It’s here – “The Matrix 4: Resurrections”! Finally, after all this time, almost 20 years have passed since the last (“The Matrix: Revolutions”, 2003) one and now is the best time to ask again: “What is the Matrix?” An important question not only for the film buffs , but also in the spiritual and new age community. Yes, a movie was in the center of many people’s minds and a prime example in spiritual awakening ,a main source of philosophical questioning reality, technologies, ‘control’, angels and demons, egregori, secret societies.

“The Matrix” is heavily leaning towards Gnostic teachings and philosophy and this is maybe the strongest influence over the Wachowski sisters in making the series. Gnosticism comes from the Greek Gnosis, which means “knowledge”.

Speculation: The fourth movie is called “Resurrections”, and in the trailer we can see Neo with the long hair and beard returning but not remembering who he is. Well, if we go back to the third movie “Revolutions”, Neo sacrificed himself like Jesus Christ for all humankind. In the New Testament, Jesus sacrifices himself but returns/resurrects “on the third day”. This maybe is the main thought behind the movie’s plot.

The Matrix and Control

But let us go back to the ‘control’ part: one of the main point of the series. What is control, who is controlling us, governments, our ways of life, our perspective what to choose and what not to choose?

The wonderful scene with Councilor Hamann and Neo in “The Matrix: Reloaded”, when they are in the engineering level in Zion. Their conversation is about the machines that sustain the systems in the city, and then the Councilor asks: “What is control?”, Neo: “If we want we can shut these machines off”. But then all the systems will fail and people will die. The control here is that co-dependency, that no organism on the planet is truly alone in living and is dependent on his surroundings. True control is grasping this co-dependecy and using it.

This is hinted for the antagonists as well: the machine city is codependent by humans, that’s why the Matrix is functioning, occupying the mind, when the biological body is used as batteries for their own livelihood and systems in their city.

“The Matrix: Reloaded”, Neo and the Councilor

The Matrix and Choice

The second big theme that is mentioned numerous times through the movies is Choice. The idea that the human soul possesses the ability to choose and form their own fate. But as you watch the movies, you can see the themes of predestination in the face of the Oracle and the Architect: the “Mother and Father of the Matrix”, or the esoteric symbolism of the Mother Goddess and God. Mother Goddess is an old belief throughout the millennia from different tribes before the Christianization of Europe (later the whole world) and Islamization of the East. In the Bible religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) Mother Goddess is transformed into Mother Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ (the son of God; or God Himself). And then, the male deity is God Himself, or is it? Now we come again to Gnosticism: in the Gnostic teaching there is mentioning of the Demiurge (dēmiourgos, δημιουργός, literally “public or skilled worker”). The Demiurge creates the physical world and physical aspect of humanity (reminder: in the scene where Neo meets the Architect, the Architect mentioned “other Chosen ones before him”, suggesting that he manipulated the other “Neos”). The Demiurge is represented in the real life Masonic order with the compass and ruler (architectural instruments) with the letter “G” for “Gnosis”.

What all of that has to do with choice? Such powerful figures as the Oracle and the Architect can’t tell Neo what really to do, because he chose Trinity, his love towards her was so much powerful to literally defy the two deities. The Oracle herself guides Neo several times about choice and “To make your own damn mind”. As the Merovingian said: “Choice is for those who have power”, and the One has all the power of a free mind, awakened soul, a rational being, “the noble man” as Confucius said (the idea of “the noble man” was that of the perfect aware person who knows how to live and what and when to do certain noble things).

As the Oracle said to Neo: “You are here to understand the choice that you have already made”.

Who is Neo?

Neo actually is an anagram of “One”, and that is his other name-title: “The One”. The first thing we know for Keanu Reeves’ character in the beginning of the movie, is that he is called Neo, thus overshadowing from the very start that he is the Hero of this journey. In Gnosticism God is in the center of all things and God is ‘The One’, like Neo who in the third film we already know he is an allegory of Jesus Christ (especially in his death scene when he sacrifices for all mankind dying and ascending in the pose of the cross). Even his black long robe is a nod to priesthood, thus “messenger of God”.

Also, Neo can be “Eon”, or era, period of time, a period of time for greatness. Thus, it can be played like this: “Neo is the One, in the eon of greatness”.

“The Matrix: Revolutions”, Neo sacrifices himself for all mankind

Eon or Aeon, in Gnosticism is:

In many Gnostic systems, various emanations of God are known by such names as One [“The One”, Neo], Monad, Aion teleos (αἰών τέλεος “The Broadest Aeon”), Bythos (βυθός, “depth” or “profundity”), Proarkhe (“before the beginning”, προαρχή), Arkhe (“the beginning”, ἀρχή), and Aeons. In different systems these emanations are differently named, classified, and described, but emanation theory is common to all forms of Gnosticism.

Wikipedia, Aeon
Morpheus and Iris, by Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, 1811 Hermitage Museum

Who is Morpheus?

Morpheus is a really well thought character. His name comes from the Greek god of dreams and illusions Morpheus, described in the works of the Roman poet Ovid in “Metamorphoses”. A perfect fit for the mentor of the One: Who else but the master of dreams to reveal the “Dream World Matrix” to the upcoming new saviour of humanity (“No other is more skilled than he in representing the gait, the features, and the speech of men; the clothing also and the accustomed words of each he represents.”, Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”).

Thus, Morpheus represents the beacon, the mentor, and the awakening in the dream for the protagonist Neo. Morpheus as a deity is a son of Somnus (Sleep; in the movie they are ‘asleep’ in the Matrix), and his brothers are all agents of the dream (like the Agents of the Matrix). One particular god is Phantasos which means “Fantasy”: the illusion in the dream-world.

Is the Matrix Real?

What is real? 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.

Morpheus, “The Matrix”

Morpheus makes a good point: “How do you define real?”. Let’s take a hint from other philosophers from the ‘real world’ to help us answer that question, but we can say something for certain: the movies and the great minds of the world agree that all is in the mind.

“The Matrix”, Mirror scene where Morpheus asks: “Have you ever had a dream, that you were so sure it was real; what if you can’t wake up from that dream?”

According to W.K. Clifford “It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence”, meaning people should always verify one’s experience, and Neo did that with the scene with the mirror, and of course with the scene where he awakens in the Fields with the others still plugged into the Matrix program.

Then Neo goes to a journey with the help of Morpheus to seek the truth about the world and his own life, because it is raised the existential question: if something is not real until a point of time, is this a lost life? (“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things”, René Descartes). Doubting reality he’s going on a conquest to free his mind, so he can absorb the concept of it (“Man is born free, but is everywhere in chains”, Jean-Jacques Rousseau).

He is meeting the Oracle, she shows him the “Know Thyself” sign and here Socrates is very right: “The only thing I know is that I know nothing”.

Throughout the journey, Neo is making his personal catharsis (“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays”, Søren Kierkegaard), and thus finding his meaning in Trinity (“Morality is not the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but of how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness”, Immanuel Kant).

So, yes, the Matrix is real in the sense that everything is in the mind and heart, actions are always our own even if we are pressured by high authority; the illusion of Life is meaningless if you can’t understand it and act on it.

The Matrix as allegory of technology: we are really codependent by our phones and computers, water supply and electricity; our day to day life, pleasure and work is heavily supported by technology, so “Matrix has you” is very true.

The Matrix as allegory of authority: yes, “The Matrix has you” – governments, laws, power, world economy. These are all obedient to the Matrix.

The Matrix as literal authority: we see Elon Musk with his chips in the brain, we see Japan with their advances in robotics, we see the first robot with AI with official ID as a citizen (the robot Sophia, citizen of Saudi Arabia), in that sense Matrix doesn’t have you, but it is a possibility in the real world, not only in fiction.

Other symbolism can be found all over the place: the love of Neo is Trinity (The Holy Trinity: God, Spirit and His Son); their ship Nebuchadnezzar is a Babylonian king; the Twins are literally demon-like figures that are presented with white clothes but are actually very sinister; the Merovingian is a huge dynasty ruled Europe; Seraphim is a literal angel and protects “what matters most”: the Mother Goddess Oracle; the last standing human city Zion is another name for Jerusalem (Mount Zion is a place in Jerusalem in the Hebrew Bible); of course Agent Smith which is representative of the Antichrist (in “Reloaded” he even confesses that he is like Neo and his purpose is to oppose him), and others (for another article).