So we were wondering what to watch the other night, trying to decide between It and Day of the Dead when suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, I had a flashback to a film I had watched when I was younger and which had confused the hell out of me. I could only remember the name A.P.E.X. and that it was vaguely about time travel paradoxes and killer robots. I found it online and I suggested we watch just half an hour because I remember the plot being both confusing and bad - we eventually ended up watching the whole thing. The reason I am posting this though is that after we had finished watching it my partner noticed that the events of the film take place on April 3rd and it was April 3rd. I was surprised at just how much is stored in the memory, how subtle the triggers can be, and how often our magickal work is about exercising this vast potential, and through memory to time itself.
Does the movie A.P.E.X. itself matter? Was my angel attempting to draw my attention to something? Well the themes of the film do fall within the realm of what Raziel has been exploring with me. A.P.E.X. stands for Advanced Prototype Exploration units, robots that were designed to go through portals for the purpose of exploring a new physics of time travel. If things went wrong then a sterilization unit would be sent to contain any paradoxical timelines by annhilating the people involved in causing them. An experiment goes wrong and an alternate timeline is birthed on April 3rd 1973 which robots are then sent to sterilize. This degenerates into these robots being continuously sent from the original timeline which now exists only as that moment and the Earth descending into a Terminator like war for survival with humanity against these machines. Our protagonist falling through the portal from the original timeline then has to go to the timelab in the paradoxical timeline and try and connect the two 2073s together. Suffice to say this film does not produce a brilliant treatment of the paradoxes of time travel.
However, Raziel's apocalyptic vision of the end of the world via time traveller swarm does have resonance with the movie as does the appearance of the time travellers themselves and the time of their arrival. I have discussed several times how the insectoid nature of the appearance of certain beings may in fact be time travelling suits of some form. In my experience, and from dialogue with Raziel, although they have carapaces like the A.P.E.X. units they also have wings, complex eyes and are entirely iridescent. In the movie, the robots, appearing one after another, systematically lay waste to the Earth with explosive weaponry, but in Raziel's description, the end of humanity comes about due to the wholesale madness induced by suddenly being engulfed in the host of trillions of time travellers - this event coinciding with the death of language. As my good friend Paul has pointed out this also resonates with the first few chapters of the Book of Enoch.
I have also been rereading the War of the Twins, the 2nd triology from Weis and Hickman, another work which features time travel as the dominant theme. In this the magic spell that is used to send the twins back in time can only be used for research purposes and no changes can be made in the timeline unless a dwarf, gnome or ''kender'' is sent. Since these creatures are considered ''mistakes'' of the Gods, they can cause paradoxes. Raziel would agree with the first point and has detailed as much but would disagree with the second - as the account of the Angel of Secrets is paradox free.
This wasn't in the histories. Perhaps this means that time has already been altered? No. The pitiful sacrifice of these poor creatures was left out not because it did not happen. It was left out simply because... no one cared.
Raistlin Majere, The War of the Twins, Weis and Hickman
Reflecting on the role of memory one could see how these seed ideas could be used, by Raziel or myself, to bear fruit in this later part of my life. I found A.P.E.X. confusing when I watched it many many years ago because I had no vocabulary at that point for exploring these issues, just like The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera had such a dramatic impact on me because I had never asked the questions asked in that book - at least not in this life.
One of the reasons why the Tree of Life, explored and rectified, is such an effective tool for the magus is that it allows one not only to tap into one's own reserves of memory in this life and before, but that it provides lightning reflexes when it comes to referencing that memory. A deeply religious Kabbalistic friend of mine once objected to this notion of the Tree of Life as ''tech'' for psychic boosting and I took his point to heart - the Tree cannot be untangled from religious aspects and in attempting that you are robbing yourself of an incredibly rich part of the experience. However, this aside, work with Kabbalah and the Tree of Life does improve the working of the mind and leads directly to the development of psychic or prophetic powers. Although our minds seemingly remember everything that ever happened, these memories are mercifully filtered so we aren't incapacitated by grief, by regret and by nostalgia. When we work with the memory and increase our sensitivity to stimuli we are also working with the selectivity of it, the judgement to know if you really need that memory right now, that it has utility, that it won't bog you down. We work with the filter as much as the fluid and its filtrate.*
I like to think, like many of us do, of the strong influences on my mind and its workings - the corpus of the WMT, Hermetica, Kabbalah, literature, the Great Works, etc - as I favour a strong hypothesis of myself but I often forget or rather do not select ''lesser'' memories like A.P.E.X. or the War of the Twins. Just because something is eminently forgettable doesn't mean we should forget it. I maintained and still maintain a very militant, unsentimental attitude towards my memory and in 2001, I destroyed memories through the use of a conjuration of Chronos. This seems like a savage, brutal act but at that point I believed that certain memories I had were encumbering me. I chose an appropriate astrological time and took symbols of the memories (photos, etc) and then ritually destroyed them under the stars - the direct effects of the removal of these blockages were rediscovering a lost soul and the channelling of the text the Metabolism of Time. But in this act, what difference was there between myself and an APEX robot destroying an aberrant timeline?
*Luna - fluid, Mercury and Venus - filters of remembering and forgetting, Sol - filtrate.