Conversations: Neo and the Architect

The Architect likes to use big words in order to make his communication with Neo precise. Each of these words will be defined and clarified with a popup text box if you move the mouse over the word. Sometimes, even words that most people know will have popup boxes for the purpose of clarifying a particular meaning of the word that the Architect is going for.

At different points in this conversation, we see many TV screens that sometimes all show the same Neo standing in the room, and sometimes show different versions of Neo. When we see differing versions of Neo, we are seeing one of two things. First, the TVs show the Architect what Neo's possible responses are at any given moment. The Oracle later tells Neo that the Architect cannot see past any choice. With the help of the Architect's TV screens, the Architect is trying his hardest to understand what little he can about choices the One makes. Second, some of the TVs show archives of responses of past Ones, probably as further evidence to Neo that past Ones have already been there. Some support will be given below (for more support, see Architect: TV Screens).

Architect: Hello, Neo.
Neo: Who are you?
Architect: I am the Architect. I created the Matrix. I've been waiting for you.

Not only has the Architect been waiting for Neo, he has also been watching Neo in the Matrix. Remember when Neo was interrogated by Agent Smith in M1? That scene began by showing a bunch of TV screens of Neo waiting in the interrogation room, zooming into one of the screens. These are the Architect's TV screens. At this point, Neo was not making any choices, so all of the screens were identical.

Architect: You have many questions, and though the process has altered your consciousness, you remain irrevocably human.

Many believe "the process" refers to Neo's entire life and development as the One, but the Architect's statement about "the process" is too vague and would be too confusing to Neo at this point if it were the case. For my theory of what the Architect is talking about, see Neo: Altered Consciousness.

Architect: Ergo some of my answers you will understand, and some of them you will not. Concordantly, while your first question may be the most pertinent, you may or may not realize it is also the most irrelevant.
Neo: Why am I here?

It is helpful to know that relevance is a more general form of pertinence. Neo's first question of "Why am I here?" is pertinent for Neo to understand exactly why he has gone to so much trouble to get there. However, the threat of a cataclysmic system crash and the inevitability of Zion's doom are more generally "relevant" to the choice Neo must make.

Architect: Your life is the sum of a remainder of an unbalanced equation inherent to the programming of the Matrix.

In interpreting the above sentence, it is important to note that the word "inherent" refers to the unbalanced equation, not to the sum. Some people believe that the summation process that goes into creating Neo's consciousness is something that is unavoidable - that the One is created whether the Architect wants him to be or not. But this makes no sense. Summation is not a process that happens on accident. If you start having problems with your computer and errors result, are those errors going to magically bunch up into a single location on your hard drive or RAM? No way. Summation has to be a result of deliberate effort within the system.

Architect: You are the eventuality of an anomaly, which, despite my sincerest efforts, I have been unable to eliminate from what is otherwise a harmony of mathematical precision.

There is a system anomaly that the Architect hasn't been able to get rid of yet, and it is the only flaw within the Architect's perfect creation. The Architect says Neo is "the" eventuality, implying that creating Neo is the only way the Architect can address the system anomaly.

While it remains a burden assiduously avoided, it is not unexpected, and thus not beyond a measure of control. Which has led you, inexorably... here.

Even though the Architect cannot make the anomaly go away, at least the Architect expects it. This allows the Architect to compensate for the anomaly in some way, and that process of compensation is what brought Neo here. The Architect's "measure of control" is not only Neo, but the Oracle/prophecy as well.

Neo: You haven't answered my question.
Architect: Quite right. Interesting. That was quicker than the others.
TV Neos: Others? How many? How many others? What others? Answer my f***ing question! I don't believe anything.

The Architect notices that Neo is quicker than the previous five Ones. Many assume that this is due to the fact that the code for the One is improved with each version of the Matrix. Each time another One is created by the system, the foundation code for the One is probably enhanced to incorporate all new forms of redpill thinking from the previous cycles of the One, not to mention what the Oracle learns from Potentials in each cycle. However, this would explain Neo's powers within the Matrix more than it would explain Neo's actual intelligence. And, if Neo's enhanced code contributed to intelligence of the One, the Architect wouldn't have acted surprised with his comment of "Interesting".

Instead, I think that Neo surprised the Architect with his enhanced intelligence because the Oracle manipulated Neo's programming through cookies to improve his thinking. Neo's increased intelligence improves the chances that Neo will figure out the things the Oracle needs him to realize on his own. For more on what I think of the Oracle and her cookies, see Oracle: Baking Cookies.

Architect: The Matrix is older than you know. I prefer counting from the emergence of one integral anomaly to the emergence of the next, in which case this is the sixth version.

The most important thing to understand in this entire conversation is the difference between anomaly and integral anomaly. The anomaly is the system anomaly that we've already talked about - the anomaly that the Architect cannot eliminate despite the Architect's "sincerest efforts" (this is the anomaly of Matrix rejection). The integral anomaly is Neo, the only possible way to counter the anomaly. Even though the integral (or summed) anomaly is the only solution that can address the system anomaly (in that way, it is an inevitable solution), no summation process happens by accident. Neo was created by the system.

When the Architect uses the word "emergence" above, many assume that the Architect is implying that the integral anomaly happens on accident because it "emerges" rather than being created. However, the Architect is not talking about the emergence of the One within the system. The Architect is talking about the realization of the One's powers. The One does not "emerge" until he is discovered and trained by redpill hackers.

To elaborate on this "emergence" idea a bit more: if a person is a very talented concert pianist, does that mean they were born with the ability to play piano well, or were they born with the potential to play piano well? The latter is true, of course - no baby can play piano. The baby must choose to learn piano as a child and continue well into their adulthood. Only into adulthood does the child really "emerge" as a concert pianist. Likewise, the One is programmed only with the potential to reject the Matrix in all ways documented by previous natural redpills. The rejection still has to be chosen - the One still has to develop the summed potential of rejection that he was given. This is further reinforced by the Oracle in M1 when she tells Neo, "You got the gift, but it looks like you're waiting for something." The gift means nothing if the gift is not developed to "emerge".

TV Neos: Five Ones before me? Four - three - two - What are you talking about?
Neo: There are only two possible explanations, either no one told me, or no one knows.

We now learn by listening to the Neos in the TVs that some of them actually are archived recordings from past Neos. The "Four - three - two" numbers would have only been spoken by past Neos referring to each of their predecessors. We also get further confirmation of the Architect's observation that Neo is faster and more like a machine than the previous Neos, because this response is much more logical and to-the-point than the responses by other Neos in the TV screens.

Architect: Precisely. As you are undoubtedly gathering, the anomaly is systemic - creating fluctuations in even the most simplistic equations.
TV Neos: You can't control me! I'm gonna smash you to bits! I'll f***in' kill you!
Neo: Choice. The problem is choice.

This is how we figure out that "the anomaly" describes some kind of error that occurs throughout the Matrix system - it is systemic. Second, these "fluctuations" are likely all the strange things that happen as a result of broken rules: cops who see Agents jump from one building to another, people who see Neo flying around and causing clouds around him to twirl like a sudden tornado, hundreds of people dying in a freeway chase full of people jumping from car to car, etc.

Also, as all the TV Neos yell and shout at the Architect, Neo looks around at them. From this, Neo realizes that the Architect is reading Neo's possible choices, and that is exactly how Neo was able to conclude that choice is the problem with the Matrix. Neo realizes the Architect has no idea what Neo is going to say.

Architect: The first Matrix I designed was quite naturally perfect, it was a work of art - flawless, sublime. A triumph equalled only by its monumental failure. The inevitability of its doom is apparent to me now as a consequence of the imperfection inherent in every human being.

The Architect has quite an ego. The reason the Architect's first Matrix design failed is apparently only because humans are not just imperfect, but inherently imperfect. Ironically, the Oracle represents a more evolved machine, and what makes her more evolved is that she is closer to human (and therefore less perfect) than the Architect. This is the essence of simulcra and simulation.

Architect: Thus, I redesigned it based on your history to more accurately reflect the varying grotesqueries of your nature. However, I was again frustrated by failure.

In addition to war, disease and suffering, some of the grotesqueries that were programmed into the second Matrix were supernatural, such as ghosts, vampires, and werewolves, all of which are now exiles working for the Merovingian. Remember, in a previous scene, Persephone said:

They [Cain and Abel] come from a much older version of the Matrix, but like so many back then, they caused more problems than they solved. My husband saved them because they're notoriously difficult to terminate. How many people keep silver bullets in their gun?

The "silver bullet" line is a dead giveaway: Cain and Abel are both vampires. These supernatural creatures caused more problems than they solved because they were intended to bring people back to the reality of suffering, when in fact they presumably caused even more people to reject the Matrix due to not believing in supernatural creatures. When the Oracle's Matrix model was implemented, all of these supernatural creatures were given a choice when it came to deletion, and few if any of them would have chosen deletion since their purpose of terrorizing people would have still been easily carried out in future Matrix versions.

Architect: I have since come to understand that the answer eluded me because it required a lesser mind, or perhaps a mind less bound by the parameters of perfection. Thus the answer was stumbled upon by another - an intuitive program, initially created to investigate certain aspects of the human psyche. If I am the father of the Matrix, she would undoubtedly be its mother.
Neo: The Oracle.

Notice that the Architect does acknowledge that the Oracle is programmed in a way which is less limiting than the programming of the Architect. While the Architect must follow what is logically best in any given situation, the Oracle was programmed with the ability to go against logic. As the Oracle proves through the course of the three movies, sometimes the best solution to a problem is a solution that is very illogical and goes against all odds and reasonable thinking. The Architect dislikes irrationality, but at the same time, acknowledges that it opens up new possibilities.

Architect: Please. As I was saying, she stumbled upon a solution whereby nearly 99% of all test subjects accepted the program, as long as they were given a choice, even if they were only aware of the choice at a near unconscious level.

The Architect first reacts in disgust to the word "Oracle". In fact, the Architect doesn't even call her by any name - she's just an "intuitive program" to him. Even though her way of thinking allows her to see past choice when the Architect can't, the Architect does not hold respect for the Oracle's ability because it is only possible with irrational and therefore imperfect thinking. It would be "lesser thinking" from a "lesser mind". Not only that, but the Oracle predicts the future with math calculations and nothing more. To give the intuitive program such a mystical, almost supernatural title is absurd to the Architect.

We also learn that a little over one percent of people in the Matrix reject the Matrix program. The Architect does not say what happens to those who reject the Matrix, but as I support on the Matrix System: Natural Redpills section, these "natural redpills" go through their normal lifespan in the Matrix with "splinters in their minds". They are not killed by the system.

Architect: While this answer functioned, it was obviously fundamentally flawed, thus creating the otherwise contradictory systemic anomaly, that if left unchecked might threaten the system itself.

The Oracle's "answer" (or solution) of offering people choice to accept or reject the Matrix allows the Matrix to "function" (run or work), but the solution itself has another problem embedded into it, because the choice of rejecting the Matrix is not desireable by the Architect. In other words, it is the ability to reject the Matrix that allows the Matrix to work, while this very ability makes the Matrix flawed. Therefore, it is fundamentally flawed.

This would be similar to someone telling you, "The most effective way to persuade John to eat a carrot is to tell him he can either eat a carrot or not eat a carrot." This is also "fundamentally flawed" and "contradictory", because the only way you can be successful in this situation is to allow for failure to happen.

The last part of the statement tells us that the system is actually threatened by the "systemic anomaly". This refers to the accumulation of "fluctuations" (errors) that redpills and missing bluepills produce, which begin to threaten the system if the rejections are not eventually cancelled out with the One's single counter-choice.

Architect: Ergo those that refused the program, while a minority, if unchecked, would constitute an escalating probablility of disaster.
Neo: This is about Zion.

The Architect says here that those who refuse the program (leave the Matrix) are a big threat to the system. Those who leave the Matrix make up Zion, so Neo is right - the Architect is obviously talking about Zion. However, it is not the military force of Zion that threatens the well-being of the Matrix. Quite the contrary, as seen in M3, the machines can crush Zion anytime they wish. Rather, the threat comes from the fact that every week, there are more and more Zionists hacking the Matrix, freeing more minds and also causing more people to question the reality of the Matrix, when they see redpill hackers doing impossible things.

What exactly is the "disaster" that would result if the population of Zion grew too big? Presumably, there would come a point at which there are so many Zionists hacking the Matrix that a significant percentage of bluepills would reject the Matrix.

Some believe the "escalating probability of disaster" refers to Smith, not Zion, but I do not believe Smith is what threatened crashes in previous versions of the Matrix. In fact, I don't believe the Architect even knows at this point that Smith is a bigger threat to the system than the systemic anomaly is (Smith is a threat to the entire machine race, not just to the Matrix). See Smith: The New Smith for more on this.

Architect: You are here because Zion is about to be destroyed - its every living inhabitant terminated, its entire existence eradicated.
Neo: Bullsh--.
TV Neos: Bullsh--!
Architect: Denial is the most predictable of all human responses, but rest assured, this will be the sixth time we have destroyed it, and we have become exceedingly efficient at it.

The closest the Architect can come to seeing the future is to simply know the odds of various responses. Neo's response was the most predictable response, but not a certain response. The Architect's television sets probably don't show all possible responses of Neo, but rather all of the most likely responses at any given time. The Architect's way of thinking (especially aided by televisions) seems silly, almost like smoke and mirrors, compared to the superior way in which the Oracle sees things. But even so, the Architect would never have any part in reducing his thought process to something "lesser" than his current way of thinking.

Architect: The function of the One is now to return to the Source, allowing a temporary dissemination of the code you carry, reinserting the prime program.

Since Neo is making one single counter-choice to cancel out all humans who have rejected the Matrix in the past 100 years, all of the individual rejection components that make Neo up need to be broken apart so that his one choice can be processed as millions of little choices. That is what I believe the process of "code dissemination" is.

As for what the Prime Program is, see Matrix System: Prime Program.

After which, you will be required to select from the Matrix 23 individuals - 16 female, 7 male - to rebuild Zion. Failure to comply with this process will result in a cataclysmic system crash, killing everyone connected to the Matrix, which, coupled with the extermination of Zion, will ultimately result in the extinction of the entire human race.

This is the part of the conversation that the Architect would call most "relevant". As the Architect has done with all of Neo's predecessors, the Architect is now holding the "extinction of the entire human race" over Neo's head in order to facilitate Neo's choice of the right door.

If you think the predicted cataclysmic crash is due to Smith, again, see Smith: The New Smith. Also, the cataclysmic crash is not due to Zionist redpills hacking the Matrix - remember, they are going to be eradicated. It is simply due to the compounding of errors due to the systemic anomaly that is starting to make the Matrix more and more unstable. Neo needs to cancel out rejection choices in order to bring stability back to the Matrix.

Neo: You won't let it happen. You can't. You need human beings to survive.
Architect: There are levels of survival we are prepared to accept. However, the relevant issue is whether or not you are ready to accept the responsibility of the death of every human being on this world.

This brings up a question to which the only reasonable answer seems, in a way, unreasonable. Why would the human race go extinct just because Neo chooses the wrong door? Even if all humans in the Matrix and in Zion die, couldn't the machines just grow more humans just as they're doing right now, and start up another Matrix?

Yes, the machines could. But remember, "The problem is choice." If a Matrix is to exist that actually functions (and the Oracle's model of choice is the only model that does function so far), Matrix inhabitants need to have a legitimate alternative to the Matrix in the real world if they reject the Matrix. If Neo does not choose 23 individuals to seed the next Zion, there will be no Zion. There would be no alternative to the Matrix, and therefore, the Matrix cannot function. This all goes back to the moral framework on which machines are built (see Matrix System: Natural Redpills).

Architect: It is interesting, reading your reactions. Your 5 predecessors were, by design, based on a similar predication - a contingent affirmation that was meant to create a profound attachment to the rest of your species, facilitating the function of the One. While the others experienced this in a very general way, your experience is far more specific - vis-a-vis love.
Neo: Trinity.
Architect: Apropos, she entered the Matrix to save your life, at the cost of her own.
Neo: No.

To summarize, Neo and all of his predecessors were designed with a similar inborn personality trait meant to maximize the chance ("facilitating the function of the one") that the One would love the human race enough to choose the right door. Most humans love the human race enough for this to be the case anyway, which is why the Architect calls this trait a "contingent affirmation" for loving the human race.

Isn't it convenient that Trinity entered the Matrix when she did? See Oracle: Baking Noodles for more on this.

Architect: Which brings us at last to the moment of truth, wherein the fundamental flaw is ultimately expressed, and the anomaly revealed as both beginning and end. There are two doors. The door to your right leads to the Source, and the salvation of Zion. The door to your left leads back to the Matrix, to her and to the end of your species. As you adequately put, the problem is choice.

The "fundamental flaw" was discussed earlier in the analysis of this conversation. Here is a quote from above that reviews the fundamental flaw: "...it is the ability to reject the Matrix that allows the Matrix to work, but it's also the ability to reject the Matrix that makes the Matrix flawed. Therefore, it is fundamentally flawed." Choice is the fundamental flaw.

This fundamental flaw of choice is expressed all the time when people reject the Matrix and when programs choose exile. But only now is the fundamental flaw of choice ultimately expressed, as the One is faced with the ultimate choice that decides the fate of everything.

Also, another good chance to review: the anomaly is the problem that the Architect cannot eliminate: the human tendency to make irrational choices. The systemic anomaly is the accumulation of millions of errors due to this human tendency. The integral anomaly is another name for the One, which is an encapsulation of all errors resulting from the anomaly. All are results of the fundamental flaw of choice.

So, when the Architect says that the anomaly is revealed as "both beginning and end", he is saying that the human anomaly of irrational choice - which is currently all summed up inside of Neo - comes to an end if Neo chooses the right door. The anomaly would also begin again if Neo chooses 23 individuals to form the next Zion.

Architect: But we already know what you are going to do, don't we? Already, I can see the chain reaction - the chemical precursors that signal the onset of an emotion, designed specifically to overwhelm logic and reason - an emotion that is already blinding you from the simple and obvious truth. She is going to die, and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

It is very clear how much the Architect hates human irrationality such as love. We already know this from the fact that irrationality is the whole reason the fundamental flaw of the Matrix exists. In the above quote, the Architect indicates that he does not acknowledge that love serves any positive purpose for humans - its specific purpose is to overwhelm logic and reason.

[Neo walks toward the left door.]
Architect: Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength and your greatest weakness.
Neo: If I were you, I would hope that we don't meet again.
Architect: We won't.

Amazingly, the Architect does acknowledge that hope (another form of human irrationality) has helped humans accomplish things that machines such as the Architect would otherwise consider difficult or impossible to achieve. But in this case, Neo's hope goes against astronomical odds (in fact, why would the Architect even consider it possible that Neo could infiltrate Machine City?). For this reason, it is ironic that the Architect acknowledges hope is humans' greatest strength, because that is exactly what the Oracle is learning how to do: hope. It is because of the Oracle's hope and belief that Neo will triumph over impossible odds.

And, if hope is indeed the greatest strength and greatest weakness of humans, and the Oracle has learned how to hope, it may be possible that machines have evolved to a lifeform superior to humans at the end of M3, since machines can choose to benefit from the strength of hope without being subject to the weakness of hope (you might call it "selective evolution").

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