Monday, November 1, 2010

Rewinding the holodeck of reality

In the past week, an intriguing video trended on youtube and in news media. The clip, showing one character in a 1928 Charlie Chaplin film talking animatedly into what appears to be a cell-phone has at least some viewers speculating whether this can be taken as proof of the future existence of time travel. Believers site other mysteries, such as the discovery of a Swiss watch found inside a Chinese grave sealed for 400 years, while unbelievers point to a 1924 Siemens patent for a hearing device that somewhat resembles a cell phone. If you haven't seen it yet, here's one of the clips:

Charlie Chaplin was an entertainer known for exerting a high degree of creative control in his movies. From 1917, he operated as an independent producer, using his own studios. He had been one of the founders of United Artists, a corporation dedicated to distributing the works of himself and other similarly minded actors such as Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. Some of the people who worked with him, joked that if he could have played all the parts in his movies himself, he would have. For 'The Kid', for instance, he shot more than fifty times the amount of footage needed in his quest for perfection. Leading a person to wonder what he would have made of the unscheduled appearance of an 'extra' extra from the future...

The movie that features the alleged time traveller is called 'The Circus'. Although it won him his first Academy Award in 1929, it is not mentioned at all in his autobiography. According to the website, the production was plagued by various misfortunes. Gale force winds destroyed the set before filming began and later on, a fire destroyed sets and props. Bad handling at the laboratory rendered much of the early footage unusable. At one stage, footage already shot was in danger of being seized by lawyers as assets of his studio became a matter of dispute in his divorce from Lita Grey. The legal battle also delayed filming by several months. Just before completion, part of the circus rig was stolen from the set as part of a student prank. Could all these stresses have contributed to a slip in his notorious attention to detail...?

As commented to some of the videoclips, Charlie Chaplin was highly creative in adding visual gags and testing his audience with visual riddles, people behaving oddly. In the same movie, for example, he included a boxing match between identical twins - which was filmed using the same actor and double exposure techniques. If this shows the unexpected synchronicity of strange behaviour depicted in a film from the past prophecying a future reality, one has to remember Leonardo da Vinci, who sketched helicopters and parachutes.

Theories abound. If the 'time traveller' is talking on a cell phone, that has to suggest a second time traveller somewhere, i.e. the person being spoken to. Or it this a ghost from the future? A time slip such as was apparently witnessed by two British ladies visiting Versailles in 1901? One of the more complicated theories suggest a holographic visitor, who is projecting from a future location, and makes much of comparing the density of the shadow of the 'time traveller' with that of the person preceding him/her.

Or perhaps it's just the cosmic joker at play again, teasingly lifting a veil to reveal the true nature of cosmic consciousness underlying and underlining all our actions.

If you are interested in scrutinizing a copy of your own (or just appreciating a gifted visionary from the past)...

1 comment:

  1. If i would have seen this back before the cellphone, my thoughts would be; this guy is lost and trying to decide which way to go; you know how one scratches his head in indecision?