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Love's Labours File 404 Error
by Dana Taryn Sweeney

In Program and Matriculated, the theme of Love is tweaked a bit to show it from a more dubious angle. We're so comfortable with the Unplugged Rebellion, the Zionists and their mission, but we are given clue after clue to look more closely and take everything for itself, because Rama-Kandra's speech about love is one of the most important illuminating moments...and he is not human, so he is presumed not to be able to love, not even to desire love as part of his experience. And then we are presented the images of humanity in The Animatrix, which are all on the darker side...and I think Program and Matriculated are the most crucial to consider.

In Program, the two characters we are watching battle to the death are clearly very important to each other, and the one is forced to make the choice to kill the other...only to "wake up" from this mindfuck to find it was not real...and there is no explanation of what the reality of the situation is. It is possible that she has just had to intend and virtually enact the death of her lover...or her unrequited beloved, so that her mindfuck includes the layer of his finally sharing her feelings only to die at her hands...or possibly even someone long lost to her in reality already, that she then had to endure the horror of having him back only to destroy him again.... And it's training...her crew is in on her pain watching it remotely, like reality TV. ...continued in the second column...

They're allowing her to suffer this, and afterwards, that is what informs her punching out the blithely congratulatory crew member. She passed the loyalty test only to awaken to the truth--which would hit like such a betrayal after her devotion to them. The test is constructed around such a brutal emotional Lady or Tiger scenario that it could only be written by a psychopath, a human devoid of a machine...?

In Matriculated, the cruelty of their scheme to win over the Machine grunt to fight for them is based on the same insensitivity. They send the machine through a program that acts as a model for the Destruction of the Ego as practiced by CIA agents, spies, sadists, sexual slaveowners.... They undo the machine's prior sense of purpose and identity and trick it into loving them and emulating them, even allowing it a belief that it has achieved a sufficient semi-humanity, and then when the machine does nothing other than fulfill their plan and become what they intended, and want what they dangled as its carrot to get it this far...the human woman is horrified by the machine's advances, and they all die in misery and solitude. To use the prospect of emotional or romantic acceptance as bait, particularly when there is no way the contestant will ever win, is so cold and heartless that it again seems unlike the humanity we idealize in theory in The Matrix. The Matrix 101: The End of this essay

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The Matrix Online, the massively multiplayer game, is actually the official continuation of The Matrix Trilogy, focusing on the fragile peace accord brokered by Neo. The Wachowskis are supervising the storyline, and much of the trilogy's cast voice their characters in the game.
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