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I wanted to know how Neo knew it was Morpheus on the phone during the scene at his job (the scene with the cubicles).

Neo knows other hackers (he knows who Trinity was before she was freed from The Matrix) so I assumed this is how he knows a Morpheus. However, he knows Morpheus by voice which is not something people do often over the computer (especially when they are hackers).

I also wanted to know how Neo knows about The Matrix. During the scene where he first meets Trinity she says that she knows what he is looking for and whispers "The Matrix".

Both these points make me feel like Neo had some things to do with The Matrix before the events of the movie. I know that he has a hunch that something isn't right but these things make it appear asif he was already doing stuff against the matrix from within before being freed.

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He's the One. of course he knows. It was inevitable. –  David Stratton Jul 7 at 5:46
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Related, if not duplicate - scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/19746/… –  Omegacron Jul 7 at 13:47

4 Answers 4

At the start of the film, Neo is fascinated by Morpheus. When we first see him, he has fallen asleep in front of his computer, which is displaying news stories and articles related to Morpheus, including a recent-looking photo of him. We know Morpheus sometimes returns to the Matrix on missions for the resistance, so probably Neo is reading about these return visits.

When Neo meets Trinity in the nightclub, she does not mention Morpheus' name, but strongly suggests she knows him, and knows Neo is looking for him:

Please. Just listen. I know why you're here, Neo. I know what you've been doing. I know why you hardly sleep, why you live alone and why, night after night, you sit at your computer. You're looking for him. I know because I was once looking for the same thing, but when he found me he told me I wasn't really looking for him. I was looking for an answer.

The next day, Neo wakes up in his apartment and goes to work. A mysterious cellphone is delivered to him, and when he picks it up someone immediately calls him on it. The caller is a male, so cannot be Trinity. The other people he knows are unlikely to contact him in such a peculiar fashion. Neo jumps to the conclusion that the caller is Morpheus, and as it turns out he is correct.

It is never explained how Neo has heard of the Matrix, but we can assume it is similar to how he knows of Morpheus and Trinity: From rumours and clues left on the Internet and in the hacker underground by Morpheus, Trinity and others in the resistance.

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It may be useful to note that he has heard of something called the Matrix. He doesn't have the first clue what it is. –  KRyan Jul 7 at 12:19
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@KRyan - agreed. In fact, in the scene you describe Trinity next asks him if he knows the question, to which he responds "What is the Matrix?". So he knows it exists, and possibly that it's important, but not what it is. –  Omegacron Jul 7 at 13:42
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You can also assume the rumor/knowledge of the Matrix has been planted by the Architect to encourage those who desire the "choice" to leave and give them the option. The unbalanced portion of a faulty equation and what not. –  WernerCD Jul 7 at 20:41

The Matrix is a simulated reality and the goal of Morpheus is to make people aware of its existence. So the community of hackers is probably the easiest to convince: they have the technical background to understand its mechanism, they are somehow at the margin of the society and avid of freedom.

We could infer that the Matrix is a sort of urban legend in the hacker community. Maybe the Matrix is not explicitly known to be a simulated reality (who would believe this?) but Morpheus is spreading some hints in order to test potential Ones. Neo, being the One, has probably been attracted by these bits of informations.

As well, Neo most likely does not know Morpheus' voice, but is leaded to Morpheus by several hint (the white rabbit, Trinity,...). So he (rightfully) believes he is speaking to Morpheus.

Don't forget that Matrix, beside being a story about choice, is also a story about faith.

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It's also a story about a false prophecy planted by the Architect. A way to balance the equation. There needs to be dissemination of the truth to get those who "chose" out of the matrix lest it destabilize. –  WernerCD Jul 7 at 20:44

How does Neo know about the Matrix?

Morpheus: You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?

Neo: The Matrix.

Neo didn't know what it was called initially, but was driven to find out. It seems all he learned was the name, and that Morpheus knew the answers. This information was likely planted online by Morpheus himself to attract Neo (and other potentials) to him. He couldn't be more explicit as that would attract attention from Agents.

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These were no more than past-time readings for Neo. He was not actually acquainted with Morpheus and neither did he know about The Matrix. Even if he did know them, it was as someone related to a hacker, not a leader of Resistance.

It actually depends on what you want to believe.

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