IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD
MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
Even though the weekend was plagued with protests and traffic stoppages, I managed to escape it all and retreated once again to the movie theater. I had been talking about how I have been anticipating this new movie called, Arrival, because it has a passing resemblance to the book, Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke.
As I have said before the book, Childhood’s End, has inspired many alien invasion stories and movies, however, this time the story of Arrival is not all about the aliens but a lesson in language, dialogue, and time perception.
I know everyone worries about whether or not I am going to drop a bomb of spoilers about a film, but I believe it is impossible to drop spoilers about this film because it isn’t about the plot – it is about the feelings you have when viewing it. To speak about the raw feelings it produces would be the spoiler.
The reason is because the film covers all too familiar territory that is told in a unique way, and to say it is just a run of the mill alien film would do it a disservice.
The aliens, while impressive and awe striking, are not the real object of our intrigue, it is how they communicate and what we learn about words and dialogue and how important it is to understand how humanity communicates and how an alien civilization might communicate with humanity.
Throughout the whole film, I kept hearing in my mind “In the beginning was the word, the word was with God, the word was God.”
Now, as fundamental as its sounds, the way that sentence is said and the language it is spoken in influences the perception and conception of what it means. That is why literal interpretation of anything based on language only can be can be flawed and far from what actually happened. Did God really speak things into existence? That is what the English translation says. However in the Greek interpretation the word for “the word” is Logos. Logos is a term that covers everything from “ground”, “plea”, “opinion”, “expectation”, “word”, “speech”, “account”, “reason”, and “discourse.” It is often interchangeable with knowledge and logic. It is also similar to the word lexis which opens the interpretation for “counting” as in an equation or formula—or rate of frequency.
So, could it be that in the beginning was a math equation or formula that only God had?
Was it just “words” that organized the chaotic components of the universe? Or was that “word” a frequency or a signal that took place that cells and molecular structures responded to?
The asteroids, the comets, and the Sun were all present at the creation and the frequencies of each planet were tuned and fine tuned to open the channel for creation.
Astrobiological explanations have blanketed the mainstream lately giving us hints and clues that the probability of life everywhere in the universe is highly likely.
Panspermia had been talked about since the 1960’s, however, the idea of living cells coming from space was dismissed based on the possibility of contamination from earthly contact.
According to the research on the subject, the discovery “gives support to the theory that a “kit” of ready-made parts created in space and delivered to Earth by meteorite and comet impacts assisted the origin of life.” The obvious implication of this discovery is that, if life blocks are spread through the universe through comets and asteroids that impact on planets, the possibilities of life that uses the same blocks on other planets is a very real one.
Mankind, from its primitive state, gained knowledge and along the way realized that the only way to raise themselves above the other creations — they had to communicate.
Stephen Hawking once discussed the impact and importance of communication on advances in society and what the lack of communication can do to a society. In a commercial for British Communications he stated:
“For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen. Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together to build the impossible. Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn’t have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.”
The movie, Arrival, not only demonstrates how advanced communication can help us speak to an alien race, but how listening and not making emotional judgments on speech and meaning can keep us from being destroyed.
Before the advent of language, we were guided by feelings, and our feelings are a universal language of sorts. However, in modern society – the compass of feeling cans end confusing signals, causing us to react before analyzing, to emote without logic, to stay stuck in our own cycles of good/evil, right/wrong, win/lose, is/isn’t, and left/right.
Arrival sends a clear message that in order to truly communicate we have to cleanse our palate of our perceptions and look at existence and time from a more macrocosmic point of view.
When we are confronted with the unknown, or the “other”, we may come to find that having speech or interpreting it based on prejudice is not so advantageous.
Feelings can transcend speech, sound, time, and space, and with the tools of language we carry the power to create, or to destroy. However, destruction may also be an act of creation, creation an act of destruction – and life is the ongoing process of this non-linear cycle of transcendence.
The very notion of language as the tapestry which weaves the movie storyline together is seamlessly imparted throughout the experience of the film, including Biblical, modern, and cultural context for the thread which ties the complex themes together.
William S. Burroughs once said that “Language is a virus from outer space.”
In fact, the UFO’s in the film called “shells” and they resemble human cells a metaphor for what speaks to the body, and the brain. The conceptual idea of language as a virus is one of the underlying themes of the film. We learn what the aliens call it, which challenges our notion of how language is a social construct which either limits or expands our perception.
The aliens in Arrival have 7 legs and they are called Heptapods, meaning seven feet. They communicate through sound, and a complex form of Rorshach like symbols, which are spelled through an opening from their feet which sprays black ink.
The Heptapod has seven “tentacles”, seven seeming to be an interesting choice, as in Biblical reference, the creation happened in 7 days and of course, the idea that in the beginning was the word.
I noticed that most of the writing provided by the aliens looked similar to the Ouroboros. The symbol of the Ouroboros is the dragon or Leviathan eating its tail. Throughout ancient writings, this symbol resonates and vibrates with the Planet Neptune and the number 7.
It represents spirituality, sensitivity, sympathy, and mystery. In the Bible, 777 is associated with the 7th seal, 7th trump and the 7th vial. It is then that Christ returns.
777 is a trigger triple number, meaning that it is a number that triggers events, actions, wealth, poverty, tragedy and happiness. 777 represent the threefold perfection of the trinity. The antithesis of 777 is the triquetra (Satanic trinity) number 666.
With the words of the Heptapod coming from what can be viewed as the center of creation, the metaphorical interpretation of language as a creator, is an integral theme within the exchanges between the Heptapods and the team looking to decipher their system of communication.
As the team was trying to communicate using dry erase boards and computers – it reminded me of something I reported about CERN and the tapestries seen at the Large Hadron Collider.
The scientists at CERN have been studying the Higgs-Boson or the “god particle” and have allegedly been using the supercollider to open “portals” in space time. While a lot of this speculation has been minimized as myth by scientists, the act of pulverizing particles and opening wormholes can send out signals or frequencies.
Theoretically, if a message could hitch a ride on a frequency it could communicate with beings or ultra terrestrials that may lurk in the outer dimensions.
I pointed out that located at the CERN facility are special panels or tapestries that are like huge slides. On each slide there are special messages in several languages.
Each slide looks like it is made of stretched cloth with symbols, letters and geometric shapes printed on them. Other symbols include Mandarin Chinese symbols, Arabic symbols and another panel has Sanskrit characters. In India, the only people that read and write Sanskrit, are scholars of Vedas and Upanishads, scriptures written in the “language of the gods.”
In fact in the film the character of the linguist played by Amy Adams mentions the Sanskrit word for “War” which can be interpreted to mean “a desire for more cows.”
It makes you wonder if CERN is being used as a platform for communicating with dimensional beings and that the frequencies and the shapes used are being seen as attempts to communicate with alien beings?
Words have the power to create or destroy, and behind the veil of perception we can become blind by poor translation.
The words we use influence our perceptions and conceptions of the world. For example even in the same language, a book may be labeled erotic fiction by one reader and “pornographic” by another, and each will tend to perceive/conceive the book that way more and more automatically if they repeat their label over and over.
The truth is it may be neither.
Also the words people use create a perception of who they are and what they stand for. What better way to illustrate this that with the election of President Elect Donald Trump. The liberal left sees Trump as racist, misogynist, and narcissistic by his words alone. They cannot possibly judge him by his actions as he is not acting as president yet.
What many people are now overlooking is that while he has said many things that have disgusted the left leaning voter. It has lately become evident that his demeanor has changed since being elected. He seems to be realizing the gravity of his position.
He has now said that he will not put Hillary Clinton in jail, he is not going to get rid of Obama care, and that he will not reverse same sex marriage.
No matter what he changes in his policy his words have arguably poisoned his campaign for some people.
Linguists have oft times shown that perceptions/conceptions are also shaped by the structure of the language we use. A Native American, an African, a Chinese, etc.—anyone using a non-Indo-European language structure—will live in a different universe than those who only know Indo-European.
Sometimes we judge people on their dialect. That is why racial stereotypes and mocking of language is considered ill mannered and a form of prejudice.
Words without attributed context could be the reason why we are seeing hate and divisive language today. We have been put into a position of either stand down or stand up and neither is happening – we are falling to our knees and surrendering ourselves to hate and general anxiety. The preponderance of all the ugliness is building inside everyone in the world. The feelings that are being expressed in truth are being called hate speech, and everyone seems to be in the business of coddling and supporting victimization.
We are at a loss for what can be called, healthy social cohesion. We are now defining ourselves by what we are against, rather than what we stand for. We value the ability to shame people rather than to help people understand differing points of view.
Contra-positioning has become an overused way of thinking whereby, there is an easy and intellectual answer to everything and that if someone has a new idea it can always be rejected because someone sees fit to counter it using spurious methodology.
The battles we seek are not really battles at all but contrarian countering of people we think have unpopular viewpoints. We see it as an act of defiance to those who we think are irrelevant in the social strata.
We have now become vicious to each other on social media sites and Twitter – the anger and speculation is creating a serious psychological schism which if left unchecked, will turn brother-against-brother and American-against-American.
These events are creating destabilization, which in turn, makes a country vulnerable and ripe for takeover.
We have become ideologically decimated. Your words and opinion about every issue is a litmus test of your morality, competency, religious and political purity.
That is why, if anything, the movie Arrival teaches us that we must be careful with words and that sometimes words and metaphors out of context can be misunderstood and feelings misinterpreted.