Monthly Archives: February 2010
This review also appears at Earthpages.org
Synchronicity is a hard thing to prove. Even harder is to prove an idea by citing a series of perceived synchronicities.
And this is exactly what Dan Green sets out to do in The Murder of Mary Magdalene: Genocide of the Holy Bloodline.
Offering an alternative history to the story of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, Green weaves an intricate tapestry of symbols, codes, clues and events to support his belief that Mary Magdalene was murdered to prevent word from getting out that she and Jesus Christ were much closer than the official story tells us.
This is the kind of thing that gets traditional religious persons up in arms. Similar claims made in The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (1982) led that book to be banned in strongly Catholic countries such as the Philippines.
Likewise, Dan Brown’s work of fiction The Da Vinci Code (2003) sparked heated debate and its overall content was deemed “offensive” by many Catholics.
Sociologists and professors of religion like John Gager suggest that whenever the truth claims and associated practices of a rival out-group get a bit too close for comfort to the beliefs and practices of an established in-group, members of the in-group become upset.
At this point the in-group feels the need to better define its boundaries, which may lead to exclusion, condemnation or, as we’ve seen in the often grisly march of human history, persecution.
According to this theory, it’s the similarity of the two groups that riles the in-group. Radically different out-groups lacking some kind of thematic overlap with an in-group are usually ignored. But when an out-group hits a nerve by getting too ideologically near to the in-group—that’s when sparks will fly.
This social-psychological dynamic apparently took place between the early Christians and the Gnostics. And a similar kind of dynamic has evidently continued to this day.
As for The Murder of Mary Magdalene in relation to the traditional Christian story, I found this DVD far more of a Jungian kind of treatise than a religious one. If anything, it’s a testament to the power of synchronicity.
Synchronicity is a term coined by the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung to point to the idea of meaningful coincidence. From the perspective of synchronicity, nothing really happens by chance. In fact, the idea of chance, itself, is just a human construct. From watching this film it seems that Dan Green perceived an ongoing set of synchronicities during its research and production phases.
The DVD’s special features section includes a refreshing and helpful interview of Green by the film’s director, Philip Gardiner.
This interview not only summarizes the main points of the film but gives some biographical information about Green. It also reveals how Green’s eyes light up whenever he speaks about the synchronicities encountered during the film’s production. And having one’s eyes sparkle with excitement is something very hard to fake.
What did go through my mind, however, was a question. Not the central question posed by this film – was Mary Magdalene murdered? – but another, important question regarding the interpretation of synchronistic events.
Again, I have little doubt that Green believes he encountered genuine synchronicities. But I do wonder if Green’s interpretation of those inner-outer experiences is more about his own personal journey rather than a universal truth concerning the unwritten history of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
I don’t know the answer, of course. But the question did arise.
On the cinematography side, viewers should delight at the archaic cathedral at Lincoln, England, along with other sacred treasures so very well presented in this film.
The Murder of Mary Magdalene: Genocide of the Holy Bloodline was the perfect antidote to the mid-February grind of Canadian winter. And I suggest that viewers sit back, enjoy and let this highly imaginative work take them away.
Whether or not one agrees with its conclusions, chances are the only believers who’ll get angry about this film are those who aren’t really comfortable with their beliefs in the first place.
This review also appears at Earthpages.org
I bought my very first copy of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland while doing graduate work in India. Renowned for its mysticism and unusual happenings, India seemed like an appropriate place to enter into the intriguing world of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, best known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll.
Funnily enough, I never read the entire book. I tried several times but for some reason it just didn’t work. Perhaps Caroll was a bit too intellectual for my tastes. Although the book is often regarded as a nonsense tale, author and director Philip Gardiner and co-writer Brian Allan rightly point out in The Initiation of Alice in Wonderland: The Looking Glass of Lewis Carroll that it’s anything but nonsense.
We all know the basic story. Alice’s adventures have become a part of pop culture. The rock group Jefferson Airplane released a hit single “White Rabbit” on their 1967 record Surrealistic Pillow, and the Quantum Physics / New Age movie What the Bleep Do We Know?! (2004) was enhanced and expanded in a 2006 version called What the Bleep!?: Down the Rabbit Hole.
Although I’m reviewing this DVD without having read Alice In Wonderland in its entirety, that doesn’t really matter. If I can enjoy a documentary about a book I haven’t finished, if I can get what the film is saying and learn from it, then that’s a testament to the skillfulness of its creators. And this surely is the case with The Initiation of Alice in Wonderland.
The DVD offers some provocative biographical material on Carroll’s childhood, struggles with his family’s Anglican religion, Oxford days as a respected mathematician, and possible links with the esoterica of Theosophy and the Rosicrucians. It also delves into his controversial pursuits as a photographer, a hobby that seemed to reflect an interest in girls.
The commentary on the considerable controversy around Carroll’s photos of nude or semi-nude girls is noteworthy. Essentially, The Initiation of Alice asks us to bracket our 21st century Western notions of normality and try to imagine things as they might have been in the genteel Victorian circles in which Carroll moved.
This segment should spark heated dialogue around notions of absolute versus cultural morality and I’ll leave it to God to find the right answer to this potentially divisive issue.
After working through Carroll’s biography, the film moves, quite competently, into the imaginary world of Alice. The novel Alice in Wonderland is mostly interpreted from the perspective of contemporary Gnosticism, where several belief systems are said to point to a common inner truth.
On the whole, the analysis of Alice’s underground adventures conforms to the Jungian idea of a collective unconscious where the conventional rules of space and time no longer apply. And like Jung’s work, the concepts of magical, mystical and The Holy are not as clearly delineated as some might hope for.
When exploring the symbolism of Alice’s eating and drinking of unusual substances in Wonderland, for instance, The Initiation of Alice sets up an analogy between the reception of the Holy Eucharist and the imbibing of psychedelic mushrooms.
Gardiner and Allan’s extensive analogical theorizing leaves much room for interpretation and debate. As with C. G. Jung’s work, some would applaud the far-reaching use of analogy while others might not. Regardless of one’s take on this, it would be hard to come away from this film not feeling a little bit closer to Carroll and his amazing imaginary realm.
Just a day before watching this video, I saw the movie The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy for the first time, having made a few unsuccessful attempts to read the Douglas Adams novel on which it was based, and for much the same reasons as Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
Its seems these two great stories – the one set in Victorian England and the other in modern society – have something in common. Both seem silly and nonsensical but at the same time point to political and especially quantum realities that humanity will eventually have to come to grips with.
Altogether, The Initiation of Alice in Wonderland: The Looking Glass of Lewis Carroll is a probing, wide-ranging film that Carroll enthusiasts and interested browsers should learn much from.
This commentary also appears at Earthpages.org
Last night’s Olympic opening ceremony wasn’t my top priority. I wasn’t going to bother watching it but realized I should see what my country was up to.
After all, I graduated in sociology and should know how the Canadian Olympic officials chose to represent this country to the world.
I suppose considering the budget they did a pretty good job. But what I found sort of bush-league was how the emphasis fell on Canada’s greatness instead of the greatness of Olympic Sport.
When doing graduate work in India in the late 1980s I saw a similar phenomenon. Anything of merit in India was pumped up to emphasize how “world class” that country was.
Canada is much the same.
This might be a sign of some kind of grand national insecurity. I mean, if you’re really the best you don’t have to talk about it. You just do it… and most everyone gets that you’re number one.
Having said that, I am proud of some of the claims made about my country last night. I believe we are miles (oops kilometers) ahead of many other lands in terms of forging a working and peaceful cultural mosaic.
It’s easy to talk about the wonders of multiculturalism when you’re banning religious groups from your country or beating up on minorities. It’s quite another thing to actually live peacefully with many different kinds of peoples (and their divergent beliefs) in close proximity.
That’s probably what I’m most proud of. And it’s probably the future of not only Canada but hopefully the world.
So why the lingering social insecurity? Is it because the US media tends to ignore and sometimes mock us? And if so, who cares?
From my experience the Americans worth interacting with see past all that, just as the Canadians worth interacting with don’t construct an identity by saying “we’re not the US.”
Defining oneself as Canadian by saying “we’re not America” is also a bit thin and hypocritical. Canadian media anchors, for example, often jump at the chance to appear ‘cool and hip’ by being on Twitter and Facebook.
Uh… what country developed those social media? Or WordPress, for that matter?
So let’s get real. Canada does get a lot of things right but also depends on the USA and many other countries to stay afloat.
It’s an international world. So why don’t we all start thinking that way?
This review also appears at Earthpages.org
Is time travel possible?
Saints, seers and mystics often talk about transversing the corridors of time. Sometimes they claim to enter into eternity and other times they speak of encountering far away places, past and future.
Some authors, musicians and artists also hint at the idea of the psyche transcending our everyday sense of reality. One only has to think of H. G. Wells, Ravi Shankar and Salvador Dali for three good examples.
But rarely do we hear serious talk about embodied time travel. Mystics and insightful artists normally talk about psychological or spiritual travel. They don’t usually claim to disappear and reappear in the flesh. Not very often, anyhow.
The Philadelphia Experiment: Invisibility, Time Travel and Mind Control – The Shocking Truth goes one step further. Here we find something that, for all intents and purposes, sounds like intelligent sci-fi purporting to be cold fact.
For an outside observer it’s hard to know what’s what, but this doesn’t take anything away from some of the stimulating ideas forwarded in this video.
The video kicks off with some still photos and voice-over as a sort of build up and explanation to the lengthy interview that follows. The interview itself is avowedly homemade. But whatever this film lacks in production values is more than compensated by its originality.
One doesn’t have to be a genius to follow the discussion, but at times it can be challenging. This is mostly because the nature of the discussion goes way beyond our everyday notions of time, causality and being.
It’s sort of like a Jane Roberts “Seth Book” in living color, but with real people (instead of a channeled entity) actually claiming to have time traveled.
Not only that. They also claim to have been victims of a severe kind of mind control and memory erasure that defies anything we’ve ever heard of. And perhaps the scariest thing of all—the perpetrators were not extraterrestrials but human beings, just like us.
Other fascinating aspects of the interviewees’ claims include the notion that it’s dangerous for someone to get too close to him or herself. That is, if you were to travel 10 minutes into the past and meet up with yourself, there’s a high probably you’d be destroyed.
And as the title suggests, the film claims that actual invisibility has been achieved with an entire US Navy vessel, the USS Eldridge.
Both of these ideas are sheer Star Trek (and the countless sci-fi TV shows and movies that followed) and, again, it’s hard to know what’s what in this film.
Skeptics will likely think they’re watching a sincere group delusion or, perhaps, crafty con job. Enthusiasts will probably find the conspiracy theories, metaphysics and allusions to 2012 enthralling.
Regardless of what one makes of this film, one thing’s for certain–The Philadelphia Experiment is not your run of the mill New Age fluff. These guys are smart. Whether they’re spinning tall tales or relating hard fact is something each viewer can decide for him or herself.