Thanks to /u/makemisteaks I’ve learnt way too many things I had overlooked from the Matrix film. This time we’re at the second Matrix film, Matrix Reloaded. You know the scene where Neo meets the Architect? You know how he talks, and talks, and talks but doesn’t seem to say anything? Well this user was answering to “what was the Architect trying to tell Neo?” The Architect was in fact saying something. Here’s the user’s answer:
Before the current version of the Matrix, the machines created other versions. The first was a “Perfect World Scenario” where everybody was happy and life was good. Human psyche could not handle this overload of perfection and rejected the program. People couldn’t believe it was real. The second Matrix was a “Nightmare Scenario”, wars raged so as to appease the sadistic nature of humanity. This was also a failure because people couldn’t accept it.
The solution was found by The Oracle. She concluded, that if people were given a choice to accept or reject the Matrix (even if they weren’t aware they were being given that choice), they would overwhelmingly accept the program anyway.
Of course that this acceptance was not universal. A small number of people would still reject the Matrix. If left unchecked in the system, these people behaved like a virus, making other people aware that they lived in a fake world, destabilizing the whole system. They had to be removed. That’s why The Architect allowed Zion to survive, to preserve the Matrix and to remove the people that were aware that they were inside a program. But this in turn created the problem of controlling Zion.
If left unchecked, the city would eventually grow too powerful. For that purpose, the Architect and The Oracle created the concept of The One. Every time Zion grew too big (around 250.000 people I think), The One would be born. The One carried an important part of code from the Matrix (the Prime Program) that gave him a greater form of control over the Matrix (aka Neo’s Powers).
He was supposed to be guided by The Oracle to meet The Architect, reinserting the Prime Program he carried, thereby rebooting the Matrix. After the destruction of Zion, The One would create a new Zion with a select few people on the Matrix. After his death, The Oracle would begin to spread the prophecy of his return, perpetuating the cycle.
Answers to some few other questions.
Neo’s control of machines outside The Matrix has two lines of reasoning. Each with its own set of consequences to the story. The first is that the “Real World” is in fact just another Matrix. Neo and Zion exist in this upper level, but are still wired to the system and everything is just a ruse to make them think they have a choice when in fact they do not. Neo’s powers are easily explained by having the Prime Program.
The other possibility is that Neo has some form of connection (unknown how) to the Source, so he is able to feel and interact with anything connected to it even when in the Real World. Thus he is able to override the Sentinels and know where the Machine City is located.
The goal of The One
One of the most interesting facts is why The Architect can’t remove the anomaly of The One from the system. My guess is that since so much of The Matrix relies on choice, that is the case here. Neo has to chose to insert his Prime Program and reboot the Matrix and he has to do it willingly. Otherwise The Architect could theoretically simply force him to do it. But he cannot.
When The Oracle and The Architect created the concept of The One, they were trying to create some purpose to the anomaly. To give him a goal to achieve: return to The Source. And they had to create a reason as to why that goal was important.
Why Zion exists
And thus, Zion’s existence is justified. Neo has to reach The Source because he’s The One, the messiah, the saviour of mankind, and he must return to The Source to save it. Zion exists to make The One believe this role. Because if he his to save mankind, he has to have some kind of connection to it. They are his flock.
He is an old program, from a much older version of The Matrix. He supposedly helped create the “Nightmare” version along with The Architect. When that failed, he saved much of the programs of that version as his henchmen (that’s why they have special abilities, like The Twins and the guards that can reverse gravity, and some are much harder to kill, for instance with silver bullets).
The Energy problem
The Machines use humans for power. That is obviously not the only energy source since The Architect clearly states that there are other ways. In a way The Wachowskis have recognised this flaw. In the first draft the Machines used humans for their processing power (sort of like a giant server), not energy. But they weren’t sure people would believe it so they changed it in the end.
The Nature of Agent Smith
Smith is Neo’s opposite. He’s determinism, Neo is choice. Smith is the many, Neo is The One. Light and Dark. The two faces of the same coin. He became a rogue agent, in an unexpected way when part of Neo’s code overwrote a part of his, unplugging him from the system. He began replicating at an alarming rate and he was too powerful to simply be deleted.
I don’t think that The Oracle’s plan for peace included Smith originally but she understod the threat he posed on the system and that he could be the best bargaining chip of all. His destruction in exchange for peace between humans and machines.
The Nature of The Oracle
She is, as we find out in Reloaded, a program. A very specific program created to better understand the human psyche. She was the one that discovered a way to make The Matrix work. She also played an integral part in the creation of the concept of The One, spreading the myth of the prophecy, that The One would return to save mankind.
But she also wanted peace between humans and machines. And she was willing to risk everything (even the eventual destruction of The Matrix) to reach that goal.
This could actually be turned into a book rather than a blog post. Got a new article explaining a bit more about the Matrix films. This time, /u/reddittechnica will be telling us a bit about Neo’s real world powers. That moment in which Neo stops the Sentinels in the second film, you know? Well this user will explain how this came to be. This text has its context in a thread regarding Fan Theories you had that turned out to be wrong. I’ll just leave you here to read:
The Architect did not create the Oracle. I think this common misconception accounts for why so many people confuse what actually happened in the third film, which is really what actually happened when Neo ‘killed’ Smith.
Zion is real. Neo is not the anomaly. He is partly programmed to be the One. Smith is the anomaly and the flaw in the Oracle’s solution.
Let’s begin with the Architect referencing the Oracle. He consulted the Oracle regarding his abysmally low acceptance rate of a mathematically perfect harmony of efficiency. Another way to put it would be control. Remainders mean that there is either excess or underutilized performance. In both cases, they are irritants to the Architect. People often interpret the failure rate, the rejection of the original Matrix, to mean it was obviously fake; they assume rejection means reluctance to accept. It doesn’t. This is unfortunately lost in the demeanor of the Architect both grandiose and monotone. People rejecting the Matrix means they gave up the will to live in it. They died in the Matrix and thus in the pod. The first Matrix was killing people. What the Architect decided was perfection was likely a sterile, uninspired world of strict conformity. I think people believe it was some utopia. Hardly. It was a thousand awkward, skin crawling, hair raising, pins-and-needles moments a second with no clear source. It was everywhere.
Remember, the Architect’s job is to hack the human nervous system, not create a dream world. By firing certain impulses and triggering various chemical reactions, he creates sensations. If humans were binary systems, perhaps his early hacks would have been accepted. But they were rejected despite his marvelous interface design.
Just as the Oracle is a program, the Architect is a program. The reason the Architect had to consult the Oracle is because he is not programmed in a way to see a world other than mathematically (how could he create the Oracle, then). He is programmatically incapable of resolving the rejection problem. The solution presented by the Oracle is choice.
People also believe choice here means the option to leave the Matrix. It doesn’t. Choice means that people must be allowed to conduct themselves irrationally. They must be able to defy the odds or turn over a new leaf. The Architect sees this as relinquishing control and introducing entropy. Distributed across all the humans, however, it actually improves the overall efficiency. People cease to reject the Matrix ultimately. They are free to choose their destiny inside the Matrix because the Matrix is designed to allow for chance taking. That means certain constants in the Architects design would have to become variables. Now the failure rate drops to .1%. So the .1% are the ones who go to Zion, right? Wrong.
In order to understand why “the next level/real world” is not yet another construct of the Matrix we have to explain what happens when Neo takes the red pill. It is actually the same as when a person dies. The difference is consciousness, which is why the machine went to investigate but then let Neo get flushed. Corpses get flushed the same way to the same place. Below all those pods is a collecting point, like a sewer, where corpses are to be processed into the liquid being pumped back in to the living. The difference with Neo is that he swallowed a ‘tracer program’ that allowed Morpheus to locate his body and recover it before being processed into liquid sustenance. People who have been ‘freed’ are not the whole of the .1%; they are a fraction.
Zion is real. It isn’t yet another instrument of control. Well, that isn’t entirely true. The innocent people facing impending doom at the hands of machines when the One encounters the Architect are deliberately positioned in such a way as to make the One vulnerable to the proposition. The choice here is explicit but the one the Oracle introduced to the Architect was an implicit or subconscious one. This time things are different, though.
The Architect has been improving machine efficiency at resetting the Matrix. The transition is intended to be predictable and absolute. With all the attention focused on the Oracle’s leading Neo to the Architect, and all the interest invested in agents that hunt human dissenters, a detail is overlooked. Agent Smith is himself an anomaly. Before he encounters Neo, he’s different from the other agents. They complete each other’s sentences. They wear the same style glasses. They turn to Smith for direction. They also operate strictly within parameters. Smith does none of these things. He spends time contemplating humans. He loathes them. He speaks of their smell. When Smith removes his ear piece, he distinguishes himself from the system is a part of to confront Morpheus as an individual apart from the Matrix. Smith is a remainder just like Neo. He’s an anomaly that results from choice in the system. He says as much when he explains that he knew he was supposed to return to the source when Neo killed him. But he didn’t. He chose not to. This is unfathomable by a program until it experiences it.
To the Architect, Neo is a program. In fact, the Architect explains that Neo contains the prime program. His unique attributes in manipulating the code within the Matrix are coupled with the prime program and returned to the source for dissemination. The Architect hacks Neo’s body, Neo’s mind hacks the Architects constructs. Neo possessing a human quality the Architect cannot replicate, his return to the source provides the Architect with a deeper understanding of Neo’s exploits and closes them for the next iteration. This time Neo chooses not to return to the source. The Architect is faced with the the quintessential flaw of humanity- Neo’s hope he can defy the odds.
Agent Smith attributes his violation from protocol to his encounter with Neo. Regardless how and why, Smith presents an opportunity and the Oracle sees it. Smith’s ironically spreading like a virus, a parasite, throughout the Matrix. Neo is freeing more minds than previous iterations. The Oracle poses the notion that Neo chooses not to be an enemy to the machines but rather to Smith. The Oracle offers Neo a place at the Matrix administration table. Consider a Matrix free of agents like Smith or information traffickers like the Merovingian. No more Oracle prophecies. No more key makers. From now on, the Matrix is regulated by Zionists, not agents. Neo has a choice to make: die in Zion or save the Machines and humanity. A peace treaty is brokered. It seems the balance to the equation was a human with a foot in both camps.
Okay, now regarding Neo’s real world powers –what the heck happened back there?
I think this question has bothered a lot of people and they can appreciate having a sensible explanation to consider. I do not think the Matrix within a Matrix theory is a sensible explanation- only convenient.
I’m going to explain this by taking you backwards through the trilogy.
I can only recall two ‘powers’ that Neo possesses outside of the Matrix: (1) he fries the Sentinels and (2) he has sight after he’s blinded.
Bane blinds Neo in the third film. Neo is then able to perceive this red and amber representation of the world. It looks almost like heat vision but it doesn’t pick up standard heat signatures. It is something radiating, though. We know it isn’t as simple as heat because Neo cannot see Trinity. She’s been impaled and she’s lying beside him. He calls for her. He follows the sound of her voice fumbling around the debris before finding her body. They speak a few words and she tells him she’s been impaled. Neo is surprised. He doesn’t want to believe it. He feels around and discovers it’s true. Moments before that he was her copilot helping her navigate the expansive fields of pods.
Neo is directing Trinity to find the machine city. He surveys the fields of pods and a great machine metropolis in the distance before fixing his attention off in another direction. He points and says, “There. Those treetops.” But they aren’t treetops. They are power lines. Tremendous power lines. Trinity notices delicately correcting him. Neo ‘sees’ but I think it is more accurate to say he senses or perceives.
Near the end of the second film Neo and company are in their ship when the Sentinels group up outside of a particular range. One of them swirls around and hurls an object at the ship. Neo knows it’s a bomb. These Sentinels are a good distance away. The crew quickly exit the ship fleeing on foot over uneven terrain. It’s an impossible escape. Neo resolves, “we aren’t going to make it.” Trinity insists, “we have to try.” She scales an obstacle and turns to see Neo stationary. He says, “Something is different. I can feel them.” We understand what he means. He doesn’t feel them in a tactile way; he senses them. He turns extending his arm and the Sentinels gyrate wildly before dropping to the ground mere seconds before Neo collapses. He finds himself in limbo between the Source and the Matrix. He’s jumped from his physical body that was not jacked in to the Matrix and landed in the train station that programs use to travel between machine city and the Matrix. Physically, though, he’s lying in a med facility on a ship next to Bane.
During a conversation with the Oracle, she explains powers possessed by the One saying, “they extend beyond this world.”
NEO: Tell me how I separated my mind from my body without jacking in. Tell me how I stopped four sentinels by thinking it.
ORACLE: The power of the One extends beyond this world. It reaches from here all the way back to where it came from.
ORACLE: The Source. That’s what you felt when you touched those Sentinels.
It’s now the end of the first film. There’s a series of numbers on the screen as we’ve seen in the Matrix. The trace attempt halts and the screen flashes a warning – “carrier anomaly detected”. Neo is talking into the phone saying, “I know you’re out there. I can feel you now.“ He’s talking to the programs operating within the Matrix. He’s broadcasting his message on a phone but he’s talking directly to the machines. Quite a long way from conversations about rabbit holes, which brings us nearly back to the beginning.
Morpheus offers Neo two pills, he explains that the red pill is part of a tracer program designed to disrupt input/output carrier signals. When Neo ingests the pill, it causes his carrier signal to drop the Matrix feed. A little worker bee Sentinel rushes over to assess the situation. Neo removes the tube from his throat and stomach just before the worker grips him revealing an array of sensors and scanners. He’s unplugged from the Matrix and flushed down the sewer slide. Once in the waste water, he’s promptly picked up by Morpheus et al.
You might suspect how Neo seems to have powers outside of the Matrix. The very important clue is the carrier signal. Consider that the Sentinels are in constant contact with the machine city. Yet they have no wires. The command and control infrastructure of the machines is wireless. It’s signals based. Hey, it’s a frequency on a spectrum. But what frequency? What spectrum? Doesn’t matter. What matters are these signals.
At this point, there’s enough to explain that Neo interacts with the Sentinels over a carrier signal they use to communicate with machine city. We can further explain that when Neo is blinded, he’s better able to sense or perceive the carrier signals emitted by the machines. That explains why he cannot see Trinity but he can see all of the machines. Additionally, he can see Smith in Bane’s body. That’s a bit different. The one common component there is the code. It’s a small step explaining that a carrier signal is not the actual message. It just carries it through a medium. The message is modulated input code. The modulation of a signal over the carrier signal allows the receiving station to interpret specific information. Ergo Neo ‘sees’ the modulated code being communicated over the carrier signal. That modulated code shares a base element with the program imprinted upon Neo. So can anyone from the Matrix do this? No.
When the Oracle states so plainly that the One has powers beyond this world (the Matrix) she’s revealing that the powers are linked to both the machines and the Source. Typically we think of the Source as the source code, which is partly right. It’s the source of the carrier signal upon which the the machines modulate code. It’s the broadcasting tower. The powers of the One extend to the Source because the power is the ability to modulate input code over the machines’s carrier signal(s). In the Matrix this means flying and stopping bullets.
Before things get too deep consider that we perceive radiation (heat) the same way Neo perceives these carrier signals. The reason no one else can sense the Sentinels and control them reaches further back than the movies. Only the Architect exposes any detail regarding the One’s physical difference, on top of his cognitive difference.
The theory is complicated because it is assembled from highly subtle and nuanced clues given when the Architect explains to Neo why he is ‘here’. Neo is born genetically unique. Never mind the function of the One for a moment. The genetic difference is subtle but in the environment that the machines have constructed for humans, this small difference has tremendous implications. Quite a leap of logic so let’s build a bridge.
The evidence is presented almost entirely in the conversation between Neo and the Architect. My explanation of this is a separate comment indicated in the footnotes. There are numerous minor points scattered throughout the trilogy but we have plenty in the exchange.
NEO: Why am I here?
ARCHITECT: Your life is the sum of a remainder of an unbalanced equation inherent to the programming of the matrix. You are the eventuality of an anomaly which, despite my sincerest efforts, I have been unable to eliminate from what is otherwise a harmony of mathematical precision. While it remains a burden assiduously avoided it is not unexpected, and thus not beyond a measure of control. Which has led you inexorably….here.
NEO: You haven’t answered my question.
ARCHITECT: Quite right. Interesting…that was quicker than the others.
Neo is a thumb drive. He’s carrying the prime program and some other bits of code. The curious bit is that the Architect tells Neo he’s been altered by the process though he’s still human. Altered. Has everyone been altered by the ‘process’? What makes Neo different?
No matter. He hasn’t answered the first question. To this the Architect explains that Neo is the sixth integral function. This is the metric the Architect uses to quantify instances of the Matrix. The emergence of a unique human born in the Matrix begins his count. The first was an anomaly. Unexpected. Neo, on the other hand, is a forgone conclusion up to the moment he chooses to save Trinity. What to make of these integrals and anomalies and remainders? It’s rather simple, really. Genetic mutation. Unpredictable, uncontrollable, spontaneous mutations at the tiniest level of humanity require the Matrix to refactored with each definitive step of human evolution. It is minor, mind you. But it happens. You didn’t think humans remained genetically static all those years, did you? This is what the Architect cannot account for and concordantly why he needs the One to return to the Source with his ‘code’, as well as the prime program. The One, as a function in the Matrix, is a construct of the Architect and the Oracle’s making. The person who expresses this genetic mutation allowing the prime program to be imprinted upon his cortex is fed the prophecy as a way of channeling him to the Source. It’s easy enough to spot from the outside looking in, I imagine.
Neo processes information much more efficiently than others. Think of people who pick up languages like a sponge. The Architect admits as much remarking how quickly Neo realized his question was not answered. You could say more quickly but that’s only partly correct. Directly is better. The fact is Neo is more sensitive to signals. In his body that means signals traveling up and down his spine. But the machines hacked right in to Neo’s body and started pumping code into his cortex. Neo’s body assimilated the Matrix. It imprinted upon Neo because Neo is different. We certainly know is that Neo is different as a human and as the One. Everyone says so at some point in some way.
So Neo is telepathic because of a genetic trait? No. Neo simply has a uniquely sensitive, direct nervous system. It sends and receives signals in a very special way. Recall Dozer <Tank> feeding him all those capabilities – “He’s a machine.” Trinity bewildered in the first film – “How’d you do that? You move like they do.” Recall Neo fighting Smith at the end of the original when he’s moving in such a way that Smith appears in slow motion comparatively. See? Neo’s signals abilities are incredible. <Mouse- “Morpheus is fighting Neo! Look at that, his neurokinetics are way above normal!” /u/LoganPhyve> It just so happens that Sentinels have incredibly sensitive radios integrated into them. These radios can pick up a signal broadcast from the Earth’s surface by machine city even when they are miles beneath the surface near the Earth’s core, where it is warm.
Neo is becoming aware of this sensitivity he has for signals by the end of the first film. He feels the programs. Then he feels the Sentinels. When he dies, he’s discovered that losing his sight reduced the noise pollution in his nervous system (no more visual noise) and that freed him up to better register the carrier signal of the machines. Turns out his very sensitive nervous system was overwhelmed by so much sensation. Eliminating a sense made it easier to recognize how he was different. So the ending… The Architect and Oracle settle for 99.9% allowing the genetically unique and refusers to voluntarily be freed.
The Merovingian. He isn’t a previous One but I understand how it seems that way. He’s more like Smith than Neo. Before explaining this, let’s consider how the Architect explains to function of the One. The One is programmed, yes programmed, to return to the Source. There, the prime program, as well his ‘exploits’ of the Matrix, are disseminated for patching. When the Merovingian says he survived predecessors (an odd utterance if he was one), he means the exploits the predecessors found and contributed to the Source. The Merovingian is a program that is able to hack the Matrix. This is no better illustrated than through his slice of pie. But let’s talk about Neo being programmed. That’s more interesting.
The emergence of the One is a two part event. First, the Matrix was altered to allow for deviations only partly controlled. A few constants become variables. Some strict rules are made flexible. This allows for the second event to be significant: a human is born with the prime program imprinted in their nervous system. The first of his kind presented a serious dilemma when he began to exploit his intimate understanding of how the Matrix operates. He simply saw the flaws and how to manipulate them. If the first event had not been introduced by the Oracle, the second would be benign. No rules could be broken. THIS was the original anomaly and the Oracle presented the same solution to the Architect- give him a choice. So the anomaly chooses free people to populate Zion in return for his sacrifice. He returns to the Source where a unique perspective on the prime program is gained by the machines.
The second iteration holds a consistent rejection rate. This time, the Oracle operates within the Matrix looking to identify the One and begin shaping his development. Her gift is being able to see the difference between a human that possesses the prime program and one who simply hacks the Matrix with talent. While she waits, she perpetuates a prophecy to recruit others to search for the One. We know the routine. 5 iterations before we see a movie.
Now, Neo carries the prime program. The Architect predicts the remainder and accounts for it. Let’s read the quote,
Your life is the sum of a remainder of an unbalanced equation inherent to the programming of the matrix. You are the eventuality of an anomaly, which despite my sincerest efforts I have been unable to eliminate from what is otherwise a harmony of mathematical precision. While it remains a burden assiduously avoided, it is not unexpected, and thus not beyond a measure of control. Which has led you, inexorably, here.
This is the response when Neo asks, “why am I here?” And this is not the answer to his question. The cause for his being there is given. The purpose, the why, is his function as the One. The Architect is impressed at how quickly Neo recognizes he is a function of the Matrix, not an anomaly.
The function of the One is now to return to the source, allowing a temporary dissemination of the code you carry, reinserting the prime program.
The code he carries. There’s more.
I am the Architect. I created the matrix. I’ve been waiting for you. You have many questions, and although the process has altered your consciousness, you remain irrevocably human.
The matrix is older than you know. I prefer counting from the emergence of one integral anomaly to the emergence of the next, in which case this is the sixth version.
Integral here is likely the mathematical term meaning the One is a functional derivative of the matrix. When differentiated, an integral function can yield the function it is a derivative of. In other words, the One is an embodiment of the code with human consciousness intact.
The Architect qualifying the statement about how he counts iterations suggests that he counts iterations beginning with the first implementation of the Oracle’s proposal. Which is to say, he begins counting at the first intended One. Given the Architect’s penchant for controlling outcomes (and balancing equations), it isn’t so radical to believe he’s methodically working to control the emergence of the One. Even if the individual is unknown, the event itself is certain. Rather than creating dynamic instances of additionally matrices, the Architect is trying to refactor the function of the One. The problem is, the first event, the allowance of rules to be bent, also allows programs within the Matrix to bend the rules. Concordantly, an anomaly by the sixth iteration would not be a human with the prime program imprinted upon him, it would be a program with human traits.
Smith is in every way different from the other agents in the Matrix. His glasses are different. His speech has range. He has a personality. The other agents are carbon copies of one another. They finish each other’s sentences. Smith spends time contemplating humans. You could say he rejects their presence in the Matrix. He clearly sits opposite the grand scheme. It’s unclear why he’s different. When he removes his ear piece to talk with Morpheus, he gestures symbolically his distinct presence apart from his purpose in the Matrix. He’s no longer performing a function. He’s taking pleasure in tormenting Morpheus and he doesn’t want that ear piece getting in the way of what he individually wants to say. That’s an anomaly. When Smith is killed by Neo, he is supposed to return to the Source but doesn’t. He decides it must have something to do with Neo but like the Architect being unable to see beyond mathematic equations, Smith is deciding based upon his programming, not necessarily the facts.
The emergence of this anomaly posed a threat to both humans and machines. Neo rejected the Oracle’s gambit in the room with the Architect but Smith presented a problem for the machines when he starting copying himself over the population. The Oracle programmed to do only one thing well, offers Neo the choice to sacrifice himself to save others. This time it’s Zion and the machines. With Neo and Smith both returning to the Source, the code is disseminated and the 7th iteration begins. But what about the “robo-octopii things”?
It could be simply explained by the fact that the prime program is literally encoded in Neo. Once the octopi were close enough, they fell within range of a signal radiating from within Neo. Whether it was akin to the way a fever raises core temperature enough you can feel the heat radiating or perhaps the way you can ‘feel’ when someone is staring at you. The fact that Neo has been altered by his connection to the Matrix is enough to suggest a means for influencing these ultra sensitive octopi. They have so many sensors to scan and detect signals it isn’t likely they are protected from the input because the input is assumed to be standardized.
What do you think about it?
I’m betting you love the film even more now that you understand some few things.
I think this should be enough for you to understand the trilogy, but if you still have stuff to understand, check the meaning and interpretations of The Matrix Revolutions (check The Oracle’s Gamble)