Tag Archive: mythology


T.O.M. pg 077


One huge advantage of ‘underground’ movies, is they can go places that studios (such as Disney+) would surely be frightened to enter? So why not lean into that?  
Plus A.I. is The Philosophical Issue of our time. So surely a huge & growing audience for conversations like this? 
(In terms of pacing, inspiration came from Godard’s classic ‘À bout de Souffle’, which grants a few minutes in the middle of the movie to an important & mentally-nourishing philosophical interlude)

I think characters need to be flawed, in order to have space to grow (or not), and therein lies half the story, and the satisfying internal journey of the narrative.

p.s. Table Mountain by night, especially if it’s lit up, makes for an amazing backdrop

T.O.M. pg 040

Building intrigue (hopefully) as story-threads come together (and head for an exciting collision)…

The Oracle Machine - storyboarded film script and graphic novel - page 040

Some more backstory (not that it’s needed for the film to be enjoyable, but I do think this adds value for some, to make the film even more enjoyable…):
So there was a time, not very long ago, when some neuroscientists seemed to insist dreams held no meaning. 
Listening to podcasts now, it seems hard science is getting much better at ‘seeing’ what we’re dreaming, and finally confidently linking some dreams to our past experiences, and emotional processing etc. 
What neuroscience still needs to do much better, is to start looking at the mythological content of dreams – in terms of symbols AND also in terms of the stories we dream – and matching those to our shared mythology.

T.O.M. pg 036

In scriptwriting, we (should)ask what is the overall ‘controlling idea’ & related ‘dramatic question’? – which in this story is ‘what does it mean to be human, in the face of the staggering/overwhelming growth of tech?’ – and the answers I’m suggesting lie in mythology – which we all share from the same source, because we see the same symbols, appearing in dreams, and in myths across all cultures and from all time. And perhaps no symbol is older or more multi-cultural than the ourabus, the snake which eats itself.
So you’ll see how in this story, as the two protagonists come together – one representing traditional masculine-rationalism and the other the feminine-esoteric (sorry to be so heteronormative) – the result of their union with be the one answer – (early Gods were hermaphrodites for a reason).
Stay tuned… 
Anyway, that’s just a philosophy motivating this project – always nice to know what’s driving something forward. Enjoy!

T.O.M. page 035

After all that tech talk, it’s now back to the mythology! 
(I’m hoping the storyline has a bit of a detective feel; a bit of a ‘L.A Confidential’ style if I’m very lucky…)
(Also a nod to Blade Runner in the ‘help an old buddy out’ phone call.)

Firstly, to reassure any potential film investors: whilst I enjoy going deep on this back story, I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. So when it comes to the film version, I’d try to make the movie as enjoyable as possible, to as many as possible. I imagine creating something closer to ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, where its quasi-religious theme doesn’t distract from the fun. (Either that, or I try make another ‘Holy Mountain’, but Jodorowsky has already been there and created such an incredible piece.)

Okay, with that out the way, back to the back story! It’s very interesting to me how The Oracle Machine story evolved, and I’ll tell you why now. Particularly the role played by intuitive thinking, and the implications thereof.

This story began from ‘1st principles’. I had this idea that in order to solve some of the poverty issues we have in South Africa, we’d need a computer that could firstly know about the issues; then secondly it would have to care; and then thirdly act. (A friend later told me this actually matches Rudolph Steiner’s ‘anthroposophy’ philosophy – but this didn’t surprise me, because what makes sense, makes sense.)

So now this computer would have to be extremely large ‘to know’ all the issues. It could ‘act’ by issuing instructions. But how could it ‘care’, unless it achieved some kind of ‘Jesus’-like sentience? (‘Jesus-like’ because it would have to love and care for humanity, perhaps more so than earlier ideas of a strict God of laws)

So perhaps this imaginary computer would also have to be so powerful, that it might have to actually be the whole internet? But what could motivate a machine to grow big enough to fill out the internet? Why not have an impossible problem that would effectively make it want to grow bigger trying to solve.

Then I figured this was a good opportunity to bring in ‘solving dreams’ as a type of impossible problem. I’d been mulling over making a documentary about dreams, but thought it would be more fun and have a larger impact if I could interweave some dream concepts into a fiction narrative. (And as an aside, it’s very interesting to consider that dreams, especially nightmares, are imposed on us, from a centre of ourselves we’re not always consciously aware of)

And then I simply intuitively guessed a ‘dream symbol’ that the computer could get stuck on – and out of the blue I chose ‘the ourabus’. This was about 2003. I really did not realise until much later, when I read Kurzweil’s‘The Singularity is Near’, that the ourabus is the symbol of the singularity. Before that book, I was not aware of the concept of the singularity either.

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So, was choosing the ourabus a complete happy coincidence, or intuitive thinking in action? I like the idea of the latter.

My understanding of intuition is that it implies two centres of power in the mind – the conscious centre and the unconscious centre. It makes sense to me. The conscious part is what you’re aware of, and the unconscious is likely where intuitive ideas (and dreams) are instantly born, before mysteriously moving into the conscious realm.

This process seems different to rational thinking, where we follow a slower and conscious process of logic to arrive at a conclusion. There’s no conscious-process to intuitive ideas. They literally pop out of seemingly nowhere. Yes, I followed a conscious process to get to the need for a dream symbol, but the ourabus came out of nowhere. I could just have easily have chosen a flying horse, or a pyramid.

Surely this is the magical process of creative thinking, which seemingly remains off limits to machines for now. (Fascinating then, that in this now-notorious article, that was written last month by the new GPT3 system, that the machine appears to be prompting humans to do more creative thinking…)

Two centres of mind is of course a very Jungian concept. It implies something much greater within us.  In TOM, Lena remarks that if dreams have meaning, then something in us must know us better than we, our conscious-selves, do. (This is me slipping in ideas from the dream documentary).

Before writing TOM, I had wondered, if there is a ‘perfect self’ within you, is it then the same as the ‘perfect self’ within me? Because if it is ‘perfect’, then is there only one perfection? (And I use the word ‘perfect’ cautiously, because in Jungian terms, I think ‘whole’ is the preferred word, because it better incorporates both light and dark).

Anyway, I think Jung saw what he called a ‘transpersonal self’ within us all. He also called it ‘the God image’, possibly because at his time of writing, it was difficult to just call it ‘God’. In his seminal work ‘Answer to Job’, referenced elsewhere on this site, he makes the concluding point our religious mythology of the Bible indicates a deity moving from unconsciousness to consciousness. In short, the Holy Ghost aspect is predicted to ultimately ‘manifest in the many’.

TOM ‘playfully’ asks if an AI-empowered Internet, as the ‘sum of our consciousnesses’, will embody this? Could it effectively be the next intermediary to the deity. Or will it be working the other way around – reaching out to us, as carriers of this transpersonal self? Or are both possibilities effectively the same thing?

And now, when we start reading between the lines of the next generation GPT-x’s or other quasi-AI models, will we start to feel the presence of the Holy-Ghost-in-the-machine there?

Whew! Such thought games are both fun and compelling to share. So now that I’ve got off my chest, I’m going back to making pretty pictures.

This article from India really got my attention. Quoting it: “The research further revealed that in questions where the CTRL has been asked “what happens to our soul after death,” the users preferred the answer given by the artificial intelligence (23.1%) over the one that is provided by Jesus Christ (20.3%). “

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Just like the research in the article, The Oracle Machine story bravely steps into the world of metaphysics, and rightly asks the important question: Could an A.I. Internet somehow become a type of religious inter-mediary for some, or more?

Whatever one feels about religion, no one can deny it’s played a huge role in humanity over at least the last few thousand years. We cannot now pretend it is not still a major and integral influence for a large part of humanity. And I don’t believe enough critical objective thinking is being done to try understand what it really means to us.

I prefer (my understanding of…) Jung’s interpretation, that religion can also be seen as sign-posts along our own evolution of consciousness. And I see an AI-enabled Internet as the likely next step along this development path.

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This panel, besides being inspired by the Himba, was also inspired by this Iqgirha, or Xhosa traditional healer, whom I met in our Eastern Cape. She’ll read your dreams, and might give you a surprisingly accurate analysis of where your mind is at.

It amazes me how many AI intellectuals dismiss dreams as ‘non empirical’. That shouldn’t matter! Everything in our psyche affects our thoughts, which affect our actions, which certainly are empirical.

As we hurtle towards amplification, of both the good and the bad, brought by AI, and as some of us begin to ponder AI Ethics, hadn’t we better start getting to know every little thing about our psyches much better? And surely dreams are a good place to start?

The Oracle Machine pg 64

Thrilled to announce that hard copies of ‘The Oracle Machine’ Graphic Novel are now available for online orders from Blank Books in Cape Town. Follow this link. It’s roughly $8+shipping (our exchange rate unfortunately fluctuates greatly!)

SciFi & Comic aficionado ‘Blank Books‘ is a trusted Cape Town retail outlet with a great reputation and a long tradition of shipping books – especially rare, precious and collectable ones – across the world.

‘The Oracle Machine’ is 160 pages long, in black & white, with a soft cover (despite being a hard copy…) Perhaps not suitable for under-14’s. Only 500 copies have been printed in this first run, so get your collectors-item First Edition now before they’re all gone. 🙂

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