Saturday, December 6, 2014

Analysis: against mind control, for human consciousness

In the 1998 film The Truman Show, whenever Truman begins to analyze anomalous evidence suggesting that his "big picture" view of the world he inhabits might be completely incorrect and in need of serious revision, the "voice of society" always arrives on the scene as rapidly as possible in order to "prevent any breach" to the false and illusory worldview. 

Sometimes this voice comes in the form of one of his friends, or his wife, but one of the most pervasive (and most powerful) defenders of the illusion comes in the form of the media, represented in the movie by the omniscient, ever-present, soothing voice of the radio news commentator.

In the above clip, for instance, a stage light (evidently one used to simulate an extremely important star in Truman's artificial night sky) has plummeted from the bubble-like dome in which Truman is unknowingly imprisoned and crashed into the street, to Truman's astonishment. It constitutes a glaring piece of "anomalous evidence" that, if not "glossed over" immediately, could completely shatter the illusory worldview that is being offered to Truman in order to deceive him and to control his life.*

As Truman gets into his car, still puzzling over what he has just witnessed, the omnipresent voice of the radio announcer comes on to declare, "Here's a news flash just in -- an aircraft in trouble began shedding parts as it flew over Seahaven just moments ago . . . Wow! Luckily, no one was hurt -- but hey! How do you feel today?"

It is not much of a stretch to argue that The Truman Show can in many ways be seen as a metaphor exploring mind control (keeping people under control not through the use of force but through controlling their mind and what they are "allowed" to think), as well as the process of breaking out of mind control, and waking up to consciousness.

If so, then this exchange with the falling ceiling light (it is actually a "star" light) is most illuminating (ha!), because it illustrates the process of analysis and critical thinking which Truman begins to undertake as he encounters a piece of evidence which undermines the "big picture" (or paradigm, or world-view) to which he had previously subscribed: a process which, we can deduce from this scene, is absolutely essential to "waking up."

The scene also illustrates the forces which are deployed by the defenders of that paradigm to prevent the escape of those who are trapped within it --  forces very much opposed to unfettered analysis and critical thinking. This episode from the film seems to be telling us that among the most important of these forces arrayed against critical thinking and consciousness is that entity known as the media, represented by the voice on the radio, which can be understood more broadly to represent the many voices not just on the radio but in all the different forms that the media generally takes, including televised news and related shows discussing and debating current events, "history-channel-style" documentaries -- all of which can be seen as being more prone to telling viewers and listeners how to interpret what they see in the world around them than to inviting men and women to examine the evidence for themselves and apply analysis and critical thinking to see what that evidence might be trying to tell them.

The calm but friendly voice of authority coming out of Truman's radio tells him how to interpret the mystery of the smoking stage light in the middle of his street, shutting down consideration of all the other possible explanations (some of which would undoubtedly lead Truman right out of the illusion in which he has been kept his entire life).

This situation is very much analogous to the pattern seen over and over again in a Sherlock Holmes (or Scooby Doo) mystery: a crime has been committed, "the authorities" already have their theory and they are announcing it as if the conclusion is obvious and the case is already settled, the insightful Sherlock Holmes (or gang of kids with their comical dog) shows up on the scene and begins to examine the evidence and ask whether it might suggest some other possible explanations, and "the authorities" get very upset and generally try to run the newcomers (Sherlock Holmes, or Scooby and the gang) off the scene and if possible right out of town.

The authorities, whoever they might be, are always ready to foist an explanation for the evidence on those who are not willing to do the analysis for themselves -- and often it is an explanation which covers up the conclusion which, if pursued too far, would tend to undermine or even explode some of the questionable dealings or downright criminal activities (including the violation of the natural inherent rights of other men and women) which those same authorities would rather keep well out of sight.

From the foregoing, it is evident that critical analysis forms a powerful antidote to mind control.

What is this process of critical analysis which is so inimical to the power of mind control and illusion, and how do we practice it? At its most fundamental level, it is simply the process of examining the evidence for yourself (rather than taking the interpretation dished out to you) and asking what are all the possible explanations for this evidence? In the example from The Truman Show, for instance, Truman can almost be seen running through the possible explanations as he cautiously creeps up to the alien light-fixture. There are many possible explanations -- including the one that is offered by the "all-knowing" voice on the radio (the voices promoting the conventional interpretation will often cloak themselves in the aura of absolute certainty and confidence, implying that no other explanation could possibly be entertained).

The second part of the process is to ask which of those hypotheses seems to fit the evidence the best -- and then to look at whether there is other evidence which can help to evaluate the fit of each hypothesis. One data point, such as the light fixture, can usually be explained fairly well by many different hypotheses -- but other evidence will usually help to "fill in the picture" more clearly. In the case of the light fixture, the radio voice's explanation of "an aircraft in trouble, shedding parts" seems to be at least as likely as the possibility that Truman is actually the victim of an elaborate constructed artificial reality involving a gigantic dome containing sophisticated lighting fixtures capable of simulating daytime, nighttime, and even starlight and constellations. But when he starts to evaluate the hypotheses in light of additional "data points" (such as the observation that the same pedestrians and Volkswagens keep going past his driveway in the same order every several minutes), the hypothesis that he is living inside of a gigantic artificial construct begins to look less and less ridiculous and more and more likely.

This is the same process of comparing all the possible hypotheses against multiple data points that can be seen in most mystery stories, such as those featuring Sherlock Holmes or Scooby Doo. The more data points, the better the analyst is able to compare the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various possible explanations -- and hence the extreme importance devoted to "looking for clues" in such mystery stories. The same holds true in the many other areas in which we have to exercise the process of analysis and critical thought in our lives, whether assessing the possible cause of an engine that won't start, or assessing the possible courses of action an enemy commander will take in a battlefield scenario, or assessing the possible causes of an ailment or a disease, or any of a number of other situations in which we are very comfortable exercising this type of thinking.

Sadly, however, there seem to be many important areas in which we are encouraged to reject certain hypotheses without even considering them -- areas in which we are actually encouraged to ridicule anyone who even explores the way in which those hypotheses might fit the evidence at hand! A moment's reflection will bring many such "forbidden" areas to mind: hypotheses to explain anomalies surrounding the conventional explanations of certain extremely violent and traumatic political events of recent decades, for example, or hypotheses to explain the evidence that the timeline and contours of ancient human history may in fact be very different from the conventional storyline that we have been led to believe (and which is constantly reinforced by a host of "Truman's radio" voices in university textbooks, National Geographic specials, and articles in respectable newspapers and magazines, whether online or in print).

Armed with the understanding of the inimical relationship between mind control and critical analysis that we have gained from this brief examination of the scene in The Truman Show, we can immediately perceive that the areas in which some hypotheses are "off limits" and immediately glossed over by the "voices on the radio" acting to keep us from thinking about them are probably the very areas in which mind control is being exercised over men and women, to try to keep them inside of a "Truman's dome," so to speak. They are areas in which open-minded analysis and critical thinking -- so natural in other areas of our lives -- might lead to "waking up," and the perception of the outlines of the carefully constructed, sophisticated illusion.

For whatever reason, people who would never allow a stranger to confidently tell them "You cannot -- must not -- consider that possible explanation for why your engine won't start" will happily go along with the "voices of authority" who tell them they cannot and must not consider all the possible explanations for other areas of equal or even far greater import than an engine that refuses to start (and an engine that refuses to start is pretty important, but these other areas are many times more important than that!).

Those are the areas in which we should suspect the presence of mind control. Those are the areas in which critical thinking and good analysis become vitally important.

Such thinking constitutes a powerful tool against mind control, and a doorway out of the "dome of illusion" under which we struggle to wake up, to perceive, to transcend the artificial barriers which can only hold us if we lend them our consent and our "belief."

The fact that the ceiling light which plummets so dramatically into Truman's world, like a messenger from outside of everything he believes to be real, is labeled "SIRIUS (9 CANIS MAJOR)," cannot possibly be an accident or a coincidence (OK, it could possibly be an accident or a coincidence, which was just unthinkingly inserted into the movie on a piece of masking tape written by some prop designer without any premeditation on the part of the writers of the movie; that is a possible hypothesis, but as we will see from a couple adjacent data points, that is not a very likely hypothesis at all).

That this visitor from outside of the "material construct" which Truman takes to be "his whole world" and "all that exists" is labeled with the name of the brightest "fixed star" in the heavens, the star in fact who was anciently associated with the goddess Isis, this unexpected messenger who arrives to help Truman to "wake up" and achieve a higher level of consciousness, ultimately leading to his transformation and his escape from imprisoning illusion, suggests that the creators of The Truman Show were very deliberately tapping into extremely ancient and extremely powerful mythological symbols which I believe were originally designed to point men and women towards "waking up" and seeing beyond both mind control and illusion.

In fact, immediately before Truman's world is split apart by this visitor from the realm of the stars, he is accosted by a dog named Pluto (the dog's name is stated twice, once by his owner, and once by Truman himself). The dog (a big dalmatian) gets up on Truman and places its forepaws on Truman's torso, so that it is basically standing up on its hind legs. Below is an image of the constellation Canis Major, which means "The Big Dog," the constellation which contains the brilliant star Sirius in its shoulder:

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

As can be seen from the row of black discs or circles, descending in size, along the bottom of the above star chart, the individual stars in charts like this are drawn as larger or smaller discs to indicate their relative brightness in the night sky: Sirius is shown as an enormous circle because Sirius is the single brightest star in the heavens, to an observer on earth (other than the sun).

The fact that a dog named Pluto gets up into the same posture displayed by the outline of the constellation Canis Major immediately before a light fixture bearing the words "SIRIUS (9 CANIS MAJOR)" plummets to the street can be interpreted as a fairly direct hint that the creators of The Truman Show are trying to direct our attention to this part of the sky.

If we look upwards in the direction that the constellation is "leaning" (if it were actually a big dog, leaning against someone the way Pluto leans against Truman) we see that just up and to the right of the "forepaws" of Canis Major is the constellation of Orion -- you can easily make out his distinctive belt of three bright stars in the upper-right corner of the chart above. Orion was anciently associated (very strongly associated) with the Egyptian god of the underworld, Osiris: the god of the dead, the consort of Isis, and an incredibly important figure in esoteric tradition.

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that, by having the big dog rear up and place his paws on Truman the way they do, the creators of The Truman Show are implying that Truman at this point in the movie is enacting the role of Osiris, or that he is at this point trapped in the condition of Osiris. What might that imply? That he is "cast down" in an underworld (and, living as he does inside a dome, Truman does indeed exist in an underworld). That he is asleep (Osiris and other Osirian figures were often banished to a cave beneath the waves, to sleep away the eons until their promised return). That he is unconscious -- even, in a sense, "dead," because he is not really living. The remainder of the film will illustrate Truman's process of waking up, of "rising from the dead," of "raising up the Djed column that has been cast down" (the Djed column is a powerful symbol of ancient Egyptian mythos, associated with the "backbone of Osiris," and discussed in numerous previous posts, including this one).

The fact that the dog who gets up on Truman during this point of identification with Osiris is named "Pluto" is another major clue supporting the above interpretation: in addition to being a famous dog in the worlds created by that master of illusion and artifice, Walt Disney, Pluto is of course the name of the fearsome god of the underworld in the mythology of the ancient Latins, the god corresponding to the Greek Hades, the ruler of the dead and a fitting pointer to the entire underworld theme of Osiris outlined above.

If we need any further confirmation that The Truman Show is consciously and deliberately invoking these ancient myth-symbols, and doing so in a manner that demonstrates a high level of understanding of their power and import, we can take a look at the camera angle selected for the moment that Truman tentatively (or should we say, reverently?) approaches the light labeled Sirius and reaches out to touch it (see the video beginning at 0:47 in the above clip, and observe the chosen camera angle from that point until 0:58 or 0:59).

Notice anything significant about it? Truman is deliberately framed in between two pillars. This symbology is of course quite directly evocative of the scriptures of the Old Testament and the pillars of the Temple. It is also, according to the analysis of Alvin Boyd Kuhn offered in his masterful 1940 text Lost Light, symbolic of the "two pillars of the horizon" between which men and women labor in this incarnate existence, and hence symbolic of the "horizontal line" on the Cross symbol: the horizontal line of our material side, of our animal nature, as opposed to the "vertical line" of the spiritual component (see some of the discussion and Alvin Boyd Kuhn quotations in this previous post entitled "New Year's and the Egyptian Book of the Dead," for example, for further development of this topic).

The Temple, of course, can be associated with the human body in this incarnate life on earth, and the body is in fact plainly called "the temple" in some of the New Testament scriptures (both in the words of Jesus in passages such as John 2:19, and the words of Paul in passages such as 1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 Corinthians 6:19, and 2 Corinthians 6:16) -- this lends further confirmation to the interpretation that the "two pillars" refer to "this incarnate life."

We have seen that this horizontal line of the Cross, between the pillars of the equinoxes, represents "the Djed column cast down," or Osiris laid out as a mummy upon a funerary bed or in a sarcophagus, just as the vertical line represents "the Djed column raised back up." Ancient mythology thus implied that our being "cast down" into this "underworld" of incarnation, this "vale of tears," this world of illusion (in which we falsely believe that the world we see around us is all that there is, when in fact there is a "real world which is behind this one," just as there is in The Truman Show) is somehow a necessary step on our way towards raising the Djed back up, transcending the material, piercing the illusion, escaping the bonds of death or sleep or unconsciousness.

In fact, the use of Osirian imagery seems to be a deliberate symbol inserted into films which have to do with transcending the illusion, or breaking out of mind control (see previous discussions of the recent 2014 film Interstellar and of the 1968 classic Planet of the Apes). It may be said to be a kind of signal to alert us that what we are watching may well have something to say about the journey that each and every man and woman must make through this "underworld kingdom," and the important task of seeing through the veils of illusion and perceiving the truth, and raising the Djed that has been cast down.

It should be evident that doing so requires us to take personal responsibility for analyzing and thinking for ourselves -- to tune out the voices that tell us to accept (like a child) their illusory authority, and their "settled" interpretation of all of the most important matters. This seems to imply that no one else can "wake up for us" -- we have to do it ourselves (because if we simply accept the interpretation of someone else who has "woken up" on their authority, without examining the evidence and weighing the hypotheses and making the decision for ourselves, then we are still in pretty much the same condition that we were before, only substituting one authority for another).

Critical thinking and analysis are absolutely indispensable tools against mind control and for human consciousness.

* a "gloss" is a literary term for a helpful definition that is written above a word in a text from another language -- medieval monks in England, for instance, would sometimes write the English translation for an unfamiliar Latin word in a Latin text, to make it easier for them or the next reader who came to that word (so they wouldn't have to "look it up" again -- the definition was written right there above the word, or in the margin). Thus, to "gloss" something means to define it, or translate it: and to "gloss over" something is to "define away" any unfavorable meaning, or to "translate it" in a way favorable to some agenda. This usage of the word "gloss" shows just how powerful the control of language really is: controlling the words one uses and how they are defined often enables controlling the way people think (as George Orwell tried to tell us). 

Of course, a "glossary" is a collection of "glosses," just as an "aviary" is a collection of birds or a "bestiary" is a collection of animals -- a "glossary" is a collection of short, handy definitions of words.