With these simple building-blocks, you can create an entire universe; you are only limited by your imagination. That’s the central premise of the widely-popular Lego franchise of toys, movies, and videogames. It is a world populated by something akin to the idealized forms of Plato; where anything (vehicles, people, droplets of water) can be replicated by infinite combinations of a set # of pieces.
Lego—especially now that much of it has made the “jump” from actual physical plastic pieces to uncanny replicas of such in the digital realm—is like a blueprint not only of the underlying structure of our reality, but where reality as we actually know it might be heading in the future.
I. THE METAPHYSICS OF “THE LEGO MOVIE”
2014’s The Lego Movie actually wears its esotericism pretty much on its sleeve, most notably in its very Masonic concept of “The Master Builder.” The film quite literally sets up the premise of there being two realities: the “real world” which “we” live in and the Lego World which is also alive but dependent in a strange way on “our” reality.
Actually, there are three realities in The Lego Movie—because the “real world” within the film is “alive” but (again) dependent in a strange way on the reality of the audience’s world (the reality in which you are reading these words: “Reality Prime”).
But actually…Reality Prime might be not that much different from the Lego reality of the movie (“Holy Ouroboros, Batman!”).
The easiest way to understand the metaphysics of The Lego Movie is to simply equate it with 1999’s The Matrix, as the main characters are practically interchangeable. “Everyman” Emmet Brickoswki (the “brick” being literally the basic building block of Life) is the “Chosen One,” Neo is—the “Master Builder.” Sagacious guru Vitruvius is Morpheus and Wyldstyle is Trinity. And these similarities are not even something they try to “hide” in the movie, really—nor do they try to hide the “Matrix”-like concept that reality is more highly “shapable” and manipulatable than we think.
Master Builders possess the ability to shape reality to their Will—a pretty common occult concept. The evil President Business (which is pretty much the most dead-on “Trump Omen” that has ever been had in a piece of pop-culture) wants to prevent the little brick-people from utilizing their latent Master Builder abilities to shape their lives and assert their individual wills—instead, literally “gluing” things into one “set” reality.
But then there is a continuum between President Business and the God-sounding “Man Upstairs”—the latter turning out to be a “real” human in the “real” reality who unwittingly has control over the “alive” Lego universe. In this scenario, “God” as commonly understood is sort of like the Gnostic concept of the Demiurge: the “mad god” ignorant of the more benevolent and more powerful “true god.”
Beyond the Matrix idea, there is another concept that The Lego Movie introduces which will become central to the rest of the multimedia franchise: that of the breakdown of barriers between realities. For this is a world where the universes of Batman, Star Wars, Lord of The Rings, and more all converge and co-exist. They all form a “meta reality” where it is completely normal to see these characters interact with one another.
As I’ve detailed in the post “Crisis On Infinite Realities,” this is sort of similar to our current situation. Instead of everyone conforming to the “consensus reality,” many realities are maintained in close proximity to each other. Where The Lego Movie might be idealist (or a fantasy) is in the idea that they can all peacefully co-exist.
II. THE METAPHYSICS OF “LEGO DIMENSIONS”
I am not a super-expert on the 2015 videogame Lego Dimensions, but I know enough about it to be struck by how the concept of “infinite realities” is greatly expanded upon.
The bad guy here is Lord Vortech, who has had enough of this “multiverse” nonsense and wants to fuse everything into one consensus reality. To do this he will need the 12 (magic number 12) Foundation Elements (compare with the Guardians of the Galaxy Infinity Gauntlet). These elements are essentially the “power items” from various pre-established fantasy universes, such as the Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz, Superman’s Kryptonite, and the One Ring.
And so the characters from a MASSIVE # of franchises (including Back To The Future, Scooby-Doo, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, The Ghostbusters, and even friggin’ The A-Team) all team up to stop Vortech. The moral? All these realities can co-exist…though maybe on their own individual Earths/worlds with occasional crossovers.
III. THE METAPHYSICS OF “THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE”
Unlike its predecessor, 2017’s The Lego Batman Movie is not as concerned with such reality-bending concepts. It’s more of a character development piece, as Bruce Wayne/Batman learns not to be such an arrogant prick and instead embrace family and teamwork.
Much has been made of this movie hosting a very passive, “emo” Joker—one who sees himself almost like Batman’s boyfriend than his enemy. When Batman essentially “turns him down,” a vengeful Joker gets himself shot into The Forbidden Zone, where once again villains from all these different fantasy universes are hanging out (together including Lord of the Rings, King Kong, Harry Potter, and The Wizard Of Oz).
Joker brings the villains into Gotham City to take it over, and so the good guys recruit all the standard Batman villains (whom Joker rejected for not being powerful enough) to fight the “multiverse” villains. Suddenly the entire city is about to fall apart, and ALL the Batman heroes and villains, a well as the Gotham City residents, have to literally “link” themselves head-to-feet (in one of the most surreal visuals in any LEGO enterprise) to “pull” it together again.
Now, there is something in there, perhaps, about how maybe having too many realities “interfere” with one place might tear apart the “structural integrity” of a particular reality (Or: “it takes a village.” You choose.).
But what was most interesting to me was the finale song sequence, “Friends Are Family”—in which all the Batman heroes and villains, including the Joker, wear white and are apparently the best friends ever.
Here we see the culmination of so many Batman stories in comic, TV, and movie form: it ends with the end of Duality, of the good guys vs. bad guy trope. All those beefs, suddenly ended—they are all “Best Friends.” How did this happen?
Well, the very first thought that struck my mind was: “they’re all dead and in the Afterlife.”
Now, that conclusion is plenty morbid…but here we have a visual representation of the “all souls/spirits mingling” idea that has been used as a description of the world after death (the astral plane, perhaps).
But it is also a logical conclusion of a franchise (both that of Batman and Lego) in which every combination has been used, every “alternate universe” has been experienced and integrated…leading to the undifferentiated All, the basic Brick.
More to read about on Butterfly Language:
“Anti-Capitalist” Capitalism, Mr. Robot, and The Lego Movie
Has The Joker Lost His Relevance In A World That Is Already Insane?
The Simpsons Code