“You asked me once what was in Room 101. I told you that you know the answer already. Everybody knows. The thing in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.”Above is an excerpt from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. The novel is based upon a dystopian future society which is ruled by a socialist oligarchy; a New World Order of terrible proportions. Orwell may have based Room 101, in part, on his experiences working for the BBC, and on the headmaster's study of his old school. I think that from a child's viewpoint, and set in the days of corporal punishment, the headmaster's room makes a fine Room 101. Room 101 contains the thing you fear the most. It is located in the Ministry of Love, which through the principles of double-speak really means the Ministry of Hate. The buildings inherent duality extends to the Room, where a servant of Goldstien is tortured until they confess their crimes (and many more than that) and proclaim their love of Big Brother. It is a place of hate and love, death of the self and birth of the loyal citizen. What is the worst thing in the world? Well for the character Winston Smith it was rats. However, the strongest of all fears is the fear of the unknown, and the greatest unknown, the greatest fear, has always been death. It is the final and most pronounced fear of any person by their very nature of being a self-conscious living organism. It is the worst thing in the world. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston entered as an open opponent to Big Brother, and when he came out he confessed his love for B.B.
As hinted above, I see Room 101 as both End and Beginning. Life, death and resurrection. 1 - 0 - 1, Alpha - Omega - Alpha. Pillar - Sun - Pillar? Thing, No-Thing, and Thing again. It is the culmination and ending of one's life 10, and the start of the next, 1.
"All things which have a beginning have and end."
- the Oracle in The Matrix
Every end is a beginning, and every beginning is an end. The Matrix: Room 101, Thomas A. Anderson sleeps in front of his computer, and like Alice he is about to follow the white rabbit down the rabbit hole. His life as he knows it is about to end, in some ways more literally than he knows. Neo, or The One (neo/new 1), gets unplugged from the Matrix and thus he really dies as far as anyone in the Matrix is concerned. But he is reborn, after 3 days of rest, into the 'desert of the real'. The first Matrix movie opens with with the character Trinity in Room 303 (101x3). It also ends in the same Room 303 when Mr. Anderson (Neo) is killed by agent Smith, and is resurrected by 'true loves kiss' (Trinity in the real world). From this point on he is no longer Thomas A. Anderson, he is now Neo - The One. Even the Oracle said that Neo wasn't the one, though he had the gift, and it looked like he was waiting for something. When questioned what, the Oracle replied "Your next life, maybe."
The first place Neo is taken when he is reborn in the the Real World, is a program called the Construct. It's a sort of limbo or realm of unlimited potential between worlds. Anything can be loaded into the Construct and Morpheus uses it to show Neo the real history of the world. When Neo enters the Construct, he is alone, surrounded by an infinite white light in every direction.
In Matrix Reloaded, Neo, Trinity and Morpheus visit the Merovingian's building in search of the Key Maker. When they exit the elevator there is a large 101 at the end of the hallway. I'm not too sure why the number is there; it's not a room and if it is, it's unlikely to be on the first floor after that elevator ride. The Merovingian is compared to Neo by Persephone, Merv's wife, and it was theorised by some that the Merovingian was one of the previous incarnations of the One who went back to the Source and restarted the Matrix. Perhaps the 101 is a clue?
In the beginning of Matrix Revolutions Neo is trapped in limbo, or rather a Subway program between the Matrix and the Real world, called Mobil train station (anagram of limbo). Matrix - Limbo - Real, 1-0-1. In the first movie, when Neo is arrested, he is being watched through a wall of small television monitors, the camera zooms through the monitor and ends in the interrogation room where the Agents plant a bug in Neo. The television monitors are located in a hidden room inside the Matrix which houses the Architect program which created the Matrix.
The Architect's room could be an architectual (pun intended) expression of Room 101. There is a Door, a Round room and another Door, 1-0-1. A British television show connects the two as well, as we see "Room 101" on the Architect's televisions as the logo for the show:
In Matrix Reloaded, Neo talks with the Oracle about his precognitive dreams. He dreams about going through a Door of Light, then he sees Trinity fall from a building. Doors like the Door of Light are wormholes in the Matrix. Called "back-doors" in programming language, they are a way to jump from one place to another in the Matrix. When Neo eventually makes it to the door to the Architects room, he opens it and a bright white light envelops him; the light shrinks to a small dot and appears as a star on the Milky Way, as seen on the many television monitors in the Architects room. Every man and woman is a star afterall, according to Crowley. The Architect: "Which brings us at last to the moment of truth, where the fundamental flaw is ultimately expressed and the anomaly revealed as both beginning and end."
At the end of Revolutions Neo has to go to the Machine City where he convinces to main Artificial Intelligence, named Deus Ex Machina, to allow Neo to fight Smith in return for an end to the war. The Machine City, as we learn from the Animatrix, is named Zero-One, or 01. The City (01) is where the path of the One (1) must end: 101. Of course it's not only an ending, it is the start of a new world with peace between Man and Machine.
Neo has exactly 314 seconds to enter the Door of Light, = 3.14 = Pi.
Darren Aronofsky's film, Pi, is filmed in black and white, and is a great representation of binary (1's and 0's) and the chess-board pattern.
Maxamillian Cohen, the main character of Pi, is nicknamed "Icarus" by Sol, his mentor and friend. As a child Max stared into the sun until he went temporarily blind. During the movie bright white light fills his field of vision when he has a siezure, an after effect of staring into the sun as a child. The result of staring into the sun may have somehow triggered his genuis with numbers, but aslo causes hallucinations and blackouts (whiteouts?).
Max's computer crashes, but before it does it prints out accurate predictions of the stock market and a long string of numbers. These numbers are thought to be the true 216 letter name of God. If it is indeed the true name of God (Freemasonry's "Lost Word" or "Grand Omnific Word") then it has a power of it's own. During one of Max's seizures he see's his door become pure light. And during the last seizure he begins to say the numbers outloud and he finds himself standing alone in an expanse of endless white light, very much like the Construct in the Matrix. The number may have given him direct access to God.
Sol: "The 216 number is a door" and is the "key to unlock the door" (Which door? The door to God, to Room 101, the place between life and afterlife/rebirth, the space between the spaces?)
216 = 2 x 108. The numbers from tv's LOST are 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 = 108. The Heiroglyphs from the LOST countdown translate to the word UNDERWORLD. (6x6x6=216 144,000(survivors in the "rapture")/666 = 216.216216216...)
In the old British spy show The Prisoner, the main character's address was No. 1 Buckingham Place, London. And like Neo ("the One") in the Matrix, he was about to go down one seriously twisted rabbit hole. The opening credits have a hearse following the main character to his flat, where he is gassed and wakes up later in a recreation of his room on a prison island called The Village. There is an overt absence of the number 7 from the show. The main character is designated "Number 6," and the other characters all have their own numbers. There were originally to be 7 episodes, but the network wanted around 20, so they settled on 17. The only number/person you don't see, at least until the last episode, is Number 1; the person who presumably controls The Village. The Village is like a large outdoor Room 101:
"It was a place that is trying to destroy the individual by every means possible; trying to break his spirit, so that he accepts that he is #6 and will live there happily as #6 for ever after. And this is the one rebel that they can't break.""Village" or "Matrix," either way, it is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth; that you are a slave, born into bondage, in a cage that you cannot see, hear or touch; a prison for your mind. Was #6 trying to separate himself from the world of ego gratification, was the Village some sort of test for a recently deceased soul on their way to heaven or the after-life?
I think progress is the biggest enemy on earth, apart from oneself… I think we're gonna take good care of this planet shortly… there's never been a weapon created yet on the face of the Earth that hadn't been used…
…We're run by the Pentagon, we're run by Madison Avenue, we're run by television, and as long as we accept those things and don't revolt we'll have to go along with the stream to the eventual avalanche… As long as we go out and buy stuff, we're at their mercy. We're at the mercy of the advertiser and of course there are certain things that we need, but a lot of the stuff that is bought is not needed…
…We all live in a little Village… Your village may be different from other people's villages but we are all prisoners."
- Patrick McGoohan, creator of The Prisoner, 1977 interview
Jim Henson's The Cube, reminds me a lot of both the Prisoner and the Matrix. The main character here is inside a white room made of many squares, each of which might be a door or window through which other characters enter, and the room it's self is like the Construct in that it can create a whole room inside of it with people who simply fade into and out of view. Hints are given through this short movie that indicate that the main character may infact be dead. At one point a man pops his head in an quite bluntly asks if the main character had given any thought to the possibility that he is dead. Also, an empty coffin is brought in the room later in the movie. Near the end, the main character tries to kill himself with a gun that materialized in the room, but is unable to succeed in his attempt.
You'll Never Get Out of the Cube:
There are places that contain you,
There are corners in your soul,
Plastic laminations in your life.
But when you're on the inside
Of the outside of your thoughts,
Do they restrain or do you stay yourself?
Now the inside of the near place
Is the outside of the far
But you can only face your space one way.
You're really in the middle
Of the the inside of yourself,
And there is only one thing we can say...
You'll never get out, you'll never get out,
You'll never get out of the cube!
You'll never get out, you'll never get out,
You'll never get out 'til you're dead!
'Til you're dead, dead, dead...
In Donnie Darko, the titular character apparently hallucinates a person in a rabbit suit named Frank. Frank calls Donnie out of his house the night that a jet engine fell off of a plane and crashed through the roof of his bedroom. Frank saves Donnie's life, but persumably also causes the end of the world; unless Donnie chooses to go back in time and stay in his bedroom that night. Donnie sees Frank when he takes his medication, and when he does, Frank projects a "force-field" in front of him. Donnie asks how Frank does this and Frank replies that he can do whatever he wants, and that Donnie can "do anything" as well. He is living in a timeline that wasn't meant to be, and like the Construct, he can do whatever he pleases, because in the end he will erase it all by dying.
In class, after reading Graham Green's The Destructors, Donnie says "destruction is a form of creation." This comment, similar to one made in the movie Fight Club, is analogous to the Room 1-0-1 theme; that death isn't an end, but a creation of something new.
Donnie becomes obsessed with wormholes, timetravel and destiny. He reads a book called "The Philosophy of Time Travel,"written by Roberta Sparow, a senile old woman who used to be a nun, and after that, a science teacher. Roberta Sparrow is always standing in the road opening her mail box, which is a constant hazard to the drivers on that road. At the end of the movie, Donnie, dressed as Death, his girlfriend, and two friends go to Roberta Sparow's house so that Donnie can give her a letter he wrote, asking her about her book. This causes a chain of events which lead to the death of Donnie's girlfriend and the real life Frank, who Donnie shoots. (Now Frank is free to visit Donnie in the past and take him out of his bedroom just in time.) When Frank drives down the road in his firebird, Donnie says "Deus Ex Machina" and "our saviour." In The Matrix, both the Merovingian and Bane-Smith mockingly refer to Neo as a saviour. And, as stated above, the main Machine A.I. is named Deus Ex Machina. It was after the death of his girlfriend, that Donnie decided to "go back in time and make everything better" (like his baby-glasses invention for a school project) by going to bed so that the jet engine would kill him, and everything that had happened would be erased. He re-sets his Village/Matrix like Neo when he made his sacrifice. Roberta Sparow, who pretty much caused all the trouble with her book, and by standing in the road, causing Frank to swerve his car and hit Donnie's girlfriend instead, is nicknamed 'Grandma Death' by Donnie. And when asked how old she is, Donnie replys: "101 years old."
"...I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad, the dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had..."
The dystopian movie Brazil is like a black comedy version of 1984. Creator 'Gilliam sometimes refers to this film as the second of a trilogy of movies, starting with Time Bandits (1981) and ending with The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989). All are about the "craziness of our awkwardly ordered society and the desire to escape it through whatever means possible.' All three movies also focus on these struggles and attempts to escape them through imagination." In Gilliam's words Brazil was, "the Nineteen Eighty-Four for 1984." (Wikipedia). Also Wikipedia mentions that "In film Pi, the technology of Brazil inspired the design of Max Cohen's apartment."
And like 1984, Brazil has its own innocuous sounding "Ministry of Information Retrieval" which is where people are tortured to death. During the torture scene, the interrogator uses a medical instrument which is used to preform lobotomies. So, it can be assumed that the main character, Sam, was lobotomized; kinda like Winston Smith in 1984 who had lost his will to fight anymore.
This brings up the interesting synch of the Baby Face. (Donnie Darko invents baby glasses to make life better for kids.) After the Joker falls into the vat of acid in Tim Burton's Batman movie, he visits an underground "hospital" where a doctor who surely doesn't have a license to practice medicine operates on the Joker trying to fix his skin color and fixed smile. This room reminds me of the tourture Room 101 in 1984 with it's terrible appearance. After leaving this room of pain, the Joker confronts his boss who had him killed, who is suprised to see him alive. The Joker states "I've been dead once already, it's quite liberating." In Batman, the Joker tries to gas Gotham City with parade balloons; one of which is a baby.
Baby New Year?
Terry Gilliam, who created Brazil, was once given a mask like that one, "and it haunted him ever since." Gilliam intended the effect of combining the masks and the decaying bodies of the Forces of Darkness to be an intermingling of the beginning and ends of life." The baby then would represent new life, inexorably connected to the end of another life. The Deus Ex Machina of the Machine City (Zero-One) communicates to Neo as a large baby's face.
Speaking of babies...