Saturday, March 07, 2015

Walk-Ins Welcome: Kevin Spacey and K-PAX


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?


The Secret Sun Institute of Advanced Synchromysticism is waiting for you to take the next step in your synchro-journey. Come level up.

And don't forget the all-night 90s lotus party over at SHRR. We're presently up to 1998.

* 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.