- Come back from the dead to instruct the living (Ghost, Heaven Can Wait);
- Have guardian angels (It’s a Wonderful Life, Topper, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, The Bishop’s Wife);
- Acquire super magical powers (Star Wars, Superman, The Matrix, X-Men).
|Ghost (1990), starring Whoopi Goldberg, Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze|
Now, to evolve to the next stage of being do we need such powerful emotions? Can we survive in world with less need for aggression and less space per individual owning, as part of our being, emotional states that frequently lead to trouble: wars, family breakdown, addiction, crime, greed, hate crimes? Emotions that many times — more often than not — lead us to make the wrong decision.
Perhaps pop culture, as it relates to the eventual metamorphosis of our species, can shed some light on the subject. I say eventual because it’s not for today. But, if and when it comes, what form will it take?
To illustrate the form this new human being might take, I’ll break down a Pop Culture icon and show how, beneath its many layers of metaphor it contains hidden patterns of unconscious yearning. This icon is none other than Don Siegel’s 1956 masterpiece, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, starring Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter.
|Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)|
Reading this review, I couldn’t help thinking about the common phrase: “He wasn’t himself.” A phrase often applied to persons who are losing emotional control. I don’t know if that’s the direction the author of this review was going in, but control of emotion is really the underlying theme of this movie. Except for human emotion, the original being and its Pod counterpart are alike in almost every way. Unbeknownst to the screenwriters, who may have thought they were making some sort of statement about Communist witch hunting, the real and hidden theme of the film is a change in being based on mass Kundalini awakening. The next great leap forward in human evolution.
I know this goes against everything you’ve ever heard of or thought about this film. It goes against our revulsion and fear of the Pod People, and our inherent tendency to side with the good guys, who in this case, are us, even though there are no superficial differences between the characters in their Original or Pod avatars. To us, our emotions, our ability to feel love especially, is the single attribute that sets us apart from them, that makes us “right” and them “wrong”. At least, that’s what the authors would have the characters believe, and through them, us. In one scene, the doctor, played by Larry Gates, explains this to Miles and Becky, who are so terrified at the thought of being stripped of their humanity, they can’t even listen. They don’t know Kundalini from nothing. That’s because the authors didn’t either. But unconsciously they took us far beyond Communist conspiracy and McCarthyism. They didn’t know it but they were describing the next stage of human evolution, one where humans, if we are to survive, will no longer need to express emotion in the wanton, destructive ways we do.
Let’s step back for a moment and reflect on the psychology of the screenwriter’s creative process. Since the inspiration comes from the author’s subconscious, it’s reasonable to believe that he had no conscious awareness of the deeper layers of meaning. In the case of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, it’s probable that the author wasn’t knowingly aware of the symbolism of a Kundalini awakening, especially if he was preoccupied with the subtextual theme of McCarthyism. Yet, the story has all the earmarks of this experience, at least in allegorical terms. People who fall asleep, only to awaken as new beings that are superior to the old. New beings that threaten the old order because of their superiority. Their superior emotional control, capacity to cooperate, to communicate, to get along, resistance to illness, longevity. The Pod represents the awakening process, the slow formation of the more perfect being. The results are clearly superior beings.
So, am I saying that we will not succeed as a species unless we can learn to govern our emotions? Up to the industrial revolution we needed powerful emotions to extend our dominance. Now we are moving in another direction. In the film, one of the characters talks about emotion as one of the elements that makes us human, that without it, we would not be human. Who knows what it is to be human? We don’t even know when we became human. That we came from the mud, evolved from lower forms is certain, but when did we become human and who’s to say that human being of today shall not evolve into further avatars with even greater powers of awareness? Is our evolution finished? Is our brain incapable of adding entirely new nodes — as it did long ago when it added the neocortex?