the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


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Hero’s Journey Art: John Preston

Today I am scheduled to have a trial version of a spinal cord stimulator implant.  This is to see if such therapy will be useful.  As such, I will still be reposting old content.  This, however, is the end of the Equilibrium series. Please enjoy (even if you’ve read this before).

When I was looking for media for my posts regarding Equilibrium, searching for just the right things to illustrate the steps of the Monomyth, I came across this fanart at DeviantArt.  I love it, as it sums up the transformation of John Preston so well.

“John Preston” by Elizabeth “Elly” Sevcik. Used by permission; all rights reserved to the artist.

Please do me a favor and visit Elly (vvveverka) at DeviantArt.  She’s got some great work there, and DeviantArt is just a really cool online artist community anyways.  I’ve provided links on the image and the username.  Thanks!

 

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Equilibrium in Yin-Yang review

The unplugged week is over, but I still need time to get things done and prepare for spinal cord stimulator therapy.  Please continue to enjoy these posts (even if you’ve read them before).

To recap and review, I give you two trailers for the film.  The first is more yin (dark) aspect, covering the destructive side of the movie– the destruction of the mother-wife of Preston’s family, and the destructive side of Preston as Tetragrammaton Cleric, First Class.

The second is more yang (light) aspect, covering the rise of John Preston to Champion of the Resistance, and his communications with Jurgen.  It is the official trailer for the U.S. market.

Taijitu, or “diagram of ultimate power”, in classic Taoist representation. The white is Yin while the black is Yang, and the dots indicate their crossing and merging interaction.

As in the Taijitu, there are cross-elements– the more yin-like trailer has yang element, and the more yang-like trailer still has yin.

Where there was destruction and darkness, creation and light fought to break free, and John Preston witnessed that light, sometimes very literally.  But Preston had to fight for this light, and as the Angel of Death, he destroyed agents of darkness.

Note that yin (dark) energy is associated with the feminine and the night, while yang (light) energy is associated with the masculine and the day.  There is a good summary at Wikipedia.  While Kurt Wimmer references Western notions of masculinity and femininity, these Eastern concepts remain, even in the ways he uses white and black colors in the film.

Furthermore, Angus MacFayden (Vice-Counsel Dupont) says in Finding: ‘Equilibrium’ that the story is “almost a Buddhist tale” where good must oppose evil.

Opposition in all things, dear readers.

For it must needs be, that there is an aopposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. (2 Nephi, chapter 2, version 27, The Book of Mormon)

This is one of the bridges between my LDS faith and philosophical Taoism.  Hence, this blog remains “the tao of jaklumen”.

FINAL POST IN THE SERIES: Hero’s Journey Art: John Preston

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Final Fight: Confronting the Powerless Father and Atonement with the Mother

The unplugged week is over, but I still need time to get things done and prepare for spinal cord stimulator therapy on Monday.  Please continue to enjoy these posts (even if you’ve read them before).

I will make a controversial claim here, that Wimmer is actually drawing upon the female version of the Monomyth in a manner of speaking, or rather an alternate interpretation by Valerie Estelle Frankel.

Specifically, the first variation is Confronting The Powerless Father.  Earlier in the film, we learned that Dupont was the creator of the Gun Kata, a martial arts extension to firearms that is a basis of Cleric training.

He does not seem to be powerless at first; after all, he seems to know about Preston’s actions all along (see Not Without Incident: Master of Two Worlds), and his challenge to a Gun Kata duel suggests he knows all about Partridge as well: “Be careful, Preston, you’re treading on my dreams” (the reference to Yeats).  But despite creating the Gun Kata, Dupont is disarmed by Preston, and so he tries to appeal to Preston’s newfound sense of emotion, to avoid the killing bullet.  How can he kill someone who is living and feeling?

But Preston sees O’Brien’s face in his mind, before her death.  This would suggest Atonement with The Mother, or rather, The Goddess.  Yet there is an atonement to a Father– just not Libria‘s Father, or Dupont.  Preston’s response of “I pay it gladly” is an echo of Partridge’s earlier line: “A heavy cost.  I pay it gladly” when Preston asked him why he forsook the idealism of Libria.  Partridge is sort of a Father in this sense, especially considering Preston echoed other words and actions of his earlier in the story as well.

Killing Dupont, who is the false Father, leads Preston towards obtaining the Ultimate Boon, which will be the next part of this series, leading towards the end.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Preston and the Resistance destroy the old order: Freedom to Live

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Not Without Incident: Master of Two Worlds and Crossing the Return Threshold

The unplugged week is over, but I still need time to get things done and prepare for spinal cord stimulator therapy.  Please continue to enjoy these posts (even if you’ve read them before).

After his revelation that he is Father now, Dupont taunts Preston, claiming that his quest has failed, and that Preston will surrender to him “entirely without incident”.

Although the polygraph meter is flailing now, indicating strong emotion (possibly rage), Preston protests, “No. Not without incident,” and the meter flatlines, suggesting he is able to return to an emotionless state as he was as Libria’s top-ranking Cleric, or the “Angel of Death” as Kurt Wimmer explains himself in the audio commentary.

After blowing the projection screen (with the image of Dupont) to bits, Preston proceeds to the Hall of Mirrors, the final challenge and gateway before the Tetragrammaton Council Chamber.

“I’m coming.”

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Preston dispatches Brandt: Road of Trials is complete

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Brandt begins to challenge Preston: Man as Temptor

Cimmy, myself, and the kids are observing an unplugged week, so it’s time for a week+ of reruns. Also, I’ve been in horrid pain, so creating new posts is tough. Please enjoy (even if you’ve read this before).

Campbell calls this stage “Woman as Temptress”, but the world of Libria and the Tetragrammaton Council is distinctly patriarchal, and I choose to emphasize the temptation as a particularly warped masculine one.

Normally this stage is listed later in the Initiation process, well after the Road of Trials.  Brandt is introduced early, however, just before Preston meets Mary O’Brien (see John Preston Meets Mary O’Brien: Guide and Goddess).  He is immediately a hard juxtaposition to Errol Partridge: smooth, eager, and idealistic.  “I only hope to one day be as uncompromising as you,” he tells Preston in one scene.  “I’m like you, Cleric– intuitive,” he tells him in another, asserting that he can tell what a sense offender is thinking before he thinks it (reminiscent of an identical claim Preston makes to Vice-Counsel DuPont, who censures him for his late wife’s crime).

More particularly, Preston begins to assume the sentiments of his late partner Partridge, right down to the dialogue in some cases (Preston: “Why didn’t you leave that for the evidentiary team to log?” Partridge: “They miss things sometimes”, later, Brandt assumes Preston’s line, and Preston assumes Partridge’s).  Brandt is wise to these changes in Preston– observations that conflict with the reputation Preston has as Libria’s senior ranking Cleric.  He eventually confronts Preston with his suspicions:

Brandt’s challenge is the beginning of the Road of Trials. He reveals that the Council has accelerated prosecution of sense offenders, and this will prove harder for Preston as he seeks to discover the Resistance and the Underground.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Questions for Mary: Meeting with the Goddess

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Preston grapples with emotion: Crossing of the Threshold

Cimmy, myself, and the kids are observing an unplugged week, so it’s time for a week+ of reruns. Also, I’ve been in horrid pain, so creating new posts is tough. Please enjoy (even if you’ve read this before).

In the preceding posts of this series, I established that Preston’s son Robbie is the Guardian of the Threshold, and Mary O’ Brien is its guide.  He came to them by way of a dream of his wife, who had been executed for sense offense.

John Preston goes through a second dream and awakening, after looking over his sleeping children and examining a vial of Prozium from his injection gun, musing on the significance.  The dream sequence now is Preston witnessing his dead partner, Partridge, being incinerated, while remembering Mary O’Brien saying: “Without love, breath is just a clock ticking.”

Preston awakes to find there is beauty hidden behind his wrapped window: a rainbow of colors from a sunrise, refracted through the rain.  I think the scene has deeper implications; although the Tetragrammaton Council suppresses content made by humans, it is unable to suppress the beauty of nature, and Preston realizes he can tear away the facade.

Crossing of the Threshold

Crossing of the Threshold

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Preston further embraces emotion: Belly of the Whale

 

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John Preston’s son Robbie: Guardian at the Threshold

Cimmy, myself, and the kids are observing an unplugged week, so it’s time for a week+ of reruns. Also, I’ve been in horrid pain, so creating new posts is tough. Please enjoy (even if you’ve read this before).

Many thanks to my wife, Cimmorene, for pointing this detail out to me.

“What are you doing?”

In Dreams and a Lack of Prozium: Supernatural Aid, a dream jars John Preston from his usual routine.  This is the question his son, Robbie (Matthew Harbour), asks him after the vial of Prozium smashes on the floor.  Preston is silent, almost in a daze.

It should be noted that Robbie was markedly shown in Preston’s dream, looking on as Viviana was handcuffed and taken away.

“I said, what are you doing?”

Robbie confronts his father. Still as seen on the Equilibrium fansite.

When Preston explains that the incident was an accident, Robbie instructs him to go by Equilibrium (one of the Prozium centers) and log the loss. It is hinted by now that Robbie is training to be a Tetragrammaton Cleric (especially as he is shown in a much earlier scene amongst the masses). It is not clear, however, how he is a guardian to the Threshold, but this will be explained later.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: John Preston Meets Mary O’Brien: Guide and Goddess

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Dreams and a Lack of Prozium: Supernatural Aid

Cimmy, myself, and the kids are observing an unplugged week, so it’s time for a week+ of reruns. Also, I’ve been in horrid pain, so creating new posts is tough. Please enjoy (even if you’ve read this before).

I was going to gloss over the step of Supernatural Aid.  This film is part science fiction, action, and thriller, in a dystopian world, which is not typical for other modern examples of the Monomyth so frequently cited by others.

But I remembered from the DVD commentary that Kurt Wimmer himself said that Sean Bean (as Errol Partridge) had some of the best lines in the film, a scene referenced in my previous post, Partridge forsakes his training: John Preston’s Call to Adventure.

Besides quoting the poem “He Wishes for The Cloths of Heaven”, Partridge says, “You always knew,” and asks “I assume you dream, Preston?”

These words set up the next scene, which IS a dream, is a memory of John’s wife, Viviana (Maria Pia Calzone).  It is a rude awakening, as his home is raided and she is arrested, on the charge of sense offense.  This dream, after a fashion, is the Supernatural Aid.

Immediately after the dream, Preston awakes (highlighted by a memory of one of Father’s broadcasted speeches: “Libria, awake”) and visibly realizes that the separate bed his wife had slept in is empty (we learn later that she was executed by incineration).

Preston goes to splash cold water on his face and take his morning interval of Prozium.  Without thinking, he takes out the vial for that interval from the injection gun (Prozium is administered at the neck) and places it on the counter, which he accidentally knocks over and smashes on the floor, as he sets down the towel he dried his face with.

These events trigger the Threshold, and introduce its guardians and guides, which will be explored in the next post.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: John Preston’s son Robbie: Guardian at the Threshold

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The Hero’s Journey: Equilibrium

Today Cimmy, myself, and the kids are starting an unplugged week, so it’s time for a week+ of reruns. Also, I’ve been in horrid pain, so creating new posts is tough. Please enjoy (even if you’ve read this before).

John Preston: From Tetragrammaton Cleric to Champion of the Resistance

John Preston: From Tetragrammaton Cleric to Champion of the Resistance

Kurt Wimmer‘s movie Equilibrium, I think, is another fine example of the Monomyth, or The Hero’s Journey, in the transformation of John Preston.

I will tell you straightaway, dear readers, why I relate to this movie.  The central idea to the film is that emotion is a human characteristic, and to suppress it in the name of freedom and peace is to instead promote tyranny and enslavement.  Some time ago, I was proscribed a psychiatric drug that had the unfortunate side effect of cognitive slowing, both logically and emotionally.  I literally found it difficult to feel.  Such a state drove me to madness.  I was not able to break free even after threatening suicide and being committed inpatient, where the psychiatrist there severely curtailed the dose.  No, it was not until the state (which supplied my only insurance at the time) forbade such off-label use.

No, it was not Prozac, although the movie calls its drug Prozium, a rather sly reference to the same.


In the following posts, I will show how the Monomyth cycle applies to the film, although some elements have some interesting twists.  I hope to persuade you all that the film is much worthier than the panning it received from critics and some audiences, especially as an example of the Hero’s Journey.  It is not considered much as such an example, but it is deserving of mention.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Partridge forsakes his training: John Preston’s Call to Adventure

 


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Hero’s Journey Art: John Preston

When I was looking for media for my posts regarding Equilibrium, searching for just the right things to illustrate the steps of the Monomyth, I came across this fanart at DeviantArt.  I love it, as it sums up the transformation of John Preston so well.

“John Preston” by Elizabeth “Elly” Sevcik. Used by permission; all rights reserved to the artist.

Please do me a favor and visit Elly (vvveverka) at DeviantArt.  She’s got some great work there, and DeviantArt is just a really cool online artist community anyways.  I’ve provided links on the image and the username.  Thanks!