So how is Smith operating in “the real world.” The obvious first idea is that “the real world” is itself another construct like the matrix. An “uber-matrix,” surrounding the matrix we’ve known about. After all, if we’re concerned with systems of control, would The Architect truly be satisfied to let 1% of humans just escape into the outside? And how would humans who had truly escaped into the outside “threaten the system itself?” Wouldn’t they still have to be within “the system” to affect the system? It is possible that the threat would be from whenever members of the 1% reinserted themselves into the matrix and caused problems that way. While it seems unlikely that The Architect would be willing to give up that much control, it might be forced upon him “as a consequence of the imperfection inherent in every human being.”

I would like to believe in the uber-matrix because I’m not sure how else to explain Smith operating in “the real world” or Neo stopping the sentinels. But The Architect does refer to “those that refuse the program,” implying that they might actually have done so. To paraphrase Neo, there are only two possible explanations. Either there is an uber-matrix, or there isn’t. If there is, why? And if not, how? Although the Merovingian explained that Why is a much more interesting and important question than How, I don’t know that we was referring to this situation. After all, working backwards, the idea of an uber-matrix is not without a bunch of questions of its own.

The Uber-matrix
If there is an uber-matrix, then those within Zion are under some level of control. Just as cleaning robots came along in the first movie to dispose of Neo’s body when it appeared he was rejecting the matrix, so too could whoever controls the uber-matrix simply dispose of that pesky 1% that reject the program of the inner matrix. Instead, they are allowed to survive, and grow and thrive. Why? Perhaps a choice that results in certain termination soon afterward is no choice at all, in which case the survival of Zion is required by the same human flaw that requires its existence to being with. Still, I wonder why 250,000 sentinels would be sent, even if they aren’t real, to destroy a bunch of humans that could be destroyed just as easily by unplugging them all. With none left alive, would it matter that they all just fell to the ground, empty?

These are but a few of the many questions that run through my mind when I question the concept of the uber-matrix. While the irony would indeed be delicious if the five-minute rave/love scene, intended to showcase humanity, turned out to be itself an artificial construct, I’m not nearly so sure that this is case as I was.

Then how does Smith operate in the real world? And how did Neo stop the sentinels? I’ll take the last question first. It remains a slim possibility that Neo did not in fact stop the sentinels, but that an EMP was sent at just that second, coincidentally. Or not-so-coincidentally, if one thinks about the supernatural aspects of coincidence involved in the events of both films. While the prophecies guiding Morpheus may have been false in certain details, there are still the questions of the prophecies that came true, Neo’s prescient dreams, and the startling coincidences involved in collapsing bridges and impaled operators that necessitated Trinity plugging into the matrix in the first place. When I consider that Neo stated, “Something is different” as he realized he could sense the sentinels, and thinking back to the scene with The Architect and how we slipped through one of the monitors at one point to focus on one of several Neos, each having a slightly different reaction to The Architect’s statements, I’m almost willing to believe that Neo stepped back into a different “real world” than the one he left, or that he never actually stepped back into it at all. After all, Morpheus managed to get out of the matrix by stepping through a door, a first. Maybe Neo and Bane both collapsed from the EMP because they are artificial constructs. I don’t think I can stick with such a theory, however, because that switch, if it took place, happened long after Smith had already taken over Bane, a “how” question for which I don’t have an answer. And if they were artifiical constructs, I think the other might have noticed after getting them on the medical table.

How then did Neo stop the sentinels? It is worth noting that he didn’t control gravity or pull any of the other fancy tricks he is able to inside the matrix. He “only” stopped five sentinels. That could imply no more than a peculiar connection with them, similar to the odd connection between Smith and Neo. His ability to “broadcast” something to them would indeed be unusual, but they were pretty close. Why then did he go into a coma? Maybe it was exhausting work.

The more important question to answer without the assumption of an uber-matrix is how Smith operates in the real world, or why no others can. Perhaps the why is easily explained by that fact that nobody else shares Smith’s ability to replicate himself and exist in more than one place at the same time. Agents can jump from body to body, but not occupy two bodies at once. Smith can. Asking the follow-on question of why an Agent wouldn’t just take over the body of someone about to be recalled out of the matrix simply leads one to question why they don’t do that anyway, taking over the bodies of anyone who plugs into the matrix from outside. Obviously being part of the 1% has its advantages.

What is it like, being taken over by Smith? For an AI, it might be as simple as overwriting the memory of the previous process with a complete copy of one’s own memory. Since people within the matrix are digital projections of their mental selves (or is that vice-versa?), a Smith-infected person would be indistinguishable from Smith within the matrix, but their real body would simply have a different brain in it. Of course, this ignores the issues of how a brain is structured, and whether links into the matrix from outside are two-way. An altered projection doesn’t necessarily affect the projector, but how closely can we follow that analogy? Could activity within the matrix cause the neural pathways of a human brain to spontaneously completely rewrite themselves? Why not?

So Smith might have been able to truly replicate himself into the real world by rewriting the neural pathways of Bane, giving Smith a new body in the real world. I’m willing to accept that. Neo might have some sort of special connection with both Smith/Bane and the sentinels by virtue of his status as The One or his encounter with The Architect. I might even be willing to accept that. So I can’t be 100% sure about the uber-matrix.

On the other hand, again, it might be an easier way to explain how Smith was able to travel into “the real world” and allows for two possibilities with the apparent comas at the end of the film. One is that Neo is attempting to deal with the sudden realization that reality is not real – we’ve heard reference to this being a difficult process for some people, especially older people. Another is to recognize the similarities between Neo’s collapse and the collapse of the three bodies at the power station. Is it possible that something happened to the bodies of Neo and Bane outside of the uber-matrix, and their bodies are currently “empty” of control?

More Questions
I’m left with more questions than answers, which is obviously the intent of the movie. In addition to all of the questions I’ve left unanswered above, I have questions about The Keymaker. Is he part of the cycle each time? Why did the Merovingian try so hard to keep him safe? He seemed quite at odds with The Keymaker himself, who replied to a question about how he knew everything he knew with, “I know because I must know. It is my purpose. It is why I am here.” The Merovingian described him saying, “The Keymaker is a means to an end.” If the team had not recovered The Keymaker, how else could they have gotten to The Architect?

Also, who was being escorted out of the Merovingian’s presence as Morpheus and the team were coming in? He seemed to be led forcibly out, and I suspect we may see him again.

Much has been made of The Merovingians and their belief that they are descendants of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. However, I think that most of that speculation overlooks the fact that The Architect says that Neo is the first iteration of The One to experience love. Of course, that also shoots down my own previous theory that The Merovingian and Persephone were an earlier iteration of The One and his girlfriend. At this point I must conclude that Persephone’s statements were just what they appeared to be and no more. Then why “The Merovingian”? They are also known as the keepers of the Holy Grail, and The Merovingian did keep the Keymakers. He may also be holding other items important for the future, but I suspect that the name means no more than that.

In Conclusion
There is no conclusion. The “real world” might be an uber-matrix, or it might not. The prophecy might be mostly true, or not. Neo never did actually make it to The Source, though Morpheus thinks he did. Neo’s choice might have been expected by The Architect, or maybe not. Perhaps humanity will die. Perhaps Neo will achieve some sort of power and control over either the matrix, or the uber-matrix, or both. And the “Why” behind The Architect is still vague. Are we still running with the “humans as batteries” concept? Maybe. But knowing why is the only true source of power, I heard.

Neo will certainly be back in the next movie, as will Smith. Many Smiths. Smith evidently does a little more of assuming Neo’s abilities, as the preview appears to end with Smith flying. Everything else flew by so quickly it’s hard to draw any conclusions.

(This essay first appeared at W6 Daily.)

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About pwinn

  • Doctor Slack

    Good summary, I’ve been kicking a lot of those ideas and questions around myself. I’d just add that:

    1) The Merovingian is clearly aware of the previous cycles, and appears to have survived through many (perhaps all) of them. Recall his constant references during his encounter with Neo to “your predecessors.”

    2) The Merovingian may have spent his time as an exile trying to destroy or usurp the Matrix. Note he instructs Neo & friends to “tell the fortune-teller her time is almost up.”

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Good point. That reinforces my belief that this is still only the third version of the matrix, not the sixth as many people believe. It is only the sixth version of Zion, while matrix 3.0 buzzes along blissfully.

    That might also explain why The Merovingian works so hard to keep the Keymaker away from Neo and crew. I’m torn between wondering if he was just setting up an artificial barrier, or truly being reluctant.

    See, think about the role of The Oracle for a while. She spends her time trying to find The One. In the last hundred years since Zion was last wiped out, she must have seen tons of people who have “the gift”. The kid could bend spoons, others can do lots of other little tricks, or they wouldn’t be sitting in The Oracle’s anteroom. When she first sees Neo, she says that he has the gift, but he seems to be waiting for something. Maybe his next life.

    In retrospect, that seems brilliant, because Neo does in fact die before awakening to his role as The One. But what if it wasn’t meant to be quite so brilliant? What if The Oracle figured that he was a pretty darn good example of The Anomaly, but not quite the ultimate? She’d been waiting a hundred years, maybe she wan’t sure he was it. After all, in this film, she tells him that he finally made a believer out of her.

    So ditto all of the other characters. The Agents are obviously aware of the cycle, and they spend their time crushing anyone from the outside that they can, hoping to keep The One from arising, or failing that – as the inevitably will – to crush The One before he gets too far.

    The Merovingian asked Neo if he knew why he wanted the Keymaker. Had Neo known, perhaps he would have just turned him over. Probably not. Probably you’re correct and he is trying to screw things up. But maybe he was just looking for a condition, a cause to achieve an effect. Just like The Oracle had been.

    This line of thinking has convinced me that those screens behind Neo were not previous versions of The One. If The One was always Thomas J Anderson, The Agents would probably act a lot sooner to crush Thomas J Anderson whenever he popped up in life.

    It has also caused me to think about The Keymaker. Like the other program characters, I asssume that he was aware of the cycle, existing “eternally.” But maybe not. He certainly had no intention of going back to The Merovingian, ever. He spoke a bit about purpose, implying that his very existence and all of his knowledge were there for one reason: To get The One to The Architect, and presumably The Source. Thus his death mattered little to him.

    Neo took the left door, seemingly against the pattern. But if he had taken the right door and reset Zion, would another Keymaker have risen up? It’s difficult enough to think of The One popping up every so many years. To think that The One also need to identify and find The Keymaker during that same cycle, well, it does begin to beggar belief, no? It’s a big world, even within the matrix. Fortunately, in this case The Merovingian made things easier for him. But is there such a thing as fortune within the matrix?

    More questions, not enough answers!

  • http://www.adognamedfish.com Esther

    First of all: thank you for writing this very good analysis. I have a thought about one of the things you said.

    Philip:
    “This line of thinking has convinced me that those screens behind Neo were not previous versions of The One. If The One was always Thomas J Anderson, The Agents would probably act a lot sooner to crush Thomas J Anderson whenever he popped up in life.”

    I believe The One is needed to keep the Matrix alive. I.e. Zion is destroyed at the end of every cycle and they need The One to found the new Zion and to teach the new inhabitants of Zion the prophecy that there will be another One who will rescue them. The whole prophecy thing is of course just a lie the Oracle or the Architect made up to keep the “Zionists” in line, to give them something to believe in. So if the Agents would crush The One earlier there would be no way to restart the cycle. That would also mean that they don’t really want to kill him but just pretend. That on the other hand doesn’t sound all that likely. I don’t know.

    But let’s assume for a minute that “reality” is in fact an uber-matrix. Then the chances are high that maybe another 1% of the people living in it will not believe that it is real, just like they didn’t with the “original” Matrix. So if reality is just another matrix and there are some people who don’t believe in it, this will likely destroy that matrix just like it did the first incarnations of the original Matrix. So the machines need the prophecy to give the people in the uber-matrix something to believe in which keeps their subconsciousness from triggering any doubt until The One arrives and destroys the uber-matrix and founds a new one. Maybe they need this cleansing process because otherwise some people will stop believing in the prophecy.

    Of course it’s an awful lot of work to make The One believe that they are actually trying to kill him and at the same time manipulating and helping him enough that he makes it to the Architect so he can destroy and rebuild Zion.

    Well as you said. There’s no way to know until we see the last movie…

  • Doctor Slack

    It just occurs to me that the only problem with Philip’s theory that we’re only in v3.0 of the Matrix (which I largely agree with, actually) is the part where Persephone shoots one of the Merovingian’s vampire henchmen after telling Our Heroes that they’re “from an earlier version of the matrix.”

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Doc (#4) – Matrix 2.0 was filled with an assortment of things designed to reflect the worse parts of our nature – but without choice. It is possible that the werewolves exist from that version. But I admit, that statement does cast some doubt, doesn’t it?

    Esther (#3) – Watching the original movie again yesterday, I was struck by a couple of things. One is a passing reference Morpheus makes to the founding of Zion, which in retrospect can easily be seen as having been done by the previous The One. Happy coincidence, that.

    The other is that the first movie is a work of art. I take back everything I said about M2 being it’s equal in any way. As I watched M1, I was struck by how carefully each and every shot was staged. There was not a single scene in the movie that could have been improved by moving the camera even an inch in any direction. In contrast, the second film was filled with many more standard 1-shot, 2-shot, wide angle sequences. Much more traditional.

    There were some very nicely filmed sequences in M2, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t feel as finely crafted as the original. Since it had been a while since I saw the original, I had forgotten how good it really was.

    Anyway, back to your comments. I’m still confused about a couple of seemingly-contradictory statements from The Architect. At one point he refers to Neo as “human,” but at another he talks about the need to reassimilate Neo’s code. As a programmer myself, I associate that term with software programs.

    Also, why would it be necessary for The One to pick the next 23 starters? Couldn’t anyone do that? Yet a comment from Morpheus in M1 (sorry, can’t remember it) leads me to believe that at least this sixth iteration of Zion was definitely seeded by the previous The One, so that evidently is how the cycle has always gone. Before this time, that is.

    Lots of questions, waiting for the answers. I hope that the brothers have been careful enough not to leave too many contradictory points in the dialogue. I can handle loose ends, and vague things that can be bent either way, but actual flat-out contradictions would bug me.

  • Peter

    Hello Phill, Pedro from Spain, Europe. Great job. I´ve read your theories posted on the web and thought that they were quite cueing, especially for seeing MReloaded a second time. When I watched the original Matrix today (to try to fully aprehend the story), I couldn´t stop thinking about a detail that I wanted to share because probably you have´nt sat on it: The Oracle gives Neo a cookie in M1, and I believe that cookie is what makes Neo the One, or it plays a very very important role in becoming the One… likewise the pill in M1 given by Morpheus to Neo to pinpoint his location, and the chocolate cake prepared by Merovingian in M2 to turn on the woman in the restaurant, the cookie could have an encoded program in it that somehow interacts with Neo´s digital self in Matrix… I think that it could be what makes Neo the One.

    So, wild guessing, the functioning of the matrix could be as follows:

    1. At the beggining of each cycle a matrix is created, giving 1% of the prisoners the choice of not accepting the program; the matrix consolidates and at the same time some prisoners free themsleves fleeing to Zion; the matrix grows to a breaking point where it can no longer persist because there are too many “freed” humans in Zion and that can alter the systems normalcy, interact with the Matrix´s plugged-in prisoners, increase the percentage of freed people (remeber they have freed more people in six months than in six years)… so a “One” must be created in order to bring and end to the cycle; the Oracle “bakes” a One (the cookie) and leeds him to the Source to be reassimilated by it, ensuring the creation of another new version of the Matrix, destroying Zion and starting the whole process from the top.

    2. But I´m prone to believe more in the Oracle as being a goody, so I structured a second theory: maybe the Oracle is the creator of the first matrix (where no one suffered), an AI program capable of understanding human feelings that is outcast in the definite version of Matrix, and because of its affinity with humans, it decides to rebel against the version created by The Architect where human feelings are low, blunted. So her goal could be to destroy the second darker version of the Matrix. That would explain why The Oracle needs the Guardian´s protection(the chineese dude), something that would have no sense at all if she was the ruling program, the controler of the system ¿right?. I like to believe in her to be with the good-guys.

    We´ll see in MRevolutions.

    As to metaphysics, the MReloaded has been dismissed as banal and infantile. How can the biggest question of humankind posed throughout the film (that is, are we prisoners of God, creator of reality, or are we free to choose our destiny?) can be childish? That is a question some people lacking of profoundity don´t do to themselves… Olé olé olé for the Watchoski bros. for pounding our wit with it!! (pose this question to those who say the movie is childish and make them truly think about the answer… see what their reaction is.)

  • Tim

    Winn’s Essay talked about similarities in the versions of the matrix. What do the door numbers mean? There is consistent use of door numbers 101 and 303 in both of the versions in fact no other numbers are used. Have not recorded the numbers where the doors lead but from my memory of The Matrix numbers are recorded for Thomas Andersons flat and to the exit room where Neo is shot by Smith. Room 303 appears again in The Matrix Reloaded but I cant remember where. Just another piece of foresenic information. May be worth something

  • peterbrown

    In the original Matrix, Room 303 of the “Heart o´the city” Hotel, where Neo gets shot by Smith at the end of the movie, is the same room where Trinity is nearly detained at the beggining of it.

    There is a shot during the last moments of the street-chase where we see Smith looking up at the sign of the Hotel; this shows how Smith knows where Neo is going to try to exit the matrix (through the same line Trinity came in in the first place) and that is why he´s already inside when Neo arrives. Although, the meaning of the numbers, I dunno my friends…

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    #6 Pedro/Peter – I did notice the food. The Oracle gives Neo a cookie in the first movie, which he bites. Morpheus gives Neo the red pill, which enables them to locate his body. In M2, The Oracle gives Neo a “candy” which looks identical to the red pill from the first movie, but while Neo takes it, he is not shown eating it. Could this be part of why he doesn’t seem to make the expected choice with The Architect? It could play a factor.

    However, I don’t really think that The Oracle “makes” The One. She does seem to be acting as a filter, identifying patterns, not making them. It seems that she encounters any one of a number of people with “the gift,” but is waiting for the one who will recognize it and step into it, as Neo does after being shot in the first film.

    Note that in M2, she tells Neo that he has made a believer out of her. A believer in what? That he is The One? Most likely. There are other possibilities, but that seems to fit the best.

    The role of The Oracle is a puzzling one, as is her relationship to The Merovingian and The Architect. All might be revealed in M3, except that the actress is dead, so that might be tricky.

    #7-8 I gave up trying to track the numbers. They do repeat, and often. At first I started with the truly simple: 101 is base-2 for 5. But the Heart’o The City Hotel room was 303, so that doesn’t work. I give up already. :)

  • Tim

    Further to room numbers have seen reloaded again. In the original Thomas Anderson has a room number of 101. When Neo, Morpheus and Trinity visit the Meroviginian the get out of the lift on floor 101 (Large 101 in Bright light)

  • Tim

    Further to room numbers have seen reloaded again. In the original Thomas Anderson has a room number of 101. When Neo, Morpheus and Trinity visit the Meroviginian they get out of the lift on floor 101 (Large 101 in Bright light)

  • Pedro

    Checking on the only interview the Watchoski bros. gave back in 1999, I rescued a bit of information on the “cookie” thing… they say that the meaning of it was actually explained in a scene that was finnaly deleted from the definite edit. So, I guess it had a more trivial, simbolic meaning but no factual consequences beyond that(something like “I already know that your going to take the cookie Neo… fate-determinism(?).

    Anyway, I stick to the second theory where the Oracle is with the good guys fighting to destroy the second matrix and I like to think of her as the rebel AI program that created the first happy-happy matrix).

    By the way, the M3 trailer shows her to be appearing…

    In another line of things, the cave in Zion… any similarities to Plato´s cave? Maybe there is a uber-matrix after all and the people of Zion are not free but still living in the “cave”.

    I just hope that everything is in place for M3, and that all these intricate filosophical backgrounds and elaborated double meanings that we are finding in the saga have actually been put there intentionally by the directors in order to add up to a very intelligent metaphysical dissertation that might rumble the superficial values of today´s world.

    Cross your fingers.

  • smorley

    I’m really enjoying these comments and theories. I have a question that may be insignificant, but here it goes.
    (I’ve only seen Reloaded once)
    I thought that I heard them say that after the machines destroyed Zion that they kept on digging. Why? What are they after?
    My initial thought was that maybe the “real Zion” is down deeper. That somehow the Zion that was destroyed was generated by the “real Zion” as a protective device (firewall?) But that brings up the question of the people, could real people live in such an enviroment and would whoever is in the “real Zion” just let them die?
    I know it doesn’t make much sense. Maybe it doesn’t even mean anything that the machines kept digging.

  • irja

    Aweseme recap & theorizing on the film. There is one question I would add to your list (pardon if this has already been asked, or if I misheard something as I only have seen the movie once)– the question is, why are the sentinals still digging? It was briefly mentioned at the end of the movie and I believe those remaining alive were wondering the same thing.

    The answer to that may explain the existance (or not) or your “uber” Matrix.

    looking forward to November.

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    #13 & 14 – I think you’ve both mistaken the nature of the sabotaged battle. Remember that Lock was setting up an ambush of sort at a critical point the he was sure the sentinels would pass. That ambush lost its element of surprise when Bane/Smith triggered the EMP prematurely. The sentinels had not yet reached Zion. Once they do, they’ll have to dig through that rather large wall that we saw open to let the Nebuchadnezzar in.

    So they’re still digging for the same reason they started digging to begin with – to reach Zion.

  • Alex

    The original Matrix movie is way superior to the Matrix Reloaded. The sequel is a boring epic saga that resembles any of the formulaic Star Treck/Lucasfilm cookie cutter products. It is therefore a major disappointment.

    As for the philosophical/metaphysical merit of the Reloaded, it is virtually non-existent. The reason the original Matrix is far superior lies in the fact that it brought forward questions that are seriously disturbing and touch the nerve of anyone who tends to ponder what does it mean to exist, to be alive, and so on.

    In contrast, Matrix Reloaded only manages to water down those questions, bringing them to the childish level of video game players.

    The only way they could have extended the original Matrix was to introduce ambiguities, such as an impotent notion of reductio ad absurdum matrices (i.e. a matrix inside a matrix inside a matrix, and so on, ad nauseum.) But that is so boring and childish (i.e. the angled mirrors effect).

    The original movie was brilliant because it mocked the process of watching the movies. We went into the theater, sank into the dream world (our level of awareness was ‘pushed’ one level down), and were then rudely ‘awakened’ when Neo woke up from his enslavement by the matrix. But, in actuality, instead of popping up from Neo’s dream world, we were pushed down even one level deeper.

    And that’s the trick the movie played upon for the remainder of its time. Realizing that such a trick was played upon us so easily made us appreciate the depth of the questions the movie posed.

    Nothing even remotely brilliant as that was offered in the sequel. The plot and the vexations are very banal in the Matrix Reloaded. I was expecting that the sequel will elaborate on the events that preceded Morpheus’s awakening. Morpheus did manage to mention their forefather, a person who managed to develop powers beyond Neo’s, in that, according to Morpheus, he was able to modify the Matrix and turn it into anything he wanted. What happened to that story? How was that possible? These are much more pressing questions, instead of introducing the infinite, absurd matrices (which is, yawn, oh so boring and predictable).

    Also, when the first human got ‘liberated’, how did they survive in the ‘real’ world? Remember, their muscles were, out of necessity, atrophied, but at that time there was no one to resuscitate them the way they did with Neo’s muscular system. Keep in mind that, have they not rescued Neo from the sewer, he would’ve drowned in no time.

    Something’s fishy, and I can almost bet that the Matrix Revolution (the conclusion, which is coming up around Christmas time this year) is not going to be able to answer any of these real questions. So, sadly, it’s just another croak.

    Alex

  • Pedro moreno

    Good thinking Alex, I like the way you analize the film cinematographically… but don´t forget the question, only hinted in the first movie, now fully unleashed in Reloaded:

    Are you a prisoner of God (whoever he is to you; always the creator of reality) or are you free to choose?

    I become overwhlemed when I try to answer it… childish? I have a law degree and I´m going into another one in film producing right now. Don´t take me wrong, I don´t want to boast, but I think it might make my point.

    Anyway, I´m totally with you man, this second film is a lot lot lot lot lot worse than the previous: Matrix was superior in every single aspect (script, editing, score, and most of all vfx… one of the reasons I loved the first movie was that it was actually Keanu Reeves summersaulting over Larry Fishbourne, or Carrie Anne Moss smaking the cop´s face with her leg over her shoulder; in Reloaded you see plenty of fake Keanus that make you simply walk away).

    Anyway, the story is getting better… let´s see Revolutions first, maybe it´s all part of a plan.

    Take care guys.
    Pedro.

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Alex (#16) You make it clear that you aren’t interested in any discussion, merely venting your own opinion as fact. So I’m not responding to you, but for the benefit of anyone else who might read your comment.

    It is a shame that Alex missed the entire point of M2. I know he did so because questions he asked in his seventh paragraph were actually answered within the movie, but he didn’t put enough thought into it to realize that.

    In order: The heritage of the epic saga goes back considerably farther than Star Wars, and Star Trek has never followed that cycle. Solomon said it best: There is nothing new under the sun. If you spend your life looking for similarites and being disappointed when you find them, you’ll live a very disappointing life indeed, because even M1 was derivative, creating nothing new. It merely brought together existing elements in a way that was new to most people in North America. That I consider it to be a superior film to it’s predecessors does not rely on it’s (nonexistant) uniqueness, but on it’s freshness.

    M1 succeeded for many reasons, but it certainly didn’t touch everybody, and even those it touched it did in different ways. Some were taken by the (old) idea that nothing is real and that only our perceived experiences form the substance of who we are. Some were taken by the idea that our very existence is unreal and purely the result of brain impulses. Others were drawn only to the action, others to the stirring Messiah concept. And some people weren’t very impressed at all, either because they didn’t like the philosophical questions raised or because they’d already gone through all of that nonsense in college. It is worth noting that M1 appealed most of all to a demographic that has not spent much time in college-level philosophy classes.

    M2, far from watering down the questions of the original, introduced several new levels of questions at a higher level. Given as a foundation that reality can be a product of perceived experiences, how much control does the one who can shape those perceptions have over those experiencing them? What is free will? Are we truly free to make choices, or are we purely a product of our past? These are hardly video-game level questions, but more even that the question of reality, these are questions that affect each of us every day. My wife was utterly unimpressed with the philosophy of M1, seeing it as childish and irrelevant. M2, on the other hand, impressed her because these are questions raised every day in theology and in life. Questions that make a difference in how we act and the choices we make. Or do we even make those choices?

    In paragraph four, I believe we come to the root of Alex’s disappointment. He had a picture in his mind of “the only way” the brothers could have extended M1, and they didn’t go that route. Since they dug deeper and went in new directions, apparently they wasted their effort, on Alex at least. It is a matter of much debate whether or not the brothers even tried to introduce the notion of an uber-matrix. I personally don’t believe that they did any more, and that people are reading too much into some places and not enough into others to come up with that notion. However, that entire impression comes from roughly one minute of screen time out of 2:10, so there is plenty else to satisfy.

    A parallel to the process of movie-watching is certainly not invalid. That’s the marvel of philosophy – little is truly false, though some of it is less weighty or valid than the rest. However, it’s a prety shallow analogy. If the process of watching the film in a theater helps people relate in some small way to growing up in a tub of goop, then that’s wonderful. I fear that it barely scratches the surface of the depths which the brothers plumbed with their script, but again, if it helped some people, so much the better.

    I have tried to maintain an impersonal response, but with “Nothing even remotely brilliant…”, it becomes harder. The questions and implications raised by the second film are far from banal. They press to the very root of what it means to be human, and they are universal. While not everybody has grappled (or is interested in grappling) with the question of reality, I suspect that noone has not pondered the questions of free will versus predeterminism, or strained against control.

    Originally the idea was that M1 would be a center film, with a prequel and a sequel. Instead, the brothers turned that sequel into a two-part 4:30 film that stretches from M2 into M3, and used The Animatrix to fill in the backstory.

    Furthermore, spelling out the backstory in detail would have ruined the entire point of the film. Given what The Architect said, the “forefather” seems to be clearly a previous iteration of The One. That is, if Neo had chosen the door on his right, he would have become the new forefather for a new generation of Zion. If these are pressing questions, why have you exerted no brain power at all to draw this obvious conclusion? Instead, you make the simple-minded conclusion that the brother delivered only an infinite-matrix cop-out, never mind that nothing of the sort is even hinted at during the movie. An uber-matrix is not the same thing as infinite matrices, after all.

    The rest of your questions continue to demonstrate that you quit paying attention pretty early in the film, and also that you haven’t bothered the read the post on which you’ve commented. I’ll type slowly so you can keep up.

    The first humans to populate Zion would be the 16 women and 7 men chosen by The One, plus The One himself. Since their liberations would be engineered with the help of the architect and the full participation of the system and those who normally enforce the rules (like the agents), there would be no problems with setting up the 24 humans in a new Zion, fully strengthened and ready to go.

    This is pretty simple stuff, but mind-boggling at the same time. I think it’s pretty clear that M2 wasn’t too simple for you, but rather that you were too simple for M2. But you go right ahead and pre-judge M3. Thinking that you know more than the creators of The Matrix has served you so well so far!

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Well, okay, I wasn’t going to say this myself, but having just read a quote that says what I wanted to say, I’ll quote it:

    You can hate The Matrix Reloaded all you like and the Zion sequence in particular, but to say that Reloaded is a thoughtless, idea-free pale Xerox of the original film leads to only one conclusion…you are either stupid or you are not really interested in getting it.  Sure, maybe that’s the fault of a screenplay that is overly expositional in direct (and inappropriate) comparison to the original. But that’s my point.  There is a lot going on there, even if it bores you, irritates you or disappoints you.

    It’s from David Poland, and comes from the bottom of Friday’s Hot Button.

  • Pedro

    You´ve taken the debate to higher level Phill!!! Everyone, try to keep up!

    I know The Matrix Trilogy is going to be up there some day, right next to other timeless science-fiction jewels such as 2001: Odissey in Space and Blade Runner… By the way, this latter film was dismissed during it´s releasing days back in the 80´s as a boring detective story, underestimating the philosophical and humanistic implications in the background; now everybody knows where the movie lies, don´t we?

    If only Phillip K. Dick was alive…

  • Alex

    Hi Phillip,

    I’m very glad to learn that you’ve managed to get so much mileage out of Matrix Reloaded. I’d have to agree with you that it’s a movie that’s occasionally fun to watch, and maybe also fun to try to interpret. Still, (and please keep in mind that this is strictly from my own point of view), there is a proverbial ‘fly in the ointment’ that spoils it for me (and also for several other reviewers). Allow me to explain:

    The original Matrix (i.e. Matrix 1) is a much more air tight movie than Matrix Reloaded (i.e. Matrix 2 for short), not only because it was much more carefully crafted, but also because it contained something that Matrix 2 lacks — compelling inner logic. Although I absolutely agree with you that Matrix 1 is a totally derivative product (i.e. ‘nothing new under the sun’), it is nevertheless a fascinating product that managed to stir plenty of quite deep philosophical discussion. Apparently, tomes of philosophical dissertations by some of the leading contemporary philosophers have been written on account of the paradoxes that Matrix 1 brought forth. I sincerely doubt that we’ll see similar outpouring coming from the intellectual challenges posed by Matrix 2 (despite the fact that these challenges are much more tantalizing than the ones exposed in Matrix 1).

    Now, I’d be the first one to openly admit that there are numerous and painfully obvious flaws that infest what’s otherwise pretty air tight storyline of the first movie. However, even such fatal flaws haven’t been able to dillute what’s arguably its biggest strength — loads of compelling inner logic. Matrix 1 manages to set the center stage so beautifully, that the storyline unfolds effortlessly, sucking us, the unsuspecting and helpless viewers, into its vortex along the way. No traces of that irresistible inner logic are to be found in Matrix 2. The second movie appears to be very contrived when compared to the first one, and therein lies the big letdown that many of us felt while watching it.

    You see, the strength of the first movie lies in the fact that it didn’t need any far fetched and elaborate explanations in order to present its magic. It starts innocently enough, portraying the clash of the police force with what seems to be a person with some superhuman powers (Trinity). It is clear from the very outset that the movie will be dealing with certain fantastic conjectures. But yet how fantastic and fantasmagoric, we haven’t been forewarned.

    Had the movie started with a voice over explaining how the machines have sometime in the future taken over and enslaved the human race etc. (essentially, spelling out what Morpheus had to do in the middle of the movie), the impact of the storyline would’ve been practically non-existent. Luckily, the movie creators were clever enough to take us for a ride and then shock us into the realization that the situation is way more pessimistic than we could’ve assumed even in our wildest dreams. And that realization was forced down our throats (pun intended) so skillfully, that it felt almost visceral.

    Because of that, we were in general inclined to gloss over many of the glaring inconsistencies and holes in the storyline (which, to be perfectly honest, doesn’t hold water). We were actually taken in for a ride, compelled to swallow the red pill, caught in the hurricane. This is the sole reason why the movie felt so enchanting, and why it gave rise to so much debate and serious philosophical work. Had the ideas presented in the movie been exposed in a non-visceral way, I doubt that anyone would’ve even shrugged or have second thoughts about it, let alone felt compelled to write a pile of philosophical treatises on his/her experiences while watching the film.

    Now, compare such visceral experience with the overt cerebral doldrums of Matrix 2. There is very little compelling that I find in that movie. Yes, the ideas are eclectic, there are hints at fascinating ancient cosmologies, what with the perpetual creation, sustainment, and destruction of entire worlds (the cosmology of Krishna, Brahma, Shiva, etc.), but these ideas are presented as mere dull words. Such concepts haven’t really been distilled into an organic form, in the way that the evil omnipotent manipulator idea (Descartes) had been transformed into the frightening ride in Matrix 1. Simply put, there is no one to identify with in the second movie. In the first one, we have been forced to wholeheartedly identify with Neo, to go with him through his suffering in realizing that a grave injustice had been perpetrated on him. We wanted to see him liberate himself. Not only that, we wanted to see him get even with the evil machines. And our wishes had been fulfilled at the end of the movie, which is why we felt vindicated by the whole experience.

    Nothing like that happened in the second one. We couldn’t identify with the semi-god Neo anymore, as his antics were now brought down to the ho-hum level. He flies around, he saves people, but so what? Most of the time, he looks even more confused than we are.

    Worst of all, the second movie was so stuck in its own grandiosity that it desperately needed Deus Ex Machina, which was finally delivered in the form of the lame-assed Architect (and by the way, how much longer will we have to endure the unbearable stereotype that the smelly, unwashed masses are always to be portrayed as Blacks, Hispanos, Asians and Southern Europeans, while the well-groomed Master, the Architect, is inevitably some bloody wasp, and with a British accent to boot? Couldn’t the Architect in this movie at least have been portrayed as a female, if not a non-white person?)

    Just because a person utters and carefully enounciates words such as ‘ergo’, ‘a propos’, ‘vis a vis’ and ‘concordingly’, doesn’t automatically mean that that person knows what he is talking about. I remember cringing while I was hearing those lame attempts at high-brow intellectualism, as I was aware that it was intended to impress and dazzle the unwashed masses of moviegoers. This form of cheap ‘elitism’ (read: mumbo-jumbo) is what actually ruined the second movie. It is very hard to envisage how will the third movie (the conclusion) manage to vindicate the above explained sins.

    Allow me now to address some of the issues you’ve brought up in your thoughtfull response to my criticism. You wrote:
    “The first humans to populate Zion would be the 16 women and 7 men chosen by The One, plus The One himself. Since their liberations would be engineered with the help of the architect and the full participation of the system and those who normally enforce the rules (like the agents), there would be no problems with setting up the 24 humans in a new Zion, fully strengthened and ready to go.”

    To me, the above Deux Ex Machina explanation sounds unbelievably contrived. It’s almost like someone saying ‘whatever’. It is extremely arbitrary, even whimsical, and possesses none of the compelling inner logic that graces the storyline in Matrix 1.

    I guess the crucial question is this: why should I (or, we, if you will) believe the Architect? What evidence is there that he is not just another dream? If you say that it’s because the brothers said so then to me it’s a cop out. The brothers may have gotten stuck in some complicated maze that they’ve created, and decided for an easy way out by throwing in some idiotic Architect. In what sense is that compelling? There is a disconnect that I perceive here, and no amount of authority, be it Phillip Winn or Wachowsky brothers or Noam Chomsky or Henry Kissinger or George Bush etc. can possibly bring credibility to it. The real strength of the first movie lied in the fact that the brothers didn’t feel the need to reach for any kind of a cop out, which is not what I could say for the second movie. In one word — too contrived to be pallatable.

    You also wrote the following:
    “In paragraph four, I believe we come to the root of Alex’s disappointment. He had a picture in his mind of “the only way” the brothers could have extended M1, and they didn’t go that route. Since they dug deeper and went in new directions, apparently they wasted their effort, on Alex at least.”

    I think you’ve misunderstood what I wrote there. If you go back and re-read it, you’ll hopefully be able to see that I’ve concluded that the only way they could’ve extended the original idea was to do exactly what they did — introduce some childish mumbo-jumbo. So, you thought that I had a vision how they should go about extending it, and that they didn’t go that route. But in actuality I saw the only way they could have extended it, which is through mumbo-jumbo, and I saw that that’s indeed how they did it. So predictable, so disappointing.

    Furthermore, you wrote:
    “The questions and implications raised by the second film are far from banal. They press to the very root of what it means to be human, and they are universal. While not everybody has grappled (or is interested in grappling) with the question of reality, I suspect that noone has not pondered the questions of free will versus predeterminism, or strained against control.”

    In order to explain what I meant by the banality of such questions, I think I’d have to first explain a couple of things about myself (please forgive me for the self-indulgence here): contrary to the popular belief, the Internet is not populated exclusivelly by young people. I myself am quite old — I’m 46 now. Some of my friends are even older, and we are activelly surfing the net, participating, contributing, and so on. There is an extensive history here — back in the late seventies/early eighties we (meaning my friends and myself) have all been engrossed in the works by the leading theorists such as Douglas Hofstadter (“Goedel, Escher, Bach — The Eternal Golden Braid”), Christopher Alexander (“Timeless Art Of Building”), David Bohm (“Holographic Paradigm”), Gregory Bateson (“Steps To An Ecology Of Mind”) and so on. All these works were fascinating at that time (as they are today), as they’ve introduced ideas explored in Matrix 1. We then went on to study philosophy, artificial intelligence, and in general cognitive sciences. Today, 25 years later, I work as a Chief Architect, running a software development department. I’ve been studying and practising software development for the past 20 years.

    Now, in parallel to that, I’ve been also fully involved in studying and practising Buddhism. These activities, practised full time over the course of decades, gave me an insight into all of the questions that the Matrix trilogy tries to dabble with. After a person spends many years practising Buddhism, the questions such as ‘free will versus determinism’ get to be resolved along the way, and quite early on. Most of the people who tend to perceive Matrix 2 as being childish are the people who have managed to go beyond the basic, infantile questions of free will vs. determinism and such. That’s why the tireless reiteration of these questions (the questions of choice and purpose) that permeates the second movie sounds so lame to us.

    People who find these questions fascinating are typically people who feel the urge to cling on to the image of the omnipotent old man with white beard who exists somewhere beyond this ‘valley of tears’. Such people have a huge craving for getting the final answers, for someone telling them that everything will be all right, that they will be the chosen ones, and that all their grievances will be vindicated. They seem to need to be assured that the prophecy will be fulfilled.

    For us who don’t feel the need to grasp for such illusory crap, this whole process is rather bemusing.

    Finally, you wrote:
    ” I’ll type slowly so you can keep up.”

    Feeling morally, intellectually, and otherwise superior to others is a sure fire sign of inner confusion. Just because there are people out there who have been at it for much longer than you have, and who way back when got their answers to the questions that are bugging you right now, doesn’t mean that such people are much stupider than you are. Granted, I’d be the first to admit that I’m actually quite a stupid person, but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t able to understand all those things you’re pointing out that happened in Matrix 2. I just found those answers to be very unconvincing, and I felt that there just was too much smoke-and-mirrors thrown in. The movie simply collapsed under its own weight.

    So, in the end, it’s just a shallow kung fu movie that uses some of the intriguing concepts, waters them down, and then uses them as a backdrop, as an excuse for the seemingly endless sequences of boring fighting scenes. It’s a damn computer video game that is built on the premise that a movie meets a comic strip. A pinnacle of the nickleodeon philosophy.

    Much ado about nothing.

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Actually, we do not disagree on this: M1 was indeed much more tightly crafted than M2. While many people seem to be relying on faulty memories of M1 and forgetting that it took weeks, months, even years, for the mythos surrounding the first movie to build up, there is no mistaking the level of craft in the first film. Script aside, every shot is perfect. There is no scene in which I ever think “this is a standard 1-shot, or 1-shot, or wide-angle, or whatever.” In the second film, however, while there are many moments of cinematic genious still, there doesn’t seem to be the same level of shot-by-shot care in the visual story that the movie tells.

    However, I still believe that the script problem with M2 is not because it is self-contradictory or simplistic, but because it is radically more complex and disquieting than the first film.

    That is, for all that M1 blew people away, it did so largely on the basis of a very simple idea. It was easy to maintain internal consistency of a sort because there weren’t a lot of ideas competing for space. M2, on the other hand, asks a lot more questions, many of which are far more uncomfortably applicable, perhaps too much like our own questions to enjoy.

    To your specific statements: I don’t dispute that M1 is much more air-tight. It dealt with far simpler issues and was a standalone movie. Once M3 is out, we’ll be able to compare M1 with M2+M3 and see how they stack up.

    I do dispute the idea that there won’t be the sort of outpouring of philsophical consideration from this film as the first. Give it time, and I think the issues themselves will lead to lots of contemplation.

    I don’t find the storyline contrived, perhaps because it picked up exactly where my own thinking had left off – What challenge is there in life for a god? Neo might have been bored for the previous six months, and he might still not feel as if his own life is in danger, but the film starts with his foreboding over Trinity’s death, and ends after a choice – apparently between the survival of the entire human race and his own emotional satisfaction. His confusion is the point of the film – even with super powers, he is not really in control. That seems like a natural progression to me, not contrivance.

    Getting Cornell West into the film – now that was contrivance!

    I’m sorry you didn’t relate to Neo. I’ll grant that he is less of an everyman than in the first film. Still, he grappled with issues that I have grappled with – that I think most people have grappled with. What is my place in this world? What choices do I make? How much am I a product of my unbringing, or the circumstances of life that surround me? Nature vs nurtures – what about choice?

    The appearance of The Architect might be a deux ex machina, except that everything has lead up to that point, and we knew to expect something strange. Morpheus’ prophecy hinted at it, all of the programs running around loose hinted at it, The Oracle hinted at it, and on and on. If it had come out of nowhere, I might buy your argument, but it wasn’t unexpected, so I really don’t.

    The seeding of Zion seems to be an integral part of the cycle, not a magical way to explain away where the first free humans came from. Obviously there was some need to satisfy that question, sure, but it isn’t just tacked on, but forms the basis of Neo’s choice, an integral part of the story, so again it doesn’t feel like deux ex machina to me.

    Within the movie, they address the idea that The Architect might be lying. Morpheus says the same thing, and Neo cuts that off, saying only, “I believe it.” Sure, knowing that the actors involved all back that up helps, but within the movie, credentials are established. It doesn’t help that we’re all basically sitting at a six month intermission, though.

    Your belief that they introduced some childish mumbo-jumbo seems to be predicated on the belief that there is an uber-matrix, or reductio ad absurdum matricies. As I pointed out, I don’t think I agree. I suspect that the brothers never intended for people to believe any such thing, but maybe they did hope to plant that impression. In any case, I don’t think that’s what happened, negating your point. I could be wrong, however, we’ll find out in November.

    Kudos on reaching the age of 46. I’m in my thirties myself. In fact, some of why I appreciate the second film so much is that it seems to leave the teenagers behind! However, suggestions that questions about determinism vs free will are infantile does grave injustice to those who have spent their entire lives pondering just such questions. That you’ve decided that you have the answer to an unknowable question speaks much, but not about the question – about your presumption.

    It could be that you simply mean that there is no practical application of that question in day-to-day life. That much is true, in that regardless of how much is determined for us, we don’t know all of the factors involved so we still act out of our free will to the best of our knowledge. Then again, there is no practical application of much of anything in any of the Matrix films. That’s the point.

    To follow up a paragraph is which you denigrate as “infantile” such questions and call the quest for answers “bemusing” with a sentence about feeling superior to others is quite rich. Do you see the irony?

    I responded to your first post, which upon rereading is just as empty as it was. Based on that post, I could only assume that you hadn’t bothered to expend any though, since you asked questions that were clearly answered within the film, ignored major plot points and so on. If you were turned off by what you saw as simplistic philsophy and didn’t bother watching the rest of the film, that’s fine, but that doesn’t make the movie banal or childish. Far from it.

    Since I now know that you’re capable of thought and just chose not to bother when posting your original comment, I’ve typed this quickly, knowing you can keep up.

    I don’t claim to have all the answers, and I’m surprised that you would. But while M2 isn’t as finely crafted as M1, it maintains consistency and adresses a lot more than the original film. In November, when adequate comparisons can be made, I think we will find that M2 is far more complex than the first film, though less visually stunning.

  • Pedrobrown

    Alex:

    Not to annoy anybody, but… what´s the answer to the question “Are we prisoners of God (whoever he is to you; always the creator of reality; maybe reality in it´s self) or do we have free will to choose?” Please, if you have the answer, I need to know.

  • Pedrobrown

    By the way Alex, please read my comment posted at the end of “The Matrix: Shooting Blanks”… it´s what I think of the movie alone, not of the filosophical background of it. Also, please excuse my english grammatical and orthografical errors, I come from Spain and I can say I have to hone up.

    Thanks.

  • Alex

    OK, so we do agree that the first movie was much simpler and more elegant than the second one. For you, however, that’s a sign of a weakness, while for me that’s a sign of its accomplishment.

    As we all know, it is much harder to be succinct than verbose. That exactly is the reason why Matrix 1 made a much more lasting impression than its sequel. The original Matrix managed to be much more succinct, without missing the beat. And that in itself is not a trivial task.

    “However, I still believe that the script problem with M2 is not because it is self-contradictory or simplistic, but because it is radically more complex and disquieting than the first film.”

    I agree with you on that. The script is indeed radically more complex and disquieting in the Reloaded. But why is that necessarily a good thing? Anybody can go out of their way and blow things out of proportions and introduce fantastic twists and turns into the storyline. Still, that doesn’t automatically mean much. The storyline is there primarily in order to deliver, and this one didn’t really deliver. It just managed to muddle things up.

    But I have to give it some credit — Matrix Reloaded was so bad that it did manage to deflate the ridiculous pomposity of the first one. I was curious to see the original film after being severely disappointed by the sequel, and I must say that the original doesn’t lend itself to be viewed the way it was before the sequel came out. For whatever reason, everything now seems to be falling apart. It seems overly naive, myopic, untenable. The myth has been destroyed, which is probably a good thing.

    If you don’t believe me, go back and watch the original movie, and you’ll find yourself feeling cheated somehow.

    “The appearance of The Architect might be a deux ex machina, except that everything has lead up to that point, and we knew to expect something strange. Morpheus’ prophecy hinted at it, all of the programs running around loose hinted at it, The Oracle hinted at it, and on and on. If it had come out of nowhere, I might buy your argument, but it wasn’t unexpected, so I really don’t.”

    The very definition of the ‘deus ex machina’ is that it’s a cop out for the creators of the drama. So, naturally, everything in the drama leads to the appearance of the deus ex machina at the critical point. I don’t really get your argument. How is the plot in the Reloaded that uses the deus ex machina trick different from the standard application of it in the Greek tragedies?

    “Within the movie, they address the idea that The Architect might be lying. Morpheus says the same thing, and Neo cuts that off, saying only, “I believe it.” Sure, knowing that the actors involved all back that up helps, but within the movie, credentials are established. It doesn’t help that we’re all basically sitting at a six month intermission, though.”

    Just because the characters in the movie discuss the possibility that the Architect may be lying, and then deciding that he isn’t, does not give us enough assurance to conclude that the Architect not himself delusional.

    “Your belief that they introduced some childish mumbo-jumbo seems to be predicated on the belief that there is an uber-matrix, or reductio ad absurdum matricies. As I pointed out, I don’t think I agree. I suspect that the brothers never intended for people to believe any such thing, but maybe they did hope to plant that impression. In any case, I don’t think that’s what happened, negating your point. I could be wrong, however, we’ll find out in November.”

    I don’t care for the uber-matrix idea. I’m just under the impression that the original Matrix was concieved to be a standalone product, which was subsequently elaborated upon, once the creators realized how successfull it was. In order to build the platform for cashing in (read, the franchise), they reached out for some far fetched twists and turns that, frankly, leave me quite cold. Whatever the final resolution may be (and even there I’m skeptical, thinking that they’ll just leave the doors open for the later trilogy, or something like that), I’m sure it will be just some sort of a quasi-deep philosophical mumbo jumbo. In other words, I’m not convinced that the authors do possess sufficient amounts of high quality intellectual substance to really offer anything beyond the cookie cutter comic strip nickelodeon pseudo-philosophising. In short, a nauseating fusion of all sorts of incompatible fragments of ideas available to anyone who is not adverse to making a trip to the library. Such form of the wannabe mentality just doesn’t hold water.

    “However, suggestions that questions about determinism vs free will are infantile does grave injustice to those who have spent their entire lives pondering just such questions. That you’ve decided that you have the answer to an unknowable question speaks much, but not about the question – about your presumption.”

    Just because someone may spend his/her entire life pondering some sort of a question, does not mean that the question is not infantile (and, by the proxy, they themselves being infantile as well). A person can reach ripe old age and still be mentally infantile.

    “It could be that you simply mean that there is no practical application of that question in day-to-day life.”

    No, that’s not what I’m talking about.

    “Since I now know that you’re capable of thought and just chose not to bother when posting your original comment, I’ve typed this quickly, knowing you can keep up.”

    Thanks for your concern. Still, it didn’t seem to have made any difference.

  • Adam Burley

    Basically, it seems reasonably obvious what has happened here. The Architect says that 99.9% of people accepted the programme so long as they were given a choice. However he does not explicitly state that the extra 0.1% are those in Zion. So, I think that those in Zion actually accepted the programme but they were only aware of the choice at a “near unconscious level” as The Architect puts it.

    They therefore think they have a choice and are rebelling against The Matrix, but they actually do not have a choice at all. The exception is Neo – he thinks he is among lots of people all of whom have a choice but in fact he is an anomaly and he is alone in the fact that he has a choice. The reason why he stops the sentinels at the end is because he is actually still in The Matrix at this point.

    This begs the question – what happened to the 0.1%? Obviously I don’t know. Maybe they were killed. More likely, they are going to be the ones who save the world in the end.

    Perhaps the 0.1% were those who created the mathematical anomaly which created Neo in the first place. The Architect believes he is in control of The Matrix but in fact he is under the control of the 0.1%. Like I said, I don’t know.

  • pedrobrown

    Alex:

    I can say… what if the Matrix 1 was cut off in two? What if the movie ended right at the point when Neo is rescued from the sewer and rehabilitated? What impression would you have had of the movie? I would say it would have appeared as a really big kung-fu empty mumbo-jumbo, no sense at all. lthough… the vfx, the dialogues, the musical score, the carachters and lot´s of other things in M1 are very superior to those in M2. Personally, M2 sucked, but, I repeat, it might be just because the story is cut in half. My point is, let´s wait to see the third installment, let´s see the explanation to all the loose ends before crucifying the work, how deep does the filosophy in the Matrix really go… I know, it does´nt look good at first, but give it a chance… The story is getting really twisted (too twisted) but the same happened with the first act of M1, and I think there might be a great explanation to all of it.

    If it isn´t getting more interesting, then why everybody out there is trying to get a hold on the plot? Because we refuse to see the truth, that the Wachoskis did the sequels only to make big bucks, and that the whole thing is a lame excuse just to hit for the box office? I don´t believe that… they are artistes (you must admit it) and artistes don´t prostitute their own “children”. So, even though it all looks fishy (Star Wars), I still stay put.

    By the way Alex, please don´t dissapoint me … what is the answer to my question?. Those of us who haven´t got a clue (I´d say, Humanity with a capital H) are dying to know, and it seems as though you are closer to the answer…

    No bad intentions here, just open minded discussion… I´m eager to read your response, really.

    Take care buddy.

    Pedro.

  • Alex

    Hi Pedro,

    “what if the Matrix 1 was cut off in two? What if the movie ended right at the point when Neo is rescued from the sewer and rehabilitated? What impression would you have had of the movie?”

    That’s a very good question. This may surprise you, but I would have been even more impressed if they left it off right there. Like I said, after seeing the sequel, the original film suddenly lost a lot of its appeal for me. Go back and watch it again, and you’ll probably see how it tends to bust at the seems.

    “Personally, M2 sucked, but, I repeat, it might be just because the story is cut in half. My point is, let´s wait to see the third installment, let´s see the explanation to all the loose ends before crucifying the work, how deep does the filosophy in the Matrix really go…”

    Again, a very good point. I’ll take it in all seriousness, and we’ll reconvene here around Christmas time, and compare the notes:-)

    “If it isn´t getting more interesting, then why everybody out there is trying to get a hold on the plot? Because we refuse to see the truth, that the Wachoskis did the sequels only to make big bucks, and that the whole thing is a lame excuse just to hit for the box office? I don´t believe that… they are artistes (you must admit it) and artistes don´t prostitute their own “children”. So, even though it all looks fishy (Star Wars), I still stay put.”

    You may be right. One thing is certain — the creators of the Matrix trilogy have read Douglas Hofstadter’s book “Godel, Ecsher, Bach — The Eternal Golden Braid” one time too many (especially those Achilles and Tortoise dialogues). Back in the early eighties, when I was studying Artificial Intelligence, that book reached a cult status, comparable to the Matrix today. But in reality, the book was empty at the core (it was an unchecked fusion of the myriad of half-baked, fractured and fragmented ideas), and served only as a great resource for all kinds of ideas for the onslaught of the computer games. It is very obvious to me that the Matrix creators are sworn computer gamers, unable to peel themselves off those online gaming worlds and the entire cyber punk subculture. Not my cup of tea, though, as these things are truly empty to the core.

    “Not to annoy anybody, but… what´s the answer to the question “Are we prisoners of God (whoever he is to you; always the creator of reality; maybe reality in it´s self) or do we have free will to choose?” Please, if you have the answer, I need to know.”

    “By the way Alex, please don´t dissapoint me … what is the answer to my question?. Those of us who haven´t got a clue (I´d say, Humanity with a capital H) are dying to know, and it seems as though you are closer to the answer…

    “No bad intentions here, just open minded discussion… I´m eager to read your response, really.”

    OK, Pedro. What I’m not sure I understand is why do you feel that this discussion would be annoying to anybody? You felt the need to assure us that you have no bad intentions for asking such a question, but I just can’t see how can anyone ever have bad intentions by doing so?

    Anyway, I’ll start by reminding you of the fact that the more you amass the knowledge, the more ignorant you become. If you haven’t heard of this phenomenon before, it may sound to you like a paradox, like an impossibility, but it actually isn’t a paradox at all.

    In order to clarify your vexations about the issue of free will vs. the fatalistic determinism of the Prime Mover, you need to first realize who you are. Without really knowing yourself, you stand no chance of clarifying that pressing question.

    Once you get to know yourself, you’ll realize that the only reason you needed so desperately to cling on to the notion of God (i.e. the creator, the Prime Mover) was because you have been asleep. Actually, your faith has been sleeping. By awakening your faith, you will untie the Gordian knot of control vs. unpredictability. People whose faith is still asleep will forever wrestle with these unpleasant questions. Only the immediate, direct insight into your true nature will help dispel these pesky and useless questions.

    The notion of free will is a mental trick that we play upon ourselves. It single-mindedly serves to cover up the ‘family shame’, so to speak. What is this ‘family shame’? While our faith is sleeping, we feel desolate and desperately need to invent the notion of omnipotence and benevolence. Thus, the idea of God arises, and we cling on to it like there is no tomorrow. But deep in our hearts we intuitively know that this God of ours is a sham (i.e. the Emperor has no clothes). We feel that the omnipotent God is quite flaky, as it suffers from many lame tricks and blows that the angel of darkness (the devil) plays on His creation. What kind of an omnipotent something is this God, if he always gets tricked by the Satan?

    The only way out of this unbearable lie is to invent ‘deus ex machina’, that is, a ‘divine intervention’ in the form of ‘free will’. The reasoning goes something like this: we know that God is omnipotent and all loving. We also know that there is lots of hatred, injustice and destruction all around us. That much is indisputable. God certainly wouldn’t allow such a thing to ever happen, and furthermore he is perfectly equipped to prevent any mishappenings from occurring. But, there is a fly in the ointment, because the explanation goes that God created everything, including Satan himself. Simply put, if there is God, there must be a No-God (same as if there is ‘up’, there must out of necessity be ‘down’). Did God create its own negation?

    All these mind twisters are conveniently resolved in the form of an ingeniously concocted Divine Plan: God implanted the possibility of free will into each and every one of his beloved children. So now the onus is on us to follow God’s path or cause havoc. We have the choice.

    What a croak! It is really funny watching us trying to hastily cover Big Daddy’s incompetencies.

    Like I said, the only way out is to awaken the faith. Once the faith has been awakened, all those issues simply melt away. We have no need for a Big Daddy in the sky, nor do we then have the urgency to cover up his numerous flaws. We’re free then to live our lives to the fullest.

    Of course, you’ve probably grasped by now that when I talk about the faith, I’m not implying commercial faith (that is, faith as sold by the systems of organized religion). Faith is strictly an individual thing. No one can give it to you, no one can sell it to you. There are no sacred books where faith gets to be explained, nor are there formulas that will magically enable you to awaken your faith. In a way, faith is to the unawakened what color is to the color blind. You can discuss color with a person who has been color blind since the day he was born, you can throw around all kinds of concepts, but the color blind person will never ever be able to grasp what is color. He may try with all his might to imagine what could color really be, but to no avail. Unless, he somehow heals himself and obtains the ability to actually SEE color.

    The ‘color blind person’ analogy is actually flawed, as it can only be stretched so much. It tends to break apart as soon as we go into the more serious discussion. What this analogy is lacking is the notion of self-healing. A color blind person cannot really heal himself. He was born that way, and no amount of diligent work on his part could ever cure him from that ailment. The unawakened person, in contrast, has the ability to awaken himself. She doesn’t need anyone else in order to do that. And that’s the most important part. Anybody is capable of liberating themselves at any point in time. That’s the predicament of human beings. All they need to do is perform due diligence, which is something I call the ‘inner labour’.

    If a person applies herself diligently, and performs the inner labour, that person will sooner or later reach the point of liberation. At such time, all the anxieties and unpleasant questions related to why I’m here? what will happen to me when I die? and so on, vanish with no trace. And of course, the question of free will vs. determinism become the un-question, meaning it becomes irrelevant and nonsensical. Imagine someone coming to you and asking you: “Why do three pounds reproach?” What would you provide as an answer? Would you think it worthwhile to fret over such a question?

    Alex

  • Pedrobrown

    Faith is not the answer Alex. It seems as though you have a lot of thinking yet to do… or maybe not, because, as you very well point out, although interesting, trying to answer the question is impossible.

    You said the more you know, the more ignorant you get. I agree; the questions arisen from answered questions grow geometrically, creating a billion to a trillion of new questions, too many to answer, with too many possiblities; maybe the answer to the original question is, in its self, not stable but fluctuates. That turns to overload of our soul… and there is where we give up, having faith to kick in.

    Faith means you liberate yourself from answering the question, not from it. Actually, you are forced to live with it, you are a prisoner of it, whether you like it or not, even though you have the means to get around it in your day to day life. Faith is the mechanism for you to feel free from the un-answerable question. Faith is usefull to keep you going when the question crawls up on you, maybe unconsciously, maybe consciously. “What happens if I die right now?” Faith tells you everything is all right = you think the answer according to it and you feel liberated. Those who don´t have faith don´t need an answer: it´s impossible to know what happens until it manifests, until it actually happens, so what´s the point worrying?

    In conclusion, yes, you are right; the question is irrelevant, meaning it´s impossible to answer, but no, it is not irrelevant, as it is the most important question of our lives. Just because we have faith to overcome it doesn’t mean it´s irrelevant…

    Applying all this to M2: the posing in the film of the free will vs. determinism question is, I believe, a very intelligent way of moving the audience to feel uncomforatble and not so sure, just as Neo was not so sure of himself. Quite boggling, I must say… in my case, the effect was achieved and I think I speak for the majority of the public. Maybe it worked with those to whome the issue was not so familiar, and it was “I´ve-already-gone-over-it” to those who have a much deeper knowledge of it. Don´t forget that not everyone has studied or read much filosophy…

  • Pedrbrown

    P.S:
    So in conclusion, what it all was is a way of rocking the audiences faith as well as Neos faith in their lives…

    I forgot, thanks for answering Alex… quite revealing… do you have any books on the “deus ex machina” isuue to recomend me? Other books on the same or related issues? Have you read Simulacra Simultaion? Any good?

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    I did in fact rewatch M1 after seeing M2. It was what finally drove me to the conclusion that the extra interest generated by new plot directions did not overcome the obvious care put into the first film.

    I’m not saying that a more complex film is necessarily better or worse than a more simple one. Simply that it must be judged by a slightly different standard, since it attempts to be a different movie.

    Generally speaking, simpler is better, but considering how “simple” most movies actually are, there is such a thing as too simple. :)

  • Pedrobrown

    I think it´s not about the story getting complicated (M1 one was really quite complicated) it´s the way you tell the story, the way you make the audience follow the story in an effortless natural flow. Editting in M2 was a disaster, don´t you think?. The final cut was too scrambled: it looked like a bunch of unconnected images… maybe it was because of a lack of time. Anyway, I hope that editting for Revolutions is taken proper care of… otherwise we´ll get the same hurly-burly sense that we got in M2.

  • Alex

    I don’t think you understood me, Pedro. But that’s okay, as most people need several iterations before they start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Let me try another angle (there are infinite number of angles one could approach this issue form). Maybe a different angle will make sense to you (as the concept of faith obviously comes with a huge baggage for you):

    What we’re talking about here is a mental construct. The idea of free will/determinism is a mental construct. Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living, so let’s examine what is a mental construct. Mental processes and constructs denote phenomena that have their root in the Latin word ‘mens’, which means ‘to measure’. This means that we cannot engage in mental activity without having the ability to measure. Now, whenever me measure something, we’re actually involved in the activity of comparing. In order to compare, we need to discriminate first.

    As soon as we start discriminating, we slip into the evaluations, which means we develop sentiments of gain and loss. These are all self-referential, meaning those sentiments always relate to the subject. And the subject is nothing else but the outcome of measuring. If we didn’t measure in the first place, we wouldn’t arrive at the conclusion that there is ‘me’, separate from the rest of the world. The idea of an ego, an entity that is somehow completely different from anything else, is a clear sign of delusion.

    It is this notion of an ego, frail and precious and somehow more important than anything else, that gives rise to the notion of time. If you go and meet people who are enlightened, who are spiritually liberated, the thing that will strike you the most about such people is that, for them, time is non-existent. The perception of the passage of time is simply a hallucination, caused by the desperate attempts of the ego to assure its permanence.

    Now, as soon as we drop the notion of time, all the considerations regarding what determines what, what is a cause and what is an effect, what is a choice and so on, become utterly meaningless. The only way these questions could have any meaning is if there is a solid reality of ‘before’, ‘now’, and ‘after’. In actuality, such constructs (i.e. past, present, future) are mere hallucinations. When this delusion disappears, the sentiments of gain and loss also evaporate with it.

    So I disagree with you that it’s the most important question of our lives. You seem to equate faith, which I mentioned in my first explanation, with the notion of ‘blind faith’. Sort of like: “I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’ll just clutch this Holy Book and pray to the Lord, and he’ll show me the way.” That’s not what I wanted to convey to you. By faith I didn’t mean faith in the supernatural being that created the world and can influence it and interfere in order to protect or punish individual egos. That’s a very infantile notion, that is commensurate with the way two or three years old children think. Surprisingly, some people never mature, and are forever stuck in this infantile frame of mind, expecting the Big Daddy to resolve their problems.

    Also, realizing that there is no such thing as ‘me making a choice’ and ‘me being forced to do something’ has nothing to do with having a background in philosophy. Some of the greatest enlightened minds in history were not well educated (Hui Neng, the Sixth Patriarch of Ch’an Buddhism in China is probably the most prominent example).

    As for the books, I strongly recommend you read Hubert Benoit’s book “The Supreme Doctrine”. That book contains probably the best rational explanation of the inexplicable. In addition, some of the ideas expressed here are elaborated in the book I’m working on. I have posted excerpts at:

    http://alexbunard.freeservers.com/reality/meta/metamain.html

    so, if you’re interested, you can go and read about it there.

    Thanks for the nice discussion.

    Alex

  • Pedro

    I went to your web site Alex and I´m definitely going to read your essay… it all looks very interesting.

    Going over our discussion, I see now that I didn´t quite fully explain the meaning of the concept “faith” that I used.

    Faith, as I think it, is not only the belief in afterlife (with the white bearded man, or in the form of reincarnation, or laying low with the sixty virgins in paradise…) but, moreover, the generical mental mechanism, set in every person’s mind, that evades that person from trying to answer the unanswerable questions by giving them a personal satisfactory one. I think that everyone has “faith”, (although not on an equal basis) and that, my friend, includes you. You have your own personal answer to the question, very satisfactory to you I`d say, soothing, like a spa session. But the question remains objectively unanswered and the objective answer is still out there… You see? your faith is also blind…

    So, I recomend listening to Mr. Marley… “If you know what life is worth, you would look for your´s on earth, and now you see the light, stand up for your rights”. Jam.

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Don’t worry, Pedro. Alex doesn’t even live by his own standards. While dismissing time as an illusion in print, Alex still does things in order, seperated by time. As it happens, time is a fundamental tenet of science, measurable and quantifiable in a way that faith isn’t. Just like everybody else, whether they dismiss time as a foolish construct or not, Alex and you and I watch movies from the beginning to the end, put on clothes before we go outside, and poop after eating.

    To decide that time is an illusion with regard to the idea of free will can make some sense, but once you extrapolate the idea beyond that, you realize how foolish it really is.

    Of course, Alex is free to dismiss my statements as merely indicating that I don’t understand. Perhaps even that I’m too foolish to understand. That’s fine. Pompous windbags are a dime a dozen, and most people like to believe that they have answers that others don’t. He’s already dismissed me once, and I’m not bothered in the slightest. In fact, with this statement, I’ve indirectly challenged him to find a way to dismiss my statements as ignorant without seeming quite so smugly superior while doing so as he did last time, which will at least tie up a few minutes as he rewords things. :)

    All in all, it doesn’t matter. Time is more than an illusion, it is the basis for some of the basic laws by which life in this universe operates. That doesn’t answer anything about choice versus perdeterminism.

    As it happens, I have my own answer to that question that serves me quite well. I even believe it to be correct, though I’m not so egotistical to state it categorically.

  • Doctor Slack

    Wow. This thread has really moved along since the last time I looked in.

    I’m not going to wade into religious discussion, except to say that I hope Alex eventually realizes his notion of “faith” is no more impressive than what he purports to criticize. BUT I will get back to some good old-fashioned “empty” geekery, and Alex does have something to offer in this regard. To wit, he may well have hit on the reason why causality is apparently so messed up in the Matrix films.

    For example:

    “Now, as soon as we drop the notion of time, all the considerations regarding what determines what, what is a cause and what is an effect, what is a choice and so on, become utterly meaningless.”

    This does seem to me to echo the “you’ve already made the choice” thread in Reloaded, not to mention “what’s really going to bake your noodle” in the original. In fact, given how easy it is to mess with perception in the Matrix, it would seem more than plausible that the Architect and the “Oracle” (did anyone else notice the Architect’s snort of contempt at that term?) exist somehow “outside” of time as it’s perceived within the Matrix. Which is why they can appear to be prescient.

    OTOH, the Bros. Wachowski seem pretty clear that there’s more to it than this. To be postulating, for example, that there’s something deeper (more “real”?) than the malleable time and framework of the Matrix, something that makes it impossible even for the Architect to be omniscient or omnipotent, something that renders their powers into — when you get right down to it — elaborate parlor tricks.

    I’m guessing that “something” will prove to be the traditional components of Western tradition — eg. that mundane “free” will and love are more powerful than illusions of fate, destiny, predestination, prophecy, what have you. If that proves to be the case, than the Matrix would effectively wind up being a contest between — not rationalism per se, but let’s say “conventional” morality — and gnosticism. Gnosticism having won often in the past, but now being exposed as something of a sham, a mechanism of control.

    I’ll be honest, I find the “love conquers all” meme a little bit mawkish. But I find this overall philosophical framework (such as it is) much, much preferable to the first film’s apparent lauding of gnostic, prophecy-guided belief, which always struck a false note with me.

  • Pedro brown

    Some more empty geekery for the gallery:

    What would you consider the most powerful physical force in the universe?

    a) Time or,
    b) Gravity

    It´sa totally out of the Matrix context, it just popped into my mind. Follows, anyone?

    Pedro.

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Leaving aside the question of whether time is a physical force, I would say time is more powerful. You can “escape” gravity by getting far enough away from mass to be largely unaffected by its force. You cannot escape time.

    Of course, I could make the reverse case: We all travel through time, but few of us ever experience anything other than the standard pull of earth’s gravity. Besides, if we’ve managed to send atomic clocks up in jets and “slow down” time that way, we’ve done more than we can with gravity.

  • Matteo

    Hi Phillip and everybody else!
    First of all please forgive my poor english: it can fulfill simple tourist-like-phrases which is a an entire order of magnitude lower than arguing about the Matrix saga…

    I read all of the comments today so I will just pour infos here and there, beginning with what I see as answers to other people’s words.

    1) You said:

    “I’m still confused about a couple of seemingly-contradictory statements from The Architect. At one point he refers to Neo as “human,” but at another he talks about the need to reassimilate Neo’s code. As a programmer myself, I associate that term with software programs.”

    I do NOT see any contradiction here as long as we take for granted hypothesis our concept of “uber-matrix” and relatives: Neo is in fact human but, from what we see in M1, his jacked construct is not. Both in Matrix and in the “loader” software (I saw a nationalized version of M1 and M2 in which the rebel ship VR environment is called “loader”) his residual self-image as an electronic representation of himself is NOT human, it’s a mere interface from software2synapses (the inner functioning or code is not relevant here, I think). So the sparse code that the residual image of Neo brings within himself is in the Neo construct that exists in the “uber-matrix”, thus allowing, probably, a human to being still locked in a pod while code-like ‘running’ in the two layers of the matrix.

    2) The anomaly which the Oracle is after, as opposed to The Architect, is in Neo catching the meaning of his fake reality. I prefer it/her to “upgrade” this anomaly by giving him cookies than Neo ending up upsetting The Architect by not eating the candy in M2. But this is complete lucid-dreaming and is not sustained by any script evidence. In this I agree with Pedro. The cookie though could simply infer newer instructions in the anomaly which is hiddend in the residual electronic image of the human being Neo, as opposed to “making” The One, which I think it doesn’t.

    3) Alex posting gave me both good and bad feelings. Good because it got good points. Bad because it reminds too much of Anti-Matrix-Forever postings in the italian Usenet gerarchy :) … anyway:

    I think we’re not speaking angled mirrors here. That would be nice in Disneyland but wouldn’t follow some guidelines which the movie is full of (sometimes chidishly though, I agree). That is “computing and software coding” related stuff. I know. This could be personal bias overlay but I, as a programmer myself, couldn’t stop weaving “angled mirrors” of layering to some concepts, and the matrix-in-a-matrix continuum just don’t fit IMHO. This could be achieved in a finite state calculum unless we decide there’s no human being at all anywhere in the drama. Please consider the first Phil’s idea of AI birthdaying in a lab environment. An angled mirror setting would not be feasible to be monitored and/or acted upon by human beings, less than controlled in a cyclic catarsi.

    It would be acceptable in a different approach: it’s true the machines cannot live without humans as batteries and this is a “should have I known better” simulation of the last machine on earth, after the disappearance of the human race, in which every player on stage is just an algorythm. This is interesting but I don’t know if I like it.

    In fact I think the first Matrix hit differently basing on targets. I’ve seen M1 so many times I still wonder how comes I cannot perform it alone :P and I discovered (I still do) new spots of genius, new paranoic fan-questions, new excitement. BUT (there’s always a but) no questions about the meaning and the infrastructure of the Matrix, which btw could be the directors’ merit. On the other way this M2 filled me with questions about,how,when and obviously why :)

    As you say, no human unjacked from the Matrix could save himself with no help, less than ever building Zion near the core of the planet ! But this simply brings us to a “uber-matrix” concept which, in return, still folds so many possibilities I need some CPU power to aid me computing (or more time anyway).
    BTW, I think that from a cine-critic point of view, this is one of the weak points of M1 and not of its lack of answering in M2: the answer we’ll find in M3 I suppose, since is in line with the other questions the second chapter unveils. Since then, it’s just you who anticipated it for M2 and got unsatisfied, I suppose.

    It’s true that the Matrix saga is full of philosophy (now serious, now childish), citations and derivative thinking all alike. But it’s implanted on a sci-fi movie with a partially strong commitment to hackish (not hacking, please) geekdom. While it’s sure that calling “backdoors” some longjmp alike routines :) is for hype reasons, some of the script is filtered of all “this stuff” in every angle, I think. And this should be thought about when criticizing some plots.

    Alex says:

    “Had the movie started with a voice over explaining how the machines have sometime in the future taken over and enslaved the human race etc. (essentially, spelling out what Morpheus had to do in the middle of the movie), the impact of the storyline would’ve been practically non-existent. Luckily, the movie creators were clever enough….”

    Right. That’s what happens in M2. You already know that stuff. Sincerely, to wait for something else is waiting for a new videogame, imho. What’s inside in M2, I agree, is not a masterpiece in terms of cynematography, but, sincerely, is what ‘I’ expected from M2. I quite well remember how I felt when seeing “the empire strikes back”. The feeling that all is lost, the Evil Side claiming its prize, the hopes of the first episode crushed. Please bear with me and follow me here, cynematographycally: in M1, we keep getting thrown from darkish green computer generated reality and darkish pale whatever color in the rebels’ ship. Fine. There’s a strong phisic difference between the matrix and the “real world”. That feeling is lost in M2, since the reality seems blurred and strange in feelings. Here, the momentum of the “real world” is in the ‘party at rave-cave’. Sex, sweat dripping, tears and the “worse looking couple” (hollywoody speaking) making love and, perhaps, Neo not fulfilling it to the acme. Where’s the darkish pale whatever color in M2 ? In the paths the ships go through, making we wander if the will succeed, or, better, if this “real world” is real at all.

    In the Matrix there’s no need to say anything else. Neo does only what he’s supposed to do and perhaps the code adapts to his code-mending powers, strictly confined in a human mind: superman flying is there. If I had to fly I don’t think I’d fly head down and backwards. I think as a geek in the late ninties I’d fly as a comic hero. Or a movie character. He does stupid and stereotypical thinks, you’re right. that’s why we must begin to wonder if he’s not a software or a mean of control: by NOT identifying ourselves with him. I just don’t get why nobody tries to see it this way as a link between M1 and M3.

    The deus-ex-machina is needed for a simple cause: there’s no answer in a software outside of its code and author. It’s a moot point to think that The Architect is there to explain what the movie M2 couldn’t before: signs of something not going on smoothly in the “real world” are everywhere since the first half of the movie. That’s the last resort: ask and annoy the author.

    It’s “the much ado about nothing” that is important and clever. If this is a simulation, we just have to ask why. Even if we wanted, we can’t do anything else and we’re doomed desperating ourselves or wondering why. this is what Neo indecision is all alike. He think he’s not, then he think he could, the he doubts it, to realize he can’t and eventually to be struck up by the idea that perhaps he really can, but not as programmed (in a computer way). And we spectators do the same thing during the M2 (which I repeat is not a so fine movie).

    Anyway, M1 WAS indeed more elegant and vision enthrailing than the second, I must agree. But I think we’ll consider it slightly different, when we’ll have seen the third chapter.

    What I do REALLY love is the Matrix atmosphere in the discussions meetings and forums. I can see a little joke here: what we see ? the movies. what we perceive ? doubts and ideas unfolding at every step and angle. the dicotomy between the cinematographyc point of view and the derivative scripting done by the authors is grand. We’re setting a matrix ourselves of ideas and patterns to fulfill the action-reaction and the why mantras. I’m beginning to feel sure this was anticipated by the authors and that they fed us with the right reagents to the wrong hypothesis, to let us fall in our inner thinkings when the third curtain will be opened.

    And while commenting on the philosophy in Matrix is a good starting point to feed our brain, it does nothing to raise or lower what the Matrix script did to us: overflowing with data to be computated and simulated till the result.

    It’s almost ironic that such a bad movie, as portrayed by many, could bring to so many discussions and flames :)

    And we didn’t get a cookie !

    Sorry if some of the ideas look fuzzy. I was (what a shame) in a hurry and I do not think well in english :|

  • Alex

    All right, Pedro, you’re due for one more try. But remember, three strikes — you’re out! So, this will be my last attempt, after which I’ll bow out. I’m not a geek, so I don’t have any interest in arguing with geeks. But you’ve managed to project a certain air of genuine sincerity in your search, so I view you as being somewhat different.

    So, we’ve seen that faith is not a good concept for you. Somehow, you associate it with a soothing spa session. In your view, it’s a tranquilizer, suitable for removing life’s anxieties (or, more accurately, for giving people an illusion that the anxieties have been temporarily removed), and therefore being akin to a drug. That’s very close to Karl Marx, who claimed that religion is the ‘opium for the masses’. However, arguably we could point to the large masses of non-religious people who are also sedated and tranquilized by something. They don’t have any faith in anything beyond their immediate physical surrounding, and yet they are heavily sedated. Which means that a soothing spa session is not the hallmark of religious faith only.

    Because you seem to have a problem with the explanation that uses fauth, we’ll drop it for now.

    Next, you also seem to have a problem with the concept of realizing the Eternity in Time. So, I figure maybe we can try something else, just for the size, to see how it feels. Keep in mind that there are numerous ways to tackle the ineffable, but like I said, I’m going to deliberately confine myself to three attempts only.

    What we’re trying to do here is point toward realizing Suchness in the world of appearance. And I mean it in the spiritual, not geeky computer game sense. We’re not dealing with a trickster here (such as the AI in the Matrix), but with the unnameable ‘It’. Once a person has a direct experience of realizing ‘It’, all the questions are automatically answered.

    In a way, this is kind of like the example I gave you earlier: a color blind person having a burning desire to discuss the impact colors have on people’s mood. The color blind person may be extremely intelligent, and he may have studied intricate theories dealing with color, so in that way he’d be superior to almost everybody else, but still he wouldn’t really have the slightest idea about what is color. Only people who actually do have eyes open to see the colors could meaningfully discuss what different colors mean to them.

    So, without meaning any disrespect, I view you in this context as a color blind person. You have the ability to discuss color on the intellectual level, but you have never actually seen color, so to speak. So, just replace the concept ‘color’ and instead of it use the concept ‘awakening’. You can discuss awakening till you’re blue in face, but because you’ve never experienced it, you are not really equipped to form final conclusions on the matter. However, keep in mind that you are perfectly equipped to experience it. It’s totally up to you.

    Earlier I’ve pointed you to the high quality work of Hubert Benoit; here, I’ll just offer a very important excerpt from his work:

    “The average sensual man is without the consciousness of the Self as a self-sufficient totality. He is unceasingly aware that something is lacking. He comes into the world bearing with him a negation of Self-consciousness, or a negative consciousness of self (original sin). Consequently all his pleasures are of a negative character; they are but the impressions, on the physiological or imaginative plane, of a partial and momentary appeasement of his sense of original lack, of congenital defect. If we study human sensibility from the point of view of the realization of Being, we shall find that it is pointless to concern ourselves with pleasure; for all that we experience is only the increase or decrease of a fundamental pain. Suffering is not an act of Self-consciousness, but rather an act of the absence of Self-consciousness.

    But the absence of Self-consciousness is illusory. Man possesses everything needed for the existence of Self-consciousness; but these prerequisites for Self-consciousness are not in the right state. It is like ice and water; ice possesses the nature of water, but possesses it in a state in which the properties of water are not apparent.”

    If we now go back and examine some of the issues exposed in the Matrix 1, we will see that it’s a disturbingly inconsistent film. In it, we see Neo constantly shifting in and out of the various states of dream and/or imaginative states of mind. When he got caught by the agents and confined inside the little interrogatory room, we see him through the security TV monitor screen. The camera penetrates that screen and, voila!, we’re suddenly pushed down into that illusory world of electrons hitting the cathode ray. All of a sudden, we take whatever ensues as ‘real’, although we’ve never actually ‘popped up’ from that virtual push. From then on, things get more inconsistent, and more and more unreal. The next thing we know, Neo experiences, to his horror, that his upper and lower lips have inexplicably grown into each other. He can’t speak any more! Then, he gets infested by some bizarre half robot/half repulsive insect. Screaming in horror, he wakes up in his bed, breathing a sigh of relief, thanking god that it was just a nightmare. But at that very moment he gets a phone call, and is lured outside, holding onto the promise that he’ll finally find Morpheus. On the way to meet Morpheus, he learns the hard way that, apparently, the nightmare he had epxerienced moments ago, was actually not a dream, but something that ‘really’ happened to him. They manage to magically (leaving no wound and no scar) extract the bug from his abdomen. But what happens then is even more bizarre, almost absurd. He meets Morpheus who gives him a choice between waking up in his bed vs. going down the rabbit hole. Neo chooses the rabbit hole. Upon swallowing the red pill, he is enveloped in some alien, cold substance, which forces him to ‘wake up’ inside a gooey, pinkish artificial ‘womb’.

    Now, the crucial question is: what is a dream, and what is real here? In the film, Neo for some reason decides to take this latest ‘awakening’ at the face value, and to proclaim it to be the reality. But, what evidence does he have that it is, in fact, reality? His experience of having a dream within a dream, as when he was dreaming inside the matrix that he is having a waking life, and even within that dream of a waking life he was having dreams, and dreams within dreams, was equally compelling as his experiences upon waking up in the human farm. What made him decide that this is the end of dreaming within a dream? The film never addresses that crucial question.

    Another oddly misplaced dialog pointing to this issue of reality vs. dream transpired when Morpheus was instructing Neo about the whole matrix charade. “What is real?” says Morpheus. “How do you define real? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.” However, later in the dialog, when Morpheus explained to Neo how machines have enslaved humans, he elaborated how at first he himself wouldn’t believe that to be true, until he saw human farms with ‘his own eyes’. Now, if he had already expressed a healthy dose of skepticism regarding the nature of evidence offered to us via perception (which can be boiled down to the ‘electrical signals interpreted by our brain’), how is it possible that he would all of a sudden use the same ‘electrical signals interpreted by his brain’ as the final arbiter in ascertaining the truth?

    In this respect, the film is quite good at pointing at this most pressing question — how do we know when we have finally awoken from all these tricky dreams? The film, of course, cannot even begin to answer that, but it served its purpose by pointing to the issue.

    It’s a self-referential question, and the only way it could ever be resolved is if we make the breakthrough that will take us to the ‘other side’. The ‘other side’ the point when the faith is awoken, and the notion of time disappears. Another thing that happens at that point is that the notion of self also disappears. In other words, the person attaining the breakthrough fully and totally dies. Then, that person is reborn. But, this time, the ego, the self, is nowhere to be found.

    Having no ego, how can a person fret over such things as gain and loss, before and after, free will and determinism? Free will implies an agent who carries out the act confirming it. But, if there is no agent, who cares about the free will? Free will disappears, it is just another illusion, same as is determinism, causality, law of gravity, etc.

    Another interesting resource I would like to point you to is a discussion on the first matrix, as published at the official matrix web site:

    http://whatisthematrix.warnerbros.com/rl_cmp/new_phil_hanley.html

    In there, you’ll find a handfull of fascinating observations that may help you clarify your search.

    Good luck!

  • Matteo

    Hi again. At least some more points that slipped out of my intent last night.

    1) I see no mumbo-jumbo in The Architect’s words as long as I see him/it/her as a software or an AI. If I try to look at him/it/her as if I was The One, I mean seeing him/it/her in disassembled green’n’black code :) it reminds me of Neuromancer stylish explanations on the “fictious” shore. I’m not referring to the book as a whole, I’m speaking about the Neuromancer AI that Case talks to in VR.
    So we got more derivative work, here, and less original work in the script. But I don’t think that dialogue was meant to “just impress the auditorium”. One may like it not, but that’s another story

    2)the guy that’s been taken forecefully out of the restaurant before the leather trio meet the Merovingian is just not going outside. Amidst everybody, Neo is the only One who perceives him. His attention is brought to that man as we see Neo mending his eye-brow (sorry I don’t know how to say it any different) and turning to face that man in a eyes-to-eyes sequence. In fact the other guy is looking at The One and his visual expression suggest reconaissance and perhaps a pleadge for help.

    3) The fight with the Oracle body-guard. I’m not trying to find a computer-science parallel for this fighter, but I simply think of it as a mean of re-assuring Neo that the Oracle is important and is not telling lies. How ? In M1 Neo couldn’t see the Matrix code, so he could have never been able to tell the difference between structured softwares, residual images of humans in the pods, background deamons or loose codes. Now he can. He notice immediately something strance in the bodyguard code contest. A submatrix of shining instructions and execution flows that a) not only shines out of the darkish background of the Matrix, but b) sparkles with contradictions and “race conditions” in the try of merging with the existing code. That’s what I see while looking at that scene still.

    So he must conquer his right to speak with the Oracle, cause she has to be defended from the machines. She’s not a new medium of control, right ?

    If Neo would have been given immediate acces, perhaps he would have been more upset seeing the Oracle code.

    4) I don’t think the accent we see on philosophy is the same the authors conceived. I mean, if Matrix wants to be a compendium of derivacy, a blending tour of human ideas flattened in a never ending loop, as in angled mirrors or abstract layers of upper complexity, perhaps that’s just the Choice that 99% of humans perceive in an unconscious process and those freed/reloaded in Zion on the other way feel as the only chance of surviving. What if Zion is not real and it’s hardcoded that no-one will believe the Prophecy ? The point here is in taking into consideration the philosophy, perhaps not in embracing it.
    I see this as part of the Outer Matrix outside of theaters.

    While it may be true/obvious that M1 was conceived as a stand-alone movie, it’s a weak point to think that the brothers NEVER expanded the idea in their belief. Most directors often envision much more of the story, but work to offer us a movie. Surely enough it wasn’t planned in a production environment, but it’s as difficult as creating M1 to think about the story and not going on with the speculations… with the success and money made with M1 they simply got the opportunity. The problems arise in cinematography and scripting, sure, but not in the story lining, imho.

    I think some people around here and in endless sites and groups is drawing a line here: between the story and the script. I’m one of them. I have no rights, except my brain, to question or criticize the script, and I’m simply producing lines of code on the story itself.

  • Matteo

    Oops I did it again.
    Phil said:

    “I’m almost willing to believe that Neo stepped back into a different “real world” than the one he left, or that he never actually stepped back into it at all. After all, Morpheus managed to get out of the matrix by stepping through a door, a first.”

    While you could be right (or should we say ‘true’ to retaliate the Outer Matrix ? :)) this doesn’t counter the “uber-matrix” Hp. In fact, as doors can pin point to any grid angle in the Matrix, there surely could be some sort of IPC between the different layers. I do NOT think the authors really went so far, but sharing memory between the two Matrixes could simply put us, at the end of M2, along cloned processes of the electronic constructs of the heros as well.

    This is where I see the deceipt of the script. Wherever we turn around we can supply a good construct ourselves and a newer layer comes to life ;)

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Certainly the brothers DID expand the idea out and planned on other movies, but there is a big difference between holding a general thought in your head and plotting it out on paper. Witness the Star Wars debacle to see that half-formed thoughts often translate into simply awful movies.

    In this case, while the brothers may have had a rough idea of what they wanted to do post-M1, they weren’t able to actually committ it to paper/screen with the same degree of care and finesse that they did the first one.

    You raise an interesting point – how easily can Neo tell the difference between different types of entities within the matrix? Do agents really look very different from “people”? And so on.

    And of course, he doesn’t see code outside the matrix, which is another strike against the uber-matrix theory, though not a fatal one.

    I’m still leaning heavily toward Zion being real and no uber-matrix.

  • matteo

    Phil said:

    “And of course, he doesn’t see code outside the matrix, which is another strike against the uber-matrix theory, though not a fatal one.”

    While this may be since we do NOT see Neo looking at the code, it may be not for some reasons:

    – Neo is not actively doing it (I have this feeling, in some scenes, that he he should ‘have a look’. almost like the ‘true seeing’ of Carlos Castaneda books)

    – the authors are not letting us see him seeing. in fact Neo doesn’t look at the code of tons of softwares in the Matrix

    – the anomaly is compulsary but programmed by the Oracle’s envision. So he would be able to do that in the usual Matrix, but still not in the other layers since his construct has not got inheritance of his routines. That changes when he accepts the fact that he feels the sentinels approaching. BTW he knows the sentinels approaching since they escaped from the ship. In fact he feels the other ships’ engine roaring. Or maybe… (ad libitum)

    Just kidding while thinking, mind it.
    I think the whole problem of this movies is that they let us too freedom of creating “uber-realities” based on the scarse evidences.

    I, too, am considering Zion as real. But this has got no more logic than the other possibilities and it’s partly based on M3 trailer I saw somewhere on the net.

  • matteo

    “You raise an interesting point – how easily can Neo tell the difference between different types of entities within the matrix?”

    The Oracle tells him that he CAN’T look at the code of some routines. he can see the code of the crows. their simulation, their modeling, their abstract rapresentation. But he sees not the routines which plot the crows’ movements, the ‘why’ they’re there and so on.

    I caught this in the last scene of M1. I simply thought, hey, it’s just a CGI scene. In that greenish code there could be everything. But looking at the code of init tells me almost nothing of the system calls. So, perhaps, in the uber-matrix, he can’t see the code of what makes the inner matrix running, since 1) he can’t 2) he does NOT account for even the chance.

    Every freed human can learn to leap buildings as superman. We simply need to convince ourselves (over-stated in M1).
    But a few can manipulate some of the code (the kids at chez oracle’s). Neo’s got less restrictive permissions ?

    When I say “uber-matrix” I do not necessarily share your ideas of the ‘other’ matrix. But, if you want some proof for the “real Zion” here’s one:

    the sentinels go down by EMP. Why the choma ? Simple (maybe): Neo’s body, in the real world, has got his neural spin and encefalus filled with metal and, supposedly, circuitery. As no one with a cardio-electro-stimulator should walk around a RMN pod, the EMP shocked his neural system.

    Boy, it’s better than Rubik Cube.

    I’ll post no-more other than for answering, or I’d move in spam-land.

  • Pedrobrown

    Two thoughts that might be revealing to all the Matrix fans:

    1) I catched various details in the film which make me finally believe The Oracle is a rebel program fighting on the human´s side.

    2) The uber-matrix theory has been totally thrown out the window.

    1 –> This is based only on hipothesis, but it fits in quite nicely…I pointed out before that there had to be a reason for the Oracle needing protection in the Matrix if it`s supposed to be a ruling program. The most plausible answer to me is it´s beacuse she is a rebel program, an outcast… It is quite possible that she was designed to understand humans, an intuitive program capable of relating with humans in order to make The Matrix acceptable for them, and it went too far with it´s purpose.

    The Oracle says that Neo is making a believer out of her. Believing is opposite to knowing, and that is quite wierd considering she is supposed to be omniscient. It could mean that she doesn´t fully know what is Neo going to do. Maybe Neo, being the One, the ultimate expression of the sistemic anomaly, has total free will to choose his destiny, which would make him unpredictable. He has proven to be more honorable, more honest than his predecessors or something like that, and it has made her believe that he might bring an end to the human suffering.

    I think The Architecht lied to Neo; I think he wanted to trick Neo in order to destroy himself, the same way he did with his five predecessors. If not… why then are the agents trying to kill him?. If Neo is so necessary for the Matrix´s subsistence, why are they after him? Not Smith, since he has gone afoul, but all the other agents who always run after him?. Of course, it might all be because the agents, being simple programs, have only one goal (search and destroy), and that Neo´s program is so much powerful than theirs, it is impossible for them to destroy him, so the Architecht shouldn´t worry about Neo getting destroyed by agents. But then, why do they recognise him as the anomaly?

    Agent 1: “There he is”
    Agent 2: “The anomaly”
    Agent 3: “Do we proceed?”
    Agent 1: “Yes”
    Agent 2: “Remember: he is…
    Agent 1: “Only human”.

    They know of it´s existence and powers, maybe they even know why it exists (eventually, to reload the program) and they still go after him. Why do they do that?

    I stick to the idea of The Oracle guiding Neo and the rest to destroy the machine world. She has set everything in place, just like she has done in the past with the previous Ones: she makes a “potential” be The One; she makes a girl fall in love with the One some how; and later on she sends the One to the Architecht to see what he does, what is his choice. It´s a test that his predecessros failed at.

    Of course, wild guessing.

    Are the Merovingian and his girlfriend previous failures?. Good question.

    What I don´t have an explanation for is Neo stopping the centinells.

    2 —> The cast, during a recent interview with the press in London, answered the ubber-matrix questions stating that all we saw in Zion was the real thing; there was no “box in a box” situation. Quite a relief.

  • Pedrobrown

    Alex:

    I´ll get to you later… It´s 2 o clock a.m., and my eyelids are being held up by matchsticks to prevent them from closing.

    But, in advance, I liked the way you gave your “faith” a legitimate starting point. Feelings can be quite decieving, can´t they?…

  • Pedrobrown

    Alex, here goes. One more time for you too, and as many as you need:

    Parragraph: “However, arguably we could point to the large masses of non-religious people who are also sedated and tranquilized by something. They don’t have any faith in anything beyond their immediate physical surrounding, and yet they are heavily sedated.”

    True: some don´t question themselves about it… Socrates said once “In order to be a filosopher, you need a plate of peas in front of you everyday”. People who need to do a living can´t stop to think over these “irrelevant” issues in their everyday life, and they use “faith” for that. The concept of “Faith” I used was “not only the belief in afterlife, but, moreover, the generical mental mechanism, set in every person’s mind, that evades that person from trying too hard to answer the unanswerable by giving them a personal satisfactory solution to it.” And that is exactly what you do:

    You said: “Once a person has a direct experience of realizing ‘It’, all the questions are automatically answered.”

    By the way, don´t dismiss geeks Alex: they make the world go round. Suddenly, someone with geeky ideas turns out to be right, and revolution breaks through. Galileo was a geek; Darwin was a geek; Marie Curie, Dianne Fossey, George Lucas (excuse his latest films please)were all geeks; I can´t think of anyone more geeky than Einstein!. The truth is, dismissing geeks is a very common atittude from narrow minded people; but in fact, these people, considered to be on top because of doing so, end up being the #356/37 salesmen , in cubicle #45 at the 14th floor of The Big Big American Company Building (obviuosly not you Alex), while the geeky guys turn out to be geniuses and make huge breakthruoghs.

    I don´t consider myself a geek; I might think like one at some point, but I´m definitely not (you could ask my swedish 5 foot 6 girlfriend, she´ll tell you all about it). So, impressions can be decieveing, can´t they?

    Take care Alex.

  • Alex

    Hi Pedro,

    Sorry, I’ve misjudged you. It happens, you know. Obviously, you’re a lost case for the spiritual world.

    But let me just correct you in one thing. Your concept of faith (“not only the belief in afterlife, but, moreover, the generical mental mechanism, set in every person’s mind, that evades that person from trying too hard to answer the unanswerable by giving them a personal satisfactory solution to it.”) is hilarious! What you’re referring to is simply known in psychology as ‘defence mechanisms’. Nothing to do with faith whatsoever.

    As for geeks, again you misunderstood me. I wasn’t implying that you’re a geek, only that others participating in this discussion are hard core geeks. As for geeks making the world go round, do you honestly believe that if it wasn’t for Galileo, Darwin, Marie Curie, Dianne Fossey, George Lucas, Einstein etc., the world would for some reason stop going round? I mean, it was going round perfectly well for countless eaons before Einstein appeared, so what did he do to prevent it from keeping its rounds? I can perfectly envision my world without geeks. I think they are more of a nuisance than problem solvers. Generally speaking, they introduce gimmicks that, while sometime addressing certain issues, always manage to introduce a plethora of new, never before seen nuisances (of course, this does not hold true for people like George Lucas, who only introduced nuisances, without ever attempting to solve anything). With each iteration of geekhood, our world becomes messier and more tedious place to live in.

    Alex

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Don’t worry, Pedro. While Alex dismisses you as “a lost case” and laughs at your “hilarious” efforts to understand life, many of us out here aren’t nearly so stuck on ourselves, and I encourage you to continue to seek truth and think for yourself. Learn from everybody you can, but do not accept the “wisdom” of people who claim to know everything without processing yourself. It’s a fine line we walk, trying to filter out the incorrect information while accepting the good stuff regardless of the source, and if you get off of it by just a few degrees you can find yourself miles from shore and convinced you’re cruising smoothly (like Mr. Bunard seems to be), but life goes on, and pompous windbags who live inconsistent lives aren’t worth worrying much about.

    Alex is right about exactly one thing: George Lucas is a hack. :)

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