The Matrix Revolutions and The Never-Future

Movies Jun 28, 2024

After exerting his will in the Desert of The Real, Neo dreams into a waystation, a simulacra of St James that ferries programs in and out of The Matrix: the railroad remembered through fogged over glass. Neo walks out of one end and finds himself right where he started.

The trainman governs entry and exit. If the Merovingians shaped the boundaries of Europe before the bloody conquest of the Norse [1] then our half-remembered myth controls the possible inputs of the Matrix, and therefore what it can become.

Neo is trapped at the station like a program but he’s not supposed to be there, and so he cannot leave. Yet so too the programs are waiting for their train. Waiting for a train. A train that will take you far away. You know where you hope this train will take you, but you don't know for sure.

While Neo is rescued, the film does not leave this liminal space: the moment between action and the inevitable consequence. Even when Zion is saved and the peace is struck, the Matrix goes on. So too the machines. So too the Desert of The Real.

When Trinity and Morpheus confront the Merovingian his price for Neo’s freedom is not a pound of flesh, but the eyes of The Oracle. Eyes. The windows to the truth. Descartes said I think therefore I am - reality is defined, even constructed, by your perception. Neo takes the red pill and opens his eyes for the first time to see the real. The Oracle can see what might be, yet she puts the future into motion, making it true. Bane destroys Neo’s eyes only to grant him transcendent sight. The single central eye of the squids. The way the machines form into nearly tendrils and almost shapes. Neo’s city of light that is dark and foreboding to the eye. Here we see Baudrillard return: Neo loses sight of the Desert of the Real and is free to discard the map and observe the true territory. Perception and truth and becoming.

When the machines send Neo back in, Smith is every single person in the Matrix: dominating not just perception but subjectivity. The obliteration of the proletariat under a single, iron-willed bourgeoisie program. Yet like every doomed regime, all it takes is for the last pieces of The Oracle and Neo to come together to form a Union, one that undoes Smith in an instant. “Everything that has a beginning has an end” [2] after all. Truth and becoming.

In their final bloody confrontation Neo and Smith repeat the dojo fight, only this time Neo wins the exchange and loses the fight. Smith absorbs Neo: a fatal decision for both, leaving only the discarded body behind. The Eyes of This Oracle shut forever.

And so Neo breaks the wheel of the machine war, only for the breaking of the wheel to forge another. Rolling ever onward, revolution after revolution. Each rotation producing new and varied meanings. This time humanity is doomed to a fracturing of peace, and another anomaly will form. This time peace is sustained and the skies will be cleared so the earth can rebuild. This time Cipher was right: better to be ignorant and happy, truth be damned.

We never leave the train station because to leave is to begin another revolution. We exist in-between these moments of rotation, of breaking and forging anew: the beats of truth between perception. We spend all of our considerable might producing narratives to connect these moments of perception to become. “Because you didn't come here to make the choice, you've already made it. You're here to try to understand why you made it. I thought you'd have figured that out by now” [3].

In the end Neo chooses to let Smith absorb him. By choosing not to resist, and instead, choosing to become. And these are the last words Neo utters in this Matrix: the syllables etched into the skin of this flawed universe: “Because I choose to.”

The choice to rob a god of his domain. To snatch the flame with not an iron fist, but a careful hand. One final act of defiance, and at last, the permission to rest. "I have dreamed a dream, but now that dream is gone from me [3]."

This essay was written as part of a collaboration with A Method To The Madness. I urge you to follow their content like I do.


[1] France (2014). Woloch et al.Encyclopedia Britannica. url:

[2] The Matrix: Revolutions (2003). The Wachowskis. Distributed by Warner Bros. Warner Bros. Pictures

[3] The Matrix: Reloaded (2003). The Wachowskis. Distributed by Warner Bros. Warner Bros. Pictures

Additional Resources (video version, in order):

Video by Jozef Papp from Pexels:

Music (video version, in order):

Elia Azarzar - The Road to Valhalla


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David McNeill

David McNeill is the author of Maynard Trigg and editor-in-chief of ZeroIndent. He's a dedicated storyteller with a background in literary analysis and comms.

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