Monday, May 31, 2010

Lecter series - unified analysis - part 8: Swedenborg on sun worship


In part 68 of the Manhunter analysis, it was stated that some of the investigators in Washington who are deceiving Will Graham and are secretly working for Lecktor, are 'worshiping' Lecktor as a kind of metaphorical sun god. Swedenborg had a very low opinion of sun worship. From Divine Love and Wisdom ('D.L.W.'):

The sun of the natural world is pure fire, consequently dead; nature also is dead, because it derives its origin from that sun. Creation itself cannot be ascribed in the least to the sun of the natural world, but must be wholly ascribed to the sun of the spiritual world; because the sun of the natural world is altogether dead; but the sun of the spiritual world is living; for it is the first proceeding of Divine Love and Divine Wisdom; and what is dead does not act at all from itself, but is acted upon; consequently to ascribe to it anything of creation would be like ascribing the work of an artificer to the tool which is moved by his hands. The sun of the natural world is pure fire from which everything of life has been withdrawn; but the sun of the spiritual world is fire in which is Divine Life. The angelic idea of the fire of the sun of the natural world, and of the fire of the sun of the spiritual world, is this; that in the fire of the sun of the spiritual world the Divine Life is within, but in the fire of the sun of the natural world it is without. From this it can be seen that the actuating power of the natural sun is not from itself, but from a living force proceeding from the sun of the spiritual world; consequently if the living force of that sun were withdrawn or taken away, the natural sun would have no vital power. For this reason the worship of the sun is the lowest of all the forms of God-worship, for it is wholly dead, as the sun itself is, and therefore in the Word it is called "abomination." (--from D.L.W. n. 157.) (emphasis not in original).

To skip over the remainder of the Swedenborgian analysis of the Hannibal Lecter movies, click here.

The works of Emanuel Swedenborg from the Internet Sacred Texts Archive
Divine Love and Wisdom, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1763], tr. by John C. Ager [1890] at Web. 31 May 2010.


Lecter series - unified analysis - part 7: Swedenborg on New Jerusalem


Recalll the importance of the biblical book of Revelation for the Manhunter analysis; Emanuel Swedenborg gives an interesting interpretation of this book. Among other things, he believes that the New Jerusalem depicted in Revelation actually represents a "New Church." The below material is from Swedenborg's Apocalypse Revealed ('A.R.') and The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine ('H.D.'):

In Revelation it does not treat of the successive states of the church, still less of the successive states of kingdoms, as some have hitherto believed, but there from beginning to end it treats of the last state of the church in the heavens and on the earth; and then concerning the Last Judgment; and after this of the New Church, which is the New Jerusalem. That this New Church is the end of this work, is evident, wherefore those things which precede refer to the state of the church, as to its quality just before it. (-- from A.R. n. 2.)

It is written in the Apocalypse: "I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride before her husband..." The man who reads these things, understands them only according to the sense of the letter; namely, that the visible heaven and earth will perish, and a new heaven will exist, and that the holy city Jerusalem, answering to the measures above described, will descend upon the new earth; but the angels understand these things altogether differently; namely, what man understands naturally, they understand spiritually; and as the angels understand, so they signify; and this is the internal or spiritual sense of the Word. In the internal or spiritual sense, "a New Heaven and a New Earth" means a New Church, both in the heavens and on the earth..."The city Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven" signifies its heavenly doctrine. (-- from H.D. n. 1.)

"Things which must shortly come to pass" (Rev 1:1) signifies that they will certainly be, lest the church perish. By coming to pass shortly, is not meant that the things which are foretold in Revelation, will happen immediately and speedily, but certainly; and that unless they do happen the church must perish. (--from A.R. n. 4.)

To skip over the remainder of the Swedenborgian analysis of the Hannibal Lecter movies, click here.

The works of Emanuel Swedenborg from the Internet Sacred Texts Archive
Apocalypse Revealed, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1766], tr. by John Whitehead [1912], at Web. 31 May 2010.
The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1758], tr. by John Whitehead [1892] at Web. 31 May 2010.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lecter series - unified analysis - part 6: Swedenborg on creation


It is interesting to see what Swedenborg has to say about the subject of creation; for Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Augustine were quoted on this topic, in the analysis of The Silence of the Lambs. In the below, 'D.L.W.' means the quoted material is from Swedenborg's Divine Love and Wisdom, 'A.E.' means it is from Apocalypse Explained, and 'T.C.R.' denotes True Christian Religion.

Every one who thinks from clear reason sees that the universe was not created out of nothing, for he sees that not anything can be made out of nothing; since nothing is nothing, and to make anything out of nothing is a contradiction, and a contradiction is contrary to the light of truth, which is from Divine Wisdom; and whatever is not from Divine Wisdom is not from Divine Omnipotence. Every one who thinks from clear reason sees also that all things have been created out of a Substance that is Substance in itself for that is Esse itself, out of which every thing that is can take form; and since God alone is Substance in itself, and therefore Esse itself, it is evident that from this source alone is the formation of things. (--from D.L.W. n. 283.)

Because God is life, it follows that He is uncreated. He is uncreated because life can create but cannot be created, for to be created is to have existence from another, and if life had existence from another there would be another being even as to life, and that life would be life in itself. If this First were not life in itself it would be either from another or from itself; and you cannot say life from itself because from itself involves an origin, and that origin would be from nothing, and from nothing, nothing can originate. This First, which has being [esse] in itself and from which all things have been created, is God, who is called Jehovah because He is Being in Himself. This, especially if it is illustrated by things created, reason can see. Now as there can be no Being unless it exists, so being and existing [esse et existere] in God are one; for when there is being there is existing, and when there is existing there is being. (-- from A.E. n. 1126.) (material inside square brackets in original).

Who does not see, when he is able to think from reason elevated above the sensual things of the body, that life is not creatable? For what is life but the inmost activity of the love and wisdom that are in God and are God, which life, indeed, may be called the essential living force? (-- from T.C.R. n. 471.)

[N]othing exists or subsists from itself, or is acted upon or moved by itself, but only by something else. From this it follows that everything exists and subsists and is acted upon and moved by the First that is not from another, but is in itself the living force, which is life. (--from A.E. n. 1146.)

To skip over the remainder of the Swedenborgian analysis of the Hannibal Lecter movies, click here.

The works of Emanuel Swedenborg from the Internet Sacred Texts Archive
Divine Love and Wisdom, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1763], tr. by John C. Ager [1890] at Web. 30 May 2010.
Apocalypse Explained, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1757-9], tr. by John Whitehead [1911], at Web. 30 May 2010.
True Christian Religion, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1771], tr. by John C. Ager [1906] at Web. 30 May 2010.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Lecter series - unified analysis - part 5: Introduction to Emanuel Swedenborg


Portrait of Emanuel Swedenborg by Carl Frederik von Breda. [Image from the Wikipedia 'Emanuel Swedenborg' page, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.]

Emanuel Swedenborg (born Emanuel Swedberg; January 29, 1688 – March 29, 1772) was a Swedish scientist, philosopher, Christian mystic, and theologian. Swedenborg had a prolific career as an inventor and scientist. In 1741 at the age of fifty-three he entered into a spiritual phase in which he eventually began to experience dreams and visions beginning on Easter weekend April 6, 1744. This culminated in a spiritual awakening, where he claimed he was appointed by the Lord to write a heavenly doctrine to reform Christianity.

In the next several posts, we will be analyzing the Lecter movies within the context of certain writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. One of Swedenborg's ideas that is considered most crucial for the understanding of his theology is his notion of correspondences. The basis of the correspondence theory is that there is a relationship between the natural ("physical"), the spiritual, and the divine worlds. The foundations of this theory can be traced to Neoplatonism and the philosopher Plotinus in particular. With the aid of this scenario, Swedenborg now interpreted the bible in a different light, claiming that even the most apparently trivial sentences could hold a profound spiritual meaning.[a]

Below is quoted some material from one of Swedenborg's works, Divine Love and Wisdom ('D.L.W.'), so that the reader of this analysis can get a sense of his manner of speaking.

THE DIVINE IS NOT IN SPACE. But since angels and spirits see with eyes, just as men in the world do, and since objects cannot be seen except in space, therefore in the spiritual world where angels and spirits are, there appear to be spaces like the spaces on earth; yet they are not spaces, but appearances; since they are not fixed and constant, as spaces are on earth; for they can be lengthened or shortened; they can be changed or varied. Thus because they cannot be determined in that world by measure, they cannot be comprehended there by any natural idea, but only by a spiritual idea. (--from D.L.W. n. 7.)

At the bottom of each post in the Swedenborgian analysis, there will be a link like the one provided below, which will allow you to skip over the remaining posts having to do with Swedenborg, and to move ahead to part 24 of the unified analysis.

a. Wikipedia, 'Emanuel Swedenborg'. Web, n.d. URL =

To skip over the remainder of the Swedenborgian analysis of the Hannibal Lecter movies, click here.

The works of Emanuel Swedenborg from the Internet Sacred Texts Archive
Divine Love and Wisdom, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1763], tr. by John C. Ager [1890] at Web. 29 May 2010.


Hannibal analysis - part 6: More numerical references


Ray Liotta as Clarice Starling's FBI supervisor, Paul Krendler.

Let us explore the etymology of the surname of Clarice Starling's supervisor, Paul Krendler. Kren is the German word for horseradish, which is typically used for maror, one of the two types of bitter herbs eaten during the Jewish feast of Passover seder. This meal marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. The bitter herbs symbolize the bitterness and harshness of the slavery which the Jews endured in Ancient Egypt, as recorded in the biblical book of Exodus. We see that Krendler's name is a reference to Passover seder, and therefore, that the movie-makers are making reference to the biblical Jews.

The '253' in the same photo from Starling's work area shown in part 4 of this analysis, refers to Exodus 5:3 (Exodus is the second book of the bible, thus the leading '2'). Exodus 5 verses 1-4 read as follows [from the Revised Standard Version of the bible]:

1. Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.'" 2. But Pharaoh said, "Who is the LORD, that I should heed his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and moreover I will not let Israel go." 3. Then they said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us; let us go, we pray, a three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword." 4. But the king of Egypt said to them, "Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people away from their work? Get to your burdens."

Lecter's 'mug shot' as shown in the movie. Note the sequence of numbers typed at the lower left. The '966' and '656' are biblical references.

From the numerals on Lecter's mug shot shown in the above screencap, '966' corresponds to 1 Samuel 6:6 (1 Samuel is the ninth book in the bible), which falls under 'The Ark Returned to Israel', in which the priests and the divinities are instructing the Philistines. From the Revised Standard Version:

"Why should you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? After he had made sport of them, did not they let the people go, and they departed?"

'656' refers to Joshua 5:6 (Joshua is the sixth book in the bible). From the Revised Standard Version:

For the people of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the nation, the men of war that came forth out of Egypt, perished, because they did not hearken to the voice of the LORD; to them the LORD swore that he would not let them see the land which the LORD had sworn to their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.

Note that both Exodus 5:3 and and Joshua 5:6 mention the Israelites journeying in the wilderness, and that Exodus 5:3 and 1 Samuel 6:6 both have to do with the Egyptian Pharaoh's actions toward the Israelites.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pulp Fiction analysis - part 17: The briefcase and the 'Space Odyssey' monolith


The Pulp Fiction briefcase is, in some ways, similar to the black monolith in the 1968 Stanley Kubrick film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. First, the two objects are similar in physical appearance: Both are flat, black, and rectangular-shaped. Also, both objects are portrayed in their respective movies as being mysterious - there's a certain amount of mystery surrounding the origin of the monolith in A Space Odyssey, and the Pulp Fiction briefcase is mysterious in that its contents have been considered by many people to be uncertain.

Above left: The Space Odyssey monolith is the rectangular black object jutting upward from the rocks, in this shot from the 'Dawn of Man' segment of Kubrick's movie. Above right: The first time we see the briefcase in Pulp Fiction, it is shown being handled by Vincent Vega in Brett's apartment.

Another correspondence between the briefcase and the monolith is that the first killings in Pulp Fiction occur very soon after the briefcase makes its first appearance , near the movie's beginning in Brett's apartment. Similarly, the first killing in 2001 takes place not long after the monolith makes its first appearance (in the above-mentioned 'Dawn of Man' segment).

Shortly after we see Vincent handling the briefcase in Brett's apartment, one of Brett's cohorts is shot and killed by Jules (above left), and not long after this, Brett himself is killed (above right).

Above left: Man's early ancestors, the members of a tribe of 'ape-men', begin to investigate the black monolith in A Space Odyssey. Above right: Not too long after this encounter with the monolith, a member of the tribe that encountered it kills a member of a competing tribe, by striking him with a hand-held bone.

The overall point here is that the Pulp Fiction briefcase is a representation of the Space Odyssey monolith.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lecter series - unified analysis - part 4: The name change to 'Lecktor' for Manhunter


Brian Cox as Hannibal Lecktor in Manhunter.

In part 64 the Silence of the Lambs analysis, the etymology of Hannibal Lecter's surname was discussed: Lecter is related to the name Lechter, which is derived from the name Lichter. Lichter is a German and Jewish (Ashkenazic) occupational surname for someone who made candles or possibly for someone who tended a light, from an agent derivative of from Middle High German lieht, Yiddish likht 'candle', 'light'.[a] Based on the symbolism of his name, Hannibal Lecter represents Jews, within some context. However, since Hannibal's surname is spelled Lecktor in Manhunter, there is no association with the name 'Lechter', and thus, as stated in part 1 of this analysis, in Manhunter, Hannibal Lecktor does not represent Jews (or any subset thereof).

a. Ancestry, Lichter Family History: Lichter Name Meaning. Web, n.d. URL =


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lecter series unified analysis - part 3 - Lecter's attempt at rebirth (cont'd)


Continuing from the previous post, in which we began to describe Hannibal Lecter's attempt at rebirth, the next type of rebirth in Carl Jung's list is:

3. Resurrection. In this form of rebirth, human existence is re-established after death. There is a change in one's being involved: the resurrected person may be a different being, or only the general conditions of existence (for example, geographical location) may have changed.

In The Silence of the Lambs, Lecter didn't actually die in Memphis, and therefore, his subsequent supposed resurrection in the ambulance (see screencap below) is only an imitation of this form of rebirth. Lecter is not depicted as actually going through a resurrection in Hannibal, either.

Lecter's attempt at resurrection in The Silence of the Lambs.

4. Rebirth (renovatio). "The fourth form concerns rebirth in the strict sense; that is, rebirth within the span of individual life...Rebirth may be a renewal without any change of being, inasmuch as the personality which is renewed is not changed in its essential nature, but only its functions, or parts of its personality, are subjected to healing, strengthening, or improvement."[a]

During his period of imprisonment in The Silence of the Lambs, Lecter develops and strengthens his artistic abilities: Recall his drawing of Clarice holding her childhood lamb (below left screencap; drawn by Lecter while he's imprisoned in Memphis), and his drawing of the Duomo as seen from the Belvedere (below right screencap; drawn by Lecter while in his Baltimore cell). Thus, Hannibal is being depicted as experiencing this kind of rebirth.

5. Participation in the process of transformation. "Here the transformation is brought about not directly, by passing through death and rebirth oneself, but indirectly, by participating in a process of transformation which is conceived of as taking place outside the individual...This rite may be a ceremony such as the Mass, where there is a transformation of substances."[b]

Mass is the Eucharistic celebration of the Roman Catholic Church. In this celebration, bread and wine are served, representing Jesus' body and blood, respectively. In The Silence of the Lambs, it was described that Lecter's second meal in the Memphis scene had no bread served with it, but that Lecter drank the liquid that came with the meal. By drinking the liquid (water representing wine) provided with this second meal, which represented a Passover meal as well as a Lord's Supper (and was Eucharistic by virtue of the latter), Lecter symbolically partook of Jesus' blood; but since there was no bread, he did not partake of Jesus' body. Thus, he does not meet the criteria for this particular type of rebirth.

The second meal served to Lecter in Memphis, came with no bread.

a. Jung, C.G. The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 9, Part 1. Princeton University Press, 1969. para. 202.
b. Ibid., para. 205.


Lecter series - unified analysis - part 2: Lecter is attempting to be reborn


We know from part 3 of the analysis of Hannibal, that Lecter wants to experience the beatific vision, that is, he wants to see God. In the bible, Gospel of John chapter 3, verse 3, Jesus says to Nicodemus [New International Version]:

"I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

Lecter needs to be reborn in order to see the kingdom of God. In The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (Volume 9, part 1 of The Collected Works), Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist Carl Jung described five forms of rebirth. Let us look at each of these, and try to determine whether Lecter goes through any of them (in The Silence of the Lambs or Hannibal).

1. Metempsychosis (also called transmigration of souls): "According to this view, one's life is prolonged in time by passing through different bodily existences; or, from another point of view, it is a life-sequence interrupted by different reincarnations. Even in is by no means certain whether continuity of personality is guaranteed or not: there may be only a continuity of karma."[a]

Lecter would have to have had a sequence of existences prior to modern day, to fit the definition of metempsychosis. We have no indication that Lecter has had prior existences.

2. Reincarnation. "Here the human personality is regarded as continuous and accessible to memory, so that, when one is incarnated or born, one is able, at least potentially, to remember that one has lived through previous existences and that these existences were one's own...As a rule, reincarnation means rebirth in a human body."[b]

As stated above, we have no indication that Lecter has had previous existences. Therefore, the criteria for reincarnation are not met.

The topic of Lecter's attempted rebirth is continued in the next post.

a. Jung, C.G. The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 9, Part 1. Princeton University Press, 1969. para. 200.
b. Ibid., para. 201.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Hannibal analysis - part 5: Lecter intended to get caught at Union Station


Starling arrives at Union Station, with Mason Verger's henchmen trailing her in a black van.

Lecter, who has been sitting in his vehicle outside Union Station, gets out after both Starling and the van pass him, as if he expected someone to be following Clarice.

Once all parties are inside the station shopping area, it doesn't take long for Lecter to get a good look at the two guys who are following Clarice.

It is only after spotting the two men, that Hannibal exposes himself to plain view by getting on the carousel (though Starling still does not see him).

Lecter gets taken down - as he had planned: As depicted in the above, once Hannibal verified that Verger's men were looking around for him, he let them get a good look at him; then, as shown at left, he drew them into the mall's parking area. Lecter has succeeded in getting 'caught', fully expecting that he can later get the upper hand with Mason Verger.


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