What is 1+1 in The Matrix?

October 27, 2015

“Hey Jo, what is one plus one?”

“A ridiculous question!”

“What? Why?”

“Imagine that you’re living in The Matrix. Is the question ‘What is one plus one?’ important if you’re living in The Matrix?”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“Have you seen The Matrix?”


“Remember the girl with the white rabbit on her shoulder?”


“That girl knew nothing about The Matrix, right?”

“Well, Neo had a hint about The Matrix at that point, but no, she seemed to know nothing about it.”

“Okay, so imagine that girl eating a cheeseburger in that movie. When she’s eating the cheeseburger, is it real to her?”

“Well, she knows nothing about The Matrix, so the cheeseburger is as real to her as anything else that she experiences.”

“Exactly. That cheeseburger is 100% completely real to her. Now imagine that just like Neo was ‘freed’ from The Matrix, she is also freed at the same time. Now she’s sitting in that ship (the Nebuchadnezzar) after she recovers from the initial shock and knows what ‘reality” is. Is that cheeseburger real to her any more?”

“No. She would know that the cheeseburger was just an illusion created in her brain by the programming and the hardware she’s connected to.”

“Right. Now that she is free, she knows that the cheeseburger was never real, but just a few days before she would have sworn that it and everything else around her was completely real. She might have furthermore said that what she saw, tasted, heard, and felt was the only possible reality, would you agree?”

“Well, that depends on her belief systems, but generally speaking, yes, if you walk around Planet Earth right now and ask people if what they see and feel is real, I would guess that 99% of them would say yes.”

“Okay, now imagine that White Rabbit Girl goes back into The Matrix just like Neo went back in. While she’s there she decides to have another cheeseburger. Does she think that cheeseburger is real?”

“No, I don’t think so. The illusion of it might be a wonderful thing, especially after eating that slop on the ship, but she would know that it’s not real.”

“So now the girl knows that a cheeseburger tastes great, but she realizes that what she’s been eating and what she’s currently eating is only an illusion. If this girl loves cheeseburgers and she finds her courage like Neo did, what might she be motivated to do?”

“I think she might want to defeat the machines in the hopes that one day she could have a real cheeseburger.”


“Exactly what?”

“Once you know you’re living in The Matrix, the only important thing to do is to get out of The Matrix!”

“I agree, but I still don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“If you and I are living in The Matrix right now, what is one plus one?”

“A ridiculous question!”


“But I still don’t know what you’re saying. Are you saying that we’re living in The Matrix?”

“Do you think this is air that you’re breathing?”

“I don’t know ...”

“Keep up the good work!”

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