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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

From Metropolis To Hitler: Fire and Clay

I have finished reading Thea von Harbou's novel Metropolis. I have seen Fritz Lang's film five times, three times in the past two years. I have spent a lot of time thinking about it, and I think that the leader of Metropolis, Joh Fredersohn, is a pre-archetype of Hitler, being an anticipation of the type of leader who actively seeks the destruction of the society he has created.

Joh Fredersohn's motives escape me, unless there is some connection between his wife, Hel, and the ancient goddess Hel.
There probably is.
The shrine to the woman Hel who was the mother of Joh Fredersohn's son, Freder, was in Rotwang's house, the strange continuum between antiquity and alchemy - Kabbala and the Star of David - mixed with Tesla coils and modern science.

At the threshhold between new and old, we see Rotwang striving to recreate Hel, who had died in the birth of Freder. Since both Rotwang and Joh Fredersohn had loved Hel, and since Rotwang is seemingly working for Fredersohn to create his robotic version of Hel, this is a very tight triangle of passion.
Yet, the scheme changes as Fredersohn seeks to undermine and kidnap a new religious movement among the oppressed workers by abducting Maria, the main figure of the new movement, and creating the robot using her as a template. The motive is to turn the pacifist religious workers movement to revolution, and then to turn the police and army loose to destroy them...

... none of which makes sense, because the city quite obviously cannot exist without the working class.

And there is a sense of the Golem, made from clay by Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the 16th century Rabbi of Prague. The Rabbi brought the Golem to life to protect the Jewish community during a time of troubles.
And in the midst of the Star of David in Rotwang's house/lab, we see a woman made, not of clay like the golem, but of metal and electricity brought to life to destroy a community! The defender of the oppressed becomes the oppressor!

And there is a current children's book titled The Golem And The Jinni in which the Golem is a female and the Jinni male, the female made from clay and the male made from smokekess flame of fire, as the Jinn are created, as is written:

Where are we?
I feel lost in a maze of symbolic misadventures.

Why did we enter the twentieth century in dubious battle and why did we leave the twentieth century in the fog of wars?
Why does man imagine that he himself creates and he himself destroys? And why is man become intoxicated with his illusion of power? Where have God, where has Adonai, where has Allah disappeared? For they exist only as ideological signs... without the awe of the Holy.

We awe ourselves with our own cruelty and destruction.


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