In those moments of inevitable frailty, I cannot help wondering what it would be like, living in an honest world.

Who would I be if I’d spent 12 years in an educational system that truly wanted me to comprehend reality … that had, with sincerity, worked to impart fundamental intellectual tools needed to navigate life toward a positive outcome?

Who would I be if art had been authentic regarding the human condition; all of those television shows and films and music albums?

Who would I be if my parents had also been brought up in a civilization rooted in truth? What might they have taught me, with their years of experience built on a solid foundation of collective wisdom?

Who might you be I wonder, sometimes, when the day stretches impossibly long and everything I must do contradicts so violently with what I should do?

Of course, asking such questions is a futile endeavor. The world we live in is NOT honest. The construct of civilization we have been born into has no desire to see us thrive as intellectually and spiritually competent beings. The world we live in is compelled—by forces I only cautiously contemplate—to pull us down into the depths of our worst inclinations … to hollows where we writhe and scream and feed every ounce of our potential to the monsters of guilt and self-loathing.

The Holly Wood Menace

Full disclosure: I admit my own addiction to the cinematic art form which, in our society, is like saying you are addicted to breathing (most insipid date question on Earth: “Do you like movies?”). The fascinating thing regarding this addiction … I am completely aware that the medium of film is a destructive liar, a false mirror, a mockery of just about everything I yearn to embody. But this is really no different than the alcoholic knowing their beverage of choice is poisonous; we imbibe anyway, and justify it half-heartedly as we push play again and again.

Most recently, I watched a new Hulu offering titled ‘The First’ starring Sean Penn. The series is a fictional depiction of humanity’s first attempt to land a five person team on the “planet” Mars; I place “planet” in quotations here because I know, through and through, that planets as defined by modern scientism do not exist. Mars is not a physical body upon which a human being can plant a flag or “science the shit out of” as Matt Damon proclaimed in ‘The Martian.’ Mars is a shimmer in the sky … possibly nothing more than an illuminated shadow of something projected from another dimension beyond our realm of perceptual understanding: See Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, a greatly misunderstood metaphor for the multi-dimensional nature of reality (a discussion for another time).

The point: Mars is not an object that exists within the arena of physical conquest; it is a chimera, one more false dream dished up by the architects of deception that seem to be in control of this puppet show we call civilization. The promotional imagery for the show speaks directly to the true nature of humanity’s attempt to set foot on the red planet; we are literally shown a rocket lifting off from the pupil of an eye. In no uncertain terms, the only place a mission to Mars will be taking place is in our mind’s eye, made real by pure imagination and a willingness to believe … one more magic trick injected into the world’s consciousness via Kubrick’s monolith, the SCREEN (see if you are unfamiliar with the concept of the monoliths in 2001: A Space Odyssey’s representing the screen).

The cinematic experience of ‘The First’ does an exceptional job tugging the strings of the heart. The narrative successfully envelops the viewer inside an extremely human story of the mission commander’s (Sean Penn) deeply personal struggle, a man who has failed as a husband and father while being compulsively driven to become an explorer of the so-called universe. In the show, the mission to Mars is spearheaded by Laz Ingram (Natascha McElhone), CEO of the Vista Corporation, who passionately professes that the endeavor represents, “Five people fulfilling the destiny of eight billion.”

Herein lays the fundamental problem: the aspirations of this false world are less than smoke. What is the actual cost of selling counterfeit dreams and fake heroes to the entire world? I would like nothing more than to take hold of the hand nearest mine and cheer for humanity’s determined push toward unknown worlds. My lack of belief has nothing to do with a lack of desire to believe … I am chalk full of desire to believe. The problem is, simply, I know better. I know that space travel is a lie, a concoction of science fiction turned scientism fact, a deception deeply rooted in a need to keep the masses utterly clueless as to the true nature of this world as well as our origins and the purpose of this materialistic experience called life.

So who are these actors? Who are these people? I did not invite the Sean Penns of Hollywood into my life, they were just THERE, right from the start. There is an odd intimacy involved when it comes to these famous individuals and the arc of our lives. We grew up with them. Via the screen, actors have been with most of us (to varying degrees) from the very beginning, portraying abstractions that subconsciously became our barometer for navigating life. Whether we admit it or not, an odd type of relationship forms between ourselves and the actors we grow up with. Despite the obvious fact that these celebrities have no idea—or interest in—who we are and, fully aware that even if we were to “meet” them in person they would forget us moments later … it is inevitable that a strange kind of bond forms within the viewer for the performer. Actors have taken us on grand adventures all over the world and beyond, into fantastic realms and larger than life scenarios. The best of them have made us genuinely FEEL things, even if those emotions were fleeting, a mere whisper compared to those we experience via real-world events.

It is only natural, then, that we at least subconsciously feel as though we “know” these actors, that they inhabit our internal world in ways not wholly dissimilar to those with whom we engage face-to-face. While this may seem like a trivially obvious statement, it is one we must engage when it comes to celebrities:

These people are NOT our friends.

More than that, the actors we grew up with—no matter how much collective warm and fuzzy emotion may be attached to their myriad roles—are nothing less than our ENEMIES. These people are paid ludicrously large sums of money for their ability to present lies as truth.

Without the pillar of Hollywood bolstering the false narratives attempting to define who and what we are, the entire construct would be greatly weakened if not wholly untenable. This sleight of hand is rarely accomplished directly. Take the grandest magic trick of our time, the events of September 11, 2001 (9/11). While there may be a handful of films presenting the events of that day head on, the number of films (and TV shows and comics and video games, etc.) that reference 9/11 and use it as a plot device … that number is off the charts. By way of the 9/11 farce, Hollywood has injected a considerable percentage of its annual output with themes of terrorism and the futile struggle to defeat it. Terrorism has become the ultimate plug-in villainy, and the fiction of 9/11 serves as the justifying anchor for all of these spinoff narratives.


The small collection of completely intentional “Easter egg” truths that the fully aware, discerning viewer may be able to extract from any given Hollywood production is not worth the price of admission. This addiction to entertainment (aka enter [con]tainment) really needs to be conquered by each and every one of us, both individually and as a collective whole. It is not enough for us to say, “I’m aware of the game being played and this makes me impervious to the propaganda,” or to say, “I’m only watching Hollywood content in hopes of deciphering its buried subtext.” I don’t think the larger mechanism cares WHY we are watching, only that we continue to watch, to consume … to be consumed. It is all, ultimately, a time suck. Our time would be much better spent engaging others, engaging reality, making our own art … discovering ourselves and each other.

I say these things knowing full well that this is MY struggle … and that I am failing colossally in this arena. I have several vices but, in truth, only one actual addiction: film. I know I am far from alone in this. It is folly to think we can simultaneously reject mainstream cinema as a deceiver of humanity while also embracing it as a means of understanding the deception. The only true course of action is to eject it from our lives completely, to be rid of it and the stain it works so hard to place upon our consciousness.

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