Amnesia and Memory
The Great Work requires ‘the Rebel’ (collectively all lifeforms on Earth) to lose its’ memory of its’ true identity and of the Great Work. This collective amnesia is reflected in mythology, legends and modern literature/entertainment.
In Greek mythology, the river of forgetfulness is LETHE, also the name of the Goddess of forgetfulness.
TOTAL RECALL (1990) – sci-fi film based on the PHILIP K. DICK novel “We can remember it for you Wholesale”, about confused identity and memories.
LABYRINTH (1986) – fantasy film directed and co-written by “The Muppets” creator JIM HENSON. A girl loses her memory in a weird otherworldly labyrinth kingdom ruled by a King with strange powers. Labyrinths/mazes occur in myths, e.g. the Greek story of THESEUS who travels to the centre of a labyrinth to slay the monstrous MINOTAUR.
THE MAZE RUNNER (2014) – based on the novel of the same name by the Mormon author JAMES DASHNER. Teenagers are dropped into the centre of a giant maze with no memory of how they got there or who they are.
JACKIE CHAN’S WHO AM I? (1998) – action comedy film starring Jackie Chan, who plays an amnesiac who fell to Earth, just like the meteorite that scientists in the film are analysing as a potential energy source. Chan co-wrote the movie.
“Quantum Leap” – Sci-fi TV series about a time travel experiment that goes wrong, resulting in the time traveller having partial amnesia and who lives in the bodies of other people throughout time.
“Spellbound” (1945) – psychological mystery film directed by ALFRED HITCHCOCK. At a mental hospital, one of the protagonists has amnesia.
“The Quanderhorn Xperimentations” – BBC Radio 4 sci-fi comedy co-written by RED DWARF co-creator ROB GRANT. One of the main protagonists, BRIAN NYLON, has amnesia and is stuck in a time loop.
THE SIMPSONS – “Day of the Jackanapes” – Krusty erases old recordings of his TV show, prompting his old sidekick – SIDESHOW BOB – to complain, “You erased my past”.
NICK SAGAN, son of the famed astronomer CARL SAGAN, wrote a sci-fi trilogy that begins with “Idlewild” (2003), which begins with a young amnesiac who can’t move (frozen? See my article on cold/frozen in the symbolism section). He doesn’t know who he is or where he is. This trilogy has familiar themes such as cloning and virtual reality.
More to come…