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In the Matrix movie (1999) as well as in the Matrix screenplay (Rev. 3/9/98) Morpheus calls Neo and the first sentence that comes out of his mouth is:

This line is tapped, so I must be brief.

Later he proceeds saying:

MORPHEUS (V.O.): They got to you first, but they've underestimated how important you are. If they knew what I know, you would probably be dead.

NEO: What are you talking about? What the hell is happening to me?

MORPHEUS (V.O.): You're the One, Neo. ..

I was always puzzled by this ever since I saw the movie way back and recently when I read the screenplay. Morpheus confirms that Neo's life would be at stake if the enemy knew what he knows.

Why does Morpheus tell Neo he is the one over a tapped line?

  • Because it's a simple and straight forward answer until Morpheus could explain further. I agree, he could have said something along the lines of "I'll answer that later". Problem is, Neo is still plugged into the Matrix, and when are the agents not monitoring them? If they are not spying on them, they're too busy chasing them down. If you consider the sequels, then the machines want Neo to be found, so even if agents are aware that Neo is the One, they have to let Morpheus meet and wake Neo. – user78021 Dec 21 '19 at 20:40
  • This is speculation, but I'd imagine Morpheus felt he needed to say something to keep Neo's attention. If he simply said "I'll tell you later", then Neo would put it to the back of his mind. Plus, telling Neo he's The One plants a seed that eventually grows into the truth. Who knows whether Neo really was the one "One", or if he became The One simply because he gradually came to believe in himself? Much like the vase... – oliver-clare Dec 23 '19 at 13:06
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Morpheus was being brief to avoid being traced. Going by generic crime tropes, people are often told to keep the line open for X amount of time so the source can be traced. It stands to reason that the same applies here, as Morpheus is handling this unsecure call the same way.

You can argue whether or not the machines should have more direct control over the Matrix than a 90s police tech with a phoneline (meaning the machines don't need time to trace the call); but agents exist specifically because the machines don't have perfectly deterministic knowledge of what goes on in the Matrix. Agents are the "boots on ground" to provide a machine presence - if the machines could read the Matrix with "full access", they wouldn't need the agents.

I mean, the machines apparently can't even ban the unplugged humans from accessing the Matrix altogether, which quite strongly suggests that the Matrix is less guarded than it could/should be.

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  • I mean, the machines apparently can't even ban the unplugged humans from accessing the Matrix altogether, which quite strongly suggests that the Matrix is less guarded than it could/should be. If you take the sequels into account, isn't that what the machines want to have happen? Allow some people to wake up, and then eventually wipe everything out and restart. – user78021 Dec 23 '19 at 14:46
  • @SinsofVodianova: Rebooting the Matrix is to avoid people waking up by themselves because they reject the Matrix' illusion (i.e. not by an external human, the way Neo was woken by Morpheus' crew). Think of it like a major patch to fix an unintentional exploit. – Flater Dec 23 '19 at 20:31

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