quinta-feira, dezembro 31, 2009

Uma resposta

The Negative Dialetics: The Gnostic Adorno

When reading the two threads of Negative Dialectics Theodor Adorno ("Experience Metaphysics and Happiness" and "Nihilism ") we find a critique of vulgar religiosity approaching the concept of transcendence to the search for a "meaning of life."
The Whole is the Truth (Hegel)
The Whole is the False (T. Adorno)
In the book "Negative Dialectics" Theodor Adorno, the author breaks with the past "apocalyptic" in discussions on the cultural industry to seek alternative "wholly other", the search for transcendence of a false totality that surrounds us. To this end, a decisive part Adorno critique of Hegel's dialectic positive (transcendence through the synthesis of an Absolute Spirit), to propose the foundations for a "Negative Dialectics": the rescue of the experience of the individual, concrete and individual by means of a dialectic that does not settle the particular through universal concepts. If at all Western philosophy that identify the particular settlement on behalf of Universal, Adorno proposes to redeem the individual experience, bringing substantive metaphysics through a negative dialectic which denies the formation of concepts to grasp the experience. For him, the abstract concepts are nothing more than reflections of a whole be false by abstract (commercial exchanges, religion deteriorated, etc.) that kills any possibility of otherness and truth.

In the everyday world of this particular settlement is experienced as the universal suffering and malaise. This scenario will increasingly spread ideas that aspire to a common impulse for transcendence:
"The desperation so there propagates ideas transcendental, which were contained in other times. Anyone unclusive those dealing with the affairs of this world, a raving consider the idea that this finite world of endless torment is subsumed by a universal divine plan "(Adorno, Negative Dialectics La. Madrid: Taurus, p. 375.)

For Adorno the question of "meaning of life" is a secular metaphysics, that is already contaminated by the very nature of the world who want to question. The question will get a "false response" this religious impulse that aims at transcending the vulgar misery reigning only reproduces itself overcome all you want to enthrone a new whole. It's like jumping from the frying pan into the fire to fall. Given the totality of the inauthentic world market, the answer looks for a new injection of a sense of reality empty, ie, a new universal search that will continue liquidating the authentic experience of individual uniqueness.

Adorno refers to this experience as "subjective immediacy intact" or "subjectivism of the pure act", an experience that would give us the "inside of objects," Redeeming the metaphysical materialism through that finally reveal the truth of the world. It is a kind of inverted theology where the redemption is less than the escape of the spirit toward the Absolute than the rescue of the Absolute within the objects of the world.

Adorno exemplifies this sacred moment with the reconstitution of Proustian experience. What Proust discover in his book "In Search of Lost Time" are unique experiences drawn from small places and prosaic events, but who desire the universality spontaneously, not by force of concepts that abstract from the concreteness of the facts but the strength of individual, unrepeatable.

The Gnostic Nihilism

If life does have meaning, we would not be asking for the meaning of it, says Adorno ironically. Given the fascination with the concept that Whole matter contains, Adorno contrasted with the praise of nihilism: the search for meaning is paralyzing to freedom and happiness. The attacks of conscience against nihilism, Adorno says, nihilism does not mean "believing in nothing" because it means believing in something and not believe in anything. That something, so it is completely other, something beyond all this world, now absent from sense, as the nihilistic and self-criticism that leads to Nihilism:
"Nihilism in this way implies the opposite of identification with nothing. Your Gnosticism sees in the created world radically wrong, and the denial of the possibility of another, yet you have to be. While the world is what it is, all images of reconciliation, peace and tranquility resemble images of death "(Adorno, Negative Dialectics, Madrid: Taurus, p. 381).

Here Adorno identifies the Gnostic nature latent in his Negative Dialectics. For him, it is no longer denying through existing ideological criticism (in its underlying critical phase of the culture industry). The denial by the critique of ideological illusions (fetishism, reification, etc..) Collides with the radical nature of evil in this reality. There is no externality for the critics. Being and Totality are meaningless since they are constituted by a series of abstractions that do violence to individual happiness and authenticity of the unique experience. The dichotomies of mere ideological critique rationalists (true / mentiral / real illusion etc.) can not give an account of nihilism ever present in the material world. Thus, for Adorno, the critique should be Nihilistic and Metaphysics aspire to the third element, the tertium quid of the Gnostics: neither illusion nor reality, but the Wholly Other.

Therefore, extrapolating this approach is that Adorno between experience and metaphysical nihilism, the real experience of the sacred or gnosis does not come from the sudden discovery of a "sense" or a "plan" or "purpose" for the mere daily existence. Beyond that metaphysical impulse vulgar, Holy is the sudden discovery of the empty fascinating and vertigo to feel that the illusion is reality.

Who was Theodor Adorno: considered the leading exponent of so-called Frankfurt School, Institute of Social Pesquiss which met between 30 and 40 decades of the twentieth century, among other names, Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse and Walter Benjamin. Systematized the Critical Theory of Society, conceptual framework involving not just the critique of media as cultural industry, but also the critical review of the Western Enlightenment philosophy.

Cycling and Altered State of Consciousness: Gnosis in Sports?

What is the representation of the imaginary bicycle on pop culture? To our surprise we found a connection between the state of consciousness that bike provides (for its unique design that fuses human and machine) and Basilides of Gnosticism: the mental state of "suspension" that allows silencing the noise of the language for us to hear the spirit which seeks to gnosis.

Basilides, an early Gnostic teachers in Alexandria, Egypt, second century of the Christian Era, harbored a distrust of the radical capacity of language to grasp reality. His theory can be summarized in Great idea of Denial: the truth about God is beyond knowledge human, denial of knowledge and language is the sacred path.

In his paper, "Seven Sermons to the Dead" Basilides says that given the fullness (Pleroma - the source from which everything is emanating) "and thought cease because the eternal existence is devoid of quality. " The world created (The physical cosmos), in contrast, is governed by the principle of "differentiation" where what was one is split into opposite qualities. Through language and knowledge man becomes obsessed with apprehending the qualities of becoming naming them through words and concepts a reality that is diffuse, fluid on. If the qualities of the Pleroma are pairs of opposites that cancel each other (a dynamic union of opposites: full/empty, beautiful/ugly, time/space energy/matter etc.). In contrast, the human language differentiates, discriminates, tonando us victims of the pairs of opposites.

The result is the Evil: in search of the beauty, the ugly man produces, the search for peace ends up producing the war, in pursuit of using technology effectively ends producing useless, etc.. This ironic reversal of language (not transitivity between language and reality) ends up making the man a prisoner own concepts and words, failing to hear, within, the reminiscent of the One, the Pleroma, the fullness that would unite the original God.
"What you should never forget is that the Pleroma has no qualities. We that we create these qualities through the intellect. When we fight for differentiation or sameness, or other qualities, we strive for thoughts that flow to us from the Pleroma, or thoughts about lacking the qualities of the Pleroma. While after these thoughts, you you fall again into the Pleroma, while coming to the differentiation and equality. Not your mind, but your being is differentiation. That is why we should not strive for differentiation and discrimination as you know these, but for your true nature. If indeed we did so, you would have no need to know anything about the Pleroma and itsqualities, and yet, we get your real goal because of your nature. However, such thinking alienates us from our real nature, I must teach you the knowledge so that you can keep your reasoning under control. "(Basilides," Seven Sermons to the Dead "available at: http://www.gnosisonline.org/teologia-gnostica/sete-sermoes-aos-mortos/)

Thus Basilides proposes a unique state of consciousness: the silence, state of "suspended", emptying the mind through the suspension of all activity of the abstraction mechanisms of language (it is said that the disciples of Basilides were obliged, as a rite of initiation into silence
for three years ...). Keep the "thought under control," fight "against differentiation. " Basilides to these terms refers to a state of suspension between opposite pairs, the "tertium quid", the third element that the solder qualities.

The Experience of Bicycling: the "suspended" state

And this long introduction has to do with cycling? If we do a flyover in the representations of pop culture in relation to the bicycle and cycling, we see that this sport and means of transport occupies a special position, a special confluence of special states of consciousness and physical exertion, body and mind.

A prime example is the Kraftwerk (German pop group considered the godfathers of techno and industrial music), whose members are passionate about cycling and, from the mechanism, and ergonomic design of the bike, distilled the ethos of his musical approach: the union between Man, Machine and Nature. Once, one of the group members, Ralf Hütter, made the following statement after the drafting of the classic single "Tour de France 1983:" The bike is more than a mere instrument of leisure, is something closer to the policy statement . Not for vacation, is the man-machine. Am I the man-machine on the bike. Speed, balance, a certain freedom of spirit, keep fit, technical and technological perfection, aerodynamics. "

For him, the bike is in itself a musical instrument: the rhythmic sound of the chain, gears, breathing and heartbeat, against a backdrop of the continual sound "shhhhhh" told the tire on the asphalt. Like a mantra, confers a "free spirit" to empty the mind, is the repetition of sounds and movement, whether by physical exhaustion.

Here we can make a surprising connection between Basilides and the bicycle: the conscious state of suspension on the bike is at the same time symbolic and literal. Riding the bike and move swiftly to have been lifted and at the same time, the rhythmic sound of body and mental work voiding mechanism.

From experience, it's amazing the insights and ideas that, paradoxically, come from this mental void. The union of opposites. Just as you create by brainstorming where a chaotic state of disconnected ideas produces, over time, a critical mass that suddenly produces a qualitative leap: from nothing, the chaos suddenly appears the order, an idea.

It's like the noise of everyday activity and no rational mind would let us hear the deeper layers of our interior. It is necessary to quiet the mind, even if by violent means as in the movie "Fight Club": the struggle is an aspect of discipline, asceticism, like a mantra where thoughts and rationality are subjugated to the discipline of repetition until converted into the opposite: the state of suspension of sense for the liberation of consciousness.

Songs like "Bicycle Race" by Queen pointed out that silence of rationality.
You say black I say white
You say bark I say bite
You say shark I say hey man
Jaws was never my scene
And I don't like Star Wars
You say Rolls I say Royce
You say God give me a choice
You say Lord I say Christ
I don't believe in Peter Pan
Frankenstein or Superman
All I wanna do is
Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
Concepts, choices, words are like noises that hinder the freedom of the spirit hear himself, his reminiscences that makes you connect back to fullness.

Emptying the mind and free spirit reaches the altered state of consciousness that comes to catharsis and transcendence that changes the way we see the relidade, as the song "Bicycle, Bicycle, You Are My Bicycle" band "Be Your Own Pet":
We'll change the eye colour
Of every lady
We're fast, we're fast
We're fast we're having a blast
All because

We're on two wheels baby
We're on two wheels baby

Change the colour of your make up
All the sleepyheads won't wake up
All because all because all because
Because because...

No gears, no brakes
No real, no fake

Transcending the point of the gears and brakes of the bicycle disappeared. This freedom leads to withdrawal: nothing real nor false, the search for an experience that overcomes the dilemma of opposing pairs, the trap that the language and knowledge can not break free. Go beyond the gears and brakes (reason and language).

The archetypal figure against the light of an alien being mounted on a BMX bike in the movie poster for ET Spielberg is a synthesis of representations in pop imagery around the bike, suspended in air with the moon as a backdrop. The iconic representation of a whole imaginary Gnostic involving the bike: suspension as an altered state of consciousness that enables the silence that makes us hear the inner voice of gnosis.

Cartography and Topography of the Mind in the VI Scientific Meeting at Anhembi Morumbi University

Above a summary of the presentation of initial findings and first hypotheses of the research "Cartography and Topography of Mind" in the VI Scientific Meeting and Scientific Initiation of the Universidade Anhembi Morumbi held last Friday. If cinema is the social imaginary of a particular society and a certain time, the film reflects current a techno-scientific agenda marked by the impact of Neurosciences and Cognitive Sciences. This agenda technoscientific pervades the Internet today with binge people, spontaneously, want to record their experiences in private through "lifestreams", life-trackings, " inner geographies" and a whole range of cartography of mental life.

Those who follow the evolution of thematic Blog posts "Secret Cinema: Cinegnose," realizes that in several reviews of movies, we identified the recurrence of arguments, ideas and stories that reflect what we call techgnostic agenda. It is a characteristic of the Gnostics of early films new century. Movies like Vanilla Sky, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Stay, The Good Night, Science of Sleep, Inception, Dead Souls andTim Burton's Alice in Wonderland are real dives in the protagonist's inner world (dreams, memories, daydreams, but not only in a metaphorical or allegorical sense (as in the movie "Being John Malkovich"), but instrumental.

It is as if to a mapping or cartographic representations of the mind to achieve a specific purpose: get rid of barriers, constraints or trauma for a person to be more assertive, morally blameless and light, releasing the latent potential and become a professional or successful person.

Gnosis is translated here as self-knowledge. Transcendence is no longer cosmic environment within the narrative of classical Gnosticism (transcend an artificial universe created by a demiurge god that imprisons man), but now as an introspective journey.

If every film is a document because it represents the imagination of a particular society or historical period, this set of films mentioned above seems to strongly reflect current technological agenda marked by the neurosciences, cognitive science and memetics and its byproducts like neuromarketing and a whole literature around self-help and self-knowledge.

Explaining this agenda technoscientific (techgnostic) appears, at first, the motivation that drives the mystical computer technology: the quest for artificial intelligence from the solution of the mystery of the nature of consciousness, mind and soul. It is this motivation that drives the transcendentalist elimination from the body (via implants) and virtualization of subjectivity:
"The new creations (biotechnology, cloning, nanotechnology, virtual reality technology itself or computational) point to overcome the limits of organic. Victor Ferkiss will characterize this new perspective with a seemingly paradoxical concept: "Gnosticism technology." Gnosticism history was characterized by a horror of organic and natural aversion. Such elements would be enemies of the spirit in his quest for enlightenment. However, the current techno approaches that philosophy to propose to overcome the basic parameters of the human condition: finitude, contingency, mortality, corporeality, animality and existential restriction. Ferkiss, like Martins, link to this amazing cross between the aspirations and contemporary technological utopias of Gnostic transcendence. "(Ferreira, Wilson Roberto V. Cinegnose. São Paulo: Giz Editorial, 2010, p. 25).

The late twentieth century was marked by the first phase of this technological Gnosticism: the possibility of creating virtual worlds. Virtualization of subjectivity would be through the mediation of avatars or graphical interfaces that would create the illusion of similar experiences to the physical world. The virtual reality helmets, gloves and digitlização date of bodily sensations in this project were of "immersion" of the self in a virtual world. Movies like The Matrix and The Truman Show critically reflected this imaginary tecnognóstico the time: the protagonists trapped in worlds without defining the difference between the simulation and reality.

Earlier this century we have the second stage of this agenda tecnognóstica: the search for the latest interface technology history, the connection between biological and electronic, between neural networks and computer networks. If the design of the Internet architecture was based on the neuronal architecture of the mind (decentralized, fractal, etc..), The fate of digital technologies would be to seek the most perfect model simulation of the dynamic functioning of the mind and consciousness, so perfect that map coincide with the territory and simulation to replace the organic basis of consciousness itself.

Movies like "Vanilla Sky" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" as theme critically this possibility by showing that behind this aspiration tecnognóstica hide handlers commercial projects. On the other hand, films like "The Source" and "Alice in Wonderland" Tim Burton make the apology that agenda.

Mind's Cartography and Topography

We live today in a frenzy for mapping or cartographic representations of our thoughts, habits, relationships, choices through social networks, software and personal projects that seek to develop true "inner geographies." There is a deliberate effort and encourage all users to spontaneously make available your personal data or present, on their own, their personal geographies and maps metals. We have a number of examples:

1 - Inner Geographies Project, carried out pelog geographer and professor at Sonoma State University in the U.S. Heidi K. Lamoreaux. Divided in several cores, the project aims to bring the

methodologies in the exploration of natural science "of what happens in our inner life: mind, body, our perceptions of place and our imaginary worlds. A true mapping of the memories of our emotional experiences and affective (isolated in "strip" as those used in microscopes) and maps with the sequence of events in our lives as plans that overlap like the rings of a tree trunk in the longitudinal section giving a topographical view of the line of personal life. Or the "Childhood Maps", maps created by children representing his "cosmological position, exposing the connections between physical places and the" internal terrain "(see photos opposite and below). The result is a series of maps and personal topographies. A project that not only reflects the current techno-scientific agenda but which produces organized data that easily can become a raw material for future software-based mind maps.

2 - "Mirror Worlds" or "lifestream" - David Gelertner seminal idea, Professor of Computer Science at Yale University. In the mid-90s said: "Will you look at a computer screen and will see the reality," he predicted. "A part of any of their world - the city where you live, the company where he works, his school, the municipal hospital - will appear there on a crisp, colorful, abstract but recognizable, moving subtly in a thousand places . Gelernter At the time he thought of a software, lifestreams, which would replace the desktop computer: a program storage in chronological order from documents to their digital experiences. That did not happen, but today, something similar can be found throughout the web in different formats: blogs (true electronic journals), news updates as the personal Facebooks and other social networks. This clearly allows a sociogram or a flowchart of social and personal relationships, as well as a permanent mapping of habits and attitudes, such as the BBC news report that Facebook's data shows that over the periods ending courtship (click here to read the news ).

3 - Life-Tracking - recent trend where students participate in a meticulous record of everything they do by hand, PCs or smartphones: take as many cafes, books they are reading, daily working hours etc.. Some people still use sensors to map out their vital signs to see, for example, as are sleeping. Gary Wolf, a technology writer and co-founder of Web site The Quantified Self ("The Quantified Self") is part of a group of people who want to use technology to help them identify factors that make them depressed, prevent sleep, or even that affect cognitive performance. According to an article in The Economist (translated by CartaCapital of 12.01.2010 "His particular Matrix") is already an emerging market for devices autotracking.
"The Zeo developed an alarm clock that comes with a full head to measure brainwave activity of people at night and graphically display your sleep on the Web"
This "quantification of I" has a clear technological cabalistic aspect of Gnosticism. As we saw in previous posts (see links below) Kabbalistic Gnosticism has a transcendentalist discourse radical elimination from the body and virtualization of subjectivity, that is, to eliminate by imposing sacred codes (digital) the physical constraints of the spirit (contingency, finitude, corporeality, animality, etc..) so I was deep in cyberspace, digital heavenly New Jerusalem, and reach their fullest.

It is the motivation behind each row of books, self-help and self-knowledge: a life without guilt, more assertive, without trauma or memories that cause conflict and indecision. Delete, deny, rather than understand and overcome.

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"Inception": Nolan falls under the spell of Neuroscience

Despite the packaging Gnostic (questions about the nature of reality, dreams like a parallel world, and female character who asks the protagonist to awaken from the sleep of reality) "Inception", (2010) Christopher Nolan is doing extremely reactionary an apology for the engineering spirit of neuroscience. The symbolism of dreams replaced by invasive mapping of the mind.

It is known that Freudian psychoanalysis in the U.S. enjoys no scientific credibility. Concepts as the unconscious psyche and are ignored because they are not scientific, not empirical evidence. Discuss dreams and desires from human sexuality and relationships child with his mouth and excrement is too outlandish to American Puritanism.

The American culture is more practical: If Freud wished to examine the symbolism of dreams, the imaginary current technological plans a mapping and topology of dreams. Much more practical, as well demonstrated by the neuroscience and neuromarketing. Symbols are too philosophical, as a mapping and topology is much more effective to point out ways to insert ideas into the minds.

"Inception"proves that technological agenda. Although the narrative of the film occurs in dreams, not once hear the word unconscious. She is replaced by the generic concept of subconscious, exposing this array of neuroscientific pragmatism.

Although the principle of  "Inception" seems to be a movie Gnostic, esoteric or "philosophical" as "Matrix," he has a deep pragmatic sense: the exploration of the last refuge of the individual (mind, dreams) in the invasive world today corporate interests (marketing, advertising, mergers, acquisitions, etc.).

Packing Gnostic

The narrative of  "Inception" uses many elements drawn from films and Gnostics, assigning a cloak "serious" to the story, giving the impression to the public that we are dealing with deep philosophical insigths. For example, when the players go to Mombasa to recruit a specialist pharmacist in hard drugs to help them in the mission, located in a basement dozens of sleeping people. They go there daily to live his dream as a parallel reality. "They come here not to sleep but to wake up," says the charge of the premises. Evident that resembles Gnostic taken the issues of character Morpheus in the movie "Matrix". But the protagonists are less that compounding pharmacy to discuss the nature of philosophical or mystical dreams, but to pragmatically use drugs to solve customer business problems Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio).

Or the evil character, the late wife of Cobb. Apparently it represents the mythical character of the Gnostic Sophia, the Cobb warn about the fictitious nature of reality, calling for her husband to wake up. In the dream is reality and reality is an illusion! She constantly tells Cobb "return home" with it, or return to an idyllic home for lost sleep from reality. She speaks to Cobb: "you do not feel harassed, persecuted by the world for companies anonymous?" Wow! It seems that until we face the plots of Gnostic Philip K. Dick! The female protagonist that will lead to enlightenment, as in the movie Paycheck (2003).

Pure deception. Evil is the projection of the subconscious Cobb, caused by guilt for the death of his wife. As in neuroscience-based therapies (PNL, Scientology etc), he just wants to remove the guilt of his conscience. The whole adventure of the protagonists in the various levels of dreams in insert (inception) the seed of an idea in mind of a person by corporate interests, will only serve to resolve the Cobb with his conscience: delete the subconscious projection of guilt.

The reactionary "Inception"

Therefore, "Inception" is an extremely reactionary movie. Compared to films like "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (2004), Paycheck (2003) and Vanilla Sky (2001), "Inception" glorifies the technologies that neuroscientific want to build happiness into oblivion. If the movies is the denunciation of the Gnostic secret alliance of technology to serve the interests that imprison us to a reality by means of forgetfulness, in "Inception" we have the apology of the effectiveness of technoscience.

In "Eternal Sunshine," "Paycheck" and "Vanilla Sky", the female characters Clementine, Rachel and Sophie are key to enlightenment (gnosis) of the protagonist in "The Origin" is hardly a mere parsonage subconscious projection of guilt. Using the same technology that serves corporate interests, he "heals" itself by eliminating the blame of their dreams.

This is surprising, since Christopher Nolan's films comes from authentic Gnostic questioning of reality as "Memento" (2000) and "The Prestige" (2006) with the participation of the Gnostic pop David Bowie as the mysterious scientist Nikola Tesla).

In "Eternal Sunshine" all the technology you want to manipulate the dreams and memories fall before the outbreak of the unconscious as the only resistance that the individual still has to face the corporate interests in "Inception", it disappears to give rise to a subconscious which appears as mere dysfunction or obstruction to the adventure of the protagonists.

In "Vanilla Sky" and "Eternal Sunshine" the spirit of engineering technology (neuroscience) are critically themed to the point of irony and ridicule in "Inception", they are enhanced (the descriptions of the ingenious use of architectures in Escher's impossible dreams - paradoxes, loops etc.). and sold to viewers as instruments for the happiness of a life without guilt.

Freudian psychoanalysis to the question dream is symbolic, ie, knowledge of the keys that open the doors to rescue what we have been forgotten by represssivos mechanisms of reality. But for Neuroscience's dream is a simple matter of mapping and surveying: a map of mental associations to easily delete the dysfunctions that plague us.

As in neuromarketing where electrodes placed on the head of a consumer prototype for mapping the mental reactions before advertisements.

Why this decline in Christopher Nolan? In "Memento," he introduced us bright and Gnostics insigths about the nature of perception, memory and reality in "The Prestige" a bright picture of the origins of modern technology in a historic setting (turn of the XIX-XX), where science, mysticism magic and merged. Maybe Nolan has surrendered to the fascination with neuroscience, after all, offer a simplified model, visual (film) and more pragmatic than the complicated symbolic interpretations. Projections subconscious with weapons in hand and the unconscious translated as vaults within which we keep our secrets and then throw away the combination images are much more compelling and understandable. "Inception" as well as the neurosciences, it wants to find out the actual combination, but only to destroy the safe.

Therefore, the film features an appearance by Gnostic allegedly deep philosophical or existential questions about the nature of reality. The brilliant and complex narrative (Mark Nolan films) of dreams within dreams and the final ambiguous (which takes the viewer to question the very starting point of the film - where the dream ends and reality begins?), Marks the narrative irony Movies Gnostics, are in "Inception" as an attractive package to lure public "heads". But its interior is extremely reactionary and tuned to the agenda tecnognóstica the glorification of the spirit of engineering.


  • Title: Inception

  • Director: Christopher Nolan

  • Screenplay: Christopher Nolan

  • Year: 2010

  • Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy.

  • Production and Distribution: Warner Bros.

  • Country: USA
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NASA to Hollywood: The Film Reflects Techgnostic Agenda

In a lecture given at the World Future Society in Boston last month, NASA's chief scientist Dennis Bushnell introduced the new look for Tecnognose: environmentally friendly concern for global warming and climate change. Dispatch the man to virtual worlds to leave the planet in peace, through AI, nano and biotechnology, is his proposal. Hollywood seems to reflect the technological agenda in telling stories of technology to scan and map the dreams, memory and the human psyche.

A world threatened by global warming and wars. Cause: politics, religion, megalomania, population growth, relationships, face-to-face and territorial disputes. Solution: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Nanoteconolgia and Biotechnology, gradually replacing human action by automation and robotics.

Professions away from "boring" as "bank tellers, gas station attendants, education, pilots, soldiers, human beings occupy their leisure time inhabiting virtual worlds three-dimensional simulation, for example," the experience of sitting in a tropical beach. " More than that, the planet would get rid of economic action and political human historically harmful to the environment by simply transferring the humanity into the virtual world of electronic networks connected to the neuron.

An imaginary Techgnostic with a dangerous mixture of eugenics, transcendentalist mysticism and neo-Malthusianism.

Dennis Bushnell is a scientist focused on the need to combat climate change and development of renewable resources. For him, the only solution is to remove the human being with "their bodies with water" of economic activities, substituting for robotics, automation and nano implants in the human brain. The entire educational system would be replaced by software downloads directly to the brain. Biotechnology replacing the "boring" learning activity.

This aversion of Kabbalistic Gnosticism by the body (bodies of water "in the words of Bushnell) and matter is the imaginary mystic behind that speech technology. Bushnell, therefore, population control advocates, the demise of the "subclass" in the U.S. and, implicitly, the political dominance of a technological elite clarified (people like him) that commands the entire process.

As seen in previous posts (see links below), the Tecnognose is the conjunction between Gnosticism and Science, an affinity between gnosis, technoscience and cyberculture. The elimination of body and of subjectivity enabled by virtualization technologies computing seems to favor this kind of "religion of technology". Due to certain social and cultural circumstances of the twentieth century, a type of Gnosticism (the kabbalistic) became the true technological vision that redirected the history of technology, making them join the current stage of the prostheses and simulations.

Simulations are the answers to unemployment, mass produced by robotics and automation: Bushnell imagines unemployed away from the real world, living in virtual tropical beaches. This idea seems to be the applicant's future that permeates NASA. Another scientist from the institution, Robert Jawstron once envisioned a future dominated by the "disembodied intelligence"

One day a scientist will be able to remove the contents of your mind and transfer it to your computer's memory. Because the mind is the essence of being, we can say that such a computer scientist came in and started to inhabit it. At least we can say that from the moment that the human brain inhabits a computer he is released from the weakness of mortal flesh ... He is in control of their own destiny. The machine is your body, it is the mind of the machine ... This seems to me the most intelligent and mature life in the universe. Resize silicon plates and no longer limited by the duration of life inside the deadly cycle of a biological organism. This kind of being will live forever. "(Robert Jastrow, The Enchanted Loom: Mind in the Universe, New York, Simon and Schuster, 1984, pp. 166-67).
... And why not?

What's wrong with abandon activities grueling and boring day to day and through bioinformatics, connect your brain to a virtual world and live in paradise beaches simulated?
First, the eugenic ideology evident in the discourse of Bushnell. He refers to the planet as "spaceship earth", the crew lost control manual and grows at a rate of 2 million people each week, "engaging in bloody battles in the corners of the spacecraft." Therefore, only an enlightened elite can control the technological process of saving the planet's ecological simply eliminating the human social life and economical to ship them to the virtual world of the silicon wafer. Under the command of the elite intellectually superior commanding lifeless bodies which I circulated in cyberspace.

Under an environmentally responsible clothing, repeats the ideology that the Nazis once tried to put into practice, only that this time, with the bio-computer technology and genetic engineering available.

Second, the question of hipertelia technology. We saw in previous post that all technological systems tend to a state of generalized obesity that undermines the original purpose. The obsession of technology in expanding access to features and uses more precise, effective and high performance is due, ironically, in the absolute uselessness. Reaching the latest interface technology history (biology and electronics, neural network / electronic network) virtualize not just havens of dreams but also the nightmares. If our psyche has instances of repression of unconscious nightmares, the same can not say in relation to electronic networks.

Movies like Vanilla Sky (2001) thematicized this reversal where technological narrates in an ironic way the irruption of the unconscious in the "lucid dreams" of the protagonist kept in cryogenic state by a company.

The lights produce science and knowledge, but light also produces shadows.

Hollywood and Techgnostic Agenda

The Matrix (1999) was the culmination of the "pop gnosticism." Strongly attuned to the euphoria of the twentieth century computer technology (Internet, virtual reality, etc.). We have movies Gnostics that period (1995-1999) narratives that envision a world simulated by powerful technologies omnipresent and omniscient, able to create a counterfeit of reality so perfect that is indistinguishable from the original, at least for the perception of the protagonists. We have the classical Gnostic narrative of a world created by a Demiurge (the technology) to trap human beings.

From the year 2000 we have the introjection of tecnognose within the human mind, memory and dreams. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004), Vanilla Sky, The Way (Stay, 2005) The Origin and Current (Inception, 2010) show future technologies (future or not so well) that make a topographic mapping of our memories and dreams.

When we take the futuristic predictions of Bushnell 2025 that the environmental and climate problems of "spaceship Earth" will be solved by mankind to migrate virtual tropical paradise, it seems to make sense of the convergence of all efforts in neuroscience, neuromarketing and research in AI. This set seems to be part of a technological agenda reflected in current movies Gnostics: scan, map and peering through bio-electronic interfaces for the dynamic operation of the psyche, dreams and memories in the future, play them virtually.

Chief scientist for NASA's Dennis Bushnell, this will be our last home. But along with the dreams, also virtualize our nightmares.

See the presentation slides Dennis Bushnell: Future Issues Strategic / Future Warfare [Circa 2025]

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quarta-feira, dezembro 30, 2009

Dogs and Archetypes: The Ad-Gnosis in Action

Because they are mnemonic records of spirituality and Light of the species, the archetypes naturally aspire to transcendence. But Ad-Gnosticism (Gnosis + Advertising), like any entertainment industry, the capture and confined within the instrumentality of trade. A prosaic example of the action of Ad-Gnosis is the new video advertising a brand of dog food.

In previous posts we approach the concept of Ad-Gnosis to indicate a new phase that advertising is going where, paradoxically, the product tends to disappear from the ads, making it much less something to be gained from such event to be experienced, journey , discovery and personal renewal.

We saw that the techniques of persuasion and persuasion in Advertising went through several phases (tactical psychological, behavioral, motivational, subliminal, psychoanalytical, etc..), But all of them, was an implicit imperative: "Here is the product. Now buy it! "With Ad-Gnosis, all that true engineering spirit is a qualitative leap: separation between desire and purchase the product immediately to transform the act of consumption itself, an event of self-knowledge and spiritual renewal to instrumentalize an entire repertory of archetypes of the collective unconscious of mankind.

Of course we're being ironic when using this concept the word "gnosis", as the alleged spiritual renewal proposal by consumption is the translation of the experiences of the sacred, the religious and transcendence within the paradigm of Self-Help.

The Re-engineering of spiritual gnosis goes beyond the individual's existential layers (perception, behavior, subconscious and unconscious psyche) to reach the last dimension: the spirit in the instrumentation of the archetypes.

In Jung's archetypes are symbols of the collective unconscious, symbols updated by various means (mysticism, religion, legends, myths, until you reach the most mystical of contemporary advertising) where are clumped aspirations, hopes and great metaphysical and existential questions of humankind.

As already pointed Victoria Nelson (see The Secret Life of Puppets. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2001), archetypes are mnemonics as instruments of supreme art of memory. In ancient societies, pre-literary, a range of oral techniques (legends, fables, rhythm, rhyme, repetition, etc..) Served as a repository of human knowledge. The archetypes belong to the sacred art of mnemonics, keeping the library of the collective unconscious of the deeper issues of the species. In a Gnostic sense, symbols of reminiscences about our origins and our exile in this cosmos.

The operation of the Ad-Gnosis

But in practice the mechanism of operation of the Ad-Gnosis? Let's make this post a draft of a method of analysis of advertising discourse within the Ad-Gnosis. By a gnostic point of view the entertainment industry needs to draw from their subjects 'spontaneity' (particles of light or the vital spiritual energy, reminiscent of our true origins) to put in place structures, hollow and lifeless clichés, this draft method that will trace here aims to describe the moment when these structures clichés-capture and confine these spiritual elements, represented in archetypes.

We can consider the various levels of semiotic techniques of persuasion and persuasion of advertising speech as thought-forms empty without spirit or energy itself. At level perceptual or behavioral immediately until they can sensitize the individual, motivating him immediate responses, or behavioral subliminal. But they are of short duration. There is awareness, preparation or fixation.

Leaving for a semiotic didacticism these techniques can be divided as follows:

a) Level structures cliche: Resources graphics, psychodynamics of colors, photogenic, Packshot, lettering, screenplay. That is, every aspect of a pure signal, resources that reach the most instinctive and behavioral aspects.

b) the level of rhetoric: the use of the repertoire of classical figures of rhetoric, Aristotle (metaphors, hyperbole, oxymorons etc.). It is the level of persuasion through pure aesthetics of the arguments of the speech. After the immediate signaling (calling attention), is transformed into information, speech, argument.

Let's take a prosaic example as well as the new commercial from Pedigree food for dogs (under "Life" Agency Lara / TBWA and producer of Paranoid U.S.). In this simple video advertising can find all the elements of the Ad-Gnosis in operation, mainly the archetypal aspect.

Immediately, we see the classic aspects of photogenic or videogenia advertising: a dog (golden retriever) running in slow motion, pastel colors, track acoustic folk tone, the long by the animal moving in the wind. Aspects are cliches (the pastel associated with spring, early morning, the dog breed retriever etc.).. Superimposed on this level, we rant. The comparison between the motivation to run to the man and the dog follows the model of figure of speech called Sístrofe, technical suspension of the sense where a number of features is listed without knowing precisely what it is about the speech.

Although resources are resourceful, aesthetically beautiful, engaging and exciting, are, in short, empty. Its effect is exhausted soon after the movie ended because advertising remains an element of spirit that does not consider: the archetype.

Let's see what the audio says that video advertising:

"There are people who run for sport, to overcome adversaries. Or not to be late. But we have more luck. We are dogs. We do not need a reason to run. Your dog has plenty of life ahead. It only remains to improve it."

This discourse exploits the archetype of the Innocent: a desire for purity, simplicity. The aspiration for playful and idyllic, breaking the order of first performance (effectiveness, efficiency and performance) that governs our lives. Injected in the forms-empty cliches of advertising speech reminiscent of the longing for transcendence of inauthentic social norms that capture the spirit.

But if this is the moment of truth of this publicity, this reminiscence should be confined in the strict business goals. Two techniques are used to confine the archetype: first, the resignation: the dogs are "lucky" to run without reasons. Implicitly means that humans have no such luck. Resigned to run for us to carry out on targets, without the pleasure of playful dogs.


  • Title: "Life"
  • Agency: Lew Lara \ TBWA Advertising Inc..
  • Client: Masterfoods Brazil Alimentos Ltda.
  • Product: Pedigree
  • Creation: Peter Rose and Robert Kilciauskas
  • Creative Directors: Jaques Lewkowicz, Andrew Laurentino, Manir Fadel and Luciano Lincoln
  • Production: Paranoid Br
  • Film Direction: Luis Carone
  • Announcer: Hilton Raw
  • Year: 2010
  • Country: Brazil

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"Neon Genesis Evangelion": The Rise of Gnosticism in Japanese Animes

Just as the Western Eastern religions absorb the exotic style and fluidity, Asians appear to adopt the Abrahamic traditions. Such mythological traditions seem to translate best dystopian worlds and ultra-violent futuristic battle of the narratives of "Anime" Japanese. Neon Genesis Evangelion, for example, is a veritable encyclopedia of classic themes of Gnosticism, where man confronts insane gods and indifferent in the scramble for the remaining elements of the origins of the cosmos.

Below is a part of the article by Michael Conner "Gnostic Themes in Japanese Anime," published on the site "National Exanimer.com. The text summarizes didactically Gnosticism in four basic myths (Myth of the Demiurge, the fallen soul, the Divine Feminine Salvadore) that are exploited by speculative fiction, from classic films like The Matrix to the Anime (animation) in Japan. In addition, Conner seeks to understand why the rise of gnostic themes in Japanese pop culture.

Michael Conner is writer science fiction American and host of "Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio" an Internet Radio with weekly interviews and discussions on themes of Gnosticism, literature and pop culture.

Gnostics Themes in Japanese Anime
Miguel Conner

Unlike most religions, Gnosticism has no stipulation that its holy heresy be confined to the two-dimensionality of paper. Beyond the lack of any real canonization, its syncretic and parasitical nature has allowed the Gnostic Spirit to manifest itself throughout history in diverse mediums. Furthermore, Gnosis, that awakening knowledge of the divine, is often best served through the artistic expression of the day. Simon Magus, Valentinus, Mani, William Blake and WB Yeats were as much sophisticated poets as they were sages of blasphemy.

In contemporary times, Gnosticism has been as much rebooted by the popularity of Speculative Fiction as it has been by the discoveries of the Nag Hammadi Library and the Gospel of Judas. Speculative Fiction is perhaps the ideal vehicle for Gnostic theology, since both draw heavily from the wells of mythology, psychology and altered states of consciousness.

More than a vehicle, Gnosticism and Speculative Fiction are more of a Valentinian Bridal Chamber union, a marriage made in the creative hells of audacious artists who are sometimes not even conscious they have dipped into the Sethian or Valentinian headwaters. This is apparent in the frenetic, digital storms of the Wachowski brother’s The Matrix, the visionary explorations of Philip K. Dick’s fiction, or the alchemical delirium found in the graphic novels of Alan Moore. Plenty has been written about these and other contemporary Gnostic expressions.

But what has been given little attention is the ripe playground of Gnosticism in a semi-underground form of Speculative Fiction that isn’t even from The West, a seemingly male-adolescent mental masturbation of phallic symbols in the shape of giant robots, tween Aphrodites, dystopian alternative worlds and ultra-violent cathartic cyberpunk.

And that is Anime (Defined by Merriam-Webster as ‘a style of animation originating in Japan that is characterized by stark colorful graphics depicting vibrant characters in action-filled plots often with fantastic or futuristic themes').

There is little evidence that this is a purposeful phenomenon. There are probably two main reasons why Gnosticism has found a hiero gamos with Japanese animation (and this beyond the obvious fact that Anime is already blatantly syncretic and parasitical in its frenzied churning out of products in a Bollywood-fashion to a worldwide audience).

The first reason is that without the marketing Torahs of Hollywood, the already charged imagination of Japanese writers and animators are further unbound to reach deeper into the wells of mythology, psychology and altered states of consciousness.

The second has to do with romance. Just as Westerners enjoy sponging the more mystical elements of Eastern faiths because of their exotic flair and fluidity, Easterners relish adopting the esoteric strands of the Abrahamic traditions that better translate within the polychromatic yet intense fantasy landscapes of Anime. And history reveals that occult symbolism and narrative, as misunderstood as it might be, creates very powerful fiction (Germany being seduced by romanticized Eastern Philosophy in the 19th Century would be the obvious example).

Before delving into some Gnostic Gospels that have mutated into Anime series, a brief four-fold paradigm of Gnostic mythopoeia should be presented as a framework:

1. The Myth of the Demiurge. Creation, the world or even reality itself is controlled by an inferior deity and his agents. These angels (or Archons) have cast a veil of illusion, ignorance or often existential despair over those whom they seek to dominate (and sometimes feed upon). In Classic Gnosticism, the character of the God of the Old Testament was a favorite template for the extramundane villain. He is often referred to as the Demiurge, from the Greek for ‘public-crafter’. In postmodern Gnostic gospels, the Demiurge doesn’t necessarily have to be a divine antagonist, but can take the form of any oppressive entity including aliens, runaway technology and even human institutions. It comes down the question of human control versus human freedom. This myth ignites the question of what is real and what is false in intricate ontological levels (or dimensions).

2. The Myth of the Fallen Soul. A divine seed has fallen into an alien world from a place the Gnostics called The Pleroma (or Fullness). This light-sperm of raw self-actualization resides within every mortal, also known as the Divine Spark. It is what the lesser spiritual creatures of the Myth of the Demiurge crave or have corrupted. Resting in slumber or stupor, the epic quest truly begins when one sentient mortal discovers or is chosen to realize his or her transcendental potential. A messy war for liberation tends to erupt. In Anime and other Speculative Fiction, it usually entails the protagonist stirring to wakefulness by some latent power or gift in order to fulfill a heroic destiny. This myth provokes the question of what is it to be conscious and the levels of consciousness human beings can reach (It should be obvious by now that Gnosticism and Speculative Fiction cogitate wildly on matters beyond traditional science, morality and metaphysics).

3. The Myth of the Savior. It can take two forms. The first is that after awakening to his or her supernatural constitution, the protagonist must not only save those around him or her from the Powers and Principalities that have created the illusionary arrangement, he or she must spread the knowledge (Gnosis) to others so that they share the same freedoms or discover similar abilities. The second form is that a savior figure needs a savior figure, since the relationship of a hierophant to a neophyte is central to Gnosticism (and the caricature of the Oriental wise teacher aiding the hero is expected from Westerners). This myth kindles the question of what it means to be a human; and are all humans truly equal even if some possess greater abilities than others (a theme prevalent in Comic Books, Science Fiction operas and even in such television series like Heroes).

4. The Myth of the Divine Feminine. In Classic Gnosticism, Sophia takes center stage as both a fallen being and a redeemer of mankind. Her incarnation has taken many forms including the Shekinah of God in the Kabbalah, Mary Magdalene in esoteric Christianity, and Gaia in Neo-Paganism. Sylvia in The Truman Show and Trinity in The Matrix are two of the more famous one in the Science Fantasy realms. The incarnation can be the protagonist, the teacher of the protagonist, or even various prisms of the protagonist. She rescues or is rescued or both in the battles against the agents of oppression and the breaking through the false realities. And it’s hard to deny Anime’s obsession and confusion with the feminine and sexuality in general (which departs from or perhaps complements the Gnostic attitude of distrusting sex). This inflames the question of the different levels of love, friendship and individuality in what might appear to be a cold and indifferent universe.

In all Gnostic epics, these mythopoeia tend to overlap, just as they may suddenly materialize and vanish in the cosmic plotlines. Like the dream world language of mythology, roles and symbols often shift in the fool’s errand of understanding human existence, even, in the case of Anime, they are surrounded by prismatic special effects, purgative gore, and wanton sexual imagery.

There is one new element that permeates the Four Myths very relevant to Gnostic Anime and Speculative Fiction. In their struggle to understand what truly defined humans and their destiny in the cosmos, the Classic Gnostics cogitated on the tripartition of man—matter, mind and spirit. Contemporary Gnosticism weaves into this triad The Machine—advanced technology, artificial intelligence, cybernetics, virtual reality, etc. The Machine adds a deeper philosophical component, as gods make man and man makes The Machine, and all three frequently find themselves wondering who is in control and who really exists in each other’s perception. The Matrix Trilogy and the writings of Philip K. Dick certainly focus on this modernist Gnostic dispensation.

Here is some of the major Gnostic Anime:

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Humanity battles angels not only for its existence but its very soul. On the surface, this is blatantly Gnostic. Further on the surface, this is the typical Anime boilerplate of a post-apocalyptical world, dueling giant robots and teen-angst drama. But Neon Genesis Evangelion harbors an even deeper stratum of Gnostic themes from various schools (Classic, Jungian, Dickian and Kabbalah).

The origins of humanity are very similar to the Gnostic Valentinian cosmogony, where the fall of Sophia from The Pleroma creates the universe and its denizens. In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Sophia is replaced by a being called Lilith, whose material remnants are discovered in Antarctica and then safeguarded by modern man in Japan, deep underneath Tokyo 3. Soon afterwards, civilization suffers Judgment Day when another being called Adam (echoing the heavenly Adamas of Gnosticism, Manichaeism and Kabbalah) somehow crashes into Earth. Half of mankind is destroyed, and the survivors are forced to live underground. Global warming and other cataclysms cripple the planet’s resources. A despotic one-world government rises from the ashes.

And then come the Angels to make matters worse.

These creatures seek to retrieve the remains of Lilith and Adam from the clutches of mankind, since they are also their primordial Mother and Father. The Angels want the same thing the leaders of humanity want—reintegration with Lilith and Adam in order to create a collective, godly consciousness that will rule supreme. While human scientists attempt to unlock the essences of Lilith and Adam, they also utilize part of their titanic bodies to create monsters called Evangelion units (or Evas) in order to repel the divine invasion. Evas appear like the stereotypical sleek, giant robots but are actually bestial demigods that can conjoin their sentience with human agents. This all makes for grandiose yet brutal battle scenarios that further ravage civilization, since the Angels don’t incarnate on Earth as winged dandies but more like Lovecraftian nightmares.

Only certain gifted youths can pilot the Evas; and they all happen to be dysfunctional 14 year olds. The main protagonist is Shinji Ikari, a tortured adolescent who not only becomes the savior of mankind but a cipher where many psychological and existentialist dilemmas can be funneled through. His sister-wives are the tempestuous Asuka Langley (a red-headed Mary Magdalene symbol) and the astral Rei Ayanami (silver-haired, mystical Sophia symbol). These youths not only undergo several classic stages of human and hero growth maturity, muddled by their underdeveloped spiritual and physical love for one another, they represent the confusion of those losing innocence in a world of not only insane uncaring adults but insane uncaring deities.

Neon Genesis Evangelion pushes all envelopes of Gnostic exploration throughout phases of brutal eschatons, torn and tangled realities, and psychological character studies of post-industrial alienation through extensive internal monologue, all bathed by the stench desperation from a doomed civilization. The series also takes the audience into the borderlands of insanity and theological wastelands through a cast of jaded and often supernatural characters that storm the anti-heroic trinity of Shinji, Asuka and Rei (and their psyches eventually being absorbed first into the Evas and later into the Angels themselves). From surviving the false realities of high-school to traveling the heavenly planes to battle pre-Creation horrors, Neon Genesis Evangelion is an encyclopedia of Gnosticism. All of this is sandwiched between the potential of the human spirit to reach unattainable heights to the sheer terror the universe and its paradises have prepared for humanity’s short reign.

Gnostic Flavor on "Slipstream"

Although the film does not deal explicitly gnostic themes, "Slipstream "is a" gnostic flavor " to adopt a self-reflective consciousness is not just as the reality of his own cinematic language. When making a direct reference to a poem by Edgar Allan Poe, the film joins the tradition of "romantic irony" that studies the angst of being a prisoner of language can not grasp a reality that is lost in the bloody flux time.

Eric Wilson, in his seminal book on the "gnostic movie" Secret Cinema:Gnostic Vision in Film "(which advocates the emergence of a new genus film, the "gnostic movie"), classifies the presence of Gnosticism in films in four categories: films Gnostics proper (where the movies Gnostic theology and cosmology are explicit as in "Matrix" (Matrix, 1999) and Truman Show (Truman Show, 1998), Kabbalah movies (where the aspiration Gnostic transcendence passes by robots, prostheses and servo-mechanisms - the movie "RoboCop (RoboCop, 1987) would be an example, alchemical films (which describe how life emerges from death, the spirit grows from the body and truth arises out of chaos - "American Beauty" (American Beauty, 1999), and "Dead Man" (Dead Man, 1995) are examples of this category.

Wilson also talks about movies with "gnostic flavor," films that do not address proper subjects of Gnosticism, but contain the spirit or the Gnostic attitude towards reality. A question, as it were, front metalinguistic the real: can be a real plot within a plot? A narrative within another narrative?

The movie "Slipstream" ("A Dream Within A Dream" - portuguese title in Brazil), starring, directed and written by Anthony Hopkins certainly fits that category. Title in Portuguese could not have been happier. Retrieved from one of the lines dialogue of the film, is a reference to a poem by Edgar Allan Poe "Dream Within a Dream, "written when he was 18 in 1827.

As the literature of the nineteenth century Romanticism, the main topics of this film are the conscience "goal" of life and of art itself and the anguish the flow of time. As in Poe's poem where the protagonist can not hold the golden sand that vanishes between the toes ("O God! can I not grasp/Them with a tighter clasp?/O God! can I not save/One from the pitiless wave?").

Hopkins is Felix Bonhoeffer, a screenwriter who, next to the elderly, is hired to rewrite a murder mystery. In fact, try to solve plot problems arising from unexpected events in the film production. Felix begins to live in two different worlds that, throughout the film will confusing: the real (the movie's production and writing the screenplay) and its mind (references imagery of his life mingling with the characters script that tries to write).

With inspiration clearly Linchyan (as Mulholland Drive by David Lynch metalinguistic that deals with the intricacies of Hollywood), Felix faces with killers, wannabe actress and film producers, types suspects that, throughout the narrative, alternate between reality and the world parallel created by the script that tries to write.

The film is a puzzle. With a frenetic editing, there are constant exchanges of color images (black and white, sepia, color), it swaps the order of scenes, deliberate errors of continuity, it swaps the author of the speeches etc. In first half of the film the viewer is completely lost before a apparently random collage of scenes. It seems a film that has not been edited (This seems to be the purpose, since it is producing a film that does not ends).

The Romantic Irony

Once, the writer and researcher Stephan Hoeller said that every serious artist was already, unknowingly, through Gnostic. The survival and the constant "revivals" of gnosticism certainly are due to the parasitic character of a certain awareness or Gnostic attitude in the face of existence. A sort of conscience goal. In the case of art, the intrusion of the author figure in the literary work, ie, character self-reflexive awareness of the game and work on the project. This is the main characteristic of Romanticism: the "irony":
(...) The romantic irony does not end in mere interruption of the narrative flow with the narrator addressing the reader. It is much beyond that, a feature that is intended to stimulate a constant discussion and reflection about literature - a process which necessarily involved the reader. This participation is achieved in that the writer destroys the illusion of verisimilitude and lays bare the character's fictional narrative, drawing the reader's attention to how the text was constructed. (VOLOBUEF, K. Frestas and Edges. The prose fiction of romanticism Germany and Brazil. São Paulo: Editora UNESP, 1998, p.99.

This attitude or awareness goal (self-reflective) to see both reality and art that attempts to represent reality as "construct" (contrived) seems to be the dominant theme of the movie "Slipstream". Insofar as the protagonist confuses the script and all its reference film (as the classic "Vampire of Souls") with reality itself (the production of a film), Felix, astonished, at a threshold of self-reflection: is life a screenplay, where, within it, produce new script? Or, rather, to produce scripts, artificially, we represent an unattainable reality?

This is the anguish that pervades not only the movie "Slipstream", but all the romanticism of the nineteenth century: the anguish that we have lost a full relationship with reality, an uncomfortable sensation of hiatus between man / world experience / representation. The use of literary irony (fictional works with constant self-reflection narratives, bringing uncertainty to both the protagonist and the reader about what the point of view of the story being told) is the reflection of a gnostic awareness about the existence: the mistrust artificiality of much of art as the actual reality that we want to represent.

The film's protagonist constantly repeats plans stunned, eyes wide and mouth open, helpless, watching the flow of events, frenetic editing and constant changing of the narrative voice. Felix tries throughout the film, without success, to understand or capture the flow of time. Fundamental anxiety of art: as a static representation can capture the flow of time? As in Poe's poem, like holding hands between the golden sand which ruthlessly fades?

The visual arts, through photography and film, it seems that fundamental anxiety that drives the technology of images. But when the film reaches its artistic and technological maturity and repeat the same phenomenon in the literature when it came to its climax: the anguish of self-reflection, metalinguistic the limitations of artistic representation in apprehending the flow of time and reality.

But that consciousness (or unconsciousness) Gnostic raises a suspicion deeper: what if this very flow of time is a cruel deception, a constructu in which we are caught? Just as Felix Bonhoeffer or Edgar Allan Poe in his poem, we would be stuck in this failure is that the cosmic flow of time?

This Gnostic flavor present in the film "Slipstream", this encounter between cinema and literary romanticism, makes us understand why the survival of Gnostic questioning throughout history: in addition to the cosmological and theological questions made by its thinkers , Gnosticism can not be limited to two dimensions of the paper. It goes further, in a constantly renewed attitude of irony and self-reflection on life and art.

Above, the Edgar Allan Poe's Poem:

A Dream Within a Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep - while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

  • Film: Slipstream (A Dream Within A Dream - Brazil)
  • Director: Anthony Hopkins
  • Screenwriter: Anthony Hopkins
  • Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Christian Slater, Jeffrey Tambor, John Turturro, Kevin McCarthy, Stella Arroyave
  • Production / Distribution: Strand Releasing
  • Year: 2007
  • Country: USA

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