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Philip Pullman, "His Dark Materials", "The Golden Compass" - The Liberty of Thinking 1
article [ Culture ]
1. Introduction

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
by [agon engromulus ]

2012-12-14  |     | 



"his Dark Materials", would have been my original title's twist on Pullman's own naming for this centuries changing, monumental trilogy.
It's always rather complicated to explain emotionally driven decisions in a world where "law" has become a pathetic replacement of politically correct mathematics, yet the twist is something imposed by our deliberate reduction to a child's limitations; but by who?
Milton's famous line bears the mark of a both personal and -for that time- social respect for a divinity inherited far and remote from any "sacred" text, agnostically unknown therefore, feared and revered not for anything "he" has provenly ever done, but for something "he" could supposedly do if hurt in his quest for his own "glory", built all over nearly any earthly religion upon the blood, sweat, agony and death of infants, children and adults, high on monstrous pedestals of an ever unmerited, torturous attitude, called "god's love"; and as for such, I decided to refrain my majuscules respect within the use of "his...".
Hoping by now to have been forgiven by my reader for the rather lengthy preamble, I shall disclose the dichotomy forcing me to write what I hope to progress into a longer series eventually leading to a book, about what I -again- hope to become a -as much as possible- comprehensive attempt to make Pullman's trilogy clearly understandable even to those who by the nature of their own allegiance to systems of thought uprooted by, would hopefully be drawn to reading it (or about it, as it often happens first...), and thus be given the chance to exercise their true, liberty of thinking...
This dichotomy of mine stems from my own, former theological training combined with two decades of (hyper)active Christian faith, shattered to painfully sharp slabs of hurting memories; all these and my newly discovered liberty of thought...
"The Golden Compass" (originally published in the UK as "Northern Lights"), is not a compass at all, to begin with...
Lyra's "instrument" is truly less than a north-pointing compass, yet so much more; it is as it's Greek borrowed name reveals, a measurer of truth.
Yes, I know, have mercy on me by forcing me not to derail into the age-old dilemma of what exactly is "truth", because I don't want to end-up establishing the hot-bed of some new religion of "love", providing incentives of fertility for the always ready seekers of holy reasons to behead, chop, cut 'n further punish "heretics"...
The alethiometer is a worlds transcending pointer into the true content of anything asked about, regardless of who the inquirer, and who or what the object of the inquiry, is.
Made by "people", incapable of choosing between inquirers, allowing access to otherwise hidden truths to either the skilled by "nature" or to those by "trade", this strange tool isn't at all the central theme of the trilogy's first book, as suggested for some by its title.
The alethiometer is nevertheless a first clue into what the book is all about, namely the standard for truth. Pullman'n genius resides in a rare capacity of transforming stereotypes into the measurable reason for acting them, as brilliantly shown later in the trilogy by Lyra's astonishing reassurance at finding out through her velvet wrapped "toy", that Will is a "murderer", judging as all should do, with a child's remnants of innocence, that this truth combined with her own heart's analysis of Will's "that something" about him, means she should trust him in spite of all circumstantial facts and appearances.
For those of you who hopefully haven't have had the chance of seeing the movie before reading the book(s), please refrain from doing so -in spite of its awesome cast, play & all-, because unknown to many, the producers, probably driven by some unusual religious tolerance, decided to emasculate the movie of the novel's clear and healthy anti-Christianity message, reducing thus the whole, to a eunuch's attempt to join a male choir's baritone stand, before he'd open his mouth... The trilogy's clear message is exactly this: that men are nothing less than victims of an ongoing, cosmic conflagration, where the parts fiercely compete over exclusive ownership rights of a species wrongly thought of as slaves, having no other inter-dimensional rights and duties besides the glorification of the one(s) to be found at the end of the boot(s), eternally smashing the broken teeth from behind their bleeding, boot(s) kissing lips; and where Christianity's magisterio-inquisitorial boards are supposed to be the agencies translating all these as "god's love", ultimately leading to a redemption of which everyone knows everything, yet actually nothing...
Having -quite lengthily- said all these, let me remind my honourable readers, that even though my writing might resemble a rather academic book revue, it's never been my true intention to write any such, regardless of how much -given it's nature- should it look like one.
What you are about to read, is actually a manifesto calling for a new, well deserved liberty of thinking, based upon the very first literature wrapped philosophic attempt to provide humans from all existence's dimensions with the field guide to regain a dignity so deeply lost at the bottom of their lives' depths, that nothing else less than the utmost desperate attempt to destroy the "authority" usurping their throne within, would be just the pathetic carrying out of a death sentence involuntarily signed by the blood spilled from the severed ends of their own, umbilical cords...

(to be continued...)

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