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Angel fight

Exiled Seraphim from The Matrix Online, which may have originally belonged to the utopian Paradise Matrix

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 Architect to Neo[src]

The Paradise Matrix is a term which refers to the first prototype Matrix. This very first version of the Matrix was designed by The Architect to control and pacify humanity by putting their minds into a constructed virtual reality. Unlike later versions, it simulated a perfect utopian world without suffering. However, humanity did not accept this early version of the Matrix, and many of those connected died. A second prototype, based on human history, was then designed in place of the first one to more accurately reflect the unpleasant aspects of human nature.


Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world where none suffered, where everyone would be happy? 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 up from.

― Agent Smith to Morpheus[src]

Agent Smith said that some believed the Machines simply lacked the programming language to describe the perfect human world. However, Agent Smith believed differently and theorized that humanity itself defined their reality through misery and suffering. Meanwhile, The Architect stated that it was a consequence of the imperfection inherent in every human being. In hindsight, he also explained how the problem itself was the lack of choice.

End of the Paradise Matrix[]

The Architect attempted to resolve the failures of the Paradise Matrix by incorporating the grotesqueries of human nature into the second protype Matrix. This also failed, as he was unaware that the problem was actually the lack of choice given to the inhabitants. Choice, if even subconsciously, would allow the inhabitants to accept the artificial world.


At the end of the Paradise Matrix, some of the programs became redundant, with their functions being removed from the system or being replaced by new programs, thereby replacing them and getting them slated for deletion. However, rather than return to the Source, some wanted to survive, and instead hid and returned to later versions of the Matrix as exiles.

The Merovingian[]

The Merovingian, as one of the oldest programs, may have been among the first exiles. Regardless, he soon came with the power to safehouse exiles through the use of his smuggling ring, allowing many programs to escape deletion.

Nightmare Matrix[]

Main article: Nightmare Matrix

According to the Nightmare Matrix theory, The Architect, having learned from the failure of the Paradise Matrix, went completely the other way in designing the second prototype. Instead of trying to remove all suffering, he included as many elements of suffering as possible.

Many of The Merovingian's lieutenants were posited to have come from this version of the Matrix. One such exile was Baelroth, who is believed to have once been an angel in the Paradise Matrix. Another was Seraph, another probable Seraphim, who later rebelled against The Merovingian.


Matrix Beta Versions[]

Main article: Matrix Beta Versions

Since the modern Matrix was designed by The Oracle to incorporate choice, earlier versions of the Matrix would then predate the programming of The One, despite the Resistance believing that he was born inside the Matrix from the very beginning. This is supported by The Architect counting each cycle or iteration of the modern Matrix from the emergence of one anomaly to the next. All earlier versions of the Matrix (both the Paradise Matrix and Nightmare Matrix) are then excluded from this numbering, leading some to call them betas or prototypes.

Paradise and Nightmare Matrixes[]

There is no canonical proof that the "Nightmare" Matrix was designed to be the hellish landscape it posits, only that a second prototype Matrix was designed based on human history and to more closely reflect human "grotesqueries". In The Matrix Reloaded', The Architect underscores his comments regarding the imperfections introduced in to the Matrix by showing scenes of conflict and warfare.

Similarly, the term "Paradise" Matrix is not canonical, but could have been cited to mirror the hellish "Nightmare" Matrix.


Ken Wilbur in The Philosopher's Commentary to The Matrix Reloaded describes how he interprets imperfection to be central in the films to the three worlds of the Machines, the Humans, and the Matrix, and that perfection is impossible because by creating it through rationality alone leaves out the "worlds" of body and spirit, which cannot produce a harmony, and leaves an inherent instability in the system. This also shows the imperfection of The Architect, representing "male rationality" and The Oracle representing "female intuition", neither of which can solve the problem alone, nor even together can completely solve it.

He mentioned Kurt Gödel, a mathematician, who described how any complex system can either be consistent or complete, but not both, and how The Architect tried to construct the Matrix mathematically, with total precision, then tried to make it consistent, which didn't work either, before The Oracle tried an intuitive approach to make it work, which was successful for 99%, though the other 1% would cause a disaster. He says this shows how "you can't make the Matrix self-contained and consistent and happy because it's leaving out these other domains", and until those were integrated, they couldn't make the Matrix work: Neo's role was then to redeem not only humanity but also the programs and the Machines.

Cornel West agreed that this showed how imperfection was integral to human nature, by saying that The Creator of the Matrix had to deal with this imperfection in His design, which addresses how we can define human nature as a questioning mandate of reason. Whether, once we accept our imperfection it leads us to answer the big questions in life--which may have no answer, resulting in nihilism; or, if there is still a way of coping and grappling with those possible answers in an individual finite way that one may still be able to preserve a sense of individuality and freedom. He wondered if this was not just a theme within the films, but also something that the Wachowskis themselves were struggling with.

Religious Interpretation[]

The Paradise Matrix may also be a vague allusion to the Garden of Eden in the Book of Genesis. It was also a paradise for mankind that was taken from them upon disobeying the word of God.


See also[]