This has turned out to be a lot to write all at once. I have a lot to say. So I’ll do it in pieces. It’ll all make sense at the end of this road, I promise.
Salt, The Creator
I’ve always been fascinated by the choice of “Smith” as a name for the co-created antagonist of Neo. The name “Smith” is a craft-name. It’s a smith, a forge-worker. A forge in a volcano, if you will. A lot like the figure of the carpenter, the smith gets themselves dirty. It’s dirty work smelting and forging what comes up out of the guts of the earth. And so whatever is identified as the smith is also an agent of change. Can we get any more explicit? Like an agent? An Agent Smith, for example?
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made,” it says there in Gensis. He’s an agent of crafts. One of the forms of Atum, the Egyptian creator-god, is a serpent. What’s up with snakes and creating? And what’s up with being “crafty”?
The Hebrew word being as translated as “crafty” is “`aruwm”. This word “`aruwm” can also be translated as “intelligent,” as in “the serpent was the most intelligent among all the animals.” Certainly there are respectable Hebrew lexicons that support this, too, with renderings like “sensible.” I won’t go delving into the etymology of the word sensible except to rephrase it as “one who has good sense.” But go back to intelligent, and consider how to be approached by the most intelligent of all creatures sounds distinctly non-awful. It is connotative miles away from a creature whose defining adjective is tricksy.
I mean, did you watch Good Omens?
CROWLEY – Funny if I did the good thing and you did the bad one, eh?
Here’s another way to look at it: The word crafty comes down to us from the Old English word cræft, which in its day meant “power, physical strength, and might.” Where “intelligent” implies mental faculty, here we have gone right off the map. Physical strength! Think of it: a mighty serpent comes to town. As a point of interest, the Old English cræft was related to the Old Norse kraptr, which meant “strength” or “virtue.” The reason I relate this information is to show that in its original sense, our Old English word probably had only positive associations. It meant someone who was mighty in a good way, a virtuous way, not an intimidating or sleazy way. The serpent is a creator, a being with will and might who builds by dividing, which means descent into the field of time, which is infliction.
In Resurrection, what do we have for a Crafty Smith? He’s not an agent, not capital A. He’s not a part of the sytem at all, any more than Morpheus or Bugs is. He comes from outside (he’s as inside as Tom is for a while there – some bit of Analyst arrangement, I bet – and then he wakes up simultaneously with Tom (this is meaningful in the sense that the divider and the savior have to be coexistant)). Did you ever notice how much Smith likes to parse things out? He defines things; speaks his definitions out loud. That’s Brahma energy, or El, speaking words to define and divide in order to create. Language is our special fundament, the place from which our human-ness grows. Bound up with language is, inevitably, a theory of mind. That means there is you and there is me, and we are distinct. As much as it seems like Smith is a destructive character, he’s not. He cuts one thing into two. He draws circles of inclusion and exclusion. Like a walking dictionary. That is, in fact, creative. The act of creation is an act of division, of separating what is above and below, what is in and what is out, of timelessness into time. That is what a smith does.
Smith as Smith isn’t allowed in the Analyst’s Matrix. He’s made to be a corporate manager, part of the game, although he does smoke. A sign that he doesn’t obey the rules. Kind of like Tom running his modals. Smith as Smith wasn’t allowed in the Architect’s Matrix either. That definitely wasn’t part of the Architect’s plan. Neither of them realized what they were dealing with. There’s no real creation in either Matrix; they’re static places. All there is is the Merovingian, the Beggar King, who cracks his neck and makes pronouncements of destiny. (I mean, the Merovingian isn’t wrong, he’s just right about things that don’t matter, totally blind to creative energy.)
And Thomas, the vulcanist in this story, the Hephaestus, what Hephaestus does to get himself thrown out of heaven is an act of division. See, his mother (Hepheastus’ mother) is locked up by some magic chains, which he had hinmself maybe had a hand in making, and what Hephaestus does is figure out a way to break them and set her free. This is his “crime,” for which he’s thrown out of heaven. In any case, it’s a separator, a “breaking of chains” that sets things in motion. This may all sound familiar, especially, in my mind, with The Kid in Animatrix and Revolutions.
Like Smith, Thomas isn’t allowed to to do this, either in the Analyst’s Matrix or in the real world of Io. At the merest hint of freeing Trinity (breaking the magic chains), Tom is locked up.
THOMAS – You’re going to imprison me after I just got free?
NIOBE – I know it doesn’t seem fair, but neither does growing old.
Taking a pause here to dive into what I hope is a reasonable link. Baal in the Ugaritic pantheon is wed to Anat who very much resembles Kali. What both Anat and Kali do is basically cut people’s heads off with their swords. They’re goddesses of war and death, but what does that mean? It means separation and division, which in turn means creation. So they are cast as consorts to creator-gods. Their function creates.
Brahma, like El in Genesis, expresses that the first act, the initial creative act, is to recognize with language that you and I are two different beings. That’s a cutting, a division, like with swords. Coeval with that acknowledgment is the descent into the field of time and the fragmenting of reality into the tripartate cosmology of Underworld, Sky/Heaven, and the In-Between (Middle Earth). Creation divides and sets the pillars.
What does the Analyst say?
ANALYST – As long as I managed to keep you close, but not too close, I discovered something incredible.