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Who is Neo, anyway..?

Warning: This discusses major plot points in The Matrix Reloaded, so if you haven't seen it and don't want to ruin it for yourself, don't read on. </Warning>

I've been looking around this big internet of ours, and there's been a lot of discussion of The Matrix Reloaded. One of the coolest things about the movie, I think, is that what's "really" going on is by no means cut and dry. The whole world is sort of based on lies, so it just depends on where the lies stop. Pretty much all the theories I've read about it are quite plausible. I've got one that I haven't seen anywhere else, so as a service to y'all, I'm posting it here.

Obviously something fishy is going on beyond what we've heard about the nature of the Matrix. Just to cover our bases, let's do a quick rundown of what we've been told about the world. Life as most humans experience it is a computer-sustained illusionary world known to those outside of it as "the Matrix." This is done to keep the humans relatively docile whilst harvesting energy from them. Ignoring the fact, for now at least, that human metabolism is pretty darn inefficient (glossed over by being "combined with a form of fusion"), the machine masters operate off this energy. The real world is reduced to a wasteland with only one human settlement, Zion, near the Earth's core. The machines run things, while the humans in Zion fight against them, trying to free minds from the Matrix.

That's the skinny. I see two major plot points in the movie that seem to question that reality: Smith entering Bane and thus coming into the real world, and Neo stopping the sentinels in their tracks. Let's take these one at a time. First, though, what everyone else seems to be saying.. I've heard lots of explanations saying that "the real world" is just another layer of the Matrix, that the machines have duped Zion on a whole other level and given them a world of utmost suffering to satisfy their need to define their world thus. Variations on this include that there are several layers of Matrices (sometimes six, which I believe is erroneously based upon the fact that Neo is the sixth One), and even the idea that the whole human-battery thing is a ruse for as-yet unknown reasons. Maybe there are ultimately humans at the helm, and the machines being in charge is also a ruse. These things all seem fairly plausible. A point of note, though, is that it's probably not going to be anything too far out there, because they only have one more movie to wrap this up, which begs the question: Will they wrap it up in the next movie? Will we have all the answers? Personally, I'd be secretly satisfied if not all the questions were answered in the end.

Anyway, Bane is the guy who Smith cloned himself into, and then re-awoke in the real world. Some use that as proof that Zion is actually in a Matrix. I think that's mostly bunk. Obviously, the machines (or whoever is in charge) have figured out a way to address a human mind as an input/output and storage device. It doesn't seem unlikely that a program in this world (Smith, for example) could either overwrite or overpower a human's mind. Also, Smith has shown himself to be a pretty extraordinary program, so doing an extraordinary thing such as controlling a real person in the real world doesn't sound entirely outlandish.

Toward the end of the movie, when some sentinels toss an explosive at the Nebuchadnezzar, Neo somehow knows what they're doing, warns the crew and averts most of a disaster, minus one hovercraft. Odd.. It really becomes odd when Neo suddenly thinks he can go toe to toe with these sentinels, and does so rather successfully. I want to point something out here. Many people seem to think that Neo shot electricity at them to stop them. On closer look at the scene, it becomes pretty apparent that Neo just stopped them, and the force of their stop was like hitting a wall, causing them to become damaged and throw sparks, being machines. Now here's the stumper.. Neo was able to do something in the real world just like in the Matrix. First he knew what they were doing, then he was able to stop them with his mind, ala bullets being fired at him.

I think this sequence is the biggest support for Zion being in the Matrix, and then all the multi-layer Matrix theories. I do think those theories hold water, but I wanted to come up with something else plausible. I figure the Wachowski's have something unexpected in mind, so I tried to veer away from what most people are thinking.

Neo is definitely special. First off, he's the One. Second, he's special, even among those who have been the One. Even the Merovingian seems pretty impressed, even though he says he's encountered Neo's predecessors. We also know that Neo is intimately aware of and connected to the Matrix. Is it possible that that connection extends into the real world? Hmm, a bit like Smith now being connected to the real world, and still being himself in the Matrix. Smith establishes that the duality is possible, but it's definitely different for the two characters. The point I'm trying to make is perhaps Neo still has influence on the Matrix world when he is in the real world. The Matrix is certainly connected to the systems that control the sentinels, and other real-world machines. If not the same system, they are at least peers on a network that exists in the real world of Zion. So perhaps Neo is somehow hacking into the real world, by way of the Matrix?

I think the other theories out there are quite possible, and more probable actually, but I'm a bit more satisfied by this explanation. I don't like the idea of Matrix upon Matrix that Zion being in the Matrix lets loose. I think this idea is solid, though. Thoughts? Lemme know. And as always, feel free to make fun of my punctuation and grammar.