I always think of Astronaut Bowman from 2001 if I try to imagine a person who knows the answers to Edgar Allan Poe’s question “Is all what we see or seem but a dream within a dream?”

His legendary psychedelic trip beyond Jupiter is an unparalleled milestone in film history. Not even the digital age has ever produced a similar experience for the viewers.

As Kubrick doesn’t give us many clues about the nature of Bowman’s encounters at the end of the trip it is worth to take a look at the 2001 novel by Arthur C. Clarke. There is real frightening idea here, which is developed by the master storyteller. It’s basically kind of a set up. The realities, which Bowman experiences, are nothing more than a virtual reality. Everything is a lie, it’s a phony stage. The aliens or the unseen extraterrestrial intelligence works like a copycat and used images it had received via TV on Earth. It recreated this phony hotel room but something feels wrong about it. There are failures in the matrix.

This sounds like a good scary idea for a science fiction. As we know Arthur C. Clarke was in many ways right with his predictions about future technologies and developments. Today we are close to convincing virtual realities.

But again there seems to be more about fictional ideas as we think in the first place. UFO-researcher Jacques Vallee again and again claimed that the reports of UFO witnesses or abductees read like some kind of stage play. Also psychologist MACK who investigated UFO-abductee stories, had this impression. The same applies obviously to near death experiences where the visitor enters sometimes rooms, which feel similar to ordinary reality but represent something else. The otherwordly experience is always a very real one but the kind of reality, which we seem to enter, is treacherous.

Sometimes this treacherous reality is a very good imitation of our reality in normal life – there might be even a supermarket in the Otherworld but if we take a close look we would make frightening discoveries.

When I am working on the Forest Dark Movie Script as some other supernatural thriller ideas I often stop when I have to think how to imagine the Otherworld. There is endless imaginary about the Otherworld in any culture however it seems barely possible to catch its true nature or any image, which feels right when it comes to the Otherworld. The concept of Arthur C. Clarke seems really helpful in terms of imagining the Otherworld. On a lower level close to our plane of reality it might look like ours. It’s mimicking our world. As we descend deeper into the Otherworld the Otherworld might become more and more abstract and cannot be grasped any longer with the limitations of the human mind. From the endless numbers of stories we know some characteristics about the otherworld, for examples from medieval encounters with fairies. Time is different in the otherworld. Something, which is big in our world is small in the otherworld and vice versa. I would add if you have entered an altered state of mind and find yourself in one of these other planes of reality (sun)light might come from the wrong side. In 2001 is a very good example for an otherworldly picture when Bowman enters the room after the trip – light is coming from the floor instead of the ceiling.

However if the Otherworld mirrors ours, looks like kind of an altered reality, there is another big question left.

Who (or what) is creating these treacherous reality where we aren’t any longer can be sure if we are still in our plane of reality or if we have already entered some parallel universe, which we could mistake for ours till we see something is wrong?

Even the Earthlings can create more and more sophisticated cyber space where we might live in a virtual reality without even knowing it (there is a reason for the big success of the first Matrix movie).

Scientists say that it might be possible that the universe is a hologram.

Usually, a hologram can’t exist without any help from the outside. Furthermore what could be the intention? Is there a chance that demonic forces sometimes set up a virtual reality to led us into a trap? It might be not the psychedelic images, which we encounter through various ways but the treacherous reality which looks like our own everyday world, which could lead us into dangerous territory.

Further reading: An in-depth analysis of otherworldy experiences and their troubling nature could be found in German philosopher Jochen Kirchhoff’s outstanding book “Die Anderswelt”:



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