Arrival had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 1, 2016, and was released in the United States on November 11, 2016 by Paramount Pictures. The film received positive reviews, and praise for its story, sustained intense and suspenseful atmosphere, and lead actress Amy Adams’s performance as the linguist, Louise Banks. There are star people (called heptapods), there are communication issues, there is mass panic and ultimatums from the military. There are also multiple time lines and realities in this visual narrative of human encounter with starpeople.
Arrival is sometimes called a “hard sci-fi film” (because it is challenging to classify the sub-genre) that gives messages on many levels. There is language and cooperation; nauseating fear and military control; there are people with ordinary perceptions of human experience and cooperation and immersing themselves in a new culture to understand a foreign race. The starpeople have arrived in 12 monolithic space ships and are known as heptapods because of their seven-legged giant squid-like appearance: they are terrifying. But they are peaceful and want to help humanity, because their own non-linear perception of time tells them they’ll need our help thousands of years from now. This somewhat reminiscent of the Roswell incident, where humanoid-looking-beings came from the future to seek our help and perished in an accident.
There are multiple narratives. One is going backwards, the narrative of the daughter who died of a rare form of cancer. The narrative goes right back to the birth of this daughter. Another narrative goes forward, the story of the security cleared linguist who we see knows much about the history of Portuguese and other languages. This forward moving narrative has impersonal military intervention (allegedly for a greater purpose – to save all humanity), nauseating, uncontrolled fear and encounter with star-people of the octopoid – (vaguely) humanoid kind who communicate in vibration-energy induction and ink circles. Circles of ink apparently running everywhere: ipso facto, this is intelligent communication.
We see a fog-enshrouded narrative of so-called seven-legged creatures (heptapods nicknamed Abbot and Costello – thus communicating the human value of making a joke out of anything it cannot understand or is afraid of. Values are based on choices which are based on behaviour. See the rogue soldiers take weapons up to bomb what they are afraid of. This causes the death of one of the heptapods, Costello.) Is this another universal human value, kill what you are afraid of? What does humanity have to learn here? Another version of Full Metal Jacket, armed forces that cannot be controlled?
This word ‘weapon’ is brought into the translation. This word causes other nations to disconnect from the grid leaving Dr Banks and the Americans alone. Banks fights the military establishment – and Langley – to explain that ‘weapon’ might also mean tool. Later we find that humanity is being offered 1/12th of the control of time-space continuum in order to create meaningful, peaceful futures. The invitation to understand multiple realities, multiple futures, and multiple selves – as Dr Banks is experiencing – is lost as China delivers a 24 hour ultimatum to the heptapods. In the 3D world of linear reality and rogue soldiers with their C4 devices and the Chinese fleet, time is of the essence.
This film is based on a 2002 Short Story, ‘The story of your life‘. The translator Louise’s understanding of the heptapods’ written language reorients her sense of cause and effect. It turns her perception of time into a two-way river of conscious experience illustrating through brief intermissions that visit her child Hannah’s childhood and adolescence in future tense, as if Louise is forecasting the beats of her daughter’s life. Using the real-world theory of linguistic relativity – which states, controversially, that what language we speak affects how our brain works – this book (on which the movie Arrival is based) transforms Louise’s life into a series of out-of-order moments that can be experienced singularly, including her daughter’s eventual death.
This could turn on manifold of moral dilemmas, but does not. Louise decides to say ‘Yes’ to having a child in order to know and love her daughter rather than denying her life completely. This backward going narrative illustrates motherhood and the container of human experience called love and parenting.
Language and Reality
Language is the ability to communicate in symbol, sound, vibration, action, feeling, facial gesture, heart-felt feeling, emotions. Those who we might call fully human – fully alive are those who communicate with others with all these faculties of human expression. On the other hand our spoken language shapes perception, intelligence and capacity. Where we do not obtain communication, we assume (often wrongly) an absence of intelligence, conscious awareness and learning. Autistic people may have a very narrow perpendicular container of understanding and experience – and if another is not aware then a false imputation might be made. However, what of those who look at us – the earthling – and attempt communication with us?
We have been told (from the Angelic Realms) that time in other dimensions is not linear, may be cyclic, may be faster and there are multiple containers of time that move faster and slower in the multiple galaxies and universes that co-exist. Jalarm the Atlantean spoke of communication in the higher dimensions is frequently based on both number and sound combined with energy and vibration. For example, it has been shared that the word E-din is both an energy and a vibration meaning “creation of a beautiful garden – place”, in the universal language of the starpeoples. Human experience of the communication modes of starpeoples is bereft of energy-sound-density-octave-and-universal-number (numbers are different in the higher dimensions and in other universes. Where we might spell Angel here, that reality might be communicated as sh-8-rood, which is a communication we may not understand. It may be in octaves beyond our comprehension, but also has a vibration-significance-energy in other dimensions.
At the London 2012 Olympics, it was widely expected that there would be a showing, an ‘arrival’ event, as it were. Many told that the event may come, it would depend on the minds and attitudes of those expecting the ‘arrival’.
One being, Archangel Mikael, gave a message about this ‘arrival’ event in 2012:
There has been much talk … about extra-terrestrials making a presence upon this Earth … and this will happen … … it may not be for quite some time but it will happen. There is no need to fear … they are beings of Light … and other races that exist in the Cosmos. They come with love and they come to assist … they come to assist the little Earthlings because they struggle … they struggle to understand who they really are … … and where they come from. The Life upon this earth is just a small chapter of who they really are … … (Deep Sigh) … … You are all Souls of Light … in an Earth Body. The body returns to the Earth when the time comes … but the Soul continues on its Life’s journey.
There have been many movies about space vessels, starships and motherships arriving. Steven Spielberg’s 1977 classic Close Encounters Of the Third Kind is one example. Other examples include the movies such as Independence Day, Contact, Communion. There was Stanley Kubrik’s 2001, A Space Odyssey, followed by Star Wars which introduced a force immanent and transcendent and able to be utilised by star-people. Luke Skywalker, C3PO, Obi Wan Kenobi, Han Solo and Darth Vader are all star-people in human form. They could have easily been humanoid, human looking in appearance. Take the brilliant tactician Admiral Gial Ackbar from the first Star Wars movie, Episode IV – A New Hope. The Admirial is humanoid in form who speaks – obviously – the Universal language. It is movies like this, with humanoid (and other) forms of life that interact with the human and do not cause threat, disaster, destruction.
Choices and The Future
Arrival has multiple threads of conscious awareness. Some is of the present, some is of the past and most importantly, some is of the future. There is both flash-back and flash-forward and it is by taking of the flash forward capacity bestowed upon Louise by the hetapods that the narrative arrives at its conclusion – through the future giving means to take present action. Thought creates reality, and more so, thought imbued with feeling and focus can bring about a future result for anyone. As we have been told by those from the Angelic Realms (Cosmic Sai Baba, Jalarm the Atlantean, Alcheringa the Indigenous Spirit Being, Archangel Mikael and Archangel Maria) and other high beings and Ascended Masters such as Lord Sananda, Kuthumi, El Morya, Saint Germain, Maitreya, Sanat Kumara, etc., etc., what we experience without is a mirror of what is within. This world is light and we – through our choices, our vibration, our soul path – create the world we live in and the experiences we will have. We also create our future.
We are not talking about flying through timelines on magical carpets to the future. The future is created now, with thought, feeling, action and reaction. Whatever energy we put out there, by way of thought, feeling and action, comes back to us. Everything we experience is reaction-reflection-resound of what is within. Arrival isn’t about time travel. It’s about acceptance, understanding our life’s choices, and living as if any one moment were as valuable or meaningful as the next.
The film suggests that knowing what will happen in the future doesn’t diminish the meaning behind a choice you’ll make today. On the contrary, it says every choice you do make can be made knowing it will actively shape what is to come. As Emerson once wrote, life’s a journey, not a destination. In the circular, non-linear minds of Arrival’s starpeople and Louise Banks, the destination doesn’t even exist.
Arrival is a timely reminder that there are space vessels – starships and cloudships – flying in our skies which are from other places, other galaxies, other stars. They have life-forms inside that are humanoid in appearance, and have the three qualities of true humanness – that is, being, self-awareness and self-control over the inner instruments of thought and action. We are told from the Angelic Realms that they – the starpeople – seek to make our acquaintance in love and in peace. Movies like Arrival prepare us for the inevitable encounter. We may ready ourselves, with love, peace, truth, right conduct and non-violence.
You may wish to read a short Zen Buddhist review of the visual language in this movie.
You may wish to read a short review by Bishop Robert Barron (Catholic Bishop of Los Angeles) of the concept of language as a vehicle of divine revelation as highlighted by elements of this movie.
© Chris Parnell, 2017. All material may be reproduced provided the source is cited, and it is not altered