How is ignorance a form of strength in The Matrix?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It can be argued that ignorance of limitations is the resistance needed to challenge the overriding system of social control in "the Matrix." The Matrix is predicated upon control of individuals, beings who remain conditioned to do what others tell them. Ignorance of this element of control is where strength lies. Strength is evident when there is ignorance of the conformity and desire to be homogenized that enables the Matrix to perpetuate its control over human beings.  For example, Neo is ignorant of the need to be accepted by others.  He comes to work late, does not seem to offer the impression of caring zealously as others do, and is ignorant about the need to conform and be "accepted."  It is through this where Morpheus recognizes his strength.  He recognizes that Neo's ignorance to the "benefits" of the Matrix is what makes him so uniquely strong, or "the one."  He is "the one" because he is ignorant of how the forces around him seek to control him.

At the same time, Neo's strength likes in how he fails to see himself as "the one."  Others on the Nebuchadnezzar "know" about "the one."  Cyper, Trinity, and Tank for example all understand about "the one" and know its implications.  Neo is ignorant to all of this. He doesn't "get it" or understand much of it.  Even when the Oracle "hits" him with her revelations, his is still in ignorance.  In one of the training sessions, Morpheus tells Neo "there is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path."  Neo is ignorant of what lies within him and, yet, his strength comes from this ignorance.  He never really knows and this is where his strength lies.  Knowledge of the implications is something that boggles the mind, as Cypher indicates.  Neo never knows, but upon the threshold of realization, Neo becomes "the one."  He never really knows it.  He simply becomes.  It is in this idea where strength is evident.  When one exists as something, it is ingrained in them, a part of their being and cannot be removed for it is their identity.  Neo finds strength in this aspect.  He never really knows.  He simply is and it is in this where strength, such as defeating the agents and liberating humanity, becomes his consciousness.

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