Renaissance Astrology Home Page SERVICES PAYMENT COURSES BOOKS CONTACT SEARCH Renaissance Astrology Home Page

Mass Magic Course
Christopher Warnock, Esq.
Spoonful of Sugar:
The Matrix, The Deerhunter and the Magic of Mass Media
HOME


Warning Blue Pill side effects may include murder

Mass Magic Course
Introduction to Mass Magic
Astrology and Magic Courses
Information on Astrology
and Magic Courses
Astrological Magic Course
Introduction to the
Astrological Magic Course
Planetary Magic Mini-Course
Introduction to the
Planetary Magic Mini-Course
Mansions of the Moon Mini-Course
Introduction to the
Lunar Mansions Mini-Course
Spiritus Mundi
Subscribe to Spiritus_Mundi
Traditional (pre-1700) Astrology
Discussion Group
Powered by groups.yahoo.com

Advanced Search


A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, the medicine go down-wown, the medicine go down.
Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, in the most delightful way.









The Matrix
The Copycat Effect
The Deerhunter
Mass Magic
Further Information




The Matrix


TOP

I have to admit that I was floored the first six times that I saw "the Matrix" The frenetic pacing, the cool costumes, the slick martial arts were all a plus, but what I was really taken by was the idea of the Matrix itself, "a prison for your mind".
Though one really needs to see "the Matrix" to properly understand this essay, in brief, the hero, Neo, aka Thomas Anderson, is a programmer by day and hacker by night. He is intrigued by Morpheus, a hidden, illusive figure and contacted by Trinity, a beautiful ex-hacker messenger of Morpheus. He is then arrested by "agents" who look like Hoover's prototypical G-men and finally meets Morpheus.
Morpheus engages him in a philosophical discussion of reality and then offers him a chance to find out "what the Matrix really is" Neo takes the blue pill and discovers that the consensus reality is false, that humans have been enslaved by conscious machines and kept in compliance by a web of illusion, the Matrix, piped directly into their cerebral cortext.
The rest of the movie consists of Neo's training, encounters with the mysterious Oracle, an inspired bit of casting as an elderly African American woman in public housing, and duels with the superhuman agents, guardians of the Matrix. Neo, anagrammatically, is the One, the human messiah who will free the humans enslaved by the Matrix.
Heady stuff indeed! The initial movie spawned endless discussion, web sites, even Ph.D dissertations and books. It was extolled as modern gnosticism, myth and messianic storytelling of the highest caliber.
I was definitely intrigued by the film. I bought my own copy and put a special links section on my web site. I looked forward to the upcoming sequels. Boy, what a disappointment they were. The plotting of the original Matrix had been almost impossibly fast moving, but always on a direct trajectory. The sequels Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions were confused and sprawling, leading nowhere. While increasingly spectacular the special effects and fight scenes were meaningless, comic book exercises.
And indeed, this appears to be the received wisdom on the Matrix movies; the first was great, the sequels, duds. The critical opinion seemed to be that the real meat of the film were the Gnostic and visionary themes that played out around the central metaphor of the Matrix itself, the great interactive program of mind control. That such a deep and traditional esoteric philosophy, one that had been found heretical almost two millennia ago, could form the core of a modern and massively popular film, was of great interest to scholars and film cognoscenti and spawned a mini-industry of writing and thought based on the Matrix. The original movie, that is, not the unfortunate sequels.
So what mattered about the Matrix was the philosophy, this was the real message while the martial arts/comic book violence of the first movie was necessary for mass consumption.



The Copycat Effect


TOP

However, as I researched further in the area of mass media, I began to have some qualms about my earlier enthusiasm for the film. I read of the murders of Paul and Margaret Cooke in Northern Virginia. Their son, obsessed with the Matrix, had killed with a shotgun at close range. In fact, further research revealed that the Matrix and other movies had a connection to murder and violence. This connection is highlighted in Loren Coleman's The Copycat Effect A well researched and compelling account of how media accounts of violence, particularly suicide trigger off further deaths. In The Copycat Effect Coleman, a respected authority on suicides and the author of "Suicide Clusters" goes into exhaustive detail and carefully documents the phenomenon of copycat suicides.
After reading the extensive documentation that Coleman provides I had no doubt of the existence of the suicide copycat effect. What is interesting about Coleman's account is that he never descends into a polemic about media violence and it is clear that the media does not "cause" violence, but rather triggers off these occurrences in susceptible individuals. Coleman notes the connection of The Matrix to the Columbine school shootings and to Lee Boyd Malvo, part of the Washington sniper murders.



The Deerhunter


TOP

The film, "The Deerhunter" is perhaps the most notorious media trigger of violence, particularly obvious due to the signature Russian roulette suicides associated with it. Coleman gives so many examples that the connection can scarcely be doubted. Upon viewing the film again recently, I can see why it has such a strong effect. First of all, we might note the term "Russian roulette" itself. It is a game and sounds rather domesticated, almost like Russian dressing, or Canadian football. There is not one, but many scenes of Russian roulette in the film, increasing its effect by repetition. The hero that willingly "plays the game" is portrayed as brave and survives. Those that refuse to play are shown as cowardly and end up insane or dead.
What is most striking about "The Deerhunter" is the emotional intensity that the director is able to bring to the film. The long opening sequence in the Pennsylvania steel town ends with a very quiet, contemplative scene immediately juxtaposed with brutal violence and the cruel murder of women and children in Vietnam. We identify with the characters and are gripped by the harrowing initial Russian roulette scene. This heavy emotional connection is exactly what garnered such critical praise for the film. It touches us on a deep level.
But, this is why it is such a strong trigger for suicide! What most in the audience felt deeply, a few are affected profoundly. By seeing these images and sounds when one is emotionally affected, the message portrayed has a stronger and more significant effect. We might term this extreme advertising since it "sells" these susceptible individuals on Russian roulette.
One of the legal tests for pornography was whether or not the material had, "redeeming social value." We can say that filmmakers in "The Deerhunter" and "The Matrix" did include material that raised these films above the comic book and mass pop level. Yet, in paradoxically, it is the "quality" mass media that is the most dangerous. By juxtaposing material with a strong emotional impact and philosophical context "The Matrix" does pack a psychological punch and the accompanying sounds and images of violence are absorbed by the viewer with a correspondingly strong emotional charge.



Mass Magic


TOP

We may ask "what is really going on here?" If we limit ourselves to the modern consensus reality we can veer off into modern medicine and hem and haw about brain chemistry and DNA without being able to cause or even predict results or we can follow a left/liberal political "science" bent and bemoan the evils of corporate media leading the passive people by their collective nose. Neither of these approaches gives us a way to explain why, for example, some advertising campaigns work and others do not. Mass media practitioners themselves, for all their empirical sophistication, have no overarching theoretical explanation for what they do. No modern approach gives us a theoretical understanding as well as a way to put that theory into practice.
For a cogent and clear understanding of what the mass media are and how they are made use of, we had best realize that we rational and scientific moderns actually live in a world of magic, in the most literal, not metaphoric sense.
Professor Ioan Coulianu in his Eros and Magic in the Renaissance notes that magicians have not disappeared in the modern world, "...they have simply been camouflaged in sober and legal guises...Nowadays the magician busies himself with public relations, propaganda, market research, sociological surveys, publicity, information, counterinformation and misinformation, censorship, espionage and even cryptography..." Eros and Magic, page 104.
The methodology used by the mass magician, says Coulianu, is identical with that laid out by the 16th century philosopher Giordano Bruno. Bruno, mistakenly seen by moderns as a martyr of science, was in fact a magician of great note. Bruno describes his magic as involving the creation of vincula or magical bonds. The mage must understand the weaknesses and desires of his subject and then create appropriate sounds and images in order to control and dominate his subjects. Bruno says, "The most important of bonds is the bond of Venus and of love in general, and that which is primarily and powerfully the opposite of love's unity and evenness is the bond of hate."A General Account of Bonding" in Cause, Principle and Unity, page 173. All magical bonds, therefore depend on either love or hatred and these are but the two poles of unity of attraction and repulsion.
Mass media thus present powerful exemplars of magical bonding. We have been trained to associate the strength, grace, athletic prowess and wealth of Michael Jordan with Nike, $200 shoes, mere rubber and nylon, literally talismans of magical power. Movies like The Deerhunter and The Matrix are careful assemblages of moving images and music, amplified and greatly enlarged for viewing. Their success in casting magical bonds can be seen in the success of their "extreme advertising"; that is, not just their box office receipts, but the copy cat violence that they trigger in susceptible individuals.
There is currently no evidence that creators of the Matrix movies, the Wachowski brothers, or other filmmakers are consciously attempting to trigger off violence. Certainly they are making every effort to make popular and emotionally effective movies. In doing so they are dabbling in modern day black magic, for in punching the emotional buttons of the masses, they inevitably hit the occasional viewer for whom a mere psychological reaction is not sufficient. Their fears, desires and weaknesses are touched on a deep level and the copycat effect is triggered.
Given the dangers of unintended effects, we can therefore gain some idea of the possibilities inherent in the conscious use of modern media magic, which runs the gamut from Gandhi and Martin Luther King to Hitler. So we must therefore consider what is the sugar and what is the medicine that we are unceasingly imbibing from the mass media? Those who are convinced that they are unaffected by its sounds and images, are among those most susceptible to its effects.


Further Information


TOP

If you have any additional questions or comments please Contact me. If you would like to learn more about traditional astrology and astrological magic and mass magic you may also find the Mass Magic Course, the Electional Astrology Course, the Astrological Magic Course, the Mansions of the Moon Mini-Course, the Planetary Magic Mini-Course and my discussion group, Spiritus Mundi to be of interest.



TOP

Renaissance Astrology Home Page
HOME


Please Contact me with any Questions & Comments

Specializing in Horary Astrology, Electional Astrology Astrological Magic and Astrological Talismans.

Copyright 2005, Christopher Warnock, All Rights Reserved.