The Gnostic Archetype of The Demiurge
“He’s an asshole God in a bubble universe”
– Jimmy Simpson’s character on Capt. Daly in U.S.S Callister. (The casting of Jimmy Simpson in the USS Callister episode of Black Mirror was purposeful, as many of the themes are echcoing those presented in Westworld where he was a major part of in the first season.)
These are a few of my favorite films and television series drenched in Gnostic themes, that include a character portraying The Demiurge.
1) The Director, Truman Show
2) The Architect, The Matrix
3) Capt. Daly, U.S.S Callister/Black Mirror
4) Ford/The Man in Black/Arnold, Westworld
Fairly early on into Westworld, it became clear to me that there were some very gnostic themes at play. Although I was having a hard time putting my finger on who if anyone could be a representation of the Demiurge figure. I was beginning to wonder if the man in Black and Ford combined to form a dualistic approach to such a character. But there’s a lot about Arnold, and the man he was, that we do not know yet; and to what extent are there discrepancies between who he was and who Bernard has appeared to be thus far remains clouded. Perhaps Arnold is less sympathetic of a character than we may have initially assumed. I also wondered if it was instead, a dualistic pairing between Ford and Arnold; with Ford having a particular paternal connection with Maeve and Arnold with Delores.
To that end, I think Miguel Connor may be on to something with his quote:
“As an illustration, in Westworld, the Demiurge is split in three: Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins), Arnold/Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), and Man in Black (Ed Harris). Each of these Yaldi-Baldi agents, in their own way, holds a secret desire to liberate the hosts and bring down the park. This reminds me of a saying by Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel: “The real joy of God is to be defeated by man.”
(It should be mentioned that Harris takes on a third Demiurge role, his first two being in The Truman Show and Snowpiercer. Does his agent work from the Seventh Heaven?).“
Read more about Miguel’s take on Gnostic themes in Westworld among other television series here. I highly recommend his podcast if you’re interested in some of these topics, Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio is an excellent podcast – many people, including myself initially, find his monologues to be off-putting and long-winded. But I warmed to it after seeing what he was offering in his conversations. As soon the interviews begin, you get to see that he is a very knowledgeable and thoughtful source on topics such Gnosticism and Neoplatonism among others. His interviews are well done with pointed questions, while allowing the guest to speak without being interrupted.
Westworld Is A Gnostic Parable: