Monday, April 14, 2008

Astronaut Theology: Exhibit No. 2001

“I will say that the God concept is at the heart of 2001-- but not any traditional anthropomorphic image of God. I don’t believe in any of Earth’s monotheistic religions, but I do believe that one can construct an intriguing scientific definition of God.”
Stanley Kubrick, Playboy interview, Sept 1968

Quite early in the game I went around saying, not very loudly, "M-G-M doesn't know this yet, but they're paying for the first $10,000,000 religious movie."
Arthur C. Clarke, Report on Planet Three and Other Speculations, 1972
When we're looking for semiotic evidence linking ancient astronauts and Sun worship, we need look no further than the all-time heavyweight champion of cinematic ritual drama, 2001: A Space Odyssey. This movie continues to reveal new layers of mystery as time goes on, whereas most of its imitators recede into obscurity. One question we need to ask is why such a princely sum was spent on its making when its commercial prospects were by no means clear.

First, let's be absolutely, positively certain about this- 2001: A Space Odyssey is explicitly about extraterrestrial interference in the evolution of mankind, from "The Dawn of Man" to today. In this light, it needs to reiterated that Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke repeatedly referred to the film as a religious statement. Astounding. What religion is this? Not an Earth-based one, according to Kubrick.

In that light, what we must acknowledge is that this ancient extraterrestrial artifact- a monolith, no less- is linked to the Sun either literally or symbolically every time it appears onscreen. So we have a film, meant as a religious parable, conjoining extraterrestrial involvement in the technical development of the human race and what Kubrick himself called "mystical alignments of the Sun" and the other planetary bodies.

The Monolith first appears among the ape-men at sunrise.

The Monolith is then shot from below as a truncated pyramid with the ‘all-seeing eye’ of the Sun at it’s peak. Atop the Sun is a crescent Moon.

When the Monolith transmits the piercing signal in the pit at Clavius, the earlier pyramidical motif identifying it with the sun is repeated, only this time the crescent is of the Earth.

The Monolith reflects the sunlight while orbiting Jupiter.

The Monolith orbiting Europa is then shown in conjunction with the Sun and Jupiter.

A vertical alignment of Jupiter and its satellites forming a cross is shown just before Dave enters the Stargate, with the monolith appearing as the horizontal beam against it.

This is the last we see of the Monolith, just before the Star Child - an obvious Horus stand-in encased in a solar globe - merges with it.

The White Room also has another hidden layer of meaning. It’s manner of decor is known as ‘Louis XVI style.’ Louis XVI of France was known as ‘Louis the Last,’ and his is queen was the infamous Marie Antoinette (who would be portrayed by Kirsten Dunst of Eternal Sunshine fame).

When the guillotine (invented by a Freemason named Joseph-Ignace Guillotin) crashed down on poor Louis’ neck, another Freemason jumped to the platform from the crowd, dipped his fingers in Louis’ blood, sprinkled it over the onlookers and shouted out “Jacques Demolay, thou art avenged.”

Remember also that piece used in the Stargate sequence is Gyorgy Ligeti's "Lux Aeterna" and the process used for the color effects was a form of Solarization. Remember too that the film's poster art was created by NASA artist Robert McCall, whose "symbolic paintings" resemble a Freemason's wet dream.

The mind reels. All of this puts Childhood's End in a different perspective altogether.


  1. Wow, the announcement could have something to do with it but I doubt it, this blew my mind. I have to read Childhood's End now!

  2. Wow Chris, what a synchro this is! I was just thinking about that movie YESTERDAY, and the day before that I watched "Mission To Mars" to recap all the symbolisms used there! I see you are a big X-Files fan too, and the master of "synch winks" Chris Carter. Thanks for popping this back into the brain for more scanning bro! Great work by the way with revealing great info on the comic scene!


  3. Dear Christopher. Love the site. Enjoyed today's post. I'm sure you're familiar with Michael Hoffman II's take on ' Childhood's End'. In case you aren't, the gist is that he thinks the whole thing is basically a tale that is meant to be taken as a bit of prophesy about what is shortly to occur, for real. Strange how many other films, writings, etc. seem to point to that same conclusion. This is yet one more.


  4. Thanks, Drioidy! And thanks for the link. EVERY should read Childhood's End!

    Syncs are coming fast and furious, Michael. And I hope to meet Carter of Friday.

    TH, check out the link to the original paperback cover of CE and tell me what you see on the back cover.

    cheers, everyone.

  5. Hey, CK. 2001 is certainly chock fulla something. I spent a good chunk of my childhood trying to understand this movie, what happens to Dave, why HAL goes nuts, etc.

    I don't have the references with me at the moment, but at home I have a few books, by Clarke and others, on the making of the movie. As you may know, the genesis of the storyline was with a Clarke shortstory titled "The Sentinel," basically the moon portion of the story about an astronaut activating an "alarm" left by aliens on the moon. I do think that in that story, and in earlier drafts of the movie screenplay, the monolith was a pyramid. (Correction -- Wikipedia says tetrahedron.)

    The other visual I notice from the Louis XVI room is the number of ovals, especially the headboard and the ceiling moulding, that remind me of the Egyptian Solar Disk motif.

  6. Thought you might enjoy this, from Clarke's diary of working on the story with Kubrick:

    May 31 (1964): One hilarious idea we won't use. Seventeen aliens -- featureless black pyramids -- riding in open cars down Fifth Avenue, surrounded by Irish cops.

    Page 33 of The Lost Worlds of 2001.

  7. Is there a consensus on what the film is actually saying? Not having read the book I can't compare the two (books tend to be more blatant in storyline description).

    It's not explicit in the movie why the astronauts are knowingly sent out to the signal near Jupiter without their being fully informed about what the monolith on the Moon did to the scientists there. Nor do we find out exactly what even happened to the scientists that examine the Moon monolith.
    HAL knows the astronaunts don't know what he knows about the mission.

    It seems to be refering precisely to what really lies behind all the hoaxed Moon landing theories - because there's an equal amount of conspiracies to do with the landings taking place, and the footage and broadcasts were doctored to remove certain things that were there and said.

    Also, when Dave deactivates HAL and the message is played - what was the purpose in having the astronauts only discover that aspect of the mission, when they arrived at the destination near Jupiter. Were they intended to do something with the monolith, or would they have been 'doomed' anyway to be affected by it, as happens to Dave.
    Did the space agency expect them to survive that and report back?

    I always viewed what happened to Dave being that because he deactivated HAL he lost control of the ability to get the ship back home again, and he's sort of stuck there until he dies; and the monolith sort of propels him through all that time so he more or less skips over most of it and doesn't have to live out the whole excruciating remainder.

    Saying that though, I'm not sure what they deal is as regards the agency sending anyone there to pick him and the ship up. I haven't seen the sequel either, but remember hearing that it goes into detail on those kinds of points.

  8. Don't know if you've seen this one Chris, an interview with Michio Kaku. Gets very interesting from around the 7 minute mark, then significant and intensely topical from 9 minutes onward:

    Michio Kaku interview