You're probably wondering why NWOIB would cover a stupid movie like 1997's Starship Troopers--although covering stupid movies is not without precedent here, this one is really stupid. After all, it's hardly an influential film (although Heinlein's novel was) and its ticket sales barely covered its production costs. By many, it is considered to be an awful adaptation, but the film itself is neatly encapsulated by film critic James Berardinelli:
"At its best, the film recaptures the kind of taut, visceral thrills offered by James Cameron's Aliens. At its worst, it replicates the feel of a futuristic episode of TV's Beverly Hills 90210."Fans of Robert Heinlein's 1959 novel often complain that the film's stance toward war is the exact opposite of the book, or that all the intellectual substance was removed for the film. However, the sub-textual material--which concerns us here--is actually quite faithful to the book. The film, we'll notice, also seems based on Plato's Republic, one of the major blueprint works for the NWO society.
And like Semi-Pro and Death Race, Starship Troopers is another in the "stages of enlightenment" genre. On the matter of stages of development we no longer care to identify the stages themselves to whichever sub-sect of whichever cult; all of these clowns have their own stages--masons, Buddhists, New Agers, Gnostics, alchemists, et cetera--and they all seem to differ. This is because there really aren't any stages of enlightenment because there's no enlightenment.
Each cult just has its own practices and there are far too many to keep track of (getting pretty sick of reading about Druids anyway); some have four stages, others seven or more, but the important point is that there is an initiation, then ascension through stages. So from here on the stages themselves that the character goes through will be identified within the context of the film acknowledging that they represents some goofy outfit somewhere.
"No one will enter the New World Order unless he or she will make a pledge to worship Lucifer. No one will enter the New Age unless he will take a Luciferian Initiation." --David Spangler
The film begins by presenting the viewer an oxymoron: the fascist utopia. You will be happy whether you like it or not! This Nazi motif runs throughout the film.
Plato's [totalitarian] state contains three major classes:
1) The Guardians: this is the ruling class also known as the Philosopher Kings who possess the virtue of wisdom.
2) The Warrior Class: they ostensibly protect the city-state, but we all know they are to "stomp on the face" of the bottom class. The Warriors possess the virtues of courage and will power.
3) The Artisans: this is a euphemism for the working class slaves; their virtue is obedience.
Within the rows and rows of stormtroopers we see children, among others, telling us, "I'm doing my part! This Federal service obviously alludes to a Hitler Youth-like program and reminds us of Barry's campaign remarks on a civilian security force. These regimes always want to take control of the kids--for obvious reasons. Along with wealth, property, and means of production, the children belong to the State:
"Every man and child insofar as he is able must of necessity become educated, on grounds that they belong more to the City than to those who generated them." --LawsThis City-state, being made of citizens, goes through the same stages of development as individuals; good citizens make a good City, both words coming from the same root cite. The three stages that Johnny Rico goes through are illustrated in the military phases:
2) Recruit (initiate), the rank of Private.
3) Non-commissioned Officer (NCO), the ranks of Corporal and Sergeant.
4) Officer, the rank of Lieutenant.
There are three battles against the arachnid "bugs" corresponding to these stages of development.
And to be somewhat clear, you can count either 3 or 4 "stages" if you wish to include the initial condition of civilian as a stage of development. The 4 Platonic phases correspond to the 4 solids:
and also the 4 Types of Knowledge:
1) Eikasia, the lowest form.
2) Pistis, physical things.
3) Dianoia, mathematical knowledge.
4) Noesis, philosophical knowledge, the highest form.
We are introduced to the main characters in their high school classroom. The teacher, a former soldier in the Mobile Infantry, Mr. Rasczak, says:
"Let's sum up... this year we explored the failure of democracy. How the social scientists brought the world to the brink of chaos. We talked about the veterans, how they took control and imposed the stability that has lasted for generations since."
This "failure of democracy" is a hint at the Platonic World Order: democracy is one of the four corrupt and unsustainable forms of government which gives way to tyranny. Mr. Rasczak continues:
"Rico, what's the moral difference, if any, between a citizen and a civilian?"
Rico: "A citizen accepts personal responsibility for the body politic, defending it with his life. A civilian does not."
Mr. Rasczak: "Exact words of the text. But do you understand it? Do you believe it?"
Rico: "I don't know." (This will be significant later)
Mr. Rasczak: "Of course you don't. I doubt anyone here would recognize civic virtue if it jumped up and bit you in the ass."
This is a very informative conversation; we learn that their are two kinds of people, civilians and citizens, and that there seems to be a moral and virtuous difference between the two. In the Platonic sense, the civilians are those "inside the cave" or prisoners in the dark, and the citizens are those "outside the cave" or enlightened (by the sun/gnosis).
The state of being a civilian represents the physical world, whereas being a citizen represents the abstract intelligible realm of Plato's Principle of Forms, or ideas. So, the basic plot is familiar: the hero will, following initiation, advance through stages to a higher realm of enlightenment.
We also learn in this classroom that only citizens have the right to vote; this, Mr. Rasczak says, is force, and thereby authority. Also inherent within the right to vote is the notion that someone somewhere cares about what you have to say, that your voice matters. Obviously, no one cares what an ignorant prisoner in a dark cave has to say.
In the lab where the students are dissecting bugs, a Nazi scientist-like teacher shows her admiration for the bugs. We here notice that her critique of the bugs are concomitantly a critique on the shortcomings of mankind:
"Just a bug? We humans like to think we are nature's finest achievement... afraid it just isn't true. The [...] sand beetle is superior in many ways: it reproduces in vast numbers, has no ego, has no fear, doesn't know about death, and so is the perfect selfless member of society."
The tyranny of the regime is always justified under the auspice of "the common good," for the benefit of some abstruse, unknowable, unidentifiable group. Land ownership, wealth, owning a business and suchlike are all considered selfish, or anti-social, behavior.
After classes let out, a very unsubtle display is made to emphasize Rico's poor math skills. Recall that Plato's third type of knowledge is mathematical, the second highest form. So important was dianoia that a sign hung over his school reading: "Do not enter unless you know geometry."
Rico then meets his girlfriend Carmen near a large pyramid.
We already know that Rico is not the smartest guy in utopia, and not all that virtuous either; he only joins the military to follow his girlfriend Carmen. But this motivation, however, is not something Plato would have any qualms with.
One's "erotic longing" is a perfectly valid means from which to pursue the higher realms of the Forms. The activity of Eros can excite the soul and create the desire to move upward into the more advanced stages "outside the cave" where freedom is found. Eros can begin the transformation process, and that's what it does for Rico.
The point is also clearly made that Rico is definitely not psychic. This factor will also be revisited later to illustrate that he has indeed progressed through the stages of enlightenment.
At home we find that Rico comes from a wealthy family; his father wants him to go to Harvard and is horrified at the thought of him joining the military:
"Have you lost your mind? I'd rather take ten lashes in the public square than see you ruin your life."
His parents are obviously not citizens, but do not appear to be suffering for it; it is a comfortable life they seem to be living. This environment shows us that the material objects of the physical world are but trivial things; the only true currency of the philosopher is gnosis.
Under the flag of the Federation, the initiates swear an oath of service for a minimum of 2 years, after which they are guaranteed citizenship.
In Plato's utopia, each individual is required to perform 2 years of service.
Rico, being dumb, is assigned to the Mobile Infantry, while his friend Carl gets Military Intelligence and his girlfriend Carmen becomes a pilot. In Plato's City, people are assigned occupations according to their abilities; this is the main purpose of mandatory schooling and standardized testing in the New World: to determine who will do what.
Read, watch, and listen to everything by John Taylor Gatto in the linkage section at right.
Rico, now in the first stage of development, begins to lose everything. This is Katharsis, or purification.
First, his father cuts him off and he leaves home with nothing more than what he is wearing. Then his girlfriend dumps him by vidphone.
Then, following a training accident in which Rico is responsible for another recruit's death, Rico receives 10 lashes. This is purification by pain foreshadowed by his father.
And to top it all off, his parents, home, and home city of Buenos Aires are destroyed by bugs. Rico has lost everything.
Then follows the first battle--which, you'll remember, marks the end of each stage.
Following the battle Carmen reads that Private Rico was killed in action.
But this was a mistake, he is only thought to be dead. Now, any frequent NWOIB readers will know exactly what this is all about. We see two separate KIA indicators and find Rico in a fluid filled recovery tank. This is obviously symbolic of rebirth: the tank (womb) is even complete with amniotic fluid and an umbilical cord. Dizzy holds up 3 fingers and tells, Rico, "Three more days."
Rico has been born again, resurrected.
To commemorate, or mark, this rite of passage, Rico and his friend get tattoos.
Then they go into battle for a second time, and Rico, having performed heroically, is promoted to Corporal.
But in this battle, Rico's old classmate Dizzy has died. There is a ceremony on the ship. Rico delivers the eulogy:
"Once somebody asked me if I knew the difference between a citizen and a civilian. I can tell you now, a citizen has the courage to make the safety of the human race his personal responsibility."
What Rico is demonstrating here is an advanced form of knowledge. This was the same question posed by Mr. Rasczak back in high school, which he didn't know whether or not he believed. Now he knows.
And right on schedule following his revelation he is promoted again by his MI friend Carl, this time to Lieutenant, an officer.
The "Roughnecks" are now Rico's Roughnecks.
And then it's right back into battle.
This time his ex-girlfriend Carmen is trapped in a cave and held hostage by the bugs. In the tunnel system Rico's unit comes to a fork, and Rico doesn't know which way to go. But lo and behold then he suddenly does. When asked how he knows which way, he says,
"I don't know how I know. I just know."
How he knows, it turns out, is because Carl has sent him a psychic message. Remember that while a civilian it was emphasized that he had no psychic ability at all; but this is Lieutenant Rico now, the enlightened free man.
This scene is also symbolic of Plato's "return to the cave"; once achieving the final stage of development, it was the free man's responsibility to return to the cave to free other prisoners. Here Rico goes into the cave to free Carmen, a prisoner of the bugs.
And that's it; once Rico and Carmen leave the cave the battle is finished. They reunite for a kiss.
This pose above is the same as Rico was drawing in class at the start of the film. This represents a new beginning, but now Rico has earned her love as the philosopher-warrior. She is the prize of his journey out of the cave into the light.
We'll conclude this report with an excerpt and link to an essay by David Livingstone:
"There is little that should impress you in the writings of Plato, who is supposedly the greatest philosopher in history. On the contrary, there is much that should concern you, as Plato has been the founder of many of the totalitarian doctrines that have plagued the twentieth century. Rather, the only reason he has achieved the reputation he has is that, throughout the history of the Western and Eastern occult tradition, Plato has been regarded as the godfather of its doctrines, and as the great representative of those ancient traditions associated with the Kabbalah."