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.
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.
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.*
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.
"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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
UPDATE: Red Dirt Report picks up the theme.
º Or the tech has all been reverse-engineered, depending on your POV.