Dr. Strange And The Politics Of Fear

(Spoilers!) Dr. Strange is an arrogant, know-it-all, successful neurosurgeon; the perfect personification of the urban elite. After his devastating car accident he is forced to seek advice from the less educated and under-privileged. Eventually he meets the ancient one and he is asked to forget everything he knows. What follows is one of the most transcendental scenes ever visualized on screen. It is almost shamanic in nature. Dr. Strange is shown the infinite realms of existence, culminating in the question: Who are you in this vast multi-verse?

How does this relate to our world? Consider for just a moment the nature of an infinite multi-verse beyond time and death. On a psychological level it could be our subconscious but there is an equivalent in the material word: the Internet. The internet is made up of infinite worlds, all existing at the same time, a virtual world that both reflects and informs our beliefs, desires, wishes, hopes and fears. "It is a digital projection of our mental self." Sound familiar? That is a quote from "The Matrix", which was released in 1999, just before the ascension of the Internet into mass consciousness.

Now we are witnessing the ascension of the digital mirror dimension, the virtual bubble we all live in. All of our deeply held beliefs about life, the world and the universe are mirrored in a digital multi-verse we visit everyday. We choose those worlds on a daily basis, we either occupy the realm of the liberal Huffington Post or the conservative Breitbart, we visit Ending the Fed or Mother Jones, we believe in conspiracy theories or environmental and corporate destruction, we love kittens or otters, indulge in food imagery or Pornhub, get lost on Instagram and Snapchat, live in online games or escape with Netflix. There is even a dark net where anything goes. They are all virtual worlds that reflect a part of our selves, while equally informing our selves because the mirror image validates and reinforces our beliefs and values.

People now literally occupy different realities. In those realities there may be a dark cabal running the world or a corporate elite selecting our leaders. Obama can be a Muslim born in Kenya, hell-bent on introducing Sharia Law and Hillary a witch who will take away your guns, while Trump will destroy the world by pushing the nuclear button with the same spontaneity that he sends out a Tweet. Both worlds are equally unreal and simultaneously possible to those who believe it and the virtual world sends its ripples into the real world. Facebook has been blamed for circulating falsehoods and feeding into those paranoid, fear-based ideas from the dark dimension, which spread like viruses, infecting our world. The media has been blamed for giving voice to demagoguery and fear-mongering in the endless search for ratings and both candidates, indeed everyone of us feeds off this dark dimension, our immortal fear of death and the unknown.

The Internet and the media, in fact our entire world, is a reflection of what we want to see and believe, it is a material realization of our ideas. "Thoughts shape your reality." Right now it is the subconscious urge for self-destruction and the demise of our own species that is shaping our reality, since we see society as inherently decadent, while at the same time believing that we are fighting for the light and against the darkness, not realizing we all hold both light and darkness and we are only fighting a mirror image or our selves.

When we fight the other side we only fight a reflection of the self. No, you say, it is they that are dark and hateful because they chant "Lock her up", "Build the wall", "Trump that bitch", but then don't you also think of them as morons, idiots, racists and bigots, those dumb Americans that cling to their guns and the bible, while you feel smug in your superiority toward the uneducated and religious without whom you would not be eating produce, driving cars or surfing the internet. Equally the other side will talk of the urban elite that doesn't listen to rural America, the celebrity-obsessed, paper-pushing, bleeding-heart liberals that couldn't fix a car and wouldn't survive a day in the wilderness, not to mention the zombie apocalypse. They talk down to minorities, scapegoat foreigners for their own economic woes and blame the elites for making stupid free trade deals that lose their jobs, not realizing that manufacturing and agriculture is a fading occupation that will eventually be replaced by machines and robots, requiring them to make a change.

We project our own need for superiority onto the other and blame them for our own fear of not being valued and having no purpose. But nobody realizes that we all want the same thing: happiness, prosperity and purpose. The question is how do we get there?

Just before dying the ancient one gives Dr. Strange a simple and short answer: "It's not about you!" Shortly thereafter Dr. Strange meets Dormammu in the dark dimension and forces it into a bargain by dying over and over again, essentially sacrificing himself in a Christ-like manner to save humanity from the dark.

We all need to make sacrifices in order to find a path to harmony and prosperity. Communism and socialism are dirty words, even though the Pope himself has said that Communists think like Christians, equally capitalism is the predominant system of commerce and it does incentivise innovation and hard work. Trump will not save the working class from massive job losses and the inevitable globalization, which is nothing more than the interconnectedness of all of humanity. Right now humanity is opting for isolationism and protectionism but when that will fail too, the world will inevitably move to the left again since the true motivator for discontent is economic in nature: income inequality, corporate greed and lobbyism are at the root of the world's upheaval and only if we can come together and make sacrifices in order to share this world in an equitable and sustainable manner will humanity survive. If not, then humanity will self-destruct and perhaps that is just a natural cycle and the death of our species is as inevitable as the cycle of all things and perhaps secretly that is what we desire: the end of the cycle of rebirths.