We presented our first three background articles in the Knowledge Base as a “crash course” in kabbalah. In order to fully understand the Matrix prophecy, what Neo did, and where we are going in The Matrix Resurrections, we’re going deeper down the rabbit hole. This article addresses some complex ideas on the “beginning and end” of the story. As when the Oracle agreed with Neo, if you’ve come this far, it’s time to know more.
“Everything that has a beginning has an end.”
That quote, from the Oracle in Matrix Revolutions, bears some resemblance to another:
Ten Sefirot of Nothingness: Their end is embedded in their beginning, and their beginning in their end, like a flame in a burning coal. For the Master is singular, He has no second. And before One, what do you count?
Sefer Yetzirah 1:7
This ancient text offers two insights toward the redemption of mankind and the fulfillment of the prophecy in The Matrix: Resurrections:
- The first sefirah of Keter/Crown, called the ‘beginning’ and the last one of Malkhut/Kingdom, have a special connection. Each is said to be ‘embedded’ in the other.
- It states, the “Master is singular,” the concept of ‘singularity’ being directly associated with Keter, and the idea of ‘pre-existence.’
Putting these two together, as these two emanations are ‘embedded’ in one another, this means the ‘singularity’ of Keter is also within Malkhut. In Matrix terms, what was in the beginning, before the Matrix and program worlds, (“within the Source”), is also “in the Matrix world.”
For now, however, Malkhut — the world of concealment which is the Matrix – is about as disparate from the singularity as imaginable.
- There are those who have been freed, while others remain enslaved.
- Among the freed, some believe in the prophecy and “the One,” while others do not.
- While some are seeking to free the rest, as Morpheus said, there are many who will fight to preserve the very system that is enslaving them.
- And of course, there are many views and conflicts within among the population – and within each person.
How does the Matrix world of ‘otherness’ and ‘opposites’ come to be a world of singularity in The Matrix: Resurrections?
In the Beginning of Nothingness
Keter is associated with the idea of ‘nothingness’ (pre-existence) as well as the concept of “Ein Sof” – a term meaning “without end,” as a way of expressing the ‘infiniteness’ of the Creator.
This begs a question:
If this is a realm of ‘nothingness,’ how can we say it is “without end,” as that is a finite idea. How can we have infiniteness and finiteness together?
The answer is that Ein Sof has the essence of everything rooted within it, including finiteness and infiniteness. Singularity and duality/otherness. Ein Sof is understood as a unity of opposites. (This is called achdut hashvaah.)
All realities, possible and impossible, are analogous to concentric bands of divine light emanating out of the Ain Sof as the shell of a snail is its own garment growing out of its own self. It is separate from itself, yet it is not. The Ain Soft grows its own ‘otherness,’ (we, and all existence) out of itself, yet “There is no other than itself.”
“Beyond Kabbalah,” Joel David Bakst
As all concepts of duality/oppositeness are resolved within Ein Sof/Keter, and as Keter and Malkhut are embedded in each other, we can expect that the ‘fulfillment’ of Malkhut has to do with humanity’s conflicts being resolved as well.
Everything that has a beginning has an end, and the latter is much like the former!
In the Matrix story, this will be the realization of the prophecy. There will no longer be a need for the Matrix, or a program world running it. Humanity will be in a state of having been repaired and returned to where they “came from” – in fact, at an even better/higher level than the beginning, before they failed.
As Morpheus stated:
“… the destruction of the Matrix, end the war … freedom to our people.”
Most importantly, ‘freedom’ from the things that caused their enslavement in the first place.
Turning Nothing Into Something by Becoming Nothing
Kabbalistic teachings take this process even deeper. Another aspect of “one being embedded in the other,” is that not only do humans reach their true potential when they “resolve these opposites,” they cause Ein Sof/the Source itself to reach its potential.
This is expressed in terms of us having the key role in Ein Sof (‘God’) becoming ‘actualized’ within existence:
He who keeps the precepts of the Law and walks in God’s ways, ‘makes’ Him who is above.
“Therefore you are my witnesses, says the Lord, that I am God.” (Isaiah 43.12) “When you are My witnesses, I am God, but when you are not My witnesses, I am not God, if one may say such a thing.“
Sifre to Deuteronomy Piska 346
This is interesting in terms of Neo’s interaction with the Deus ex Machina at the end of Matrix Revolutions. Although the latter is correct in that it does not ‘need’ Neo, he ‘convinces’ it otherwise:
Deus Ex Machina: We don’t need you. We need nothing.
Neo: If that’s true, then I’ve made a mistake and you should kill me now.
Deus Ex Machina: What do you want?
To which we can say “Good answer Neo!,” as peace in Hebrew is ‘shalom’ which means ‘wholeness.’ Neo is seeking the same thing that the Source is.
As we have said, the deeper concept behind the Matrix is not the machines enslaving humans for energy, but having the people living in the Matrix effect the repair they need, in order to transform everything into a whole new reality.
Ironically, this ‘increase’ in humanity’s status, as with Neo’s journey, comes from its opposite quality, humility (bittul), as we have discussed previously. What happened to Neo on an individual level, must occur on a grand scale.
“The revelation of anything is actually through its opposite.”
Schneur Zalman (1745-1813)
When this occurs, Malkhut becomes the Keter of a new level of existence. (See our next article and profile on Sati.)
This is the secret to this verse from the Bible.
I am the first (in Keter) and I am the last (in Malkhut).
Deeper into the Matrix Dynamics
So it’s pretty clear. If everyone just learns to behave nicely, the Matrix won’t be needed.
That seems simple enough – right?
As in “real life,” there are obstacles in the Matrix world. Some of these are ‘internal.’ Each person has their particular faults to correct. This is part of the process of effecting true change. “No pain, no gain.”
As we have discussed regarding the role of the Oracle, her role (as the emanation of Binah/Understanding) is to give everyone exactly what they need to make the adjustments they personally require to advance spiritually.
- Morpheus: What was said was for you and for you alone.
- Morpheus: She told you exactly what you needed to hear
- Niobe: The same thing she always does. Exactly what I needed to hear.
- Trinity: Morpheus went to the Oracle. After that everything changed.
Neo: Yeah, she can do that.
Beyond this (yet related to it) are challenges that come in the form of “external forces.”
These fall into two categories:
The first relates to Smith and the other agents who use direct, oppressive methods, to ‘restrict’ the humans. There is generally nothing subtle about their “pure judgment” approach. Even when Smith ‘negotiated’ in his interrogation of Thomas Anderson (Neo) and when he offered a nice steak for Cypher’s cooperation, there was an underlying threat in both situations.
The second method is far more complex and what we are focusing on in this post. It is that of the Merovingian and the element of ‘temptation,’ to distract people from their true goal. This plays to the desires of materialism and self-centeredness that, as mentioned, got the humans cast into the Matrix world to start with. As we discuss further below, related to this is the Merovingian’s personal doctrine of ‘causality.’
These deficient traits in humans stem from the dualism/oppositeness of existence. Everything originally ‘hidden’ in Ein Sof (the Source), comes into existence through the spiritual worlds and finally manifests within Malkhut, in the “physical world.”
This is the root of ‘evil’ in the world.
The truth is that the judgments (gevurot) which are the roots of all evil are only so after they have become externalized ‘below’ and have considerably distanced themselves from their source. Then the possibility exists for them to become converted into harsh judgments and to become the root for the existence of all evil.
Sefer Dayah, R. Shlomo Elyashiv
(If you missed this in a previous article, watch the video clip from Matrix Reloaded that shows this ‘descent.’)
This is at the beginning of humanity’s problems. Falling into such behaviors perpetuates the current situation as it energizes the strength of the “other side,” keeping humans trapped in the world of concealment/Matrix.
The purpose of the humans in the Matrix, especially during the final “interim period” in The Matrix Resurrections, between what Neo did and the fulfillment of the prophecy, is to reveal, understand and overcome these opposites.
This is the deeper understanding of why Neo said, “the problem is choice.” It’s not only that we have to make choices, it’s that the idea of choice exists in the first place.
In the Beginning, Someone Bit Something
There are multiple aspects to the “problem of choice.” To understand its ‘origin,’ we turn to “one of the oldest programs,” and his kabbalistic counterpart.
Explanations of the Genesis story of “Adam and Eve” state that even though the concepts of separation and oppositeness were “within Ain Sof” as mentioned, they were not internalized by humanity at that time.
This was altered when the figure of the serpent came along, with his tempting ‘offer’ that humans could take a “short cut” in elevating their spiritual status. The result of this was ‘fruit’ being ‘separated’ from a certain tree – one called the “tree of knowledge of good and evil.” (1)
The term ‘knowledge’ (as seen in the name of this tree), is not saying that Adam and Eve learned that good and evil existed. As we discussed in our article on the Oracle’s Temet Nosce sign, ‘knowledge’ is da’at, which in kabbalah is the sense of intimately connecting with something so that you become ‘one’ with it.
The description of what the tree “had to offer,” is related to seeking personal pleasure (everything the Merovingian is about):
… the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes, and the tree was desirable to make one wise.
Up to that point, the two humans in the story were in a much more unified state with the Creator and creation. Had they not erred, things would have gone “in the other direction” for them.
Beginning right after the serpent encounter, humanity was now ‘connected’ (da’at/knowledge) in an internal sense (the ‘eating’) to the concept of duality/otherness (i.e., “good and evil”).
This sense of otherness/opposites is behind our materialistic desires and self-centeredness. Inevitably it leads to self-destruction:
As Agent Smith stated about humans:
You move to an area and you multiply until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You are a plague, and we are the cure.
The irony here is that Smith has it right. The Matix IS “the cure” for humanity.
But There’s More … Of Course
Thus far we have the concept of self-indulgence and the internalization of ‘otherness.’ Another aspect to the Garden of Eden story is that of a viewpoint restricted to a limited framework. It is taught that in the beginning, the serpent (incorrectly) judged things solely by what he experienced.
What was behind this?
The snake’s claim, as expressed by his words, was that causes have immediate effects. He saw the world in an apparently more simplistic way than we have described: if the tree and its fruit are prohibited under pain of death, then as soon as one touches it or eats from it one should die. If one doesn’t die, reasoned the snake, then the punishment is not going to happen at all.
The Philosophy of the Snake, Zvi Belovski
This should sound quite familiar to Matrix fans.
You see, there is only one constant, one universal, it is the only real truth: Causality. Action. Reaction. Cause and effect.
The Merovingian suffers from the same defective view of ‘reality’ that the serpent did (and Smith as well). They all operate from the ‘restrictive’ left side of existence. Their limited perspectives are an aspect of “Understanding/Binah” above them. (2)
Restriction serves a purpose, but suffers when it has limited connection to the other emanations.
Note how when Neo ended up in the train station, it did not fit into the Merovingians “cause and effect” model, and brought a level of confusion:
I am curious, though, as to how it actually happened. Do you know? … No? I didn’t think so. But it is always best to ask.
Further, a higher-level concept, THE highest one, was well beyond his ability to comprehend:
Merovingian: It is remarkable how similar the pattern of love is to the pattern of insanity.
We will discuss the ‘deeper/hidden’ aspects of ‘love’ in a future article.
The serpent/Merovingian appeals to that which got the humans into the Matrix in the first place. His origins go back to the beginning of the Matrix:
Oracle: “… a very dangerous program, one of the oldest of us.“
All of this is setting the stage for a showdown of irreconcilable differences.
(1) The Genesis narrative presents a “Tree of Life” and “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.” The term ‘tree of life’ is also used for the kabbalistic diagram used through this study and should not be confused with the other. Further, the two trees in the Garden of Eden are considered two aspects of the same tree:
“The Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life are one and the same. The Tree of Knowledge is only that part of the Tree of Life that is branching out into this lower and limiting dimension that then produces the phenomenon of multiplicity. It is the higher-dimensional branching structure of the tree of “Dual-Knowing” versus the rooting structure of the Tree of “Singular Knowing.”
The Secret Doctrine of the Gaon of Vilna, Volume II, Joel David Bakst
(2) Binah/Understanding is the emanation related to the Oracle. Her perspective is ‘above’ the lower seven sefirot that are part of human existence however, thus she does not suffer from the same limitation reflected in the Merovingian and Smith. She is also inseparable from the Architect, who at Chokhmah/Wisdom on the right side, is the root of faith/belief, which is “beyond understanding.”
Seraph: Did you always know?
Oracle: Oh no. No, I didn’t. But I believed. I believed.