Lies within lies
We’ve been subjected to a bevy of post-apocalyptic, dystopian literature and film of late, and the Maze Runner is no exception to that trend. Based on James Dashner’s young adult novel of the same name, the film has stayed the course with end of the world black op scenarios, echoing Hunger Games, Divergent and a host of similar titles. On a film level, director Wes Ball’s adaptation was watchable, yet stifled by gelled and moussed teen boys supposedly roughing it, combined with cookie cutter CGI beasts audiences are still mysteriously paying to see. Hearkening to William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, this adolescent survival drama certainly could’ve used a little more of Golding’s grit and realism, and less Vidal Sassoon. That aside, there are depths to be plumbed here on the esoteric level – in fact, one of the most profound revelations of the establishment finds its place in this teen drama.
The plot centers on a teen protagonist names Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) who arrives with amnesia out of a shaft in the ground to a group of similarly displaced and amnesiac lads, knows as “Gladers” who inhabit, you guessed it, The Glade. In their makeshift, idyllic Eden, these lost boys run an agrarian communal tribe in the center of a vast, daily changing maze populated by genetically modified creatures known as “grievers.” Much like the tribal structure of Lord of the Flies, the Glade has rules about not trespassing into the maze unless one is a “runner,” and not challenging the ad hoc authority. Runners are trained for the task, while others are assigned communal duties reminiscent of the three-tiered structure of Plato’s Republic: the workers, the guardians, and the philosopher king.
Predictably, Thomas challenges the Glade’s leader, opting to venture into the maze and explore. As a result, drama ensues and expected power struggles emerge. One also has to wonder if the amnesia caused these fellas to forget their biology, given that no one seems to think about girls until one mysteriously pops up from the ground after Thomas, named Teresa (Kaya Scoledario). As Thomas discovers more about their surrounding, he begins to feel suspicious their environment is a controlled one. Teresa and Thomas seem to have a recollection of one another, yet can’t grasp how or why, as the tribe begins to turn on them both as outsiders destined to enlighten the Glade dwellers fixated on their mundane existence, having been brainwashed and wiped of their former life (think MKULTRA).
Here we see another Platonic element present, where the lost memory of a previous existence or life has been forgotten as one becomes drowned in the sea of illusions and shadows on the cave wall (think Plato’s Allegory of the Cave from the Republic). Gradually Thomas recalls his participation in a secret black ops project that involved selecting teens for covert neurological testing by an elusive underground organization with the acronym W/C/K/D. “Wicked is good,” is the company mantra that echoes in their subconscious, as the maze is revealed to be parallel to Thomas’ subconscious (our philosopher king). Thomas also recalls his job with W/C/K/D involved panopticon-style surveillance upon his teen companions, as all details of the children’s actions, thoughts and reactions are recorded – but more on that in a bit.
This theme of associating mazes and labyrinths with the unconscious realm was known to the Egyptians and was expounded at length by Carl Jung. Esoteric traditions in the East also maintain that man in this life of appearances has fallen “asleep,” forgetting his true self and origins, bound by the delusory phantasms of a fading and flux temporal existence. Likewise, medieval cathedrals embodied labyrinths as symbolic of the traps, schemes and deceptions of this world, held under the sway of the devil. In “The Process of Individuation” by M.L. von Franz in Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols, von Franz explains the meaning of the labyrinth as the subconscious:
“The maze of strange passages, chambers, and unlocked exits in the cellar recalls the old Egyptian representation of the underworld, which is a well known symbol of the unconscious with its abilities. It also shows how one is “open” to other influences in one’s unconscious shadow side and how uncanny and alien elements can break in.” (pg. 176)
Are we trapped in the dream state of an engineered environment where the archetypal, alien fears of the labyrinthine existence of modernity keep us in a dreamlike trance? What is the key to exiting our maze? Let’s consider the film again. Following upon the solution of the maze (discovering that there is an exit), a small band of Thomas’ faction make it out to discover the exit leads to an underground facility in the desert where the first “test trial” had been conducted on them all. A prerecorded message (itself a deception) informs the survivors they are part of a larger experiment to speed up evolutionary adaptation, as the earth has been “scorched” from the sun and (of course) the release of a zombie-esque virus. When in doubt, throw in zombies. Those stung (vaccinated?) by the evil archon controllers of the maze (the scorpion-like Grievers) ended up infected with this same virus, so we are left to speculate whether the virus is also part of the greater “test.”
What needs to be gleaned from this is the controlled and designed aspect of the fictional world of the maze in which the children find themselves, This is crucial, as our world mirrors this technocratic, controlled test tube existence in the film. Societies are manufactured, consensus reality is enforced, masses are brainwashed and true free thought is suppressed. Not only were the rules of the Glade trivial and in the end harmful, the entire existence of the maze itself was an illusory, being only a small portion of the real world. However, this was no fantasy world to be escaped through meditation or further flights into fancy, but a real world maze to be solved for survival. That kind of survival of the fittest world is just the world we find ourselves in, as our food, water, culture and very air is under full spectrum attack from the technocratic eugenicist establishment. And just as in the film, the technocrats intend on “speeding up” evolutionary adaptation by converting the entire globe into a maze full of ever-changing and controlled mythologies and deceptions that keep men lost in the dreamland maze of the synthetic world order.
Think, for example, of Dr. Jonas Salk, who is presented to the world as a vaccine savior, yet in his own writings argues that mass inoculations must be done to curb the growth of populations. Salk apparently believed that a neurological attack on humans en masse would halt “war,” which he blames on humanity. In true Orwellian fashion, Salk proposed to wage war on the cancer of man to not have war. Likewise, social architects like Charles Galton Darwin, Arthur Koestler and Bertrand Russell were all in agreement that mankind would have to be placed under mass genetic alteration and testing to see who was “fit” to go on to the next level. In reality, however, “progress” was the cover these so-called elite foisted on the world to promote their own dark age, where they alone would go into the “next million years,” while the rest of the population are forcibly sterilized and soft-killed. Just as the covert black operation in the film socially engineered a fake environment intent on sacrificing the young for “evolution,” so have these real world death cult high priests of the “wicked” corporation done to us.
Revelations of the NSA as an entity geared towards total panopticon surveillance, data collection and planetary regimentation combined with the long term designs of the Rand Corporation’s social engineering demonstrate a global test tube policy that becomes even bleaker when combined with the designs of the Royal Society social engineers and technocrats mentioned above. Indeed, we find that our supposedly “free” and “progressive” society is an artificial construct just like that of the Maze Runner. The Grievers we battle aren’t GMO CGI scorpions, but GMO corn. I just hope we’re not left with one babe to fight over, but given the alchemical gender-bending Koestler and company worked for, perhaps we’ll all be asexual morlocks who won’t desire sex at all. As for Maze Runner – I give it three bags of GMO popcorn and two corn syrup gummies and one prayer we consider alternate metaphysical models and bust the glass of this planetary test tube.