WTF happens at the end of 2001’s…

…1965 Original Script — Revised Draft? ; )
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NARRATOR (con’t)

But despite their God-like powers,
they still watched over the
experiments their ancestors
had started so many generations
ago.

The companion of Saturn knew
nothing of this, as it orbited
in its no man’s land between Mimas
and the outer edge of rings.

It had only to remember and wait,
and to look forever Sunward with
its strange senses.

For many weeks, it had watched
the approaching ship. Its long-
dead makers had prepared it for
many things and this was one of
them. And it recognised what
was climbing starward from the
Sun.

If it had been alive, it would have
felt excitement, but such an
emotion was irrelevant to its
great powers.

Even if the ship had passed it by,
it would not have known the
slightest trace of disappointment.

It had waited four million years;
it was prepared to wait for
eternity.

Presently, it felt the gentle touch
of radiations, trying to probe its
secrets.

Now, the ship was in orbit and it
began to speak, with prime
numbers from one to eleven,
over and over again.

Soon, these gave way to more
complex signals at many frequen-
cies, ultra-violet, infra-red,
X-rays.

The machine made no reply. It
had nothing to say.

Then it saw the first robot
probe, which descended and
hovered above the chasm.
Then, it dropped into darkness.

The great machine knew that this
tiny scout was reporting back to
its parent; but it was too simple,
too primative a device to detect
the forces that were gathering
round it now.

Then the pod came, carrying
life. The great machine searched
its memories.

The logic circuits made their
decision when the pod had fallen
beyond the last faint glow of the
reflected Saturnian light.

In a moment of time, too short to
be measured, space turned and
twisted upon itself.

Full script here.

That last sentence is where I’m confused.  As you may know, I love 2001 and the title was clearly clickbait.  Prior the passage above, the opening passage of evolution-through-violence is expanded upon, but largely follows the same story-arch with one very important exception: the monolith. in this case, it’s a cube, and at one point, randomly, it displays an image from the future of the hunters sleeping peacefully, and overweight, in a cave having eaten yet another incredible meal. there is focus on the spears and weaponry. then the cube ends.

everyone hasn’t developed (long-term) memory yet, so no one even remembers it happened.  but they dream about it, and fast-forward a year, and “Moonwatcher” (Moon, being key here), is the leader of a pack of early-humans that basically control everything. and yeah, in the film they are more apelike but in the script everything feels very human, even if it is said they are apelike.the rest of the movie is moreorless the same, until the ending.

the movie truly has a better flow, but there is some nice elaboration into just about everyone and everything. but the ending is basically different in that after bowman recovers order to the ship, we immediately cut to a normal-ship with a mission control transmission. we are now in a room with bowman and his superior, who shares with him a videotape, along with the knowledge of the mission; that hal was programmed, for the mission, to disobey his actual programming (which caused hal to both develop and suffer from neurotic fits, including the fear of being disconnected for the first time in his 10 year service history).

the ending of the script is a monologue that is overlain with the real-time passage of the discovery ship flying over to saturn, where another monolith is floating amongst the rings, a mile long, and as the ship approaches, the monologue gets crazy crazy deep. in a nutshell some form of not-human intelligent life existed millions of years ago and studied the universe as much as they could. they passed over all the gas planets, mars and made base camp on the moon. they studied and observed for a long time, then decided to tweak some evolutionary traits in all of the species so that the chance of a “MIND” would be created. i.e. they were coming along to help out as many species as possible evolve as fast as possible.

the mission, as explained by the videotape, was based around the discovery of life. it’s discovered that the buried monolith was sunlight-activated, and then the transmission eventually ends with a replay of bowman discovering the monolith (this time rectangular) on the moon, and it emitting shrieking noises. these noises are detectable on radar, by several earth-satellites in space, where it’s revealed they are directed to saturn.

as revealed by the opening monologue, the narrative is somewhat pessimistic / ‘scientific’, because as we saw, the early-humans were not experimented on. they were shown a vision of themselves in the future. this is important because it suggests that there might be some sort of loop, in which kubrick suggests we show ourselves our own future, a la interstellar. the only reason i say this is because the last line in the script is about time twisting and turning upon itself, just as the ship nears the monolith on saturn.

however, the monologue describes a very literal evolution of a not-human into something very intelligent, that invents a machine that ends up becoming more intelligent. after thousands of years of blissed-out machine-human harmony, humans accept the fact that they’ve been replaced, and feel good about their creation. then the machines end up doing the same thing, as they, themselves, realize a way to store information in quantum space; to float through anything at any level of scale, or speed off in any directly along particles of light. the deeper side of that, is that kubrick is literally proposing that the world around us could be filled with a very literal intelligence that we perceive to be “spiritual”.

regardless, this is explained, and then the monologue focuses back on the monolith on saturn, and how even though those early machines that existed during machine-only times (but not transcendental-only times), were only so involved. so when they were at earth and saturn, their technology was incredibly advanced, but not anywhere near the level to which they had advanced. but they still liked to watch over their forefather’s creations/experiments, out of genuine scientific pursuit.

so at the very end we have the ship approaching the somewhat-outdated monolith, floating amongst saturn’s rings. as it gets near, it blasts our radio waves in all forms to no affect. then there is a robotic probe sent down to investigate, which fails. it is only when the pod containing the mind and life of human (bowman), in which the monolith actually responds. think about this: earlier, the monolith only responded to sunlight (which was why it had been buried). in a similar sense, it needs some sort of power to active its million-year-dormancy — it’s bowman’s presence of mind that does the trick. the machine of the monolithic rectangle scans bowman’s memory.

or so it seems, because then bowman’s like ‘”im out”, and drives off once there is nothing else left to do, because it seems like the discovery couldn’t discover anything — and gave up (via:

The logic circuits made their
decision when the pod had fallen
beyond the last faint glow of the
reflected Saturnian light.)

So the pod, not the ship, but the pod is disappearing off… far off into the distance. then, and only then, has the somewhat-outdated monolith made its decision. and what is that decision??  what is the mystery behind the void?

In a moment of time, too short to
be measured, space turned and
twisted upon itself.

it could just be an ending statement, as if to say the entire events of the story unfold in such an infinitesimal space of time, compared to the script (and movie’s) theme of large passages of time and small, isolated moments of influence that spark evolution. it might just be saying that these events caused a self-awareness and stir amongst the stars, even if only briefly.

but what do you think happens at the end?

the hope in me, deep down, is that it has something to do with time loops and maybe even towards “you going back in time to help your own future” [a la interstellar], in which in this case, the monolith activates some sort of emergency protocol in which sets in motion the events of the beginning.

but i followed everything that happened in this script. it put things that weren’t so obvious into a proper context. the only time i felt a little confused was during the ending — an ending which obviously wasn’t used — but im still curious exactly what happened.

normally im very precise on my blog about my writing, but im letting go a bit for this one and just opening it up to y’all. this is my first and only draft — im sure there are errors — but i really wanna know what you think about this, because it’s all ive been thinking about since i read it.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club — Revisited & Reimagined

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The quality of this new 2017 remastering moved me to tears: dancing; thinking; reflecting; astral projecting.  From the album’s opening to the end of “Getting Better” is intensive feel-good optimism proceeded by intensive introspection (which ultimately climaxes back into dancing anyways (“Within You Without You”).   At one point we astral project into the minds of our parents (“She’s Leaving Home”) only to hover over a future image of ourselves, wondering if we’ll always be taken care of (“When I’m Sixty-Four”).

This stereo remaster takes what was already extremely lucid to a downright four-dimensional place.  Any fan of the mono originals of each album, such as myself, would be proud to stand beside this hyper-actualized vision that only The Beatles could bring to life.  It just feels like hearing their original ideas, as they were inside-their-heads (without any limitations of 1960’s technology).

A large portion of how the band feels about being The Beatles is directly addressed in the finale — “A Day In The Life”. John Lennon reveals that the narrative is not being told based upon first-hand experience — he saw a photograph of a dead man at a traffic light in a stopped car, just as the light had turned green (“He didn’t notice that the lights had changed”).   Lennon tells the narrative in such a way that it sounds as if he is living a day in the life of that photograph (only to reveal at the end, that he’s just talking about a photograph).

This is proceeded by another verse where he simply describes wanting to see a film that’s gotten bad reviews (‘the crowds of people turned away’) since he had “read the book”.   It’s interesting that on both verses, Lennon’s narrative is based around escapism into another’s perspective — whether the photograph or a film.  This escapism is where I feel Sgt. Pepper’s resonates with today’s culture.

“A Day In The Life” blasts off once again into an instrumental crescendo — this time in 2017-remastered-glory, at full volume it’s almost as intense as a DMT trip.  Paul McCartney snaps us back with a very literal, day-in-the-life: He wakes up; gets ready; has a smoke and spaces out a bit.  Both narratives suggest that there is nothing all that special about the men behind the Beatles moniker — what’s clearly important to both us and them is making something special for to listen to.

The Beatles turn dense sound and vibes into easy-going and carefree sing-alongs. This is in-part due to lyrics like those described above in “A Day In The Life”, but the sentiment is found all throughout the album — there’s a resilient levity which never subsides.  They sometimes sing light because the music is heavy — as is the life it was drawn from.

The album title references those who, prior to listening, felt alone in some capacity.  Maybe you just needed levity in the background; to break the tension; to kickstart ambition (petty and great). Are you feeling alone? Join the club. Because The Lonely Hearts Club has its own band that performs a world-famous, all-inclusive show — and the Beatles directed the soundtrack.  The new remastering feels like it’s happening for the very first time.

Stereo Version available here.

THE BLOOD OF LIL UZI VERT

Push me to the edge
All my friends are dead

As this song continues and he must repeat these somber, horrible words, Uzi sounds as if he is falling apart, hardly able to finish as they roll around for the 8th time.  Immediately what follows is a verse with sharp resilience — yet still self-aware of immense loss.  Within the context of art and as a listener, one can still perceive these lyrics metaphorically; because what we relate to is the loss of friends and family, something that everyone experiences.

As a listener and as lyrics in the context of pop music, we connect to that loss in our own ways.  There are degrees to loss and that’s why this connects to something within us all, even those only in proximity to the feeling.

However you look at it, black kids are dying from violence in America and here’s someone who is young, musically inclined and black.  What’s one of his best songs?  A song about how fucking alone it feels to have every one of your friends die.  He’s an artist and as such he is at liberty to choose how real his personal lyrical narrative becomes.  With this considered, the chorus blurs the line between whether or not it’s his girlfriend or himself talking — or both.  This is a particularly genius touch on what was already a song that went miles-deep.

As dark as this song is, it’s triumphant and glorious at its core — even life-affirming.  Vocally, possibly intentionally, Woods [Uzi Vert] has a similar vocal and existential vibe to Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 [just imagine Blink-182 with Uzi Vert as the lead].  In the early 00’s the angst of 182 was largely introspective, but in 2017 Lil Uzi Vert is channeling an angst based on external, environmental circumstances.

Uzi Vert is 100% okay as he reassures us on the opening (“Are you alright? I’m alright, I’m quite alright…”); but hearing him fall to pieces over the song (and keeping the hype of the song going) it’s just one of the best things you can hear right now.

 

Scorsese’s Inferno

ImageI’ve been on a scary movie binge, but this is one of the most terrifying films I’ve seen. There are clues throughout the film the same way there are deaths throughout a horror movie.  As things progress, we’re made aware who is really innocent.  In retrospect, how obvious everything is; how plainly it’s presented — it will chill you to the core.

The socialite society is a metaphor for how any power system functions.  There are leaders; there are black sheep; there are those whom are respected without being admired — and every single person believes themselves to be on their own path, isolated from the rest of the system.  Yet, it’s so obvious where everyone fits and how easily everyone can be placed into a niche.

Newland feels guilt for the entire film and the viewer is led to believe he’s malicious, when in-fact, his desire is the most innocent of all.  May is revealed to be the devil incarnate: never missing the bullseye; maliciously gossiping of others; being distant with her husband; passive-aggressively telling Newland (moreorless), “Oh, do say hi to Ellen for me.”  These are all signs placed within the film, advising both Newland and the viewer just what’s what.

There’s nothing hidden in this world more than how others perceive you, and it’s so easy to manipulate that which is oblivious.  May represents evil as a force; their society, the hellish glamor they are all bound to.  The “scarlet” room is red for a reason; the manors are isolated fortresses; it always seems to be winter — Newland has no escape.  The wedlock scene plays like Newland becoming aware he’s gravely ill: the room spins as all potential life rushes by; he is merely swept along.

The most violent Scorsese film, indeed.

The Infinite Hallway (Fate vs Free Will)

  1. We are biologically alive and
  2. We are mentally conscious of this fact which
  3. Allows free will.

Yes, when analyzed, we are but a whirlwind of quarks bouncing upon quantum foam.  We have no knowledge of why quarks behave the way they do – it is intrinsically random.  If we were self-aware of every aspect that makes up who we are as a biologically living, mentally conscious, “free” individual, we would see the foundations of our thought processes are sealed in that of unexplainable synchronicities.  We are not those fractals.  Beyond a base level, do these constraints matter?  Do you first look at the top of a skyscraper, or do you analyze its foundation?  The answer is obvious – in every practical consideration of the term, we have free will.  Yes, there are societal constructs (these are breaking) and there are physical constructs.  However, even though we have no control of the rules in life, it is ultimately up to us how we play (or if we play).

Free will is embraced in optimism, while pessimism takes logical refuge in fate.  Both pessimists/optimists stand in the same hallway, with billions of doors to explore.  The pessimist realizes there are multiple floors and that only one door (which may not even exist) holds access to exploring the other hallways.  This mindset is intensified with the realization that there are also multiple buildings containing even more hallways, all contained within multiple cities, found on multiple planets, etc. etc.  The pessimist focuses on the repetition of constantly exploring the same hallway over and over again; creating a mindset revolving around life’s limitations and the “cruel fate” we have been subjected to.

The context of what’s behind each door is ever-changing.  Those who believe in fate see the limitations and recognize that life plays out like an experiment in a laboratory.  Replace the rodent and the maze with a human and the aforementioned infinite hallway.  The point?  How long before we run out of curiosity?  How long do our most intense moments of discovery last?  How long before the desire to free ourselves from ignorance becomes too repetitious and we grow weary of constantly opening new doors?

The optimist does not focus on this heavy realization.  Yes, while aware of our limited potential, free will ultimately understands that without this existential suffering, we could never experience the revitalization felt when discovering something truly holy, sacred, revolutionary or loving.  The mindset which embraces free will shall walk the hallway and admire its never-ending layers in silenced awe, never bothering to worry about an upstairs or a downstairs floor.

The optimist lives for the next moment; every moment like a lottery in which one picks their own numbers and draws them from a spinning pot.  Being that the ink is abrasive and easy to detect, with enough concentration, the optimist hopes to pull only the numbers found upon their own ticket.  This process of matching and selecting the best of life’s randomness continues until they have found themselves entirely and intentionally lost in plain sight; dancing in the realization of infinite potential and ever thankful for the experience.

This experience is the same experience which pessimism (and fate’s mindset) views as a cold and unrelenting experiment – all for the amusement of some distant observer.  Free will sees the observer as the true experiment.  This mindset finds freedom through transcendence of the boundaries; finding never-ending space and place to rest and contemplate.  The optimist knows that if the question is being thrown toward us (How long before we stop caring about finding novelty?) that an observer is awaiting an answer.  The joy and lifeblood of any optimistic mindset comes from the loving feeling of wanting to live up to human potential and being gracious to have even had the chance.  As this is an extended metaphor, the observer of this experiment and the one within the experiment of conscious (but limited) life are but the same person.

As children, the world is novel and even tragic moments come with the ecstasy of a truly new experience!  Fate says we are confined to search for novelty until we grow tired of the never-ending futile quest, but if we are confined and conscious, we will always have free choices to make.  Moments of shared transcendence continuously occur in reaction to progressive culture.  This essentially proves that when faced with the challenge to explore a billion doors or give up and become self-destructive (escapism), collectively, we have chosen to explore.

Fate and free will, optimism and pessimism – these are both sides of the same coin.  We are whole and feel different from day to day, inexplicably, like quarks (the foundation of our experience).  Today I am an optimist and tomorrow I will no doubt face thoughts of purposelessness.  The point is not that we “contradict” yesterday’s mantra in today’s actions, or that we can detect patterns of disappointment.  The truth is we do have the capacity to listen.  With this capacity comes potential for a love of life, that which goes beyond positive/negative thinking and that which is for transcendent purpose – to embrace every perspective, to attempt to empathize and to share our findings with any open ear.

A final thought:

If given immortality and omnipresent wisdom from birth, what would be the motivation to explore the hypothetical hallway, if one knew what was behind every door?  Knowledge of surroundings would not necessarily indicate transcendence from fate and if anything, it would lead to a desire to create an experiment the likes of which we now find ourselves metaphorically within.  From this perspective, it would appear that we are freer as mice in a maze, than the observers themselves.  It becomes obvious how true free will does not only occur when one is free of responsibility, but as an embraceable mindset possible in any circumstance.

“Modern Art” In Contemporary Society

Ask the average twenty-something what ‘modern art’ is and apart from an indifferent shrug, the response heard most often will be along the lines of “Oh, you mean Warhol and the soup cans?”

Warhol’s take on art was considered by many to be “the end of art”. Within the last year I have begun to realize the unintentional meaning this phrase carries in the ’00s.  To the average consumer, kid, adult and American, “art” is whatever is on television, our favorite films and the video game of the moment.  Traditional art, paintings, sculptures and the idea of a museum has become completely irrelevant apart from those who actively seek it out.  Art has faded into the background as a hobby at best and an unnecessary, exclusive, expensive and outdated luxury at worst.

Some might say, “Well, it’s simply been redefined” — this is ignoring the issue.  Paintings and the idea of putting art upon a pedestal for viewing has vanished from contemporary society and from the practical consumer’s mindset.  Sure, it has been replaced by flashier culture, but it’s only on a metaphorical pedestal, not a literal one, that we view video gaming and television.  What does a painting mean now?  If the term “modern art” means something that is half a century old (‘soup cans’), it’s clear that the very term is hypocritical.

Personally, art has meant album artwork.  This is a medium which many could toss up to containing a cohesive and beautiful statement once every 300 album covers.  Regardless, I have thrived off of my last remaining attachment I have to traditional paintings, even though the pedestal said album art is viewed upon is my laptop.

There is a poster on my wall containing the album artwork of Animal Collective’s 2009 album, “Merriweather Post Pavilion”.  When moving from college dorm A to college dorm B, I had forgotten to take down my posters.  My friend, Ryan, kindly took the posters down and stored them in his car, where they collected dust all summer long.  These posters were rolled together in a messy clump, rendering most of them ruined from being stuck together for such a long time.  However, there was one interesting effect to the Merriweather Poster.  In addition to several white tears, the sunlight had created a fantastic faded blue streak across the bottom of the image.  It gave a precise effect that looked as if it could have only been created digitally — or perhaps by leaving a poster exposed to three months of sunlight.

With no real desire to seek out far-less stimulating culture, the place for massive and vibrant paintings, sculptures and installations has been moved to one of two places:

  1. There are enthusiasts, many of them, who will never say goodbye to the wonder and subtlety that “true” art, found in a museum, provides.
  2. The second place this art has gone to (and the place which gets far more attention) is upon Flickr accounts, various impersonal Tumblr pages and occasionally upon a Google Image search.

If art was an experience to help transcend the trivialities of daily life, if even for a moment, and said experience no longer takes place outside the stream of our lives — what does that say for art?  We no longer have to visit museums to experience a plethora of styles; all we need is StumbleUpon and perhaps a search string.  Such ease allows us a whirlwind of culture, but at the same time, it is easy to under-appreciate the magnitude of the culture itself.

Conceptually, the artist is dead, because there are no longer pedestals for each artist to showcase their work upon.  All art created gets thrown into the digital void, upon one unified pedestal.  This pedestal is shared amongst all artists and with this sharing, artistic individuality has been lost in the digital stream of consciousness.  The artist is no longer relevant so much as the audience, i.e., you, as you have the power to skip to the next image or share it on your Facebook wall.  This is about as much praise as one can practically expect as an artist on a mass scale, apart from the occasional PR puff piece and blogosphere commentary.

The poster on my wall does not ask for my attention, yet it exists outside the internet, in its own museum (my room) on its own pedestal (the wall).  The audience (I and whoever is in the room at the time) is not forced to look upon this poster, but when they do, it captures the overstimulated attention span, if just for a moment.  Modern art is individually-oriented and based around personal narratives — one glance upon the poster reminds of a story.  It calls attention to something I have no control over (sunlight, the forces of nature, destroying my perfect replica of a favorite album) and in its own subliminal way, reminds of my own impermanence.  One may think that this is all a bit hyperbolic, but that’s just it!  There is nothing that is going to exist in our lives which will live up to the mythical shadow cast upon by pre-internet society, when it was impossible to fathom the audience even touching the pedestal, let alone controlling what was seen upon it.

This is why I can look to a sun-faded Animal Collective poster as the highest example of contemporary art imaginable.  This is why the definition of art in practical, contemporary society is exactly what you as a viewer, view it to be.  While artists will continue to make thought-provoking work to be seen in small scales, the masses are still left scratching their head, thinking to 1962’s “Campbell’s Soup Cans” as the only example of modern art — before tuning back into the daily programming.  Today, artistic relevance depends completely on what you personally find relevant.  Traditional art made by others will always have beauty, but it will never catch the eye as the heirlooms our lifetime will, however insignificant to an outside observer these may be.

The end of art meant the end of established artistic norms, of an invisible world telling you what you could and could not find aesthetically pleasing.  It began with Warhol realizing that art could be found anywhere, even in the supermarket.  If a supermarket is a pedestal, then it’s obvious that the museum is the human mind and whatever we attach ourselves to can be transformed into a gallery, flimsy posters included.

The Fading Hollywood Twilight

As icons and monoliths continue to fall we are left with less and less role models to look to.  Who replaces Michael Jackson?  What about Whitney Houston?  These intense groups of fandom and praise do not just disappear, instead, they hover.  They float aimlessly never to truly be fulfilled.  Who is going to live up to the hype that so many passing legends have generated in their lifetime?  This level of enthusiasm existed once and it implies that the public desires for it to exist again.

Except, there is no one else to live up to these icons.  These people came to popularity in a time of moreorless one-way communication and when what was on the radio was truly an indicator of popular American culture.  The truth is that the future is iconless and that the playing fields are completely level.  Take a look at someone like Lil B and look at how much instantaneous praise he gets on Twitter.  Conversely, look at someone like Rupert Murdoch, who might Tweet something casual only to be greeted by a hostile stream of criticism and backlash.  The public is rabid and there is no longer a barrier that exists to keep our opinions concealed from the celebrated and the popular.

This desire for new cultural messiahs has become vehement and aggressive.  Musical movements and relevant films come and go in the blink of an eye and with every passing day, the hype only intensifies.  The momentum is not disappearing — it’s increasing and it’s growing restless, leading to “trendy/flimsy” culture.  Today, Whitney Houston died.  Who will die tomorrow?  How many more icons will pass before we look around and realize that the field is completely devoid of beloved American role models?  How long before we look to the youth of the moment and find that there is no megaband and there is no universally loved actor to fill the longing void?

The cultural horizon is flat and infinite with absolutely no peaks that can be seen by the objective eye.  The only truth now, the only thing that matters, is your personal opinion and subjective taste.  The future is niche.  Every passing star makes the night that much darker.  However, there will never come a time when the sky shines as brightly as it did decades past.  It will not be long before we realize there is an approaching dawn and we no longer need to wait for the next Christlike cultural figure to emerge.  The new icon is that of eclectic personal choice.  As we learn to embrace every voice, no matter how much coverage has been given upon the radio or the Oscars, we will see a shining sun replacing the once astounding glow of the Hollywood twilight.  While the light that was cast down from the era of one-way communication was certainly meaningful to so many people, in time, I think the populous will begin to see just how glorious the collective brightness can actually be.