“Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2”: can a young man be a god and not know it for a little while?

Can a young man first born in the American Midwest to a seemingly average pair of young lovers find out that he is supposed to become a god and be immortal?  Can one be a god or angel  (or human-looking alien from another planet) and not know it until some initiation in young manhood?  Maybe Chris (or Christian, like in the Sibelius King Christian Suite) is the best name for such a character or the Hollywood star who plays him.  Donald Trump would never suspect a thing; his travel bans won’t apply to UFO’s from other planets.

That seems to be the gist of the new franchise sequel, “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” written and directed by James Gunn (based on the Marvel comics series by Dan Abnett).

Minnesota-born (from the Iron range) Chris Pratt (remember him as the teenager “Bright” in the WB Series “Everwood”) plays the archtype superhero Peter Quill, or Star-Lord.  Chris, approaching 38, does look a little more weathered, and as I recall had at one time gained weight, which he shed. Now, well post-adolescence, there is a mop of hair decorating the middle of Chris’s chest, which is at risk from the laser probes through his bod toward the end.  (That also happened to the young Clark Kent on Smallville near the end of Season 2, resulting in a keloid scar for a few episodes.)  Chris’s character needs to add some art to his people skills: how about singing bel canto, playing piano, directing plays, and making short films.  He does carry others on his back.

After a prologue set against the disco radio music of 1980, we jump to 2014, when Peter (who, without relativity, would be the same age as Jesus during his ministry) visits the High Priestess (that was the name of a friend’s cat when I lived in NYC) on a golden throne in a golden palace in a city on some other planet looking like Dubai.  He’s sent on a quest to find his father and his ancestry. How he gets past the speed of light barrier is not explained.  Does he rent a digital holographic replica of his body from Hertz when he streams instantly to a new planet?  Oh, they show in him spaceships with a co-pilot Rocket, a talking raccoon with voice of Bradley Cooper.  And there is a little wood spirit (whose learning abilities play a critical role in the resolution at the end) with voice of Vin Diesel.

There are some other planets, like one with an open market in what looks like a town in Siberia, but he finally meets his real father, Ego, played by a foppish but aging Kurt Russell.  Ego has created his own living planet in his name, the size of the Moon – making us wonder how it has near Earth gravity. (Ever notice how these planets all have the same atmosphere as Earth?)  Ego wants to expand, so that the entire universe (or at least Milky Way Galaxy) becomes him.  The planet has wonderful scenery:  organix spires of plant material, with red and violet colors as well as the more common photosynthetic green.  Are any of these planets tidally locked?

We do see planets explode at the end, at least Ego.  And there is a scene where a blue mass (remember “The Blob”, which was pink) encroaches on a town (is that back in Missouri?)

And finally, after Peter is reassembled one last time it seems like he will become a god whether wants to or not.

Remember the pretext of the NBC series “The Event”, where Jason Ritter’s character saves everyone but doesn’t know he is an alien?

Wiki chart of sizes of exoplanets known so far.

Name:  “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
Director, writer:  James Gunn
Released:  2017/5
Format:  2.35:1, 3-D, IMAX
When and how viewed:  AMC Potomac Mills, Woodbridge, VA, 2017/6/4, late, small audience
Length:  136
Rating:  PG-13
Companies:  Marvel, Walt Disney Pictures
Link:  official

(Posted: Monday, June 5, 2017 at 6:15 PM EDT)

“Life After Death”: the geography of the Afterlife (Martin)

I received, from author Stephen Hawley Martin, a complimentary review copy of his Second Edition (2017) “Life After Death: Powerful Evidence You Will Never Die”.  I think the first edition was in 1995.

The author believes that consciousness generates the Universe and permeates it.  Consciousness exists apart from matter and energy – you could wonder if it has anything to do with dark energy, or with unused dimensions in string theory.  Consciousness tends to aggregate into concentrates that seek some sort of physical vehicle for expression.  Since ultimate conscious entities can make choices, in theory conscious entities – expressed (on this planet at least) with reproductive life forms, oppose entropy, which would cause the Universe to degrade.

Human being (and animal) individual consciousness comes about as genetics and “morphogenetic” influences cause a “soul” or conscious entity to become expressed or “received” by a physical body.  Many other sources talk about “free will” and self-awareness as connected to microtubules within neurons able to deal with quantum uncertainties.

Martin’s book, which is a bit random in its presentations style, focuses most on evidence from “near death experiences” or NDE’s, and many examples of reincarnation.  He mentions AMORC, or the Rosicrucian Order, as well as the Monroe Institute (20 miles south of Charlottesville VA) which he says the CIA has used to train agents in remote viewing. He cites cases of intelligent people with very little cerebrum matter, and notes that even plants can “behave” despite not having brains.

I think there is a logical question.  Do most newborn babies develop a “new” soul, or are most actually reincarnations?  If the universe expands infinitely and has infinitely many centers of consciousness, there could be an “infinite series” of reincarnation – but then again, some series will converge! He mentions AMORC’s (Rosicrucian) teaching that typical reincarnation cycles last about 140 years.

The author suggests that homosexuality may result when the person was of the opposite sex in the previous incarnation (although this idea runs the risk of confusing sexual orientation with gender identity or fluidity, very different concepts).  It’s all too easy to imagine the “Putin” argument that acceptance of homosexuality can lower procreation (and give returning souls another chance).

He also talks about “life between lives”, as being “what you want”.  Some souls “get stuck” as “asylum seekers” and become ghosts.  The sites “Afterlife Knowledge” and Mike Pettigrew’s give a geography of the Afterlife.  Note the “hollow heavens” available to those with strict religious beliefs;  “Focus 27” seems to be the most advanced level.   The author notes that a lot of souls got “stuck” after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, but not after 9/11, because the deaths were more instantaneous. That would suggest that the way you die does affect your next course in the Afterlife.

The  soul life might be the “real life”, whereas earthly life is like a “dream” (as in the song “Row your boat”);  In a dream during sleep, you don’t remember how you got there, although you know who you are.  This is the concept of Christopher Nolan’s movie “Inception” (2010).  Other films worth mention here are “Cocoon” (Ron Howard, 1985), or even  the “Chiller”, “The Disembodied” (1957). The appropriate term for a person who has passed away is “discarnate”.  We could also ponder “Our Home: Astral City” (2011, Brazil), “What Dreams May Come” (1998, Robin Williams), and “Defending Your Life” (1991).

Martin mentions the “life review” that occurs at time of passage, that seems to give the person access to every moment in his or her life as if on a video.  The term reminds me of “content evaluation” in the POD book industry.  As evidence of his theory, Martin also notes that people with Alzheimer’s disease often become lucid and get most of their memory back just before they pass on, as if the memory came from a repository of cosmic consciousness.

Martin also talks about Grace as a cosmological concept that matches up with that in the Christian and other faiths, as organizing nature.  He explains telekinesis (or maybe self-teleportation as with young Clark Kent in “Smallville”) as instances of “mind over matter”.

He does mention angels a couple times, and I’ve wondered if these are immortal physical beings, or maybe someone like Jason Ritter’s hero character Sean Walker in NBC’s series “The Event“, someone who doesn’t know he is an alien, and almost immortal, until the end.  In my own novel manuscript “Angel’s Brother” I play with the idea that a soul could experience another (younger) person’s body through “consolidation” (through a fictitious virus) but the process backfires when one of the persons separates as piece of ball lightning and then reconnects himself.

Martin mentions the Myers-Biggs personality charts (p. 173), and considers himself “INTJ” (introverted-intuitive-thinking-judging), about 2% of the population.  I fall into that category (“feminine subjective” by Rosenfels), and can be unpopular, viewed as a spectator rather than a participant.

I think the concept of relation between soul and living person can be put into analogy with a phonograph recording of a performance of a music work.  This concept may have been more applicable in the past before the Internet and digital age with cloud storage.  But an “instance” recording of a work can wear out (bad styli in the past) and need to be replaced, but the actual work and performance still lives forever.  You could even draw a comparison to object-oriented programming, with “classes” and “instances”, where rebirth is “instantiation” (or “construction”).

I have visited the grounds of the Monroe Institute (Aug. 2014), but you have to arrive very early for a one day event.   The long sessions with Hemi-Sync require a considerable time commitment.   I visited the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose CA in 1975.

Author: Stephen Hawley Martin
Title, Subtitle: “Life After Death: Powerful Evidence You Will Never Die”
publication date 2017, 1995
ISBN 978-1543134322
Publication: Oaklea Press, Richmond Va; Paper, 13 chapters, 206 pages
Link: sales

(Posted: Monday, March 20, 2017 at 9:15 PM EDT)

“Paradox”: a time travel lab and quantum mechanics necessitate identity theft


Name: Paradox
Director, writer: Michael Hurst
Released: 2016
Format: 1.85:1
When and how viewed: Netlix instant, 2016/12/1
Length 89
Rating NA
Companies: XLRator
Link: NA

Paradox” (2016), directed by Michael Hurst, gives me another example of how time travel provides rather pointless opportunities for movie plot manipulation for its own sake.

When a young scientist (Adam Huss) enters a time travel machine (looking rather like Taylor Wilson’s home fusion reactor, or perhaps to a photoflash body cleanser) he moves ahead one hour, to midnight, to learn that most of the lab occupants will killed by an intruder.

What follows is various attempts to evade fate (which you can’t change) with various paradoxes, based on quantum uncertainties (the Schroedinger Cat) which, transposed into this movie, mean that people change identities. There is an African-American invader who seems to want to impersonate a notorious stock trade (maybe to possess “Donovan’s Brain”). But the other two young white men on the set realize that if one becomes the other, the first one has full moral responsibility for the past irrevocable (after all) acts of the other. You can’t wake up as somebody else. The heroine Gale (Zoe Bell) may find that out.

The movie has a rather claustrophobic look, as it is all indoors. There’s not much of a journey.

There’s an allusion to the famous “Five Minutes to Self-Destruct” in “The Andromeda Strain”.

Posted: Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 at 12:15 AM

“Listening”: what if telepathy and even telekinesis could replace the Internet?


Name: Listening
Director, writer:  Khalil Sullins
Released:  2015
Format:  2.35:1,  97 min
When and how viewed:  Netflix instant play (also available on Amazon, $2.99)
Companies: Amplify
Link: Facebook

Telepathy, rooted in neurobiology, could provide the ultimate Internet (it does for the blue aliens on Pandora in “Avatar” (2009)).  That is a partial premise of the little thriller “/Listening” (2015), directed by Khalil Sullins.

David Thorogood (Thomal Stroppel) is a cash-strapped inventor and Cal-Tech graduate student, about as attractive as one gets physically, and prematurely married with kids.  He and his funky “best friend” Ryan Cates (Artie Ahr) have invented a telepathy technology that means placing a device in the temple area and hooking it up to some bizarre wireless networks.  It also requires injecting nano-bots into the spinal fluid.

The script talks about carbon nano-tubes, which are part of the technology that Jack Andraka used for his simple pancreatic cancer test  (also the topic of a short film by Morgan Spurlock, “You Don’t Know Jack”).  In fact, various Twitter feeds (not just Jack’s) report that Jack envisions the day when everyone will carry nano-bots in their blood stream (“Fantastic Voyage”) to detect and zap early cancers.  Jack was even cast as a manga character in a space-suit, “Nano Man” (like a X-man).  (By the way, people’s who don’t eat processed foods have very little cancer.)  The same medical idea is mentioned here, but not with the comic-book humor possible on Twitter.

Ryan’s head has already shaved (and maybe his chest) for the various monitors, but David remains physically unscathed, until a woman Jordan (Amber Marie Bollinger) enters the picture.  Soon David’s temple area gets shaved appropriately, and he learns the jobs of telepathic sex.  That is like having a rem-sleep dream about an intimate encounter with someone one desires, and then wondering if the other person had the same dream or knows.  (This seems to have happened with me a few times.)

Now the screenwriting gets formulaic, putting the “hero” in artificial dangers, which pile up.  He gets evicted and his wife threatens divorce. But that’s nothing compared to what happens when the fibbies show up, arrest the two men, and then agree to let them off if they will go to work for the NSA and CIA for some obscure contractor.  How predictable.  You’re worried that the NSA can read just your emails and social media posts? Even Edward Snowden is put to shame.

Things come to a head, and David escapes for R-R in a southeast Asian Buddhist meditation camp.  Now his own head gets shaved (finally) and stays that way.  His guru leads him to the space between his thoughts and actions, to the very idea of causality in physics.  (The film starts with the Cambodian scene and then presents the mainline as backstory).

When David returns, he will get what is due.  Onto telepathy he has added telekinesis , that can be deadly to the fibbies, who can drop like files.

Technically, many of the backstory scenes in LA are shot in sepia, which seemed a distraction.

Picture: Mine, Upperville CA, 2012 (site of an Understanding convention in 1979 which I attended)

Related films: “Primer” (2005), by Shane Caruth;  “The Dark Place” (2014) by Jody Wheeler.

(Posted: June 9, 2016 at 1:30 PM EDT)