8. Warlock (1989) – Steve Miner
This is an example of pointing out the relationship between words (concepts) and the world (their manifestations).
The Warlock speaks as if he can create worlds just by mentioning them. While he speaks he makes a strong reference to himself as being important and worthy of what is expected to come. When viewed this way, we may say that one’s preconception about himself/herself may trigger events which would otherwise would not take place. In other words, when you “believe that it was given to you, it will be given to you” (an alternate interpretation of Matthew 7:7).
It’s a wonderful way to escape reality or create an alternate one. Picking and choosing what you like and don’t like… giving their respective meanings as you see fit… is also the definition of schizophrenia. If we remember R. D. Laing’s words, though, it may very well be our only way out: “Schizophrenia is not an illness. It’s a person’s attempt to live in an inhospitable environment.”
It seems like a valid argument when you go over some of the findings of the discipline. Yet, a more interesting question is hidden beneath the obvious topic of conversation. Why do some people find the world inhospitable? Many people don’t. Those who find it inhospitable also consider themselves as more refined, intelligent and fit to be the ones who should make executive decisions.
In my experience I have seen the reverse to be true. Those who don’t see themselves in management should manage and those who don’t think they should be the leaders should lead. This is a wisdom given to only those who do not see themselves worthy of it and therefore, not looking for it.
Having lost that quality because of education and our business orientation, we may try to get there by concentrating on manifestations that don’t exist. I’m talking about dreams, here.
Consider Dostoyevsky’s short story The Dream of a Ridiculous Man (1877). ‘The ridiculous man’ says “I studied at school, then at the university, and the more I studied, the more I realized that I was ridiculous.” After a while, he decides to end his life, for he does not see any reason to continue. He says “… nothing made any difference in this world” to himself and he asks his ‘friends’, “don’t you realize that you yourselves don’t care one way or the other!”
Later, on his way home, where he plans to commit suicide, a little girl, “all wet from rain, with her battered shoes” comes by and cries out for help. He pushes her away and goes home. Then, he says “You see, although I didn’t care one way or the other, I still felt pain. I’d witnessed something sad, I’d have felt pity just as much as I would have before I ceased to care about anything in this life.” He grasps the gun to blow his “right lobe”, but falls into sleep instead.
In his dream, extraordinary things happen. He says “dreams seem to be controlled by the heart rather than the reason. In dreams we leap over space, time, the laws of reason and existence, and stop only at points dear to our hearts.” After a mysterious interstellar journey, he finds himself in a duplicate of our earth. However, the way the inhabitants of this world live is quite different. He says that they were full of life and were enjoying their lives to the fullest. They seemed to be very wise and content.
Yet the ‘ridiculous man’ cannot understand “how they could know so much when there was no indication that they had any knowledge of the achievements of the modern science.” He, then, says that he has realized why at once. “Their knowledge fed upon different revelation than ours. They didn’t want anything and were absolutely serene; they didn’t strive to find the meaning of life, because their own lives were full of meaning.”
Finally, he says “We’re all, from the sage to the worst criminal, making our way toward the same objective. Only we’re trying to get there by different roads. That’s an old truth, but here’s something that’s new about it: I can never stray too far from my course.”
Such strong determination always leads us somewhere. Whether it be good or bad, that’s another story. This movie takes it even further, you can take the eyes of the oracle (literally) and see through her eyes. A somewhat bloody way to point out the importance of switching perspectives when necessary. Whatever you presuppose determines what you can and cannot see.
9. The Guardian (1990) – William Friedkin
This is an example of being seduced by the life’s mystery and taking pleasure in it.
In other words, receiving and giving pleasure are ways of seeing. Sometimes this is the only way to wake up from nightmares. Great Turkish poet, writer and politician Yahya Kemal Beyatli once wrote a poem about the subject (Vuslat, 1921). He took a reverse approach. Instead of considering waking up a good thing, he said that not waking up or completely losing oneself in dreams is the way to go.
In the previous movie we have considered dreams as a way to gain access to possible manifestations of our ideas. Here, we will focus on creating these dream worlds using works of art such as this movie. A rather bad one to be honest. However there was a scene that struck me like a lightning. It was intended to give you the creeps and an occasional hard-on, I guess. It ‘gave’ me something entirely different. It was like this: It’s nighttime.
There is a small pond in sight. You see trees everywhere you look, majestic, beautiful trees. All colors are merging to form warmer ones, then they turn into sharper, wilder tones, daring you to go into, sink into ‘them.’ We see a naked woman first. She is bathing while a pack of wolves circles around her as if they are her dearest friends. Later, you see a newborn baby under the head of a huge black wolf and the wolf ‘reaches out to eat a part of your soul’ as the baby turns to look at you.
Rest of the movie was rather boring, so I was lost in my own thoughts about a similar place where everywhere you would see trees, trees and trees. That’s where I spent my childhood and strolled in the nearby forest and the river bed. Whenever I see green it talks to me. When darkness descends upon the earth, the air gets cooler and you start to hear the sounds of all sort of creatures except men, you can see me too. There, with a big smile on my face, feeling completely at home.
Remembering that particular scene, I was lost in thoughts… as if I dreamed within a dream. I remembered my hometown. How beautiful it was, how comforting. Everywhere you would see trees, trees, and trees. There is not even one magnificent thing in you: Not even one huge cascade, not one high mountain, not even a big river! Yet all in your ‘ordinary’ look, life, away from the least indication of artificiality, tells her innermost secrets with all its grandeur. When I was lost and looking for my way, it was you who caressed me -nurtured and healed me.
Almost 40 years ago, one day, I decided to skip school. Actually, I was with three of my ‘friends.’ First, we followed the back roads to get out of the central part of the town -for it was a very small town. Then, we headed towards the banks of the nearby river. There, we sat down. One of the kids took out a cigarette and pretended that he was smoking. After a while, they all began to ‘play’ a game I was not familiar with.
They, very much like monkeys, began to imitate whatever behavior patterns they were exposed to. One of them was even wiser. He knew it all. He was telling the ‘sacred’ relationship between the inputs and the outputs. You know, what you should do to give the impression that you are man and how you could check the validity of your behaviors by looking at their consequences. It may very well be the first dummies guidebook, written by dummies for dummies, sort of thing.
Me? Well, I was too ‘weird’ to spend my time on stuff like these. For a while, I watched them. I was bored to death. I moved to the farther side of the group and began to watch the sky. A moment later, a falcon captured my attention. It kept circling on top of us for a reason I did not know. Is there a sense in what animals do anyway? While I was watching the surroundings, I saw the edge of an ‘attractive’ grove. It appeared to me that it was calling for me.
I got up. Without a word I left the group and ‘descended’ into the grove. Sky was full of funny looking clouds. They were gathering to form a giant pink pillow for the gods which first turned into grayish blue, then dark gray, and finally into pitch-black. Then came the rain, so powerful, it was beyond my comprehension. I began to walk faster into the grove. The outer world was invisible to me now. As I walked, I searched for a place not to get wet. I saw a hollow tree.
Without a doubt I jumped into it. Inside was not damp, though it smelt kind of funny. Around me was a vast array of animals that were sharing my faith. They have chosen the same place not to get wet. Very near to my nose was a very big green grasshopper that could be a relative of the Californian Kathydid. It looked at me with its ‘philosopher face.’ A little bit on the left were two snails ‘doing it!’ Two funny animals were lost in each other. I asked myself “Can human beings get this close?”
Just before the ‘door’ was a small Natrix Natrix, a snake usually found near the rivers. The river was not so far away anyway. Still I pitied the creature that lost the way home. The sky was clearing and the bombarding sound of the rain could not be heard any more. I stepped out. All around me was this great after-the-rain odor. Trees in the grove seemed so lively.
Animals were everywhere. They weren’t even aware of my presence among them. They too wanted to enjoy the rest of the day in the world. Not very far from where I was standing, the end of the grove was showing me its face: The other end of the grove. I began to approach it. As I walked I adored its mystery more and more. The more mysterious it was, the more beautiful it became. The more beautiful it became, the more familiar it was!
Then, I saw it as soon as the trees ‘end’: a vast garden of flowers of all kind, of all color. I was speechless. Suddenly, I saw that falcon again: this time on top of me. I smiled and send it my salute. I unbuttoned my shirt and a warm, gentle wind caressed me with ‘love.’
It filled me with tremendous power. I felt as if I was not touching the ground any more. Then, I felt this desire within me. Life said “This desire, listen to it closely. It is the only thing you’ve got.” After a while I remembered that I had to go back. I sat down and began to think of a good lie.
10. The 7th Dimension aka Beacon 77 (2009) – Brad Watson
This is an example of how to be creative with little or no resources.
You can use this ability to craft stories where there is none. This way, you may access the thought processes of our ancestors and understand how they made sense of things without really knowing anything about them. Why is this important? Because, regardless of what we think we know, we actually know very little. What’s more, this condition will never change. Because we will always know a lot less than what we don’t know. That’s what stories are for, on the other hand, to give us a medium to think about the things we don’t know anything about.
Only a remarkable mind may make something as trivial as getting up from a wheel chair and walking extraordinary. Watson achieves this in a number of scenes. Having seen this trick, we can now see the extraordinary in the ordinary things. All those things we take for granted somehow regain their luster. What they can be used to tell us has now grown tremendously. Just like it was in Tarkovsky’s Nostalgia (1983).
Remember the scene when Andrei Gorchakov lights a candle and tries to get it to the other side of a mineral pool? Is there a more emotional scene than a man trying to keep the flame burning and never giving up? After several attempts, Gorchakov finally manages to get the candle to the other side and in the process, kills himself. When that happened, did you hear a “boo” coming from the audience? No, everybody in the audience thought it was worth it.
Compare this with the superhero mentality of today’s youth, comparing ‘powers’ of one ‘masked idiot’ with another. When they compare powers, they actually compare consequences or manifestations: “He can see through a brick wall” or “She can blow up a building by screaming.” This attitude reduces one’s ability to think and makes him/her a prisoner of whatever’s immediately available to him/her. This gives the illusion of thinking.
This in the end reduces one’s life to a diminished existence. As William Edwards Deming says: “Nothing of value can be measured.” It’s the same in life, nothing that makes human existence meaningful has an apparent manifestation. That does not necessarily mean that you should start believing in angels, but it alerts us to look more closely and try not to be fooled by superficial interpretations.
As you can tell, this ability requires you to practice a lot. There may be several ways to practice. My way is taking stupid pictures and trying to come up with an amusing story. Doing so, I try to benefit from the works of Ed Wood. He was a guy very enthusiastic about movies, but he neither had the talent nor the resources. Of course, that didn’t stop him. And, it won’t stop me either.
Author Bio: Erol Bozkurt is a computer scientist who specializes in analysis, quality assurance and management. He is interested in movies with alternate meanings, because that’s what software developers do all the time, play with the meanings of things. Right now, he is living in Istanbul, Turkey and working as a consultant.