Lately been writing essays for Omni. Working on my latest one on The Matrix and Gnosticism really got me thinking about metaphysics, worldbuilding, and scifi, since The Matrix is probably the most metaphysical movie (and trilogy) I have seen. That’s not to deny there isn’t metaphysics and Gnosticism in other scifi as well, even the silliest, e.g. some Marvel Comics and their Guardians of the Galaxy (their version of Star Wars essentially) with concepts like Celestials and Infinity Stones. But I’m interested in a more serious approach to metaphysics, and achieving this in a similar way to how Tolkien incorporated pagan nordic (Viking, Beowulf, etc) mythology in Lord of the Rings. I’m less interested in the Silmarillion because it’s too mythology heavy. I’m interested in creating an adventure story, a road movie but in outer space, not a mytho-theology.
As I explain in my essay, the Wachowskis failed to incorporate the gestalt of Gnosticism. They got the paranoia, the underworld, the spirits trapped in matter perfectly. Essentially, they created a very Philip K Dickian form of Gnosticism. But they totally left out the transcendent element, the Pleroma, the Aeons or supra-mundane spiritual archetypes. They also only included half of Philip K Dick’s gnosis; his Black Iron Prison (negative), but not his Palm Tree Garden (positive) (see The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick).
Essentially then, The Matrix Trilogy is a long meditation on the world of what Rudolf Steiner calls Ahriman, the anti-divine power and the god of materialism and mechanism in matter Interestingly, it’s also a space opera, albeit one set on a post-apocalyptic Earth. I say this because it features a classic small spaceship, the Nebuchadnezzar (above), directly comparable to the Millennium Falcon of Star Wars, Serenity of Firefly, and Milano of Guardians of the Galaxy, Even though the story is set on a future, post-apocalyptic Earth, the trope of a grimy ship with its rag-tag team of plucky rebels is identical
My interest however is in a space operatic story arc that incorporates both the lower, ahrimanic and lovecraftian dimensions, the middle imaginal and aetheric dimensions, and the highest, pleromatic and transcendentalist ones. Stories dwelling on the lower worlds are common, those concerning the higher are rare. Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey for example ends with the sort of transcendentalist aspect that one would expect to find, but was lack in, The Matrix Trilogy
The obvious, and easiest, way to incorporate metaphysics is through mythic concretism: the various planes of existence are portrayed as actual regions of space. This is the case of traditional mythology such as Jain, Buddhist, Nordic, and Dantean (Divine Comedy) cosmology for example, and even I suppose in esoteric systems like Kabbalah and Theosophy. But this approach, which I do use, also lacks a certain subtlety. So I’m also striving for something more, though I’m not yet sure what for it will take. Anyway, we’ll see how things turn out.