the tao of jaklumen

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


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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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Preston and the Resistance destroy the old order: Freedom to Live

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).

Freedom to live could also be summed up as living in the moment.  Such as it is with the ending of Equilibrium.  There is no hint of the future, nor is there any allusion to the past (besides the age of Libria being after a World War III sometime in our current future).  There is only an expression of the enjoyment of freedom.

First, Preston destroys the propaganda machines. It is notable that he places some of the blood he spilled (that remains on him) on the image of Father before blasting the screen (symbolically sealing Father’s end), and then shooting all the other terminals from the propaganda center and emerging to another “T” shaped doorway to meet the mid-day sun.

Explosions fire in the distance, signaling the Resistance have fulfilled their mission as Jurgen promised: bombs detonated in each of the Prozium centers.

There is a cut to Robbie at Clerical school, Jurgen and the Resistance leaders at the incinerator, and Lisa (Preston’s daughter), who hear the noise of the blasts and each smile in turn. We see the dog that Preston rescued, licking Lisa’s hand.

Other Resistance members emerge from the Underground, killing Sweeps en masse.

The next scenes cut back to Preston surveying the scene, still clutching Mary O’Brien’s ribbon, and a smile slowly spreading across his face.

Preston clutching and stroking Mary O’Brien’s ribbon, that still carries her perfume

 

A reminder that Preston is Master of Two Worlds: emotionless Tetragrammaton Cleric and empathetic Champion of the Resistance

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Equilibrium in Yin-Yang review

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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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Preston dispatches Brandt: Road of Trials is complete

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).

Preston’s arrival reveals that the Tetragrammaton Council is rotten and hypocritical to the core, opulent and ostentatious to a level that would scarcely be permitted by the masses (i.e., it would be labeled offensive and subject to destruction by burning).  The Council cares only about power and control, and like many tyrannical dictators, does not follow the rules set for whom they rule.

Preston quickly dispatches about a half dozen Clerics, as well as Brandt, literally cutting off not just his smug expression, but his entire face.  The Road of Trials is essentially over, but not before dealing with Dupont.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Final Fight: Confronting the Powerless Father and Atonement with the Mother

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Preston meets with Father: Beginning of the Return

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).

It is explained a few times at this point in the film, in Preston’s meetings with Jurgen (Preston saying so) and with Dupont (Dupont saying so), that Father has never granted an audience with anyone, as the risk of assassination is too great.

But Preston gives an offer that cannot be refused: he will turn in all the leaders of the Resistance in exchange for a meeting with Father.

Preston sets up the triple-cross by calling the Vice-Council to return in the leaders of the Resistance

 

Preston is visibly holding Mary O’Brien’s ribbon, symbolic of her favor as the Goddess

Preston wears a white uniform instead of the usual black of the Senior Cleric, symbolizing his transformation to Champion of the Resistance is complete.

However, he finds that he must pass the same Challenge that Jurgen administered: another polygraph test.  The first question he is posed is “more of a riddle”, as the examiner says: “What would you say is the easiest way to get a weapon away from a Grammaton Cleric?”

He is shocked to find Brandt answering the question for him: “You ask him for it.”  He smiles and winks to Preston with a taunt.  “I told you, I’d make my career with you, Cleric.”

“Brandt’s job was simple,” Father (Sean Pertwee, son of Dr. Who‘s Jon Pertwee) explains from a telescreen, “to make you feel like you’d won.”  He explains it was his idea all along to infiltrate the Resistance with a Cleric who could feel, but didn’t know it yet.

“But, we’ve never met,” claims Preston.  Then the second rude awakening comes: the image of Father switches to Vice-Council Dupont, who reveals that the original Father had died and he had assumed his place.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Not Without Incident: Master of Two Worlds and Crossing the Return Threshold

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Preston becomes a Sense Offender: Apotheosis

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 this before).

Preston is so grief-stricken in public that Brandt arrests him for sense offense, first publicly shaming him to the masses before bringing him to Vice-Counsel Dupont.  In a clever turnaround, however, he leads Dupont to believe that Brandt was guilty of all his crimes, including the murder of the Sweeps in the Nether (see Preston further embraces emotion: Belly of the Whale).  Brandt is hauled off, presumably to meet judgement and execution by incineration.

Dupont informs Preston that while Brandt is guilty, his home must be searched according to the law.  Racing home, Preston goes to check the mirror of the bathroom where he had been hiding the Prozium, and discovers his son with the vials, apparently implying it wasn’t a very good hiding place.  Preston asks him, “How long?”, suspecting that somehow his son had ceased the dose and had hidden it better, even from him.  Robbie reveals that he and his sister had done so since their mother did.  Preston’s next question, “How did you know?” leads Robbie to utter a familiar refrain that Preston and Brandt had each uttered: “It’s my job to know what you’re thinking.”

“Then you know what I’m going to do now,” Preston replies, and his son nods, which leads to our next post concerning Atonement with the Father.

HeroesjourneyRebirthTransformationNEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Preston meets with Father: Beginning of the Return

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Questions for Mary: Meeting with the Goddess

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).

For the sake of time and content, I’m skipping over Movieclip’s seventh clip, “Joining the Resistance” (part of “He’s A Sense Offender!” on the disc).  I will sum up by saying that scene is another raid on a Resistance holdout, and Preston shows mercy towards the group (leading them to escape), only to be foiled by Brandt.  Although Brandt challenges him to start the execution: “Cleric, Father’s orders are clear– sense offenders are to be shot on sight.” he insists that Brandt take the command.

I move ahead to the next scene, “Questions for Mary,” where Mary O’Brien becomes the Goddess figure, as well as a Threshold guide.

Preston takes a moment to mourn Partridge privately, and a Processing employee brings him the last of his personal effects, that are not scheduled to be destroyed.  One is a metal wallet full of photos, one turned over with “Freedom” written on it, and the photo of Patridge and O’Brien together.  He decides to interrogate Mary O’Brien once more.

After confronting her with the picture and confessing that he executed Partridge himself, O’Brien flies into a rage, trying to attack him with the pencil lying on the interrogation form and clipboard.  As Preston blocks her and binds her down on the interrogation table, he suddenly realizes he feels lust for her, and intuits that therefore she had been intimate with Partridge.

Preston discovers sexual attraction and romantic love

Jurgen confirms by polygraph that Preston is now very emotionally moved by O’Brien, to a sexual and romantic extent– he feels love.  Preston meets with her again after promising Vice-Counsel Dupont he will root out the Resistance (as Dupont further suspects Preston of treachery and betrayal) and promising Jurgen that he will arrange to kill Father.

In spite of Jurgen’s warnings to avoid seeing O’Brien again, Preston tries to stop O’Brien’s execution by incineration, seeing too many emotional parallels to his own wife’s execution by the same (after viewing archival video footage).  He fails.

In the next post, I will explore how Preston’s breakdown and accusal of sense offense by Brandt leads to his Apotheosis.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Preston becomes a Sense Offender: Apotheosis

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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 further embraces emotion: Belly of the Whale

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).

On another raid with Brandt, Preston falls further into knowing the realm of emotion, lingering on a stash of EC-10 contraband.

Although Preston is emotionally overwhelmed by playing a vinyl recording of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, he resumes his emotionless mask when the contraband is burned.

But the descent goes deeper. The very next raid is on a dog pound in the Nether, and Preston chooses to save one of the puppies that runs into his arms.

Preston first decides to release the puppy back into the Nether, but is moved to keep it. He is confronted by a team of sweepers and their Captain (Danny Lee Clark, “Nitro” of American Gladiators) and slays them all when they discover the dog and attempt to arrest him as a sense offender.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Brandt begins to challenge Preston: Man as Temptor

 

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