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Home Film Reddit User Makes Good Argument For Humans as the Bad Guys in ‘The Matrix’

Reddit User Makes Good Argument For Humans as the Bad Guys in ‘The Matrix’


Excuse us if this isn’t one of the better reads on the subject involving the ‘Man vs Machine’ morality dilemma in the The Matrix films.

No, the Matrix isn’t wrong. Not at all. In fact the humans in the Matrix are the real villains of the series. Lets look at the facts of what lead to the actual Matrix. Humanity created the machines and AI, they used them as slaves, and they rebelled. In this war they were defeated. If you watch the animatrix you actually see that the machines were willing to make peace with the humans, but they refused any such notions. Instead they kept fighting to the point where they unleashed a doomsday weapon that blotted out the sun permanently. This was an effort to kill the machines, an act of genocide, but arguably this act would destroy them as well. As expected this act actually weakened the human race by starvation, but the machines adapted quickly.

Instead of leaving the human race to die, the machines in an act of mercy decide to preserve the human race to function in a forced symbiosis. It is my belief that the machines could have used other animals to power themselves, or even used geothermal power as the humans did. Indeed, the machines are the ones who show mercy to the humans, even attempt to make their lives utopian, something the humans could have never achieved themselves, but of course they reject this. One has to even ask why the quality of life in the matrix should even matter to the machines. I believe this also proves the machines to be empathetic and more so than the human race. We actually see this empathy later with the “rogue” program that has a family (the indian couple at the train station). This empathy is something the human have not shown the machines in anyway.

So yes the matrix is a prison, but it is a prison built for humanity’s and the machines’ own protection. Humanity had proven to be not only self-destructive but also genocidal. This would be grounds enough to let the human race perish, but the machines had more mercy than to let that happen. They did realize that humanity did need to be controlled, but they actually did it in a very benevolent way, and imo they were shown a mercy that they didn’t deserve.

Furthermore, you have the rebel humans. Now lets look at these guys. You might be asking “megatom but if the machines are so benevolent and merciful why do they hunt down and kill the freed humans?” The answer is very simple. The freed humans and “the one” had all proven repeatedly to be proponents of destruction. Six times before the matrix, both humanity and the machines were brought to the edge of extinction due to the actions of the one. Granted the machines had begun to see this as some inevitability, they still needed to defend themselves from this act of terror or in reality hope to destroy it, which is why they continue to try to kill all the people of Zion.

TL;DR: The humans are the enemy, and consistently act as a force of destruction bringing both the machine race and the human race to the brink of destruction. The Matrix is a merciful prison to contain a violent race that inevitably causes destruction.

via [reddit]

  • chris

    i think you’r reading WAY too much into this dude, lol. its a movie.

    • http://twitter.com/smartartist Adam Thomas

      a movie with a script that has been thought through and justified then possibly dumbed down for the masses and budget. I want in!!!

  • Keanu ‘Ted Logan’ Reeves


  • wouter janssens

    I want out!!!

  • IanC

    One thing that always puzzled me is why the machines never used Nuclear power instead of going to all the trouble of extracting power from humans in those huge fields and building the Matrix to keep them living. Using animals might have been a lot simpler too, I never thought of that but the idea of humans being the bad guys is very original, I like it.
    I always wondered how much the Matrix was controlled by humans too, free will could not be an illusion so there must have been some element of human development even if they were ‘fed’ the timeline.

    • mogan

      In the original script, the whole “human batteries” thing wasn’t there. Executive meddling caused that to be thrown in because the studio thought the masses wouldn’t accept that robots put us in a giant MMO.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cjenyns Christopher Jenyns

      hahaha, yeah “animals”… Matrix “Sorry humans, we found it is about 1000x easier to construct a utopia for domesticated animals than it is to maintain a subsufficient misery for humans that don’t want to help each other” Humans “Dang Neo! Quit flying and tell us how to live together”

  • http://twitter.com/pvused Pacific Vacuum


  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joel-West/100002831030408 Joel West

    Not be the super nerd in the room, but this the exact reason I sided with the Geth in ME3. Nothing self-aware deserves slavery. Thinking back it almost seems kind of odd to me now that no one ever even mentions this in the movie. Though I guess the films do take place way after the machines’ enslavement.

  • DoubleD

    Interesting theory, although presumably they couldn’t use animals because, well, nothing survived “up top” after the obliteration of the sun…. Hence the gloop they are forced to eat that contains “all the nutrients and supplements the body needs”. Also, the matrix isn’t exactly a utopia now is it? It’s a controlled version of the real world that has Mr Smiths who are prepared to put a machine parasite in to your belly button if they even remotely suspect that you are involved in, what at that time would appear to your good self as a “mystical resistance to the false world that you are presently living in”. Why do they do this? So they can track your every move…. Apple corp eat your heart out! So nah, not utopia by any stretch of the imagination.

    On the genocide front, didn’t the machines wipe out several mass “crops” of humans in the earlier versions of the matrix? OK, so it’s not intentional but god damn, even we weren’t as cold as to send humans up into space to test out what will happen up there. Again, no animals, cool, but come on, they have enough intelligence to construct a virtual 3D world for the human brain but they kill us during the testing phase….!

    Oh and take a gands at the sub context of Mr, Smith…. He is machine right? Becomes all too powerful and wants to dominate and rule the matrix, or you could say…. become the dictator of the matrix…. communism Vs democracy at play right there. The matrix was too dumb to learn from our mistakes and had to bow down to our superiority in how to govern a race and set us free.

    They had an ideal which failed because one Mr Smith got too big for his virtual boots and ruined the party for all of those hard working share and share alike machines. Shame on you Mr. Smith, shame, on you!

    • http://www.facebook.com/TheScourgeOfEverySea Kyle Thompson

      I’m going to nitpick and say that dictatorship != communism and whatever the machines were doing normally != democracy. You’re just filling in the blanks on your own to support a false dichotomy that was constructed sixty years ago.

    • mogan

      The Matrix isn’t a utopia; Smith says in the first movie that they tried to build a utopia for the humans to exist in, but their brains rejected it (the “entire crops were lost” part you mentioned).

      Smith became dangerous because he was a program with a defect. He wanted to get into Zion so he could kill the resistance and leave the Matrix; he hated it, but he was bound to do what he was programmed to do, which was protect the people.

      Morpheus and the resistance (such a cool band name) are actually terrorists. They say, “Anyone who isn’t one of us is one of them,” and they use that rationale to kill people in the Matrix simply because they MIGHT become an avatar for a machine. Humans continue to be the more violent of the two factions.

      You could argue that the Matrix forbade people from free will, but the Machines let humanity play out their lives like they wanted, and provided them a decent existence while they did it, which was the exact opposite of Zion. If you wanna bring up communism and democracy, then you have it right there: The humans are a communist society who say “Do what we want, or GTFO.”

  • lalo

    So what? That’s what the movies are all about. If you didn’t get it, you might as well just be willing to watch the fights.

  • Maxwe

    pretty much everything in this article is wrong… reddit amirite?

  • harberjhkwer

    They tried a utopia first, humans couldn’t accept it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sdphoto35 Steven Davis

    That makes sense but then again the nation Zero One was causing such economic strife that it could be seen as an act of war. By providing labor that could far undercut living cost in any nation they would have put a large part of the world out of work, when after all the robots would need only a fraction of what humans need to survive. Also Zion was destroyed five times which means every “Free” Human was slaughtered for not accepting their reality every hundred years. Also that would mean the slaughter of all the hooked up humans because they would have to reset the matrix world back to an earlier time to keep the time line in Zion at the same time as well.

    To me this looks more like a Cuban missile crisis gone bad combined with a serial killer like grudge held by the Matrix AI. Which had to be methodically and repeatedly carried out over and over to give PURPOSES to the survival of the robots as an eternal penance the human race had to pay. It reminds me of Prometheus being ripped to shreds by an eagle every day for eternity.

  • Julián Murat

    Common sense. Well, no, common sense is that there is no such things as universal bad guys and “bad guys” in a movie simply means “the force we aren’t meant to sympathize with”. But outside from that, I mean, seriousl, what this guy is pointing out seems pretty evident and intended by the authors… I mean, just think about it: Matrix doesn’t end with “yay, we destroyed the matrix and freed humanity”, it ends with the humans and machines working out a new agreement in which the machines won’t try to kill the freed humans and will let people who want to free themselves do it–which is to say, a less totalitarian regime from the machines–which is to say, the superior race letting go a little of the baby genocidal race they’re taking care of (or perhaps a man taking care of his senior, suicidal birthgiver would be a better metaphor) and trusting that the humans who are “strong” enough to escapee their illusion are mature enough as to not do the most terrible of the mistakes humanity is prone to make.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cjenyns Christopher Jenyns

      this is essentially the point I think (the agreement) could the matrix have agreed to a truce, if it were not already programmed to love, all along?

  • LPdude

    Good theory, except the society isn’t utopian, as DoubleD already said. In fact, in one of the movies, they said they tried an initial version of the matrix that was completely utopian, but it failed because the humans couldn’t adapt to it because it wasn’t what they were used to or something like that. But this detail actually supports the theory here, that the machines tried to be so benevolent by making a utopian society. But because it didn’t work, they just created the most optimal society for humans.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1490410110 Michael Schiller

      Yeah, he mentioned that:

      “Indeed, the machines are the ones who show mercy to the humans, even
      attempt to make their lives utopian, something the humans could have
      never achieved themselves, but of course they reject this.”

      • Samuel

        Which also shows a major flaw in the machines. People rejected it because of human nature. It can’t be Utopian, because no matter what circumstances someone is given, they want more. Humans as a whole are corrupt. The machines should have been able to mimic the world before the harvest.

        I disagree with this argument as a whole because of one thing. There have been about 6 rewrites of the system. I don’t know the number as I haven’t seen the movies in a while. However, the machines couldn’t reverse the cloud of death? Computers have faster calculations and such. They should have been able to reverse it in the time that the rebellion took in the previous times. That is not the case though. They kept harvesting humans. To me, it is a form of revenge for the cloud.

  • Stu

    Yarp. There isn’t any reason the human crops couldn’t have been put into a vegetative state with zero brain activity. Giving them a world to live in seems merciful unless the crops didn’t grow properly without stimulation or something. I didn’t watch the Animatrix, but it would’ve been cool to see more of the machine’s world. I envisioned a Tesla-esque world with an electrified atmosphere that powers all the machines.

    I really liked Smith’s dialogue about humanity being a plague which gives one of the best arguments for this idea.Although, I’m not totally sold that the creators of the movie had intent to have the humans be the “bad guys” seeing as how everything was shown from the human’s perspective with only a little insight into the machine’s thoughts. The attacks on Zion lend a lot of sympathy towards the human rebellion with only a brief rationale on why the people of Zion needed to be destroyed for the sake of the survival of the machines and the humans.
    I’ll have to watch them all again to pay more attention to what was said from the machine’s side of the story.

    • http://www.facebook.com/TheScourgeOfEverySea Kyle Thompson

      Zero brain activity is functionally the same thing as dead, there’s no benevolence there.

      The story is told from the human’s side so of course that’s where the sympathy leans. It’s like Star Wars. If you consider the point of view of the Emperor, he had unified the galaxy into a “safe and secure society” until a group of young upstarts blew up his… world-collapsing superweapon so okay my analogy fell apart but the point is that we automatically align with the side that we’re shown.

      • Samuel

        The world-collapsing superweapon was being used on Alderran. Alderran at the time was one of the largest hubs supporting the Rebellion. Therefore, the superweapon was used to ensure that the people of the galaxy were of one heart and one mind; essentially quieting discontent among the citizens.

        It is a very Japanese scholars way to look at it though. Perspective is everything. The Deathstar was evil and cruel, yet necessary to fulfill the Emperor’s ideals. As long as people have a sense of mind, every person has the possibility of the appearance of evil. Only if everyone has a shared mind or hive mind would there be peace.

        The OP’s argument fits better with the Quarian v Geth disputes and war though.

  • Hunter T

    This is compellingly false, sounds like a Liberal trying to justify abortion…its killing another human, no matter how you argue it. Machines are creations of man, they have no soul, no conscious, no emotions, if we as humans want to rid the earth of them that is our choice. This theory is wack.

    • ab


  • Kelekona

    This reminds me of the Hob story in Dresden Codak.

  • sources matter

    this is from a cracked article…

  • http://twitter.com/BLUEMALiBUMAN ►►CHRÏS【ツ】ḠḺOVΞR◄◄

    MIND BLOWN₪)))))))

  • Jonny B

    Imprisoning/enslaving an entire race seems very genocidal to me. The benevolent approach would be to remove the aggressors, not to say “Well if you know one human you know them all.” and then imprison them all. Interesting take, but this is the same thing uninformed right wingers say about muslims.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cjenyns Christopher Jenyns

    What do you do if you can’t get in to the Matrix and every one says “get out!”?

  • http://www.facebook.com/liam.shute Liam Shute

    In the first matrix Morpheus says…he doesn’t know who brought darkness to the world the humans or the machines

    • BM2exw

      No what he says is he knows it was man that darkened the skys.

  • Scruffy

    Keenly missing out that the machines were using humans as a power source, and hence the survival of the human race is not to much down to mercy, but as a means to survive for the machines. I believe the topic was brought up that machines and humans needed each other to survive. “we need them as much as they need us” or something to that effect.

  • Chris

    This can be done with any conflict of interests. Anything from the recent Batman films to Lord of the Rings to Star Wars to World War II. It just matters from what perspective you are looking at. Also, history is written by the victors.

  • http://twitter.com/merrypranxter merrypranxter

    My friend Brian says the following:

    “Mmmm…some issues.

    machine rebelled not over slavery, but over a case. Bi66er. Bi66er’s
    owner was going to turn him off for pretty much no reason – newer model,
    something like that. (guy was a dick) So Bi66er killed him AND all
    the dogs in
    his care. Bi66er was tried for murder and executed – it was then the
    machines rebelled. This is a bit more complex than ‘we were slaves and
    rebelled for freedom!’

    machines did not adapt quickly to the sun block out – they were dying
    and had to use the humans as batteries. He ascribes nobility to
    neccesity. It IS possible that the machine could have used geothermal
    or what have you, but what’s the difference b/t that and humans? Humans

    quality of life mattered b/c when it got too good the human knew
    something was wrong and it crashed – a normal life was the most
    acceptable. Again, nobility for neccesity.

    forgets the ‘rogue’ family was trying to get their ‘daughter’ out of
    the Matrix since she would be deleted by the machines for having no

    me, he misunderstands the idea of The One. As I saw it, the One was an
    inevitable rise of the programming used to control humans – kind of
    like how ANY long program will have inexplicable stuff in it that just
    happens. The One is that stuff; he always comes. However, before, each
    time the One elected to take breeding stock and restart Zion when the
    machines destroyed it – I can’t win, best to live to fight another day.
    Neo was the first to NOT take the deal and go for broke. Not quite how
    he describes it…”

  • Richard Dryman via Facebook

    been saying this

  • http://www.facebook.com/fred.passmore Fred Passmore via Facebook

    This was written by a machine.

  • goofyimage

    also reasonably establishes why they placed the humans in a relatively comfortable time frame where the means to acquire knowledge of the matrix exists rather than put them in a time with no computers.

  • Obsi

    The story mechanics of the issues the author mentions(human-machine symbiosis, human genocidal acts, machine benevolence) are all good arguments, but they are subservient to the theme of The Matrix. The point of the movie is to highlight the human concepts of love, hope, and freedom, using the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic Earth as the setting with which to tell that story. It’s not meant to be plausible as something that totally makes sense, it’s just meant to carry a message. And it does that very well.

  • Bastion

    Yeah… sure… OR, maybe the machines are an allegory for the oppression of empirical mentality… Since when does the will of humanity have anything to do with the “solutions” of government? What about all the humans who protested only to be stifled and framed out of all debate?

    …As far as I can see, there are two ways that a single planetary governing ego can function: 1)through historical/religious beliefs void of objective reasoning, or 2)cold scientific rationality void of emotional fulfillment.

    If history dictates the motions of empire we’re damned to ecological collapse.

    If only known information dictates the motions of empire we’re damned to live lives void of emotional purpose.

    There’s only one solution which is both fair and considerate: Anarchy = Live and Let Live. Support ideas without clinging irrationally to routine beliefs. Treat other people the way you would ideally hope to be treated. Stop letting authorities inhibit your decisions. Stop wishing for brutes to come and smash away all the behavior your don’t care to see in the street. Be a better person. Forgive people and be the sort of friend who makes them try to be better people. Rise to the occasion and act heroically when confronted by bullies instead of calling on tax funded bullies with more guns…

    Odds are if you’re reading this, you’re probably not wholly incapable of learning. A definition of insanity is to repeat the same actions over and over expecting different results… Have you ever tried handling your own problems? Have you ever considered the evidence that more complex laws have invariably led to more complex crimes in the aftermath?

    Balance cannot be permanently offset. Something has to give. We need more trees on this planet. We need blood and bone and ash spread across the land, that’s what nature wants to promote biodiversity right now, and that’s what the billionaire “philanthropic environmentalists” are funding in secrecy as I type this… There are people in charge of vast resources who believe the best possible solution to settling the cost of the lies which afford them such compartmentalized authority, is to exterminate 80-90% of their own species… They look down the pyramid and view you and I as monstrous, demonic hoards… They instill that sentiment of humanity among those who receive their media programming… The subconscious mind is at war with itself… Every letter, word, sentence, paragraph, page, book, encyclopedia, library… is sopping wet with hypocrisy. The language we speak is unintelligible crud. It’s all Babylonian mind control fashioned specifically for “divide and conquer” among the peasants.

    The Rothschilds believe their lineage to be much older than the Roman empire, and they’ve been the monetary backing behind every conflict in western society. Money is not a tool for you and me. Money IS the root of all evil. It is a tool for them to turn us against one another. It is a tool to prevent us from acting on our own behalf. It is a tool to tie us up in bureaucratic red tape and prevent any logistic solution to the problems they create. It is a tool for them to appear that we cannot live without them… They hate humanity and they pass the loathing down through the media they produce. They promote ideas of “overpopulation” and peace though military intervention. They tie you to a social security number and coerce you into contracts that prevent you from having freedom to travel while keeping you locked into a meaningless job in order to have food and shelter that the earth could easily provide if only there were no cops to bum-rush people out of the woods…

    We’re something less than humans as a society. Humans are a hunter-gatherer species. There are next to no citizens of empire who would know where to begin foraging for calories… All the “hunters” have beer guts while the muscle men are too busy preening to use their energy for anything but showing off… We’ve been systemically retarded through rhetoric and marketing.

  • scout

    yes, everyone knows that our rulers do what they do, meaning act with extreme stupidity. Matrix was NOT about idiot rulers, but about how human perception became guided. Script writer knew what he was talking about, the rest was just drama.

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