November 04, 2003

My only Matrix Revolutions prediction

(Image copyright 2003 Warner Bros.)I'll not speculate about the matrix-with-a-matrix theory, nor will I enter into the fracas over whether Neo dies at the end, but I do have a prediction to make regarding The Matrix Revolutions. I am so absolutely certain about the veracity of what I'm about to say, I feel compelled to include a "Spoiler Warning": If you don't want to have an integral aspect of the film spoiled for you, quit reading now.

Okay, here goes. Click here to meet the true "Mother of the Matrix."

What signed, sealed, and delivered this one for me was watching Reloaded again when it premiered on DVD a couple of weeks ago. Two pieces of dialogue synched in my mind. The first was the scene in the men's room of the Merovingian's building, where Persephone offers access to the Keymaker in exchange for a kiss from Neo.
Persephone: I'll give you what you want, but you have to give me something.
Neo: What?
Persephone: A kiss.
Trinity: Excuse me?
Persephone: I want you to kiss me as if you were kissing her.
Neo: Why?
Persephone: You love her; she loves you; it's all over you both. A long time ago, I knew what that felt like. I want to remember it; I want to sample it. That's all, just a sample.
Trinity: Why don't you sample this instead.
The second was the famed Neo-Architect dialogue. I quote the relevant bits below:
Architect: 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, thus I redesigned it, based on your history, to more accurately reflect the varying grotesqueries of your nature. However, I was again frustrated by failure. I have since come to understand that the answer eluded me because it required a lesser mind, or perhaps, a mind less bound by the parameters of perfection. Thus the answer was stumbled upon by another. An intuitive program, initially created to investigate certain aspects of the human psyche. If I am the father of the Matrix, she would undoubtedly be its mother.
Neo: The Oracle.
Architect: Please, as I was saying, she stumbled upon a solution, whereby nearly 99 percent of all test subjects accepted the program, as long as they were given a choice, even if they were only aware of the choice at a near unconscious level. While this answer functioned, it was obviously, fundamentally flawed, thus creating the otherwise contradictory systemic anomaly, that if left unchecked might threaten the system itself. Ergo, those that refused the program, while a minority if unchecked would constitute an escalading probability of disaster.
...
Architect: However the relevant issue is whether or not you are ready to accept the responsibility for the death of every human being in this world. It is interesting reading your reactions. Your 5 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-à-vis love.
Neo: Trinity.
Architect: Apropos she entered the Matrix to save your life at the cost of her own.
Neo: No.
Architect: 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 2 doors. The door to your right leads to the source and the salvation of Zion. The door to your left leads back to the Matrix to her and to the end of your species. As you adequately put...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 to the simple and obvious truth. She is going to die and there is nothing you can do to stop it.
It was Persephone's repeating the word "sample" that stuck like a splinter in my mind, driving me mad. (Heh!) As a program, her original function was to "sample" human emotions. She was "created to investigate certain aspects of the human psyche," that is, the mind in its function as the center of thought, feeling, and behavior and providing feedback to its social and physical environment. "Sample" is used here in the scientific sense; she collected specimens of human emotion for analysis by the Architect, who used them to perfect iterations of the Matrix. It was her purpose, and for a program, purpose is the driving force behind existence:
Smith: We're not here because we're free, we're here because we're not free. There's no escaping reason, no denying purpose because as we both know, without purpose we would not exist.
Smith 2: It is purpose that created us.
Smith 3: Purpose that connects us.
Smith 4: Purpose that pulls us.
Smith 5: That guides us.
Smith 6: That drives us.
Smith 7: It is purpose that defines.
Smith 8: Purpose that binds us.
Smith: We are here because of you, Mr. Anderson. We're here to take from you what you tried to take from us, purpose.
Persephone continues to fulfill her purpose in the sixth iteration of the Matrix by investigating that which makes Neo different from his five predecessors: his experience of love. The answer she once stumbled upon, and which allows the Matrix to overcome its instabilities, was an innate human predisposition to acts self-sacrifice for the greater good of others. (See the theological touchpoint here?) This is the "contingent affirmation" which creates in (at least some) humans "a profound attachment to the rest of your species, facilitating the function of the One." Love is that "emotion, designed specifically to overwhelm logic and reason" that causes humans to give their lives so that others may live. But because Neo is experiencing this predisposition in a different, more specific way than any of the past "Ones" the Architect has known, he needs a "sample" of love from Neo to improve the stability of the next iteration of the Matrix. This explains Persephone's one requirement: "I want you to kiss me as if you were kissing [Trinity]...you have to make me believe I am her."

Apparently, the Architect miscalculated at some point. Neo chooses Trinity over humanity, and events are set in motion that will result in the destruction of Zion and the death of every human being in the Matrix -- an unparalleled disaster for the Machines, but one they are willing to accept. It appears, however, from the end of the Neo-Architect dialogue above that the Architect expected this to happen. Did Persephone's "sample" back in the men's room allow him to prepare for this eventuality? I'll leave further speculation to my fellow Matrix prognosticators, most of whom are far more capable than I.

In the final analysis, this is why the Architect scoffs at Neo's speculation that the Oracle is the "mother" he spoke of. He's not ridiculing the supposed prophetic powers of one of his creations gone rogue or the humans who blindly follow her. He's ridiculing Neo himself, because The One is not as smart as he thinks he is, and Persephone is the real Mother of the Matrix.

(Matrix Reloaded quotes courtesy The Matrix Reloaded Transcript and Dack Phillips.)

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