The Matrix sequels should have gone like this

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.

Two hours before ramen

I was walking up the main drag toward the outdoor shopping mall in the heart of Melbourne, hoping to cross paths with the friend I was to meet before I needed to call him for a location update, when I came upon a gathering of onlookers standing near the main crossing. They were clearly gawking at someone, but who that was didn’t grab my attention until I spied several lightly armed police officers holding a large, oafish man dressed in rags against a shop front window. He kept repeating something and I then wanted to know it was and why he was in this situation.

I lined myself up against the lamp post, more onlookers gathered in front of me, and watched intently as I took the phone from my pocket and began dialling my mate. The phone rang out and I noticed what the ragged man was wearing as the police officers took off his belt and untied his shoe laces to make sure he had no means to hang himself while riding in the back of the police van. Apprently these things happen and apparently he had on old sneakers, a baggy band t-shirt and a torn hooded jumper. His hair was unkempt, most likely had not been washed for days and was the colour of brown sand. His face was flushed and there were visible veins on his cheeks.

My friend called me back, he was one of the onlookers in the crowd in front. We didn’t need to say hello, we just started talking about the situation in front of us. The police then escorted the ragged man into the police van. From what I could tell he was yelling about some awful vindictive thing that had happened to him, spouting a short sentence followed by a single word repeated three times. It reminded me of Dog Day Afternoon. I didn’t really understand any of it other than the tone he took with repeating it. He was upset and the police were annoyed but quite careful not to hurt him in any way.

To our surprise, a woman appeared from behind the periphery wall of our vision, stating that this type of thing happened every other day in the Melbourne CBD as if it was a fact we needed to know because it seemed she assumed that we didn’t know much about the city at all. We grew up here. Maybe it was our clothes? She claimed to be a street performer and after a quick drag of her cigarette, affirmed that she knew the ragged man when we asked her about him. Unfortunately, she didn’t want to talk about him other than give details on where he could usually be found, and after that it was difficult to get another word in – a motor at the back of her throat had started as soon as we showed any intrest. It was kindness that kept us in front of her for the next three minutes, which is a long time when you’re watching the clock in front of you. I began to gesture that it was time for us to move and the conversation ended on a high note. We told her to stay out of trouble.

It was an interesting start to an afternoon that revolved around eating ramen.

Incident alpha minor

He called his best mate at work a self-entitled alpha male. It was out of the blue and said with hostility. He continued with saying how only an alpha could have thrown a shitty little shindig for his self-entitled mates which also included women. He set out to belittle him so he could make himself feel better. He was a sensitive soul. It was 8am and by the time they were both at work, venomous statements were repeated straight to the face.

His best mate thought he was trying to be the very thing he accused him of being, an alpha male, and failing. I wondered where such anger could have come from. The hostile man uninvited himself from his best mate’s after work drinks. He said he couldn’t drink on a Thursday. By Friday morning something had got to him. He was in his own head and his head was out for blood to make the pain of loneliness go away.