Frequently Asked Questions: Green & Gold Code

If the Oracle does not have gold code like Seraph, how does Neo figure out she is a program from the machine world?

In M2, the Oracle and Neo have the following exchange:

Oracle: So. Let's get the obvious stuff out of the way.
Neo: You're not human, are you?
Oracle: Well it's tough to get any more obvious than that.
Neo: If I had to guess, I'd say you're a program from the machine world. So is he.
Oracle: So far, so good.

Many assume that the Oracle has gold code since Seraph's gold code has to be the reason for Neo's conclusion that Seraph is a program from machine world. However, as we see the comparison below (Seraph in M2 vs. Oracle in M3), the Oracle's code is definitely green:

Notice, however, that the Oracle's code gives off a very bright green glow. This is still a unique feature of the Oracle's code that would quickly identify her as being different from other programs in the Matrix.

I thought only gold code represented a program from the machine world. So glowing green code does too?

I think that Machines appear gold, while programs appear green.

The Oracle is probably not an actual machine like many assume her to be, and I also doubt the Merovingian is a machine, because the Oracle is the Prime Program, and the Merovingian was too. An operating system, as important as it is, is still just software. So, Rama-Kandra and Seraph (machines) would appear gold, while the Oracle, Merovingian, Keymaker, Agents, exiles, etc. would appear green.

One forum user named wAkE_uP_nEo posted an alternate explanation:

We all know the Wachowskis' fascination with Buddhism...

When the Buddha achieves enlightenment, his soul was supposed to glow gold from within. Notice in the scene where Seraph's gold code is revealed, he is sitting in the typical Buddha pose. If you saw that shot completely out of context of the movies, you would be forgiven for thinking it was supposed to be Buddha. So, perhaps it is something to do with enlightenment.

I think a lot about Seraph will eventually be revealed. The Wachowskis have stated their interest in releasing another video game to explain Seraph's back story. Even if this doesn't happen, it shows their intention to do further Matrix projects (although NOT movies) to give more insight into Seraph, because they made a point of hinting that a detailed history of Seraph has been written: His involvement with the Merovingian ("the prodigal son returns!"), his background with the Oracle ("I am forever indebted to you") and his crossing of paths with Smith ("I have defeated you before").

This is also a fairly convincing argument, although it is not a science fiction answer - it is a symbolism answer. I find these answers to be unsatisfying in the context of science fiction (the main focus of this site), because it forces plot function from symbolic function - something I think is beneath the Wachowskis. An explanation that does the opposite (deriving symbolic function from plot function) would be much more satisfying and impressive. I do hope that if wAkE_uP_nEo is correct, the Wachowskis will provide a suitable explanation in the realm of science fiction to go along with this symbolic explanation. For more on why forcing plot function from symbolic function is a copout, read the "Keeping Higher Meanings in Their Place" section of Higher Meanings.

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