Do not try and bend the spoon, that's impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth... There is no spoon... Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.”
― Spoon Boy to Neo[src]
He lived with the Oracle, along with the Priestess, Saga Talmer, and the other potentials, where they were taught about the nature of the system, and practiced meditation and their abilities to bend the Matrix, manipulating objects with their minds alone. His nickname, "Spoon Boy", was gained by his bending of spoons via telekinesis.
The shaven head and robes that Spoon Boy wore made him resemble a Buddhist monk, with his teachings also resembling Buddhist doctrine.
Spoon Boy was first seen bending a spoon during Neo's first visit to the Oracle. While Neo was waiting, Spoon Boy taught him to also bend spoons. These teachings were instrumental in giving Neo his first hint towards his own powers after he managed to bend the spoon that was offered to him. He also recalled this during the mission to rescue Morpheus from the Agents. Repeating the phrase "there is no spoon", he braced himself after taking hold of the lift cable and then shooting it away to carry them up through the building.
While living under the Oracle's care, Spoon Boy made a trip out on his own into Mega City where he saw a shop display full of television sets showing Raven Underwell's exhibition of Machine sculptures at Hednet Gallery. Learning that the event was by invitation only, he stole the invitation pass from the correspondent's hand, teleporting it through the TV screen, and into his own hand. He then inspected the pass, reading the underlying Matrix code, and teleported himself to the gallery.
While there, he listened to Raven Underwell talk, telling the story of her startlingly vivid dream. When Raven approached him to ask him his thoughts about her work, he caused her to have a vision of the sculptures coming to life, killing people and destroying the city. During the vision, Raven Underwell ran to the streets seeking to escape the Machines. With nowhere to run, she saw a telephone booth and the phone was ringing. She picked up just before the box was destroyed by a sentinel.
It is not enough to believe what you see. You must also understand what you see.”
― Voice from the phone[src]
Despite being detached from the phone line, she could still hear a voice from the phone telling her to understand what she saw more than just believing it. Asking back what it was she was supposed to understand, she looked up to see a broken wall. And inside it was a seemingly endless graveyard. She then realized that the Machines were caretakers and not the carers of humanity she previously thought.
Opening her eyes, she saw herself back in the gallery with everything back to normal and the sculptures again lifeless; when she was asked if she was okay, she replied, "No. I'm not okay. I'm a fool," and whispered to add, "please... forgive me." Spoon Boy walked out of the gallery, which had now been serving some appetizers, while the correspondent and her cameraman were complaining about the soup-like food and about how "there were no spoons."
Later, when Neo was about to leave Zion to see the Oracle again, Kid caught up with his crew to give him a gift, saying, "I just have to give something to Neo. A gift from one of the orphans. He made me swear to get it to you before you left. He said you'd understand," which, when unwrapped, turned out to be a spoon, showing that Spoon Boy had been freed from the Matrix.
Being able to understand the principles and code behind the Matrix, Spoon Boy had attained a range of abilities within the Matrix.
- Telekinesis - He was able to bend spoons with the power of his mind alone, and moved objects from a distance such as the letters of Hednet Gallery's entrance sign which he rearranged to spell "the end".
- Teleportation - He also appeared to have teleportation powers, making Kitt Pritchard's exhibition pass disappear from her hands to appear in his own, and then instantaneously transporting himself to the gallery. On both accounts, he needed some sort of medium to teleport. When teleporting Kitt's pass, he extended his arms towards a TV showing the pass to steal it. When teleporting himself to the gallery, he looked through the underlying code of the pass.
- Telepathy - As well as manipulating objects, he also manipulated others' minds, causing Raven Underwell to have a vision of her Machine statues coming to life and causing destruction in the city, which he used to teach her that she had to understand as well as believe what she saw.
- In The Matrix: Path of Neo, the Zion Archives level is unlocked by selecting the Spoon Atman Principle. When viewed Neo takes a spoon out and stares at it before putting it away again. The description once selected is Spoon Boy's quote to Neo, but before being selected it is a quote from The Gateless Gate:
It is better to realize mind than body.”
When the mind is realized one need not worry about the body.
When mind and body become one,
The man is free. Then he desires no praising.
- "Thereisnospoon" is a common cheat in many games such as Warcraft and Star Wars: Jedi Knight, the effect of this cheat is the Bullet Time Effect.
- Lana Wachowski explained in the 2021 Berlin panel the added meaning behind Spoon Boy's advice that "there is no spoon, and it is not the spoon that bends, but yourself": the spoon can be seen as an analogy to a person's concept of reality or a concept of "normalness". Coming out as transgender, Lana said she had to realize that the outside world's definition of "normal" didn't need to change, all that was required was that she on her own mentally bend/change her conception of what "normal" is. By extension this theme recurs throughout the story: the outside definitions of "reality" that the Matrix tries to force onto people (spoons, bullets, identity), much like subjective social conventions and beliefs, can be ignored by a truly free mind because only the individual defines what is "normal"/real to them (thus Neo can bend spoons, stop bullets in flight, reject the artificial constructs of the Matrix forced on him).