Big Trouble in Little China is another one of those goofy 80s films that you’re presently assuring yourself has no deeper relevance. You’re smugly saying, “Oh come on Jay, seriously? Another 80s esoteric analysis of something completely silly, like BTILC?” Well, dear reader, let me assure you of your error, and further promise to deliver juicy esoteric tidbits to sate your hunger as you journey on. Consider the opening scene that Fox mandated be added (where Egg Shen recounts the adventures of Jack Burton). The actor is Jerry Hardin who played “Deep Throat” early on in the X-Files. Interestingly, the ambiguous government agent played here is similar to Deep Throat. What is also interesting is the obelisk on the desk behind him, initiating the viewer into what will be an occult journey.
Egg Shen reveals that the tale ahead will be one of Chinese “sorcery and black magic.” As proof, Egg Shen offers typical 80s blue lightning, of the Force variety. According to IMDB, the Chinese script in the beginning title sequence reads, “Evil spirits make a big scene in little spiritual state,” meaning the film will feature the primeval ancient religious tradition of the higher aeons or gods incarnating themselves in lower, visible, solid forms. This is almost universal in ancient cultures, from Greece and Rome, to China, and lends credence to the view that polytheism and monotheism come from a single religious tradition, as described in Genesis 1-12.
Note also that Egg Shen conceives of the usage of good and evil magic by both sides. Magic, in this view, may be used by the dark side and the light side, in what the dualistic scheme of most world religions views as the ultimate template for all reality. Eastern religions in particular have this dualistic focus, with the binary opposition never being transcended in this life, apart from “enlightenment” that results in some kind of dissolution or absolving into “pure being,” “thusness” or “nirvana,” or some state of being beyond the present world, which is often identified as “evil” and the domain of the fallen spirits and demons. The problem with this type of worldview is that it is self-defeating and contradictory. It claims to seek transcendence of the material and of all binary opposition, but its answer is to seek it in absolute impersonality. Since particularity and form in this world are the sources of “evil,” all particulars must dissolve. The result is monism and collectivism, and the history of eastern cultures demonstrates this enslavement clearly. Continue reading
At the end of H.G. Wells’ Outlines of History, he speaks about the “rise of the machines” and their ability to allay the toils of men, granting them more leisure for scientific products, art, and other harmonious progressive pursuits. Education will become universal, and a better world will ensue. Wells was, to be fair, spot on with many of his sci-fi predictions. One can’t but notice that this article confirms his claims from The Time Machine concerning the devolution into “stunted pig-goblin creatures” to quote Alex Jones, likened to the Morlocks, while the elites will become like the Eloi.
However, the rise of the machines has been wilder than even Wells could have imagined, and will probably not be the universal utopia Outlines imagines, but something closer to the dystopia of The Time Machine. In fact, we have reached the point where A.I. is nearing the ability of what we see in many science fiction films and novels, yet I agree with the affirmation of Douglas Hofstadter in Godel, Escher, Bach that we will not achieve self-awareness. Even if this did occur, there is no certain test to determine the existence of “self-awareness,” and the modern scientists who argue to no end against the soul or mind must also take their dogma of the inability to “prove consciousness” and apply it to the golem. On their basis, you could no more prove one than the other. So the reductionists who think consciousness is merely matter have no problem identifying humans as “more complex” computers (like Daniel Dennett). Nevermind that they are all guilty of the naturalistic fallacy.
In effect, this is a Prometheus situation, and is precisely the goal the occultists, alchemists and “scientists” have sought for millennia. Don’t be fooled by the propaganda of the “new atheists” and sciencey labcoaters: the real secret is that the mysteries are real. Granted, many of the “Illuminists” are of an atheistic and rationalist bent (and the actual Illuminati were Enlightenment rationalists), but there is a definite esotericism behind the creation of the golem. Atheism itself can become a form superstition, as I’ve written many times on this blog. I want to make clear, though, that I’m not anti-technology, nor am I saying I disagree with these goals. Clearly the Enlightenment thinkers were right–in fact, some of them are central to the mathematics behind all this, as well as to religion and metaphysics and esoterism, such as Leibniz. Newton, too, was an esotericist, and other examples can be given such as Nikola Tesla and Wolfgang Pauli. Continue reading
In the course of what is now titled “Continental Philosophy,” three figures stand out as preeminent thinkers able to probe the innermost depths of the human psyche in a way previously unknown since perhaps Shakespeare: Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. These three were more or less contemporaries, and all shared a similar fascinating interest—that of tearing down the ideological idols of their day, and in particular, the facade the individual post-Enlightenment “modern man” conceived himself to be. While these men certainly had differing worldviews and would likely have debated such grand topics as the precise meaning of God and man’s relation to Him in the universe, they shared a similar distaste for hypocrisy, lies and falsehood, and made it partly their authorial iconoclastic goal to unmask such veils.
Francis Bacon had made it his goal as an early Enlightenment luminary to tear down what he perceived to be idols in his Novum Organon—idols of the tribe, cave, marketplace and theater. Idols of the tribe meant the destruction of abstracted social ideals foisted upon reality; idols of the cave referred to myopic interpretations of reality according to a particular fancy of some individual academic; idols of the marketplace refers to the misappropriation of word and thing, assigning an undue identification between the two, assuming that out talking an opponent has then caused the reality of the topic under discussion to actually exist as such; and idols of the theater, where ideas are erected on a false presupposition of theology or metaphysical speculation, becoming ensconced in the public discourse.1 This tractate encompasses the impetus of the Enlightenment and its obsession with what Rene Guenon called the “reign of quantity.” Everything is measured and classified according to some quantitative stricture of man’s reason. Scientific knowledge, or more specifically, scientism, becomes the dominant paradigm by which all things are measured, be it religion, politics, economics and the marketplace, all things are in potentia capable of rational formalization and, like a big algorithm, all of humanity’s ills simply await the solution of the academy and its laboratory calculators. Continue reading
Or, The Enlightenment rationalist laid bare
An interesting discussion/debate recently transpired. A friend who is a scientific “skeptic” discussed his dubious demeanor in terms of there being advanced secret technology for two reasons. First, such “conspiracies” are doubtful because they are “theories” and come from persons who want to promote a certain worldview (namely a conspiratorial one). Evidence is gathered, so the theory goes, that is interpreted in a certain fashion to back up the said theory. Pause for a minute: doesn’t that sound a lot like the modus operandi of those who utilize the “scientific method” to “prove” a certain theory? Why, yes it does!
Second, he made the argument that the process of scientific advancement is such that whatever advances occur, occur because “someone contemporary to said person would eventually discover the same thing.” Scientific advancement and discovery happens (so this narrative goes) in a community of objective, non-biased “scientists” committed to the use of “reason” and the building up of human knowledge and progress. Communities of scientists don white lab coats and thereupon, like Mormon underwear, become sacramentally endued with a sciencey force field that shields them from bias, groupthink, deception, forgery and other nasty human tendencies.
Let’s examine both of these arguments philosophically. The business of philosophy is the questioning of assumptions and presuppositions, and all the sons of the Enlightenment gloat to no end about their forebears who exalted “reason” above and all “revelation.” The operant assumption at work here is that there is a universally shared international discourse of egalitarian scientific rationale that men are nobly committed to. The warrior souls have long battled religionists, only to wrest control of the university and the social arena from “God talk” and letting “science” have the free reign. These enlightened ones are the true Promethean heroes who distilled the superstition of the middle ages and brought about the dawning of the new age of evolutionary progress into computers, cellphones and the Xbox. Do you notice that this is starting to look like a religious mythology? There is a narrative developing, you see, that encompasses past, present and future, and the fittest (namely, those who have sufficiently mastered this reductionist quantification of all reality) press on to inherit the future.
“But wait!” comes the cry from the army of lab coats, “you now reveal yourself as a Luddite! Nietzscheanpostmodernisthorkheimeradornoist! You are refuted by the very computer you type on! Unenlightened fool! You’re no philosophe, you’re a philo-oaf!” I say no such thing. I reject the mythology of the Enlightenment just as much as what I believe to be the false mythology of the postmodernists, Marxists and existentialists. I still hold to the rationality of religious revelation and tradition, but that is another argument. For now, we are examining whether it is “rational” to take our doubting to a deeper degree than the Enlightenment thinker above did. He doubted his religious views of youth and so adopted what he saw as a freeing, “scientific” worldview. This then inducted him (so he would think) into the glorious association of the communion of saints of “science” and lab-coated genii. But wait–the foundation of all this is the “scientific method.” This great building block of all modernity is now what grounds our many theories upon a certain and firm basis – trial and error, which then confirms our theories, or conversely falsifies them. Continue reading
This is oddly similar to my standup routine from two years ago, where I read the Facts of Life theme as a poem that I overtly rip off, but present as a real, heartfelt piece. Readers of my blog know this is not the first time this has happened.