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.”
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Image Defending Your Life poster, © 1991 Warner Bros., fair use