Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Astronaut Theology: Monolithic

A reader commented in yesterday's Jack Kirby post that the excavation scene at Tycho in 2001: A Space Odyssey reminded him (or her) of this photo of Ground Zero. That got me reaching for my 2001 DVD to see if there weren't any other clues in the scene I might be able to divine. I did notice this one...

The pit at Tycho sits right beneath Orion's Belt, which is sacred to the space god Osiris. It is here that the astronauts find the Monolith, the ancient alien artifact responsible for mankind's intellectual and technological evolution. As was Osiris himself, according to the mythology.

I'd say the odds of this being a "coincidence" are about ten-billion-squillion to one-one-thousandth of half a percent, especially given the fact that Orion is already name-checked in the film.

Also not coincidentally, the next manned mission to the Moon is the Orion 17.

More on 2001 here and here. A short post on Kirby's 2001 is here.


  1. and the UN Building would be a nice substitute for the Monolith.

  2. This sphere also keeps popping up:

    I've seen one in the vatican, one offcourse at the trade centers, and one here at the UN building in Vienna. And I'm sure I've seen it elsewhere, just don't remember exactly.

    The whole design of these things reminds of a planet being cracked open, and some mechanism inside it. All very weird if you ask me...

  3. Another one at berkley...
    This "sphere within a shpere" seems to be a 'popular' thing.
    tnx Mr. Pomodori.

  4. The similarities I caught were the square shape of the site, the illumination, the presence of ramps, and the presence of large floodlamps. I figured you might catch more symbolically significant details, though.

    I'm also looking forward to your ebook on John the Baptist. Not much of a sidestep from this topic, though, since Richard "Zarathustra" Strauss also wrote an opera based on Oscar Wilde's play Salome. Considering some of your previous postings, I've begun to wonder if the Strauss connection might somehow hint at synchronous "alarm clocks" planted by Kubrick (whether intentionally or subconsciously). Wilde's Masonic affiliation might also be of interest here.

    You might also be interested in a graphic novel adaptation of Salome by P. Russell Craig. It's tucked into a compilation with adaptations of Wagner's Parsifal and Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande.


  5. Jason- thanks for the tip on Strauss. I did do a post on my recent visit to Ground Zero-

    Look for a major Ground Zero post on Sunday as well.

  6. Other Ground Zeros = the Trinity site and the cafe on the Pentagon grounds- Ground Zero cafe, its pentagon-shaped

    Does Mono-Lith represent Monotheism or the Philosopher's Stone?


  7. Happened upon this letter from Arthur C. Clarke to Wired. The Rendezvous with Rama coincidence he mentions is indeed rather weird...


  8. Here's a potential Zarathustra / Salome connection I noticed recently, this time from watching an X-Files episode called "The List." For those who don't know the story, an executed inmate named Napoleon "Neech" Manley rises from the dead and seeks revenge against those who wronged him. He had many philosophy books in his cell, so the connection between "Neech" and Nietszche is pretty obvious. What's more, a prisoner finds the severed head of a prison guard in a bucket.

    Since Richard Strauss composed a tone poem based on Nietzsche's Zarathustra (with the infamous 2001 opening) and an opera based on Wilde's Salome (with the severed head of Jochanaan / John the Baptist), the juxtaposition of "Neech" and the severed head were a bit too weird to just set out of my mind.

    For what it's worth, Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra premiered on November 27, 1896. That date (+77 years) should resonate with anyone who is an X-phile...