“The Problem Is Choice.”
As mentioned previously in discussing ‘Condition‘, there is a four-stage process the humans face once they are freed. It begins with an understanding of the Condition find themselves in. We now look a the second part, Choice.
Once someone is presented with a condition, they are faced with the idea of ‘choice.’
Wake Up Neo
Choice is very limited within the Matrix as it’s a world of concealment. Still, for those who investigate beyond the self-serving materialism it offers, they are rewarded.
We see ‘choice’ in The Matrix the first time when we initially encounter Neo in his apartment. The condition set here involves little we know about. It consists of everything Neo has experienced in his life leading to his search for the Matrix.
There are two phases to his choice. First, a cryptic message on his computer screen from an unknown source. This changes to the words, “Knock, knock, Neo,” which is immediately followed by real knocks on his apartment door.
Neo then engages in a conversation with two people at his door. They are named ‘Choi’ and ‘Dujour.’ Put those together and you get the French phrase, “Choi du jour,” meaning, “Choice of the day.”
Neo gets a little “help from beyond” here in the form of the white rabbit clue. There is a kabbalistic axiom that says, “When you reach out to heaven, heaven will reach back to you.”
This begins the first of many cycles for Neo.
The first one plays out like this:
- Condition: Neo’s state of mind regarding life and what he knows of the Matrix.
- Choice: To accept the command to “follow the white rabbit” that he then sees on Dujour’s shoulder
- Connection: Neo encounters Trinity at the club and hears the information she has for him.
- Change: The conversation confirms his thoughts about the Matrix and alters his perspective.
This new level of perception enables Neo’s next condition. The process is cyclical.
Now, in a new condition, he must choose to go meet Morpheus and take the red pill – the most significant choice in his life.
Choice or Illusion?
There are some interesting discussions through the Matrix trilogy regarding ‘choice,’ that reflect the perspective of certain characters.
Cypher: If I had to choose between that and the Matrix, I’d choose the Matrix
Trinity: What choice?… What are you doing? (Responding to Neo going back to save Morpheus)
The Oracle: We can never see past the choices we don’t understand.
Commander Lock: I wish I were able to comprehend the Council’s choice in this matter.
The Architect: As you adequately put, the problem is choice.
We investigate these in our Character Profiles of the Knowledge Base.
A key discussion pertaining this involves the Merovingian, who rejects Morpheus’ understanding of choice, in favor of a strict view of “cause and effect.”
Merovingian: “But do you? You think you do but you do not. You are here because you were sent here, you were told to come here and you obeyed. It is, of course, the way of all things. You see, there is only one constant, one universal, it is the only real truth: causality. Action. Reaction. Cause and effect.”
Morpheus: “Everything begins with choice.”
Merovingian: “No. Wrong. Choice is an illusion, created between those with power, and those without … This is the nature of the universe. We struggle against it, we fight to deny it, but it is of course pretense, it is a lie. Beneath our poised appearance, the truth is we are completely out of control. Causality. There is no escape from it, we are forever slaves to it.”
For more about the defect in the Merovingian’s perspective, visit his Profile page.
All Choices Result in Some Connection
Attempting to remain stagnant, in an ever-changing environment is delusional. As the saying goes, “If you fail to choose, you still have made a choice.”
Which brings us to the point that certain choices lead to connections that are better than others. Some choices lead to negative connections that cause a detour. The good news is that any new condition we find ourselves in will still offer the opportunity to choose wisely and get back on the path.
Sometimes, however, there will be some difficult consequences. This is true in the Matrix story in terms of moving toward the Source. More than one character had setbacks along the way.
Oracle: “Since the real test for any choice is having to make the same choice again, knowing full well what it might cost – I guess I feel pretty good about that choice.”