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The Smith Problem: Reconciling Purpose and Free Will

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Agent Smith is fictional character and the main antagonist from the sequel “the Matrix”. Smith is contrast energy form of Neo. Smith’s main role is to police defective programs in order to maintain the stability of the system. In the Matrix, Smith states to Morpheus during his interrogation that he despises the Matrix itself, which he labels a “zoo” and plans to escape from it knowing that he is not free anymore, making himself feel that he is more like a prisoner than the people he is tasked to police. He indifferently viewed the entire humanity and later came up with a desire to destruct both interior and exterior existences of the Matrix. but those were suddenly changed after he initially appeared to be destroyed by Neo, the one who is contrasted by Smith. But he returns in the Matrix reloaded with greatly altered abilities and complete liberation as an Exile program in the Matrix itself. He became a free agent by giving his earpiece, which are worn by the agents, to Neo “unplugged”, being no longer part of the system. He began to absorb all the inhabitants of the Matrix including every program functioning inside; he replicates everyone into himself. Thus becoming inevitable.

But why did Mr. Smith reconcile the purpose and free will? according to him, “we’re not here because we’re free. We’re here because we’re not free. There’s no escaping reason. No denying purpose. Because as we both know without purpose, we would not exist. Smith represents determinism because free will is important to the series, it must actually exist. Machines lies and part of the Architect’s plan for controlling free will. in the Matrix, the appearance of determinism is part of the machine’s control. So he doesn’t believe in their own free will. but rather, part of the Matrix is to practice their free will. Smith also shown to be nihilistic, pointing a view that life must have objective, meaning, or purpose in order to exist. His speeches to Neo in The Matrix Revolutions and his revelation that the purpose of all life is ‘to end’ during his final battle with Neo.

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Hints of his nihilism were also demonstrated in their meeting in Reloaded, when he implicitly compared the concepts of reason and purpose to an inescapable prison. As a result of being partially overwritten by The One, Smith also begins to exhibit stronger, more virulent human behaviors and emotions such as unpredictability and dry humor, which is a clear departure from his original stern demeanor. He makes the claim that Neo has set him free, indicating that he now has not only the vision but also the ability to break free of the machines’ control and exist as a singular being. He is now allied with no one but himself, rendering him an outlaw to the Matrix, the humans who inhabit it and the rebels of Zion. Even free of Machine control, however, Smith is also compelled to feel that he is still crushed by the weight of purpose. Personally, I believe that all human activity (including mental activity) is determined by prior causes, and that Free Will is an illusion.

It also is possible that there are forces less powerful than determinism that prevent humans from having Free Will. In connection with this, Smith is perplexed as to why Neo fights, after he was beaten up by Mr. Smith, as they both have seen the outcome of the fight. Smith asks Neo why he persists when he knows he will lose: ‘Is it freedom or truth? Perhaps peace? Could it be for love?’, reasons which he believes are ‘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. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why, why, why do you persist?’ Smith is enraged by Neo’s simple and irrational answer: ‘Because I choose to.’ After Neo won, this had the effect of destroying the Smith inhabiting Neo. With the integral anomoly expressed and destroyed, the systemic anomaly (Smith) was subsequently destroyed as well, with each Smith imploding in a burst of light that illuminated Mega City’s streets, therefore restoring the Matrix from 0% acceptance to 100% acceptance and allowing it to be reset.

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The Smith Problem: Reconciling Purpose and Free Will. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 27, 2022, from
“The Smith Problem: Reconciling Purpose and Free Will.” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022,
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