Editor’s Notes: The following review is a continuation of Matthew Blevins’ Subversive Saturday series.
Zorns Lemma is a title that references Zorn’s Lemma, a complex mathematical theory that I lack the degree to properly convey but the reference comes from Frampton’s mathematical background, one of many intellectual pursuits of this diverse and complicated man. The theory posits the idea of the axiom of choice, and despite innumerable environmental factors we can choose the context of the objects in our lives and the parameters of our reality. The film begins by presenting us with a blank screen as a motherly voice placidly reads biblical fairy tales, prenatally indoctrinating us with her docile tones before we have the means of evasion, well-meaning attempts at connection between mother and child before birth that begin to define our perception of self. In the womb we are bereft of all other forms of sensory input and lack the context needed to form a sense of self, but at some point in our development we gain the spark of consciousness and can differentiate what is “self” and what is not. After we are birthed into the world we see form and color but lack the context to define it until we are told by some authoritarian figure and the world becomes easier to understand as the lifelong process of simplifying objects by learning their context begins. We are introduced to slightly more complex concepts starting with the basic syntax of our language. We have not yet learned where all the pieces fit, but we are starting to get a better idea of the building blocks of written communication and can now recognize the familiar shapes and contours of letters as something meaningful. We understand that these symbols can convey thoughts and ideas, and they possess relative permanence once painted, written, etched, or otherwise placed onto a blank surface. The simple letters of the alphabet begin to manifest themselves in the world around us, thrust into the role of toddlers seeing the world with new meaning as we find letters all around us, innocently positing ideas and shaping the culture with brand ubiquity and giving the civilized world its colors and styles, unavoidable as it finds itself in every pocket of the paved world.
Zorns Lemma is a title that references Zorn’s Lemma, a complex mathematical theory that I lack the degree to properly convey but the reference comes from Frampton’s mathematical background, one of many intellectual pursuits of this diverse and complicated man.
As we grow into adolescence we find even more meaning in the words that surround us, and begin to understand that sexuality plays a major role in shaping the world and we begin to see through the innocuously tantalizing cultural memes that fight for our attention. As we grow older we find placidity in the waves crashing into the shore or simple escapes into because menial tasks like painting walls now constitute the grist of our lives. We grow weary of the false promises of the meaningless words that surround us and tell blatant lies about the true nature of existence for profit or gain. We become increasingly cynical as we are weighed down by the tasks that distract us from pursuing our ultimate purpose, but the incessant distractions that surround us and consume us with their endless cries for our attention clog our imagination with their stark colors and carefully chosen words written in intricately designed typeface, haunting our peripheral vision and attacking our primary vision with their promises of sex and empty thrills.
Growing older we find more sinister words that appeal to our sense of confirmation bias, body parts and hospitals become more significant in our lives as we are constantly reminded of our own mortality and are forced to get ourselves examined and repaired far more often than in our younger days. We remember the tranquil beauty of the tide rolling in and wheat swaying lazily in the wind. We find distractions to pass the time and eat food that we know is bad for us for fleeting moments of pleasure, realizing the potential dangers but believing that we are the exemption to the rule because countless advertisements have boldly insisted that we are unique and have a right to happiness (but only through the use of some marvelous product or a vote for some dubiously enthusiastic politician). We ebb and flow with certainty and uncertainty as the world presents us with an unending stream of obstacles, but it is the determination to persevere despite constant distractions and knowledge of the transient nature of life that make us create art, reach for higher purposes, and attempt to redefine the empty symbols that assault us from every vantage.
We bring children into this insane world and teach them using refined versions of the broken methods that were used on us, the young and overzealous parents of each new generation engaged in on the job training in creating their successors. We watch our children grow under the weight of signs, suggestions, orders, warnings, and all manner of gentle programming that we have allowed to cover every available surface, blank surfaces the battleground in the unending war between opposing brands or politicians as they ferociously compete to sell us overvalued wares and hollow ideologies. We carry on our daily lives and toil away in the hope that we will one day achieve that which has been promised to us by the omnipresent markers that have polluted our lives and always failed to deliver with their dramatic over-amplifications of the products’ value and utility.
We watch our children grow under the weight of signs, suggestions, orders, warnings, and all manner of gentle programming that we have allowed to cover every available surface, blank surfaces the battleground in the unending war between opposing brands or politicians as they ferociously compete to sell us overvalued wares and hollow ideologies.
Only after a lifetime mired in the endless cycle of crafting, breaking down, and re-crafting our perspective can we can finally make peace with the world and find places worthy of our gaze, like snowy fields with signposts marking the immense white canvas and illustrating its immensity without intruding with unwanted logos and distracting colors. “Axiom of choice” is defined in mathematic terms as “the product of a collection of non-empty sets is non-empty” (thanks, Wikipedia), but outside of mathematics it suggests that choice is self-evident. We can define our own realities and ignore that which is unworthy of our attention. A disembodied voice reads passages from On Light, or the Ingression of Forms, by Robert Grosseteste while an old couple and their dog walk off in no particular direction, having used a lifetime of lessons to find a sanctuary free from the dizzying distractions of the city. They quietly enjoy the freedom of placidity and quietude, having nothing but their thoughts to distract them in beautiful meandering stream-of-consciousness reflections on life. This tranquility yields no gains in the bustling world of the mindless and productive, instead healing the soul and offering soft and comforting realizations about the transience of life, easier to face now that we have chosen to define our own reality instead of allowing it to be dictated and manipulated by liars and huxters.
[notification type=”star”]95/100 ~ AMAZING. Only after a lifetime mired in the endless cycle of crafting, breaking down, and re-crafting our perspective can we can finally make peace with the world and find places worthy of our gaze, like snowy fields with signposts marking the immense white canvas and illustrating its immensity without intruding with unwanted logos and distracting colors.[/notification]