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 Dyer
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."
What is Abraxas? In the Tron story, Abraxas is a newly evolved life form, an “ISO,” like Quorra, that becomes a virus in the grid. But what is Abraxas really? You guessed it – a chief gnostic archon/deity, who figured prominently in the teaching of the famed heresiarch named Basilides, as well as many other occult traditions. Again, clues are being dropped left and right as to Tron’s gnosis.
Clu and his archons seek to keep them trapped in the illusory grid world and escape to dominate the real world. Note the mirrored dualism again.
Further, Kevin Flynn, the gnostic creator of the grid has flubbed up – he created a mirror image god named “Clu” would be the ‘architect’ of the grid, making it perfect. However, Clu became enraged and jealous, having desired to be like the creator, who more or less reclined to the outer darkness of the ‘grid’ in a deistic fashion. Clu then took over the ‘city,’ keeping everyone in check with a programmed police state, constant entertainment and an empire. It is the rebels who are ‘free’ from being programmed and who will constitute the casting off of deterministic enslavement. Clu’s goal, however, has been to erase the grid of the creator, should he be able to locate him. Enter “Sam,” who is accidentally teleported to the grid in a most absurd fashion, and magically knows how to play that weird Tron version of death frisbee. “Tron” himself is a program ‘like the creator’ that figures not-so-prominently in the sequel, yet Metatron historically is an angel that figures prominently in some esoteric traditions, and is an angel like God.
Sam finds Flynn and Quorra just kinda hanging out, doing Zen and reading the classics in Flynn’s hip condo that pays homage to the celestial Victorian era interior design, like one sees at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey. These pretentious plot points are mind numbingly silly, but reinforce the time-bound, emergent nature of the ‘deity’ of this world (again consonant with gnosticism), Kevin Flynn. He is more or less an old buffoon, and what the perceptive reader is supposed to do is link him up with the kind of God as presented in the Bible. So Sam ends up in a ‘rebellion’ of sorts, engineered by a rebel program that is intended, I think, to be a kind of Lucifer. The gnostic Lucifer, however. Clu is a kind of Satan, or adversary, and in this system, the Lucifer character is played by Michael Sheen and is a kind of Ziggy Stardust trickster, who foments rebellion, and ends up deleted. In mythology, Castor is a twin god along with Pollux, who also ends up dead. Thus, the duality of the two worlds, the two mirrored Flynns, the constant duality symbolism throughout, including Flynn in all white, and Clu in all black, and so on, showing us again that the film is relying on a prominent gnostic principle.
Rebel program, Castor
So in the end, Clu, the creator god’s evil twin or Jungian shade, builds an empire and tries to leave the grid through the portal which is arbitrarily closing in 8 hours. Sam ends up escaping into the portal with Quorra, while Flynn absorbs Clu (again, the Satan character) into himself. When he does this, he then explodes in a kind of digital, eternal recurrence big bang. We are then left to suppose that the grid-world ended, where Sam and Quorra will now live happily ever after in the real world. So, the Son Sam (Son of Sam?) redeems the feminine principle (see the gnostic Pistis Sophia), while the father/creator of the evil, illusory maya program world disintegrates, after having been reconciled and united with the evil principle. Nothing could be more gnostic.
The real world Sam escapes to is the ‘real world’ where 80s video games are portals to the world of Pong. The familiar ‘real world,’ where sons of CEOs live in one room garages underneath overpasses. I see you giggling. Tron Legacy is a visually awesome and the Daft Punk soundtrack is pretty rockin, but, the plot involves a lot of stupidity and loose ends, not to mention a very blatant and sloppy adaptation of gnosticism, yet it’s a gnosticism so lost in attempts at hi tech geeky cool and pretentious political and religious statements, it loses its way. Tron Legacy is worth seeing, if you can tune out the stupid story and just directly imbibe its gnosis.