"Mathematicians have discovered there are infinitely many infinities, each one infinitely bigger than the last. And if the universe goes on forever, the consequences are even more bizarre. In an infinite universe, there are infinitely many copies of the Earth and infinitely many copies of you. Older than time, bigger than the universe and stranger than fiction. This is the story of infinity." To Infinity & Beyond
Happy Día de Muertos!
THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: WAS NOT THE WORK OF HOUDINI OR MAY BE IT WAS
By Fahim A. Knight-El
Who was really behind the U.S. Government shutdown? This unceremonious event caused the U.S. economy to lose over 24 billion dollars during the so-called sixteen (16) day government shutdown. Will someone please tell me what sense does this make when here is a nation already strapped for cash and has become one of the leading debtor nations in the world; unless those in control had some covert manipulative scam in the inner workings, which has gone undetected by the masses and has yet to readily reveal itself relative to the unseen agenda. I suspect the same culprits who were behind the government shutdown, are the same ones behind inducing all past social phenomenon and will continuing having their hands in determining the future direction of humanity.
The Confederates in the U.S. Congress are bent on destroying America's first black president by any means necessary, even if it means, holding the American people hostage and if these good ole boys totally had their way, it would be easy to imagining them summoning federal and state troops and seizing the White House (imprisoning the sitting president and his cabinet) and declaring Texas, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama and may be even Ohio as the 'New U.S. Capitol'. This is the type of vitriol and mean-spirited hatred that is running through the veins of some of these modern confederates who dresses up in dark business suits and neck ties (and is called senators and congresspersons).
Yet, I do think when the government fails the people, as in the government shutdown case and did not act responsible towards the political and social interest of the American people then there should be a provision in the U.S. Constitution that gives the people the legal right to suffer no unwarranted tyrannical and oppressive actions by lawmakers who were intentionally being derelict in their duties to defend and protect the United States Constitution from foreign and domestic enemies (the actions of the U.S. Congress posed a clear and imminent danger to the overall stability of the people and the U.S. Government). I am not a legal or constitutional law expert, but perhaps some would argue that this type of language is already covered in the U.S. Constitution. The government shutdown should have been viewed as a breech and compromise of U.S. National Security, but these elected low-level operatives were allowed to just walk away from this economic disruption and the elected government officials led sabotage only became a sign of business as usual. Many of them continued to receiving their government salaries (taxpayer’s money) during the shutdown. I am all for the right to dissent and I believe that dissension brings about balance to governmental power and authority. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul and others, their dissention were racially motivated coupled by an attack on the poor and simanteously ensuring that the wealthy continues as the beneficiaries of our misery. This was nothing but a shrewd game of chess that has been rigged like some Las Vegas poker game and the winners have already been predetermined (the cheating is so sophisticated and high tech that it cannot be detect by the naked eye).
Now, the conventional response to this type of derelict in political duty would be that our focus should be on organizing grassroots voter's mobilization strategies and devising tactics and establishing a real political movement in order to effectively bring about change. I am intentionally hinting at Third Party Politics which has always been stifled by the power of the two corporate political parties. What political strategies after this debacle do we have to alter the upcoming midterm elections and change the faces of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate? However, the two corporate parties wield so much power and influence in which I lost optimism in the voting process along time ago. I will continue to echo this, our vote don't mean a damn thing, it is just an exercise design to keep the masses pacified and believing that we have the influence to determining how we desire to see our democracy shaped by engaging in the electoral process (what an ideological sham) .
The true wealth holders of the United States and the globe, they do not cast ballots, but it is they who determine the outcomes of all influential elections and all big elections are won and lost in their financial and political interest. Voting has never been about the empowerment of the masses, it is only a symbolic illusion to give the impression to the U.S citizens of being a participatory democracy and government led by the people. I was taught in my eight grade civics course that this was what made our democracy unique, which set us apart from other forms of government. But it was because of my personal brainwashing and indoctrination (public education) that early on naively entrapped my thinking (it was design to make all of us robotic), it was drilled into me that Communism and Socialism as forms of government did not allow the people to openly disagree with the State (no doubt U.S. propaganda at its best—destroy young fashionable and impressionable minds from having the ability to ever become critical thinkers).
They trained us to believe that we so-called enjoyed a high level of freedoms and individual rights under our American system of democracy (capitalism has away of creating illusions and it confuses fact from fiction)) and it has always been easier for us to point out the oppression and atrocities that have taking place on distance lands and have difficulty coming to grips with our own oppression being carried out under the banner of democracy. Yet, since 9/11 the United States has become a totalitarian form of government (and a police state) and President Obama is equal to any Despot that has entered into recent world history.
The American people are steadily losing all of their civil liberties and we have become so dumb down that we are applauding the government and do not have a clue that this new level of heighten security has very little to do with domestic terrorism or global terrorism; this is well documented in Noam Chomsky work titled, "Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest For Global Dominance". The sun is just about to set on western society and her decline is inevitable. Obama has issued in a new form of imperialism, which in reality, is a continuation of George W. Bush's Foreign Policy agenda (Bush Doctrine)—either you are with us or against us—this is the ultimatum that Islamic and Developing Nations faces today in particular, those that disagrees with the U.S. present day political course and have the courage to express some type of independence and sovereignty such as Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Yemen and a few others are immediately demonized and isolated. Obama’s era should be called ‘Drone Diplomacy’ he is responsible for high level international assassinations, as well as using drones to reap havoc in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa, which has led to the killings of innocent people around the world.
But we have an even greater problem, which is some of our state governments and elected federal government officials have been hijacked by far rightwing Tea Party conservatives who are putting forth a reactionary political agenda. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and his rightwing Tea Party Constituents are only convenient patsies put in place by the Hidden Hand to further carryout the agenda of the Rockefellers and the Rothchilds disguised in the name of being so-called good American patriots who are leading the charge for liberty and a decentralized Federal Government. The poor is not the enemy to the stability of the United States of America, but Paul knows the driving force of America’s economic instability are the international bankers (if he didn't know he could have just asked his father former Texas Congressman Ron Paul surely daddy Paul understands the Triangle of Deception), but these type pawns are about political self-interest and they are paid informants to keep the charade going. Gary Allen and Larry Abraham in their book titled, "None Dare Call it Conspiracy" the authors maintained that the Power Elite systematically apply pressure from the bottom and pressure from the top (interpreted to mean they control the militant radical thought as well as the conservative thought and everything else in-between).
Yet, Senator Paul's home state of Kentucky is one of the poorest states in the union (plagued with high unemployment and is simanteously a haven for Big Corporate Shelters and is an anti-workers union state) when it comes to per capita income. Why would the U.S. Congress, John Boehner and the Republican Party and President Barack Obama and the Democrats desire to see the 'havenots' even more destitute? The Wall Street Bankers never loses they often profit more during times of fear and panic—they have the power to summons the president and the Speaker of the House (often it is their lobbying money that has financed U.S. Congressional leaders and these puppets are mandated to hear and obey). The decisions they are mandated to make, are not about the feelings and emotions or interest of neither the voting electorate nor their loyal constituents—American politics is about money and the positioning of power. The two-party system functions from the same premise, which is to do nothing to interfere or impede the interest of the wealth holders; therefore the laws and rules are written to ensure wealth will continue to flow in their coffers uninterrupted. Perhaps many of you might even believe that the GOP and the Democratic Party are politically different and fail to understand that both parties only serve the interest of Fortune 500 companies and the Super Elite.
This is moving us closer to the final frontier in preparation for another Great Depression. How prepared are we to having to deal with food being rationed out, no running water and/or electricity, as well as the government declaring Martial Law? The government is broke and strap for cash (they must find ways to jettison useless human baggage and the poor has become expendable). The federal government doesn’t have the financial reserves it had just 50 years ago but the dismantling process started many years ago, I advise my readers to go back and read Alvin Tofflers book titled, “Creating a New Civilization: The Politics of the Third Wave”; corporate down sizing and corporate outsourcing were calculated business decisions in which the social scientist (at least the wise amongst them) knew early on that this trend would have a tremendous negative affect on the economic, political and social outcome on the future of the United States to remain a world economic superpower. This along with massive debt has rendered at least five unborn generations who will be plague with digging themselves out of a hold that was created for them by those who practice greed as a trade and was not concern with America’s future.
This ultimately isn’t about who has the best fiscal plans (neither party has a real solution to solving the 17 trillion dollar national deficit—its greed that has brought the global economy to its knees that 1% who controls 99% of the world’s wealth is the most dangerous sector to the freedoms of all humanity. It is China that is keeping our government afloat in which we will never be able to fully pay the debt back and a total economic collapse of the United States economy is on the immediate horizon and is inevitable and at the same time they are steadily sensitizing the poor even more with their own poverty. They actually used the 9/11 hoax to steal massive national and international monetary reserves (huge amounts of gold and silver were never recovered) that were housed in underground vaults beneath the World Trade Center—Larry Silverstein and the Secret Cabal got off like fat rats in a cheese factory—Federal Reserve Bank of New York was a key player in this deception.
The American people life styles since 2008 have depreciated. Some have this faint idea that these crisis are going to blow over and we are going to return to pre 2008 living standards, but many of us have not taking notice that we have economically digressed to almost substandard living conditions that will soon equal to what we (the working poor and the middle class) see in developing nations (or what Capitalist and bloodsuckers of the poor refer to as 'Third World' nations). We have allowed the Elitist and the Hidden Hand to move towards stripping us bone raw of the wither all to exist as human beings (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness). They are now consistently passing on the debt to the poor by blaming the 'havenots' for America's economic woes and using our elected officials in congress as front men to dupe us into believing that President Obama and the Democratic Party are responsible for the escalating national deficit. Just ask yourself, who do we owe this astronomical debt?
This article was not written as an apologist and in defense of President Obama or to exonerate this operative because he too works in the interest of the Hidden Hand and is very much down with the duping. Most people are not familiar with the Bank For International Settlements (the mother of all Central Banks) located in Basel, Switzerland, which dictates how the global Central Banking systems functions and determine the value of the world currency, but most of all dictates the inflation index—they allow the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of England to infuse the printing of worthless currency as a short term monetary solution to propping up their economies in which the Federal Reserve Chairman knows that this is not even a temporary fix, but it is this variables that will also fuel future wars and the stealing of defenseless nations resources (this is the real objective behind those that manipulates the global flow of money). The printing of worthless currency should be outlawed, it is this phenomenon that also feeds the necessity for the Military Industrial Complex. For example, Syria, Mali, Iraq, Egypt and Afghanistan are prime examples of this agenda—the entire African continent is in trouble in particular, as resources becomes more scarce weaker nations will become prime targets for exploitation by Eastern Powers and Western European Powers.
The European Common Market and the power of the Euro have lost value in Europe and around the world because similar to the United States Dollar it is driven not solely by global markets and/or how well commodities are performing, but wars/debt/famines are the primary social variables that impacts on the economic and financial projections of how the Euro performs. European nations in recent history have not created sustainable domestic and international trade surpluses in which could prohibited what we saw taking place the last few years in Greece—a European nation on the brink of economic collapse—this could have had a serious domino affect throughout the entire European region. This also includes European nations such as Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland.
Alan Greenspan, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve authored a monumental book titled, "Alan Greenspan: The Age of Turbulence" who was appointed to the Governors of the Federal Reserve by President Ronald Reagan in 1987 and served until 2006. Mr. Greenspan was one of the most brilliant 'Money Changers' of the 20th century; yet I was taking aback after spending a few weeks reading a 531 page book written by this global economist guru in which he did not dedicate one paragraph to explaining how the Central Banking system function. I read the book because I was in search of some inside information relative to international banking and the Federal Reserve System. How much money is enough money?
Fahim A. Knight-El Chief Researcher for KEEPING IT REAL THINK TANK (http://fahimknightsworld.blogspot.com/20...) located in Durham, NC; our mission is to inform African Americans and all people of goodwill, of the pending dangers that lie ahead; as well as decode the symbolism and reinterpreted the hidden meanings behind those who operate as invisible forces, but covertly rules the world. We are of the belief that an enlightened world will be better prepared to throw off the shackles of ignorance and not be willing participants for the slaughter. Our MOTTO is speaking truth to power. Fahim A. Knight-El can be reached at fahimknight@ yahoo.com.
Stay Awake Until We Meet Again,
Fahim A. Knight-El
BIG MONEY AND PUBLIC CONSUMPTION SCIENCE
This is probably one of the most important articles ever to appear in The Daily Bell, or for that matter, anywhere else, but we’ll get to why I think this to be the case, after the article itself:
No, Economist (Magazine): The Real Problem of Big Science is Big Banking
The Daily Bell has put its finger on a central philosophical problem of modern “big science,” namely, the promotion and evolution of a kind of “public consumption” science in each of the scientific disciplines that have, as their underlying connective meme, the theme of scarcity and zero-sum games, with “winners and losers.” And this meme, in turn, has, as its underlying assumption, a commitment to philosophical materialism as the be-all and end-all explanatory paradigm into which all “science” must fit or conform. I think, as I compose this blog, specifically of the work of biologist, Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, and its simple posing of questions that challenge those exclusively materialist assumptions with his hypothesis of a “morphogenetic field.” Dr. Sheldrake asks a simple question: how is it that two groups of a species, completely isolated from each other, will transmit information to each other with no apparent means of physical contact? How does one group of a species on an isolated island transmit a solution or learned behavior, to a group of the same species on another island, and having no physical contact with it? This is not a merely hypothetical or rhetorical question on Dr. Sheldrake’s part. It is something that has been observed. For his part in forming the question and offering a tentative conclusion – a kind of immaterial biological version of photon or quantum entanglement, but on a much more macro-scale of entire population groups – he has been villified, attacked, spurned, and in general, treated less than courteously by many of his scientific colleagues.
He has, in short, challenged the materialist assumption reigning in much of biology. And so it goes across the board.
Indeed, as a general statement, it could be asked why non-materialist assumptions or approaches seem so often to be challenged by “big science” and hence, more importantly, by Big Bank Money? Is there a connection between the two? The behavior of major money interests in promoting such memes in science raises the question of whether they are interested in real science, or only that science that tends to support their own cosmology, a cosmology designed to reinforce their monopoly on the creation of monetized debt.
I would, indeed, suggest that this is the real and deeply hidden connection, and it is an historical one. I have written often about what I have called the “Topological Metaphor of the Medium” and more recently about its almost limitless creation of “debt-free” information. As I wrote recently in Financial Vipers of Venice, we find the financial elites of the day busily engaged in the suppression of this version of the metaphor, and the substitution, in its place, either of limitless creation of fiat monetized debt, with all the sacrificial systems and ideologies connected with it in the suppression of the individual person and his or her creativity(the thing of real value), or the substitution of systems of bullion-based finance, again in an effort to impose limits and zero-sum games.
I would respectfully suggest, then, that The Daily Bell is indeed on to something, but would suggest that the roots of it go much deeper. Not for nothing did medieval and Renaissance Venice become the home of the original Malthusianism, and the first (wildly inaccurate) estimates of the “maximum carrying capacity” of the population sustainable by planet Earth, but also this corrupt oligarchical republic was the home to the suppression of that Metaphor, and its advocates, by the most brutal of methods (like being burned alive). It was home, too, to the original “cult of materialism”, in its dogged defense and use of Aristotle. For those aware of the story the Daily Bell is so aptly exposing in this article, the story goes back, not just to JP Morgan’s suppression of Tesla, but at least as far as the Middle Ages, and to the life and death struggle that Venice waged against the re-emergence of that Metaphor. It won that battle, but only temporarily… but that’s another story.
Read more: THE DAILY BELL: BIG MONEY AND PUBLIC CONSUMPTION SCIENCE
- Giza Death Star Community
This is an outstanding revelation of how the spirit world dimension interacts with ours here among the living. Kim Russo is a fabulous medium proven reliable time and time again. Her show "The Haunting Of...." fill in the blank - usually some well known personality - has become my favorite paranormal reality show lately. Russo does not allow negative spirit situations to automatically be interpreted as being demonic. Instead, she confidently stands her ground and fleshes out why a spirit has become a problem haunter, and then gently ushers the spirit to the light. Her outcomes are nearly always positive in the end. In this case she is visiting a famously haunted ancient castle with actor Charles Schaughnessy who as a boy visited the castle once a year with his family. There was one large room that no one was allowed to go into it because of the violence of the spirit sequestered inside who as it turns out was a rapacious business man from the 17the century who had poisoned some of his competitors at his own dining table and done who knows what all else - a sort of 17th century mafioso. As Russo and Schaughnessy gradually tease out the spook was afflicted with fear of going to Hell for his deeds and therefore had never had the courage to "go to the light" which is a common situation with bad ghosts. After being urged to move on with the guarantee that love and forgiveness awaits even such dastardly people the spirit flies up and away and a centuries old haunting is brought to an end.
Equally fascinating is listening to Russo describe Schaughnessy's deceased relatives in startling detail as they flock around to be of service and give the exorcism courage. Schaughnessy was just blown away and brought to tears by the detail Russo came up with - it far exceeded anything she might have sleuthed out on her own beforehand, but just watching Russo as I have done for a couple of years now I cannot imagine she would commit such frauds anyway. She is a wonderful human being with an extraordinary gift and a huge heart, and this is one of the best episodes. Anyone claiming a right to an opinion about such matters needs to watch the pinnacle of modern investigations before passing judgement one way or another. This is not flaky Victorian parlor stuff.
This is a Special Sneak Preview of the newest World's tallest skyscraper; the Zephyr Super-Tower in Kimbap City, Democratic Peoples Republic of Central Eastern Korea, in the DMZ. It was unveiled last week at a celebration attended by various celebrities, including folk singer Pete Seeger who called it a terrible waste of money, and Dennis Rodman who is considering relocating to the DPRCEK. During the opening celebration Cicciolina ( Ilona Staller ) jumped out of a giant cake wearing almost nothing. Don Novello, better known as Father Guido Sarducci of SNL late night TV fame, accidentally got lost in the Titanic sized mega-building, and it took security staff nearly three hours to find him. By that time Don was fast asleep in one of the Luxury Penthouses. Jefferson Starship and The Spin Doctors played to a packed house audience, with Peter Gabriel closing the night. The fireworks display was so massive and long it nearly caused war to break out between the Koreas. The least expensive floor will set you back 200 Million US Dollars! It is nearly twice as high as The Burj in Dubai. The top of the building hold a massive glass pyramid, within which are observation decks, two restaurants, a cafe, and an astronomical observatory. More information is in this promo video:
Inspired by the latest PLUS extension in episode 10.14 of Mysterious Universe...
Watch Jon Stewart interview Nobel Peace Prize nominee Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old girl who was targeted for execution by the Taliban in Pakistan, and have your faith in the future of Mankind completely restored.
Because nothing scares the crap out of fear-mongerers & criminals than a child with a book on its hands. The day we devote more resources into libraries & schools than into weapons & military bases, is the day we'll finally grow out of our species' adolescence.
WARNING: NSFDE (Not Safe For Dry Eyes)
This musical genre was somewhat unknown to me though it certainly owes a lot to Sun Ra, but the originality is impressive, and it sounds at times as if they might be on the cusp of a truly new popular music. New musics have their own unique psychology, and until that is worked out and agreed upon by a batch of listeners it doesn't take off. This could take off though. They feel close to a breakthrough.
It seems that articles and posts which cross-over or blend the themes of popular motion pictures and spirituality seem to rise up out of the culture periodically. The Huffington Post’s Hollywood Probes Spirituality Without Getting Preachy(10/25/2010) and The Daily Grail’s Top Ten Afterlife Movies (10/22/2010) are examples. Not at all surprising, given that movies (or well executed television shows like Breaking Bad) and time spent contemplating our own death are probably two of the more engrossing things we engage with some degree of regularity, especially as we age.
Now there is a whole book devoted to "crossing over", both as cinematic and spiritual themes and as an inevitable reality: Death at the Movies: Hollywood’s Guide to the Hereafter.
Anything existing beyond the physical fact of death can be imagined and described only in the relative terms of human thought and language. “Afterlife” movies reveal such projections as the product of the film maker’s (and viewer’s) ideas, memories, reflections, dreams, and fantasies.
At the same time, movies depicting that curious in-between space between death and what is unknown, designated in "Death at the Movies" as "transit", have been referred to by Tibetan Buddhists for over two thousand years as the bardo, the state of the soul between death and rebirth. Movie bardos can range from sentimentally charming and delightful to chillingly frightening and grim. Good Hollywood entertainment! Enjoy them. Learn from them. Distinguish them from the real bardo. At times, they are the same.
Widely considered to be the ultimate do-it-yourself text on achieving liberation or a favorable rebirth upon one’s death, The Tibetan Book of the Dead’s teachings explore, “the whole of life and death presented together as a series of constantly transitioning realities known as bardos. The word bardo is commonly used to denote the intermediate state between death and rebirth but, in reality, bardos are occurring continuously throughout both life and death and are taken as junctures when the possibility of liberation or enlightenment is heightened.” (Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying)
How the popular medium of motion pictures embody and project to the public commonly-held beliefs, convictions, hopes and fears about death, the afterlife, and what lies between is experienced in the primarily unconscious projections of those beliefs via movies in the 1930s and 40s, particularly within the genre called film blanc. Then, in a major cultural shift, it is to follow the more conscious projection of those beliefs subsequent to our culture’s broad assimilation of Buddhist Teachings in the 1960s and beyond.
That humans seem to possess an innate intuition of some experiential state beyond this life is regularly confirmed by many accounts of near-death experiences (NDEs), psychedelic explorations, and other out-of-body occurrences, not to mention meditative or contemplative paths.
That Hollywood movies have incorporated, digested and conveyed the delicate subject of our inevitable transition between this life and what lies beyond is not surprising. Knowledge of the bardo or transit world between this life and other states of being began to reach large numbers of Americans in the early 1960s with the wide interest generated by the Galaxy Book paperback publication of W.Y. Evan-Wentz’s translation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead.
Of course, any number of other cultural and social factors contributed to a massive awakening in the west of a broad and serious interest in the subject of life beyond death. Primary were the consciousness, growth, and drug movements of America’s 1960s and 1970s, helped along not only by the wave of spiritual migrations from the east but by a tidal wave of mind-altering drugs.
The wholesale ingestion of a veritable smorgasbord of eastern spirituality during this period initiated large segments of western society into a broadly theoretical comprehension of new concepts dealing with death and transcendence. China’s 1950 invasion of Tibet triggered a major diaspora of that culture’s teachers and teachings into both Europe and the United States, manifesting in the founding and flowering of numerous Buddhist monasteries throughout North America by the mid 70’s.
During this same period Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, and Richard Alpert (Baba Ram Das), high priests of America’s psychedelic revolution, released The Psychedelic Experience, an LSD travel guide based upon the aforementioned Tibetan Book of the Dead: The After-Death Experience on the Bardo Plane, published in 1927 in an “English Rendering” by Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup, and compiled by W.Y. Evans-Wentz, with a Psychological Commentary by C.G.Jung.
In 1974 there was E.J. Gold’s American Book of the Dead, a book published not strictly for the dead “but for all labyrinth voyagers, all those who wake up dead, deep in one kind of sleep or other.” In 1975, a new, more user-friendly translation with commentary, The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo, was put out by Francesca Fremantle and Chogyam Trungpa. This was followed in 2003 by the very accessible Luminous Emptiness, written and translated by Francesca Fremantle “not as a scripture to be read to the dying but as a guide for the living.”
All of these served to initiate thousands of young American seekers-after-truth into the mysteries of the transit experience. Too, related research into death and near-death experiences as contained in books such as Raymond Moody’s Life After Death, Robert Monroe’s Journeys Out of the Body, and the various works of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross created an enormous interest in both Near Death Experiences, NDE’s, and a growing exploration of what lies beyond.
As to ranking the best, or attempting a top ten selection of films conveying the spirit of transit or bardo movies, we can begin with the film blanc genre of the 1940s. In his 1978 article The Film Blanc: Suggestions for a Variety of Fantasy, 1940-45, Peter L. Valenti singled out for exposition a selection of motion pictures containing uniquely specific phenomena found in the popular genre of motion pictures designated fantasy films.
Playing off the broad popularity of the film-noir genre of the 1940s and ’50s Valenti called his selection “film blanc,” suggesting as a specific genre fantasy scenarios embodying the following characteristics: 1. a mortal’s death or lapse into dream; 2. subsequent acquaintance with a kindly representative of the world beyond, most commonly known as heaven; 3. a budding love affair; 4. ultimate transcendence of mortality to escape the spiritual world and return to the mortal world. It was suggested that these popular afterlife fantasy-dramas produced during the World-War-II years provided, consciously intended or not, comfort for those at home grieving for loved ones lost to the ravages of war.
Film blanc included such classics as Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), A Guy Named Joe (1943), Between Two Worlds (1944), Blithe Spirit (1945), The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945), Angel on My Shoulder (1946), A Matter of Life and Death (released in the United States as Stairway to Heaven, 1946), and America’s most beloved Christmas movie, Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), all released or in production during the war years. When the war ended the country returned to a specious normalcy and film blanc lay dormant as its audience’s mood turned to a nation’s dark underbelly and unacknowledged trauma, reflected in motion pictures by film noir, a genre that explicitly denied all possibilities of transcendence to portray a world of violence, cynicism, and death.
Valenti’s article acknowledges Siegfried Kracauer’s Theory of Film for its theoretical treatment of fantasy, noting that the American fantasy film grew in popularity during the 1930s, peaked during the early 1940s, and declined in the late 1940s. Valenti points out that different sorts of fantasy are combined with angels, pacts with devils, mysterious reincarnations, and beckoning spirits, and that during this general period American film seems to have been entranced by the idea of negotiating between heaven and earth, moving from the mortal plane to the spiritual.
In defining his selection of films, Valenti was at the very least describing a sub-genre of the American fantasy film, somewhat confined by his four characteristics and restricted time frame. He published his article just two years before the release of Resurrection (1980), a film that resuscitated the life of film blanc and reflected the spiritual/consciousness/growth/drug movements of America’s 1960s and ’70s, opening the screen to a body of film-blanc-type movies now informed by popular eastern concepts of death and what follows.
In a way, the film blanc genre had never really run its course but rather gone underground, its themes encoded into any number of popular ghost and fantasy films of the post-war period; fims such as The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Portrait of Jenny, or Heaven Only Knows.
The ironically but appropriately titled Resurrection led to any number of fascinating films constructed around the subject of death, dying and rebirth (actual or psychological), any one of which might be considered for a Ten Best “Afterlife” List (even though you could probably fill such a list with just the film blanc movies of the forties).
Without ranking, we would add to the film blanc movies mentioned above the following: Poltergeist (1982), Beetlejuice (1988), Field of Dreams (1989), Ghost (1990), Jacob’s Ladder (1990), Truly, Madly, Deeply (1991), Defending Your Life (1991), Groundhog Day (1993), Heart and Souls (1993), Interview with the Vampire (1994), Sixth Sense (1999), Purgatory (1999) and Birth (2004).
We find these films, “beyond” conveying ideas rooted in the deepest perennial wisdom of the planet’s various cultures, and “beyond” being sometimes funny, sometimes poignant and often uplifting, to be simultaneously informative, enlightening and just plain entertaining.
* * *
Lyn & Tom Davis Genelli have been writing about the cross fertilization of movies, psychology, and spirituality for 28 years. Their book, Death at the Movies: Hollywood’s Guide to the Hereafter has just been published by Quest Books.