This question relates to the movie Matrix Revolutions (2003)

In this third installment, we see Neo, in the real world, fighting Bane. Bane's mind has been replaced by Agent Smith. Bane, in his head, is Agent Smith.

Bane blinds Neo, and so Neo's eyes in the real world are useless. Neo, after losing his eyesight, begins to see the world in a golden glow. He sees Agent Smith instead of Bane.

Let's park the idea of "matrix within the matrix" because that invalidates the whole trilogy. That invalidates any knowledge of what the current world looks like. That also gives rise to infinite possibilities and explanations as to what is actually happening in the real, real world.

Assuming that the real world is indeed the real world, how does Neo begin to see with the golden glow? I'm looking for a scientific explanation, not a spiritual one.

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    "I'm looking for a scientific explanation, not a spiritual one." - First and foremost you should be looking for an explanation congruent with the movie and its universe, if spiritual or not.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Feb 5, 2015 at 10:17
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    I remember the oracle saying something like "The power of the one goes beyond the matrix" (I watched th movies in italian, I am sorry if the quote is incorrect) and in the 2nd and 3rd movies Neo can also stop the machines with his mind, so I guess he can somehow percieve (see) programs and the matrix also in the real world and interfere with it.
    – mattiav27
    Feb 5, 2015 at 10:34
  • @mattiav27, thanks, I understand that flow of thought. I'm with you on that. Just looking for more clarity on what exactly he's seeing, and how.
    – John
    Feb 5, 2015 at 10:36
  • I'm not trying to pick apart your question. It is an interesting question and I originally upvoted it until that last sentence came. The only thing I'd like to figure out is what you will do with a perfectly consistent answer that is backed by evidence and explanation from the actual movie and its universe, but that is entirely "spiritual" in nature and not so much scientific. I don't know if such an answer exists or if a scientific answer is never given or not congruent with the movie, but ruling out answers that might fit to the movie but not to what you want to hear seems strange.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Feb 5, 2015 at 10:49
  • @NapoleonWilson, the Matrix movies used the in-movie science to explain all of our world's phenomena - spiritual or not. People who are familiar with the context of the movie would also understand that spiritual explanations to any of the events in the movie would not be in congruence with the movie and its universe. Your comment "First and foremost you should be looking for an explanation congruent with the movie and its universe, if spiritual or not." only suggests that I'm not sure of what I want, but you are. I'm simply trying to reduce the volume of answers here. Let's make peace now?
    – John
    Feb 5, 2015 at 11:09

2 Answers 2


It's reasonable to assume (based on the time that Neo spent in Mobil Ave and the fact that he was able to influence the squiddies outside of the Matrix) that the machine ports in Neo's neck and body have some sort of wireless capability. It's also pretty reasonable to assume that the various machine elements that we see also have a similar wireless capability, allowing individual machine parts to communicate with each other. Neo is tapping into that and converting it into a sort of blind-sight.

It's very telling that when Neo fights Smith on the Logos and later when he arrives at the Machine City, he can only see powered machine elements, not Trinity's body, nor the damaged spikes that have cut through through her. He can't see anything unpowered since it's not emitting any kinds of signals. This holds true for the structure of the Logos, the ground alongside the power cables and the sky.

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    I like where you are heading with it. However, take this for instance. The sentinels which are connected wirelessly to the source, they have receptors that help them navigate, sort of like a global positioning system. Sentinels can also detect un-powered humans, they do this perhaps through something that is equivalent to human eyes. It makes sense that Neo is tapping into machine resources to see limited items. How is Neo able to see Bane as Smith (with shades even)? Bane continues to be un-powered, he might be brainwashed to thinking that he's Smith, but unpowered he remains.
    – John
    Feb 6, 2015 at 11:00
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    @Tivep - The sentinels have large camera eyes. It's fairly likely that they detect humans via either infra-red or simply visible light while reserving their "machine sight" for viewing each other. Bane is powered, his port is actively hosting a copy of Smith.
    – user7812
    Feb 6, 2015 at 11:05
  • Fair enough.. The golden vision is a representation of how machines view powered elements. That only leaves my other question "scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/81057/…", who is viewing this? However, the current question, I think it's answered.
    – John
    Feb 6, 2015 at 12:07

There is no real "scientific reason", as the movie is Science Fiction. This means that reality and physics can be manipulated in ways unknown or unproven by science.

According to the Wiki:

Bane, who has stowed away on the Logos, takes Trinity hostage. Neo realizes that Bane has been assimilated by Smith. Bane cauterizes Neo's eyes with a power cable, blinding him; however, Neo discovers an ability to perceive the world as golden light. Neo kills Bane, and Trinity pilots them to the Machine City.

So, first of all, you have to ask how Smith "assimilated" Bane in the "real world". How can a machine assimilate a human's brain? It's not possible. Therefore, you have to suspend your disbelief to move past it. You just have to agree that a computer can do that to a human.

Therefore, to answer your question, you just have to believe that Neo can now see everything as a golden glow simply because he has been given the ability to do so. He is, after all, "The One", and therefore must possess certain powers that all the others do not.

  • Yeah, the wiki is very little on the info, practically useless. The in-movie science suggests that the brain's function has been fully understood by the machines. In a sense, the brain is digitized. One of the explanations offered for Bane's assimilation is that - Agent Smith simply "formats" Bane's brain and loads it with information of only Agent Smith. This he does in the Matrix. The real world implication of this is brainwashing someone to have an alter ego. Schizophrenic like, but with only Smith's persona running the show.
    – John
    Feb 5, 2015 at 13:18
  • Neo is "The One" bending the rules of physics only inside the Matrix. He's a normal man outside of it. There is a mention of him going to the source giving him some sort of connection to the machine world, nothing too clear.
    – John
    Feb 5, 2015 at 13:25
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    @Tivep And his superpowers in the real world? Didn't he EMP a bunch of sentinels at some point?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Feb 5, 2015 at 14:15
  • The theory there is that going to the source in part 2 has him connected to the machine mainframes in some way. Just like the machine mainframe controls the sentinels, Neo can too. After all Neo could jack in without wires into the Matrix.
    – John
    Feb 5, 2015 at 15:06

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