Monday, November 09, 2009

AstroGnostic: You're a Nine

SPOILER ALERT- this post contains spoilers

I'm one of those weirdos who likes to listen to director's commentaries on DVDs. I've listened to all of the X-Files commentaries, which usually seem to be focused on the technical aspects of production and not so much the stories, which can be a bit frustrating.

Chris Carter's commentaries are mainly devoted to thanking and citing all of the people who worked on the show, which is probably great for them, but not so interesting for X-egetes.

But the commentary track for 'Improbable' is something else entirely. On it, Carter goes into great detail about understanding the nature of God through the use of numerology, Synchronicity, probability, pattern recognition, theoretical physics and the like.

He speaks on those topics with fluidity and ease, showing that he's spent a lot of time working it all out. The episode and the commentary are equally interesting - and useful- in and of themselves. I also strongly suspect that both Kevin Smith and David Lynch were influenced by some of Carter's surreal production numbers for their own in Clerks II and Inland Empire, respectively.

The conceit of 'Improbable' is that God (played by none other than Burt Reynolds) is not a passive cosmic bystander, he's constantly throwing clues at us for us to decipher. The only problem is that most people don't bother to try. Rather than the whole 'drama' metaphor you might see in some traditions, the theme in 'Improbable' is the game. Which leads to this fascinating exchange:
SCULLY: Look, Agent Reyes, you can't reduce all of life, all creation, every piece of ... of art, architecture, music, literature... into a game of win or lose.

REYES: Why not? Maybe the winners are those who play the game better. Those who see the patterns and the connections, like we're doing right now.
It's interesting that nine is the magic number in the episode, and that DNA Ka-Hathor-Ein Scully is herself a numerological "nine." Given DNA Scully's identity as the Alien Isis, there is also the Nine symbolism of Star Trek: The Next Generation (and more importantly, our President). The link between the two? One Neal McDonough, who played Agent Comer in The X-Files and Lt. Hawk in Star Trek: First Contact, as well as a Bill Gates-like character in Robin Cook's Invasion.

If all that weren't enough, he also played the Tin Man in Syfy's post-modern spin on The Wizard of Oz and also appeared in Minority Report. Quite a resonant fellow, our Mr. McDonough. He also figures into my own bizarre synchronicity/prophetic dream pertaining to the ninth episode in that ninth XF season.

But the Nine/ Reynolds link brought me back to another Reynolds "playing God" (which David Duchovny did as well with Angelina 'Nephthys' Jolie), and that's Ryan Reynolds in The Nines, an AstroGnostic classic.

 Like 'Improbable', The Nines deals with Synchronicity in the context of number mysticism, and also presents a scenario in which symbolism and coincidence allow a trapped divine being to escape his meat-prison. In this context, Synchronicity is a tool of liberation.

Ryan Reynolds' character in The Nines is different than Burt's in 'Improbable'- at first blush, Ryan seems a kind of Neo or John Murdock*. But he doesn't want to rearrange the furniture in Babylon, he wants to get the hell out (similar to how Scully and Reyes are trapped in the basement in 'Improbable', a blindingly-obvious metaphor if ever there was one).

In this Ryan is more like the prince from The Hymn of the Pearl, my favorite Gnostic text of all:

I forget that I was a son of kings, and I served their king;
and I forgot the pearl, for which my parents had sent me,
and because of the burden of their oppressions I lay in a deep sleep.
But all this things that befell me
my parents perceived, and were grieved for me

* Note that Christopher Nolan's Memento shows us a mirror image of Neo et al- Leo doesn't want to remember or know the truth. He prefers the self-serving lie. I used to think this was a critique, but in light of The Dark Knight I'm not so sure anymore.


  1. I was just thinking about when I first developed my crush for Annabeth Gish back in 87 cause she was in the movie (one of my all time favs) Hiding Out. No shit one year I even dyed my hair like Jon Cryer's did in the movie. Anyways I was kinda just laughing to myself when you mentioned that actor Ryan Reynold (IMO he is a bad actor so I don't think I could make it through Nines). Anyways my point was her name was Ryan in the movie Hiding Out, just kinda interesting.

    PS what do you mean by "Ka-Hathor-Ein"? if that has something to do with the Goddess Hathor? If so I am interested in an explanation so I can check that for myself.

  2. talking about nine, I've stumbled across several movies where 9 is taken in great consideration:
    - 9 (animation movie:
    - District 9

    but I'm sure I'm missing some others I've watched past weeks...

  3. I caught this on the Sci-Fi Channel (I don't think it has changed its name here in Blighty, yet) a month or so ago. I think what was most interesting that he doesn't necessarily want to get out of there, but the other 9s (who parallel the Q Continuum) want him back and think his playing with 7s is unhealthy. His main worry is that we meatbags will just wink out of existence when we are removed from the light of his countenance ("if a tree falls in a forest and there is no one there to hear it..."). The first story is the most blatant - he is living in a prison but he can't see the bars and when he finds the limits of his imprisonment he is freed from his human existence, even if only to move on to the next one (a reincarnation theme?).

    I must admit I suddenly got The Fear a Scientology theme would emerge (those crazy showbiz kids do love their Hubbard - I'm still keeping an eye on My Name is Earl for something to emerge, as it has the highest Dianetics Density of any TV show around, but... nothing) but it was just the in-your-face gnosticism that was distracting me (which I'd taken for misdirection).

    Amusingly, while typing this, someone on the TV said "a nine-year old."

  4. Tons of 9 symbolism this year, echoes of the Ennead - the 9 Gods of Egypt, which more than likely references the mythos from an earlier era.

    Peach - There is another movie - Nine.

    Chris, have you seen the latest pictures of Beyonce in Egypt?

    Picture 1.

    Picture 2

    Speaking of Nolan - Here is the trailer for his latest work: Inception. Looks awesome, doesn't it?

  5. Quark- Don't forget to check out Nebet-Het in Brotherhood. I added a link for the Hathor reference.

    Peach- Yeah, I was going to bring those up, but it broke the flow- but I will tomorrow. Cheers.

    Emprie-Yeah, I was just reading up on L Ron. Perhaps the Gnostic elements are why CoS is so popular in Hollywood- same with PKD. It's all about rearranging reality. Inversely, why isn't Lovecraft so popular with comic and scifi writers but hardly exists in Tinseltown?

    Andre- It is 2009, right? As to the new Nolan- hmmm. I don't know. Prestige and TDK really have me reassessing his work. There's something at its core I'm increasingly uncomfortable with. But an interesting sync with Improbable, as we'll see....

  6. Hi Chris,

    The Hymn of the Pearl excerpt really struck a chord with me.

    I posted a comment a while back, I suppose as an observation from all the Kabbalah and Law of Attraction things I've been reading, that was similar.

    It was how all the synchronicity and searching we do is for the guideposts that we had set in place before we entered this reality. And if we found those synch points, through analysis or mushrooms, it might lead to our exit from this reality...which would mean death in this reality. Much like The Nines, I suppose.

    I don't know if you've read much of the Abraham-Hicks teachings but "Abraham" stresses that it is possible to leave this reality with ease. That is, after one has finished their "job" here as a "creator" on this plane as the leading edge of creation.

    A local elderly man going to the drug store never returned that night and was missing for five days. His family said he had no history of getting lost, helicopters searched for 600 miles and his car was found about five days later in a deep ditch two counties over. No foul play. He came upon a dam, could go no further and tried to turn around according to tire tracks and his car rolled down into the ditch.

    The saplings the car rolled over snapped back up and covered his car from view. A fisherman found his car. He was trapped inside and simply perished in his vehicle. Sad. But apt for all our lives.

    Great post, Chris!

  7. Sorry, Soapie- I was lost in a reverie before- ultimately any kind of meta-pursuit like Synchromysticism should serve a practical purpose. What is the goal? What are the methods? What does escape mean? In a practical sense it means getting out of the controller-controlled co-dependency paradigm. This post went through a lot of drafts because I kept getting lost on someone else's sidestreet and had to keep bringing it back to my own turf. That's a real struggle.

    So, I do try to make the blog useful- that's certainly why the Law of Attraction material is so popular, whatever one thinks of it.
    Thanks as always for your support, Soapie!

  8. Maddermadicks itch knot migh stronkest diceaplane, nein?

    Boot eefen zo - I liek to pleigh wit id - zizziz properly nonews boot here iz mine zortz on zee numper9

    1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9=45 4+5=9

    9+9=18 1+8=9

    9x9=81 8+1=9

    9/9=1 √9=3 ...hmpf!

    Aye vonter watt cowsigns and triggernumberry & allergybra eatzetera, voodoo doot 2 it, jah9 vott Eye mean?

    btw - Half chew checkered outzee enneagon/nonagon?

  9. Great link, the first Goddess I ever discovered was Hathor (then Sekmet), and the Katie Holmes and Kate Winslet connection mean a lot to me in my own worlds, so thanks. That book looks interesting.

    Nebet-Het in Brotherhood? whats that mean?

  10. CK: "Inversely, why isn't Lovecraft so popular with comic and scifi writers but hardly exists in Tinseltown?"

    The Mythos is a easy thing to plug into for some readymade dread but not that great for providing an enlightening, uplifting message that offers hope and redemption (and superpowers).

    There are those that have used it for their own religious ends but largely they have used the Necronomicon to contact Dark Gods. Not something I could see going down well in America.

  11. As Emperor oberserved, Lovecraft isn't popular with Hollywood. Perhaps that's because he was close to the truth: the world being controlled by a demiurge and the powers-that-be don't want the cat out of the bag.
    Also, Chris, I never knew Burt's character was that of God! Ha! Thanks, the episode NOW makes sense to me. Wow, that blows my mind. Thanks