This question is partly derived from this question: Why don’t humans back up their minds when they enter the Matrix? The problem in my idea in this question was that the brain receives feelings via the connections, and it is not itself uploaded to the Matrix.

This is my idea: You usually learn that guns propel bullets at you which will probably hurt you at an early stage. But what happens if you never learned about guns, thus have no knowledge of their destructive force?

If the data from the Matrix to your brain is manipulated so that every gun could only shoot fluffy white balls which don't hurt you (according to your brain), your brain doesn't have the information to convince you that it is not normal. (Same goes for knives, swords etc.) If that is possible, you are invincible, because you see only white fluffy balls targeting you (according to the manipulated data which comes from the Matrix to your brain) or something similar for swords, and your brain is fully convinced by that, because it has never experienced anything else.

Would that be possible? If yes, why don't the humans use something like that?

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    I believe such a “hack” is impossible in the Matrix. Even the programs themselves have to play by the physics engine rules. Sure, they can “bend” or “break” some of them, but neither Smith nor the Merovingian nor anybody else is seen modifying the physical properties of the virtual objects. Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 13:24
  • Well, but all the bullets are only "data". I am not modifying physical rules, I am simply replacing data which comes from the matrix with my own data.
    – arc_lupus
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 13:37
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    Just because I don't know that Photoshop can't turn someone in the picture around to face the camera doesn't mean that it automatically can. The bullet program will still do what it's programmed to, regardless of what UI your mind attributes to it.
    – Roger
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 14:41
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    @ArturoTorresSánchez - Merovingian clearly modified the properties of the cake slice :) Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 17:30

1 Answer 1


Humans tied into the Matrix are bound by the choice to accept the program - the Matrix Reloaded explains this, during the Architect speech.

This doesn't mean that the individual needs to be aware of what actually happens to them under all circumstances; it just means that they accept whatever changes the Matrix tries to affect.

One common thing that we do today with computer programs of all sorts is to separate the data from the things that change or work with the data. So in the Matrix, humans may be regarded as something like a "model" - just a dataset which the Matrix code can work with via innumerable controllers*. These controllers work on the data to affect it, or things around it. The "model" doesn't need to understand those changes; they just update with new stats, like a video game.

This is why a human doesn't need to "understand" the physics of being shot or falling off a roof to be injured. The Matrix acts on that body, and because the individual has already accepted the program, they don't even realize that they could choose to simply fly away, or reject the bullet. Whereas an individual who's been pulled out, realized the truth within themselves, and maybe even turns out to be The One, can not only reject the controllers that try to act on them, but exercise their own will in place of a controller to cause effects of their own!

  • edit -- I'm not suggesting that the humans are plain old stupid data - otherwise they'd slump over and die the minute they were released. I just mean to say that the Matrix can modify them in a similar fashion. It's not a perfect analogy, but I think it holds.
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    I was tempted to downvote this for forcing everyone to use the tired old Model-View-Controller pattern, but then remembered we aren't on StackOverflow :) Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 17:31
  • Well you're not entirely wrong :D If the Matrix were anything like a video game, it's probable that MVC would NOT be the preferred structure - at the very least, we know that humans have their own view data (as RSIs from the first movie) and arguably they 'know' their fair share of controller-like methods (in spite of the Merovingian's commentary). Still, I think the analogy holds on the surface anyway; it isn't as if Neo would be expected to monkeypatch every bullet he halts, right?
    – Stick
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 17:58

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