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661. Approach (X)

The Transformers are an Americo-Japanese toy range supported by assorted comics and films to move the ever-changing toy selection around Christmastime, when you need to release a new toy just kill a character in the comics—among the contributions to modern popular cinema made by the Transformers is Megan Fox’s ass and tits as she leans over to service a car in Michael Bay’s 2007 rendition of the robotic opera; previously, Orson Welles capped his cinematic career in the late 1980s with an appearance as Unicron in an animated Transformers film—Unicron is a vast planet-eating robot, a role quite appropriate given Orson’s immense girth at the time.

A superficial series to push toys, right? Not quite. Unicron—as portrayed by Welles—has a twin, Primus; and it is Primus who creates the two factions in the series Autobots (good) and Decepticons (bad, obviously). So we have two cosmic twins, a syzygy, whose interplay creates the universe—for, in Transformers lore, they emerged from a cosmic “one”; a void-like unity. Unicron represents chaos, whereas Primus represents order—their interplay allows “the one” to originate and explore creation. The series is a Gnostic parable: matter and spirit are intentangled and must be separated from each other through a cosmic struggle—we are all, as the tagline has it, “robots in disguise” (shades of Blade Runner, “more human than human”).

In particular, I want to consider a storyline in the British Transformers comics circa 1991-1992—I happened to be a patchy reader, I never could remember when each issue came out; although the storyline made a deep impression. The storyline saw the Autobots and Decepticons gathered together by their creator, Primus, on their home planet Cybertron—here they are forced to put aside their differences, for Primus is weak and Unicron approaches; his intention is to eat the planet. The robot who gathers the factions together is called Emirate Xaaron (i.e. Aaron from the Bible, a messenger for Moses); he takes on a Christ-like appearance in the comics and rises like the Christ in São Paulo, except surrounded by cosmic energy—and is destroyed by Unicron. The good god, Primus, dies.

Yet the Transformers triumph, for they have the creation Matrix (the Mother); the Matrix is a portal to their robo-heaven and contains the generative life force—it is a sphere, in esoteric terms we could say it is Sophia; the gateway to the kether (the sacred centre often being represented by a sphere). Optimus Prime—the prime one, “1” being always taken to represent the whole and the good—uses the Matrix to destroy Unicron. The syzygy that gave birth to existence vanishes—it has been reconciled in the Transformers, the twin factions, who are now “as gods”; the cosmic twins, familiar from PKD and CG Jung, have vanished in their conflict—the Transformers are integrated. The transcription from Gnostic ideas is similar to Japanese traditional religion, the idea that places and things have spirits and, as with Nietzsche, the idea that objects can speak to you—since spirit is entangled with matter. “Transformers: more than meets the eye.”

You might think, “Well, this is very advanced for a children’s comic—quite a nuanced theology you have worked out there; and a little fanciful, perhaps the writers took a little inspiration from kabbalah and tantra but really…” Yet there is one more detail, this story arc—half collected by my childhood self—terminated at Issue 332; and I did pick up that issue, though I felt it was somehow incomplete. It was.

The series was cut short by economic demands—it was meant to finish at “333”, the number that signifies the highest awakening in tantra: if only that series had been completed, it would have been a great step forward for our spiritual development—unfortunately, some misty demiurgic force intervened. Naturally, my fascination with my tacked-together comic collection was no coincidence—for it was an important message, the significance of which has only now become apparent.


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