0ne aspect of working up a phenomenological picture of social-political events is to follow the arts. These arts change overtime, yet a core remains: we love stories.
I wrote some years ago about how the archetype of the American soul was captured in the “Western” (1).
Today I want to offer some remarks about the remarkable television show: The Expanse. First perhaps, a few words about how and why I inquire into the Collective Imagination need to be offered.
I was raised on movies. Love television, especially science fiction. Can hardly wait for the new Dune to appear this fall – or rather half of it.
I can recreate in my mind’s eye 80 years of trying to sort out the nature of women, from Dorothy my mother, through Doris Day and Marilyn Monroe, to modern women warriors in rage against injustice. In the ‘70’s we got Princess Lea, Ripley, and the terminator killing machine, Sarah Conner.
The dramatic arts are woven of tradition and mystery wisdom. I once read there were only seven possible types of drama and comedy … all of which begins boy meets girl, girl knows he’s an idiot, plans and dreams are laid, fortune is fickle, conflict arises, … I read in Tomberg’s Early Writings that Americans need a happy ending, and Russians need tragedy and suffering.
The TV show The Expanse is exquisite. Yet, the archetypes of wars, conquests, plagues, and famines remain. Imagine the Solar System 250 years in the future. Humanity has spread to the moons of Jupiter, and some are transforming Mars. We wreaked the Earth, and then took all our human dis-harmonies out into the Expanse.
Mars had broken away, declared independence, and attracted a lot of cutting edge scientists. The Earth is burdened with billions, a quarter of them on basic assistance. Still, billions can make more war stuff, even if the other guy is – a culture of creating warriors – and in our case in the Expanse, women … still the unpredictable fire and the rest …
Yet, a third “culture” exists out there. The Belters who make home among the asteroids, not knowing the heavy gravity of Earth, or the too light weight of Mars …. trapped in living environments completely dependent on air and water.
Slaves of a sort, who are fighting back.
Visually amazing. You’re there. On Ceres. Or Phoebe. On Eros. Belters are often out-castes and criminals. As well, there are the usual evil doers: corporations, the super-rich, and bent politicians playing games.
Into this mix, something alien is discovered on Phoebe. They call it the proto- molecule. Proto as a prefix means “first”.
Secret wars erupt. Belter ice-haulers are shot out of space, through stealth spaceships nobody knew existed. The whole solar system is on the brink of war.
I enjoyed the subtlety of the CGI sets, such as showing cities on earth surrounded with high walls keeping out the rising seas. And yes, the story follows heroes, and of special import is the take no prisoners attitude of many women characters.
The Tale is an adventure of our future. One quite possible.
My present theory is that yes, the television is talking to us. All art is inspired, only the means of expression varies. This means the artists are connected to the spirit-world, or thought world, which includes invisible beings inspiring in them (the artists) glimpses of truth.
Is there a message in the noise? Drama teaches, we just have to participate in the reading of the handwriting on the wall of modern film and television arts and crafts. My book “The Father at Rest” (2) includes many references to artistic film expression, which by their very nature include archetypal meditations on the human condition.
The collective works of such as Clint Eastwood, Stephen Spielberg, and David E. Kelley (America’s Shakespeare), are deep and thoughtful examinations of “being human”.
In the way back long ago when before, magicians created means to transport their mental consciousness anywhere, while sitting still. Now technology blossoms, and I have a window on the world, yet once more sitting still.
Artists paint in my TV window. I have watched seas of change on this magic tool, although so far I have not succumbed to owning a cell phone. I like being hard to reach.
Film artist’s works are messages in a bottle, thrown into a sea. We still have to take hold of them, and seek inside a hidden message, that which just might inspire our own thinking to be more and more open to the future mysteries of human existence.
The times have only begun to change.