“This is a difficult but key point to our secret life: psychopathology and the paranormal go just fine together, as do mushrooms and religious revelation, or madness and holiness, or car wrecks and near-death experiences, or mystics and sexual trauma; once the ego is dissolved, however it is dissolved, the imaginal, the supernormal, and the spiritual can come rushing in. And when they do, they almost always rush in together.”
—Jeffrey J. Kripal, “Mutants And Mystics”
You’ve probably heard of the “Fight Club” theory regarding the 1986 John Hughes comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. In this fan theory, brilliant and charming Ferris and sad-sack hypochondriac Cameron are the same person; Ferris is Cameron’s “pooka,” if you will, or alt-personality; everything Cameron wishes he could be.
So when Cameron is arguing with Ferris at the beginning of the film about playing hooky, he’s basically wrestling with his own anxiety and neuroses, unwilling to move past his comfort zone to a higher level of self-actualization.
It is only when his dad’s red Ferrari (symbolizing all the negative imprinting from Cameron’s earliest years) is destroyed that our boy can heal and move on. His near-drowning/possible suicide attempt in the swimming pool, complete with Ferris “saving” him, represents his rebirth (water-baptism) as a more whole human being; he no longer “needs” Ferris, allowing this pooka/tulpa/trickster spirit to move on to other adventures.
Of course, there’s another theory that Ferris Bueller in actuality is just a complete and total asshole. Some proponents of this theory believe that the 1999 comedy Election, in which Matthew Broderick plays a Principal Rooney-type character who is constantly bedeviled by a Bueller-like female student, was “karmic payback” for Ferris’ formerly wicked ways.
Bueller grew up to be high school teacher Jim McAllister (changing his name, of course, along the way as to carefully avoid infamy), and had to “burn” his karma painfully with the devious Tracy Flick.
(We can, of course, retroactively add to Bueller/McAllister’s history the time an obsessed Cable Guy stalked him in ’96, when he was under the identity of Steven Kovacs. And then of course there was that whole “Godzilla ’98” debacle…)
As always in such matters, I tend towards the “quantum” and archetypal theories; this is my patented Cop-Out™.
I sometimes wonder if my agnosticism is just one big cop-out. This is one of the points in which Robert Anton Wilson gets criticized by more “hard-core” esoteric thinkers…that his agnosticism was just a cop-out, that maybe there was a hard-and-fast “side” he should have taken in the grand cosmic battle. That maybe the pooka was just a human-sized real fucking rabbit. That maybe Wilson was the reincarnation of an ancient Irish bard, that maybe little gray aliens from Sirius did contact him. That maybe there really are actual solid-to-the-touch little gray aliens from Sirius.
The temptation to just be “sure”—to just get the “story,” the “real” story, the “final” story—is just so…tempting, you know?
I listened to one of those more recent podcasts on the whole “Paul McCartney Died And Was Replaced By A Double” thing. And oh holy jesus, if it didn’t go deep-diving into rabbit-hole (there’s the pooka again) territory pretty damn fast. And the guy sounded so sure about this theory, and yes he DID connect it to the Earth really being flat, and this overarching meta-theory in which everything we know is really a lie (and every esoteric theory floated to take the place of these lies are obviously the inviolate truth warranting no further scrutiny).
Well. Anyway. This is what I do with my free time. Thinking about stuff like this, performing what Philip K. Dick, in his Exegesis, referred to as the “infinite regress.”
But I also, in my free time, like to watch videos of obsolete technology like old tape decks be taken apart and repaired. So I’m not a complete weirdo.
Have a good…(checks calendar) Wednesday.