Intuition, Reason & Choice

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Important Notice(s): This article is mainly inspired by dialogues in the Matrix Trilogy and years of reflections on the matter. The trilogy contains great metaphors that will help explain my stance more easily instead of just stretching words into meaning something that they do not. Words won’t ever be enough to make sense of concepts such as reason and intuition but I will humbly try and make sense out of it all as much as I can. 

Oracle (Intuition)

The Intuition is featured as the Oracle in the movie and it is the first attribute of human experience that Neo has to go through. This is immensely significant since at that point in the story, Neo has not yet chosen to be the one. In fact, his mind is still so attached to the Matrix that he does not even have an ounce of Faith that he is the ‘One’. That Faith is awakened in him via the intervention of Morpheus (Which is a literal personification of faith because Morpheus would believe in Neo no matter what, even if it meant that he must die for his beliefs).

Interestingly, intuition is also the first thing that awakens itself in human experience. If we walk in the forest at night and we hear a threatening noise, our intuition kicks in and forces our mind to imagine specific things that require the intervention of reason to become logical at all.

In the Matrix, the Oracle is a program that is part of the system. This is not to be taken literally in the movie but rather metaphorically. The Oracle is an attribute of the human experience and it cannot be fully trusted because it is unreliable and leads us toward choices(Some good, some bad). Hence why the Oracle sees that Neo is the one but wont reveal it to him until he makes the conscious choice to be. Initially, Neo rejects that possibility because he does not know himself sufficiently to make that choice but he starts believing and having faith when he goes to save Morpheus and ultimately, he manages to go beyond the limits of intuition because he manages to save Morpheus without dying in the process. The Oracle (Intuition) had told him that he would have to make a choice: Die and save Morpheus or let Morpheus perish and reset the Matrix. This is the first hint that the choice(s) that we make are beyond the frontiers of intuition because intuition is only a fallible guiding force and nothing more. It can predict and emit hypothesis but it can’t understand the choices that are made.

In this scene, the Oracle illustrate her powers of predictions and shows Neo that without our capacity to choose, nothing can come to be. Not even Love, for even if love charms us in unexplainable ways, we ultimately decide to engage in that love. She tells him all that he wants to hear so that he can discover for himself what it means to be-come the one. Interestingly again, it is Trinity that somehow, helps Neo becomes the ‘One’ by kissing him and bringing him back from death. Love is the answer throughout the whole trilogy because it is what Neo chooses no matter what Intuition and Reason tells him to choose.

The Oracle First Conversation with Neo

In this scene, Neo comes to the realisation that existence is not so much about making choices but about understanding the choices that we make. The oracle is not fully trustworthy because it is only a feature of human consciousness and it can be superseded by our capacity to choose as wisely as we can, how we should proceed in life. It’s not about erasing intuition and reason because you can’t, it’s about overcoming them through will and using them wisely, even though we can’t truly comprehend what they are.

The Oracle Second Conversation with Neo

The Architect (Reason)

The logical program of the Matrix is represented by the Architect. Unless human beings are precipitated in choosing rapidly right after their intuition kicks in (In the case of a mass shooting for example where someone has two seconds to make a choice), reason manifest itself to choose more wisely and accurately.

So if you hear a noise in the woods at night, intuition convinces you that it could be horrific or surreal in nature but then reason dissipates such instinctive fears and starts to make sense of what the threat could be. The only problem with reason is that it can only be concerned with the cold, calculated and functional nature of events and cant comprehend the abstract and subjective features that the human brain has to juggle with.

In the movie, Neo is faced with yet  another choice that implies sacrifice when he talks to the Architect: Save Trinity (The love of his life) or reset the Matrix. The Architect, via mathematics, predict that it is an impossibility that Neo accomplishes both because reason is unable to understand the deeper layers of what it means to be human. It sees love and such concepts as foolish and imperfect because Mathematics and Logic cant explain subjective concepts such as love, compassion, honor (…) Against all odds, Neo manages to save Trinity (Until when she dies in episode 3) and end the war. At this point, Neo, via his choice to prioritize love above all other concepts, managed to go beyond both Reason & Intuition.

This scene with the Architect is fascinating because the Architect says Neo is harmony perfected apart from one variable that’s an uncorrectable anomaly (his specific love for Trinity that is stronger than anything). This anomaly is only so in the eyes of the Architect (Reason) because he can’t comprehend from a logical standpoint human emotions such as love, sacrifice and desires. He can predict them or expect them to manifest themselves but the choices that Neo makes are only understandable for him via a calculated approach. Most of what humans experience is not calculatable, especially not love. The Architect, in the end, was also wrong and the choices that Neo made, proved to be right, against all odds.

Neo & The Architect Conversation

Reason & Intuition are simply words and fluctuating features of our human ensemble. They exist to help us choose and understand our choices as we go along with them.

The Oracle tells Neo that no one can see beyond a choice that they do not understand. Not even the chosen one and this is the most important portion of the three movies. Neo is representing the whole human condition & existence because his journey is all about making choices that he slowly comes to understand, thus understanding himself better in the process and accepting his fate. It is impossible to live solely in an intuitive fashion and it is impossible to live solely in a logical fashion because these two core components often overlap each others to the point where it is hard to know which one is guiding us and at what moment. But our choices are what defines us as human beings and such choices are not limited by the influence(s) of reason and intuition. Sometimes we do not understand why we choose a certain path, a certain person or a certain belief system but it cant ever be encompassed in our two fallible features anyway so there is nothing left for us but to explore through experience and discover our own answers.

This final scene between Neo & the Oracle is the most important because Neo realises that the truth was not disclosed to him, even though intuition (Oracle) led him toward that truth because he was not ready to see it (he did not sufficiently knew himself). Our heart knows what it wants and what it chooses most of the time but we are often not ready to acknowledge and it and take responsibility for such a choice. The Oracle proceeds to discredit the Architect for his inability to see beyond choices because of its cold, calculated nature which is an interesting point brought forth by the movie since it seems to posit that Intuition is often neglected and replaced by reason which is often time more trusted, even for subjective matters. Reason is valid for causal problems but useless for acausal problems.

Final conversation between the Oracle & Neo

Finally, the great existential question of the Matrix is also metaphorical (Can Zion be saved?). It echoes to human destiny and Neo wants to know if he will be able to fulfil his destiny and accomplish what he was meant to accomplish. The Oracle does not know, the Architect does not know because Intuition and Logic can’t make sense of such a thing. We have to assume our choices and live with them no matter what and discover for ourselves if they lead us to where we were meant to go. Neo ultimately succeeds in accomplishing his life work. Not because of a logical standpoint, not because of being led solely by intuition but because he chose to fight for what was true to his heart. Smith has no heart and thus, no purpose, he lacks all the numinous elements that makes us human and so he is inhuman and artificial.

Agent Smith & Neo

Intuition -> Choice = Dangerous because reason did not have the time to filter the possibilities before acting on them. This is the world of rapid choices and instincts which is how most animals are going about in nature.

Intuition -> Reason -> Choice = The Normal course of action for most human beings. It is still fallible but it is often based on the functional world of facts and evidence which allows for a better series of decisions.

Intuition -> Choice -> Faith = This is the pathway of religiosity which is represented in the movies by Morpheus. He blindly believes no matter if there is ground for such a belief or there is not. That pathway is dangerous and unreasonable because unverified beliefs are slippery life models.



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