Morpheus the Righteous Teacher
Just as the Matrix world corresponds to our physical world, in that both “conceal the greater reality,” neither is totally void of ‘truth.” It’s “out there,” and if people can get their minds off what appeals to their self-centered desires (what the Matrix offers) they can make a connection. Morpheus (played by Laurence Fishburne) plays a central role with this concept.
An older kabbalistic text points to the importance of “people of truth” within our world (the Matrix) with regard to the beginning phase of the redemption of humanity:
All the work involved in gathering in the exiles is in preparation of setting up and “maintaining people of truth, ” in order to reach the level of redemption of the truth and sanctifying God and repairing the world in the Malchut of the Almighty that is the goal of the complete Redemption. For without the existence of people of truth, there is no hope, God forbid, for all the work involved in the beginning of the Redemption. (1)
Kol Hator, chapter 5
As mentioned in our profile on Trinity, she functions as the specific emanation (Malkhut) of this hidden reality within the Matrix, and the one that Neo first ‘accepts.’ Having done so, he now merits his next connection to Morpheus, who at this juncture functions at the second emanation of Yesod (‘Foundation’).
Just as a child is slowly transitioned from the mother’s care to learning from their father, in the same manner, Neo had to go through Trinity before being handed off to Morpheus.
- we’re going from the bottom-up, following the path from the Matrix back to the Source
- the roles of all the characters are complex, and not limited to these specific emanations
The Significance of Morpheus at Yesod
In kabbalah, the position of the attribute of Yesod ‘above’ Malkhut (our world/the Matrix) is significant in that it acts as the connection between “us below” and all the higher realms above.
Everything going up from Malkhut, or back down to it from above, passes through Yesod. (See diagram below.)
When functioning in this role, Morpheus is in a unique position. In some ways, he may be considered the most important figure in the Matrix storyline.
Without his influence, Neo does not take the red pill, “and the story ends,” as Morpheus said to him. Neo would do a ‘U-turn’ and go back to the world of concealment.
Taking the red pill enables the ‘path’ from Malkhut (the Matrix world) upward, to, through and past Yesod.
The concept of the righteous person, called the ‘tzaddik,’ (tzah-deek) specifically relates to Yesod. Such a person has a great influence on providing the spiritual understanding needed to escape the world of concealment.
In the case of Morpheus and Neo, the former brings the higher ‘rules of the Matrix’ down to his student.
The ‘line’ from Malkhut to Yesod is called, “the path of the tzaddik.” (See Bahir commentary, below.)
Simply stated, without “righteous people” the world would descend into chaos. They are the key connection. Picture Yesod ‘missing’ in the diagram and Malkhut being isolated, cut off from all the above sources of positive sustenance.
As the Oracle mentioned to Neo:
“Poor Morpheus. Without him we’re lost.”
Morpheus the Foundation
Why does the Oracle make such a cryptic statement?
An ancient text, called the Bahir, holds the answer:
“We learned: There is a single pillar extending from heaven to earth, and its name is Righteous (Tzaddik). This pillar is named after the righteous. When there are righteous people in the world, then it becomes strong, and when there are not, it becomes weak. It supports the entire world, as it is written, “And Righteousness is the foundation (Yesod) of the world.” If it becomes weak, then the world cannot endure. Therefore, even if there is only one righteous person in the world, it is he who supports the world. It is therefore written, ‘And a righteous one is the foundation of the world.’”
Bahir: 102, Nehunya ben HaKanah (2nd century)
A modern commentary on the Bahir, explains this in accordance with the Tree of Life diagram:
“One who wishes to ascend on high must always travel along the path from Malkhut-Kingship to Yesod-Foundation. Looking at the diagram of paths, it is evident that, while there are many paths interconnecting the other Sefirot, there is only one path leading from Malkhut-Kingship, the lowest Sefirah, upward, and this is the path leading to Yesod-Foundation. This path is called Tzaddik, the Pillar of Righteousness.”
The Bahir: Translation, Introduction and Commentary, Aryeh Kaplan
What the above reveals, is that the “path of the One” in the Matrix, begins with the “path of the tzaddik.” It is the connection between the world of concealment (the Matrix world in Malkhut) to and through Yesod (the righteous) then eventually to “the Source,” above/beyond all.
For Neo, this goes from Trinity to Morpheus.
The Joseph Connection
A person may be fortunate enough to make the connection within Malkhut (as Neo did with Trinity) but if you are not acting in a “righteous manner,” you will fail at Yesod and go no further up the path to the Source. The example of the latter that we find in the Matrix is in the character of the Merovingian.
Yesod is linked to the Biblical patriarch Joseph, for two reasons. The first is the impact he had on his family. He brought them back together and reconnected them (and their children) to their purpose. Synergy and connection are the two main functions of Yesod.
Morpheus’ plays such a role in enabling his “human family” to reconnect to their true selves.
The second reason has to do with sexual purity, a prerequisite for spiritual advancement. In the Biblical narrative, Joseph ran from his master’s wife who had seduced him.
Success Versus Failure at Yesod
There’s an interesting connection made between Neo and the Merovingian with respect to the above, as the Merovingian seems to have failed at this level:
The Merovingian’s wife, Persephone, reveals that the Merovingian used to be on the right path.
Speaking to, and of Neo, she says:
“He was like you, once”
She also explains that part of the change in the Merovingian was becoming less than “morally upright” …
“He’s in the ladies’ room.”
Of course, that’s only part of the Merovingian’s problem. We explore the rest on his profile page.
Morpheus went to the other extreme. This is sometimes the case with someone who must focus all energy on the mission they’ve been given, forgoing personal desires. For instance, in the Bible, Moses sent his wife Zippora to live with her family so he could devote himself totally to his mission.
In his dedication to “finding the one,” Morpheus removed himself from intimate relationships:
Trinity: “She (Niobi) used to be with Morpheus. Now she’s with Lock.”
Neo: “What happened?”
Trinity: “Morpheus went to the Oracle. After that everything changed.”
Neo: “Yeah, she can do that.”
Look Back & Believe
Morpheus also strongly exhibits attributes from the expansive “right side” of the Tree of Life. This is especially seen in how he speaks of and shows his belief/faith (which is associated with Chokhmah/Wisdom).
The boundlessness of the right side, is reflected in ideas that do not require the ‘restriction’ demanded of things from the restrictive left side.
This puts him at odds with Commander Lock, who operates from the left:
Commander Lock: “Dammit, Morpheus. Not everyone believes what you believe.”
Morpheus: “My beliefs do not require them to.”
Morpheus’ ‘belief’ is rooted in the ‘singular’ truth of what came before the Matrix. From the onset of the first movie, he speaks much of the past.
For example, we hear this in his explanation to Neo about the creation of the Matrix:
“When the Matrix was first built, there was a man born inside who had the ability to change whatever he wanted”
And his cave speech about the beginning of the man-machine conflict:
“I remember that I am here not because of the path that lies before me, but because of the path that lies behind me!”
This aspect of the “past” is based in the upper emanation of Chokhmah/Wisdom which is directly above Chesed on the right side. (See the diagram above.) We see this reflected in the Architect who, functioning at Chokhmah (and the world of Atzilut – before ‘Creation’), is very ‘singular’ minded, reflecting that there is but one ‘past.’
Compare this to the Oracle, who exhibits the opposite from the left side, as when she stated,
“I’m interested in one thing, Neo, the future.”
There are many possible futures, each dependent on ‘choice.’
More aspects of Morpheus’ character will be discussed in our thematic articles. Be sure to also follow his blog!
(1) The concept of the “beginning of the redemption,” is addressed in our later article on the three stages of the Matrix prophecy.