Falling, failing or just faking it?
As my solar barque descends in the sky, it seems that falling is too much like failing.
An October 2008 dream suggested I may be losing my chance to make my mark in this world or the hereafter. The dream began with me putting stakes at two corners of the foundation of a tiny house. I then see the completed framework and drywall, then, when I look again, a finished wood frame house. I tour the home. I recall seeing a small bathroom, a living room and a desk area, perhaps the equivalent of a studio apartment.
This small abode reminded me of the 1991 movie Defending Your Life in which Albert Brooks plays an advertising executive killed in a car accident. He must prove in Judgment City that he has conquered his fears and is worthy of being reincarnated in a more advanced world. He waits out his trial in a Holiday Inn-style resort while a woman he meets on the other side, portrayed by Meryl Streep, stays in a luxury hotel, apparently befitting her fearless embrace of her recent life.
The small home in my dream suggests I have but a “small” afterlife awaiting me if people only take a small notice of my ideas. On the other hand, I might be content with a “small” life.
Alienated In November 2008 I watched a DVD of The Man Who Fell to Earth, a 1976 film about a visitor from another planet who makes a fortune from his advanced knowledge but is overwhelmed by human foibles. Davie Bowie plays the reclusive alien who spends hours watching multiple TV sets while planning his return to a dying planet to rejoin his wife and children.
Director Nicholas Roeg indulges in soft-core porn and anti-Establishment clichés that may have been fresh in the 70s but seem laughable in this century. Nevertheless, the film does intersect with my own life as a distant, alienated observer:
1) Bowie plays a character named Thomas Jerome Newton; I have fancied myself a spiritual Sir Isaac Newton.
2) The alien falls to earth; I am the incarnate Re who falls to earth.
3) Both Newton and I have studied the sun through a telescope.
4) Newton moves to New Mexico. In two dreams I travel to New Mexico and live there.
5) Newton is an alien. My computer told me I am Species 8472.
Alas, another similarity is that, like Newton, I may ultimately fail in my grand purpose of reaching for the heavens.
More synchronicity: The Man Who Fell to Earth featured Rip Torn and Buck Henry, actors who also appeared in Defending Your Life. Hardly a week goes by that I am not struck by another coincidence.
Flightless A symbolic challenge to the validity of my experiences came in the October 2009 drama of six-year-old Falcon Heene. Authorities feared he had taken flight in a helium-filled balloon in a dangerous two-hour, 50-mile journey. The boy was never in the “flying saucer.” Apparently, the stunt was created by his father in a bid to win a role in a TV reality show.
What could I learn from the plight of Falcon Henne? Have I experienced a genuine, soaring spiritual journey or just a fake flight of fancy? Indeed, a fault of this website is that it suggests too many possibilities. Which apocalypse is correct: the virus that kills the non-meek, a victory by jihadists or a nuclear exchange beginning with the destruction of Mecca? Maybe they all happen, but each in a different universe. I will not fret over my inability to create the perfect unified theory of everything.
I may, like Falcon, just be the mischievous but guileless offspring of an angry, lying, maniacal creator. We did this for a show: the staged folly known as human history. The ringleader scratched the Falcon; there were no precious stones. The rescuers pierced the shiny balloon; there was no precious Falcon. Yet, even when the illusion is broken, the whole world still watches. Why? As Bogie said, it’s “the stuff that dreams are made of.”
Image Defending Your Life poster, © 1991 Warner Bros., fair use