It seems as if war/death/etc is just as common in the Matrix as it is in real life outside of the movie. When someone dies in the Matrix, they die in their pod, do they not? = Loss of a battery. That is a whole lot of wasted batteries. Why do the machines allow a world with so much death?

  • 9
    There is no war inside the Matrix, as far as I'm aware. There are certainly a vanishingly small number of terrorists, but that's not the same thing
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 8:17
  • 6
    then why the military helicopter and military complex? this means there is war. the world in the matrix (1990's) looks just like the real 1990's. Guns and gangs and drugs to boot. Why would the machines allow this?
    – user113769
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 8:25
  • 4
    user113769 Because active military defense is one of the ways you prevent wars.
    – Misha R
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 14:55
  • 5
    Death is "allowed" in the Matrix because, simply, the Matrix is meant to be like the real world. It has gravity, sound, pain, heat, light, etc etc just like the real world. Obviously if there was a massive change ("all of a sudden, nobody's dying!") it would be obvious something weird is going on.
    – Fattie
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 16:16
  • 5
    "It seems as if war/death/etc is just as common in the Matrix as it is in real life outside", what do you mean "outside"? When have you been outside? Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 10:28

5 Answers 5


People wear out

Bodies are bodies; they decline after a certain age and eventually fail for some reason or another. The machines can't change that, and given humans' relatively fecund nature, they have no driving reason to.

Maybe being sealed into a support coffin slightly lowers life expectancy. Maybe is increases it. But the humans are going to die eventually no matter what.

To run with the battery analogy, batteries wear out. After some number of recharges, their ability to hold a charge gets less, and your four-year-old cell phone has half the battery life that it had when new. Time to recycle!

People would notice, and be bothered by, the lack of death

The architect describes the Paradise Matrix:

[it] simulated a perfect world with no suffering to try to pacify their minds, but the human minds did not accept this version. Many of those connected died, and a Nightmare Matrix was designed in its place that tried to correct its flaws.

Accordingly, even if there was no need for War, the Nightmare Matrix that we see must have War, and Famine, and Conquest, and especially Death. Humans would notice. Humans would be uneasy. Humans would fail.

Men... Men are weak.

  • The analogy to batteries doesn't fit that well, because a) the machines do feed the humans with nutritients (which of course doesn't make sense), so they act more like a fuel cell than a battery b) biological systems are in principle able to self-repair almost indefinitely, only, most lifeforms don't do that because it's actually an evolutionary advantage if you die at some point. Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 12:55
  • 1
    @leftaroundabout true, but the machines have zero reason to correct that evolutionary advantage. But I like the fuel cell analogy... And I've seen estimates that fuel cells last 5k-10k hours before wearing out :)
    – gowenfawr
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 13:45
  • 1
    @Luaan how would you lose an arm whilst strapped in a sheltering hive? Biological systems self-repair all the time on the micro-level – yes, in part by simply killing off and replacing damaged cells, about which the human doesn't notice anything. As I said, whether or not a system actually does that depends on whether it's evolutionary advantageous. My point was that the wearing out of humans isn't at all analogous to the wearing out of batteries. Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 7:59
  • 2
    @leftaroundabout well, it suggests more affinity of human==battery. It extends the batteries life, just as good nutrition and avoiding smoking prolongs the average human's life. But both of them degrade over time, despite self-repair, and so must be decommissioned and replaced.
    – gowenfawr
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 11:55
  • 1
    Actually the entire battery thing in the matrix is complete garbage. We are as reliant on light as the machines would be--we don't create energy out of thin air, we consume energy placed into the food chain by plants. Non-plants cannot produce energy any more than the machines can, eventually you have to bring new energy into the system and that, for the most part, only comes from photosynthesis. Loved the movies but that's always bugged me, trying to analyze the battery thing much beyond the abstract levels in the movie is going to lead to disappointment.
    – Bill K
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 16:43

The first matrix did not allow that.

First quote is from Smith, second from Architect.

Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world where none suffered, where everyone would be happy? It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost. Some believed that we lacked the programming language to describe your "perfect world". But I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through misery and suffering. So the perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from.

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.

However, since large number of batteries rejected the program, it was redesigned not to be perfect.

The inevitability of its doom is apparent to me now as a consequence of the imperfection inherent in every human being. Thus I redesigned it, based on your history, to more accurately reflect the varying grotesqueries of your nature.

Human nature, according to the architect, has grotesqueries that includes war and loss. After his approach failed, the Oracle was created to better understand human nature. However, even the Oracle did not remove war and loss. While there is no direct quotation to support it, it is immediately deducible that Oracle find these aspects useful as well.

Long story short, Matrix was redesigned in a way that most of the batteries accepted the program. Loss of a few crops was acceptable as long as the majority did not revolt against it.

  • Plus, what's to stop there being a second layer to the Matrix: If you die in the Matrix-proper (i.e. a Machine pod, not a Resistance jack-in chair), perhaps you are instead shunted to a "hellscape". Everyone in the main Matrix thinks you're dead. You think you're dead. The machine still get their harvest. Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 10:09

While the other two answers correctly address the point about the need for an "imperfect" world stated in the movies, I think there might be a different approach related to your question: you say that dying in the Matrix means dying in the real world...

It's true the other way around, too

The machines need to consume humans to live; this means disconnecting them from the Matrix and swallowing them whole (as shown in one scene in the first movie I believe); this means killing them both in the real world AND inside the Matrix.

So, when the machines need energy, they need to disconnect as much humans as needed. They just "translate" it to the Matrix as those humans dying by whatever means necessary.

Having a perfect world where no one suffers doesn't necessarily means no one dies. It might just mean everybody gets whatever they want whenever they want it, or maybe when someone died they were just replaced by someone else. With an imperfect world, you have just more normal, natural ways of dying. Need a battery? Make someone sick or have an accident or just old. Need thousands of batteries? Cause a war or a terrorist attack here and there and cover your real worlds needs inside the simulation.

  • 22
    I think you've misunderstood. The machines don't "eat" the human dead, they liquify them to make food for other humans.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 17:47
  • @Valorum ewwww. Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 21:36
  • 1
    @marcellothearcane - It's still better than eating a burger you bought at a flea market.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 17, 2019 at 7:03

"The problem is choice..."

The occurrence of death, or even the choice of death gives the human batteries the impression that they do not have to live in the Matrix if they wish to leave. If they jumped off of skyscrapers and bounced back up from the ground, unable to pass, they would reject the program, knowing they are trapped in some immutable prison beyond their control or will.


They do not die

This is a concept I've been thinking about regarding a sequel to the series.

In the Matrix, Neo learns how to manipulate the matrix around him because it is not actually real, now in one specific scene..

In one specific scene, Neo uses the power of the matrix while he is outside the matrix, He stops a robot from exploding and killing the 3 of them.

When he stops the Sentinels, he collapses to the ground and the scene ends. In the next scene he wakes up in a hospital type bed. However nothing is ever said about the fact that he can use the power outside the matrix.

This only has one conclusion in my opinion,

They never made it out of the matrix in the first place, They're still in the matrix, A matrix inside a matrix..

The fact that this is never addressed in the movie again, and he never uses the power outside the matrix ever again tells me that maybe the writer left an opening for a script that was never written.

This means, the battery's and pod's (people) are actually inside a matrix, The people and battery's are also in another matrix!

It is a quarantine for the matrix, therefore I don't believe they ever do die at all!

  • 3
    Even if we accept your hypothesis, I'm not sure how it answers the question, since it just changes it to why people are allowed to die in this second matrix instead. Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 6:41
  • It is not a hypothesis, it happens in the second film.... The matrix that you are referring to is just a matrix inside the matrix, therefore you can not say that the machine actually consumes them, they're just a digital representation... Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 7:05
  • 2
    -1 People do get sick and can die in the Matrix. Also, your Matrix-within-a-Matrix hypothesis is wrong, and Neo's ability to destroy the Sentinels in the Real World actually is explained by the Oracle. Even if your hypothesis was correct it wouldn't answer the question.
    – Null
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 12:10
  • How is it explained by the Oracle ? ... What did she say ? Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 13:27
  • 2
    @GadgetGuru She says "The power of the One extends beyond this world". Since Neo was designed by the Machines to be a candidate to become the One, it is entirely possible that his Jack has some form of Wireless functionality, so that they could monitor the 'freed' humans, and provide guidance and insight to help him set up the new Zion in the next cycle. Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 10:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.