Eyes Wide Shut (1999) – Esoteric Analysis

Mirror image film poster showing Nicole’s ‘open’ eye in the midst of sex: the characters’ inner pysches and problems are about to be mirrored in the ‘real’ world, as they realize they have been blind and ‘profane.’

By: Jay

Eyes Wide Shut is a film that failed to live to the expectations of many. It was supposed to be an edgy thriller that made statements about upper echelon decadence, while also utilizing the real world sex life of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman as a kind of doorway bridging the gap between reality and fantasy – something that does come up in other Kubrick films, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey.  In this Kubrick film, however, we have a statement about who runs the “show.”  The show is both the film itself, as well as reality, and Kubrick wants viewers to realize that reality is run by our present showmasters of the videodrome. The viewer is supposed to reflect upon the decadence of the Eastern elite establishment, but also notice that viewing the film itself is homage to present social hypocrisy, since the film is a wannabe voyeuristic step into the sex lives of others. In this regard, it functions as an initiation. None of the other analysts and commenters have really noticed this. Virtually every review I have read sees it as some elaborate “MKULTRA/Illuminati” mind control thing (as is supposedly everything on those sites), while other reviews from professors and academia see it as a social or psychological commentary.

I think it has elements of all this, but the real goal is, I believe, an initiation process. The viewer is at the film because he or she is curious about Hollywood secrets and elite lives. Think of all the silly gossip magazines we have.  The “average Joe” went to see the film for a glimpse of Nicole Kidman, and Kubrick wants the viewer to see the hypocrisy in such an action, given that most people will “judge” the film’s secret society cult. Eyes Wide Shut, then, is a descriptor of the audience, as well as the characters in the film, who don’t really understand the socio-political power base that runs things. The power base is not, according to Kubrick’s film, the average politician or wealthy doctor or lawyer in New York.  Indeed, this is precisely Kidman and Cruise’s characters’ status: they are unwitting inductees. Thus throughout the film, the viewers eyes are wide shut to the reality of the power structure, just as Kidman and Cruise’s characters are, until the end, when they have their eyes “opened,” as they both say at the end. Let us proceed.

The opening scene shows us Mrs. Harford (Nicole Kidman) between two pillars. This is the doorway to the initiation, in other words. The two pillars figure prominently in Freemasonry as the entranceway to the divine, as borrowed from Solomon’s temple:

Nicole stands between two pillars – Jachin and Boaz, setting the initiatory tone for the film.

The two pillars of Freemasonry borrowed from Solomon’s Temple, indicating the doorway to the “mysteries”

The viewer is being told from the beginning that they are to undergo an initiation into how the “mysteries” and the secret societies work, particularly from a sociological perspective.  The Harfords, we discover, are having marital troubles related to sexual frustrations. It is also significant that it is Christmas time, when the initiatory procedure takes place, as a kind of anti-traditional religious/anti-Christian statement. It is also important to remember that all details in a Kubrick film are significant – the placement of everything is meaningful and deliberate.

Inverted Pentagram in “Easy A”

Emma Stone’s new to DVD film, Easy A is a tribute to 80s classics like Say Anything and Sixteen Candles, but it also contains some interesting overlapping synchronicities and hints at deeper messages. Stone’s character, Olive, laments that the books she reads for high school English seem to parallel her own experience. She takes on the persona of Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter, but instead of being ostracized by a drab Puritan society, she masters the art of the image.  Olive learns to use the gossip system to social climb – the very thing that PR folk in Hollywood do with great expertise (see the Starsuckers documentary).  She wreaks havok by playing a kind of mass psy-op on the rest of the school, exposing them as a bunch of mindless automatons. It also exposes the goofy evangelicals in a humorous way.  However, while it is a clever film, it presents a kind of existentialist approach where life is all a game, where one becomes a deceptive confidence (wo)man (a la Melville) to fool and expose everyone: somewhat like V does in V for Vendetta. However, V is supposed to be Satan, and here in Easy A we have, unfortunately, the promotion of homosexuality. But it’s not just gayness on display, it’s also it appears a kind of subtle hinting at Satanism. And what is radical existentialism, but a form of Satanism?:

A young Olive transitions into puberty through her first kiss under the sign of the inverted pentagram

Tron Legacy: Esoteric Analysis

Notice the pyramidal structure of the black on bottom and top, from which light emanates. This symbolizes the gnostic version of as above, so below - dualism. Its "Just a Game" because its an illusory world.

By: Jay

I hate to always harp on gnosticism, but it’s undeniably the recurrent theme of most sci fi and fantasy/cult films. Gnosticism is the ancient perennial tradition that descends from Egypt and (possibly) older civilizations. In its modern form, it comes to us from the Nag Hammadi documents recently discovered, whose tradition was passed down in the secret societies and occult orders, of which Freemasonry is a good example. I am not saying that Freemasonry is actually a lineage from Egypt, but that there is a similarity of doctrine that has come down through the ages. 

By the first century, the gnostic traditions flourished, rivalling and challenging other sects, becoming a force of its own. To put it simply, gnosticism posits that the present creation is a subordinate, evil one, wherein evil is given a substantial existence as the created order itself. Religions such as Manichaeanism are perfect examples of this trend, where a dualism is sometimes posited between a “good” God who is far away and unknown, identified with thought or light, and an evil deity or demiurge, identified as the Creator of this world. In the time of the rise of Christianity in the first three centuries of the Church, the gnostics were the chief opponents of the God presented in the Law and prophets of the Israelites, and charged God with Himself being evil.  Texts such as the Hypostasis of the Archons and The Gospel of Thomas are prime examples.

The gnostics instead proffered that “Jesus” was thus a revolutionary reformer who tossed away all traditional concepts of Jewish theology, and brought in the new gnosis, or knowledge – the Gospel of salvation through enlightenment. It is to such patristic commentators like Irenaeus of Lyon and Tertullian of Carthage that we get an indepth glimpse into 2nd century gnosticism, from figures like Marcion.  But gnosticism is not just a reaction against the God of the Bible, it also shares many commonalities with ancient eastern religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, and thus exemplifies syncretism.  Themes such as pantheism and/or dualism, many gradations of archons, or gods or avatars that rule this kosmos, etc., all recur in gnosticism. In this regard, gnosticism is in many ways the inheritor of the ancient pagan religions, and particularly Egypt.  So with that said, we can now analyze the kind of symbolic scheme that is put forth as an image of our world as presented in Tron Legacy.  

Daft Punk, who did the soundtrack and appears in the film, performs here atop the pyramid.

Central to gnosticism is the theme of redemption or salvation from this world through special knowledge, which constitutes the “gnosis.” Generally, this is knowledge that has been lost, and must be recovered, often symbolized in literature or film by some magical object or memory, etc. In Tron, Flynn’s (Jeff Bridges) son, Sam, must “save” his father from the “grid,” or matrix, where he has become enslaved, having more or less forgotten his family in the real world. Sam, of course brings to mind “Sammael,” another name for Satan in the biblical tradition, and this makes sense, given that Tron presents Sam Flynn as the savior of the feminine archetype, “Quorra.”  This also mirrors gnostic themes, where the feminine principle, the Pistis Sophia is one of the archons of gnostic salvation.  Wikimedia notes of Quorra:

Quorra, the Pistis Sophia, revealer of mysteries and the psyche of the (cpu) world

“Prior to the conflict between the Basics and ISOs, Quorra was friends with Radia. She witnessed Clu’s betrayal when he attempted to kill Tron and Flynn, and when Clu declared war, she – with the help of a prototype security program named System Monitor – attempted to warn Radia and the ISO’s about him as well as combat the viral program Abraxas.” Continue reading