In the Matrix Trilogy, both The Architect and Agent Smith detail the problems with the First Matrix. The First Matrix was an attempt to create a mental paradise by machines. They both acknowledged that the First Matrix was a failure. What would such a world look like? Is it possible that we already have an idea of what the First Matrix was? More to the point, the perfect world of the First Matrix may have looked a lot like the universe we already know as Star Trek. Here are a few possible reasons why that theory might be plausible.
10. The Architect’s Speech
In The Matrix Reloaded, Neo meets The Architect, the program who designed the Matrix. The Architect tells Neo that there have been several Matrices before the current ones. In that speech, the Architect touches upon a concept which is never mentioned again in the trilogy: the “First Matrix.”
So says the Architect: “The first Matrix I designed was quite naturally perfect, it was a work of art, flawless, sublime. A triumph equaled only by its monumental failure. The inevitability of its doom is apparent to me now as a consequence of the imperfection inherent in every human being. Thus, I redesigned it based on your history to more accurately reflect the varying grotesqueries of your nature. However, I was again frustrated by failure. I have since come to understand that the answer eluded me because it required a lesser mind, or perhaps a mind less bound by the parameters of perfection.”
The Architect alludes to a perfect world in which everyone’s needs were met all the time. This is a world so perfect that you would immediately try to wake up from it. This sounds an awful lot like the Star Trek utopia.
9. Gene Roddenberry’s Vision of the Future
Gene Roddenberry had a vision for the future with the original Star Trek series. Star Trek gave us a world in which prejudice and money were things of the past. There was no more war on Earth. Man was free to explore his or her place in the universe. In Roddenberry’s vision, all human races could work with alien races towards a higher goal.
Beautiful, right? Well, Agent Smith mentions the terrible effects of the First Matrix in the first movie. “The first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world where none suffered, where everyone would be happy.” he said. “It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost. Some believed that we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world. But I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through misery and suffering. So the perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake from. Which is why the Matrix was redesigned to this.”
Star Trek showed a vision of mankind which was almost too perfect. If you suddenly woke up in the world of Star Trek, you might well think that you were in a dream world. This is exactly the type of scenario described by Agent Smith and The Architect in the Matrix Trilogy.
8. The Time Frame Set By Morpheus
Morpheus explains to Neo that the Matrix is a world set in virtual reality. He then states that he does not know exactly what year they are in. It might be 2199, it might be later. Nobody knows for sure.
The year 2199 would put the world of the Matrix on the precipice of the 23rd century. This is coincidentally the same century in which the Star Trek universe takes place. This would make some sense. The machines were trying to create a Utopia in which the humans won the war. Naturally, the humans knew they had fought the machine war. The machines could not erase that from their collective conscious. They used their own supposed defeat to show the humans a perfect world after the humans had won. This world of the first Matrix would have been set in the 23rd century.
7. “The Menagerie”
“The Menagerie” was a two-part episode of the original Star Trek series. Its plot centers around Captain Christopher Pike, captured by a race called the Talosians. The Talosians used the power of illusion on Captain Pike in order to make him stay on their planet, Talos IV. The Talosians concluded that the human mind would resist a perceived prison environment, no matter how pleasant it may seem.
If the Star Trek universe was an early attempt at a Matrix, the Talosians would represent a program who purpose it was to fine tune the program. The Talosian Program’s goal would be to make the human mind accepting of its own captivity through illusion.
6. The First “One”
Spock represents the anomaly of “The One.” Spock was born to a human mother and Vulcan father. This means Spock is a being of cold logic, but also has a human side. This makes Spock capable of emotions.
The Architect admits that The One has a code inside of him which must be returned to “The Source.” When Spock sacrificed himself to stop Khan, he passed on his Katra, which represented his brain patterns, to Leonard McCoy. Katra could be an easy analogy to the Code that the Architect was referring to.
Spock’s body was put into a tube, which was then shot to the planet Genesis. Spock’s body later regenerated in much the same way Neo woke up from his death. This waking-up would seem to be an essential part of becoming the “One.”
5. The Nexus
In the Star Trek / Matrix universe, the Nexus, a ribbon in space in which anything that you imagine suddenly becomes reality, would be classically referred to as a “glitch.” Whoppi Goldberg’s character, Guinan, says that it is “pure joy” to be inside the Nexus. In short, the Nexus is a glitch in the Matrix’s programming code that allows you to completely control your surroundings.
The Nexus allowed its inhabitants complete control of the Matrix. In future versions of the Matrix, the Nexus would only be accessible through a series of keys, locks, and back doors. It is also probably not a coincidence that the physical representation of the Nexus looks like a “scorched sky.”
The truly interesting part is that Guinan always seems to be inside the Nexus. Guinan is also a woman who always seems to provide wise counsel, as well as delicious refreshment. It would be easy to refer to Guinan as something of an “Oracle.”
4. The Holodeck
The Holodeck was first introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation. In it, your entire surroundings, as well as the people you encounter, are all constructs of a computer program. If you were to design a Matrix, then the inclusion of a holodeck would be absolute genius. Why would you think you were in a virtual reality simulation if you could create one? It would be hard for the brain to fathom that it was permanently trapped in an artificial simulation.
This line of thinking has led some to believe that Zion in The Matrix was an artificial construct as well. This theory is known as “The Matrix In A Matrix Theory.” The Holodeck is a perfect example of a “Matrix Within A Matrix.”
3. Artificial Lifeforms
Have you ever noticed how artificial intelligence is really helpful in the Star Trek universe? Data is a noble wonder of technology who genuinely wants to be more human. Data resists being given human skin by the Borg Queen, and even gives his life for his human captain.
Meanwhile, the Doctor aboard the Voyager is a hologram dedicated to helping humans. It even once created a hologram family for itself. The point is that artificial intelligence is almost always seen as non-threatening in Star Trek. There are exceptions though, like the evil emotional android Lore, who seems to prove that evil artificial intelligence is an aberration.
There is even some evidence that a holodeck program can become sentient. The program of the fictional Dr. Moriarty successfully lobbies to be allowed to live in the Next Generation episode Elementary, Dear Data. Through Moriarty, the machines that control the Matrix seem to be arguing eloquently that they have sentience, as well as a right to exist.
2. The Borg Virus
Agent Smith spells out his problems with humans to Morpheus in the “virus speech.” The ironic part is that Smith himself would self-replicate throughout the Matrix, and then remake it in his own image.
The Matrix is not above viruses, and Agent Smith was supposed to protect against them before actually becoming one himself. The first Matrix would have virus problems as well, and in fact would have even bigger virus problems than its seventh variation.
The first virus in the first Matrix may well have been “The Borg.” The Borg’s mantra seems to be the words of a virus come to life: “We are the Borg. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile.” Everything the Borg assimilated was outside the Federation’s control, and everything that Smith assimilated was outside of the Matrix’s control. That is how Smith became a threat to the Machine City. The assimilated in both cases could be brought back at a great price.
1. The Second Matrix
Agent Smith once said that “entire crops” of people were lost during the disaster that was the First Matrix. The Architect later stated that The One would be allowed to choose people to help reform the human world.
Meanwhile, the 2009 Star Trek reboot sees the planet Vulcan destroyed, along with an elder Spock being sent back in time to help his younger self choose a crew for his new Enterprise. The destruction of Vulcan would seem to be consistent with “crops” of people being lost. The fact that the people lost were largely of Spock’s race would also seem to expose the problems in the first Matrix.
Star Trek: Into Darkness also seems to bring the conflict to Earth much faster than the earlier story line. The program “Khan” seems specifically designed to satisfy the human need for superiority as well as conflict. You can actually see the attempt by programmers to correct past perceived “mistakes,” otherwise known as the birth of the Second Matrix.