6

As a 'sell' for exiting the Matrix, Morpheus gives Neo an inspirational speech about how we have free will.

Morpheus: .. Do you believe in fate, Neo?
Neo: No.
Morpheus: Why not?
Neo: Because I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my life.
Morpheus: I know exactly what you mean. ..

Yet it seems the freed humans don't really know what to do unless prompted by a prophecy from the Oracle.

Later in Matrix Reloaded, when arguing with the other captains about whether to stay on trying to locate the Oracle, Morpheus then gives a 'flip-side' speech about how their doubts in his belief of the prophecies of the Oracle does not sway him to their point of view.

Belief in a prophecy is effectively a belief in the fate predicted by that prophecy. It stands to reason that if the freed humans have free will, the prophecies would be meaningless. If the prophecy is true, it suggests that humans are merely slaves to that fate and any 'free will' is an illusion.

Did I miss something, or is this a plot-hole?

  • 2
    Sorry but I have to vote to close this as it's much more of a philosophical discussion than a question with a knowable answer. – user14002 Jun 11 '13 at 13:57
  • 3
    Why do you presume that Morpheus agrees with Neo regarding fate? As you pointed out: it is part of the "sell," and Morpheus is feeding back what Neo wants in order to get him to commit. – horatio Jun 11 '13 at 15:18
  • @horatio exactly. Morpheus knows what Neo is talking about, and has experienced it before. BUT, he has changed his attitude. all he is saying is that he understands what Neo feels. – acolyte Jun 11 '13 at 20:44
  • They go there to know thyselves. They are not forced to accept anything; it is just knowing themselves better. And they are not forced to go, they can choose to go. – n611x007 Jun 12 '13 at 21:18
  • Definietly not a plot-hole, it's vica-versa. It's by design. Neo directly asks her in Reloaded: how could I trust you? If you already know [what am I going to choose], how can I make a choice? – n611x007 Jun 12 '13 at 21:18
10

I'm not sure if this will answer your question, but let's look at what we know about The Oracle from the sequels.

SPOILERS BELOW


First, we know that she was created to understand the human psyche. So her predictions aren't necessarily "fate". If a scientist uses a theory to accurately predict the outcome of an experiment, it's not fate, but science. I believe that The Oracle's ability is of this nature.

Second, such prediction doesn't necessarily mean they have no free will. This is a classic philosophical dilemma that has had much ink spilled over it. It would take far too much time to go over here.

A third point to bring up is when Morpheus says "there's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path." This, perhaps, is is the part where Morpheus' desire to free will comes into play. He knows the path (predicted), but walking the path exercises his free will.

Finally, we have this excellent quote from The Oracle which I believe speaks for itself. "Because you didn't come here to make the choice. You already made it. You're here to try to understand why you made it."

But Morpheus and Neo don't know she's one of the Machines. So, why did they go to her? I've only got speculation, but I speculate that Morpheus went to her for help and was probably desperate for an edge in the war against the Machines. Neo, on the other hand, is a bit different. He doesn't necessarily buy her story. She says it of him herself "as soon as you walk out that door, you're going to remember that you don't believe in any of this fate crap. You're in charge of your own life." Neo later perhaps starts to believe her when he realizes they have to kill Morpheus in order to protect Zion "The Oracle said this would happen." I'm not sure whether his mission to save Morpheus was a result of his wanting to defy fate or his belief in what the Oracle said that he would be able to save Morpheus, but at the cost of his own life.

I hope this gives you some information even if it doesn't fully answer your question.

  • 6
    I think the better question, rather than that which you posed at the end of your answer, would be whether Trinity knows Neo's the One because she loves him, or if she loves him because the Oracle said she'd fall for the One. – acolyte Jun 11 '13 at 20:48
  • @acolyte: Ooh! That's a good one! – Megacannon Jun 11 '13 at 21:31
  • @acolyte Side point: Unless the Oracle said Trinity would only fall in love once, I always thought her prediction was ..vague about whether it would be the 1st person she fell in love with.. I specifically did not mention Trinity because I thought her prediction was neither here nor there. And on a side note: perhaps Cypher knew her prediction and was hoping that she would eventually fall in love with him, proving him to be The One. ;) Good for (pure) speculation is what the Oracle told Cypher e.g. "You will betray your team and try to re-enter the Matrix - it will not go well!" – Andrew Thompson Jun 12 '13 at 5:56
  • 2
    @AndrewThompson what if the Oracle doesn't tell the future at all. She's a program designed to understand how humans work, how they think, how to better keep their minds happy. She knows humanity. She knows what makes our brains tick. And she knows how to manipulate us. Her 'predictions" aren't predicitions or prophesies, as much as they're pushes. She doesn't know Morpheus will find the one, but knows he wishes to. telling him he'll find Neo makes it so that he believes enough to see it through. She knows trinity will be attracted to power, and says she'll fall for the one. – acolyte Jun 12 '13 at 13:14
  • 1
    SPOILER In Reloaded and there on, Neo knows that the Oracle is a machine. From some time before Reloaded he suspects it. – n611x007 Jun 12 '13 at 21:15
1

Just because you listen to advise from someone does not mean you have no free will...
So there is no contradiction here. Supposedly you have free will, yet you ask us here for advise, don't you? And you probably listen to what others tell you and base your decisions on all the pieces of information you get from those various sources.
That's how you should see the Oracle as well. Not as an unquestionable authority but as a source of wisdom who's predictions/statements/advise have over time been found to best be taken seriously.
IOW not dissimilar to a mother or grandmother (it's no surprise she's portrayed as just that, an elderly mother figure, even a caricature of one).

  • "Supposedly you have free will" No. IMO 'free will' is a delusion. You may not know (what you are going to do) / (the choices you are going to make) tomorrow, or perhaps even in 10 minutes, yet they are still inevitable. +1 for your answer though. – Andrew Thompson Jun 12 '13 at 16:56
  • BTW - By 'delusion' I actually meant (or at least should have written) 'illusion'. – Andrew Thompson Jun 12 '13 at 17:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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