Monday, September 20, 2010

Pulp Gnosis

 Pulp Fiction (1994); A soft moist shapeless mass of matter.
The soft moist part of fruit.
A mass of pressed vegetable matter: apple pulp.
A publication, such as a magazine or book, containing lurid subject matter.

A youthful Butch Coolidge is watching Saturday morning cartoons, when his mother switches them off and tells him he has a visitor. The visitor is Captain Koons (played by Christopher Walken). He served with Butch’s father, Dean Coolidge, at Hanoi, in the Vietnam War. What follows is something that Walken does best, a long soliloquy; this time about a gold watch that was hidden up Dean’s and Captain Koons’ asses, to protect it from falling into the hands of the enemy 'Gooks.’ I will argue that “this watch, this gold watch,” represents Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, the Apple of Knowledge, and that Christopher Walken’s character, not for the first time mind you, is meant to represent none other than the Devil himself.

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, one of Philip K. Dick’s first great novels, details an attempt made by a superior alien intelligence to invade our solar system, as well as our minds. The eponymous character has just returned from a ten year trip out to the Prox system, the furthest any human made craft has ever been. He has brought back a plant-based alien narcotic, which he claims will rival the popular colonist drug Can-D. Can-D offers the colonists an escape from their miserable lives through a process known as translation; whereby their minds are transported to a place that looks and feels like Earth, and yet isn’t. Palmer claims that his alternative, Chew-Z, offers a far more lucid and maliable experience, but as the colonist soon discover, Chew-Z is a mind control drug, in which Palmer is the ultimate lord and master.

Palmer Eldritch is a fabulously wealthy business tychon who is distinguished by three features; “a distorted jaw line,” an artificial robotic arm, and artificial Jensen eyes. These are the stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, a man who was infected by a superior alien intelligence on his way to the Prox system. Barney Mayerson, who put his physical and mental well-being on the line in order to confront Eldritch, believes this entity to be God, or a creature of similar magnitude. In this way, Eldritch is made out to be the equivalent of Jesus Christ, who travelled to Earth with the promise of eternal life. Chew-Z’s marketing slogan states; GOD OFFERED ETERNAL LIFE, WE CAN DELIVER IT.

In the Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) a plant from outer-space arrives on Earth and begins replicating human beings. The duplicates then go on to replace their originals within human society and they begin to propagate yet more plants, until the entire Earth is overrun by creatures who think and act with one hive-like mind. The image of partially formed human beings covered in whispy plant-like fibres is analogous to how PKD describes Palmer Eldritch in his book;
            “A spider web, gray fungoid strands wrapped one around another to form a brittle column that swayed… a great mass of timeless cobwebs shaped, almost as a cavalier gesture, in quasi human form.”
In the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Dr. Richard Kibner, played by Leonard Nimoy stands in for Palmer Eldritch, as the emissary for the alien intelligence threatening to supplant mankind. This analogy is further strengthened by the curious use of a leather clove, by Kibner, which mirrors succinctly Palmer Eldritch’s metallic arm.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is filled with a bewildering array of billboards and roadsigns, streetways and buildings, which, as a young boy, I felt held some intrinsic value to the underlying message of the movie, as a whole. The Transamerica Pyramid building, the tallest sky-scaper in San Francisco, appears repeatedly throughout the movie, to suggest a nation wide conspiracy that is growing, or spreading, out from one central source. The reference to a Masonic conspiracy is clearly alluded to here, as it typifies the paranoic theme of the movie, in general.

Further references to the differing degrees of Freemasonry appear during the climactic chase sequence. First there is the number 32, the pen-ultimate Masonic degree, that appears adjacent to a staircase. Next the group mistakenly attempts to find refuge at the docklands; Pier 33. Before this they run down an alleyway called Napier Lane. This seems to suggest that they should forego the pier, and the ultimately unsettling revelations of the final degree of Masonry.

In the Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, the recreational drug Can-D produces within the colonists a feeling of being back on Earth; a process known as translation. On several occassions, this process is compared to the transubstanciation of the host during Holy Communion, where Catholics believe that the wine and the bread actually become Christ’s blood and flesh. Another analogy between the lives of Palmer Eldritch and Christ is that both of these bodies are ‘host’ to a superior alien intelligence, that operates by sublimating people into a highly organized union with this intelligence. Interestingly, the famed occultist Emmanuel Swedenborg describes heaven as being a place were all souls exist in unison with the mind of God. His discussion of the fractal nature of this realm is also worth a look.

In Alejandro Jodorowsky’s critically acclaimed movie The Holy Mountain, Jesus Christ appears as a character who is desperately in need of spiritual cleansing. This is provided to him by a mysterious and powerful alchemist, who discovers a malignant parasite growing on the back of the Messiah’s neck. He deftly removes it, and then teaches Jesus how to distill gold from his own shit. The purpose of this is to show Christ as an Arch-alchemist cabable of transmuting his base material existence into the Philosopher’s Stone of Eternal Life. The trabsubstanciation of the host is, similarly, an alchemical act. This view of Christ is consistant with a Gnostic point of view, in which Adam is punished for taking the Apple of Knowledge by the profane God Yahweh and sentenced to live out a mortal life in the base material world of His invention.

A number of years ago, a theory surfaced on the internet which claimed that Pulp Fiction was an allegory for the day-to-day machinations of Hell. This concept was likely to have been inspired by the numerous biblical references and references to 'acts of god' that appear throughout the movie. According to the theory Jules and Vincent are henchmen acting on behalf of the Devil (Marcellus Wallace) to secure a briefcase, which contained the soul of a nameless and condemned sinner. This explains why we never see inside the briefcase. Is it conceivable that Tarantino could have included an allegorical sub-plot to his text? Considering that Quentin spends about ten minutes explaining the hidden meaning behind “Like a Virgin”, in Reservoir Dogs, I would say that, yes, it is concievable. A breakdown of this theory is as follows;

Marcellus Wallus – the Devil
Jules and Vincent – the Devil’s Henchmen
Los Angeles – Hell

As you can see, this interpretation fails to account for a number of key characters and plot elements, most notably Butch and the story of the Gold Watch. Not so with a gnostic interpretation, which appears to outline all of the major themes within a standard format, or model. Butch’s story begins in earnest when he is sitting across from Marcellus (Jahweh) waiting to receive instructions. Marcellus tells him to throw the fight; “Your ass goes down in the 5th.” And follows this up with seemingly well-meaning advice, that hides a selfish impluse; 
"The night of the fight, you may feel a slight sting. That's pride fucking with you. Fuck pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps."
The conversation is equivalent to God telling Adam not to eat fruit from either the Tree of Life or the Tree of Knowledge, and we know this because when Butch first enters the bar he asks the barman, Paul, for a bag of apples. I, for one, I have never heard of a bar that sells apples (singularly let alone in bags) before. This one act shows that Adam has already made up his mind to disobey his master- and consequently that the plot, by Adam and Eve, to steal the Apple was premeditated. The next time Butch and Marcellus meet it is on less favourable terms, but due to an unfortunate turn of events the two reconcile their differences. Butch is told to; 
"...leave town tonight, right now. And when you're gone, you stay gone, or you be gone. You lost all your L.A. privileges."  
This is the equivalent of Adam and Eve being thrown out of the Garden of Eden; i.e. Los Angeles.

Marcellus Wallus – the profane God Yahweh (the Devil)
Jules and Vincent – Archons of Yahweh
Butch – Adam
Fabienne – Eve
Lance – Christ
Los Angeles – Garden of Eden

In the story, the Apple of Knowledge is represented by the gold watch that Captain Koons gives Butch when he is still a boy. Koon’s is God’s messenger and the knowledge that the gold watch contains is the answer to one of God’s greatest mysteries; the Mystery of Light, or Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. The narrative structure of Pulp Fiction is distinctly disjointed, and results from a type of time travel only achievable within the bounds of cinema and the laws of General Relativity. Gold is the alchemical colour of the Sun, and of light. The fact that the watch has stopped visually demonstrates that, at the speed of light, time slows to a halt. The story states that Butch’s father (God) hid the secret of the gold watch up his ass. This in turn relates to Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity, which states that time slows down near a black hole.

The act of excreting the Gold Watch is equivalent to Jesus transmuting his own feces into gold, under the close supervision of the Alchemist, and in the concept that by stopping time we can cheat death. The Jesus of Jodorowski’s Holy Mountain is equivalent to the Jesus of Pulp Fiction (Lance) both of whom are enthralled in the net of Jahweh and must be purged of their base material part. Interestingly, the name Lance refers to the implemant that delivers the killing blow to Christ on the cross; the Spear of Destiny.

The original biblical interpretation of Pulp Fiction stated that the band-aid on the back of Marsellus Wallace’s neck concealed the numbers 666. I maintain that it more likely conceals the same parasitic organism that infected Christ before the Alchemist cured him. This parasite is the deficient property of the Universe. This is revealed, time and again, in works such as The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldridge and Invasion of the Body Snatchers to be a superior alien intelligence that acts to gain control of people’s mind, and to induct them into a hive mentality. The mind control parasite is also often referred to as being located at the back of the neck. In William Cameron Menzies’ cult classic Invaders from Mars, the mind control devices are to be found here. Invasion of the Body Snatchers also refer to it, although the reason for doing so is intentionally obscured. It may be of interest to some to note that WCM was born in New Haven, Conneticut, and attented Yale University, home to the Skull and Bones fraternity. This secret society is connected to mind control operations, such as the Manchurian Candidates that killed Robert and John F. Kennedy.

To conclude I would like to quote a poem by the infamous Jim Morrison, who said;

Death makes angels of us all
And gives us wings
Where we had shoulders
Smooth as ravens

No more money, no more fancy dress
This other kingdom seems by far the best
Until its other jaw reveals incest
And loose obedience to a vegetable law.

I will not go
Prefer a feast of friends
To the giant family.


  1. Nice Blog man, met you in the the pub the other night, you said I should check it out. Keep up the good work!

  2. Again, excellent work--you touched on things with Palmer Eldritch that I wrote about myself. Also look at Kurt Vonnegut's Sirens of Titan, where we find Winston Niles Rumfoord as the Gnostic Demiurge figure. Rumfroord orchestrates a Martian invasion of earth using mind-controlled colonists.

    The chrono-synclastic infundibula are places where these "ways to be right" coexist. When they enter the infundibulum, Rumfoord and Kazak become "wave phenomena", somewhat akin to the probability waves encountered in quantum mechanics. They exist along a spiral stretching from the Sun to the star Betelgeuse. (!!!)