The film Dark City is a powerful cinematic experience in its stunning visuals and setting, as well as rich in themes of mind power and memory.
The film merges several genres – science fiction, horror, film noir, German expressionism, with overtones of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Metropolis. The ideas and themes open several mind-expanding and thought-provoking lines of deep inspiration.
The late great film critic Roger Ebert named Dark City the best film of 1998 and one of the great modern films. He called it a great visionary achievement, “a triumph of art direction, set design, cinematography, special effects – and imagination.”
Ebert so admired the film he did a commentary for the DVD. At a four-day film festival in Hawaii, he went through the film shot by shot and debated visuals and meaning.
Appropriately, the movie is set in a dark city run by the Strangers, beings that resemble Nosferatu-like vampires, who are studying humans.
Every night at midnight, they erase human memories and inject new memories as they remold the city into a whole new arrangement.
The film opens with a Kafka-esque mystery: a man wakes in a hotel with a woman’s body in the room, with absolutely no idea who she is, or even who he is. The phone rings; a Dr. Schreber urgently tells him that he must flee immediately as he is in great danger. He does so just before the Strangers enter the hallway.
Thus, the story is launched. He comes to discover that he is John Murdoch, and he wanders the city trying to make sense of what is happening through many twists and turns of place and plot.
In this nightmarish shadow world, he is hunted by both a police detective and the Strangers. Many humans are searching for a place in distant memory called Shell Beach, but no one can remember how to get there.
The plot reveals itself: The Strangers came from another galaxy whose civilization is on the brink of extinction to study humans. They have created this alternate city where they can “tune” the city and people by running experiments. Everything stops as they make massive changes in the city and in the memories of the inhabitants.
They are aided in this process by Dr. Schreber, who under coercion injects new memories. He was in the process of injecting Murdoch, but it was incomplete; Schreber tells him he has proven resistant to it.
Murdoch eventually discovers that he has the same power as the Strangers, the ability to use his mind to create and change the physical and world and memories. Without giving too much away, what he does is literally world changing.
The denouement, the weaving of all the strands of the story, is magnificent and satisfying.
The whole story turns on revealing his childhood memories, in which he is trained by Dr. Schreber in mental power exercises. The doctor urges him to focus, to remember, to gather his energies.
It turns out that the doctor, in injecting Murdoch, inserted himself into Murdoch’s memories with this mental training. Eventually, he can overcome the power of the Strangers in the future. He is the one who must bring light back into the continual city of darkness and shadows.
The bigger lesson for us is the possibility that we might do the same thing. Could we, as our present-day personalities, go back and insert ourselves into our memories? Give our younger self advice, warnings or encouragement?
Perhaps we could train ourselves, equip ourselves with the necessary knowledge and power to face whatever we need in the present moment.
Yes, it is a movie, but the possibilities are intriguing. It’s worth a try. Let me know!
Cast: Rufus Sewell as John Murdoch; William Hurt as Inspector Bumstead; Kiefer Sutherland as Dr. Daniel Schreber; Jennifer Connelly as Emma Murdoch; Richard O'Brien as Mr. Hand
Directed by: Alex Proyas
Written by: Alex Proyas, Lem Dobbs, David S. Goyer
The Law of Attraction states that what we tend to think about, we bring about. Where attention goes, energy flows. While this is a metaphysical law, we see it in everyday life. Someone thinks often of ill health; another thinks of good health; one thinks of failing a test; another thinks of making a good grade – the law works the same for any situation.
We might accept that our dominant thoughts create our reality. However, putting this concept into action is not always easy, especially with troubling or fearful thoughts.
The tendency in thinking is to simply follow along the train of thoughts. We think one thought, which directs us to another and another, and soon we realize we’ve traveled far away from the original thought. This is sometimes called the “monkey mind,” that jumps all around.
In order to direct thinking at all, we must be mindful about what we’re thinking. You might ask yourself: What am I thinking? And do I want to experience the effect of the kinds of thoughts I’m thinking?
The Golden Key is one way to help keep mindful of thoughts. Written as a small pamphlet in 1931, these five pages contain one of the most useful practices we can do to direct thoughts. You can find the full text on Amazon https://amzn.to/2I8RBVW
The key is this: Stop thinking about the difficulty, whatever it is, and think about God instead. Fox adds you may hold any views on religion, or none, and it still works. For the word God, you could substitute higher power, great spirit, beauty, wisdom, truth, love, peace, positivity or whatever word you choose that represents a positive presence.
Fox says, “If you can become so absorbed in the consideration of the spiritual that you forget for a while about the difficulty, you will find that you are safely and comfortably out of your difficulty – that your demonstration is made.”
He adds that while the golden key is simple, it is not always easy to turn your thoughts. But it is the only way.
In addition, repeating affirmative statements can help, such as “Everything is in perfect order,” “The Universe is guiding me,” or “Peace surrounds me,” or even just “All is well.”
We train our minds like we train a puppy by repeating a command over and over until it sinks in or becomes habituated.
There’s an old phrase from the 1500’s, “a golden key can open any door.” Basically, this means that enough money, or the promise of it, will accomplish anything. Yes, money can be helpful.
But even more helpful – and rewarding – is to be in charge of our own thoughts. Then we are richly creative, for we are creating the world we want through directing our minds.
These words of W.H. Murray come to mind, about the power of commitment.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.”
Commit to being mindful of your thoughts. Commit to entertain only the thoughts you wish to experience. When difficult or negative thoughts intrude, use the Golden Key: turn away from them and turn to that which is uplifting and joyful. You have that power!
Think and Grow Rich is one of the most famous inspirational books ever written, often cited as number 1 on many lists. Napoleon Hill wrote this book in 1937 during the time of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, and the world greatly needed this inspiration. Not surprisingly, these ideas express the main ideas of the Law Attraction, which have roots in ancient spiritual traditions. The book describes the power of mind, the power of thoughts to transmute into reality.
Wouldn't you love to grow rich? Of course we do. It's the "think" part we need to grasp.
He consistently talks of the “secret,” predating the film that recently brought mental principles into popular consciousness, with the powerful theme that thoughts are things. He does name this secret directly but place it in each chapter to be discovered, like a vein of gold.
He gives another description of the law of attraction: “…our brains become magnetized with the dominating thoughts which we hold in our minds, and by means with which no man is familiar, these “magnets” attract to us the forces, the people, the circumstances of life which harmonize with the nature of our dominating thoughts.” Therefore, to accumulate riches, we must magnetize our minds with an intense DESIRE for riches.
Hill credits Andrew Carnegie, the steel magnate, with introducing him to the secret formula. Carnegie challenged Hill to spend the next 20 years to bring it to the world. Hill actually spent 25 years in research and analyzing more than 250,000 to fully understand why wealthy men became that way.
He discusses the work of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Marshal Field, George Eastman, Charles Schwab, John Rockefeller, F. W. Woolworth, and so many more. In fact, Hill says, “I have never known anyone who was inspired to use the secret, who did not achieve noteworthy success in his chosen calling.” He tells the story of the Chicago fire, after which many of the store owners packed up and left. One man decided to stay and was determined to rebuild and succeed. That man was Marshal Field, and his store became one of the most successful department stores, eventually to be acquired by Macy’s. Education is not the primary key, for in the case of Edison, he had only three months of formal schooling; Ford did not make it to high school.
No summary of the book is adequate to convey the power and intensity of the words. The energy almost leaps off the page, as though the words have a vibrational power transmuted through 81 years. Clearly, Hill had a burning desire to convey this material and reach as many people as he could and must account for its popularity for so long. Thoughts are things, affirms Hill, when they are mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence and a BURNING DESIRE for their translation into riches or other material objects. He adds that when riches begin to come they come so quickly and with such great abundance that one wonders where they have been hiding all those lean years.
He tells the story of Edwin Barnes who had a burning desire to become a business associate of Thomas Edison. He had no background and no money for the fare. But he traveled by freight train and when he spoke to Edison, the inventor was taken by his expression of determination and gave him a menial job. Barnes eventually found an opportunity that made him a valuable associate and brought riches to himself and Edison. He knew what he wanted and the determination to stand by that desire until he realized it.
Napoleon Hill tells story after story of sheer determination to accomplish some desire and repeat the main ideas until they penetrate the subconsciousness and into belief. Hill bought a dictionary and when he went to the page with word “impossible,” he neatly clipped it out of the book.
He discusses the old idea of “ether” as a substance, “…a form of energy moving at an inconceivably high rate of vibration, and that the ether is filled with a form of universal power which adapts itself to the nature of the thoughts we hold in our minds and INFLUENCES us, in natural ways, to transmute our thoughts into their physical equivalent.”
It all starts with an intense desire, but without emotion they lack sufficient fuel for the flame. The power of emotion, to see and feel and believe the riches are already present right now, is the key. But you might ask, how can you feel money is present when it isn’t?
This is where faith comes in, which he calls the head chemist of the mind “When FAITH is blended with the vibration of thought, the subconscious mind instantly picks up the vibration, and transmits it to Infinite Intelligence, as in the case of prayer.” Faith can be developed through affirmations, which he calls auto-suggestions, which instruct the subconscious mind into belief. The subconscious mind acts on that belief, which transmits definite plans for procuring your desires. In other words, any impulse of thought which is repeatedly passed on to the subconscious mind translates that impulse into its physical equivalent, by the most practical procedure available.
“FAITH is the basis of all “miracles,” and all mysteries which cannot be analyzed by the rules of science!” Faith is demonstrated expectancy, actually expecting the results of riches. We are dealing with a mystical idea, but which has laws just as laws in the physical world. The thoughts, ideas, and plans of the human mind are constantly attracting vibrations that harmonize with what dominates the human mind. Clearly, it’s important to eliminate or neutralize negative and self-defeating thoughts, as those will manifest as surely as positive thoughts.
He gives six definite, practical steps to engage in. I won’t give them here because I urge you to read the book! Many summaries are present on various websites, but the only thing that can convey the power of the ideas is from Hill’s own words. It is not a long book and can be found on many websites for a free download, so it can be read in short stints until absorbed. I am familiar with the ideas of mental science, but as I re-read the book, I was again inspired to engage again with his formula and practice. I’ll keep you posted on the progress. I would love to hear from your experience with these ideas. You can find contact information on the “About” page. Let me know!
I have a passion for stories and inspirational literature.