What is the Matrix?

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What is the Matrix?

Philosophy meets Technology and Religion meets Science

Wow, the Matrix makes you think!

What a unique movie. So much fun, so many riddles, so many layers...


What is The Matrix? What is The Matrix Reloaded?

If you were to describe the storyline in one sentence it would be pretty hard, wouldn't it?

  • Is it a 'love story'? (Keanu Reeves said that in an interview)
  • Is it a 'titanic struggle between intuition and controlling intellect'? (Hugo Weaving= Agent Smith said that in an interview about Matrix Reloaded)
  • Is it a story about religious salvation? (Matrix 2 was banned in Egypt, because it is 'too religious')
  • Is it a story about 'Believing in something' or about 'Not believing in something'?
  • Is it a story about 'artificial humanity' or 'artificial spirituality'?
  • Is it a story with elements from Christianity? Buddhism? Greek mythology? Gnosticism? Hinduism? Freemasonry? The secret society 'Priory of Zion' ('Prieure du Notre Dame du Sion') (and its connection to the use of chessboard imagery at the castle 'Rennes-le-Chateau')?
  • Is Neo a reincarnated Buddha? Or a new Jesus Christ (Neo Anderson= new son of man)?
  • Is the movie a story about Pinocchio? The software 'Neo' wants to become a human?
  • Is it a science-fiction movie or a fantasy movie?
  • Is it a story about secret societies keeping society under control?
  • Is it a story about men's past or men's future?
  • Is it just a visually enhanced futuristic Kung-Fu movie? A modern Japanime?



What a timeless movie, with all kinds of places, characters and actions

  • The past (= the 1990ies)
  • The future (as seen in Animatrix)
  • The destroyed future with ruins
  • An underground city
  • Underdeveloped + Futuristic society (Zion)
  • A machine led overground city
  • Kung-Fu fights
  • A Castle
  • Fantasy movie + Science-Fiction movie + Religion movie in one
  • Love + Action + Secrets
  • No stupid jokes for children: While Star Wars is aiming at all generations (and thus features stupid characters a la Jar Jar Binks) Matrix is purely for adults.

And think of the dialogs, too. From Matrix 1 ("No, Lieutenant. Your men are already dead.") to Matrix 2 ("Choice, the problem is choice.") and to Matrix 3 ("Look past the flesh and see your enemy") nearly every dialog is meant to be a hookline.

Could you imagine any other movie trilogy with these lines:

  • "You're not gonna believe this, but you're in the mountains."
  • "You are guilty of virtually every computer crime we have a law for"
  • "There are fields, endless fields, where human beings are no longer born, we are grown."
  • "Choice is an illusion, created between those with power, and those without."
  • "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"


90°? 180°? 270°? 360°?

Unbelievable, how the Wachowski brothers are rotating viewpoints:

  • The real world turns out to be inside a Matrix.
  • The Matrix turns out to be much older.
  • The prophecy turns out to be a potential lie. Salvation turns into suppression. The religion of 'The One' is part of the enslavement of the many. Neo is becoming merely another ritual.
  • Agents start to harm the system.
  • What you see is not what you get.
  • After watching 2 Matrix movies you still cannot confirm that you know what Neo/ Smith/ the Merovingian are fighting against. Who is good and who is bad?
  • Can you tell for sure what the purpose of the Matrix is or the purpose of, say, Trinity?

    Side note: The film creates more movie heroes than films before. Could Agent Smith be a hero for you? Sure. Neo? Sure. Could you have a crush on Trinity? Sure. Could you become a fan of the Twins? The Merovingian? Persephone? The life style of Zion? The fighting style in the Matrix? Sure, sure, sure.
    What a movie, with so many aspects to love about it!
    Vote for your personal hero
  • Also note the change of focal points: Suddenly Zion plays a role, Morpheus stays more or less in the background, Agent Smith rises, Niobe and Zee will play greater roles in Matrix Revolutions.


So what is the Matrix? What is the purpose of the Matrix?

  • Is it really a dream world for enslaved human bodies?
  • Is it a dream world for persons with superpowers? A way to hold them weak?
  • Is it a multiplayer game we forgot we are playing it?
    Complete with levels ('Real world', Zion, Architects room) and booby traps and trap-within-traps? With god-like mode and bonuses and enemies and friends? With targets and rewards? With each player having distinct properties?
    Was the game once voluntary?
  • Is it a study of possible futures? What happens if...?
  • Was the Matrix invented out of boredom? The purpose of the Matrix is.....to have a Matrix?
  • Is the Matrix a training program for people born into a highly advanced society?
  • Is the Matrix a contest between programmers?
  • Is the Matrix a way for the machines to insert 'chance' into an otherwise totally mathematical world? Is this the reason why they keep humans alive?
  • Is the Matrix a programmed environment of the machines? A fantasy dream the machines dream after they have lost the war against humans? Maybe the sentinels are sent by humans then?
  • Is it a game within a game within a game? Maybe everybody started once in a Matrix with powers like Neo. Then a Matrix within a Matrix was installed (with less powers for everybody). Then again a Matrix within this Matrix was installed...
  • Is it a way (say, for the machines) to study emotion, logic (=cause and effect), hard lot, powerlessness and other conditions of existence?
  • Is it a way for god (or whomever) to gather experience?
  • Do machines need humans to solve a problem inherent in their programming? Many freed minds are programmers/ hackers (Neo, Morpheus, Trinity...).
  • Do the machines study humans to reprogram themselves to be more effective?
  • Is it a way to enslave humans while keeping them working and entertained?
  • Is it a way for the machines to use human brains for computing (network distributed computing)?
  • Do the machines keep humans alive for the sake of intellectual curiosity? As humans keep viruses in a petri dish, manipulate the temperate, supply them with different host bateria, etc...
  • Is it a way to make life worthwhile after the earth has been destructed? A preferable alternative in a post-apocalyptic world? Maybe the machines are slaves for humans, who ordered them to keep the Matrix running? Maybe Cypher (who wants to get back to the Matrix in Matrix 1) is the only one being honest to himself? Maybe Neo destroying the Matrix is a dirty trick then?


Is your theory missing here? Then drop me a line and I will add it !


Matrix 2 Overloaded?


 Too many theories, too much overinterpretation?

Can one overanalyze these movies?


The brothers planned to boil your brain from the start (and to keep it cooking for years).

Here's what the Wachowski brothers have to say (in an internet chat Matrix Virtual Theatre):


Interview with the Wachowski Brothers:


Question: "There are quite a few hidden messages in the movie that I notice the more I watch it." Can you tell me about how many there are?"
Wachowski brothers: "There are more than you'll ever know."

Question: "Your movie has many and varied connections to myths and philosophies, Judeo-Christian, Egyptian, Arthurian, and Platonic, just to name those I've noticed. How much of that was intentional?"
Wachowski brothers: "All of it."

Question: "Are all the religious symbolism and doctrine throughout this movie intentional, or not?"
Wachowski brothers: "Most of it is intentional."

Question: "How long did it take to come up with the script?"
Wachowski brothers: "We wrote the script before we had even directed Bound [1996]. And had been working on it up until the time of production [1999]."

Question: "Do you guys hold to any religious beliefs?
Wachowski brothers: "Non-denominational"

Question: "Did ideas from Buddhism influence you in making the film?
Wachowski brothers: "Yes. There's something uniquely interesting about Buddhism and mathematics, particularly about quantum physics, and where they meet. That has fascinated us for a long time."

Question: "Is the title 'The Matrix' related to the mitochondrial matrix located in cells; the site of cell respiration, the creation of energy in humans?"
Wachowski brothers: "Like the movie itself, there is a lot of word play, a lot of hidden other meanings, a lot of multiple meanings. Besides that, we also like the definition, the mathematical definition of the use of matrix, or the use of it in terms of a woman's womb."

Question: "What was the thinking behind the use of numbers that can be read both ways like 303 on the hotel door where Neo meets his destiny?"
Wachowski brothers: "Like the wordplay, there's a lot of numbers play in the movie as well."

Question: "How did you finally chose the names of the characters?
Wachowski brothers: "They were all chosen carefully, and all of them have multiple meanings."

Question: "Have you ever been told that the Matrix has Gnostic overtones?"
Wachowski brothers: "Do you consider that to be a good thing?"

Question: "Do you believe that our world is in some way similar to 'The Matrix', that there is a larger world outside of this existence?"
Wachowski brothers: "That is a larger question than you actually might think. We think the most important sort of fiction attempts to answer some of the big questions. One of the things that we had talked about when we first had the idea of The Matrix was an idea that I believe philosophy and religion and mathematics all try to answer. Which is, a reconciling between a natural world and another world that is perceived by our intellect."

Question: "What is the symbolism of all the analog rotary phones?
Wachowski brothers: "There's a couple of meanings. We liked the analog nature of older technology. We liked the suggestion of old original phone hackers. It sort of suggested the big Rube Goldberg device that's in the mirror scene."

Question: "Was the Alice in Wonderland theme just a whim, or do you guys have a big love of it?
Wachowski brothers: "Big fan! It is a brilliant book. Many of the themes we tried to echo in The Matrix."

Question: "Do all of the things that happen in the Matrix have some computer-based analogy...or did you just do some of it because it was cool?"
Wachowski brothers: "Yes. We like to try and pack as much stuff as we can in when we do a movie. So some of the stuff we do relates to the narrative, and some of the stuff we do because we like."

Wachowski brothers: "Somebody asked us about the street names in the movie and all of them are significant. They are all based on places in Chicago."

Question: "Did you know right away that it would be a trilogy?
Wachowski brothers: "We knew we had too much material for one movie."

Question: "Do you appreciate people dissecting your movie? Do you find it a bit of an honor or does it annoy you a little, especially when the person may have it all wrong?
Wachowski brothers: "There's not necessarily ever an 'all wrong'. Because it's about what a person gets out of the movie, what an individual gets out of the movie."


One can dig too deep...

Of course one can always go too deep into a movie. One tends to over-interpret things when there are too many mysteries: Just think of the riddled Nostradamus rhymes or the allegedly hidden meanings in the 'holy' 'bible'. Sentences like 'As above so below' that are full of possible meanings can drive generations insane and must suffer for everything.

And sometimes a coincidence is a mere coincidence. Examples:

  • Adolf Hitler's later wife was Eva Braun. 'Braun' is the German word for 'brown', the color of the Nazis. 'Hitler' could mean 'hitter'. Eva is the 'first woman' and 'Adolf' is a combination of Adam (the first man) and 'wolf'. I bet if the Third Reich was just a novel everybody would interpret it like this.
  • The plane crashes into the Word Trade Center happened on September 11th 2001. In other words: 9-11, the telephone number of USA's emergency hotline.


...but the Matrix trilogy is different

In the Matrix movies however the names "were all chosen carefully" (Wachowski brothers). Example:
In Matrix 1 the name of the girl with the white rabbit tattoo is "DuJour" (=French for 'of the day'). Her boy-friend was called "Anthony" in the Original Matrix 1 shooting script. His name was changed to "Choi" in the final movie. Now this reads like: 'Choi's DuJour' (=choice of the day) leads 'the 1' to '3nity'.


Matrix Reorganized


 How long can a site get?

Oh well...I merely wanted to write a few of my own theories...and this site grew and grew...

Do you like lists? Then you will love matrix-explained.com.

Sorry for that, but I didn't even dare to mention the artistic and religious dimensions of the movies. And I didn't write much about the symbols, numbers and names.

And yet...so much text.

I realized a special layout style for this task:
  • Argument 1
    • Counter-Argument
  • Argument 2
  • Argument 3
    • Counter-Argument a
      • Counter-Counter-Argument
    • Counter-Argument b

Moreover I used special colors

Cite from the final movies or the final games
Cite from the interviews with actors, producers etc.
Cite from forums etc.

Cite from original scripts or scenes that have been dropped

Since I have never seen anything like my site before you can email me if you have any better idea how to structure all the thoughts and counter-thoughts.

By the way, in my view it would be a great idea if someone would setup a site like matrix-explained.com (with all theories and counter-arguments) regarding Osama Bin Laden & 11-09-2001 & George W. Bush and the CIA 6 and that conspiration stuff.


Is there a life after thread?


 Why I think matrix-explained.com is necessary...

Usually Matrix forums have the same discussions over and over.

The same postings, the same arguments, the same counter-arguments, the same mistakes:

Forum user #1: "I believe the Merovingian is a previous Neo, because Persephone says 'He was once like you'"
Forum user #2: "Wrong. Neo is human and the Merovingian is a program"
Forum user #3 "The Merovingian is not a previous One, because Persephone is the Mother and Merovingian is not the Father"
Forum user #4: "The Architect said, that the Oracle is the Mother, not Persephone"
Forum user #5: "The Oracle is not the Mother, she is a liar. She said in Matrix 1 that Neo is not the One, but he is."
Forum user #6: "The Oracle didn't lie. Neo isn't the 'One'. Trinity is pregnant with the real One. You could see the embryo, when Neo gets the bullet out of her."
Forum user #7: "Don't you get it? Smith was a previous One (like all agents). Now he fights against Neo because he was once in love with Trinity"

...on...and on...and on...

What I tried to do is to give a format to all the hints and counter-hints; heavily backed up by cites from Enter the Matrix, The Matrix, Matrix Reloaded, Animatrix and The original Matrix scripts.

Thus I am open to any counter-argument you may know. Please write me your your own Matrix theory if you feel that an argument is incorrect or needs another viewpoint.


Zeeon, Sion, Zeon, Xion, Xeon, transscript, transexual, the merovingina, Morpheous