It's all about Klaatu

Twitter telepathy from 2-2-09:

@TRUE: The Superbowl was fun--I like exciting football games. It blows my mind that someone could run full tilt into another person & still get up
Feb 2, 2009 03:16 PM GMT

@TRUE: Did anyone notice that almost every movie preview they showed last night had alien contact as theme?
Feb 2, 2009 03:20 PM GMT

@dblogged: @TRUE i totally noticed that. might mean an alien attack is imminent.
Feb 2, 2009 03:27 PM GMT in reply to @true

: "2010: The Year We Make Contact": http://www.crystalinks.com/2010film.jpg
Feb 2, 2009 03:31 PM GMT

@TRUE: @dblogged i personally believe that they will come/are here already in total peace. Big Media peddles fear.
Feb 2, 2009 03:33 PM GMT in reply to @dblogged

@evrideva: @TRUE it's all about kla tu.

Evrideva was right--it IS all about Klaatu: the B-movie alien savior sent to Earth in 1951 to deliver the ULTIMATE ultimatum. Evolve or perish. The *funny* thing was that the night before this exchange I held the cover of the (original) The Day the Earth Stood Still DVD in my hands with a feeling that I should watch it. My bf and I ended up getting Blazing Saddles instead (which is hilarious, BTW). Upon seeing my favorite skull artist's tweet it seemed that NOW was prolly a good time to bop on down to the DVD spot--a comfortably cluttered, non-corporate, pre-NetFlix anachronism on a street with several similar mom & pop holdouts. I used the creaky, dimly lit store as the setting for a recent short story of mine in which DVDs magically come off the shelves and into the main character's hands. It's a story about finding clues that lead you to other clues in a series of endless revelations. It mimics the fractal crack of the infinite that zig-zags across my own life. (and yrs)

As I watched the movie I was immediately taken by how strongly the symbolic resonances were conveyed by the deceptively simple storyline. The black and white film, shadowy lighting and vaguely trippy orchestral soundtrack (the scene in which Gort carries Helen onto the ship sounds like pre-heavy metal) allowed the intertextual references to hover just above the subliminal. I experienced the same eerie dream vibe that I felt while watching another black and white classic, The Night of the Living Dead. Mythical data swirled like static and radiated a pixel buzz just beneath the shtick and special effects. While the film's creators were undoubtedly aware that they were making a parable about Communism and the fear and uncertainty caused when a large chunk of the planet becomes inaccessible behind an iron curtain--it is less clear that they also meant to create a parable about the nature of our relationship to our own unconscious: the hostility that mankind displays to an alien visitor is based on our irrational dread of our own repressed desires. We fear (but secretly crave) a master who is in control of his instincts--we look for him to come from above and once and for all put an end to our violent "childish" ways. Klaatu resonates with Jesus Christ and Superman--he represents a more evolved specimen of humanity that has come to Earth with the selfless aim of redeeming mankind, for its own sake. After escaping from the military hospital, Klaatu hides among ordinary people under the name "Carpenter"--which was Jesus's occupation before he began his ministry. Klaatu goes as far as sacrificing his own life after his fantastic (but harmless) display of power causes the army to step up their hunt for him--dead or alive.

Gort, his giant robot companion, is able to use technology to temporarily bring Klaatu back to life so that he could deliver his message to a group of scientists and savants who have eagerly gathered to hear it.

(the album cover for "3:47 EST" by a band named "Klaatu". The title is a reference to the time the spaceship lands on Earth in the movie)

A few days after watching the movie I went back to work on an article I'm writing about the (Jungian based) possibility that UFOs are merely a symptom of the new reality unfolding all around us. Their appearance calls to attention to the fact that there is no such thing as a reality that exists in and off itself. Our "world" is a kind of open system in which everything exists in a conceptually structured mix of "external fact" (or thingness, to use Heideggerian terminology) and the psychic state of the person or persons who experience the appearance of objects within its framework.

I used to think that my goal with such investigations was to gain insight into the old question of whether or not the craft was "real". After watching this movie it occurred to me that such a question was beside the point. Of course the craft that one or many people saw and was perhaps captured on camera was real--the question was, what do we mean by "real"?

(Despite its anti-fear mongering message, the film's own marketing sells it as a tale of terror. I find it interesting how much the wrapping around an object flavors our perception of it.)

On Valentines Day morning--12 days after the Twitter exchange-- I woke and immediately told my bf about the following dream. I was in Central Park walking past row after row of people lying on the Great Lawn. They were wearing white astronaut helmets with a gauzy veil over their faces--similar to the way Klaatu looked when he first came out of his space ship. The rows were very neat and filled the entire lawn--everyone seemed to be in a deep sleep except for a few of us who were walking around and inspecting the helmeted people. I couldn't really see who the other awake people were--they moved around me like shadows, perhaps not knowing that I was there. In my dream I saw what I understood to be a flashback that showed the helmeted people being given pills to swallow. They were already lying down and the gauze was wrapped around their heads. I strained to see but couldn't make out who was giving them the drugs--all that was visible was the hand reaching around to put something inside their already slack-jawed mouths.

After the flashback there was the sense that something was going to happen, and I tried in vain to wake up the people on the lawn. I didn't know what was happening but it seemed important that we all be awake when it occurred. At this point the dream shifted and I was on an island with my mother. It's a location I'm familiar with from a dream i have every so often--i'm on a beach watching a gigantic black tidal wave slowly approach, and i have to break free from my paralysis and run up the beach and onto the shore and up to higher ground either by running up a set of stairs, the side of the mountain or a slippery sand dune--the details of the terrain differ slightly in the various instances of the dream. In this case my mother and I were well above the beach--we stood together on the side of a mountain overlooking the ocean--the damp, dark feel of the place was the same as in the usual dream, but instead of there being a giant wave, there was another island in front of us. It was floating in the air above the waves just like the gigantic rock from the Magritte painting,"La Chateau des Pyrenees". It is a painting that is familiar to me since I had a large poster size copy of it hanging in my room when I was growing up. This island had the exact same shape as the rock in the painting--the difference was that instead of being a barren boulder the floating island was lush and green with vegetation of all kinds. As I watched I could see butterflies and birds and waterfalls.

"Look at that", my mother said to me, her voice filled with happiness.

"I see," I said.

Magritte is a recurring theme. Check out the comments from my last post...


Jake Kotze said...

The excellent film "Laputa: Castle In The Sky" (Hayao Miyazaki) is way worth a watch for anyone who hasn't seen it yet. I adore it.

Always love this story about Jonathon Swift's Laputions astronomers (in Gulliver's Travels).

"Perhaps inspired by Kepler, Jonathan Swift's novel Gulliver's Travels (1726) refers to two moons in part 3, chapter 3 (the "Voyage to Laputa"), in which the astronomers of Laputa are described as having discovered two satellites of Mars orbiting at distances of 3 and 5 Martian diameters, and periods of 10 and 21.5 hours, respectively. This corresponds to the actual orbital distances and periods of Phobos and Deimos of 1.4 and 3.5 Martian diameters, and 7.6 and 30.3 hours, respectively. Swift's prediction is regarded as a coincidence since no telescope in Swift's day was powerful enough to discover the satellites"


Be very well

TRUE said...

Hi Jake!

I'm honored to have you comment here. Your writing really inspires me.

I will definitely check out that movie.