The Language of Kabbalah Describes The Matrix
Many of these terms from kabbalah are expounded on in the articles presented through the web site.
Terms and Definitions as They Relate to The Matrix
Ahavah/Love: With regard to the Matrix, there is a concept of a ‘higher’ love which is associated with the upper spiritual worlds. The Architect mentioned that Neo had an attachment to the rest of his species that was uniquely based on love. Only when Neo was able to bring tikkun/repair to his Nefesh (basic soul) in the first movie, did Trinity express her love. Her kiss (at this level) “completed the circuit” connecting him to the “life-force” of existence, and bringing his body back to life.
Anavah/Humility: This is understood as having an accurate understanding of ‘where you stand’ with the Creator. As a general principle, humility is what enables the person to move forward from one spiritual level to the next. Morpheus and Neo are examples of this. In contrast, the Merovingian does not practice such, enabling the opposite quality of an inflated ego to take hold. The result of this is that he begins to view everything around his own desires and misses opportunities to achieve what he could have become, as Persephone points out.
Bitachon/Trust; Choices and actions that follow emunah/faith. For example, when Link questions some of Morpheus’ choices, the latter asks him if he trusts him (trusts his decisions). He does not ask Link he “has faith” in him. As Morpheus told Lock, he does not require others to believe as he does.
Bittul/Selflessness: A state of being concerned with other’s needs and not one’s own. Trinity, Morpheus, Neo and several minor characters exhibit bittul to varying degrees. The highest example of this is the willingness of laying down one’s life for others. We see this with Neo and Trinity at the end of The Matrix Revolutions, when they know they are “not coming back” from the Machine City and the Source.
Bride and Groom: A metaphorical personification of the concept of reconnecting the physical world (bride) with the spiritual worlds above (groom). This is done on an individual level through teshuvah as well as communal/global. Trinity and Neo are in this role together. In kabbalah, it is also seen as the joining of the feminine sefirah of Malchut with the six masculine sefirot above it.
Chashmal/Speaking Silence: A meditative state of total silence so one can ‘hear’ from the Creator. In the Matrix, this occurs when Neo is in the train station and focuses himself, attaining his first view of the three power lines leading to the Source (the Creator).
Concealment: A state of being where some measure of the light of the Creator is restricted. Our current existence on earth is considered the “world of concealment” with respect to having the greatest level. Each world of existence is a greater level of concealment, all the way down to the Matrix world.
Creation: The three lower worlds ‘nested’ within existence (which is also its own world). In the Biblical narrative, these three are; the heavenly realm, the angelic world and our physical reality on earth. In the Matrix, they correspond to the world of the Oracle, that of the lesser functional programs, and the humans who are trapped in the Matrix.
Creator: (See imminent god and transcendent god.) With respect to the Matrix:
- the machine world is the original ‘creator’ of all the programs.
- the Architect is itself a creation of the machine world. In turn, it is the program that creates the Matrix.
- the Oracle is the program the Architect program requires to interface with humanity to get the program to work.
Echad/Unity: Usually in the sense of a composite and not the pure Singularity. In the Matrix this is the aspect of the Architect, whose singular view is based on equations he attempts to solve using details from humanity’s past. We see this composite view in all the screens in his lair.
Ein Od Milvado/There is but one power: This lies behind the famous, “There is no spoon” quote. As the “spoon boy” explained, “Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.” Everything happening in our lives, our ‘condition’ is set for us by the Creator. Our job is to understand it and act upon that in the correct manner, in order to advance to a higher condition. This is what the Oracle told Neo in their second meeting in The Matrix Reloaded.
Emunah/Faith-Belief: The personal acceptance of a higher power and/or principle regardless of circumstances. Subsequent actions based on this are the realm of bitachon/trust. Morpheus speaks of belief stating that it does not require anyone to believe as he does.
Evil: Any restriction of the “light of the Creator.” At its origin, evil was a result of the process of tsimtsum that enable something “other than the Transcendent God” to exist – a downgrade of the perfection of Singularity. (See Rectification of Evil)
Existence: Everything (every ‘thing’) outside of singularity. Within existence are the three worlds of Creation. Existence is also its own world ‘outside’ of Creation. (See Pre-existence and Worlds of Existence)
Gilgul/Revolution: This is applied to a soul (the Nefesh) being ‘reloaded’ in a new body to continue its task in life. Hence the two Matrix movie titles.
Image of God/Betzelem Elohim: The ten sefirot (emanations, attributes) that are the building blocks for everything in creation, particularly man, who is “made in the Image of God” in the book of Genesis.
Immanent God: The aspect of the Creator “within existence” that we can relate to, speak and write of, and to varying degrees communicate with. This is contrasted to the aspect of the Transcendent God. In the Matrix, the Architect is immanent whereas the Source is transcendent.
Kavanah/Intention: Example: Proper intention is the difference between Neo (who acts on behalf of others) and the Merovingian (who is all about himself). Proper kavanah is needed to “move forward” in the Matrix and in our own spiritual development.
Left Side (of the Tree of Life): The constrictive Sefirot of Binah Gevurah and Hod on the left column of the Tree of Life diagram. Although ‘neutral’ (as are all the sefirot in kabbalah), the left being the side of ‘restriction’ gives the opportunity of restriction of the light of the creator. This can extend in the lowest world in the form of “negative behavior.”
Olam Haba/World to Come: A future reality following the earth and spiritual world within creation in their present form being done away with. This has not yet occurred in the Matrix movies. The character Tank referred to is as Zion, where the party would be.
Pre-Existence: The state of Singularity that was before any ‘thing’ came into existence. Alo identified with the “transcendent God.“
Rectification of Evil: (See: Evil) There are two ways ‘evil’ is dealt with. It is either destroyed then re-absorbed into another form, or it is merged with good and transformed.
Satan/Adversary: This relates to Smith who the Oracle says is “Neo’s opposite.” Smith is not correct in how he understands his role, as it is temporary, even when he says the Matrix is “his world.” As Neo’s adversary he is but another means to an end – which is shalom/peace.
Sefirot/Emanations: Attributes-of the Creator, making up the “Image of God.” They are the building blocks for everything in creation, especially humankind, who are made in that Image. They are often exhibited together in a diagram called the Tree of Life. The upper three sefirot are considered the “intellect” (higher principles). The next six often function together as a unit and are considered ‘masculine’ and the ‘groom.’ The last sefirah is considered ‘feminine’ and the ‘bride.’ See bride and groom.
Shalom/Peace: The kabbalistic understanding is that of wholeness or completeness. This is part of the ‘prophecy’ that Morpheus told Neo of in the first Matrix movie. As defined, it has not yet been attained as of the end of the third movie.
Singularity: Also called “pre-existence” in kabbalah. This is a way of trying to “express the inexpressible” essence of the Transcendent God. It is the ‘nothingness’ before any ‘thing’ existed. This is “the Source” in the Matrix story, which pre-existed the first “Creator program” – the Architect.
Sitra Achra/Other side: Also referred to as the “evil realm,” in that it functions to restrict the light of the Creator into the creation. In the Matrix (the machines and program) as in life, it too serves the Creator, including causing people to look deeper inside and push themselves to new heights.
Teshuvah/Return: This a return to our ‘true self’ made in the ‘Image of God.’ It is expressed in different ways such as through tikkun/repair of the sefirot and/or the ‘levels’ of the soul.
Tikkun/Repair: This relates to repair of our own attributes (tikkun middot), the soul (tikkun nefesh), as well as repair of the world (tikkun olam).
Transcendent God: The aspect of God, prior to existence, that we may be aware of but cannot relate to. This is the idea of Singularity and equivalent to the Source in the Matrix storyline.
Tree of Life: A template/diagram of the ten Sefirot. The tree may be used to understand the attributes of the Matrix characters and their function, as well as interrelationships between characters.
Tsimtsum/Constriction: The process of making room for something new. This can be physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual.
- The first act of tsimtsum was unique. This was when the ‘transcendent aspect of God” (Singularity) ‘restricting of self’ to ‘make room’ for things to come into existence. (See “Evil and Imperfection in the Matrix Trilogy“)
- From the perspective of existence “unfolding” into creation, it is the lessening of the ‘light of God’ through each of the worlds of existence down to our own “world of concealment.”
- For humans, this applies to what is superfluous and blocking our understanding.
Worlds (of Existence): The ‘stages’ of reality from the pre-existent Singularity, through spiritual worlds, down to our present physical world. The singularity is not generally considered a ‘world’ though it is included in certain discussions.
Including it, there are five ‘worlds,’ which correspond to the Matrix as follows:
- Transcendent God/Singularity – The Source
- Immanent Creator/God – The Architect
- The heavenly world – The Oracle
- The angelic world – lower functional programs
- The physical world – the Matrix world
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