“You see, no one in our Community has any memory of the past. Only me. When the Elders need guidance on matters that are beyond their experience, I provide wisdom. That is now your role. To provide guidance in the present using memories of the past.”
—The Giver, “The Giver”
“A girl gives me several things to make needed money. The last thing she gives me are a set of 4 books called The Giver, that she had buried under some garbage outside where no one would find them.”
In the 2014 movie The Giver the title character retains the memory of his entire post-dystopian society; he is tasked with transferring his recollections to a young man designated The Receiver Of Memory. Outside of this little exchange, the society’s leaders seem pretty content with obliterating their history in favor for an extremely calm and orderly communal mindset.
But along with suppressing the group memory, a lot of other things are lost; most notably, colors. The movie starts in a monochromatic palette, only progressively adding hues as the Receiver, Jonah, obtains more and more memories. Other potentially unruly things like emotions also seem to be banned.
The question is posed: should the “messier” elements of reality be kept out of public view and consumption if it means a more peaceful and civil society? As The Chief Elder explains to The Giver, “when people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong every single time.” And indeed, the “Brave New World”-esque society of The Giver is not one of cruelty, oppression, or a lack of intelligence; outside of giving painless lethal injections to the fuck-ups, it’s a pretty good deal.
The Giver is played by Jeff Bridges, who by this point has comfortably settled into his post-Lebowski “Hip Village Elder” cinematic persona.
In the same year he would play witch-hunter Master Gregory in Seventh Son, a role in some ways similar to The Giver:
Bridges was also the trippy Bill Django of The New Earth Army in The Men Who Stare At Goats…
…and an older Kevin Flynn in Tron Legacy.
In all these roles, he is the mentor—transmitter of memory—to the next generation.
The Giver also has certain elements similar to The Matrix—even certain iconic visual cues:
Like Neo, Jonah is the sort of iconoclastic “Savior”—or, maybe more like Prophet in lieu of the Savior—who will stir up the established order. This is what has sometimes been described as the “Luciferian” impulse…bringing the suppressed information to the People…herald of an ambivalent New Age that has been described by Aleister Crowley as the Aeon Of Horus.
Jonah is played by Brenton Thwaites, who was also the sidekick to the actual Horus in 2016’s Gods Of Egypt…
…and will go on to play Horus resonator Dick “Robin/Nightwing” Grayson in the upcoming Teen Titans television series.
So The Giver is a very archetypal story, and these actors find themselves resonating the same archetypes again and again. And we, the collective, then pick up on and process these archetypes in our own lives, as I had done with the dream I had two years ago in which “The Giver” book series was given to me (I did not know at the time of that dream that there were indeed four books in that particular series by Lois Lowry).
In the dream, the sacred books are in the trash—finding the treasure in the trash being a theme focused on by author Philip K. Dick in his Exegesis. He believed that “higher forces” literally “hide” the important stuff in the garbage—and/or mass-consumed pop-culture—so as to both get them to the people who really would understand, as well as keep it away from the attention of the Chief Elders of whatever society.
Of course, Philip K. Dick bares a striking resemblance to…
Anyway, in my spiritual work concentrating on different archetypes—and their modern-day representatives—I’ve explored this “Giver” character, as specifically personified by Bridges. As with the case of Santa Claus, he represents a positive older male archetype.
And as always, these things are on a continuum; as Eckhart Tolle calls it, a constant expansion and contraction…from the beginning, youth, the expansion…
…to the onset of age, the contraction…
…and back again.