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What I mean by that is Neo wasn't the only one to have the potential to become the One. In The Matrix, we see that some children already possess powers.

And if the machines need this prime program at a precise moment, why give it to a human to carry and then disseminate? Why not just keep it on a hard drive and use the program when it is time to reset the Matrix?

That is why it is my general belief that Neo's prime program is self-generated by his life experience and the amount of knowledge and elements he learns through his journey.

It even makes sense, given the fact that all the other Ones chose the door to the Source; they basically repeated the cycle, because their experience toward humanity and LOVE was very generalistic. Neo's experience, as the Architect so elegantly put it, is "far more specific vis-à-vis love". That is what separates him from the others; it is what makes him choose the other door.

Then there is the dissemination of the code, which is also different. The arrival of an enemy like Smith, which threatens the machines and the humans. Neo can break a truce, even a peace accord, should he defeat Smith.

Now there are two elements that need to be taken into account for this last part:

  • Neo, when first destroying Smith, left an impression on him, quite literally (see Smith's speech in The Matrix Reloaded, before the fight between him and Neo, after Neo talked to the Oracle).

  • At the time of the last fight, Smith had absorbed everyone in the Matrix.

Hence the ending. Neo let himself be absorbed, i.e. his code joined the network created by Smith, which in this case equalled everyone in the Matrix. Hence the dissemination of Neo's prime program, which is different from others due to love, changing the usual reset of the Matrix for two reasons: the prime program is different, and Neo broke a peace accord right before.

None of that would make any sense if Neo's prime program was a static code, or a program given to him by the machines. I mean, the biggest plot hole would be why give him the code in the first place? Why not just keep it and use it when needed?

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What I mean by that is Neo wasn't the only one to have the potential to become the One. In The Matrix, we see that some children already possess powers.

It's clear that they exhibit powers, and that the hackers aren't sure whether they are The One or not--but I'm not aware of anything that unambiguously clarifies that any of these children can be The One.

I'm not not sure I disagree, but I'm also not sure how we can distinguish between someone ~randomly becoming The Anomaly, and The Anomaly always being the same person.

And if the machines need this prime program at a precise moment, why give it to a human to carry and then disseminate? Why not just keep it on a hard drive and use the program when it is time to reset the Matrix?

I doubt there's a satisfying answer to this, but I don't think there is a specific moment where the machines need the prime program. I read the films as suggesting this as circling back to the problems of choice, and of subconscious consent. Choice is the problem--and for it to exist, someone has to be able to make the choice the machines are engineering against.

In the timeline we're shown the machines do need Neo, but that's because of Smith--and Smith only exists in his current condition ~because of what happens to his program after Neo "destroys him in the first film. (I'm basing this somewhat on the scene after Neo's fight with the "upgrades" earlier in the second film, where Smith tells himself that it's happening just as before--with a knowing look that signals that the Smith copy is the exception. Also on the fact that the machines have no apparent countermeasure for this happening to Smith.) There is presumably still the "escalating probability" problem, but I don't recall anything that clarifies when/where/why that would finally become a problem for the machines.

That is why it is my general belief that Neo's prime program is self-generated by his life experience and the amount of knowledge and elements he learns through his journey.

I don't think there's anything to unambiguously decide this one way or another. My personal inclination is to say that we have to "trust" the monitors that the architect shows us--that when the previous-Neos respond, he is showing us past-realities and not a metaphorical abstraction to make sure Neo is smrt enough to recognize "himself". This isn't the same as thinking it's implausible that it's working this way. Just that I see that as being on the other side of a decision razor based on what the Wachowskis elected to actually show us...

It even makes sense, given the fact that all the other Ones chose the door to the Source; they basically repeated the cycle, because their experience toward humanity and LOVE was very generalistic. Neo's experience, as the Architect so elegantly put it, is "far more specific vis-à-vis love". That is what separates him from the others; it is what makes him choose the other door.

Note that the Oracle plays a role in this. She tells Trinity that she'll fall in love with The One. Given this, I'm not sure there's any clear evidence that the distinction between iterations must lie outside of the Matrix.

Then there is the dissemination of the code which is also different. The arrival of an enemy like Smith, which threatens the machines and the humans neo can break a truce even a peace accord should he defeat Smith.

Now there is two-element that needs to be taken in account for this last part:

Neo, when first destroying Smith, left an impression on him, quite literally (see the speech of smith in The Matrix reloaded, before the fight between him and Neo, after Neo talked to the Oracle.) At the time of the last fight, Smith has absorbed everyone in the Matrix. Hence the ending; Neo let himself be absorbed, i.e. his code joined the network created by Smith, which in this case equalled everyone in the Matrix, hence the dissemination of Neo's prime program, which is different from others due to love, changing the usual reset of the Matrix for two reasons: the prime program is different, and Neo broke a peace accord right before.

I'm not sure this holds (or is the difference). This Neo chose to return to the Matrix instead of to the source. It isn't a given that Smith absorbing him is the same as disseminating his prime program. It's also not a given that his prime program is at all changed by love. (And I guess this clarifies that either Neo's prime program does not actually prescribe the whole "choose 23..." bit, or that this doesn't trigger its dissemination).

None of that would make any sense if Neo's prime program was a static code, or a program given to him by the machines.

I've weighed this a bit, but I'm not really sure. "A static code" very much fits how most people thought of code when the movies were released, but the oracle does ambiguously refer to programs "breaking down", which implies that either their code, storage, or hardware is subject to some kind of change or entropy. I've never quite known what to make of this statement in context. I've assumed it's vaguely metaphorical, but I'm also unhappy with that as a conclusion.

I mean, the biggest plot whole would be why give him the code in the first place; why not just keep it and use it when needed?

Not that this isn't a fair question, or that I personally find this answer satisfying, but in-universe I think it is: they give it because Neo has to make a choice.

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    I always thought that "matrix resetting code" was in the cookie that Oracle had given him during the first meeting. She gives it to every potential "The One". Whether it gets realized or not depends on the person, whether the person is the one or is not the one. We see that cakes that programs bake can have immediate effect on humans (infamous restaurant scene with the blonde and Merovingian).
    – jo1storm
    Oct 18 at 7:06
  • The reset code being contained in the cookie would fit with the Oracle's comment to the child program that "cookies need love", if we accept that the prime's experience of love is connected with his activation. Oct 18 at 10:41
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I don't like the language - unnecessarily pretentious - but it is rather clear what The Architect said in the conversation he and Neo had.

Basically, Neo is THE Anomaly of the Matrix, the other side of the equation. He, as The One, is the necessary part of the core of the operating system. If I understand the logic, he's the "materialization" of the choice of every blue-pilled human in the Matrix (something along the line of Humanity's Champion). Since it is his main function, he's one of the fundamental parts of The Core of The Matrix. Again - he's the "remainder of an unbalanced equation". As the name implies, the equation must balance itself, somewhere along those lines:

The One + Zion + Humanity Enslaved in Matrix = The Machines + The Matrix Code + Programs (Agents, etc)

The problem with Neo as The One is that he is not the COMPLETE anomaly. In his specific instance it goes like this:

(Neo+Trinity) + Zion + HEiM = TM + TMC + P

Now, the question is: does Neo BECOME The One, or he IS The One? In my opinion, Neo is The One, which means that his experiences are the result of him being The Anomaly. It then follows that he's either chosen on random or it is linked to his genome in some way? Latter would explain why previous iterations of The One are looking like Neo, but then again, it is not definitive.

So, to answer your question: Neo's code is self-generated, but it is so due to him being designated The One. Neo is a definite "improvement" over "his predecessors", as acknowledged by VIP(rogram)s like the Merovingian or the Architect, which in turn means that he can go outside the basic parameters, so to speak.

For a full breakdown of the mentioned scene see, for example, here.

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  • 'The One' is the result of altering the Matrix to include everyone having a choice for accepting or not accepting being 'matrixed', which includes Neo. This is not to be confused with Neo's 'choice' of "saving mankind" or not, but it is why the choice is up to him and not a computer; it would brick the Matrix just like previous versions.
    – Mazura
    Oct 20 at 0:03
  • @Mazura Nicely put, thank you.
    – AcePL
    Oct 20 at 5:43

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