A PDF version is at http://2001.a-false-flag-odyssey.com/2001.a-false-flag-odyssey.pdf
This article pieces together symbols deliberately embedded into the film to show that the monolith is really the movie screen rotated by 90 degrees. This insight is the gateway into understanding what may be Kubrick's ultimate point of the film: Our perception of significant real-world events (such as the lunar monolith discovery) are often times false flag operations carried out by small groups of people, by metaphorically projecting their image of the truth onto the movie screens of our minds in order to control and manipulate the population at large.
Dave Bowman's odyssey to enlightenment about the true conspiratorial nature of the mission and the NCA is represented by the stargate journey, renaissance room, and a rebirth in which he looks upon the world with new eyes.
Many readers and especially long-time fans of 2001 will no doubt express skepticism toward this interpretation summarized in the above abstract. One key to understanding this interpretation is that it is a result of connecting the dots under the style of symbolism that Kubrick uses in all of his films starting with 2001, and possibly even earlier. The reader who is looking for a single piece of undeniable evidence that this interpretation was in fact deliberately woven into the movie will not find it. Instead, Kubrick supplies us with a collection of pieces to a puzzle that we are left to piece together ourselves. As one looks more deeply into this and other films of his, one finds a distinct and consistent method and style of communication via symbolism that is clearly deliberate.
This article will be presented in two passes. First a quick preview of the highlights, presented in Section 2, followed by greater details in Section 3.
The fundamental insight into unlocking 2001's meaning is to make the following 3 symbolic associations, followed by a transitive deduction into a profound statement about our world:
During The Dawn of Man, the leopard was at the top of the hierarchical pyramid of power. Note the glowing eyes of the leopard in both scenes in which the animal appears, Figure 1. This is a symbol of fundamental importance that we see multiple times throughout the film:
The group of primates that discovers how to use the bone as a weapon kills both the leopard (evidence for this to be presented) and a member of the weaker clan, thereby seizing the apex of the social pyramid of primates. That is the point at which the weapon is thrown into the air and æons of domination and control pass by in a fraction of a second. History has been little more than groups of humans dominating other groups for control of water, land, people, oil, and other resources, so in terms of documenting the history of power and control, very little of relevance happened in the cut from the bone to the orbiting satellite.
The spinning bone is returned in the form of a pen into the pocket of Heywood Floyd. The use of violence with a bone is replaced by the use of propaganda symbolized by a pen as the preferred means of political control. We will see further evidence that Heywood and his inner circle are modern heirs to the top of the pyramid held by the bone-wielding primates millions of years earlier.
In the 12-member briefing on the Clavius moon base in which Heywood Floyd gives a speech, Figure 2, all four walls are luminescent white and flanked on each side by dark curtains. When Heywood stands in the front, his lower body is hidden behind a similar white podium. Put together, this makes it look like Heywood himself is a character projected onto a movie screen while he gives his speech--symbolizing that this is all a show.
When the 6-member crew go down into the moon excavation where the monolith is, we again see elements of a symbolic movie theater. The descending ramp is similar to theater floors which decline downward to the screen. When Heywood first begins to walk around the monolith/screen, the movie starts as a single circular light comes on from a distance--a representation of the movie projector--in Figure 3. The eye-shaped indentations that cover the walls of the excavation represent the eyes of the audience for whom the movie is intended to be seen by. The camera man is the same photographer from Heywood's speech. Supporting evidence and interpretation will be given later.
There are a number of scenes in 2001 in which the shots are displayed as its mirror image. A couple examples are some of the first shots in Discovery One as Frank is jogging around the centrifuge, and in both scenes of Dave and Frank floating out to the Discovery radar in order to service the AE-35 unit. More details and evidence are presented later, but the question is, what does this mean?
This symbolism has to do with the 2-dimensional nature of the movie screen, and the idea that those who buy into the deceit that is fed to them live in and are confined to a 2-dimensional world. Flipping the film over into its mirror image illustrates the 2-dimensional nature of the situation, making the characters' ignorance of the real story transparent to those living in the 3-dimensional world who know the truth. The multi-colored stargate scene in the final chapter is Dave Bowman's symbolic exodus from the 2-dimensional world of HAL and his despotic creators. In fact Dave's odyssey out from the 2-dimensional world of lies is the meaning of one of the main marketing posters of 2001 in which a space craft bursts out perpendicular from a 2-dimensional movie-screen-shaped doorway; Figure 4.
One way to ascertain that the monolith discovery on the moon is staged rather than being a true alien artifact discovery is by weighing alternate interpretations against each other. More specifically, to view the film from each of the following two interpretations:
Heywood: Oh by the way I wanted to say to both of you I think you've done a wonderful job. I appreciate the way you've handled this thing.Does this sound like they are discussing what may be the most significant discovery in the history of science, or work as usual? Bill follows by asking, “You seen these yet?” Photographs of the alleged monolith discovery are then reviewed while they munch on sandwiches. If this is a genuine discovery, doesn't it seem a little unusual that Heywood, the chairman of the NCA, would be presented with such fundamentally important material in this casual setting as an afterthought, rather than having been presented with the photographs earlier? Does it make more sense that Bill and Ralph are presenting a genuine landmark scientific discovery to Heywood, or that they are rehearsing their story lines about how this contrived discovery was made?
Ralph: Well, the way we look at it, it's our job to do this thing the way you want it done; we're only too happy to be able to oblige.
The scene concludes with Heywood's comment, “Well, I must say, you guys have certainly come up with something.” Laughter follows.
HAL easily maintains control of Frank Poole through deception, exemplified by the false checkmate that HAL uses to trick Frank into prematurely resigning from the chess game. From HAL's perspective, Frank is a mouse running around in a wheel of propaganda, as Frank shadow-boxes an enemy that he can neither see nor touch. This idea takes a literal form in the wheel-shaped centrifuge that Frank jogs around in as HAL silently observes.
When HAL attempts to keep tabs on Dave Bowman's perception of the limited information surrounding the mission as it was presented to him (e.g. “rumors about something being dug up on the moon”) and his acceptance of it, rather than play the part of one who is in blissful ignorance, Dave strategically evades HAL's probing questions by asking HAL, “You're working up your crew psychology report?” No longer able to convincingly pursue that same line of inquiry with Dave, HAL drops the line of questioning and then immediately invents the story of the faulty AE-35 unit in order to keep Dave distracted and running through a maze of control and deception.
The images of a black monolith floating around the space of Jupiter in the last chapter of the film is another lie. These scenes are the end result of another NCA-funded production, just as the staged monolith discovery on the moon was created and photographed. Here are a few hints for now that will be explored in greater detail later:
The final scenes of 2001 are full of double (and perhaps triple) meanings. It should be kept in mind that the interpretations given for these scenes in particular are not at the exclusion of other equally valid interpretations.
One primary interpretation for the stargate sequence is that it is Dave Bowman's journey from a 2-dimensional character in a film, moving into the 3-dimensional space of the movie theater perpendicular to the movie screen; hence the fitting title A Space Odyssey, as well as the chapter title Jupiter And Beyond The Infinite. The geometric displacement of a 2-dimensional entity from its 2-dimensional world to a higher dimension is appropriately described as moving beyond the infinite space that it was previously confined to.
Dave follows the on-coming rays of light to the movie projector away from the screen. The 90-degree switch made in the light patterns from a horizontal symmetry to vertical corresponds to Dave's realization that the monolith is really the movie screen rotated 90 degrees. The 7 floating diamonds are in fact the 7 Cinerama speakers that the movie was filmed for (5 in the front and 2 to the side), that Dave moves away from as he continues his space odyssey toward the projector. (Listen for the movement of sounds during this scene in support of this interpretation.)
The final scenes in the renaissance room are a dream sequence of the rest of the film. It starts with Dave in the pod, shivering with fear with eyes rolled upward, similar to the fearful primates at the beginning. We will go into this in more detail later, but a few more illustrations of this point are:
Heywood Floyd is an anagram for defy holy wood. This probably means at least a couple things.
The first known discovery of the equivalence between the monolith and the cinema screen seems to have been made by Jay Weidner in 1999, written a few weeks after Kubrick's untimely death, who made the observation that the dimensions of the monolith match the dimensions of a movie screen. This discovery is one entrance into a tomb of symbols that helped lead Rob Ager in 2007-2008 to excavate the wealth of hidden narratives that Kubrick had buried into the film, upon which a large part of this present article is based. (Coincidentally, a majority of these symbols were buried from widespread knowledge for 40 years from 1968-2008, while in the movie, the monolith was alleged to have been buried 40 feet below the lunar surface.)
The following is a list of clues that the monolith is a symbol for the movie screen:
This is eloquently exemplified by the huddled masses of primates during the evening, as the roar of a single leopard kept them cowering between the rocks. Just after one of the primates looked up and uttered a pitiful growl at the leopard, another attempted to grab a piece of food out of its hands, demonstrating the lack of unity among themselves. Again, this is control by perception, since once this group realized the power it had through technology (bone) and unification, the leopard was done away with.
The final monolith in the renaissance room (renaissance means “rebirth”) that Dave Bowman reaches for while on his death bed represents our fear of death, based upon the metaphysical belief/perception of it being the ultimate ending that many of us hold. True or not, this belief controls many of us just as beliefs in real-world false flag events can manipulate us into giving up our rights, supporting foreign wars, getting vaccinated, paying for carbon credits, etc.
Homework: Can you name any modern monoliths? Hint: Was there an event that inspired shock and awe in 2001, which led to greater control by the elite by using it as an excuse to give up our rights, and to support the invasion of foreign countries? Have you done your own research into what really happened, rather than relying on the same media (Movie Screen) that is controlled by the same power elite?
Glowing eyes, first seen on the leopard, Figure 1, is a symbol of elitism in 2001.
The Dawn of Man in the opening chapter refers to the rise of one group of primates into replacing the leopard at the apex of the pyramid of power. The rising sun is an ancient symbol, used by the ancient Egyptians, and up to the present time, often associated with political movements and ideologies (e.g. the logo of the next U.S. president).
How do we know the leopard was killed? This is suggested by the scene in which the primates that learn how to wield the bone as a weapon are fearlessly scattered about in the dark and are no longer cowering within the rocks under the oppressive growl of the leopard, as they were prior to their technological breakthrough, Figure 13.
Does the background in Figure 13 look familiar? That was the third shot of the desert after seeing The Dawn of Man title, Figure 14.
Thus Figure 13 is a scene of a rising (and not a setting) sun, and is a symbol for that group of primates' newly established position of power.
Note also the similarity of the rising sun to HAL's eye: bright yellow spot centered in a red disk, overlaid with white (white clouds on the sunrise, and white reflecting lights on HAL). Compare Figure 11 with 13.
Dr. Halvorsen, who introduces Heywood to give his speech, is a high-ranking member of, and probably the head of, the Clavius moon station. Dr. Howell, who is mentioned by Heywood during his speech, is implied to be a high-ranking NCA member on Earth. Then there is HAL who as astronaut Frank Poole stated, “There isn't a single aspect of ship operations that's not under his control.” Note the similarity in the names: Halvorsen, Howell, HAL, and their positions of power. The glowing eye of the leopard is metaphorically the glowing eye of HAL in terms of being at the top of the power hierarchy within the Discovery One space craft.
HAL is geometrically positioned as the Eye of Providence as he eavesdrops on Frank and Dave by reading their lips, Figure 15.
The chess game between Frank and HAL is a demonstration of HAL's psychological control over Frank. HAL tricks Frank into believing he's been checkmated, whereas in fact he has not.
Frank: Rook to King-1.There's actually two things that HAL does here to deceive Frank. The first is when he says “Queen to Bishop-3.” This is the move that HAL is making on his turn--he should have said “Queen to Bishop-6” since they are using what is referred to as descriptive chess notation to describe their moves. Frank briefly glances up at HAL in confusion, then looks back down at the board as HAL continues without hesitation. This bit of confusion by HAL is also consistent with the theme of flipping images, as discussed in Section 3.4.1, since what HAL said would be correct if the game configuration were flipped.
HAL: I'm sorry Frank, I think you missed it. Queen to Bishop-3. Bishop takes queen. Knight takes bishop. Mate.
Frank: Oh. Yeah, looks like you're right. I resign.
The second way HAL deceives Frank is when HAL says “Bishop takes queen.” HAL is implying that this move is forced for Frank to take, whereas in fact it is not. See Figure 16 for the configuration of the chessboard from Frank's perspective at this point. Frank is not in immediate check, and has other options available to him that he could take to get out of the tight situation he is in, and potentially win the game. If Frank were to examine the moves with the same due diligence that Dave uses in examining the AE-35 unit, he would have exposed HAL's deception. Instead, Frank sheepishly assumes that HAL has checkmated him, and resigns.
The excavation scene on the moon is staged by Heywood Floyd and his colleagues for the sole purpose of creating the illusion of an alien artifact discovery. This is emphasized by symbols that present the moon excavation scene as both a movie scene and theater:
Moreover, the source of illumination for the eye comes from horizontal white lights that resemble movie screens, symbolizing the influence that commercial media have on the working class. For example, just one minute earlier, a fellow worker was watching a martial arts competition on a similarly-shaped horizontal screen, Figure 20. The fake sparring (as opposed to a real fight) is a metaphor for two-party politics in which control is maintained by giving the people a false sense of choice, and polarizing general issues by making them appear to be black & white. The leopard's domination over the black and white zebra in Figure 1 symbolizes the elite's control over the media in this manner.4
Figure 21 shows what appears to be the monolith, Sun, and Earth. But appearances can be deceiving. In fact what see here is not from a perspective that exists in the storyline of the movie. This is an anti-elitist symbol for the enlightenment of the working class whose light is provided by the movie itself, under the cover of night unnoticed by the elite. The light source is not the sun; it is the symbolic movie projector as seen in Figure 3. The night time symbolizes the covert nature in which the messages of this movie are encoded and communicated to the working class, and the darkened planet resembling a closed eye is in place of the triangular capstone that otherwise would enshrine the all-seeing eye.
Those who may have read Arthur C. Clarke's book of the same title may disagree with this interpretation and say that the monolith is an alien security alarm triggered by the light of the sun. This is not what happens in the movie. Stanley Kubrick deliberately kept his name off the book, to Clarke's dismay, because the book and movie are fundamentally different stories regardless of what interpretation of the movie Clarke himself has expressed. If that light really is the sun shining on the monolith to trigger its alarm mechanism, we would have first seen sunlight creep down the sides of the walls on the right side of Figure 22 prior to it hitting the monolith, which we do not. Additionally, the Earth would have to be farther away from the horizon and closer to the zenith above the monolith if Figure 21 is to be an actual perspective in the storyline. There is simply not enough time for the Earth to move into that position from its starting point near the horizon at the beginning of the scene in Figure 23. No; Figure 21 is a statement directly from Kubrick to us the audience constructed from symbols in the storyline to tell us that the movie itself is the source of an important message that we need to become enlightened with: False flag operations, similar to movie productions, are used by certain members of governments to fool us into acting or supporting agendas toward their own ends, just as Heywood's crew attempts to do.
As mentioned in Section 2.4, there's a symbolic connection between the flipped flag on Dave's shoulder patch, the flipped images in some scenes in the movie (listed below), and the 2-dimensional world of the movie screen. The idea of deception is the common thread among all 3 of these symbols.
How do we know which images of the hibernation tanks are flipped, and which are not? Dave draws sketches of the hibernation tanks as a metaphor for tracking which scenes are flipped and which are not, Figure 26. After he draws them, he walks down to HAL, Figure 27, and we see unreflected words on the monitors. Since this was a continuous scene from the hibernation tanks, this is one scene that allows us to get our bearing on what the correct orientation of the hibernation tanks are, and we see that Dave's drawing of them is correct.
When HAL asks to see Dave's sketches, Dave does not show HAL the full-page 3-dimensional drawing of the hibernating crew. Instead he only shows HAL the simple sketches of the individual crew members, playing dumb to HAL so as to not rouse any suspicion that he has the intelligence to see through any deception that HAL might use on him. Metaphorically speaking, HAL cannot flip scenes on Dave the way he can with Frank; with his drawing, Dave can distinguish between reality and illusion. This is played out later when Dave conducts a thorough analysis of the AE-35 unit, thwarting HAL's attempt to deceive Dave and Frank into believing that the discrepancy is ultimately “attributable to human error.”
Evidence for the false flag monolith discovery on the moon:
One of HAL's primary goals on the Discovery mission is to keep Dave and Frank disconnected from the truth by a controlled veil of deception. In order to accomplish this, Dave and Frank should at all times have more confidence in HAL's judgement than their own. If HAL is able to maintain this lack of self-confidence in them, then they are more prone to suggestion and thus easier to control. Frank's voluntary resignation from the chess game is an example of this. Once this is understood, then all of HAL's actions on Discovery One make more sense.
Why should HAL go through the trouble? This comes back to the fundamental premise that the entire Discovery mission is a false flag operation. Dave and Frank are merely pilots to get the rest of the hibernating crew to Jupiter's orbit. Once there, the hibernating film crew can then be revived in order to create their fake movie montage of the alien monolith floating around Jupiter (more on this later). The way to steer men around the truth is to ensure that they can be controlled with lies.
It is under this premise that HAL's behavior with both Frank and Dave becomes clear. Frank has satisfactorily passed HAL's test for gullibility and unconscious subservience by his resignation from the chess game. This demonstrates that when the situation is ambiguous, Frank will concede judgment to HAL over his own. Dave on the other hand maneuvers around HAL's interrogation about the unusual circumstances of the mission without revealing his own suspicions while at the same time not having to fake naïvety. Without missing a beat, HAL then immediately crafts the AE-35 fault. If we recognize this for what it is, namely, a lie in an attempt to shake loose Dave's self-confidence in his own judgement in order to concede it to HAL just as Frank has done, then we see that HAL is simply carrying out his mission objectives in a completely logical and consistent manner. HAL's only mistake is underestimating Dave's intelligence and resourcefulness.
Figure 31 establishes that the space suits have an air tube that connects to the right side of the helmets. Though it's not terribly clear in the figure, it is clearer on the DVD, and the surroundings establish that the scene is correctly oriented. In contrast, Figure 32 shows Dave floating out to replace the AE-35 unit. Note that the air tube is on the wrong side. Similarly in Figure 12, Frank goes out to place the “defective” AE-35 back into the radar. Though it's hard to see in the image, his air tube is on the wrong side as well. These are again the themes mentioned earlier in which those who are ignorant of the truth are confined to the 2-dimensional world created by those who have concocted the lie, and that their 2-dimensional world is easily flipped over as the deceiver wishes. Figure 12 is especially revealing because it seems to be the only scene in the whole film in which one figure is flipped (Frank) but another is not (HAL). This further supports the fact that it is Frank who is deceived, whereas HAL knows the truth, whose position of power over Frank is exercised in the most ultimate way by Frank's murder only moments later.
An interesting observation that illustrates the subtlety with which Kubrick expresses his messages are the two scenes of a space pod closing its door leaving us to view the words “Caution Explosive Bolts”, Figure 33. In fact both of these scenes are taken from the same shot. How do we know this?
The first scene is when Dave and Frank enter the center pod to have their discussion; Figure 35. The scene briefly cuts to HAL Figure 11 then to the pod door closing, Figure 36. Note that we can see part of Frank's uniform as he sits in the pod; compare this with the scene of Frank and Dave talking in the pod, Figure 15, to see this.
The second scene is when Dave enters a side pod to retrieve Frank's body; Figure 34. Instead of cutting back to HAL, we see a brief glimpse of Frank floating out in space, Figure 37. It then cuts to the pod door closing again, Figure 38. Though the lighting is slightly different, note that we can still see part of Frank's uniform. (Observe that something is covering the yellow lights on the side, and compare with the previous closing door in Figure 36 to verify it is Frank's uniform.) How can that be, since Frank is floating out in space? Moreover, notice that you can see the two exit doors to the far right and left, implying that we are again looking at the center pod. What's going on?
We're not actually looking at the closing pod door after Dave enters the pod by himself. Instead, it is HAL's earlier memory of when Dave and Frank entered the center pod to discuss his possible shutdown. To HAL, Dave and Frank are indeed explosive bolts5 that HAL needs to exercise caution with; Figure 33. This is a metaphor of the fear that the world's ruling elite have of the awakening and potential for violent rebellion of the masses.
The trip that Dave takes to retrieve Frank's carcass provides Dave with the first substantial evidence that HAL is deceiving him. In summary, HAL provides Dave with false data as to Frank's position, which causes Dave to go in the wrong direction at first, but he eventually finds Frank anyway. It is from this that Dave realizes HAL has lied to him. The evidence is as follows.
During Frank's EVA mission to put back the original AE-35 unit, HAL controls a pod to sever Frank's air tube. Just after the sound of Frank's breathing gets cut off and the camera zooms in on HAL's eye, Dave looks at one of the monitors, Figure 39, and sees Frank move across the screen from the upper-left diagonally down to the right. Note that Frank is moving from the dark side of the ship to the light. (Throughout the Discovery mission prior to arriving at Jupiter, there is a consistent light side and dark side to the ship.) As Dave prepares to enter a pod, he asks HAL, “Do you have a positive track on him?” HAL responds, “Yes. I have a good track.” We then see Frank float away on the light side of the ship in Figure 37. However when Dave steers away from Discovery One, he goes straight away on the dark side of the ship! Figure 40. The only explanation is that HAL is feeding Dave the wrong coordinates based on his alleged “positive track” on Frank.
Dave eventually figures this out and changes direction. We see this by the movement of the stars through his viewport in Figure 41. At first the stars move from the top to the bottom of the viewport. After changing direction the stars move from the lower-right to the upper-left of the viewport as Frank comes into view. If HAL had given him the right coordinates from the start, Dave would have went toward the light side of the ship and would have traveled closer to a straight line to Frank. Just as Dave avoided HAL's pointed questions earlier about any suspicions he might have about the mission, Dave again avoids direct confrontation with HAL about his misleading coordinates. In fact Dave probably knew at least roughly which direction Frank was headed toward from the beginning, having seen which direction he went in the CM4 monitor from earlier, Figure 39, but again plays dumb to HAL in order to keep confrontations to a minimum.
In between the chapter title, Figure 42, and the beginning of the stargate light show, we see a series of scenes of a black monolith floating in the vicinity of Jupiter. Within these scenes a few items are worth noting.
The 7 scenes of the monolith floating through space around Jupiter is fake, just as the lunar monolith discovery is. It is produced by the 3 hibernating crew members on board Discovery One after Dave revives them. Here's the evidence:
What is the stargate journey? Why does Kubrick envelop our senses with an overwhelming tour de force of colors and special effects? An attempt at one answer will be made here.
This journey is a mental one. This is the journey that many people experience when they discover the true power structure of this world. People have reported sleepless nights upon making this discovery, and the overwhelming sense that one experiences is conveyed by the stargate journey. Those who have experienced this know what I am talking about. For those who haven't, the words of Morpheus apply: “Unfortunately, no one can be told what The Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.”
Prior to the stargate journey, the following musical associations have been established:
The stargate journey is not just a mental one. Not only does Dave free himself from the figurative confines of the movie screen; there is a sense in which Dave quite literally flies out of the movie screen into the 3-dimensional space of the movie theater. If one were to imagine leaving a movie screen and flying toward the projector, one would see an intense display of colors emanating from a central source, similar in nature to the actual stargate journey.
The first step is to realize the monolith = movie screen and all that symbolically entails. One must then figuratively depart from this 2-dimensional surface of the movie screen. This exodus into space is what is referred to by A Space Odyssey in the title of the film, and why this particular chapter is subtitled And Beyond The Infinite. Dave moves beyond the infinite 2-dimensional movie screen surface of a synthesized reality into the larger 3-dimensional space of the truth.
The physical exodus Dave makes from a movie screen is mirrored in his journey to retrieve Frank's body, as evidenced by the following points:
Finally, the last and one of the strongest symbols to support the movie-screen-exodus interpretation is identifying the 7 mysterious diamond-shaped octahedrons during the stargate journey as the 7 Cinerama speakers: 5 above the screen, plus 2 on each side of the audience. Compare Figures 51 and 52. Additionally, due to an optical illusion when only looking at one side of an octahedron, it is ambiguous as to whether or not the geometry protrudes inward or outward. An octahedron protrudes outward, but audio speakers protrude inward, such as the speaker second to the top in Figure 53. Lastly, listen carefully to the sounds during this scene. There are horns being played, and the movement of the sounds seems to emphasize the use of the spacial positioning of the speakers around the theater, emphasizing the octahedron = speaker identification. (Additional interpretations for the octahedron = double pyramids may be discussed in a future version.)
The renaissance room scenes seem to largely be a collection of events within the film represented as dream sequences.
Dave's first reaction to his presence in the renaissance room seems to be one of fear and trembling. This is similar to the primates cowering between the rocks at night at the beginning of the movie. Dave's eyes rolling up match the eyes of the primate who rolls his eyes up to look at the moon.
The first time we see Dave outside of the pod, we zoom into his face, Figure 54. Notice all the equipment seen reflected in his helmet immediately in front of him that is not present in the room. In particular, to the right of Dave's left ear, we distinctly see two people reflected in Dave's helmet wearing dark clothing. Just after Dave blinks, the reflected person on the far right raises a hand up.
The two people reflected in Dave's helmet represent the movie crew on board Discovery One after they have been awakened out of hibernation. Dave's wide-eyed look of astonishment is simply him learning that the alleged “survey team” is really a film crew whose purpose is to create the floating Jupiter monolith montage.
In addition, there is a faint high-pitched tone that can be heard during this scene. This is reminiscent of the high-pitched tone at the end of the lunar monolith scene, as they were recording the fake monolith discovery. Here again we get a visual feedback loop of a movie within a movie, represented as audio feedback.
Dave walks into the lavatory and looks into the mirror above the bathtub. The next shot appears to be a close-up of Dave's head looking into the mirror, Figure 55. In fact he is not looking into any mirror. Dave is actually looking at his doppelgänger, just as he looks at his older doppelgänger in Figure 56. Moreover, when it appears that Dave turns his head toward the sound of someone eating, he and his doppelgänger turn away from the lavatory entrance, toward the sink instead.
In order to show this, note that Dave is not reflected in this scene, as evidenced by the air tube coming out of the right side of his helmet, and the unreflected “Discovery” printed at the top of his helmet in Figure 58. Next, observe that the doorway to the lavatory is reflected on the left side of his helmet in Figure 55. As he turns his head, we can see that he is actually turning away from the doorway, not toward it, by how the reflection of the door moves toward the rear of his helmet. When he finishes turning his head, we are left looking at a reflection of one of the two beige supports on each side of the bathtub, superimposed on Dave's earlobe in Figure 58. Compare with Figure 57. The only place in the lavatory that Dave could be standing is between the toilet and doorway, and the camera's vantage point is between the bathtub and doorway.
The blurred helmet we see in the foreground is a completely separate helmet. Though it turns at the same time as Dave turns, they are not perfectly synchronized with each other and small differences in their movements can be detected if one watches carefully. Additionally, their positions in the room make it impossible for this to be a mirror image.
They both turn to look at the sink, rather than the doorway.
What does this mean? When Dave first looks at himself in a mirror, his reversed image is reminiscent of other scenes in the movie which are reversed. He then sees himself outside the mirror as a doppelgänger. He has essentially stepped out of a 2-dimensional mirror into 3-dimensional space. The symbolism is again the transition from the fake world of the 2-dimensional movie screen to the 3-dimensional world of the truth.
Dave knows he is still a character in a movie, and must play along. This is why he looks to the sink instead of the doorway. This matches his departure into the dark side of Discovery when he went to retrieve Frank, rather than the light side which is where Frank really was, in order to play along with HAL's false coordinates.
The dark robe, food cart, and Dave's formal dining etiquette are simply dream symbolisms of his time on Discovery One:
The wine glass that Dave shatters is a result of a conspiracy setup by the movie crew. As Dave walks back to the food cart and sits down, we see the wine glass show up in the left corner of the table, Figure 59. However if we look at the scene just prior, as Dave is sitting down in Figure 60, we see that the wine glass is not there. (It is closer to the middle of the table.) This is a conspiracy against him setup by the movie crew, in order for him to break the wine glass and have it appear as if it were his fault.
The shattering of the wine glass is a dream sequence of Frank's death. The yellow color of the wine matches Frank's space suit. Though Dave does not have as direct of a hand in Frank's death as he does with the shattering of the glass, the AE-35 false diagnosis by HAL is analogous to the wine glass being placed in its precarious position on the table. The discrepancy with the AE-35 unit is intended to discredit Dave and Frank, so that they learn to trust HAL over their own mental faculties, and to attribute the discrepancy to “human error”. This is what expresses itself as the wine glass placement in Dave's renaissance dream, in order to falsely materialize human error in shattered crystal.
This comes back to the theme of those who live in the 2-dimensional world of the fictional movie are easily manipulated by those who live in the 3-dimensional world outside the movie. Just as characters confined to the 2-dimensional world can be flipped over as seen in numerous scenes already, objects can be rearranged in between scenes, unknown to the 2-dimensional characters. Dave is catching on, however, since he looks at the wine glass with some suspicion, and ponders over the fragments after it shatters. He is on the verge of enlightenment, and will soon discover that he has been living as a character within a movie.6
On his deathbed, Dave reaches for the monolith just as the primates did during The Dawn of Man. From his point of view in Figure 61, he is actually touching the monolith, as he is realizing the equivalence of the monolith and the movie he is in, which is all around him. It is this discovery, and all that this entails, that brings him into what is effectively an entirely new world, as far as he now understands it. It is in this sense that he is effectively reborn into a new world. At the same time we now understand what Dave's progressive aging symbolizes up until this point; as Dave discovers the true nature of the world, he is shedding his old self, and watches himself as a character in a movie; hence the 3rd person observations of himself.
We then are shown for the first and only time in the movie a full frontal view of the monolith, Figure 62; all other times it has been from some angle. Its similarity to a movie screen is more noticeable than ever. The next shot is of a prenatal fetus. Dave's enlightenment is complete. The light of enlightenment is now in the eye of the newborn. The final shots in the renaissance room zoom into the monolith until it ultimately becomes one with the movie screen.
The final scene is of the Moon, Earth, and Starchild. Compare this with the opening scene of the Moon, Earth, and Sun. The light of the Sun has been replaced by the enlightened Starchild. As Kubrick said in a 1968 interview, “However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” Kubrick is not expressing anything metaphysical here with the Starchild; anyone who comes to understand the monolith = movie screen equivalence and all that this metaphorically says about our lives can become a force for change and contribute to bringing peace and prosperity to all people of the world.
Thanks goes to Rob Ager for teaching us how to deconstruct Kubrick's films. If it weren't for Rob's unique talents in both film and psychology and the publishing of his findings, the symbolisms in this article would have remained hidden for a later researcher to uncover.
Thanks to all the other researchers who have published some aspect of 2001. Deciphering Kubrick's message is ultimately a collaborative effort, facilitated by free speech on the internet.7
This article was first published on November 10, 2008, the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht.
Written content is ©2008 Joe Bisdin.8 All images with grey borders are copyright ©1967 MGM. This work is for educational, non-profit purposes.