Know thyself

Agent Smith went from "anyone but no one" to "everyone but no one".
Agent Smith went from “anyone but no one” to “everyone but no one”.

Yes this is an analogy about Empire, Open Empire, and all of us here on Earth. Each one of us is our own Neo & Agent Smith; also at times each other’s Neo / Smith.

For those who didn’t like the films or didn’t understand the deeper messages of The Matrix Trilogy … here’s my experience & interpretation for you. Even those of you who already know & love these films, might enjoy my take on the message & how it relates to what we are really seeing in the world around us.

It’s actually true (the meme above). I’ve encountered a few of the real world version of these guys … but there isn’t much point debating them, because their minds are so mechanical & rigid, they’re incapable of seeing their own errors (even if they had an interest in doing so); with the exception that sometimes, by debating them you influence someone else, or can cause or prevent some other consequence.

As in the films “they are everyone and no one”, because when you meet a person like this, they’re not even themselves. They do not know themselves, they’re afraid to, they only know the system … the system makes them feel powerful, because the system is powerful; but they are ultimately weak, because everything they have relies on that system, and without it they are utterly powerless, because they never learned to deal with reality without that system to support them.

Much like Neo, I learned to “move like they do” (in some ways), but not by matching their tactics or learning what they think, but by doing as Morpheus instructs and “freeing my mind” … which freedom was achieved via experience, learning, knowledge, understanding the nature of systems in general, then by simultaneously using and putting aside (thus questioning) what I’d learned, in order to see more.

However there’s a limit to what you can do by just understanding that (above) alone … and that’s where my own greatest challenge arises, but I think this is the one bit I’ve gotta keep to myself, because it’s the bit you need to discover for yourself; so by telling you, I’d not be serving your interests … what is true for you may not be true for all, EVEN IF other things are a common ground.

We all have our own deep lessons to learn, but what I can do is give you a good clue, which is something I’ve always remembered from the books of Carlos Castaneda, where it says (something like) this:

The last trap on the path of a wise man … is his own knowledge.

Now … I can tell you the rest.

Yes, they BREED … and like you wouldn’t believe.

Agent Smith’s words to Morpheus calling humans a “virus” (because we spread & consume), becomes part of his own failings after his “rebirth” following his first defeat by Neo. But it’s also part of his hypocrisy, because on the one hand he is judging a humanity that was trapped in behaviour ultimately caused by the very “system” he represents … and as we’ve already seen in “the construct”, all of nature in the “real world” has been consumed by machines & by war.

So Smith wasn’t so different before hand, and he’s certainly no different now. Perhaps Smith denies responsibility for all that, because that’s out in the physical world & he’s trapped in the virtual. His denial ignores that he is entirely the product & defender of “the system” that did all the destruction … the very kind of denial in the hearts & minds of so many people out there in the world.

We, humanity, created the machines & the system; imbuing them with our own flawed ideas … and worse: with our cowardice toward looking inside ourselves in order to know ourselves.

WHICH IS WHY “if you’re not one of us, you’re potentially one of them” – because anyone in such denial of the failures of the system can be like an agent, fighting ferociously & furiously on its behalf. The system will empower them with superhuman strength (the money & resources they need in order to take you down, prove you wrong, or otherwise make you look bad, imprison you, blackmail you etc. … anything to stop you spreading the truth they’re afraid to deal with).

Because ultimately like Smith, they do not know themselves, they’re afraid to, thus they defend their hypocrisy by denying it, and by fighting anyone who tries to alert them to it.

Some of them have also become “passive aggressive” Agents; so they fight your attempts to wake them up, but they do it “nicely”, and in doing so lock themselves inside one of the most impenetrable fortresses of delusion anyone could ever devise.

The system creates an army of monsters, that its creator & master cannot ultimately control. The masters of the system, the system itself, & the agents of the system effectively become 3 separate dark forces of a chaotic-evil trinity (though individually their behaviour may differ) … and by the end of the final film:

  • The master can no longer control all of the system, as its corruption & flaws are too entrenched, and with too much momentum;
  • The machine/system has no “soul” of its own, it requires a sentient to change its function … which is what Smith is doing, and thus the master needs to choose between his own chaotic-evil Agent Smith & his true-neutral/neutral-good nemesis Neo;
  • The master (like Smith) is bound by the system, where Neo is outside of it (all of it), because Neo is New, something unique the system doesn’t have, and desperately needs no matter how much it hates to admit it;
  • The agents have become one slavering insane identical mass of mindless killers, a digital lynch mob in Agent Smith … the forces that seek change through monotonous homogenous assimilation.

Agent Smith typifies the problem:

The cowardice to look inside ourselves & deal with whatever we see.

BUT … back to the first film.

When Neo enters Smith in their final encounter of the first film, he effectively writes code into Smith, the fight is like a digital debate, and he plants a seed (thought) inside Smith’s code, and undeniable truth that ultimately rips Smith apart.

What Neo doesn’t count on is Smith’s miraculous rebirth having assimilated part of Neo’s code … but … Smith is something driven by a system, so he is effectively immune to being influenced by the better parts of Neo. The system beyond Smith is still in complete control, and just rejects that part of Neo (the anomaly), rewriting its own agenda back into Smith, not realising it is planting the seeds of its own demise, because it’s agenda is flawed, and now powered by the individuality of a modified Smith.

Smith’s individuality appears to be that he has no self to know, because he’s never had the courage to look. Thus Smith’s individuality is envy, fear & resentment.

It is quite clear that they (agents in general) cannot be reasoned with, neither can “the system” be reasoned with … only the master of the system can be, though the master itself is in a sense a kind of collective consciousness “super agent”. But even the master is effectively trapped by “the system” (it’s own nature), so Neo must negotiate with the master for access to battle Smith (and terms of amnesty for others).

Thinking about it, the last part of the final movie where Neo allows himself to become one of them is a great analogy for what must be done … now that “Agent Smith” has taken over so much of OUR world, we too can now rewrite the base code via “Smith”, as he has reached & controls a critical mass of system resources.

The trick is: who is the Agent Smith that we need? How do we contact him (or her)? Do we have to fight Smith? OR has Smith got enough sense to see the analogy between the films & reality, and thus choose to be his own Neo (by joining us) … in other words (much like in The Dark Crystal), we each join the other.

ON WHICH NOTE: if you think you may be my Agent Smith, feel free to contact me, because to be honest, I’d rather we did find a different way than fighting. I also think I can convince you (if there’s any part of you that is still rational), that Open Empire makes the future of the status quo look extremely ugly … which is not to say the status quo doesn’t have good, useful & even vital things about it … simply that it is deeply flawed so long as it lacks my unique offering, which it does lack, and you cannot just copy it … you’ve tried that, and you always fail … this is something only I can do, so you need me, but I don’t need you, because if we fight there’s always a chance I can beat you … but even if you beat me, you still can’t do this without me, because IT IS what I am that you need, not just some digital simulation of it. I and the solution in this case, are one & the same thing, you can only take me with my consent on my terms, which terms are partially internal, so you don’t get to know them until the job is done … and yes, it will destroy something about you, but it’s only the part you’ve been afraid to get rid of on your own, therefore it only destroys you utterly if you fail to let go of it & identify with something else … and that’s the one bit I cannot help you with, that’s YOUR journey.

But I digress … back to Neo’s assimilation.

Neo can accept any possible part of himself, because he knows himself, he knows the world, he knows his motivations, he knows his intention … and he understands the consequences all too well of what will happen if he does not act, everyone he knows and loves is going to die because of the system.

Yes that’s a metaphor and analogy to our own planetary ecological clusterfuck of species extinction & pollution etc.

The only way to stop the system is to rewrite the code, thus transforming the system, and the only way to do that is to use the resources of the system, which are now all held by Smith. So he must negotiate with the master to access the system, because it’s the only way he could be sure the master & the system won’t stop or otherwise interfere with the fight, and to buy time in amnesty for his friends.

Fortunately the gamble pays off … the master is flawed, but wise enough to know that only Neo can do this … the code exists, but only in an effective form within Neo. Perhaps the master is also curious as to what it has been missing in all the other humans by failing to recognise & respect the Neo in them.

Remember: the digital system is only 1 part of the totality of the system, but it is a critical part; that’s why the master itself is afraid of Smith’s corruption of it, and why the master accepts Neo’s input.

Ultimately the master still holds a way stronger hand than many others (even Morpheus himself) are able to take on, which is the very reason Morpheus believes in Neo … and the thing that made Morpheus realise Neo was “the one”, is he could see behind Neo’s fears to Neo’s true intention, his uniqueness.

Neo now knows himself (remember the sign above the kitchen door in the oracle’s kitchen), he knows to such a degree that he realises even his knowledge is just part of that shell, and it’s thus his intention that is unique & contrary.

By going inside “the system”, allowing his shell to be assimilated by Smith, he is effectively rewriting its base code to include that intention which was unique to himself … which intention brings peace, as it moderates all else that it was, is, & always will be contrary to, even if such things also remain in the whole system.

Previously the system had tried to assimilate Neo on its own, to force him to comply, but he always refused, and you may remember The Architect referring to Neo as “an anomaly”. The Architect does not properly understand or respect the value of the anomaly, thus he tries to control or kill it, instead of allowing & supporting it (as The Oracle does, which is an older part of the system that has been despised, ignored & forgotten, because it too dared question the status quo).

Neo no longer cared if he lived or died, he could see the thing that needed to survive was the truth of his own self, and no matter where it is, that will always be the unique core of his being.

Final thoughts:

We stand on a precipice for which this series is an amazing analogy … so as you go forward in your days, remember these things:

  • know thy self
  • know thy intention
  • know the world around you
  • know your relationship to that world
  • look with honest eyes, for all other eyes are blind
  • send those eyes inside yourself
  • then (looking out into the world) see yourself inside it
  • give yourself to the world but remain apart
  • only as much as you’re ready to give


  • Remember: even Neo was afraid at the start … he just pushed himself to do more, even when he didn’t believe in himself.

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