Trinity's Kiss

Just for the Hell of It Dept.

     This post may not be politically incorrect at all, for which I apologize. Please be patient.

     Many years ago I was living under a huge overhanging rock ledge on the outskirts of Alaung Daw Kathapa National Park, in northwestern Burma. At that time another American monk came for a visit; and during his visit, in one of our many conversations, he recommended that I see a certain movie called The Matrix if/when I returned to America. He claimed that the movie was a kind of Mahayana Buddhist parable. Later, after I had moved out from under the rock ledge, he further observed that the scene towards the end of the movie, in which Trinity kisses Neo, is a hokey Hollywood attempted symbol of bodhisattvic compassion.

     Not long after my long stay at the national park I briefly returned to the USA to visit my family; and I watched The Matrix, about six times. The movie fascinated me. I love interpreting symbolism, the movie was loaded with it, and so I dedicated much of my time to trying to understand it as well as I could, watching it over and over again. I looked up analyses on the Internet for clues; and it turns out that there are many aspects of the movie that pretty much nobody could notice without inside information. For example, in the scene in which Agent Smith makes his first appearance, the license plate on his car is allegedly a Bible reference, citing a smith at his fiery forge—obviously a reference to the Devil.

     Anyway, it became fairly evident that there was more Christian symbolism in the movie than Buddhist, and the bodhisattvic compassion hypothesis didn’t seem to ring true. So then I started wondering: if Trinity’s kiss doesn’t represent Mahayana Buddhist compassion, then what does it mean? The following essay is my answer to that question, written many years ago when the issue was still burning in my mind, and I had no idea what a “blog” was. I’ve changed a few little things in the essay, mainly for cosmetic purposes.

     The following essay takes for granted that the reader has already seen the movie. If you haven’t already seen it you’re Amish or just silly. It’s a magnificent movie. And forget the sequels. They're just potboilers.

Trinity’s Kiss

     Throughout The Matrix it is pretty obvious that Neo is undergoing a transformation, from “Doubting Thomas” Anderson to Neo to The One. The transformation is largely a matter of developing faith, that is, faith in himself. Sometimes his developing faith is made obvious, for example in the scene toward the end in which Neo chooses to fight against Agent Smith instead of running from him; when Trinity, who clearly is worried, expresses some alarm at this Morpheus replies, “He’s starting to believe.”

     It’s just as true, although not quite as obvious, that Trinity also is changing and developing in faith throughout the movie—not in herself, but in Neo. At the very beginning all one sees is a computer screen, and one hears Trinity and Cypher talking. Trinity presumably surprises Cypher in the act of communicating with the agents, and offers to take his shift in watching Neo. Cypher says, “You like him, don’t you,” and Trinity replies, “Don’t be ridiculous.” Then Cypher, who worries throughout most of the movie over the notion that Neo might really be The One, says, “Do you think he’s The One?” and Trinity answers, ironically, “It doesn’t matter what I think” (—actually, however, it matters a great deal). So at the start of the movie Trinity is noncommittal with regard to whether or not Neo is The One, and even denies liking him.

     About halfway through the movie Neo goes through the “jump program,” and instead of jumping to the other building he plummets like a rock to the (fortunately rubberized) pavement. The crew of the Nebuchadnezzar are disappointed, except for Cypher, who in partly concealed relief remarks, “Everyone falls the first time. Right, Trin?” but when he turns to look at her he finds that she is gone—she left as soon as he failed, clearly out of sore disappointment. She does like him and want him to be The One, but she doesn’t yet love him and truly believe that he is The One.

     As the Oracle says during Neo’s interview with her, “You’re even cuter than I thought…I can see why she likes you.” At this stage it’s still only “likes.” Interestingly, a little later in the interview the Oracle indulges in some subtle foreshadowing when she says, “Being The One is like being in love…” pointing to the parallel between Neo’s development and Trinity’s.

     Later on when Cypher is running amuck and is trying to kill everybody he reminds Trinity that she never did answer his question as to whether she thought Neo was The One. Then he says, “Look into those big, pretty eyes and tell me—Yes, or No!” Trinity looks at Neo and then says to Cypher, “Yes,” but she says it in a barely audible whisper, with unmistakable fear in her eyes. She wants him to be The One, but she still doesn’t know that he is The One.

     Still later, after Neo rescues Morpheus and then saves Trinity from the crashing helicopter (which may be another glitch in the movie like the freshly baked and still warm crunchy cookie—but that’s a different story) he pulls her up onto the rooftop and she stands there making big cow eyes at him; then Morpheus says, “Do you still have doubts, Trinity?” This of course further indicates that she has been harboring doubts; and although she’s definitely seriously sweet on Neo at this point, and despite his miraculous survival of Cypher’s rampage and equally miraculous rescue of Morpheus, she still has doubts.

     For example, in the aforementioned scene in which Neo turns to fight Agent Smith, Trinity expresses alarm; and when Agent Smith punches Neo out so fast that he appears to have multiple arms like a Hindu deity, and Neo back on the Nebuchadnezzar starts bleeding at the mouth, Trinity, while wiping the blood from his mouth, exclaims with obvious distress, “He’s killing him!” In fact, just as Cypher’s evil was necessary to bring Neo to the crisis point which culminated in his becoming The One, even so, Neo’s eventual death was necessary to bring Trinity to the crisis point which culminated in her realizing that she really does love him, and consequently, in accordance with the Oracle’s prophecy, that he really must be The One. Presumably Neo’s death caused the required heart pangs or whatever that triggered Trinity’s realization.

     As Morpheus tells Neo on the rooftop after his rescue, the Oracle tells only what one needs to know, nothing more. So, how does this apply to what she told Trinity? It could be said that Morpheus needed to know that he would find The One in order to spur him on to make the necessary effort to find him, but why would Trinity need to know that the man she loved would be The One? It’s something very romantical that most women would be very interested to know, but why would it be necessary to know? The answer is that Trinity’s knowledge that Neo was The One based on her knowledge that she loved him (as per the Oracle’s prophecy) required that Neo not remain dead. Cypher’s evil was necessary to cause Neo’s death, to cause Trinity’s love, to cause Trinity’s faith, to cause Neo’s resurrection as The One.

     With Neo’s death and Trinity’s consequent realization of what he really means to her, her faith in him becomes absolute. The very first words of her “I love you” speech near the end of the movie are, “I’m not afraid anymore”—which is obviously true, for although her words are extremely heartfelt she speaks them with a profound serenity that previously was lacking in her. Her profound serenity and complete lack of fear are all the more remarkable and significant considering that at the same time of this declaration of love and faith the sentinels are busily tearing the Nebuchadnezzar apart, with sparks flying everywhere, with the man she loves—the man upon whom everybody’s highest hopes were resting—lying dead before her, and with everyone else’s death appearing immanent. She pays no heed to the sparks and screaming metal all around her. She tells Neo, “…you can’t be dead…you can’t be…” not plaintively or in despair, but with absolute conviction, absolute certainty. She has more than the faith of a grain of mustard seed, which can not only move mountains but in this case bring a dead man back to life. (Neo doesn’t bring himself back to life because, hey, he’s dead.) Trinity’s kiss, one of many climaxes in the movie, is simply an outward, symbolic manifestation of this powerful love, and this miraculous faith. It demonstrates why the humans are destined to win—soulless machines just don’t have it.

An afterthought [still part of the original essay]: At one level, Trinity represents the Holy Spirit of the Christian trinity, Morpheus representing the Father (in one scene Tank even says to him, “You were like a father to us”), and Neo of course representing, among other things, the Son/Christ/Messiah (to give one example: after Choi the Goth gives Neo $2000—two millennia of dollars—and Neo gives him the bootlegged computer disk, Choi says, “Hallelujah! You’re my savior, man, my own personal Jesus Christ!”) The names of all the major characters in the movie have symbolic meanings; so, if Trinity doesn’t personify a part of the Christian trinity, then why is she named Trinity? I don’t know if the writers of the movie knew this, but some early schools of Christianity believed the Holy Spirit to be female. The scene in which Neo and Trinity first meet may refer to the notion that the Holy Spirit is commonly believed to be male, but is actually female—after Trinity tells Neo her name, Neo says with some surprise, “The Trinity?” and then a few moments later blurts out, “I thought you were a guy!” whereupon Trinity replies, “Most guys do.” Very little of the dialog in the movie is purely gratuitous (even the lyrics of the Rob Zombie song playing in the background during the scene are symbolic), so it is a reasonable assumption that the above interchange has some deeper significance than mere filler. Anyhow, according to mainstream Christian theology (for example Roman Catholic theology) the Holy Spirit is defined in terms of, even defines as, divine love. Also, supposedly, it is largely responsible for the performance of miracles in this world. So from this perspective also, Trinity’s kiss may be said to symbolize sublime love, and its power to work miracles.  



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