The 2013 film Elysium offers an interesting look at a possible future of unrestrained technological development, class division and mistrust, which all stem from the relentless profiteering that capitalism is prone to. Nevertheless, the film offers a rather naive or, at best, an incompletely shown, solution within its runtime. Being a product of the politically correct movie industry, Elysium itself can also be seen as part of that same limited & deficient solution that it itself offers. Looking past these barriers we can begin to construct a more complete vision of that doesn’t merely flip the class struggle from rich-advantage to poor-advantage, rather we can build a more inclusive view of society that values all productive citizens regardless of monetary status.
The world of Elysium is bleak for most and an apparent paradise for some. Most people are stuck on Earth living in overflowing slums or urban wastes and working in what amounts to a capitalist-run gulag. Factories with total disregard for working conditions process raw materials and produce the basic things that the oligarchy, comfortably residing on the titular space habitat, needs to sustain this status quo. Robots police the population on Earth, healthcare and other necessities are rare & largely unaffordable, and access to and from Earth is controlled directly on Elysium. Earth has become one big Gaza Strip or imperial colony over which a few privileged dominate and exploit.
This privileged caste, which has been living in space for around one century within the film’s timeline, has access to all necessities, as well as many luxuries, such as “Med-Bays” that can heal any bodily harm and even reverse aging. The inhabitants’ life is, for the most part, a permanent resort vacation. It is also up here that rights of citizenship are granted or revoked; no one on Earth has Elysium citizenship (despite providing the work to keep it prosperous) and police robots are programmed to avoid Elysium citizens, but detain non-citizens for any reason. At one point, three spacecraft attempt leave Earth and attempt to reach Elysium in order to access the medical equipment there. However, two are shot down and the passengers of the third are caught & deported on arrival.
Towards the beginning of the film, Max Da Costa, the main character, is ordered by a supervisor to enter a chamber where part of a massive factory’s assembly line has a jam. Da Costa reluctantly does so, fixes the jam and the giant engine starts up again, albeit exposing him to a lethal dose of radiation. Da Costa now has five days left to live in pain and this is exemplary of how most of society functions in the universe depicted. The supervisor told Da Costa to enter the chamber and fix the error or “he’ll find someone who will” effectively implying dismissal for insubordination. The unspoken side to this cruel interaction is that this supervisor – in some mid-level position at one property belonging to an enormous corporation – had the same dilemma Da Costa had, and that is “the bottom line.” If the assembly line problem weren’t fixed, then he’d be the one fired. The callousness of the supervisor’s angrily talking down to Da Costa is merely a symptom of a pervasive carelessness in the social order, not just that supervisor, one individual, being cruel. To get the medical treatment he needs, Da Costa needs to pay a huge price or do a favor for a smuggler – and this ends up being stealing financial data from the owner of the very corporation whose machinery caused his suffering. At this point, it really seems that everyone is out to get everyone in this hectic society.
Da Costa receives a temporary treatment to help him carry out his little crime mission and this is a powered exoskeleton to give his weakening body a good deal of extra strength. This transhumanist solution is emblematic of the world: people created a mass of technology, and this harmed us, so we then create new technology to remedy the harm done. The space station Elysium is, in effect, a much bigger version of the exoskeleton, which is powered by Da Costa’s mortal and dying body in the same way that a decaying Earth supplies Elysium. In the end, the mechanical feat will be useless as they’ll be no one left to use it. Other treatments for ailments in the film are pills and machine surgery, yet there is a curious lack of fresh food. No one is even seen trying to grow a garden. Though Kruger, an enforcement agent of Elysium’s government and the one who shot down the refugee shuttles, is seen enjoying a barbecue. This also is symbolic, as meat is taking life for self-gratification, limited nourishment, and a woeful misuse of essential materials; this cattle-butcher relationship is essentially what the society on Elysium does to the masses on Earth. However, as we have seen with Max’s theft mission, the exploited are beginning to get better at exploitation.
This pervasive distrust between the slum-bound people on Earth is aptly mirrored by the luxury-enjoying masses on Elysium. The space station has a substantial population and, at the start of the film, has been a stable habitat for around a century, meaning several generations have lived with the current status quo and those alive right now haven’t experienced anything else. The government is a typical democratic hodgepodge of committees tied together by the notion of an elected president, who in key issues holds no real decisive power. The Defense Secretary of Elysium, Delacourt, who had ordered the shooting down of refugees, is merely verbally disciplined by Patel, the President, for this and told to lessen the severity of her actions since it is bad for public relations. Thus, ethics don’t even exist in this government aside from lip service. However, the kicker to scene is when Delacourt asks Carlyle, the main industrialist on Elysium – in whose factory Da Costa received his burns and whom he was given the mission to rob – to tinker with the space station’s main computer system to allow her to step into the Presidency and thus ensure Carlyle’s armaments company a steady stream of lucrative contracts. This is Democracy and Capitalism bearing their inevitable fruits and stepping into overt practical Oligarchy without the rosy veil. After being verbally slapped on the wrist by Patel, Delacourt mocks the President for “having some fundraiser to attend.” That’s the extent of state discipline in Democracy and Capitalism.
“In ordinary life, the choice of President or King, as chosen directly by 70 million, is only determined by money bags. It follows from this that in 99 out of 100 cases no real folkish Leader arrives at the head.”
“There is a better chance of seeing a camel pass through
the eye of a needle than of seeing a really great man
‘discovered’ through an election.”
~Adolf Hitler, cleverly alluding to the words of Jesus
Da Costa manages to steal the data from Carlyle while the latter is on a routine trip to Earth to oversee his industrial empire. The data, however, in encrypted and clearly contains something of great concern for Delacourt who is alerted to the fact that Carlyle’s ship has been shot down and his computers hacked. She reactivates Kruger – having previously deactivated him after being reprimanded by the Committee – to track down the stolen data. Da Costa brings the data to his employer, Spider, who promptly discovers that it’s a program that can be used to register all of Earth’s residents as citizens of Elysium, thereby giving them access to its advanced medical care. This is an interesting idea, yet this is also where the film starts to nosedive a bit into the naive.
Once the action moves to Elysium, Kruger encounters Delacourt and she verbally disciplines him for being reckless, mirroring her previous Committee scene, yet little does she know Kruger, being part of the same equation dishes out his own power play. While Delacourt had used bureaucratic cunning, Kruger does what he knows best: blunt force. He kills the Defense Secretary and her political staff present, then and there, and then goes on to try to seize of Elysium for himself. Amidst all the corporate profiteering, answering to committees, PR stunts, and selective backstabbing, there is a noticeable lack of charisma! Everyone else thinks that everyone else is just out for solely their own good and believing makes it so.
The space station Elysium is the ultimate end of materialism on Earth – an artificial world where the world artificers can guarantee the status quo beneficial solely to them. This is also the Gnostic interpretation of the god in the Tanakh/Old Testament, YHWH, who created material existence to trap the souls of sentient beings and get them to do its bidding via belief in rigid dogmatic codes that only a privileged clerical class of “chosen people” can reinterpret, and they do so according to their own needs, thus putting them in a clash with their own god.
The Golden Calf in the Room
Pretty much every character in the film, and therefore most of the inhabitants of this fictional world, are not seeing the forest for the trees; they only see their immediate situation and that’s the extent of how they act and react. This is a perfect breeding ground for tribalism as alliances are only based on material convenience and gain. Any forward thought is made along materialist, selfish, and tribal terms. The world overrun by an ever-churning excess of material goods is the inevitable result of the secular thinking promoted by Karl Marx’s Communism, Sigmund Freud’s sexual psychology, and Ray Kurzweil’s transhumanist movement. These compatible sects of materialist thought seek to create a paradise on Earth, or a New Jerusalem as is the goal of Zionism.
“In the entire Old Testament we find no trace of belief in immortality, unless it be the reflection of the proven outward effect of the Persians on the Jews during the banishment. The Jewish aim is the creation of a paradise on earth. For this purpose, as is stated in the later holy books, the righteous (that is, the Jews) will creep into the promised land from their graves all over the world, emerging through holes bored in the earth by unknown forces solely for them. The Targum, the Midraschim, and the Talmud describe with delight this magnificent state of affairs in the expected paradise. The chosen people will then rule over the entire world. All other peoples will become its slaves. They will die and be born again in order to go anew to hell. The Jews, however, will not go there, but will lead a blessed life on earth. Jerusalem will be rebuilt in the most splendid way.” ~Alfred Rosenberg, Myth of the XX Century
In this film, this goal has been realized as a privileged “chosen people” rule over the whole of Earth while the nations, or goyim, provide them with fruits and labor. The Jewish religion’s intrinsic materialism and lack of spiritual idealism makes the Elysium space station a possible result of Zionism. It’s a paradise on Earth in a looser sense of the world, really above Earth, however Jews have made exceptions for their tribe all throughout history. So far as refusing to testify against their fellow tribesmen accused of crimes or having a criminal like Bugsy Siegel (Bairush ben Reb Mordechai Dov HaLevi) honored at a synagogue part of a Jewish family line. These exceptions and special conditions on tribal grounds are shown in the film as the police robots are programmed to never detain Elysium’s citizens, which effectively makes them golems in service of the law codex. Citizens should be granted state protections, though not total impunity. Also, police work should be a respected uniformed service (and that respect should be earned through superior conduct) in limited, yet effective, use. Not a mass of robots reading data from a computerized codex. According to Jewish lore, Moses said, “there is only the Law” – no conscience, no ideals, no ethics – only a blinding Talmudic Bolshevization.
The organization on Elysium is a multitude of patches of private property or about 1 acre per family and little to know public property, which in practice makes for a highly segmented life style. While the inhabitants on Earth are subjected to police robots and checkpoints, in style of Gaza or the West Bank; the citizens of Elysium themselves have their own subtle, yet official, boundaries based around their dogmatic belief in amassing material goods and then protecting them with laws. These restrictions on Elysium’s own citizens are reflective of the old Jewish practice of installing mezuzahs on doorways. The Jewish mezuzah is a small container with a Tanakh excerpt inside that is meant to be placed on entry doorways, or sometimes even all doorways within a house, thereby ensuring the Demiurge’s dominance over its subjects. Thus, the citizens of Elysium pretty much believe they are doing the only thing possible to keep law and order, as it is such fractionalization that is most compatible with their worldview In the real world, this system is mirrored by what the Zionists have told from their myths.
“In general, the merely material interest will rise in
exact proportion as ideal spiritual outlooks
are in the process of disappearing.” ~Adolf Hitler
To end this status quo, it is the system that needs a change and a culling of a few token figureheads and procedures will not really do anything. Jail a few groups of punks, more will congregate; arrest an oligarch or two, another one or two will arise. The system is like a hydra and cutting of its heads is ineffective, as it had adapted to resist such change, and, in effect, allow to it to feign change.
A holistic, system-wide change is to stab the hydra in the heart. But what does the film show?
Revolution, or merely a Revolt?
The film’s ending is idealistic though, in large part, it carries on the naive aspects of the film. The information that Max was contracted to extract ends up being a program that could make all of Earth’s inhabitants citizens on Elysium, thus have access to its medical care. This works out and Max reboots Elysium’s core computer and all residents on Earth are now recognized as citizens, thus a fleet of medical ships can be dispatched to Earth. This is a good example of “happiness opium” as it only provides a feel good ending without addressing any of the core problems with the social dichotomy depicted. It’s also quite pacifist, which makes it unrealistic.
Then there’s Kruger’s psychotic, brutal, and decidedly non-charismatic attempt at seizing power is much in style of the Communist Revolution in the early 20th century or the pro-democratic French Revolution in the 1790s. Kruger’s destructive rampage through the Elysium space station shows all indication that he’ll either flip society in which assertive brutes like Stalin suddenly control all wealth and call the shots, or there will be a reaction from Elysium’s elite which will yield a Napoleon-type with expansionist aims, only this Grande Armée will head out into the space.
In both cases, the woes and pains of society will only have attention diverted from them. This makes both Da Costa’s and Kruger’s efforts seem more like revolts, despite them being similar to events that have been called “revolutions” in popular historiography. A revolt is caused by dissatisfaction with the status quo and aims to merely change its consequences and improve the immediate quality of daily life. A revolution, however, necessarily entails radicalism and aims at the causes of the status quo and seeks to arrive at a profound ideological insight that changes how quality of life itself is evaluated. The result of the film and the general mood throughout is much closer to the former and not the latter. There is some heroism and depth as Max gives the hero’s sacrifice – his life – to accomplish his goal, yet the film is fairly rooted within the humanist-materialist paradigm.
Neill Blomkamp, the director, said the film is about today’s world, thus seemingly strove for applicability (the same thing Tolkien sought to portray in Lord of the Rings), however he also expressed dissatisfaction with the final version of the film. Perhaps, deep down he knew he wanted to portray a revolution, yet only managed to show a revolt.
A key element of the revolution is the support it has from disinterested groups. For example, the ongoing movement to boycott Israel for its brutal treatment of Palestinians has widespread popular support from non-Palestinians. Similarly, the earlier – and largely corresponding – movement to boycott apartheid South Africa found widespread popular support among people who were not personally affected by apartheid. Movements to abolish slavery throughout history were almost always initiated not by slaves, rather by conscientious non-slaves, including owners of slaves and those in ethnic groups subject to little or no slavery. Frederick Douglass, an African-American whose ethnic kin suffered from slavery was against the system, as were the German-Americans who wrote the first anti-slavery document in America. These are examples of movements that, though small in their beginnings, turned into revolutions. By contrast, all movements unable to gain the support of disinterested groups are merely revolts.
Also known as Unity Through Nobility
Hitler didn’t personally suffer much from the caustic effects of financiers and Marxists as much as the people he sought to rally and help. Hitler didn’t have a family and was disciplined enough to not fall into the trap of alcoholism. He also quit smoking for his health and savings. Yet there were millions who did suffer and Hitler saw this and thus started what became a revolution, one that was so shocking to the status quo that it had to be crushed at all costs and any further incarnations forcefully pre-empted.
This observation leads us to the main problem in Elysium.
The Root of the Problem: Leadership Vacuum
Given the film’s feel good message, whether misguided or intentional, it played right into the expected paddock of mainstream discussion. Conservative complaints amounted to, more or less, “it’s Marxist and Communist propaganda!” While Liberal/False Left complaints sounded the more or less expected trope of “money is evil and rich people suck.” In the film, there seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy of class struggle that appeals to the Liberal audience, while only making villains out of a select few of the rich so as to not totally alienate the Conservative audience. The proverbial Czar isn’t slain nor is there a justification of the company Armadyne, which is Carlyle’s massive company through which the film basically recreates something like British East India Company. Yet the solution presented is inadequate. It’s a half-assed bit of left and right, whereas there should have been a solid Third Position presented. This is none other than the charisma to get the classes of society to cooperate, instead of one of them – or one person – seizing advantage and diverting as many resources as possible to serve only selfish needs. A true leader, not a new boss, is needed.
The problem with all of society – on Earth and on Elysium – is that no one really wants to lead, everyone wants to just gain, and only a few can actually manage the latter. The result is an endless scramble competition on Earth and political backstabbing or total complacency on Elysium.
Some people will always be more intelligent and more willful therefore some will always be richer. The folkist idea is not to forbid wealth creation; rather it is to encourage a community-based application of it. This goes for skills and abilities, too. A plumber or carpenter shouldn’t merely maintain homes only on streets he or she likes, but in all of the community. Likewise, an owner of a popular business shouldn’t merely save up money and build vacation homes in far off places, but ensure that the money they have earned in the community stays and is used (as much as possible) within that community. This is folkist class cooperation. Marxists look down on the rich as inherently greedy therefore undeserving of what they own; Anarcho-Capitalists look on the poor as intrinsically incapable therefore deserving of their plight. Whereas Hitler, supposedly the most evil man of all time, said in Mein Kampf:
For the State must draw a sharp line of distinction between those who, as members of the nation, are the foundation and the support of its existence and greatness, and those who are domiciled in the State simply as earners of their livelihood there.
On the occasion of conferring a diploma of citizenship the new citizen must take a solemn oath of loyalty to the national community and the State. This diploma must be a bond which unites together all the various classes and sections of the nation. It shall be a greater honor to be a citizen of this Reich, even as a street-sweeper, than to be the King of a foreign State.
That is one of the most positively phrased descriptions of civic and community virtue ever put to paper. There is much lively discussion about what future humanity can build; yet this discussion is hampered by political and Zionist correctness. Certain topics are taboo and therefore censored by the very people participating in the discussion who are, in effect, self-censoring. The goyim, like cattle, are being kept dumb, timid, and complacent, however human goys are also fed delusions of grandeur to please their egos. This can take the form of “honorable” titles, such as “Shabbos Goy” or “Righteous Among Nations.”
Once this veil has been pierced and lifted we can see that classes in society are a reality and not necessarily a bad one. It’s how they are perceived and how people within them act that matters. Thus, a Marxist may see class division and conflict; however a National Socialist will see a class structure of people with different skills and abilities and the going concern of any leadership is to direct (as opposed to centrally plan) the energy of this socio-economic structure towards purposeful production.
“Craftsmanship and pride of product began to disappear as the desperate scramble to GET MONEY replaced the time-honored Aryan joy in creation of things of excellence and permanence.” ~George Lincoln Rockwell
The cause of the film’s fault can be similarly described: storytelling and pride of a good plot began to disappear as the desperate scramble to get views, likes, shares, reblogs, ticket sales, box office numbers, etc… replaced the time-honored Aryan joy in creation of tales with profound archetypes and mythic quality. Even the numerous fables by Aesop are each distinct, thus despite their brevity, care was put into their craft. Elysium, being a huge budget blockbuster, was put on a tight schedule and desperately squeezed into one of several release windows to maximize the opening weekend’s earning and minimize the subsequent weekends’ drop off. Not enough time was given to planning and crafting the film, thus even at the screenplay level there already must have been cutting and pasting of previous films’ ideas and the whole cookie cutter ordeal that each of these massive studio films is subject to by the studio committee. One director’s vision hardly ever gets made and even if it does, it requires so much bargaining and negotiating with those in control of the money that most filmmakers’ energies almost assuredly end up sapped.
Rare gems do occur, yet we still await that full box office season with solid archetypes and heroic themes portraying the cosmic truth.
We don’t need more “happiness opium” and folk tales; there are enough of both. We need a series of mythic archetypes to help motivate people to start pro-actively dealing with the problems of society instead of just wishing and hoping that they’ll be solved. Above all, this is a call for a greater unity and cooperation among the quality people of various societies.
“The Folk tale is for entertainment. The Myth is for spiritual instruction.” ~Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth