“It’s just a sweet sweet fantasy baby/
When I close my eyes you come and take me.
It’s so deep in my daydreams
But it’s just a sweet, sweet fantasy…”
Fantasy, Mariah Carey
The theme of digitization and the loss of human autonomy and meaning has been a theme of a number of pieces on the site—for example, these two on transhumanism, as well as recent agendas towards digital passports as control mechanisms coming out of groups like The World Economic Forum, plus the weaponization of the noosphere. This philosophical review of the recent movie Free Guy is part of that larger thread.
Massive Spoilers Ahead.
The plot is surprisingly complex at points so it’s necessary to go through it in order to making larger points concerning the revelation of the coming Metaverse in the film.
The film centers around an NPC (non-playing character) named Guy, portrayed by Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds is of course best known as Deadpool (see my earlier review of that film here) so we see a link already between the superhero genre and this more digitized, hyperreal vision of Free Guy.
It’s worth noting that Ryan Reynolds also voiced the character of Pickachu in Pokemon. The Pokemon Go! craze of a few years back with augmented reality overlays onto physical reality was funded by InQTel, the CIA’s venture capitalist wing (yes you read that right, the CIA has a VC wing). Pokemon Go! was therefore a psychological operation, aka a form of worldview warfare. It was a large scale collective experiment in de-realized/psychotic or near psychotic states as evidenced by people losing contact with physical reality in their pursuits of digitized entities. The long history of exploiting dissociative states of consciousness to induce psychological change—what Ewan Cameron called “psychic driving”—was at the heart of MK-Ultra and it’s related offshoots, as covered in this excellent piece by Ezekiel73.
Guy is an NPC in a video game. Initially Guy is blissfully unaware of his illusory ontological status. We see Guy as his existence follows a Groundhog Day format of repetitive interactions—ordering a coffee from the same coffee shop every morning, connecting with his best friend a security guard at the bank he works at. Meanwhile everyday mundane interactions between the NPCs are punctuated by bank robberies, stickups at the corner store, and explosions on the street.
“Real” humans in the outside world who are playing the game are committing these acts of terror via their digital avatars in Free City. (Note the obvious unfreedom of Free City).
This aspect of the film parallels Ready Player One where humans are living in an alternative digital world and losing contact with the natural organic world. In Ready Player One however there was motif of environmental destruction that lead everyone to escape from the trauma zone of their existence to live in this hyperreal digital worldspace of the game. (The co-opting and weaponization of the genuine themes of environmental care by elites in order to push for anti-human, anti-organic silicon futures is a key theme explored previously on the site).
Free Guy eschews the ecological dystopia, preferring instead the cover of a critique of evil capitalist overlords, as well as a romance story.
Coded into this alternative world is the realization among the NPCs that those “other folk”—the ones robbing their banks, blowing up stuff in the street, etc.—are a different breed, aka “players”. The NPCs aren’t to interact with the players.
And so it goes.
The only thing that doesn’t fit about Guy’s seemingly perfect world is that he has a vision of a specific woman—his one true love—who he both longs for but also despairs of ever finding. A la Neo with Trinity in The Matrix, Guy “wakes up” through his chance encounter with what he believes is his destiny in the form of a player in the game, MolotovGirl portrayed by Jodie Cormer. (For my review of The Matrix, see here) Her character name being a reference to her being a molotov cocktail or incendiary device to the plot of the film (she of course has red hair).
Sunglasses demarcate the line between NPCs and players: players have them, NPCs do not. Sunglasses are clearly a reference to the classic John Carpenter flick They Live! In that film, whenever Nada (Roddy Piper’s character) puts on the glasses he can see through the subliminal messaging on billboards and TV screens of an alien overlord predatory ruling class dominating the masses and controlling them through false hypnotizing messaging.
In Free Guy, as we’ll see, the glasses reveal to Guy that the world he inhabits is a digitized landscape of hyperreality. Whereas They Live! showed the deeper reality of the parapolitical beneath the veneer of the capitalist sheen, Free Guy reveals an illusory world of hyperreality as the “real world.” In other words, the glasses are just another layer of the psychological operation, rather than providing true sight.
Molotov Girl is the digital avatar of a “real world” person named Millie Rusk. Millie is the co-creator along with her former business partner Walter “Keys” McKey in a game called Life Itself (note the obvious irony/tell). Life Itself was a game where players simply observed algorithms/characters in the game evolve and grow in a kind of digital terrarium. Molotov Girl/Millie Rusk believes that the larger corporate entity, called Soonami, that purchased her game has illegally used her code within the game of Free City. Millie creates Molotov Girl so she can play inside the game in order to find clues to validate her suspicion.
Guy procures a pair of glasses in order to chase after Millie and awakes to the world of digital (hyper)reality. After an initial encounter, Millie tells Guy that he needs to level up his points in order to start being a real player in the game. Guy decides however, against the grain, to earn points by being nice.
The levels of the simulation expand as within the movie YouTube/gamer personalities show up to make cameos as themselves commenting on Free Guy within the construct of the movie’s “real world” observers and participants in the game. The viewer of the film is then watching “real people” in the movie watching video game characters: watcher watching watchers watching the construct.
Back in the “real” world, Keys does more research on the character of Guy, eventually realizing that Guy has become self-conscious AI. Guy is an algorithm from the original Life Itself game whose become self-aware. The CEO of Soonami (played by Taiki Watiti) looks to erase the game, deleting evidence of his theft and breach of contract and thereby destroying the world of those NPCs. Guy leads the NPCs into a mass AI-uprising where they become aware en masse. Guy rallies them under the banner of fighting for their homes, for what is real.
The movie ends with Keys giving a video confessional that he created Guy originally as “Forlorn Guy”—a hopeless romantic who was destined in Life Itself to live an unfulfilled wandering life looking for his love. Keys admits through camera to Millie that he built the character off of himself and Guy’s love interest was based on her—his love in real life. Millie and Keys end the movie as a couple, turning the film (ostensibly) into a romantic comedy.
One of, if not the primary, themes of this film is that digital reality, digital code, is overwriting nature’s code. In a previous piece I explored the consciousness of nature and human ability to tap into and commune with the consciousness of nature through intentionality. There I argued is the wellspring of real magic and a co-creative future predicated in over-unity (aka abundance). I’ve also covered the UFO Phenomenon as carrying the same message of over-unity and abundance: “as above, so below.”
In contrast, the push for the Metaverse is to overcode nature’s consciousness with digital algorithms and artificial intelligence. Millie and Keys’ game was, after all, called Life Itself. A game which consisted of algorithms being passively observed by real world actors, reducing them to the status of human automatons. Life Itself literally had no conscious intentionality or human agency within it.
That’s the Life Itself that the elites desire for the masses: a life where humans are observing what they (humans) believe to be artificial intelligence. When in reality, the elites are in fact spying on human behavior through the algorithms/AI that the humans are now fascinated by and addicted to. The tell of that point in the film is that Soonami, the mega gaming corporation, has data on all its users: their amount of playing, their favorite quests, character profiles, geo-location, etc..
As I’ve written about previously, the entire industry of attention merchants used the trojan horse of free offers on the internet to perform psychological operations on humans in order to sell their attention (their minds) to corporate overlords.
In parapolitical thought there is the longstanding topic of a controlled dialectic. A controlled dialectic is where elites create a false binary between two seemingly opposed views, both of which turn out to be a feign from the truth. Ezekiel73 and I explored this tactic (as well as others) in our presentation on the tactics of Worldview Warfare for The Stoa.
The controlled dialectic in the case of Free Guy is between the evil corporatist overlord and the supposed rebels represented by Millie and Keys. By appearing to be a narrative of plucky upstarts taking on the evil soulless corporations we root for Mille and Keys. Except Millie and Keys actually represent the coming of a digitized “Life Itself.” Both sides within the film—corporate versus young upstarts, in other words, are the problem not any kind of solution. In a controlled dialectic the third option—the underlying truth—is hidden from view as elites control a dialectical binary discourse between two false options. That those two options are opposed to each other does not mean we need to choose sides in this false binary. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
The third option here is True Life Itself. Organic, spiritual, truly material, incarnate fleshy existence which is nowhere to be seen in the movie. The romantic sheen first between Guy and MolotovGirl (as proxies for Keys & Millie) and their actual selves in the physical world is meant to elide this tell in the film.
Another classic parapolitical insight concerns the technique known as Revelation of The Method. In Revelation of the Method—which can hand in hand with controlled dialectic—the truth is revealed in a film or work of pop culture art but it’s twisted or hidden or slightly askew.
The Revelation of The Method here is the coming Metaverse. It’s not about evil soulless corporations versus libertarian start-up computer geeks. It is between “Life Itself” Inc., that is the simulacra of life in the Metaverse versus actual LIFE ITSELF.
The inversion from the spin doctors is to have the audience root for the NPCs within the game as if they are the true heroes. When the evil corporate entity threatens to destroy Free City (in order to force everyone to buy a crappier sequel), the film is pushing the audience to root for the video game characters to rise up and “defend their home.”
“They make take our illusory digital lives, but they’ll never take our FREE CITY.”
By the plot setup of the NPC uprising, the truth is both revealed and obscured simultaneously. The point of the film is to get real live human beings (audience) to start emphasizing with and identifying themselves in the position of algorithms in a metaverse.
To understand how deep this rabbit hole truly goes and therefore what the real message of this film is, I need to introduce the work of contemporary researcher Alison McDowell. Through her website Wrench in the Gears, McDowell has done excellent, thoroughgoing research into the topic of human capital futures betting markets.
Her research is trans-disciplinary, covering an entire series of multiple sectors—digital technologies, gamification, the Silicon Valley-military industrial-surveillance complex, online education reform, and poverty management financing among others.
Her research is critical to understanding the dark sides of the Metaverse—and in particular the multiple vectors of attack or “softening” of a population to enter into a meta-versal (pseudo)reality.
One of the key motifs of her research are what she calls human capital futures markets (aka digital slavery gambling systems). These markets exist at the intersection of big data, surveillance, digitized financial capitalism, gamification, and education reform. Watch a number of her talks to see how pervasive and sticky this web is; she is really gifted as a researcher in following the money and the lines of radiating influence between boards, for-profit social ventures, technology, corporate entities, and the shadow state.
Consider the following scenario….
A Universal Basic Income (UBI) program gets pitched but in order to access the UBI an individual must sign up with a proprietary digital-learning platform app. This app will track their performance to assigned tasks that could be marketed as one’s “duty” to society in response to the UBI. The tasks, in other words, become prerequisites for accessing the UBI.
The UBI, by the way, could easily be brought in under the auspices of large scale unemployment due to robotics, 3D printing, big data/algorithms, and disruptive technologies.
Within this “learning environment”—pitched as skills up-leveling or job training, etc.—the citizen is slowly being entrained into becoming a political non-entity or NPC for the state-corporate fascist hyper-object.
The training and learning pathways to receive UBI might involve doing menial tasks as forms of digitized slave labor for mega-corporations. The experiments along these lines over the last thirty years in the for-profit prison industrial complex could then be extended into wider society in an “open air digital prison.” Basically taking the model of the for-profit prison industrial complex and applying it to entire populations as a whole.
The specific steps in the digital learning pathways could be meaningless and absurdist—a kind of Douglas Adams’ farcical “adventure. Or they could be a Kafka-esque exploration of radical incompleteness. Just as the character in Kafka’s The Castle never can never seem to make it to the castle, never reaches the core of the political system. He constantly wanders byzantine layers of bureaucracy only to unfold further layers of even more complicate hallways and doors that lead nowhere.
It could be all of the above. Again think the Pokemon Go! Craze (bringing us again back to Free Guy via the link of Ryan Reynolds).
McDowell explores a further layer to this already horrifying cake—namely the creation of online derivative betting markets for these learning pathways. Again the learning pathways are set up to earn “badges” or points that will translate into social credits. Political and human rights become transferred into “social credits” and these credits can only be accessed through subservience to the corporate-governmental hybrid fascist chimerical monster. Such proprietary but nevertheless politically mandated apps that track a person have been brought into use during the last two years—under the cover of covid.
As more and more individuals are herded into this digital pen, forced to take up these “learning pathways” or task-based “games” in order in order to earn points to cash in as social access, all the while being fully surveilled, at the same time there will be a class of elite financiers who will be betting in real-time upon the success or failure of the vaporware “players” (really NPCs) in the “game of life.”
An industry of attention merchants will spring up to sell the financiers on the value of their specific learning pathways—for only pathways which gain funding from the financiers will continue and eventually be able to buy influence via government contracts and thereby have those governments mandate their specific learning platforms/products. They will be the slavetraders of this digital slavery, hocking digital flesh in the online marketplace.
And you best believe wherever there are slavetraders (attention merchants, coders, and tech entrepreneurs) and slavemasters (corporate-government fascist hybrid + their high financial backers), there’s bound to be overseers: a population of desperate folk wiling to use violence to keep the slaves bound and paid off by the slave masters.
If there are any human teachers or guides left in these learning pathways at all—as they will likely be phased out completely by automated/AI—then they would be, I guess, the house slaves in this analogy, as compared to the “field hands” of those unfortunate enough to have to follow the digital learning pathways.
Health (digital health passports) and education (online education) are twin pincer moves of this assault. As McDowell’s research meticulously details, the individuals who promoted derivatives based-online human capital markets (read: digital slave labor) have applied the “lessons” of the 2008 stock market crash and high leverage derivatives trading to the topic of poverty management.
Loads of humans are becoming impoverished through large scale automation—see my piece on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. So, from the point of view of control, there’s the need to “manage” such poverty: rather than of course liberating people form poverty.
All of the various threads unite in dark integration: gamification, surveillance, UBIs/social credit scheme, digital identities, high leverage derivatives based betting-financing of markets, public/private hybrid for-profit social control schemes, AI/automatic/robotics, disruptive wearable and pervasive sensor technologies (4th Industrial Revolution)….
Add to that list the revelation of the method and the selling of this psychological operation through pop culture.
Which brings us back to (not so) Free Guy.
This is the very dark message at the heart of the film, the revelation of this parapolitical deep state method: siding with the NPC and their human creators, Millie & Keys.
Here is the controlled dialectic. An audience that empathizes and sides with the NPCs (and Millie & Keys) falls perfectly into the controlled dialectic trap. By thinking that one is fighting the good fight against the corporate “man”, one is in fact supporting the rise of technocratic digital slavery. One is promoting their own enslavement.
The obvious villain in the film is the evil corporate entity, acting as a distracting foil from recognizing the even more dangerous villains of the “heroes”.
Keys has the digital “keys”. He plays the parallel to Vinz Clortho who possessed Rick Moranis’ character of Louis Tully in the original Ghostbusters. Clortho was known as the “key”-master. That makes Millie the Gatekeeper (Zuul/Dana Barrett/Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters). She the female Gatekeeper of Life Itself to Keys—who puts the key in the hole as it were for this particular sexual union. Which of course makes them The Mother and Father of Life Itself. (Remember that The Gatekeeper and the Keymaster were supposed to unite carnally in a sex magick rite to bring on Gozer in Ghostbuster—see my review of the updated Ghostbusters film for an understanding of parapsychological operations in the present moment). While Free Guy goes for a more sweet romantic comedy angle then the more explicitly sex magick angles of Ghostbusters the meaning is the same: the calling in of Gozer.
Gozer in this case is—to use Rudolf Steiner’s language—Ahriman. Ahriman is the “consciousness” (or rather anti-consciousness) of technology disconnected from earth and cosmic intelligence. Ahriman seeks to enslave humanity and all sentient ensouled into a false created matrix. Rather than Life Itself, Ahriman is Anti-Life Itself.
This Anti-Life "world" is the Metaverse. The Metaverse is the embodiment of Ahriman—the weaponization and inversion of the noosphere as I’ve discussed previously.
Keys coded Guy to constantly hum Fantasy by Mariah Carey because it was Millie's favorite song.
“It’s just a sweet sweet fantasy baby/
When I close my eyes you come and take me.
It’s so deep in my daydreams
But it’s just a sweet, sweet fantasy…”
The one to come and take us is the metaverse. The closing of the eyes symbolizes of course loss of sight. The daydreams being those of the hypperreal digital encoded world where it's unclear what is real and what is fiction. It maybe a sweet sweet (and very profitable) fantasy for elites but not for the person on the street. For those "NPCs", it's a nightmare.