|asato ma sad gamaya
tamaso ma jyotir gamaya
mrtyor mamrtam gamaya
|From delusion lead me to truth
From darkness lead me to light
From death lead me to immortality
|vidyam cavidyam ca yas
tad vedobhayam saha
avidyaya mrtyum tirtva
|He who knows both knowledge and action, with action overcomes death and with knowledge reaches immortality.|
|yasmin dyauh prthivi cantariksam otam manah saha pranais ca sarvaih tam evaikam janatha atmanam anya vacah vimuncatha amrtasya esah setuh||In him are woven the sky and the earth and all the regions of the air, and in him rest the mind and all the powers of life. Know him as the ONE and leave aside all other words. He is the bridge of immortality.|
|indriyebhyah param mano
manasah sattvam uttamam
sattvad adhi mahan atma
mahato vyaktam uttamam
|Beyond the senses is the mind, and beyond the mind is reason, its essence. Beyond reason is the Spirit in man, and beyond this is the Spirit of the Universe, the evolver of all.|
jnanani manasa saha
buddhis ca na vicestate
tam ahuh paramam gatim
|When the five senses and the mind are still, and reason itself rests in silence, then begins the Path supreme.|
|Ya ya ya ya yada yadaya
Ya ya ya ya yada yada yada yada
Yada yada yada yada yada
ksiyante casya karmani
tasmin drste paravare
|And when he is seen in his immanence and transcendence, then the ties that have bound the heart are unloosened, the doubts of the mind vanish, and the law of Karma works no more|
These are the lyrics to Neodammerung, the epic music that plays throughout the Superbrawl. The original language is sanskrit.
I believe the first three lines sum up the trilogy.
“From delusion lead me to truth” – in the first film Neo becomes aware of the truth about his reality, and escapes the delusion of the Matrix
“From darkness lead me to light” – in Reloaded Neo is enlightened about the true nature of the Matrix.
“From death lead me to immortality” – In Revolutions Neo dies in the real world, but his mind is immortalised in the Source.
‘Mr Anderson, welcome back! We missed you. You like what I’ve done with the place?’
‘It ends tonight’
‘I know it does, I’ve seen it. That’s why the rest of me is just going to enjoy the show, because we already know that I’m the one that beats you!’
Only one Smith fights Neo in the Superbrawl. Only one Smith fights Neo, because he can see that everything will lead up to him being victorious, and if something’s inevitable, is time really important? I feel the reason given is rather weak, but for dramatic purposes they couldn’t have had Neo fighting all the Smiths at once again.
“Can you feel it Mr. Anderson? Closing in on you? Well I can. I really should thank you for it, after all it was your life that taught me the purpose of all life. The purpose of life is to end…”
Smith is still unable to comprehend how humans can exist without a purpose. As Rama Kandra says in the trainstation, all programs from the machine world are given a purpose, a reason to exist. In Reloaded during his talk with Neo we see Smith thinks existence is defined by purpose – it’s all he’s ever known, so understandable he’s confused when it comes to humans. How can a conscious being exist without a purpose? At this point he tells Neo he has found the answer. The way he sees it, the only possible purpose of life is to end.
This message of purpose defining existence is something Jean-Paul Sartre thinks about in his famous book Existentialism & Humanism. He says that in the case of humans, “existence precedes essence”; basically, we first exist, then while existing we give our life meaning and define who we are. With objects, “essence precedes existence”; first the object is conceived with a purpose, then it is made, brought into existence. This makes me think that with Smith, his essence precedes existence, which would arguably make him nothing more than an object, not at all self conscious.
The intersection where Neo and Smith hit the ground [whem Smith body slams him] is the same intersection where Neo made the final phone call at the end of the first film. You can see the phone box on the very right hand side of the screen.
“Why Mr. Anderson, why? Why get up? Why keep fighting?
Do you believe you’re fighting for something? For more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know?
Is it freedom? Or truth? Perhaps peace? Could it be for love?
Illusions, Mr. Anderson. Vagaries of perception. Temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose! And all of them as artificial as the matrix itself, although only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love. You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson, you must know it by now, you can’t win, it’s pointless to keep fighting! Why Mr. Anderson, why?! Why do you persist?!”
“Because I choose to”
“Because I choose to” is essentially the turning point of the film. Throughout the Superbrawl Neo and Smith both know that Smith will win, but Neo continues to fight despite what he’s gone through, much to Smith’s confusion. The “Why Mr. Anderson” speech is ultimately aimed at discovering the meaning of (human) life, although it’s disguised as Smith just trying to find out why Neo keeps fighting, bringing together the trilogy’s ideas of causality and purpose. Smith still doesn’t understand how human beings can exist without a purpose, he thinks that all emotions are just feeble attempts to justify our existence. If Smith discovered human beings had a certain purpose, he would be able to find out the cause for Neo continuing to fight.
However, in this case there is no cause. Buddhist teachings say that to achieve enlightenment one must first lose all worldly attachments. Neo has lost all attachments. He is completely alone, hundreds of miles from Zion with Trinity dead; he has nothing left to live for. However he keeps on fighting, for no other cause except choice.
You could think of this as “pure choice”. Neo is now free from the causal control of the Matrix. He has achieved true enlightenment and perfect free will.
In Reloaded we learnt that the purpose of the One was to learn about human choice, and pass this information onto the machines so they can improve the Matrix, making it more realistic. This time the One has experienced pure choice, if passed onto the machines this could perfect the Matrix completely. This is essential later on.
Even though Neo is soaked, exhausted, battered and bloody, he shows he can still keep fighting with a punch that should have killed Smith. There’s no way either of them can win, they can keep fighting. This fight could go on forever without either of them winning.
There’s an article on the making of the Superpunch herewith original storyboard drawings.
This is my world, my world!
The final punch of the trilogy…
Wait…I’ve seen this!
This is it, this is the end!
Yes, you were lying right there, just like that… I… I stand here, right here…
I’m supposed to say something…I say:
Everything that has a beginning has an end, Neo.
What? What did I just say?
I don’t believe that this is the Oracle somehow talking through Smith. When the Oracle was taken over Smith was shown a future where he defeats Neo after saying “Everything that has a beginning has an end”. However, Smith’s vision is incorrect because he cannot see past the choice Neo has to make (the Oracle said in Reloaded that we can never see past the choices we don’t understand). This lack of human understanding and a life based on causality turns out to be Smith’s downfall.
No, this isn’t right, this can’t be right!
Get away from me!
What are you afraid of?
It’s a trick!
You were right Smith. You were always right.
It was inevitable.
I’ve heard people complain that Neo could stop Smith copying himself onto Neo in Reloaded, so why couldn’t he do it this time?
Neo wanted Smith to copy over him – from the moment Smith said the Oracle’s line and referred to his nemesis as Neo rather than Mr. Anderson, Neo knew what he had to do.
This part of the film gets very symbolic. At this point in the plot the following things are brought together:
Good and evil
Positive and negative (remember the Oracle saying Smith is Neo’s negative, and +1 + -1 = 0)
Hinduism, Christianity and Buddhism
Machines and humans
Choice and causality
Purpose and existentialism
From Reloaded (when Smith attempts to copy himself onto Morpheus):
“If you can’t beat us…”,”Join us!”
Is it over?
Neo begins to jerk around in front of the DEM, almost as if he’s being electrocuted…
Of course, Neo isn’t being electrocuted. The golden energy flowing into Neo, I believe, is the Source itself. The force by which all machines are governed. It could be thought of as the essence of the machines.
This isn’t done by the Deus Ex Machina, it’s done by Neo’s own will. Neo takes the Source into himself, becoming at one with the essence of the machines.
By doing this he unites machines and humans in one body, passes on his new knowledge of pure choice for when the Matrix is reloaded, and essentially becomes the Matrix. I will go into this further at the very end.
The most obvious symbolism here is Christian. The shape the Source initially manifests itself in is a cross, and by sacrificing his (real world) body he is using the essence of divinity as explained by Rama Kandra and as symbolised by Sati to save humanity and transcend the physical world.
However, there is also a strong Buddhist allegory here:
“The Buddha, sitting under the World Tree, was challenged by a thousand-armed god of death and his legions. The Buddha reached out his hand and placed his fingertips on the earth and drew into himself the essence of the Infinite God. The death god and all his armies were shattered.”
Neo takes in the essence (Source) of the Infinite God (symbolised by the DEM as explained later). This connects Smith (who quite literally has thousands of arms) directly to the Source, and as the Oracle explained in Reloaded when a program returns to the Source it is deleted. This also completes Neo’s buddhist journey as I will explain at the very end.
Smith’s deletion completes the Hindu allegory present throughout the film. The Source manifests itself in the Matrix as white light.
This excerpt from the Brihadâranyaka Upanishad describes the death process of the enlightened:
“When consciousness that is in the eye turns back, the dying man no longer sees any form. “He is becoming one,” they say; “he does not see. “He is becoming one,” they say; “he does not smell. “He is becoming one,” they say; “he does not taste. “He is becoming one,” they say; “he does not speak. “He is becoming one,” they say; “he does not hear. “He is becoming one,” they say; “he does not think or touch or know.”
The Smith that Neo becomes does nothing, he does not think or touch or know. Neo has
“The point of his heart lights up, and by that light the Self departs, either through the eye, or the skull, or through some other door of the body.”
Neo as the Source departs Smith’s body in this white light, through the “doors of his body”. Also, when Neo takes the Source into himself, the point of his heart lights up (the cross).
Following with the Buddhist allegory, Smith quite literally shatters.
Smith’s scream at this point was also heard in Reloaded when Smith tried to copy himself onto Neo.
The Deus Ex machina says “It is done”. “It is done” is said by God three times in the Bible.
The symbolism of the Deus Ex machina is very interesting; he symbolises the Buddhist idea of an infinite God.
Neo’s “Neovision” is seeing the code or the essence of the machines. It could be the Source’s idea of the machine (which Neo could feel due to his connection); when Neo stops the sentinel just before it crashes into the ship, Neo feels the machine’s essence passing through him. This could be a sort of lag – the Source thought the machine was still moving towards Neo.
Oh yes, the allegory…
Well, seeing the essence of a machine is like seeing its soul. If a machine had a soul, is it really right to think of it as just a machine and nothing more? Throughout the sequels it’s suggested that machines are equal to, if not better than, humans; they have emotions, they keep to their word (better than humans in this case) and having souls suggests they’re sentient.
Also, this essence is like the essence of the infinite god, a buddhist idea. The infinite god in the trilogy is symbolised by the Deus Ex machina, and his essence is the Source (this is why he is the brightest object in 01). The essence is present in everything, which in the trilogy just means present in the machines. I’m not really explaining this well, so here’s a quote from http://www.johnworldpeace.com/res2.html
The Infinite God is like the ocean. The ocean is a vast body of liquid that
manifests shells, fish, mammals, plants and so on. It really has no
preference of one manifestation over another. It is all things. It is at one
with all things. All things within the Ocean are one with the Ocean.
Lastly, from http://www.buddhistnews.tv/current/…-rev-091103.php
12) Heavenly Eye
Despite his physical blindness, Neo discovers that he can see in another energy-light spectrum with his mind’s eye. In fact, he somewhat sees more accurately and detailedly. This reminds us of Anuruddha, who was one of the Buddha’s disciples. He became blind due to not sleeping, so that he could practise and listen to the Buddha’s teachings. When he attained Enlightenment, he obtained the powers of the heavenly eye. Not only could he see again, he could even see into the heavens.
We see the Oracle lying in the mud at the bottom of the crater. The Smith Neo was fighting was the Smith that was copied over the Oracle. This also shows that when all the Smiths were shattered they left behind the bodies they had copied over.
Link and Zee’s relationship is another example of love in the films. One of the messages of the trilogy is that love is power. Neo and Trinity perform some of their most amazing feats because of love (for example Neo flying at impossible speeds to save Trinity and her taking on a room full of armed henchmen to save Neo).
I have imagined this moment for so long…Is this real?
At the end of Reloaded Morpheus had nothing left to live for – it was brutally revealed to him that everything he believed in was a lie, all his visions of freedom and truth suddenly shown to be just another system of control. When the Nebuchadnezzar is destroyed he says “I have dreamed a dream, and now that thing is gone from me”. This is a direct quote from the Bible, the passage is referenced on the back of the white car during the freeway chase; DA203 (Book of Daniel chapter 2 verse 3). I don’t have space to go into details of the symbolism here, but in terms of the storyline the dream he mentioned is the prophecy, obviously.
You may have noticed that because of this Morpheus plays a much lesser role in Revolutions. Most of his screen time is spent obeying Niobe’s orders aboard the Hammer. At the very end of the film Morpheus gets a new meaning to his life – Niobe.
Neo… wherever you are… thank you…
The “barge” machine which carries Neo away looks much kinder than the machines we’ve seen before. Throughout the sequels it is implied that the machines are equal to if not better than humans. Where they’re taking his body is a mystery, but with Neo now being the Source I assume they would preserve his body somewhere safe.
Also, during this scene you can hear a very faint heartbeat, further confirming that Neo isn’t dead.
The object at the centre of the screen is Neo, as bright as the DEM was (the previous real world manifestation of the Source). The shape made by the machine’s tentacles and head resembles a lotus flower… where the law of karma works no more. The Buddhist law of karma no longer applies when one reaches Nirvana, as Neo is said to have done. This is also referenced in the lyrics of Neodammerung.
The black cat was seen in the first film, when “they change something”.
The Matrix is reloaded with Neo’s new knowledge of choice, perfecting it. This is shown by the Matrix losing its green tint, as you can see in the higher quality shot below.
Well now, isn’t this a surprise?
This can be seen in the Zion Archives (at thematrix.com), although it wasn’t in the film. Like the barge scene, it shows that the machines actually care for Neo now. Perhaps they always had this nature, or perhaps it was imparted to them by Neo’s reload (after all, Neo experienced love at a more personal level than the other Ones)
This is also the first time we see green plant life in the Matrix.
Architect: You played a very dangerous game
Oracle: Change always is…
Architect: Just how long do you think this peace is going to last?
Oracle: As long as it can…What about the others?
A: What others?
O: The Ones that want out.
A: Obviously they will be freed.
O: I have your word?
A: What do you think I am, human?
If you listen carefully at the end of the first Matrix film, you can hear a certain type of music being played as Neo ascends to a new level of being. At this point in Revolutions you can hear this music again…
Sati is an important character – she is the first program to exist without a purpose. She can alter the Matrix program as she sees fit, now accepted as “legal” in the Matrix because of Neo’s reload (Neo knew that sentient life didn’t need a purpose, but the machines didn’t as shown by Smith’s speech).
Sati: We were afraid we might not find you
Oracle: Everything’s okay now.
S: Look, look!
O: Just look at that! Beautiful! Did you do that?
S: For Neo.
O: That’s nice. I know he’d love it.
Sati: Will we ever see him again?
Oracle: I suspect so… …some day.
S: Did you always know?
O: Oh no, no I didn’t. But I believed. I believed.
Belief is a strong theme in Revolutions. Belief, like love, gives us power. Remember how a boy only 16 years old was able to save the last free city just because of his belief in Neo (“Neo… I believe”).
The last shot is of Neo in all his glory, at the end of his Christian, Buddhist and Hindu journey.