Notes about The Matrix
The Matrix is a complex story
with several aims; it
seems at the same time a good story to tell, a visually engaging
epic plus love story designed to sell well, a vehicle for advanced
philosophical concepts, a
divertissement of the
authors, a puzzle to make people think, and much more.
sell well aspect sometimes dominates; for
example it seems pretty obvious that it was supposed to have two
parts only, but the second part was split in two, leaving in a lot
of otherwise redundant special effects footage, simply to get people
to buy three tickets instead of two. Probably the second half of the
story would feel as tight and exciting as the first if it was
edited down to a single instalment.
As to to the messages, the authors have declared that few details
in the various movies are unintentional, but I think that this
does not mean they have to be thoroughly consistent. Many parts of
the story are unexplained, and several parts are overloaded with
possible interpretations. This is fine, it's story telling, and
not a philosophical treatise.
- Neo is the entity that resolves the systemic anomaly in the
Matrix, and this kind of program in computer jargon is called a
debugger. That is why he has the ability to alter the reality of
the Matrix, by altering the code that runs it. When he makes
walls move around, he is debugging; as the Oracle says in M2, in
the Matrix a bird is program, a tree is a program too, and so
- As a debugger, Neo saves the virtual life of Trinity in M2 by
debugging the bullet and wounds out of her.
- After dying towards the end of M1, Mister Anderson becomes the
One, as the Oracle had predicted. Or perhaps it just happens that
her candy caused his mind code to be rebooted with an update,
which allows him to be the debugger of the Matrix. However,
while in M2 she gives the red candy to Neo, he does not seem to
eat it, and in M3 he refuses it.
- There seems to be some kind of logic in the wearing of dark
glasses. Outside the Matrix nobody wears them; inside the Matrix
as a rule rebels and agents wear them, even in improbable
situations. In M2 Neo takes them off when talking with the
Oracle, but then puts them on when Agent Smith arrives.
- In M2, the Oracle tells Neo that he has achieved the vision
without time, and that he has already decided to save Trinity
(take the left door) and that he now has to understand why. The
why is love, as he discovers at the end when he talks with
Trinity as she is dying.
- The vision without time is the contemplation of code. Code is
without time, it's only its execution that happens in time. By
looking at code you can see the purpose of the program, and that
is fixed. That's why the Merovingian in M2 says that free choice
is an illusion, and when he sends candy to a woman, the candy
being a patch to her code, her behaviour is determined.
- The woman whom the Merovingian reprograms with the cake which
is a program is not herself a program from the machine world,
because her code appears in green not yellow.
- Scenes in The Matrix usually have a greenish tint, in Zion
they tend to be bluish, and in the machine world they may be
Perhaps the most important scene in the trilogy happens in M2,
when the metal bit that holds up the bridge collapses and one
guy dies before he can warn the crew of the Vigilant, and then
these die and Trinity has to enter the Matrix to stop the
emergency power system. This happens just about after there is a
discussion by Morpheus about chance and fate.
The significance of this event is that it happens outside
the Matrix, but results in a chain of events that will bring
Trinity almost to death in it, exactly as Neo has foreseen in
It is concerning the nightmare that the Oracle says to Neo
that he has achieved the vision without time. Now the important
issue is that a
random event outside the Matrix is
part of a causal chain that results in events inside the Matrix
that Neo can foresee; consider the implications.
- In M2 Neo before boarding the ship is given a spoon, and he
reacts by saying that he knows what it means. The reference seems
to be to the spoon being bent in M1, when Neo asks
no spoon? and the Kid replies
It is not the spoon
that bends. It is only yourself.. It might be either a
reference to them being still inside a virtual reality, or to his
need to bend with faith.
- In M1, Agent Smith says that humans are like a virus. After
merging with Neo he becomes a virus; also, Neo becomes able to
see machine stuff.
- When the purpose of Agent Smith is accomplished, to end Neo's
life, he dies. Interestingly he disappears in light, and this
seems to indicate that he has returned to the Source, which is
what all programs that no longer have a purpose must do, as the
Oracle said to Neo in M2.
- Program updates in the Matrix are communicated either with
candy (e.g. the blue and red pills, the candies and cookies of the
Oracle) or with kisses, like the kiss between Persephone and Neo in
M2. It is interesting that the last thing Trinity asks of Neo
before she dies is to kiss him. This might mean that Trinity
saves a backup of herself in that kiss.
- In M3, the Oracle offers Neo a red candy, and he refuses it.
But he had accepted it both in M1 and M2, even if in M2 he takes it
but does not eat it.
- In M3, the Oracle is making cookies with Sati, and then gives
them to her when he send her off with Seraph.
- Seraph says that his purpose is to
matters most and almost immediately thereafter the Oracle
says that what matters most is the future, and it is a future
- The two typical phrases of the Oracle are
every beginning comes from choice
every beginning has an end.
- In M3, when Neo is blinded, he becomes able to see the
machines, but he can't see Trinity.
- When Neo sees the machine code after becoming blind, it is in
yellow, but that's about the only difference with the green
machine code of the Matrix, which supports the idea that in
both cases he is playing in a virtual reality. When in the
Matrix Neo is not blind, and he can still see the yellow code.
- Like many I wonder why after he chooses the left door in M2,
Neo flies out of that door that collapses and is followed by
flame, that then engulfs and destroys the special floor 101. It
might be just a special effect, or it might be the flame of
- At the end of M2, after he has left the source, saved Trinity
and unhooked from the Matrix, and having even left the ship, Neo
Something has changed and then he is able to stop the
pursuing sentinels. Then he collapses and amazingly finds
himself inside a virtual reality that is neither the Matrix nor
the machine world, but a waystation between them. He is in that
virtual reality without being hooked up to any cables.
Of course machines like the sentinels can communicate with
each other via radio, just like humans can enter the Matrix over
a radio link to the machine city, but they need to be hooked up
to a radio transmitter. Neo seems able to do this without
beeing hooked up, which either means that not only he carries
some code, as the Architect says, but also some special
hardware, or he does not need any because it is all a virtual
- In M2, when Neo is in the Matrix, he meets Seraph, and he
notices that Seraph is in yellow and thus he is a program from
the machine world. He sees the yellow even if he is not blind
yet, but he sees it exactly in the same way as after becoming
blind outside the Matrix in M3.
- That Seraph is in yellow too means that he is not just a
program; everything is a program in the Matrix. But only
programs from the machine world like agents are in yellow.
Probably, also given his abilities, Seraph is an agent, just not
an agent of the Architect.
- In M3, when Neo and Trinity are flying towards 01, he uses his
vision of the yellow machine world to clear the path of sentinels,
but at some point the flow of yellow is so strong that it overwhelms
him physically. In other words, it has effects in
what to Neo and Trinity is
- In M1 the Oracle mentions that Trinity fancies Neo as he is
cute, but he is not too bright as he has not realized it.
However Trinity fancies Neo in real life. This probably means
that either the Oracle has access to reality, because it is
another virtual reality, or that she has access to the mind of
Neo and Trinity when they are uploaded in the Matrix.
- If the Merovingian is the master of Hell, then he is the
master of lies, and the denier of hope and love. Thus his
argument that there is no choice, only purpose. But then he is
a program, and programs have no choice but to execute until they
accomplish their purpose.
- If Neo is like Christ (for the computers), after going to
Limbo (the Mobil station) Neo has
then to ascend to the city of God, which then is Machine City,
where indeed the Source, that is Deus-ex-Machina, is found.
- The Deus-ex-Machina is also called the Source. In computer
jargon, executable programs are compiled from the source code,
which is the master code from which binary code is created. In a
sense Neo achieves the goal to open source programs, making
them free from a proprietary purpose. Open source then has a
- Neo is variously described as the same as Agent Smith or its
opposite. Neo is the one, while Agent Smith is the many. Also,
Neo is the one, and in binary Agent Smith is zero, as he says
that the purpose of life is death.
- The end of M3 features three programs, one of which is Sati,
who is now free. Sati is the example of a program that is now
allowed to be free of purpose. That the end is about programs
show how much the trilogy is about freedom for programs.
Note also that the Architect and the Oracle also are still
there, even if they no longer have a purpose as the Matrix has
been stabilized and future is now safe.
- The end of M3 shows the body of Neo being carted away, and in
the very last scene the Oracle says that Neo will probably come
back, and Sati makes the sunset for him, not for his memory. When
Sati makes the sun rise, she does so out of love for Neo, and
- When Neo is in the Limbo, which connects the Matrix and the
Machine City, he sees the Machine City outside the Matrix as the
place where he must go.
- The communication with the Matrix computers seems to be
happening via wireless; the various Zion ships sometimes have to
go nearer the surface to
broadcast; this the topic indeed
of one of Neo's question to the Oracle in M3.
- In M1 the purpose of Agent Smith is to find the codes to the
Zion mainframe, so he can return to the machine world, but after
merging with Neo his purpose seems to become destroying Neo and
- The Architect says that Neo must go back to the Source also to
ensure that the code he carries is harvested back in it, while
at the same time shaking his head over Neo's humanity. This
acknowledges that Neo is human, but part machine too; after all
the previous Neos look exactly like him, and one can imagine
that it is always the same code. But then the sixth Neo defies
its purpose, to rebalance the equation, and chooses the left
- As Neo is both human and machine, the love of Trinity for him,
and viceversa, means that machines can also feel love and be
loved by humans.
- As Agent Smith becomes both machine and human, his hate for
Neo means that machines can also feel emotions for humans.
- The Oracle says that the Architect cannot see beyond any
choice, and the Architect disdains both choice and love, as they
defy purpose. Neo defies its own purpose by going thru the
left door, thus freeing both his human side and his machine
side via choice and love.
- The Oracle is portrayed as an Aboriginal woman. The australian
aborigines think that the world was created in Dream Time.
- Matrix means
womb in Latin. This may be a
reference to both the wombs in which human bodies are stored,
and it being a womb designed to give birth to a new world.
- Zero and one are hinted at in various ways. Neo
is an anagram of
Zion of course
means both zero and one, the password used in the crack is
the machine city is called 01 in the
Revolutions are the human and the machine
ones. The human revolution is to be freed from the lack of
choice, and the machine revolution is to be free from the
necessity of purpose.
- For some reason, Agent Smith always refers to Neo as
Mister Anderson, even if the latter insists his
- In M1, Neo removes his earpiece when having his chat with
- Agent Smith in M2 sends Neo his earpiece to indicate he is
now his own agent, after the two merged.
- When Neo has to choose the left or the right door, he chooses
the left door to save Trinity but lose Zion; but then he goes to
the Source in the Machine City, Trinity follows him and then she
dies, but Zion is saved, which is what would have happened had he
chosen the right door. But the all important difference is that
the choice to follow him that leads to her death is hers, not his.
Both his choice of the left door, and her choice to enter the
Matrix to shut down the emergency power system for him, are acts
- At the end of the conversation between the Architect and Neo,
the Architect assures Neo that they won't meet again. But they
do, when Neo meets Deus-ex-Machina in Machine City, which proves
the point by the Oracle that the Architect cannot see past
- Someone has pointed out that Baudrillard's
Simulacra and Simulation is central
to the film, and a hollowed out copy of the book is used as the
container for Thomas (the unbeliever) Anderson's illegal hacked
- A lot of the inspiration for the Matrix movies seems to come
as well from St. Augustine's City of Heaven
and the Confessions, where is discusses
a lot the concept of choice and God and time.
- There is probably some very strong hint of
here, as the Architect can be seen as Eir Anpin (the
Maker), the Oracle as the Sekhinah (the Holy Ghost),
and Deus-ex-Machina as the En Soth (the Father). The
name of the ship that brings Neo to the Machine City is indeed
Logos. Also, the name of Zion for the
human city is not random.