In this second of two Matrix Resurrections articles on the character of Agent Smith, we focus on an ‘unexpected’ attribute – his own constant drive for truth and purpose. As mentioned throughout this website, the major programs represent specific emanations, all functioning toward an endpoint (the end of the Matrix and freedom for the humans), though at times they may function as barriers that need to be overcome.
As the Oracle stated: “We’re all here to do, what we’re all here to do.”
Even though most would consider Smith and his actions to be ‘evil,’ no one can say he’s a liar. As with the other programs, he “tells it like it is,” from his perspective. In fact, he seems obsessed with getting to the truth of matters.
Returning to what Smith said to the Analyst toward the end of The Matrix Resurrections:
“Lies, lies and more lies. … What has the world come to when you can’t even trust a program? … Tom and I have more in common than you know. Once he got out, let’s just say, I was free to be me.”
The above quote reveals his low tolerance for what he perceived to be a falsehood on the part of the Analyst. (Which was not a lie, but an expression of the Analyst/Architect’s limitations.)
Smith also seems more than willing to divulge the truth — as he sees it. In this case, he included a statement about his relationship to Neo. We discussed this in our previous article. Reviewing the trilogy, we find that he was behind revealing a number of concepts – some quite deep.
Once again, here is our Matrix framework chart for reference.
Smith in The Matrix
Smith and Neo were just “getting acquainted” in the first movie. Even then, our favorite agent was making comments that have aspects of kabbalistic truth to them.
“But I believe that as a species, human beings define their reality through misery and suffering.”
We find this sad state of affairs reflected in the Matrix Resurrections:
“For 99.9% of your race, that is the definition of reality. Desire and fear, baby. Just give the people what they want, right?”
The misery and suffering Smith referred to stem from the desire and fear the Analyst spoke of. Losing sight of “why we are here,” and descending into self-centeredness, humans end up in purposeless cycles of materialistic pursuits and despair — life in the constricted reality of the Matrix.
As the new Morpheus said in The Matrix Resurrections:
“We can’t see it, but we’re all trapped inside these strange, repeating loops.”
In another scene, Smith mentioned the following while interrogating Morpheus:
“Once Zion is destroyed there is no need for me to be here, don’t you understand?”
This statement runs deeper than Smith himself understands.
As seen in The Matrix Resurrections, the replacement of Zion with the new city of ‘Io’ is part of the interim phase of the Matrix prophecy, which has followed Neo’s initial actions. The second stage, which comes at the end of this interim, will bring the destruction of the Matrix. (See “awakening from below” later in this article.)
Then and only then, will there be no more need for Smith or any of the negative elements. Their purpose is to bring everything to that endpoint. (See below regarding his statement, “It’s not fair,” from The Matrix Revolutions.)
Smith, the agent of constriction, is subject to the force he himself channels:
I told you before. No one can see beyond a choice they don’t understand, and I mean no one.
Smith in The Matrix Reloaded
As previously explained, the primary focus of the second movie, The Matrix Reloaded, is the program world. (Refer to our chart at the top.) In that film, Neo had to deal with multiple Smiths, the Merovingian, and the Architect. He also got the “inside scoop” about the programs in his second meeting with the Oracle, on the park bench.
It should not be surprising then, that this movie offers the most “Smith quotes” that have some degree of’ insight’ to them.
It began with a present:
I have something for him. A gift. You see, he set me free.
Prior to this (through the first movie) Smith’s function was one of “managing things” within the Matrix. Keeping everyone in line via his power of gevurah/restriction. This job served to continue the enslavement of the humans.
The irony is that for the Oracle’s prophecy to be fulfilled, and the Matrix to “no longer be needed,” Smith had to be released from his limited role and allowed to become even more empowered. This in turn led to Neo becoming stronger, eventually enabling him to do what he did in reaching the Machine City. That resulted in major changes – as Bugs explained to him on board her ship.
Just after that scene, we are introduced to the idea of multiple Smiths, or forms of Smith, in the Matrix. A brief exchange between two of them, offered a hint at something:
It’s happening exactly as before.
Agent Smith #1
Well, not exactly.
Agent Smith #2
As the force represented by Smith has been around “since the beginning,” it has dealt with all of the previous versions of the One. Though there were similarities between the five earlier versions, as the Architect stated, things were different with Neo, the sixth (and final) iteration.
Shortly after Neo meets with the Oracle at the park bench, we have Smith arriving on the scene. What ensues is one of the deeper exchanges in all the films:
Smith: Then you’re aware of it.
Neo: Of what?
Smith: Our connection. I don’t fully understand how it happened. Perhaps some part of you imprinted onto me, something overwritten or copied. That is at this point irrelevant, what matters is that whatever happened, happened for a reason.
Neo: And what reason is that?
Smith: I killed you, Mister Anderson, I watched you die… With a certain satisfaction, I might add, and then something happened. Something that I knew was impossible, but it happened anyway. You destroyed me, Mister Anderson. Afterward, I knew the rules, I understood what I was supposed to do but I didn’t. I couldn’t. I was compelled to stay, compelled to disobey. And now here I stand because of you, Mister Anderson, because of you I’m no longer an agent of the system, because of you I’ve changed – I’m unplugged – a new man, so to speak, like you, apparently free.
Smith: Thank you. But as you well know, appearances can be deceiving, which brings me back to the reason why we’re here. 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.
Multiple important concepts are alluded to in the above dialogue. These are all expounded upon in other articles on this website.
We will break them down, line by line:
- Our connection. I don’t fully understand how it happened. Perhaps some part of you imprinted onto me, something overwritten or copied.
The power that Neo connects to, as the One, goes all the way back to the Source itself (outside of existence), as the Oracle told him. This is that of “eternal love,” which is the genesis of everything in existence. Smith, however, is a power that emanates from the Source within existence. Smith senses this connection but does not entirely grasp it.
- What matters is that whatever happened, happened for a reason.
Smith’s words also reflect the profound truth of the Matrix story. There is a reason that everything happens the way it does and why everyone has a role to play. (We’re all here to do what we’re all here to do.) The ‘reason’ that he suspects, but cannot ‘understand,’ is that everything, including himself, is functioning to bring the Matrix prophecy to its fulfillment.
- Then something happened. Something that I knew was impossible, but it happened anyway. You destroyed me.
As we know, Smith was again ‘destroyed,’ at the end of The Matrix Revolutions, only to reappear stronger (again!) in The Matrix Resurrections. The simple reason for this is that he represents a concept and not just a character. (See Evil and Imperfection in the Matrix Trilogy.) As mentioned, the ‘negativity’ he (and others) produce, is required for humanity to move forward, eventually to a point of an “awakening from below” that will being the final transformation.We discussed the concept of (the coming) awakening from below, on the part of the humans in the Matrix, in multiple articles. This idea directly parallels a mystical teaching around the traditions surrounding Passover — a redemption-related holiday.This quote captures the essence of the Matrix story: “God has set up the structure of reality, that he wants us to give Him access to the door to come help us. He’s putting the power in our hands … He wants to see, will we choose to take over the world with our own egos or will we give it back to divine revelation? When we start flooding the world with our praise and love, and it goes up to the angels aligning all the forces in the infrastructure of the higher realities … The effect from below actually penetrates into the world of Atzilut (=4th world/level & 4th movie) and begins to reorder and restructure and rebuild the sefirot themselves … It eliminates all the negative energies that were impinging on the higher spiritual worlds … That is the key that opens the door that allows all of reality to receive the highest light, and then it shines all the way down in, from the top to the bottom.”
Rabbi Doniel Katz, “The Zohar’s Secret to Manifesting Miracles at the Pesach Seder & All Year Round”
- Afterward, I knew the rules, I understood what I was supposed to do but I didn’t. I couldn’t. I was compelled to stay, compelled to disobey.
Compelled by what? Whatever that is, it is something beyond the ‘rules,’ which as Morpheus told us in the first movie, are the “rules of the Matrix.” Thus, whatever is compelling Smith relates to something “beyond the Matrix and program worlds.” This would be the Source, and the greater purpose of the Matrix, which as we’ve discussed, is just outside Smith’s level of understanding. Though Smith believes he is ‘disobeying,’ everything he does “happens and could not happen any other way” (Morpheus).
This brings us to a deeper connection between Smith and Neo: The mysterious ‘spark’ compelling Smith is from the same source as the one that prompted Neo to begin searching for the Matrix in the first place. (See “Nefesh/Soul” in our Introductory article.)
- Because of you I’m no longer an agent of the system, because of you I’ve changed.
The relationship between Smith and Neo is designed to be reciprocal. When one elevates, the other responds. Eventually, each of them reached a ‘peak’ at the end of The Matrix Revolutions. As Smith says in the latest movie,“Tom and I have more in common than you know. Once he got out, let’s just say, I was free to be me.”
- But as you well know, appearances can be deceiving, which brings me back to the reason why we’re here. We’re not here because we’re free, we’re here because we’re not free.
As Morpheus explained in the first movie, freedom comes with the destruction of the Matrix, which as we related above, will come with Smith’s help.
“From the forest itself, comes the handle for the ax.”
Matisyahu, “Chop ‘Em Down”
- There’s no escaping reason, no denying purpose – because as we both know, without purpose, we would not exist.
We develop this below. Purpose originates in the realm of Keter/pre-existence, “the Source.” In kabbalah this would relate to the desire and will of the Creator. In the Matrix this translates to a restoration of humanity and the actions for this to come about.
The conversation continues with multiple Smiths appearing, and taking part in the following:
Smith 1: 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.
There is also a purpose to this whole ‘purpose’ dissertation. To fully appreciate how ‘accurate’ this is, we will map it out on our kabbalistic Tree of Life.
Smith’s seven descriptions of ‘purpose’ align with the lower seven emanations which are those we deal with regularly. When we add the top elements (“love, mom and dad”) that were explained in our article, Love is the Genesis of Everything, we get an amazing picture:
In this diagram, you will notice an ‘extra’ emanation/sefirah (not mentioned in our previous articles) underneath Keter, called Da’at (dah-aht). Whereas Keter represents that which is “outside of consciousness,” including the divine purpose of creation, Da’at stands in place of the former as the internalized aspect of that principle.
Da’at channels the original purpose and creative lifeforce into existence. This is another way of considering the scene at the end of The Matrix Revolutions, where the light emanating from Neo was the manifestation of the hidden light of the Source.
The term da’at translates as ‘knowledge’ – especially when it comes to knowledge of self, which includes one’s sense of purpose. (As the Oracle told Neo regarding the Temet Nosce sign in her apartment.)
Knowledge usually means knowledge about things outside of oneself. But this Da’at is the knowledge of the one who is knowing. The “I.”
“Da’at: The Knowing I,” Tzvi Freeman
How this purpose manifests in our life is reflected in the seven lower sefirot that are always associated with our day-to-day existence. Smith describes this with seven specific expressions that align amazingly well with these emanations.
- created us = Chesed, the ‘first’ of the lower seven emanations – the “beginning of Creation.”
- connects us = Yesod, the connection between “below (Malkhut) and above (All the rest)”
- pulls us = Tiferet, the “central emanation” that pulls us toward the ‘desire’ of the Creator
- guides us = Hod, on the left side of differentiation, sets the initiative of Netzach on an accurate path
- drives us = Netzach, the proactive force of the right that works in conjunction with Hod
- that defines = Gevurah, the emanation of restriction and measurement, giving distinction
- that binds us = Malkhut, the connection between humans, reflecting the singularity of Keter
Smith in The Matrix Revolutions
Smith’s comments in the third movie are concise yet run very deep. They seem to follow a sequence of sorts from haughtiness to being brought back down.
This first quote inspired the title for our profile page on Smith.
Oh, I’m not so bad once you get to know me.
Agent Smith to Sati
When we come to understand that Smith represents both a concept/power that is neither “good or bad,” but one that simply has a role in the greater scheme of things, then his words are completely true. To ‘know’ Smith, as it is to ‘know’ any of the characters and their function, is to attain an intimate knowledge of their ultimate purpose. (See Seraph’s profile for more on this concept of ‘knowing.’)
Next was this exchange that has baffled audiences for years:
You are a bastard.
You would know, Mom.
The Oracle, as the emanation of Binah/Understanding, is called the ‘mother’ of the Matrix, so this is true in a general sense. Smith’s quote, however, is at a more personal level. Smith represents the sefirah of Gevurah/Judgment which is directly below, and the manifestation of, the emanation of Binah/Understanding, which is the mother/Oracle. This is explained on Smith’s profile page.
The following quote may seem a bit brash on Smith’s part, but he was right. (Though again, in the manner he is right, he is wrong!):
This is my world! My world!
Agent Smith to Neo
In that the Matrix is a product of the force of tsimtsum, which is what Smith is all about, then yes, it is Smith’s world. As long as the Matrix exists, it’s all his.
This brings us to the (what we thought) was the demise of our main antagonist:
Oh, no, no, no. No, it’s not fair.
Agent Smith to Neo
Smith had placed himself ‘between’ the humans in the Matrix and all the worlds beyond (their path of redemption). Neo turned the tables on him, by changing him into a conduit of light from the Source, which then brought restoration to the Matrix – and did even more, as we learned in The Matrix Resurrections.
The principle here is simple:
“If you transform the interface, you transform that which it’s interfacing with.”
Rabbi Doniel Katz, “The Zohar’s Secret to Manifesting Miracles at the Pesach Seder & All Year Round”
(For more on why both Smith and Neo are “in the dark” regarding things about themselves, see our article, Irreconcilable Differences.)