Wednesday, April 02, 2008

VALIS


"Right. It means my body is in two space-time continua simultaneously, or else my body is nowhere at all."

The book VALIS was seen in season four in two episodes, Eggtown and The Other Woman. It is given to Ben by Locke to, "...pass the time." The main character of the book is called Horselover Fat, who exists within the author Philip K. Dick. So in essence the main character throughout the book is two people but in the same body, however everyone addresses them as two different entities.

The Theory:
  • Horselover Fat has been shown things and his mind expanded when a ray of pink light beams things directly into his brain. He claims this beam came from God, who he calls Zebra, and planted information (about his son's hernia specifically) into his brain. He then goes on to tell how this beam of pink light changes his entire life beginning in 1974. These ideas are documented in his Exegesis, which is referenced throughout the novel.
  • Additionally, Horselover Fat thinks that he is two people living simultaneously in two different times and sometimes he can remember what his other self is doing. One of him lives in California in the late 1970s, and the other in ancient Rome.
Zebra:
  • According to Fat, the universe consists of one irrational entity into which has broken a high-order life form which camouflages itself by a sophisticated mimicry. This is Zebra, and Zebra is rational where the universe is not.
  • Zebra camouflages like a moth, its always there but only lets you see it when it wants you to but it can MORPH into things and people and act like them. It does this in order to consume the universe and turn everything into one thinking-alike entity (the Lord).
    • I thought this was exceptionally relevant to the idea of Smokey and what we now know about it. In the March 21, 2008 OLP, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse confirmed that Yemi, the spider, and some versions of Walt are indeed manifestations of the monster.
    • So if you think about the theories of VALIS and that it is always there and sort of always changing, could our "Smoke Monster" be an actual higher form of intelligence that is trying to lead the Losties to salvation, or higher thinking, or even to a higher state of being?
    • The universe, seen as one vast irrational entity, I think applies to the island and how it seems to have a consciousness all it's own. It knows what it needs and seems to have gathered the inhabitants there for a purpose.



The movie above is the uncut version of the Room 23 film that the others are being shown. The ideas in it are similar to the ideas in the film VALIS, from the book. The film in the book is an enlightening experience for Fat and his friends, as it leads him to find others that have also been "beamed" information. It was also this idea that kept me jumping to the idea of the Room 23 video.

VALIS The Film:
  • VALIS stands for Vast Active Living Intelligence System.
  • Information in the film comes in images flashed throughout, and while there is a story going on, much of the information is subliminal. Examples would include a woman in a river on an ancient landscape (Roman), a satellite that appears in various forms in the film, a soda can, and a pot.
  • The film contains an electronic soundtrack that isn't actual music really, but more mind opening sound.
  • The film expands on the idea that human beings are all from a place called Albermuth, and that we are toxified by the atmosphere on earth. VALIS detoxifies people by "...fire[ing] rational instructions at us, to override the pathology caused by the toxicity of the atmosphere." VALIS has been doing this to all people since birth, and VALIS is rational while people are not.
  • An idea in the film is that people do not die, but are reborn, and will then remember the knowledge that we have been beamed on some level.
Room 23:
  • The music is like the VALIS music. I feel that when watching the film it is designed to illicit some sort of trance or hypnotic brain state.
  • The Room 23 movie may be used to help "awaken" the alien part of a person's brain so they can receive the "beamed information" so to speak.
  • Lights are strapped to the viewers face, and the images in the video flash and pulse. Fat's theory of Zebra is that when it's beaming data into the human brain, "At flash-cut speed you can load the right hemisphere of the human brain with a titantic quantity of graphic data." p. 71.
  • Some Key Phrases from Room 23:
    • Divest your ordinary nature and then Find your true nature
    • God loves you as he loved Jacob
    • We are the causes of our own suffering.
    • Also the backward "Only fools are enslaved by time and space" repeated throughout the video.
    • THINK ABOUT and then YOUR LIFE
Final Bullets:
  • The radiation from VALIS, if coming in too intense dose, can cause cancer. Ben has cancer, but technically you shouldn't be able to get cancer on the island.
  • Fat thinks that in order to see God or know God (Zebra), you have to try to kill yourself. We've seen a lot of self sacrifice/suicide mentions on Lost. Does this act lead to an enlightenment?
    • Jack tired to kill himself by almost jumping off a bridge.
    • Michael tries to commit suicide in his car and by shooting himself.
    • Tom implies that he has tried to shoot himself when recounting the experience with Michael.
    • Charlie ultimately kills himself through sacrifice when turining off the communication jamming device.
    • Eko faces Smokey and allows himself to be killed.
    • Mikhail may have been killed when he blows a grenade outside of Looking Glass.
  • While reading, the two characters that most came to mind were Ben and Locke, which makes it fitting that they were the two to actually handle this novel in the episodes.
    • Are Ben and Locke on a spiritual quest to find their Zebra? Are they seeing this "entity" on the island, or in the island, or have they been "beamed" information that they are just now recognizing?
    • Horselover Fat and Philip K. Dick are the same person. The catalyst in the break in personality comes when Fat's friend commits suicide. They are only rejoined when Fat meets God or Zebra in the form of a two-year-old girl. But for a time Horselover Fat was the main entity inhabiting the body, sort of overriding the rational P.K. Dick.
      • I felt like this was describing Ben. It seems that at one point he showed promise of being a normal, rational person, but circumstances sort of broke him apart. The death of his mother, followed by an abusive relationship with his father, and then being brought to the island where he may have begun to be "enlightened" seem to have led to a significant personality change. He "sees" his mother (the sophisticated mimicry of the island?) and is groomed to become the person we see now.
  • There is no time, there is no death ("Only fools are enslaved by time and space"). All time happens at once, we all live multiple lives, and sometimes you can be awakened and see all of these lives at the same time. Again, reflective of the island, how time there is different, and how people passing on and off can become unstuck in time.
  • Horselover Fat becomes unstuck in the book with his life from ancient Rome (there are Roman artifacts in the Room 23 video incidentally). "Horselover Fat is living in two different times and two different places; i.e. in two space-time continua; that is what took place in March 1974 because of the ancient fish-sign presented to him the month before: his two space-time continua ceased to be separate and merged." This passage from page 109 of the book describes what happens when upon seeing the ancient Christian fish symbol. Fat remembers all of his past life in Rome and it becomes superimposed over his 1970s life.
  • The "proof" of this, so to speak, is pointed out by Fat's friend Kevin. Within the film VALIS he notices a reoccurring "pot" which has a DNA double helix around it's rim which in turn resembles the Christian fish symbol.
    • I found this interesting because in Lost we see a reoccurance of a variety of themes such as the octagon, black and white items, eyes, and the numbers (which we see everywhere).
    • Could the numbers actually be sort of awakening this deeply embedded knowledge in our Losties, and that's how they all managed to be so connected yet strangers at the same time? Could this common symbol be the reason that they all ended up on that flight? Something in them awakened and told them to do it?
This book was very full of theory, religion, and concepts that could tie to Lost on so many levels, and with so many layers. It was hard to pick and choose some key areas to focus on, but for me at least, these were the ones that most stood out. And with that, we're back to watching the show, and looking less into dissecting the books from Ben's library :D. Counting the days until April 24th.

9 comments:

maven said...

As usual, Ange, you took the guts of this complicated book and made sense of it. I was completely lost with this book in the beginning (what with all the religious tangents Fat went off on), but it began to make sense after the VALIS movie and running into Sophia. And when the author and his alternate self re-merged I did think of Ben and Locke as being the two personalities being given information to guide them. I know that Locke and Jack are supposed to represent science vs faith. Maybe Locke and Ben are supposed to represent faith and deeper faith?

Ange said...

GOOD thinking Maven! I was the exact same way in the beginning of the book too. Actually, I became very overwhelmed with the amount of notes I was taking.

While I was running around out and about today, I actually had a thought too that maybe Ben and Jacob are the same person. Where Horselover Fat and Philip K. Dick were two as one in the same body, maybe Lost took the theory one step further and made some part of Ben break off and sort of flutter in reality? THAT would be really sci-fi though, and I just so much want Lost to make sense LOL.

Thanks for checking out the post!

2costa said...

good points guys, I hope u know ange or fenris that three quarters of that uncut room 23 video you have up is fan made, the only real part is the last quarter...

2costa said...

they gave the first part some authenticicty because they clipped in the phsycological test from the hanso site, but "you are given a chance to save the world" or whatever is from the mind of the fan who made it

Ange said...

Thanks Costs, I totally embedded the wrong link. Good catch, it's fixed :D.

Don Muzza said...

Gracias por tu post, me gusta LOST y Philip Dick

"El imperio nunca tuvo fin"

tank for you post. I'Like Lost and Dick (Valis, Radio Free Albermuth, dr. BlodMoney, UBIK, The man in the High Castle, etc)

Don Muzza.-

Marla said...

You guys are the coolest people ever! I just finished reading this book and am amazed at how much of it parallels LOST. Can anyone give me info about the next book? Is there a schedule somewhere for the hiatus??

Ange said...

Thank-you Marla for the kind words!
There isn't an official list yet for round three of the book club, but there's talk of Of Mice and Men and Lord of The Flies as we didn't get to them last time. If you have ideas to add you can e-mail Melissa_Lossa at The Lost Community. She's working up the new list and is planning on having it ready to go in the next week or so.
Thanks for taking the time to read!

Sonny said...

I'm reading the second book right now there a lot more lost in the second one i love it you should read it.