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Davros



The above video depicts Davros, the chief villain in the Dr. Who universe. I’ve dealt with Davros before, but I made a few mistakes. To recap for the uninitiated: Davros represents the mad scientist archetype—he is the chief scientist for a dying race, the Kaleds, that has been locked in a 1,000-year war with another race, the Thals, to rule the planet Skaro. In the process, the war has reduced the planet to an irradiated wasteland peopled by mutants; the two races live in giant domes—with deep bunkers beneath. The war has gone on so long that the arms used by both sides have degenerated, laser rifles mix with primitive revolvers.


Davros uses the last resources available to the Kaleds to create the Daleks (anagram)—the main “baddies” in the Dr. Who universe. The Kaleds, due to radiation exposure, are undergoing a mutation into a gelatinous creature. Davros, who anticipates the change, has decided to design the Dalek—an armoured cybernetic “travel machine”—to allow the Kaleds to survive in their new form. Along the way, he tweaks Kaled genetics to make them completely pitiless and utterly without mercy.


Davros works in an elite scientific unit housed in a special bunker. The unit dresses all in black and uses the lightning flash insignia—the Daleks are remorseless killing machines that want to “exterminate” (their catchphrase) all lower life, all non-Dalek life; they even have stalk-arms that give a permanent Roman salute. So Davros and his Daleks are Hitler and his Natzees—as with many post-war villains. In this case, the accent is put on the techno-biological elements found in Hitlerism, its Darwinian inspiration.


Initially, I interpreted Davros and company as an attempt to demonise the Indo-Aryan world outlook: Europeans are warrior-engineers—and that is what Davros is. It could be said Hitlerism instantiated that spirit, perhaps in a perverted form, and Davros is an attempt to use this to generalise a critical stance towards the European spirit. I also noted that Davros sees via an electronic third eye in his forehead; however, I misinterpreted this fact—I saw it as being a critical approach to the way technology, tech-gnosis, can degrade spiritual insight.


Rather, the point is to degrade spiritual insight. Davros is a blind man who sees only with his third eye: in other words, far from being the villain, he instantiates justice—justice is blind. The man who only sees spiritually, through the third eye, represents the perfectly just man—whether he is literally blind or not. Davros is portrayed as utterly logical, rational, and remorseless—“machine-like” (he is already, being crippled, half machine). However, this is an inversion: the truly just enlightened man would be beautiful and would not see through a technological eye—even if he were blind—he would see with the spiritual third eye, with the vajra (the diamond-lightning of enlightenment). The show portrays the enlightened man as ugly, crippled, and evil; and it does so because it is the show itself that is evil—to the iniquitous the just man looks like a monster. “Have a heart, guvn’r,” says the criminal—yet to really have a heart is not to be sentimental, it is to see with the totally objective spiritual eye.


So Dr. Who sinks the spiritual into matter, to invert it and demonise it. In fact, this is in line with wider themes in the show. The hero, the Doctor, is a “time lord”—he is from a race that superintends time. However, he is actually a thief and a criminal; he has stolen a time machine, the TARDIS, from his race and travels through space and time making independent interventions in various worlds. Because he’s a nice guy. No, the Doctor is in rebellion against the order and hierarchy found in his own race, against time’s very structure—as far as the show goes, he is a goofy English eccentric who makes “charming” interventions to help people. Actually, he is a time anarchist who has stolen a powerful device to unleash cosmic anarchy on the universe.


It should be noted here that the actor who played the Doctor in the serial that first introduced Davros was Tom Baker (as depicted below). Baker is a charming actor, loveable and eccentric—the best actor to play the Doctor. His characteristic quirk throughout the series is to offer everyone—from galactic space leaders to errant girl-reporters—a jelly baby from a paper bag kept in his voluminous pockets. As it happens, Baker was a former monk; he just couldn’t hack the monastery—and, by his own account, suffered from considerable satyriasis (satiated by lovelies who wanted to be bedded by “the Doctor”). Indeed, there is more than a hint of Rasputin—with his googley eyes, so redolent of Graves’ disease—about Baker, the charismatic unfrocked monk with an eye for the ladies. Yet Baker’s formal position also chimes with the rejection of order and hierarchy—Baker rejected God, took a job as a “time anarchist”.




Indeed, the “?” in the show’s title inverts the astrological sign for Saturn, a scythe—and Saturn is the lord of time and hierarchy, the old god who superintended the Golden Age; hence Dr. Who exists to invert eternity.



“So what? It’s just a children’s show,” says the sceptic, “sure, it’s popular—sure there are some suspect themes in it, yet it’s just one show among many. No big deal.” Actually, Dr. Who has run for about fifty years and programmed at least four generations of children—particularly in Britain, but also around the world. So it is quite a big deal that it inverts sacred symbolism—and it is far from unique in this. Really, it is an element in the counter-initiation; it tells people that unjust behaviour is just, it celebrates cosmic anarchy and matter.


There was a fuss a few years ago because the Doctor was played by a woman for the first time—and perhaps next by a black woman, then a transwoman (and then whatever comes next). Actually, the Doctor has always been a woman; he has always been an anarchist—he has always been someone who thinks cute tricks like offering you a jelly baby should let you wheedle round the cosmic law, round justice. “Ger on guvn’r, just once, it won’t hurt you…”. So it was inevitable that the Doctor would eventually be played by a woman—spiritually, he was always feminine; he was always a woman in rebellion against authority.


I knew a guy who was a Dr. Who fan who went to prison for downloading child pornography (by “fan”, incidentally, I mean someone who builds their social identity around a media series—not a casual watcher). The psychological interpretation for this link is that he was still a child inside himself; he had “arrested development”, hence he identified with this show he should have grown out of. Secondarily, the Doctor, this charming avuncular stranger who appears and seduces you—with jelly babies no less, sweeties being archetypally used as bait by child predators—represents the figure the child molester imagines himself to be (i.e. in his mind he is this magical man who whisks the child off for “special adventures” that must be kept secret from the adult world—what happens in the TARDIS, stays in the TARDIS).


All this is true at a certain level, at the material level; however, I also think that shows like Doctor Who are evil at the symbolic level; and while perversions will be innate, in the blood to a degree, shows like Doctor Who encourage their expression; and this is because they are all about inversion at every level—especially at the highest level, the spiritual level. A similar link has been observed in America between child molesters and Star Trek fans—and this highlights the way, in my view, almost every media product contains inversions (and not just overt inversion, inversion of sacred symbols). The reason Star Wars seems to be exempt from this trend—seems less cringey than Dr. Who and Star Trek—is that it is based on Joseph Campbell’s work, so it is based on a fundamental spiritual reality that speaks to all humans (albeit in low definition, since Campbell recorded the universal themes in mythology). Hence Star Wars always seems less cringey relative to Star Trek—though it is still pretty thin gruel.


I think this is all deliberate: the inversion of sacred symbols in these products is deliberate, the demonisation of the Indo-Aryans is deliberate. There really are people who want to disrupt time, to make us sink into matter—shows like Doctor Who estrange people from eternity.



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