A psychoanalysis of the Prime Program
I would like to offer my views on the Prime Program. In the Matrix movies, the One carries the Prime Program and needs to reinsert it into the machine mainframe in order to complete his path and reload the matrix. A prime program is a subroutine that has a single entry point and a single exit point,
with any number of decision nodes along the way.
This is the technical explication. I will concern myself with a psychoanalytical one. One of the reasons I feel this is justified is because the Architect who first mentions the Prime Program looks a lot like Freud and I don't think that's a coincidence. Also the Oracle was created as a program to investigate the human psyche.
First I'll have to briefly explain the id. The id is the only component of personality that is present from birth. This aspect of personality is entirely unconscious. The id is the source of all psychic energy (Libido), making it the primary component of personality. The pleasure principle is what drives the id.
The pleasure principle strives to fulfill our most basic and primitive urges, including hunger, thirst, anger and sex. When these needs are not met, the result is a state of anxiety or tension.
This brings us to the Prime Process. In Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality, the Prime Process works to resolve tension created in the id.
The Prime Process acts as the id's mechanism for discharging the tension. Rather than act out an urge in reality, the id forms a mental image of a desired object to substitute for an urge in order to diffuse tension and anxiety.
This image can take the form of a dream, hallucination, fantasy, or delusion. For example, if you are hungry, you might form a mental image of a slice of pizza or a deli sandwich. The experience of this mental image through the Prime Process is known as wish fulfillment.
However, problems also result from using the Prime Process to dissipate the energy of the id. So while the Prime Process can be used to temporarily reduce tension, it is only effective in the short-term. Your mental image will only satisfy you for so long. Eventually, the tension will return when needs go unfulfilled.
So my theory is this: the Prime Program (the One) acts in the same way as the Prime Process. The people plugged into the matrix can't fulfill their most basic and primitive urges due to their imprisonment, the totalitarian 'reality' of the system and the Architects wish for a stable equation. This leads to tension in the id and the Prime Process/Program kicks in.
If you are enslaved you might form a mental image of a saviour. Wish fulfillment, the Prophecy. However as we have seen this process is temporary and works against itself by dissipating the energies of the id and thus reveals the basic unreality of the delusion. That is why every 100 years the Prime Process/Program must be reloaded.
The One is a form of control. A substitute for an urge that every person who is plugged into the matrix feels. In order to diffuse tension and anxiety, or in other words balance the equation.