We are then shown “Voight-Kampff” testing given to Leon, one of the Replicants, or advanced A.I. robots created by the Tyrell Corporation. The test is designed to see if the possible Replicant has emotions, will and desire. “Kampff” recalls Hitler’s Mein Kampf, his manifesto devoted to his struggle, characterized as one of will. Tyrell, we learn, has been in the business of developing assassination droids, sex droids, etc., yet some Replicants, however, do not know they are programmed with false memories and a false identity (which the BBC just reported in relation to DARPA).
In this perspective, the Replicants seem to partly resemble the infamous plans of various states over the last century to create “supersoldiers,” or mind controlled assassins in operations like MKULTRA, BLUEBIRD and ARTICHOKE. With examples like Sirhan Sirhan, it would appear there was success, and it was in fact Nazi scientists, hearkening back to the Mein Kampf reference, who worked on such mind control projects, as well as the Soviets and the U.S. “Roy Batty,” (played by Rutger Hauer) the “Nexus 6” model and leader of the rebel Replicants is himself a supersoldier assassin, “more human than a human,” as Tyrell states. The retinal image returns and this time it’s Leon Kowalski. Leon is given the test and assassinates his tester at a certain point when the trigger words “tortoise” and “mother” are mentioned, signifying that in mind control, manipulation of symbols and Jungian archetypes is crucial. The tortoise is associated with Hermes/mercury, as I will show and which will be relevant later.
The Replicants are given a four-year lifespan which allows Tyrell to have total control, keeping them from ever rebelling or having a lengthy time to work towards revolution. Similarly, in real life the elite have always sought to control lifespans and populations through eugenics and full spectrum dominance. It could also possibly have reference to the self-destruct programming in the mind controlled assassins to kill themselves rather than be interrogated and spill the beans. In fact, in regard to Project ARTICHOKE, a memo is reported to read: “Can we get control of an individual to the point where he will do our bidding against his will and even against fundamental laws of nature, such as self-preservation?”
The viewer then hears advertisements from huge telescreens and billboards telling him that the system can take you “off world.” The system thus holds out a hope of fulfillment in a heaven-like “golden” “off world” colony, much like states in the past have controlled their subjects through a non-existent hope. The masses are thus weak, shifting sands, subject to the sway of childlike propaganda and psychological warfare. From Plato’s Republic to August Comte’s notion of a purely civic religion, the idea of a state-controlled and created fake religion for the purpose of mass manipulation is an ancient foundational elite control mechanism.
We also see Chinese businesses and foodstuffs everywhere, indicating that the U.S. has become a third world cesspool of globalism.The populace is thus managed by a top-down corporatocracy above, while below, a degenerate and poverty-stricken populace is blended together (Asians, Russians, etc.), and ruled by their corporate overlords. The future then, is a kind of intense corporate police state fascism, where everyone is tracked and traced, particularly by retina scans. Dragons are also seen everywhere in Chinatown, suggesting the control of the primeval serpent: a world run by the shadow corporatocracy is one where the iconography of the serpent dominates, conjuring up ancient archetypal imagery from Genesis where the serpent deceives man into thinking he can become god, which will be crucial to Blade Runner’s overall message.
Indeed, globalism itself is partly used by the elite to wipe out the middle class and polarize the masses into a large swath of poor with a tiny cadre of super rich at the top. Ironically, the corporate system itself mirrors the communist party system, where the CEO is the party leader, the shareholders party bosses, and the wage-slave populace working endlessly for nothing other than the furtherance of the system itself. It is significant as well that we almost never see daytime in the film, aside from one scene. Blade Runner takes place almost solely at night, possibly due to a wrecked corporate-controlled ecosystem that exists solely to serve the interests of the Tyrell Corporation. How prophetic, given the fact that China is busy buying up the U.S.?
Dick wisely places the corporation at the center of the future’s controlling power, giving it an “Illuminati” status, as opposed to some oppressive government or dictator. The future, for Dick, is controlled by a single global mega corporation, headed by a tech genius who happens to obtain a kind of godlike status by creating sentient beings in his own image (Replicants). This will be crucial for my analysis of the film’s underlying esoteric theme – that Blade Runner is a gnostic myth or allegory. Recall as well that Ridley Scott used this same theme in Alien, where the future is controlled by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation.
Deckard is “handled” by a mysterious figure named Gaff (played by Edward James Olmos), who recalls Deckard from retirement to hunt down the Replicants. We don’t learn much about Gaff, yet he does something very significant. Throughout the film, as he leads Deckard, he leaves origami figurines as symbolic indicators that reveal the method to Deckard himself. The first origami figure is the rooster: in Freemasonic initiations, the rooster is associated with Hermes/Mercurcy/Thoth, the guide to the Underworld and initiator of mysteries. We have again returned to the initiatory theme. Gaff is enlightening Deckard as well as the audience, as the eye, pyramid, snake, rooster are serving to tap into the archetypes in the psyche of the audience, enlightening the viewer to the mysteries of the elite. According to the British Grand Lodge, the rooster is associated with alchemy:
“Mercury appears as the rooster drawn on the wall of the Chamber of Reflection. This animal is connected to the deity Hermes, that is, Mercury. It is a feminine principle, referring to Vigilance and it also corresponds to Faith. As the rooster sings at dawn announcing the light of day, so it announces to our future initiate, the Light he may receive.”
An article on Greek and Indian mythology elucidates this connection well:
“Hermes often helped travelers have a safe and easy journey. Many Greeks would sacrifice to Hermes before any trip. In the fully developed Olympian pantheon, Hermes was the son of Zeus and the Pleiade Maia, a daughter of the Titan Atlas. Hermes’ symbols were the rooster and the tortoise, and he can be recognized by his purse or pouch, winged sandals, winged cap and the herald’s staff, the kerykeion.”
Gaff (who carries a staff/cane) is leading Deckard all along, enlightening him to his true nature and, as will be seen, leading him to safe haven. It is interesting as well that Tyrell’s pyramid/ziggurat resembles Mt. Olympus, and is full of Imperial and occult symbolism. Gaff, as the travelling messenger (Hermes/Thoth) of Olympus/Egypt takes Deckard to Tyrell, who can apparently only be accessed at the top of the pyramid by flying car. The Owl, with prominent eye imagery, as well as a Masonic/Egyptian obelisk and a fascist Roman Eagle, all mark Tyrell’s golden kingdom. Deckard is informed he must hunt down the remaining Replicants, two of which are sex slaves and two assassins, two unknowns are Rachael (Sean Young) and Deckard himself.
Deckard is instructed to test Rachael with the Voight-Kampff test to see if he can detect emotions. Rachael is identified as a Replicant after a hundred questions from the test, while Deckard realizes he has feelings for her. Deckard is amazed that Rachael is unaware, and Tyrell explains the company implants false memories. This becomes crucial in the analysis of the film, because the concept of forgetting one’s true origin is central to the gnostic cosmology. In the process of the fall (in the gnostic and Platonic schemes), the many has lost its origin in the one, the monad. The multiplicity of particulars are thus in a process of return to the monad from whence they have fallen into individuality.
In fact, in the next scene, Roy Batty is himself seeking out his creator by visiting the eye manufacturer. When Roy finds him, he cites the famous gnostic mythological poems of William Blake, America A Prophecy and A Vision of the Last Judgment. Blake’s poem is a mythological account of the American revolution against King George III, presented as an anti-christ figure and emissary of Urizen, Blake’s view of the biblical God, portrayed as an old, miserly, vengeful deity. Just as Orc rebelled against the King, and Lucifer against God, so Roy Batty will rebel against his creator, Tyrell, for allowing him to be created with a flaw. Wikipedia explains:
“The implications of the work are taken up in America, with the King of England trembling as he sees Orc, the embodiment of the American colonies. The Angel of Albion believes Orc is the anti-christ and Orc believes the King of England is the same. This is followed by Orc’s apocalyptic vision:
The morning comes, the night decays, the watchmen leave their stations
The grave is burst, the spices shed, the linen wrapped up
Orc provokes the Angel of Boston to rebellion:
What God is he, writes laws of peace, clothes him in a tempest
What pitying Angel lusts for tears, and fans himself with sighs
What crawling villain preaches abstinence; wraps himself In fat of lambs?
no more I follow, no more obedience pay
Together, the rebels are able to be freed of the psychological chains that bind them:
the five gates of their law-built heaven
And Roy Batty’s line:
“Fiery the angels rose, as they rose deep thunder roll’d
Around their shores: indignant burning with the fires of Orc.”
The Orc recalls the rebellion of Satan and his angels against God for the purpose of erecting a model synthetic kingdom that mimics the kingdom of God. This is significant, as much of Blade Runner centers around genetic engineering and synthetic reality, as we constantly see mannequins and dolls, especially in J.F. Sebastian’s studio loft. For example, the background includes Atari signs: Atari is a video game company—video games are synthetic, virtual reality. Tyrell’s company is a genetic engineering company, specializing in replicating reality to the point that when Deckard finds the scale from Zhora’s snake, he has to take it to a specialist to see if it’s real or synthetic. Dick was amazingly prophetic in this regard, and not only was the foresight in regard to genetic manipulation prescient, the microscopic serial number on the snake scale even points to nanotechnology, far before it was well-known (in the Ted.com promo video of Scott’s at the bottom, Peter Weyland mentions nanotechnology). Zhora, too, is introduced as a stripper who “receives pleasure from the snake,” and Eden is specifically mentioned by the Fez-wearing Abdul. The Fez, originally a Muslim symbol, is the headgear of the Shriners, made up of upper level Freemasons.
The rest of this analysis has been rewritten and is available in Jay Dyer’s best selling book, Esoteric Hollywood: Sex, Cults and Symbols in Film. Order a signed copy here.