Lesson II - Solaris [Discussion]



Explore the themes, images, motifs, and philosophical insights from viewing the film Solaris (1972).



Hi class. I really enjoyed Solaris and our discussion. The film speaks deeply to me about the existence of multiple planes of reality, and the struggles to name them.

At the end of our talk there was a comment - I’m sorry I don’t remember the name of the person who made the comment - that we need to be careful when discussing or engaging the magical realms. I’m not sure I caught all of what he meant there.

I would love to explore this further. I think there’s a sense in the Integral sensibility that we need to be careful of the realm of magic/mythic because it is a “lower” realm, and it might be somehow dangerous. Or we might believe in it too much. Or we might lose our rational thought if we engage with it.

I want to understand this, and I want to ask who in the Integral world is deeply embracing the magical/mythic?

It’s been a few years since I’ve engaged with Integral Theory and I couldn’t imagine a more fun way to do it than through these far-out films! Thanks everyone for being such great teacher/students!


Hello Randi!,

I love that interpretation, I definitely think I get what you’re saying!

I do remember that as well ,admittedly, I am very fresh in the “integral” scene but I’d love to convey my own understanding and opinion of the magic/mythic.

As I understand it, “lower” conveys a few things with the magic/mythic to me, first, “lower” would partially share kinship with the idea that, as you “move toward” the archaic in a sequential sense ,so, integral-mental-mythic-magic-archaic, you have a decrease in “dimensionality”, however I don’t know what would make one structure “worse” to develop excess of over any other so if that is an impression you’re getting from the sensibility then, beats me lol. “Lower” also shares kinship with concepts like: below, hell, cavern, psyche, abyss, water et cetera, so that could also be part of this identity of “lower” imposed on the magic/mythic, especially when you consider a lot of those symbols having kinship with emotion and psyche which are hallmarks of those structures. As for it being dangerous, well, every assumption you had on it’s potential dangers are all good however, all structures are dangerous in excess (which I liken to an inflammation of belief into one structure) and this can definitely “shut out” other structures like how you mention the magic/mythic’s psychic devouring, isolating you from your mentality but so to can an excess of mentality through it’s attribute of ratio(daemon), can it cut off in a cold manner, you from your matriarchal energy (magic/mythic). Also Gebser mentions the symbolic profundity of the emergence of the patriarch and how it not only usurped the matriarch but at the same time shut it out. Another example is how the artists of perspectivity, judges the men of the iconograph, in what seemed to be as a negative. So each Structure’s excess is of a particular flavor of danger. What is your impression of the “magic/mythic”, what do you think about it and also what do you think about the concept of “temperance” aswell as Gebsers remarks that we should never neglect a structure.

I hope some of that had some use!


Just came across this passage, shows a way of interacting with magic from a more mental present moment via the mythical. What’s mentioned ,in my opinion, closely resembles what I’ve personally experienced engaging with the films thus far and how the cinema experience ,even though Gebser mentions this as a deficient representation of the mythic, can facilitate that “Grotto-caven”-spaceless and timelessness in the sense that my awareness for these things are “overshadowed” by the image, thus traversing through the structures “into” a more dream-like state. I’ve also noticed how my habit of “thinking” (in a more mental sense) can become absent in those moments which I think shares kinship with your suspicion on how those forces can affect your rational. Depending on your point of view, I would personally consider this to be perhaps a more efficient example of engaging the magic/mythic especially since “post-movie” you can re-enter the diurnal mode and attempt to render insight present from those experiences which Gebser ,if I am correct, would consider to be an efficient aspect of the mental.