Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Medusa Touch

The Medusa Touch: "Psychological thriller about a novelist, a telekinetic, who causes disasters simply by thinking about them."
Plot Summary from Wikipedia:
A French detective, Brunel (Ventura), is on an exchange scheme in London. He is assigned to investigate the murder of novelist John Morlar (Burton). As they examine the crime scene, the policemen find that the victim is actually still alive in spite of his heavy injuries and have him rushed to hospital.

With the help of Morlar's journals and Dr Zonfeld (Remick), a psychiatrist whom the author had started visiting, Brunel reconstructs Morlar's past life, which (seen in flashback) is full of inexplicable catastrophes, including the tragic deaths of people he disliked or who offended him.

Morlar is, in fact, a psychic with powerful telekinetic abilities. Disgusted at the world (in his 1988 book Nightmare Movies, Kim Newman described Morlar's dialogue as "incredibly misanthropic"), Morlar has caused two recent disasters: an airliner crash and the loss of a manned spacecraft.

From his hospital bed he manages to bring down a cathedral on the "unworthy heads" of a VIP congregation giving thanks for the building's preservation; and he seems able to keep himself alive by sheer willpower. An enraged Brunel himself tries in vain to finish Morlar off and fails. The man has written on a pad the name of his next target - the nuclear power station at Windscale.

Medusa represents the archetypal chthonic entity of darkness and chaos which comes when the sun loses it’s power, or alternatively when a person is drained of their life force and ‘turned to stone.’ Most Medusa mythology seems to have just been interpreted by people who really had no complete understanding for what she was, and she probably started off as a very simple symbol:
Jane Ellen Harrison argues that "her potency only begins when her head is severed, and that potency resides in the head; she is in a word a mask with a body later appended... the basis of the Gorgoneion is a cultus object, a ritual mask misunderstood." (Harrison 1922:187). In Odyssey xi, Homer does not specifically mention the Gorgon Medusa,
"lest for my daring Persephone the dread :From Hades should send up an awful monster's grizzly head"
Harrison's translation states "the Gorgon was made out of the terror, not the terror out of the Gorgon (Harrison 1922: 187, note 3).
I’m sure there are many more equally interesting interpretations of the Gorgon, but let us ignore what other people think and just focus on my own extrapolations.

If the Medusa Touch (or rather gaze) can bring chaos, destruction and death (as symbolic darkness), then the opposite must exist. This would be the golden touch of Midas, which could make any object achieve the alchemical state of Gold. Strangely enough, King Midas is said to have discovered lead, which alchemically represents the first state of whatever it is that needs to be elevated to a golden state. There’s some other interesting tid-bits such as Midas having a prized rose garden and a daughter named Zoe ("life"). Midas recieved his "golden touch" as a gift from Dionysus. King Midas soon learned that if everything he touched turned to gold, he couldn’t really eat or drink; and he even accidentally turned his own daughter into a statue. (statue - sounds like the Medusa effect) If Medusa could touch the whole world, there would be only death, stillness, and darkness. Without the animating effect of the struggle between opposites, the universe would cease to exist; as it will one day when the temperature is evenly distributed accross the entire universe, no temperature difference = no reactions. The same is true for Midas and his golden touch. If everything were to be brought to a state of perfection - there would be no need (or even ability) for the universe to continue to function. As much as we would like everything to be perfect (a veritable garden of eden), it can never be that way. As Agent Smith said in the first Matrix movie: the first attempt at the Matrix was perfect - a perfect failure. Humans need suffering to define their existance. For as any dominatrix can tell you: you can’t know pleasure without pain.

Midas, and Medusa, could tap into an object or persons Quintessence; the life force, fifth element, chi, kundalini, prana, pneuma and rauch. Issac Newton wrote: "The quintessence is a thing that is spiritual, penetrating, tingeing, and incorruptable, which emerged anew from the Four Elements when the are bound together."
The Quintessence is the fifth element with which the alchemists could work. It was the essential presence of something or someone, the living thing itself that animated or gave something its deepest characteristics. The Quintessence partakes of both the Above and the Below, the mental as well as the material. It can be thought of as the ethereal embodiment of the life force that we encounter in dreams and altered states of consciousness. It is the purest individual essence of something that we must unveil and understand in order to transform it.
The quintessence was also known as Aether/Ether. "Plato and Aristotle referred to Aether as 'Idea,' and in this sense, it may be regarded as that which exists outside the material world (i.e. thought processes, mathematical algorithms, etc.)." An interesting note which I just noticed on Wikipedia is that Aether was associated with the most important and secret Platonic Solid - the Dodecahedron. This shape was also associated with the Universe. And on an interesting twist, the universe my actually have this shape:
An infinite Universe would contain waves of all sizes. The WMAP did not see any very large waves. This points to space being finite - for the same reasons that you don't see breakers in your bathtub.

The best explanation for these observations is that the cosmos is a Poincaré dodecahedral space, says a team led by Jeffrey Weeks, an independent mathematician based in Canton, New York. Mathematical models of a spherical, solid Universe edged by 12 curved pentagons produce the patterns seen in the background radiation without any special fine-tuning. "It fits the data surprisingly well," says Weeks.

This is also apparently what Salvador Dali thought:

There, now I’ve gone and got sidetracked as usual! Anyways, where was I... In an unusual stroke of clarity, Wikipedia’s author for the Aether section notes:
In the world of cyberspace, the term ethernet is often widely used to describe a network that runs over physical connections. Thus even though the connections and connectors, such as an ethernet jack are made of solid matter ("Earth"), the concept of ethernet and cyberspace transcends the physical world of matter (solid, liquid, gas, and plasma), making necessary a fifth element beyond the material world.
Thus it is via this shared quintessence which I transmit my thoughts and hopefully manifest a higher level of thought about Medusa and her symbolism. Alas, it is bedtime for me. I'll have to continue on another night, possibly tomarrow, but no promises!

The Medusa Touch series continues in Part 2.


Adam Star said...

Brilliant. The fifth essence. Makes me think about the earliest known examples of human artistic expression, the chipped 'cores' from the Oldowan era, expressing the concept of an abstract core/soul/quintessence. While it may be the fifth element, it is also the first metaphor.

aferrismoon said...

Whats a Hammafor
For chipping the 1st meta4


What are you saving up to be.. Jewish?