The Oklahoma Daily (US), March 1, 2004

Success Portraits: Neo had a purpose

by Tayo Oyedeji

I love "The Matrix" trilogy. I love the intricate mix of philosophy, action, spirituality and romance. I have seen lots of great trilogies but simply can't help placing "The Matrix" at the top of the list.

I particularly like the character played by Keanu Reeves—Neo. He was the disengaged yet emotional, weak but strong, moronic yet philosophical, scared and courageous guy designated "the One."

In the movie, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) was the epitome of cool, calm and collected. He had the philosophical background, the charisma and intelligence required to be the One, but he was not the One. Trinity (Carrie Ann Moss) was a strong female warrior extraordinaire, but neither was she the One.

Neo was probably the antithesis of the One. He lived a double life—a respectable computer analyst by day and a ferocious hacker by night. He had "no form or comeliness that we should desire him," but he was the One.

However, when Neo discovered his place in the scheme of things, he became a new person, capable of dodging bullets, beating Agent Smith and his cohorts and even flying like Superman.

All it required was for his newfound mentor, Morpheus, to train him, take him to the Oracle and convince him he was the One.

Many people are like Neo before he met Morpheus: still struggling, trying to find their purpose and identity in life. They try a little bit of this and a little bit of that and hope something works out. Usually, it doesn't.

First, I must confess I don't believe man is an accident of nature. I have studied evolution, and the theory simply doesn't make sense. I believe, like Shakespeare said, that "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts."

A stage is never an accident. It is a carefully designed pedestal for actors in a meticulously drafted play to act their parts.

All men were born to climb the stage of life and play a part in making the world a better place. Your place might be in the classroom teaching future leaders to become better citizens and mine in the laboratory making drugs that help people live a more fulfilling life. But we all have a place.

Success is finding your place on this stage and playing your part to the best of your abilities. Many people have placed the cart before the horse by thinking, "Where can I make money?" instead of "Where am I designed to fit in?"

"Agent Smith" does not want you to reach your full potential, but you can and will achieve it if you discover your destiny—ask Neo.

You will find success when you find your path. However, you need Morpheus, a mentor who has walked the path. You need training. Morpheus can supply that. You need to elude "Agent Smith." You need an Oracle—only the maker knows the purpose of the product, and you need me to show you how to get all these variables to work in your favor.

The story continues next time.

— Tayo Oyedeji is a journalism and mass communication graduate student. His column appears every other Monday. He can be reached at

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Matrix, The


Matrix, The

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