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When Neo sees the Oracle, she tells him that he's not the One. She also told Morpheus he would find "The One" and told Trinity she would fall in love with The One.

Later Morpheus tells Neo that The Oracle told him "what [he] needed to hear." In other words, Morpheus expected the Oracle to tell Neo something that was likely not the truth. Trinity is with them when Morpheus tells him this and doesn't seem surprised to hear it. Neo has also told Trinity that the Oracle told him he was not The One.

Both Morpheus and Trinity are convinced Neo is The One and have no problem accepting that the Oracle might not have told him the truth.

Why are they so sure the Oracle told them the truth and told Neo what he needed to hear instead of it being the other way around?

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    Because Morpheus is the wise old mentor archetype. You can't fool him with a cheap ELIZA imitation. Whereas, Neo was... "cute... Not too bright though". – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 21 '12 at 7:14
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    She didn't really lie to him, though; she simply phrased it in such a way as to lead him to the wrong conclusion, and put him on a specific path. -- Oracle: Sorry kiddo. You got the gift, but it looks like you're waiting for something. Neo: What? Oracle: Your next life maybe, who knows? -- He then gets killed (he got better); so what she said was quite true.. from a certain point of view – K-H-W Feb 21 '12 at 15:04
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At the time, Neo wasn't (yet) The One. As the Oracle says, "being the One is like, like being in love." She goes on to explain it, but she doesn't tell him everything.

She tells him he's got the gift, but he's waiting on something.

When he finds what he's waiting on (self-confidence and allowing himself to believe, love, and be loved) he becomes The One.

So what the Oracle says is true...from a certain point of view.

It's worth pointing out that the Oracle has never been seen to lie. So if she told Morpheus, "You will find the One," there will be no doubt in Morpheus' mind. When the Oracle is pinned down into giving a simple answer, with no layers of meaning wrapped around it and no room for ambiguity, she is 100% accurate.

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    I'm not sure why this is tagged as the answer. It's true, but it doesn't answer the question. The question seems to be "why do they trust the oracle" as opposed to "why don't they believe that he isn't the one". – Parrotmaster Apr 2 at 8:16
  • @Parrotmaster - bolded the relevant section. They trusted the Oracle because the Oracle never lied to them. Thus, since the Oracle was unfailingly honest, they trusted that the Oracle had spoken the truth. – Jeff Apr 2 at 20:19
  • I got that part, so why don't they believe her when she tells Neo that he isn't the One? In fact, she literally says "Morpheus believes in you, Neo, and no one, not you or even me can convince him otherwise.". – Parrotmaster Apr 3 at 7:41
  • @Parrotmaster - they're familiar with how she operates. She tells the truth in ways that may not be believed, uses leading statements to help people draw conclusions (which may not be true), etc. She told Neo what he needed to hear to become The One, but he left thinking she'd said he could never be the One. – Jeff Apr 3 at 18:14
  • That quote of hers tells me otherwise. She's literally saying it isn't possible for her to change Morpheus' mind. It seems like Morpheus is blinded by his faith in her prophecy, even if it is correct. – Parrotmaster Apr 4 at 7:26
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Actually she never tells him he isn't the One. She just gets Neo to say it. She tells him just as Morpheus said what he needs to hear. Trinity doesn't seem shocked at the time because she doesn't think the Oracle told him he isn't the One. There's a scene later where she is surprised by that news. It goes back to the vase he breaks in the Oracle's kitchen. She tells him not to worry about it then he turns around trying to find it and breaks it. Then she points out that it will really mess with him when he thinks about whether he would have broken it if she hadn't said anything.

Oracle: You know what that means? It's Latin. Means 'Know thyself'. I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Being The One is just like being in love. No one can tell you you're in love, you just know it. Through and through. Balls to bones. Well, I better have a look at you. Open your mouth, say Ahhh.
Neo: Ahhh.
Oracle: Okay. Now I'm supposed to say, `Umm, that's interesting, but...' then you say...
Neo: But what?
Oracle: But you already know what I'm going to tell you.
Neo: I'm not The One.
Oracle: Sorry kiddo. You got the gift, but it looks like you're waiting for something.
Neo: What?
Oracle: Your next life maybe, who knows? That's the way these things go. What's funny?
Neo: Morpheus. He...he almost had me convinced.

The Oracle knows that you can't convince someone who doesn't believe in themselves that they are the One, so she sets Neo down the path that will make him the One.

3

Telling Neo that he was not the One as a lie may have served a specific purpose (e.g. lead him to develop).

Telling Morpheus that he would find The One when he would not served absolutely no purpose as far as the Oracle was concerned. As a note, I think that Oracle told him he would find The One, but NOT that Neo was The One.

Ditto Trinity. There is no plausible win/purpose for the Oracle to lie to her about loving The One.

  • It would have served their purpose if they went out of their way to protect Neo, thus convincing the Machines that Neo was The One, when it was really someone else and they were just a decoy. – Tango Feb 21 '12 at 7:22
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I think there was some subtle word-play going on here. Neo had his own image of what "The One" was and meant, and he was not that person. So the Oracle told him the truth - he was not his imagiation of The One.

That he was Morpheus' idea of The One is not necessarily connected.

In much the same way that Jesus was not The Messiah that many of the Jews expected, but was The Messiah that had been prophecied.

2

Maybe Morpheus isn't sure the Oracle told him the 100% factual truth. If she tells people what they need to hear, and she tells him that he will find the One, then he may conclude that it is important for him to believe that he will find the One whether or not he actually does so. He might think, for instance, that even if every candidate turns up a bust, his incursions into the Matrix will allow someone else to find the One or uncover some other weakness in the Machines. At the beginning of the film, Neo is tracking news of those very incidents, though he doesn't realize their significance just yet. Would Morpheus have dared so many missions if he wasn't sure he would find the One?

Morpheus's belief system doesn't require that the Oracle is honest. It requires her to be benevolent and, of course, to genuinely perceive the future (or predict the results of her statements with such accuracy that it might as well be seeing the future). However, he seems completely willing to act in the faith that, whatever the Oracle says, it is what he needs to hear - nothing more, nothing less.

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Just like how the Oracle says to Neo "Don't worry about the vase" than he breaks it, shortly after she says "Whats really going to bake you noodle later on is, would you still have broken it if I hadn't said anything". Things wouldn't turn out the way they did if she told him the truth. If she didn't say anything about the vase Neo wouldn't have broken it but because she did things turned out they way they did, by her telling him that he was not the "One"that let Neo develop as a person to find his own answers rather than her telling him everything.

~Stefan Bozic

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