By Jin-yeong Yi
“I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid. You’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world…without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries; a world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.”
—Neo, The Matrix
These famous last lines of The Matrix imply that Neo’s goal is freeing other minds not only from the Matrix, but from the real world as well. Both the Matrix and the real world have “rules and controls” and “borders and boundaries.” The real world, as any of us can attest, is emphatically not a place where “anything is possible.” We can change our world by manipulating the natural laws it is governed by, but we have no reason to think that we can change the natural laws themselves. As such, we have every reason to assume that no matter how technologically advanced human civilization becomes, some things will always be impossible—in the real world, that is. So the world that Neo speaks of cannot be the real world. I suspect that what he has in mind is the virtual world. Not the Matrix, but something incomparably superior—the Neo-Matrix, a world that is not controlled by anything but our own wills, a world in which the possibilities extend beyond the sky and the stars and into infinity itself. Exiting the Matrix, it turns out, was only the first step. The next step is to exit the real world.