The Matrix sequels took the cyberpunk story that was setup so well in the original to an unseemly conclusion squandered by senseless action and rooted in the philosophical debate of destiny versus free will – or in this case programming versus choice.
It was a debate used to explain Neo’s role as The One, supernatural phenomena, a software program with freewill, the Oracle and so on.
They kept saying it was Neo’s destiny to reach the Source and save them all. He was the sixth Neo who made a choice to not reboot the Matrix but instead go after his love, which would then change the path of destiny for everyone.
Love is the X factor that broke the cycle, but the way it played out went against the original genre, veering off cyberpunk into fantasy. What they should have focused on was the science fiction.
The humans were grown and thus conditioned by the programming of the Matrix, much like we’re conditioned by the world around us. They are then given choice as a means for the machines to control them, to keep the balance, because without choice humanity would reject the programming, which it did in the first version of the Matrix.
Is it choice or is it something we are programmed to choose? How can Neo be The One if he is programmed to choose certain pathways?
Focusing on this would be more in line with the cyberpunk genre and the philosophical debate at the heart of this extension of the simulacra essay that the original is inspired by.
Choice could then be taken further. It could be explained as additional programming overlaying the original code from the first Matrix, the utopia without choice.
How could the machines actually understand choice or free will? They couldn’t. Not really. It would be a simulation.
But if they are said to program choice in later on to give the Matrix balance – in a sense creating the agent of free will the Oracle, who is the opposite of the Architect, the agent of destiny – then it could be explained as the catalyst for free will, the would be seed inside the soul of humanity, the ghost in the machine.
It could then be said that the choice to have faith in prophecy, to believe in The One are choices that inherently must be fulfilled by the Matrix to keep the balance. Otherwise the illusion of choice would be broken. The simulation would glitch. By fulfilling choice, no matter how far fetched the reality, balance is kept.
Choices made would in a way be re-coding the Matrix, which would in a way bend to the subconscious will of humanity. This is how free will triumphs.
Programming in choice originally would eventually give humanity the chance to choose its own destiny – the will to break free.
As viewers, this would have been something to argue over. Does destiny direct free will? Or does free will direct destiny? Does it matter when the balance at stake is for a simulated world?
Neo was the advent of a remainder in the code, who chose love, the key to breaking the cycle of the Matrix. He was the embodiment of free will, who coded in a happy ending. The Matrix complied.