Sunday, April 15, 2012

2001 analysis - part 45: Numerical clues in the movie; the '5 + 3' ogdoadal system


In David Lynch's 2001 film, Mulholland Drive, there is a numerical clue about an important idea in A Space Odyssey. This clue has to do with the idea of 'five of eight' persons, being significant in certain scenes. In the 'Club Silencio' scenario in Lynch's movie (some screenshots of which are shown below), only five of the eight persons involved in the scenario are portrayed as being very significant. "Significant" here means that there are only five people involved in the Club Silencio scenario who actually speak. Rita and Betty speak while at home (the scenario begins when Rita starts saying "silencio" in her sleep), and the emcee, the magician, and Rebekah Del Rio speak while in the club. The other three persons (a trumpet player, a blue-haired lady, and a man who helps the emcee carry Del Rio off the stage after she has fainted), do not speak during the scenario itself (the blue-haired lady only comes into play at the very end of the movie). Note that the grouping of five significant persons consists of three women and two men.

From Mulholland Drive - only five of eight persons in the Club Silencio scenario are significant: Top left: Rita (left) and Betty. Top right: The magician. Above left: The singer, Rebekah Del Rio. Above right: The emcee.

Above left and right: Heywood Floyd meets with his friend, Elena (blond hair), and some of her fellow employees, in the space station. Lynch's 'five of eight' clue from Mulholland Drive, described above, is a hint having to do with the fact that there are five persons in the group at the meeting, which we note consists of three women and two men, just like the grouping of five in Mulholland Drive described above. The round meeting table, representing a mandala, indicates that the persons at the meeting have, symbolically speaking, been brought together as part of something to do with psychological wholeness (but see below).[a] Also, the 'eight' in Lynch's 'five of eight', is a reference to the idea of an ogdoad, the Greek word for which is translated as 'the eightfold'. The Egyptian Ogdoad consisted of eight deities worshiped in ancient Egypt. Lynch is giving us a hint that in the space station meeting scene, Kubrick was suggesting the idea of a '5 + 3' ogdoadal system. (Note that one implication of this is that the meeting is 'missing' three persons or entities).

In terms of the discussion in part 19 of the Mulholland Drive analysis on this blog, about the number 4 (and its multiples) representing mandalas (and thus, psychological wholeness), and about 'disturbed' mandalas in Lynch's movie being represented by the numbers 3 and 5 (both of which are 'off by 1' from the number 4), the '5 + 3' ogdoad in A Space Odyssey can be realized to be a 'union' of disturbed mandalas. Since 5 + 3 = 8, and 8 is a multiple of 4, the '5 + 3' ogdoad therefore represents a kind of 'disturbed wholeness', or 'improper wholeness'.

Another numerical clue in A Space Odyssey, is that Heywood Floyd uses kiosk number 17 to get through space station security prior to the meeting; also, his call to his daughter from the space station costs him $1.70. According to the Dictionary of Symbols, "The ancient Romans seem to have regarded the number seventeen as unlucky since an anagram of the letters of which it is composed (XVII) gives the word VIXI, 'I have lived'."[b]

Above left: Heywood Floyd (brown suit), and the man escorting him through the space station, head for voice print identification kiosk number 17, so that Floyd's identity can be verified by space station security. Above right: Floyd's call to his daughter from the station cost him $1.70.

a. "Only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is:...[T]he wholeness of the personality, which if all goes well is harmonious, but which cannot tolerate self-deceptions." (--Jung, C.G., Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Google Books, p. 212, URL =
b. Dictionary of Symbols. Ed. Jean Chevalier and Alain Gheerbrant, Trans. John Buchanan-Brown. London: Penguin Group, 1996. p. 867.


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