Merovingian: You see, there is only one constant, one universal. It is the only real truth; causality. Action, reaction, cause, and effect.
Morpheus: Everything begins with choice.
Merovingian: No. Wrong. Choice is an illusion created between those with power and those without. ....this is the nature of the universe. We struggle against it. We fight to deny it, but it is, of course, pretense. It is a lie. Beneath our poised appearance, the truth is we are completely out of control. Causality, there is no escape from it. We are forever slaves to it. Our only hope, our only peace is to understand it, to understand the 'why'. 'Why' is what separates us from them, you from me. 'Why' is the only real source of power.
The Merovingian understands the very basics of karma, cause and effect, but he cannot see beyond his own circumstances and calculations. He is missing a big piece of the interconnected karmic world. Knowledge is what the Merovingian has, but wisdom is lacking. As Morpheus tells Neo, "There's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path". By denying the existence of choice, he fails to recognize the influence, the butterfly effect, that individual choices may exert on his world, even though those choices may be made by people who seem to have little "power".
"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
- Viktor Frankl, Man's Search For Meaning
It has been said that "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional" - a very Zen thing to say, if ever there was one. Pain and pleasure exist, and they are transitory, as are all things. We can choose not to attach to them, and choice, rather than perpetual reaction to circumstances, association, habit, and emotion is what separates us from the monkey mind.
In our lives and in our training, we react to circumstances and emotions by procrastinating, by coasting, by overworking, by stressing, by following blindly, the list goes on and on. We continue to eat when we are full. We stop training before we have done enough, or we continue when we should stop. We put off things until the circumstances are "just right". We follow the decisions and routines of others and then blame them when things don't go well. Understanding and accepting choice, not the 'why', is essential to ownership of our self and our circumstances.
Other "Lessons From The Matrix":
Me, Me, Me
There Is No Spoon