A Workshop on Making Deviled Eggs

Loved Ones; No, Twos and Threes and Fours

Is it Love? (2010)

Sometimes I wonder what I might do in an abusive relationship. Then I think of all the wonderful people I can depend on, who will never let anything like this happen to me, and I am ever so grateful.

It's important to have more than one person in your life to love, and make you feel loved!


Loving Dirge to a Cursed Dreamer


Sleeping Beauty: Gothic Romance (2013)

I still salivate when I recapture Matthew Bourne’s interpretation of the Swan Lake ballet with the male swans. It is a sublime reincarnation of the original, with some humor and whimsicality thrown in for good measure. Even though its story diverges from the original, the music is faster and more authentic than in the traditional ballets. It would have made Tchaikovsky proud.

Bourne is a film buff, and brings his cinematic sensibilities to ballet, which makes it all the more appealing to me. In an interview, he shared that he was inspired by Hitchcock’s The Birds, especially in Act 4 of the Swan Lake when the swans turn savage. Hitchcock is a very visual filmmaker. A lot of his storytelling is defined by the way he frames the shots, moves the camera, lights the scene, among other things. So it is interesting to see Bourne bring that sensibility to the staging of a ballet. His characters too take on Hitchcocky characteristics, such as, identity confusion, self-entrapment, paranoia, and some oedipal issues (although he says he was more influenced by Hamlet’s jealousy of his mother’s lover in this aspect); likewise, you see Hitchcockyness in the way he slowly reveals all the aspects of a character over the course of the ballet, and in the way he places the horror in everyday settings.

I have been meaning to read his conversation with Alastair Macaulay about his life, his various works and influences. I wonder if someone with his encyclopaedic knowledge about the arts works off of his subconscious memory, without even intending to draw from them. I might enjoy reading the conversation now, especially since I saw two of his three Tchaikovsky ballets.

Last week, I saw Bourne's Sleeping Beauty ballet at Kennedy Center, in which he spruced up the Disney version of the story with vampires and other gothic elements; all to Tchaikovsky’s music. I expected it to be either old-school Gothic-like, with elements of the original grotesque Sleeping Beauty story, or with Tim Burton’s eccentric style, since Bourne has adapted Edward Scissorhands to contemporary dance with great success in the past. But, it ended up being somewhat tame. With some imagination, it comes close to being as scarily vampiric as the True Blood or the Twilight series.

Perrault’s original story and most early European versions of Sleeping Beauty* had a lot more gothic elements in them than this ballet. Here is my blend of some of the stories I have read:

After the Princess falls asleep, a strange Prince from the neighboring kingdom climbs a tower to find the Princess (assumed dead in some stories) lying in her coffin wearing seven white bridal skirts and silver bells. He is bewitched by her beauty and returns to the tower everyday. One day he kisses her on her lips, and is overwhelmed with an insuppressible urge to keep kissing, until he finally rapes her. Eventually, she gives birth to twins (a boy and a girl). One of her babies mistakes her finger for her breast. He suckles hard on it, and fortuitously pulls out the needle stuck in her finger that put her to sleep. She wakes up and learns that she has been asleep for a hundred years. Just then, the Prince too climbs over the tower and introduces himself as the father to her two children. She instantly falls in love with him and agrees to marry him. Unhappily, the Prince reveals that his stepmother, an Ogress, might not accept the Princess, and may even cause her and her children harm if she finds out about them. So they keep their marriage a secret until the Prince ascends the thrown. The Ogress, then lovingly invites the whole family to her house in the woods, and directs her cook to serve the Princess and the kids as dinner to the Prince. The kind-hearted cook tricks the Ogress and switches the daughter with a lamb, son with a goat, and Princess with hind, and hides the Princess and the kids from the Ogress' sight. But, when the Ogress learns that she has been tricked, she becomes wildly furious and takes matters into her own hands. When the Prince is resting, she orders the cook to summon the Princess, and prepares a fiery pit with noxious creatures to throw the Princess into it. As the Princess is undressed, the silver bells on her skirts ring loudly and alert the Prince. He runs to her rescue. The disgraced Ogress then throws herself into the pit and is fully consumed. The Prince, Princess and the kids live happily ever after.

In Matthew Bourne’s ballet, the Princess falls in love with a gamekeeper, and not a Prince. When she goes to sleep, a fairy turns him into a vampire, so that he can live to see the Princess when she wakes up after 100 years. As the eras change, the Prince goes through enormous transformation. He is now only vestigially a human, and faced with absolute indigence (uncharacteristic of a vampire). He lives in a tent outside the decaying palace overgrown with vines, and woefully waits to wake the Princess up with a kiss. In the mean time, the evil fairy who cursed the Princess to sleep grows lonely and courts the Princess even though she is asleep. He too waits for her to wake up so that he can make her his bride. In the end, the fairy who turned the gamekeeper into a vampire makes quick work of the evil fairy, and the Princess and the gamekeeper live happily every after.

This is the only version of Sleeping Beauty with both male and female fairies, and where time does not stand still, except for Sleeping Beauty. The scenery assumes many transitions, and we are treated to settings of the Late Victorian period, the Edwardian period and modern day; in Russia. But, even as time passes, the story is bound to the historic moment when the curse took effect and put the Princess to sleep. From then on, we deal with the past in the present, and some aspects of the story remain immutable. This is amplified by the fact that time has completely stopped for Sleeping Beauty. Even in the future, in her dreams, she remains in the past.

I love romance. It is the most veritable way to experience something unreal happening to us. In romance, we reach out to a fantasy that wasn’t instinctually real for us until then. We embrace this irrepressible feeling, even though it contradicts our natural urge to shelter ourselves from the unattainable, albeit with eager hesitation. Love always brings with it a sweet pain. And Gothic, with its excesses, elevates this feeling to an epic stature. It turns reality on its head, so that the improbable is probable and the real is unreal. It drops us where opposing qualities mingle and bring forth a pleasing terror.

Over the years, Gothic has evolved into male and female genres (mostly a separate female genre), with the former being associated with horror and the latter with terror.

In the female Gothic, where women write for women, the stories mostly cater to women’s suppressed desires. At the same time, they also play on their everyday fears of rape, abduction and violence; and remind them of their reality of being weaker, helpless and oppressed by men. The plot oscillates between reality and the supernatural, while often siding with one over the other. Many women authors favor “imagined evil” over the supernatural or “realistic evil”; the philosophy being that real terror arises from the voices in one’s own mind.

Even in the earliest gothic stories ever written (and by men), women were mostly depicted as being fearfully trapped, either physically in labyrinths, or mentally, because of their own discrepant impulses.

In male Gothic (as in, general Gothic), pain is mixed with pleasure to form a pleasing horror. The horror is considered pleasurable because of our awareness that the perception of fear is fictional. The stories heighten uncertainty and celebrate the immeasurable. The contemplation of the immeasurability arouses awe, while our inability to fathom it gives rise to displeasure.

I find that Sleeping Beauty is among the rare exceptions that transcends this distinction. Each version of the story fleshes out either the terror or the horror in the story, or both!

Mathew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty begins in 1890, the year that the original Sleeping Beauty ballet premiered in Russia. Interestingly, this time period was also the beginning of the century of Gothic fiction (or Fin de siècle). This was also the period of degeneration, when cynicism and pessimism among the people led to decadence. Gothic was everywhere, in art, in plays and operas, novels and short stories, and even newspapers.

This was the era of Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Stoker’s Dracula, Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde, and James’ Turn of the Screw. The 1900s was also when cinema was introduced to the larger mainstream, followed by radio and television. People began their visual assault of the next 125 years of cinema with fiction that had strong gothic elements. The malleable and fantastic nature of Gothic added to the magic of moving images. And because Gothic is the genre of Borrowings, which cannot be circumscribed to any one period or style, it helped address many cultural concerns. It blends romanticism with idealism, and individualism with societal decadence, and anything else that you want to add to the mix.

But, the story arc is almost always one of subversion. Set in the gloom of a cursed castle or strange world, the good people are at the mercy of dark powers, whose origin is shrouded. They lurk in the shadows, waiting for a ripe time to threaten the people into physical and mental dissolution using diabolical means. But, in the end, through bravery or deception, the hero vanquishes the evil and good prevails. (Unless it is Grimm’s Tales, in which case, the story may end with the children being eaten).

But, in Michel Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty with vampires and a princess hijacked by dreams, it is not the hero who vanquishes evil, but a fairy, because the hero isn’t even fully solid! His abhuman gothic body is as helpless as the Princess languishing in the unconscious world.

In a way, we relate to them, because we have at least in one point in our life experienced the state of being both alive and ‘not’; be it in our mother’s womb, or in our sleep or in some kind of unconsciousness. We have, through the use of hallucinogens or because of illness, experienced feeling out of control, and not feeling fully human. We have waited endlessly, and helplessly, for our loved one to be saved by a miracle. We viscerally remember this as we watch the plights of the Princess and the Gamekeeper.

There is something to say for the fact that these stories have eternal appeal. We keep readapting them with little changes to their basic features. This may be because they provide symbolic mechanisms to help us confront the anomalies and contradictions even in our modern times. And because they are set in haunting distance from us, they provide us with time-honored way to deal with our forbidden desires and deviant thoughts that we divorce ourselves from in real life.

Gothic allows us to transgress moral laws in a richly complex way. There is mental degeneration, spiritual corruption, selfish ambition and carnal desire, but they are all obscured of single meaning by a supernatural subtext. The supernatural allows us to take everything in without being troubled with moral judgment. But, when the story ends on a happy note, we are forced to assimilate the moral of the story; that transgression, even in its darkest form comes with dangers. Terror begins where the rules of social behavior are neglected. This helps restore moral lines. This story would have been entirely different if the king did not neglect to invite the evil witch who granted them a daughter, to her christening ceremony!

The ballet lends itself surprising well to this Gothic retelling of a fairytale. Gothic in many ways opposes the rigidity of classical ballet. Its aesthetic rules insist on unity and symmetry. But here, you see the dancers break rules, and embrace disarray, and play up the grandeur and magnificence of the gothic world.

While writing this post, I read that Bourne used About the Sleeping Beauty by PL Travers (a book that shares five versions of Sleeping Beauty) and Bruno Bettelheim’s  The Uses of Enchantment (a book that analyses children's fairytales), for his research! I wonder if he decided that the original Sleeping Beauty plots had very little love, and too much macabre weirdness even for a Gothic retelling. Moreover, what would you make of a story where a Prince looks at a sleeping Princess for the very first time, and kisses her, and she wakes up and immediately agrees to marry him? Bourne was not impressed. Is love at first sight, with a comatosed Princess, or with a strange Prince who kisses you in your sleep, your thing? The impossible love between a commoner and royalty in a supernatural world is still far more Gothicy and realistic!

*Here is a list of some popular Sleeping Beauty versions: The Sleeping Beauty by Charles Perrault, Little Briar Rose and The Evil Mother-in-Law (split into two stories) by the Brothers Grimm, a story in Frayre de Joy e Sor de Placer (A14th century Catalan collection), ‘Troylus and Zellandine’ in the Perceforest, Sole, Luna e Talia in The Pentamerone by Giambattista Basile, Sleeping Beauty and her Children in Italo Calvino's Italian Folktales… and a gazillion other variants, not including adaptations in other non-literary mediums.

When Fours Turn to Threes


Starlet (2012)

My preferred relationship stories are the non-romantic kinds that are born out of exceptional circumstances. 

I read that there are five stages to any relationship development. The first stage is acquaintanceship, when two people make first impressions; The second stage is buildup, when they display warm feelings towards each other; The third stage is continuation, when they show commitment to growing the relationship; The fourth stage is deterioration, when boredom and bad feelings lead to a downward spiral; and The fifth stage is termination, when all ties are severed! 

I like when relationship stories threaten to enter the fourth stage, but somehow find a way to undo all harm and end on a happy note. It is rarely that one is able to accept another's flaws, or see it as being up to them to make things interesting. I am always looking to find that kind of love in non-romantic relationships both in my life and in stories. Sadly, in my life, Fours seldom turn to Threes. Happily, this movie is a special gem.

(Other recent movies and TV shows that I am thinking of as I write this are: Fan Chan (My Girl); Breaking Bad; and Lonesome Dove)

Brain in a Vat


The Matrix Trilogy (1999-2003)

Every once in a while, I watch something that blows my mind, but makes me feel like it’s blowing someone else’s mind even more. The Matrix Trilogy is one such work. It can be appreciated on many levels; and on each level, one can go as deep as one chooses.

There are gazillion books and websites delving deep into the ideas behind the Matrix. It makes for a great take-off point for all kinds of philosophizing. Before I read the Philosophy Behind the Matrix Trilogy, I wanted to map out my own impressions of the trilogy. I see the first movie as being about reality, the second about choice, and the third about liberation through sacrifice.

A lot of religious and non-religious existentialist philosophy is about the discovery of reality. In eastern religious philosophy we are taught that the world around us is an illusion or Maya. It is through Maya that the universe becomes manifest. In truth, the self cannot be seen or heard, but known; and there is no reality outside of the self! At the end of each life, our body returns to the cosmos: our eyes to the sun, our flesh to earth, our fluids to water, our breath to air, and our mind to space; and they may join again and manifest themselves as other objects or beings! But when our soul is liberated, it merges into the transcendent Self (the divine)! The self therefore isn’t in the body or the mind. It can only be discovered through knowing. And by knowing the self, one knows its creator, and understands reality, and liberates oneself.

In the first movie, Neo begins his path of knowing. He learns that he and most other humans have been living in virtual reality, and are neurally connected to a computer-simulated world called Matrix created by the machines, where all their digital projections live in what they assume is the real world. You can say that the machines put all the humans in a dream state to use their bodies as energy sources for their needs. Guarding this simulated world are programs called Agents, who terminate humans who wake up to realize that they are living a false reality!

Descartes, the french philosopher, speaks of an evil demon whose whole purpose is to mislead humans. He creates a complete illusion of an external world, and makes us believe in falsehoods. But it is impossible for us to be certain that such a demon exists or that we aren’t dreaming because the demon is capable of manipulating logic.

But in the Matrix trilogy, some humans have managed to escape captivity, either through self-substantiation, or by being woken up by other free humans. They live in the hidden city of Zion far below Earth’s surface that the machines are trying to get to. In Judaism and other western religions, Zion or Jerusalem, is believed to be the seat of the Holy temple from where reality emerges.

Among these free humans, are some freedom-fighters who are looking to fight the machines and release all other humans from the Matrix; except not all humans are ready to leave the illusory world, and are happy to live in ignorance.

Buddhism teaches us that all things arise from dependence upon twelve conditions, which trap humans in a cycle of illusion. One condition is our craving for sensory experiences and the desires those experiences produce. The programs in the Matrix are designed to provide these sensory experiences. But, they will only work as long as humans believe what they perceive to be real as in fact real, and choose ignorance (Blue Pill) over enlightenment (Red Pill). If the human mind is freed, the programs illusory sensory experiences will have no effect on them. But the draw of samsara is so strong that even the enlightened sometimes are lured back into it. We see this happen in the story to Cypher and Mouse!

It is prophesied by the Oracle that Neo is “The One” who will release all humans from captivity. So he is woken up from the Matrix by Morpheus, the leader of the freedom-fighters and brought on Nebuchadnezzar, the hovercraft to learn his truth and train to fight the machines!

Neo is a reluctant hero. Even though everyone around him sees him as a savior, he behaves like the prisoner in Plato’s cave, who has lived all his life shackled facing the cave’s wall, not being able to recognize his own shadow. And when he is released from prison, he sees the world for the first time, and experiences denial and distress. The truth seems untrue, even though he recognizes the falsehood he has lived to be false. And then he comes to accept the truth of the real world, and the truth of the Matrix, and find his place in both with the help Morpheus and the Oracle.

The truth of the Matrix is one of Subjective Idealism; that all objects are ideas in the minds of its perceivers. One’s Reality is therefore dependent on one’s subjective perception of the world. One cannot change what does not exist, but can look in themselves and bring about change.

And as Neo accepts this truth, he frees his mind of the limitation of the self, and bends the rules of the Matrix. He becomes strong, agile, acquires many combat abilities and fighting styles, uses telekineses, and precognition.

Buddhism teaches us that a man’s emancipation depends on his own realization of the Truth. But while some bodhisattvas walk the path of enlightenment, some others postpose their enlightenment to liberate others through guidance. The Oracle and the freedom-fighters epitomize this compassion. Rather than remain outside the matrix, they choose to re-enter it as ambassadors of knowledge with the goal of freeing the minds of those who are trapped within it.

Both Morpheus and the Oracle tell Neo that they can only show him the door, but he has to see the Matrix, recognize the truth for himself, and choose to walk the path. There is a difference in knowing the path and walking it.

In eastern philosophy, we learn that humans see themselves as one unit, one being, because of their ego. But in reality, we are millions of cells each as alive and responsive as the whole that it helps create. But, if each cell grows an independent sense of self, it would threaten the symbiotic framework that allows for it to join other cells in the creation of one human.

But perhaps the illusion is that one need cells to come together to create a human. When in fact, Programs have no cells, but still are complex and autonomous and practically indistinguishable from humans; and in a sense free from the illusory constraints that have humans trapped in the Matrix. They are like Simulacrum.

There are two kinds of Simulacrum in art. One kind attempts faithful duplication of the original, and the other kind creates a distortion with the intention of making it appear faithful to the original. The machines and Agents are the latter type of Simulacrum. They are the humans without their fatal flaws (even though they are seen to exhibit some qualities such as anger, resentment, fear of death or deletion).

Humans created sentient machines, but failed to acknowledge that they too have their ‘truth’, or allow symbiotic bond of mutual advantage. Instead, humans chose to destroy the machines all together. But, in a turn of fate, the machines won the war and humans ended up having to live a perverse, pretentious reality, a simulacrum of the real world, controlled by the machines! It is a case of Simulacra challenging the privileged position of the original and winning; and reversing the roles of the creator and the creation.

By the end of the film, Neo fights the Agents, and is defeated by them only to be resurrected, as is unsurprising for a ‘savior’. The Oracle had foretold the return of The One who has the ability to manipulate the Matrix. As Morpheus explains, the return of this man "would hail the destruction of the matrix, end the war, bring freedom to our people. That is why there are those of us who have spent our entire lives searching the Matrix, looking for him." Both the Oracle and Morpheus believe that Neo is a reincarnation of that man.

But, the Oracle only tells people what they want to believe. She is aware that the choices they make based on that belief will lead to the future she foresees. All she needs to do is set them up to make those choices, by planting a thought in their minds, or giving them cookies of information that push them in the right direction and provide them with an impetus to follow the path to the future she foresees. She helps Neo realize that he is The One by allowing him to believe he is not. In the process he follows a path of sacrifice essential to the success of her plan.

In the second movie, the machines have located the hidden city of Zion, and are coming in full force to attack it. We learn that the Oracle is part of the Matrix, and in fact instrumental in creating this version of the matrix, which adds a new layer of suspicion. She primes Neo to find an exiled Keymaker who will take him to the Architect of the Matrix.

The Keymaker makes keys used by all the programs in the Matrix, and knows every backdoor and hidden place, including the location of the Architect. One may see his purpose is as providing keys that activate higher consciousness. Higher Consciousness as a spiritual philosophy refers to the knowledge of the Ultimate Reality or a union with the maker. But, when the Keymaker outlived his purpose in the Matrix, he was ordered to be terminated. Instead, he chose to live in exile protected by The Merovingian, also known as The Frenchman.

A background. When the Source first designed the Matrix, he created Utopia, a perfect world where humans knew no suffering. The world was akin to Hesiod, the Greek poet’s description of the Golden Age. Hesiod shared that prior to our present era, there were four Ages of Man, each more perfect than the one before. The oldest of them was the Golden Age, when men lived like Gods, free from toil and grief, and everything was in abundance, and peace and harmony prevailed. Also in Hinduism, the First and Perfect Age was Krita Yuga, when humans had no worldly desires and lived without hate, fear, sorrow or disease. But, humans in the Matrix could not accept such a world, and many died.

In the second version of the Matrix, The Source created an imperfect world full of evil and suffering. He introduced The Merovingian, a powerful program to rein humans in, by making them slaves to causality. Every human was just another link in the chain. All their actions were predetermined like automated puppets in a toy world. Humans could not handle this unfree world and rejected it. This Matrix was shelved, but the Merovingian did not have to face deletion. He continues to thrive and run an underworld mafia that traffics information and protects obsolete programs from deletion.

The current, and most successful iteration of the Matrix was created to rectify the second by adding the illusion of choice, so that humans can feel like they are driving their actions, even though the truth is far from it. The Oracle designed it with a keen understanding of the human psyche.

Most of the Matrix trilogy exemplifies how reality plays out as three philosophies try to pull ahead of each other. It is a tug-of-war between Merovingian’s Causality and the Oracle’s Choice; The Source’s purpose of balancing equations and the Oracle’s purpose of unbalancing them; and The Merovingian wanting to see the future and the Source wanting to control it.

The Merovingian is disillusioned by the idea of choice amongst humans, and demonstrates that it is not choice but causality that is the true nature of existence. ‘Why’ is the only real source of power. ‘Why’ is also the Aristotelian way of gaining knowledge.

The Merovingian is an adherent of Karma, whereas the Oracle is the advocate of Free Will; but in fact both Karma and Free Will are two sides of the same coin. At one point, the Oracle even tells Neo that he is not here to make a choice, but to understand why he made it.

The Keymaker shows Neo the path to the Architect. On meeting the Architect, Neo learns that he carries the source code because of which, he is able to bend the Matrix. If he does not return to the Source to reboot the Matrix, the Matrix will crash and kill the humans connected to it. This choice was presented to five Neos before, and they all chose to save humanity! Whereas the current Neo chooses to remain outside and save his lover Trinity instead, and changes the way the Matrix works!

This is a change brought in by the Oracle, who in her long study of the human psyche understands that falling in love is what drives the actions of humans; who in guarding the interest of one are capable of forging all of humanity on a new path.

When the Architect’s prediction about Neo turns out to be false, the Oracle explains that he cannot see past any choices. To him everything is a variable in an equation and that must be balanced on both sides; just the same as the Oracle’s purpose is to unbalance them. She does this by allowing The Anomaly (name given to Neo by the machines) to grow. The counters Neo with his opposite, Agent Smith.

In the third movie, Neo learns the lesson that liberty comes through sacrifice. Oracle sacrifices herself to Smith. Neo sacrifices himself to Smith. And all the women sacrifice or risk themselves for all the men! By now, the war isn't between those humans and machines, but between those who are preoccupied with what Smith calls the ‘vagaries of perception’, such as love, empathy and sacrifice, and those who are not.

The Oracle herself seems to have adopted love and empathy. Not love as a human emotion, but as a profound connection, as exemplified by Rama-kandra and Kamala for Sati. The Oracle agrees to trade her shell to the Merovingian in exchange for letting Sati go free. But in fact, it was also her choice to save humanity, that costed her Merovingian’s revenge, for leading Neo to the Keymaker.

It was empathy that changed the Oracle’s purpose to ending the war. The path she sends Neo on, helps him appreciate the sentience of machines, therefore aligning his purpose with hers.

Love is also the fuel that makes the freedom-fighters risk their lives for another, thereby putting events into action. It is love that makes Neo and Trinity save each other’s lives, that makes Niobe help Morpheus and Zee help Link, and that inspires The Merovingian’s wife Persephone to help Neo.

When Smith is destroyed by Neo, he becomes disconnected from the system and is able to defy programming and remain free. But, he feels like a victim of purpose and wants to destroy everything: the Humans, the Machines, and the Matrix. ‘Purpose’ is the final of the four Aristotelean causes. Aristotle believed that it is a cause that ties all beings, not just humans, and is without any form of deliberation, consciousness or intelligence. For instance, animals make choices by a different kind of deliberating agent or faculty than humans, which he calls ‘purpose’. Likewise, the final cause of a seed is the adult plant that it wants to become. And it is this final cause of becoming a plant that brings the seed about.

Smith’s final cause is to fight purpose, which he has always felt a victim of. It is this cause that brings about his invicible avatar, where he copies himself into others and acquires their abilities and ultimately takes over the Matrix with the intention of destroying it . All his actions there on are formal causes that help fulfill the final cause.

Neo convinces Deus Ex Machina, the central interface in the Machine City, to stop the sentinels from destroying the humans on Zion and to help him destroy Smith because he is about to destroy everything, which is a problem for both humans and machines. So the machines apply the ‘lesser evil’ principle and jack Neo in to face Smith. A wicked fight ensues between Neo and Smith.

Just as Smith sees the end, he also sees Neo not relenting. He asks Neo “Why, Mr. Anderson? Why do you do it? Why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you're fighting for something? For more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Is it freedom? Or truth? Perhaps peace? Yes? No? Could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson. Vagaries of perception. The temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose. And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself, although only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love. You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now. You can't win. It's pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?” And Neo says “Because I choose to.”

It all comes down to choice. Well, in fact, it all comes down to the Oracle’s choice. She played everyone with her cookies. Neo, Trinity, Morpheus, The Merovingian and The Architect.

The Closing credits is a mantra from the Upanishads.

Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya |
Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya
Mrtyor-Maa Amrtam Gamaya
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih

Lead us from Unreality to the Reality
Lead us from the Darkness to the Light,
Lead us from the Fear of Death to the Knowledge of Immortality.
Peace, Peace, Peace.

That about covers one level!