Narrative and the New Nihilism


K-PAX showed up on Netflix recently, not long after I wrote about the film in the context of Walk-In narratives. As written by journeyman screenwriter Charles Leavitt (Seventh Son, Blood Diamond), the film is what can best be called a secularization of the novel, a disenchantment of the novel's paranormal appeal, in keeping with the slow, creeping spiritual death that has its talons wrapped around Western society. 

The film was released in the wake of 9/11 and really should have been a hit but its insistence on draining the story of its metaphysical appeal assured its failure. It could have been an E.T. for adults and a welcome escape in those fraught days but was hellbent on undermining the novel and becoming a psychological pity party. 

Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges are well cast and the basic architecture of the story is strong. But there's no attempt to explore the basic thesis of the Walk-Ins- that severe trauma or despair open an individual to possession by benevolent extraterrestrial spirits- because there's a clear and rather unsubtle agenda to make this a simple story of trauma and delusion, a downer psychodrama in the tradition of Charly or Awakenings

Those films are expressions of the now-dominant Scientistic theology; life is meaningless and hopeless, a cosmic accident, and the only chance of salvation is dictatorial rule by government scientists who won't flinch from making the tough choices needed to pacify- and periodically, cull- the herd.

Hence when Robert Porter returns to a catatonic state the audience is betrayed by the previous two hours of hope. I couldn't help but think what the movie would have been in the 80s before the nihilist agenda (nihilism is always used to soften up populations by totalitarian ideologues) that so totally dominates every aspect of our culture and society really kicked in. 

One of the hallmarks of the new nihilistic consciousness is a sense of ever-looming threat, that even acknowledging an premise like a Walk-In would present an unacceptable challenge to orthodoxy, which gives you an idea how weak and shallow this new unconsciousness is.*

After watching K-PAX, Netflix recommended Phenomenon, the 1996 John Travolta vehicle that I made a point to ignore at the time. It's pretty featherweight, and there too we see the same secularization at work. I don't know what the backstory is on this film but I wouldn't be surprised if the writer Gerald DiPrego was familiar with UFO literature, particularly that of Jacques Vallee. 

Vallee's books document contactees such as Jacques Bordas (and most controversially, Uri Geller) who claim miraculous transformations following their encounters. Seeing that Travolta's post-encounter powers include telekinesis and the ability to absorb languages in 20 minues, the brain tumor Macguffin is frankly far less credible than some kind of alien transformation. 

I couldn't help but wonder if there were some studio interference since Travolta's character gains his amazing powers after a UFO encounter (which is later rewritten as an artifact of a brain tumor). To take the magic out, in other words. But if we can't even experience magic in the movie theatre anymore, then we truly are finished.

It feels as if DiPrego wrote one story and studio execs noted it into another story, a rather wan love story that ensured it blockbuster status. Indeed, K-PAX probably would've been a bigger hit if its producers had replaced Jeff Bridges with a female actor and shoehorned a love story in the narrative.

So was there a backstage effort to rewrite Phenomenon? Its origins as a UFO movie may well be given away by the presence of Robert DuVall, who starred in an nearly identical narrative in the early 1960s; the classic Outer Limits two-part episode "The Inheritors", which has a group of American GIs transformed into super-geniuses like Travolta's character after being struck by mysterious alien bullets. 

"The Inheritors" is also a Walk-In drama, since the men are found to possess two separate brain wave patterns when given EEGs. Duvall plays a Federal agent trying to stop the men, who are building a ship meant to take crippled children back to their planet to rejuvenate their race.

In the early 1960s, the crippled children are made healthy by exposure to the alien technology, in other words by their contact with angels. In 1996, in the midst of the rollout of the Globalist's nihilist agenda, a healthy man is killed by the same. That should tell you everything you need to know about where we are headed as a society.†

It should also be noted that DiPrego wrote a rather blatant X-Files tribute, The Forgotten (that film and K-PAX both feature Alfre Woodard of First Contact fame). And that DiPrego's first produced feature The Astronaut, was about NASA faking a space mission. That film was produced by Harve Bennett, producer of the Star Trek feature films.

I was thinking about Star Trek and disenchantment when watching some episodes of Deep Space (the) Nine recently. They really kicked Roddenberry's Laws to the curb on that show, especially when it came to religion. But it occurred to me that despite the heroic self-image atheists have of themselves, human history proves that atheist cultures will not make it to the stars. Why? Because it's only a matter of time before a culture dies out once it embraces atheism. This isn't opinion- the data is in. 

It should be noted that China is aggressively reaching for the stars at the same time it is being evangelized on a scale the world has never seen, or that Russia is regaining its mojo at the same time its church is at its greatest influence in over a century. 

It's no accident that for all the techno-nonsense we're fed, little of any actual substance is being done with it, unless you count terminator robots. It boggles my mind when I read the trivial nonsense that these Silicon Valley startups are involved with- we're talking billion dollar companies that do little more than design Facebook games. It would sad if it weren't so absurd. But there's a lot of talk that the low-hanging fruit has all been plucked and we're back to incrementalism.º

The acolytes of Scientism are also immersed in the kinds of internecine battles that gripped their Communist forebears during the 1930s and 1940s. The poobahs of Atheism reveal themselves to be gods with feet of clay and atheists fight endlessly with skeptics who slug it out with social justice warriors. 

I'd compare it to the 1970s but back then people had the patience to read more than 140 characters at a time. Sure, there was a lot of pseudo-intellectualism but surely that's better than what we have now, which is just Special Snowflake tantrum-making. 

Skeptics may have just wanted to shit on the New Age altar (certainly not on the Fundamentalist altar, which they were terrified of- or forbidden by their alphabet soup paymasters from- engaging with), but at least they had the credentials to back it up. Their descendants just have internet connections.

The cities that really look like the future are in the Middle East or Asia while the real estate of the West is becoming bought up by more vigorous (and yes, religious) Chinese, Russians, Arabs, etc. It's no accident for all the bullying, bashing and boasting we hear from the acolytes of Scientism, science is beset by crisis after crisis, most critically a crisis of credibility. 

Many observers note the basic weakness of our system in that the best and brightest are absorbed into the financial services system, while real industry languishes. And why not? There's no sense of community in America anymore- it's just a giant shopping mall filled with strangers.

America is so ideologically and culturaly fractured I don't possibly see how it can stand up to a billion and a half Chinese, or even Russia. Worse, recent studies showed that American millennials are technologically inept in comparison to other industrialized nations. The alleged "economic recovery" is an illusion. Most of the gains have gone to the already-rich and a record number of Americans (particularly African-Americans) are out of the workforce, many for good. 

This country is becoming a nihilist paradise to be sure, but can such an entity survive as a country? I've thought for many years that an agenda to split the United States up was in the works, and we may well be seeing the early stages of that now. Is the New Nihilist Dictatorship like the nihilism of previous eras, a conditioning program to soften up the population for coming shocks?  

This isn't an argument for that old time religion. I realize that we've reached the same point the Romans did when Jupiter no longer made sense. But I don't think Scientism is a viable replacement, especially given that it seems to be just a stop on the road to full-bore nihilism.

I realize we are one of those great turning points in history. But these are are the times when empires fall. The media and the educational system - more totalitarian than any previous regime dreamed of being- has raised a generation with no loyalty to anything but its own reflection. To what end? I don't think that's truly been thought through.

But I realize now why I have such an instinctive revulsion to so many of the fictional narratives out there today. They're products of what I call the New Unconsciousness, a hollow rebellion against a long buried past, an adolescent inability to take responsibility for its own culpability in the hideous inequality at work in this country. Ideology trumping narrative and the toxic specter of nihilism lurking behind every corner.

How long can it continue before it all begins to break down? I'm not confident in this country's ability to muddle through the coming challenges. 

Are you?

UPDATE: Red Dirt Report picks up the theme.




* I can't speak for the novel but I can say that the Outer Limits episode "The Vessel" is probably the purest Walk-In narrative out there. There too the possession is preceded by familial tragedy (the death of the host's young son) and trauma (the space shuttle accident). It's not especially well-produced (the show was running on a shoestring in its final season) but is still worth watching.

† The Inheritors was remade in 1999 for the new Outer Limits. It's a bonanza for X-Files and Millennium fans, featuring Nic Lea, Sarah Jane Redmond and Bill Smitrovitch. In it the contactees don't build a spaceship but a stargate, and gather up a much larger and more diverse group, including senior citizens as well as terminally ill children. It's no coincidence that the production company of OL, Alliance Atlantis, was also producing Stargate SG-1 at the time.

º Or the tech has all been reverse-engineered, depending on your POV.

46 comments:

  1. I checked out from most pop culture some time in the mid-90's, and I'm almost completely disconnected from it now, with some exceptions. I've often wondered why--was the quality that much worse? Was I suffering from middle-aged crankiness? Or what? This post really throws that into new light and clarifies some things I had in mind but not so well formed. Nihilism is definitely all over the place in contemporary narratives, pop culture, etc. Very good insight, Chris.

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    1. I think that after a certain age, music and media in general does not have quite the same effect. You can bet the kids coming in every generation before and after our own are just as powerfully affected and in love with the music and cultural nonsense they have as we were, and will wonder what the hell happened at some point.

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    2. The 90s is when the rot set in. Which is strange because you did have a lot of great stuff and it was happy days for most people. There was an agenda at work. I really hated all the mopey whine-rock, and spent my time listening mainly to British alternative and dance music. I did really like when bands like Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots dropped the grunge and went classic hard rock, though.

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    3. Jim, that sounds good but I don't think it really washes. When you're older you certainly get sick of seeing the same things over and over. But I was most disillusioned with the nihilism and emptiness in TV and movies when I was a kid in the 70s and went gaga crazy for The X-Files like a teenybopper, and that came on when I was a crotchedy 27 year old.

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    4. And I should add that even at my advanced age I'm a freak for the new wave of electronic music. I can't believe some of the music I'm hearing- it's more exciting to listen to music now than it has been in 20 years, at least for me.

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  2. Chris, what a bleak view of this world you enjoy. Crank-I-ness perhaps. All is not lost. I thought Jeff Bridges was in top form in K-pax. Lighten yourself up Synchro-Guru. Respectfully, Dennis

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  3. Not at all sure that most followers of scientism (who tend to be science buffs rather than actual scientists) recognize the nihilistic implications of their philosophy. Many seem to think that science can give us the hope (and eventually immortality) that faith used to offer. They elevate science to a quasi-religion, and think it can replace the real thing.

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    1. I don't know if it's even that deep. They just think "believing in science" automatically makes them smarter than some poor rural Christian, who society tells them it's mandatory to treat like untermenschen.

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    2. Yeah, I'm an "actual scientist" (employed by a second-tier institution, by no means an influential player). Nihilism is indemic in the professional culture, as is a certain kind of hubris and reflexive consdescension. I can hardly stand it anymore and predict I'll be gone in a couple of years (my partner says he'll be surprised if I make it past the end of this year). There is a baleful influence radiatating outward from institutions such as those two big ones in your New England back yard.

      It is a huge collective spiritual problem. There are some good individuals inside, but almost all of them have had their perceptions dimmed by the oppressive darkness overshadowing the profession. I'm not quite sure why I have not met the same fate, but as I said, I'm not long for the profession.

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  4. I took a totally different message from K-PAX. I found it a very beautiful and subtle story about the battle between spirituality and rationalism in the hearts of people.

    I think the story makes it quite clear that K-PAX is really some kind of alien intelligence and that, in our admittedly nihilistic world, only people at the fringes will typically see it (people who are crazy). However, the movie plays that card in a very subtle way -- daring the audience to take the leap, to be a little crazy too, and to believe in the magical. If the movie made it too easy for us we won't internalize the message. We'll just assume it's another fictional world where magic, superheros, or aliens exist... not our world. But with its light touch the movie makes it very clear that this is our world and in daring us to believe in K-PAX in the movie, dares us then to believe in the real world as well. The film plays with suspension of disbelief. After all, I love Star Wars and Harry Potter, but never believed for an instant that those worlds were our world (where the heck was MY owl for one thing!) even while believe in those worlds through the books and movies.

    Jeff Bridges in the movie is the 'us' -- all of us -- who struggle to see the love and magic in a terrible world where terrible things happen. He is redeemed through belief, as are the patients in the hospital, and the fact that the redemption is personal, ultimately un-provable makes it even more real.

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    1. I think that's your interpretation and that's certainly what the novel is about. The novel is apparently very explicit that prot is indeed a Walk-In. I think the Jeff Bridges character is a skeptic who is trying to tear it all down even if he may have doubts that it isn't just delusion. That's what skeptics do- they throw away evidence in order to force a predetermined outcome. We could discuss the deeper motivations behind that, the deep feelings of alienation and self-loathing that they feel (which is why they spend most of their time at war with people who should be their allies), but in the Bridges case he's simply doing his job. The film betrays the audience by not exploring the Walk-In idea at its core, which probably accounts for its poor performance at the box office. It had a lot going for it otherwise.

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    2. I put this on the Facebook site, but I'll repeat it here: I've actually read the book, and in fact read it before the movie, but it's been a long time for both. Chris is right that the walk-in aspect is clearer in the book. IIRC, in the book when prot is inhabiting Palmer, his eyes are actually different and he can pop in and out of closed and locked rooms without restraint. He talks a lot more about his planet, too.

      What the novel reminds me of, oddly, is the typical French philosophical novel of ideas, like "Candide" or for that matter the original book of "Planet of the Apes". The mystery of Palmer/prot is a framework for a satirical look at Earth society and contrasting it unfavorably to the Utopian society on K-PAX, prot's homeworld. Most of that is lost in the movie, needless to say.

      Trivia: I actually bought the book at a used bookstore in Muncie, Indiana several years ago when I was up there with my family visiting my mother-in-law. Turns out the author, Gene Brewer, is FROM Muncie. Is that a sync, or what? Also, he uses a fictionalized version of himself as the doctor in the novel. prot calls him "Gino". For some reason, in the movie, the changed the doctor's name to "Mark", and prot calls him "Marco".

      Finally, the doctor, in the novels, is an UBER-skeptic, even worse than in the movie. In the third novel, prot is leaving for good, taking several people and animals with him (the idea is he's saving some who can thrive on K-PAX, since he's not sanguine about Earth's future). Near the end, he literally vanishes with some he's taking to K-PAX right in front of the doctor. In the aftermath, the doctor goes on about how he STILL can't believe. Go figure, huh? I think it's kind of commentary on the modern, materialist skeptical view.

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    3. Very, very interesting. I got a sense of this of things I've read about the book but I appreciate hearing from someone who's read it themselves. I'll have to see if I can track it down on audio so I can listen to it while I work.

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    4. Chris, (this is the first time I've commented here although I have read this blog for quite awhile), I agree with IV Bromius, my takeaway from K-Pax was that he really was an alien. The message was very subtle, and I think that is a strength of the movie. The subtext is that only those who are sensitive to the subtlety are capable of seeing through the nihilism.

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  5. PS, Phenominon on the other hand was a cop out. By trying to rationalize everything at the end, they spoiled it.

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  6. If thoughts create reality then we all need to be careful what we choose.

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  8. Now, reading a synopsis of K-Pax (which I haven´t watched yet), I notice it is very similar to Terry Gillian´s The Fisher King (1991), a harsh but ultimately optimistic look at insanity and fantasy and how they mix with reality.

    Pedro

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  9. PS: Oh, and guess who was in The Fisher King? Jeff Bridges.

    Pedro

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    1. Bridges was also in Starman. It seems there's another example of this trope in an even earlier setting but I can't come up with it. It may not be alien based per se but I feel as if this theme has been done somewhere else.

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    2. The man who fell to earth perhaps?

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    3. That's certainly an alien on earth story, but I'm thinking about this whole "inquisition by psychiatrist" trope..

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  10. One thing I’ve pondered is what the effect the dumbing down agenda has had in not just making youth mouth breathing monosyllabic burger flipping serfs whose ideas don’t run past 140 characters worth of insight, but also what its done to the so-called intelligentsia- The agenda was aimed at the imagination, individual and collective, more than just withholding or distorting the context of information- Those with a quicker wit and a broader view still got caught in the net cast by well subsidized academia and their tenure and credit rating ultimately depended on conformity- The effect of corralling one’s critical faculties within such an electrified paradigm will cause the imagination to shrivel and die- Its like anything else: Use it or lose it- And as irrational as religion seems to the Earth bound, at least there is some brain wave activity involved in wrestling with the dissonance- Fundamentalist materialists imply that the only proper use of the thinking process is for correction, which implies a fixed standard, which will kill imagination faster than an SSRI whacking a libido-

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    1. Yeah, I very much get the feeling the folks in the Ivory Tower have been outsmarted somehow. Conformity is so brutal today because it presents itself as nonconformity.

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    2. That is so true. It's a tricky one conformity. When I was off traveling about 20 years back I spoke to someone from Argentina who looked me straight in the face and told me that England would be a third world country in roughly ten years. I asked why he thought that and he said it's because we are lazy, and don't know how lucky we are, we don't know how good we have it and therefore have become ungrateful, not bothered, complacent even. So complacent that when the summer came to and end he would weigh up how much money he had saved up before deciding where to travel to next, if he had nothing or very little money come the end of the summer he would be spending winter in London because it's free. Free home, free money and he didn't need to work. Well we aren't such an easy ride now are we. We aren't a third world country either and that was due ten years ago according to him - no names mentioned. We are still quite lazy on the whole but getting better. Waking up a bit I'd say and becoming less naive. The E.U. coming on the scene like it did and all the other things that have been firing off have got peoples eyes opening. Will it be enough though? Only time will tell.
      America is a bright beacon when it comes to standing up for whats right, equality and so much more and you know it, I'm still trying to get through the films!

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    3. I'd like to see Mcdonald's selling burritos.

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    4. Oh no you wouldn't! One Taco Bell is bad enough. Your Argentinian friend was very canny, perhaps not about England per se but about much of the fringes of the West, as we see in the PIIGS countries and parts of the American heartland.

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    5. Yeah shame about the actual fireworks in them, local contents would be better I guess.

      he was wise. It's the not knowing what you have till you lose it scenario I guess.

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  11. This post is certainly needed. We are in the midst of a stretch of post-modern apathy that, in my estimation, began sometime in 1997-98 and has solidified after 9/11. The "We believe in nothing!" (cue German nihilists accent) crowd has taken hold. I think it's so immersed itself into the culture at large that those of us who come to Secret Sun and other communities are stunned its so pervasive. How to counter it? Keep connecting in these communities. Share your thoughts and dreams and desires for a better world and a more caring and less materialistic.That's just a start, of course.

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    1. I suppose so. The odds are certainly stacked against anyone trying to buck the dominant consensus. Especially since the people promulgating it pretend that they're still rebellious subversives, rather than authoritarians.

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  12. Let's see how the "stack" falls. It may fall right on top them.

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  13. And I added a few words on the subject, Thank you, Mr. Knowles, for the inspiration! http://www.reddirtreport.com/red-dirt-grit/they-kept-saying-they-believe-nothing

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  14. Somebody commented in the Lunar Barbecue FB group that there is an Argentinian movie called Hombre Mirando al Sudeste (Man Facing Southeast) with the same story line as the movie K-Pax, but predating it (1986) AND the novel K-Pax. It was apparently an allegory for people missing during the Argentinian Dictatorship. Here is a link:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091214/

    Pedro

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  15. >>I couldn't help but think what the movie would have been in the 80s before the nihilist agenda (nihilism is always used to soften up populations by totalitarian ideologues) that so totally dominates every aspect of our culture and society really kicked in.


    Man Facing Southeast.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091214
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNBquvLlFDI

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    1. I'm familiar with the movie but not having seen it didn't go into it. I'll look for it and see how it compares. I would like to read the K PAX novel as well.

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  16. CLK: Have you ever come across Rudolph Steiner in your studies?

    Not a devotee or anything here, but I've found his Ahriman/Lucifer/Christ model to be insightful & sometimes useful (and perhaps even due for a modern, less Theosophical re-take).

    Ahriman is the "demon" that tells you that the Meat is All, and that there is Nothing Else (ie materialist nihilism). Lucifer is the "demon" that offers you the One True Way to the Light, which is a false and/or destructive path (ie a movement like Heaven's Gate).

    Lucifer leads you astray with false hope. Ahriman does one better, and kills hope, itself. The subjects of your posts have been oscillating between these two of late.

    (As for Christ... I suppose that's best left as an exercise for the reader).

    Just curious. And while I'm here, TY for your hard work on this blog. I stumbled onto you & Gordon over at runesoup a little over a year ago. In hindsight it's been a much-needed jolt to my worldview, a reaffirmation, and also a reminder that (perhaps)... I am not insane, after all.

    Or at least I'm not the only one observing these sorts of cultural trends as they happen.

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    1. The cursed 'Hope diamond' was smashed in two apparently. Maybe that was the hope he smashed, I've been reading up on that rock.

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    2. I'm familiar with Steiner, though not so much with this particular cosmology. It's certainly apropos in this context. It's interesting to note all the battles in the culture out there, all being artificially created in order that another Occupy never emerges again....

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    3. I studied Rudolf Steiner's work pretty extensively at CIIS (in a program that takes yearly retreats to Esalen) and almost got engulfed by the cultish scene that surrounds it. After divorcing myself from these New Agey scenes,this blog was instrumental in helping me make sense of all the bullshit alarms that were going off for years while immersed in these circles as well as add the needed depth to the X-files type stuff that I had been interested in since growing up in the 90's. So thank you CLK for your hard work, you honestly have made a big difference in my thinking and worldview in general.

      As far as Walk-ins are concerned, Steiner's work is an absolute treasure trove of Walk-in-alia! Central to his work is the idea of incarnation. So basically human spirits reincarnate into body and souls and are technically walk-ins, Jesus of Nazareth was "walked into" by the Christ-Being, and the Anti-Christ is the human being who has prepared his body and soul to be walked-into by Ahriman sometime very soon, so says Steiner. Here is the best summary of Steiner's thoughts on the matter:

      http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/biblianazar/ahriman.htm#Contents

      Also, check out this dude named Terry Boardman for an "Anthroposophical" analysis of geo-politics:

      http://threeman.org/?page_id=18&paged=2

      While Steiner's early esoteric work (he first was a fairly prolific philosopher and social critic in newly unified Germany) is clearly a Christian version of Theosophy. He had a very public falling out with the Theosophical Society over their plan to present Jiddu Krishnamurti to the world as the Maitreya:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_Star_in_the_East




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  17. The theater I cashiered for back in the eighties ran Man Facing Southeast- It didn't look all that interesting so I did not see much of it- The one thing I do recall is that several patrons complained that the movie had nothing to do with the trailer we had shown for it in the weeks prior- They thought it was going to be a sci fi flick about a stranded alien- I don't know, is it? Brother From Another Planet was pretty good, as I recall- (I'm trying to use my memory more as I age and not immediately lean on Google)

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    1. Yes, there was a spate of films like that at the time. And this film didn't fit the bill, eh? Interesting. Maybe something was lost in translation.

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  18. Hi Chris, I've been reading for a while but this is the first time I've felt that I have something particular to contribute to your research. The other night I watched some of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir on television, and a few aspects of the film grabbed my attention. For one, the Ghost is a Walk-In spirit, who causes the recently widowed Mrs. Muir and, initially, her spinster maid, to speak like sailors (which goes strongly against their pre-WWI ethic). Sometimes other characters hear the Ghost's manly voice and attribute it to Mrs Muir.

    This brings in the gender roles reading of the film: the idea that Mrs. Muir really is crazy, and that the Ghost is a masculine side to her own personality, and that his memoirs, which she transcribes and publishes, may in fact be her own creation, a way for her, as a widowed woman, to take control of her own life and self-actualize without the need for a man. The "maybe they really are crazy" reading seems to be written into a lot of the media studied on this blog, especially the X-Files.

    I also thought the casting of Natalie Wood as Muir's daughter felt significant.

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    1. Wow, I had no idea. I only vaguely remember the TV show. Now I have to track it down and see for myself.

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  19. Hey Chris,

    A very interesting and timely post. You know, the myth of Narcissus is perhaps often used as a synecdoche of our contemporary selfie-obsessed culture, but I think that myth is indeed pertinent. Born of a nymph and a river god, Narcissus’ obsession with his own imagined beauty ends in his drowning. From water he came and to water he returned, like humanity perhaps. It’s pretty resonant stuff, I think.

    Your point about fragmented nano-identities is very lucid. We live in an age where the virtual is colonizing ever more of the actual. Gloss, syntheticism, gentrification – our skin, our souls, our societies. Establishmentarians masquerading as subversives, each and every counterculture co-opted. I think this nihilism and self-absorption (and the loss of civic consciousness you mention) is also an expression of individualism gone to seed. Mercenary consciousness masquerading as unapologetic self-expression. Hence the proliferation of sociopaths, psychosis and sexual abuse among the demigod predator-elites. And the trickle-down thought-contagions that such a situation promotes. After all, humans have always imitated the gods.

    This might be slightly off-topic, but I was recently reading about the erotic fascination certain women have with serial killers; that they cite his willingness to kill as intoxicatingly attractive – a disturbing blurring of sexuality and violence in which his capacity to kill becomes hers by proxy. An emptying out of things, or people, as a way of enforcing your own will. Authenticity by proxy. I think it’s this particular kind of amorality that accounts for the way the paranormal is treated too. Transcendence by proxy. A kind of neo-colonial impulse to tame the wildness by imposing your own, barely disguised; our own imperiousness and atrocities viewed as some kind of grotesque romantic idealism. Demystifying and gutting the High Strange, piecemeal and with no reverence, is to be expected. Who cares what IS in a culture/psyche that only values what APPEARS to be?

    To talk about how the Imagination is being colonized by the predator-elites only gets you labelled as a troublemaker, or even a painfully unhip conservative with a small C, bemoaning the good old days. It’s in these cognitive gulfs that the mind and soul scrambles for purchase, finding only deceit or useless atomised narratives. And so it plunges even deeper into distraction, surfaces and nonsense, in some silent prayer that it will all become meaningful somehow. But without bedrock, without tenacity or underworld or the paranormal, things collapse, fragment, implode. Pop will eat itself, if it’s not nourished by true expressions of the soul, of human will under duress and fighting to maintain integrity despite everything. If personal signifiers are replaced with gentrified universality, in counterculture generally or the paranormal specifically, then we might never understand what lies before us. The mainstreamers and hangers-on and vulture capitalists ALWAYS have to turn intimacy and magic into product in order to sell it. Revile and ridicule the cutting-edge, whilst surreptitiously milking the mind of the shaman or the creative or the ‘experiencer’ and then sell back that cutting-edge as taxidermy. Approved Revelations of Dead Light.

    Yeah, so those are my thoughts. Apologies if they don’t seem as tightly focused as normal. This stuff is painful. Maybe I just need a hit of old-school astrognostic sci-fi to take the edge off. Great work as ever, brother.

    Peace

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  20. About Social Justice Warriors: I do think they started with a good idea, but all of the Atheist/Skeptic/Liberal/Whatevers seem to be in a death-spiral of exclusion and in-fighting, that *I* think might be by design as a Divide and Conquer strategy by someones.

    I used to identify as LGBT & Atheist, but I no longer want to be a part of any of that. I'll walk my own path. When I think of my favorite pop-culture things, Star Trek, MLP, the X-Men - they are about family, friendship, and teamwork. Those things are the opposite of what the Atheist +, Skeptics, Liberals, Feminists, and Others are achieving.

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