National Football League Super Bowl magic…all eyes set and ready, eagerly awaiting any glimpse into possible symbols, illusions, and even magick rituals intentionally presented at the US television event that was February 5, 2017’s Super Bowl LI. I, as I’m sure many other like-minded researchers, attempted to pay close attention to the media images presented throughout the broadcast. Personally, I found this particular commercial fascinating: Future – H&R Block with IBM Watson.
To begin this analysis, I want to return to a potential interpretation of the commercial that visits three unique levels, or layers, of symbolism. These three levels are:
- The Profane: the material expression of symbols intended for consumption by the masses
- The Consecrated: the expression of symbols intended for the Sacred and confined to the sanctuaries, schools, and other boundaries of the Sacred
- The Divine: the symbolism hinting at the existence of some Deity of Origination that is subconsciously understood and grasped by all people, regardless of class, religion, social status, etc.
Before diving into the main points of analysis of this article, however, let us first define who and what this Watson is.
Watson: the AI Supercomputer
Officially, “Watson is an IBM supercomputer that combines artificial intelligence and sophisticated analytical software for optimal performance as a ‘questioning answering” machine (more can be found here). Watson was spearheaded by David Ferrucci, a former IBM investigator and current Bridgewater employee, and was named after none other than IBM’s first CEO and self-made elitist Thomas J. Watson.
The elitist Watson not only managed to be a successful capitalist upstart after a failed foray into accountancy and butcher shop management, but also managed to:
- Be convicted of Sherman’s anti-competitive practices in 1912 with the company NCR
- Have the conviction overturned by the courts in 1915 on appeal
- Be awarded Adolf Hitler’s medal, Order of the German Eagle with Star, due to IBM’s service to the Third Reich
- IBM’s involvement was the development of early AI technology (punch card systems) used to identify and catalog European citizens of Jewish descent
- Apparently have both his sons removed from active duty during WWII
- One son, Thomas J. Watson, JR, was handpicked to be assistant and personal pilot to General Follet Bradley
- The other son, Arthur K., resided in the United States in a role with the US Ordinance Department
- Both would eventually become IBM presidents and future United States Ambassadors
- Be influential to and friends of United States Presidents
Aside from the origin of the name Watson, a cursory glance at the achievements of the AI known as Watson includes:
- Healthcare applications
- Chatterbox intelligence
- Weather forecasting
And, most importantly, champion of a January 14, 2011 episode of Jeopardy!
A Symbolic Commercial for the Profane – Smart Tax Returns Lead to More $$$
As part of a larger H&R Block ad campaign featuring former Mad Men lead Jon Hamm, the Super Bowl LI commercial features the idea of “getting your taxes won.” The previously mentioned AI supercomputer, Watson, is a human species created intelligence that “has assisted doctors in the fight against disease, predicted global weather patterns, and improved education for children.” Now, Hamm narrates, Watson is currently employed by the tax professionals at H&R Block and can be “unleashed upon your taxes.”
The H&R advert campaign has been running on television, here in the States, for several months and focuses on the idea of having an “optimal tax return prepared.” Like any good marketing campaign, this unique one focuses on the consumer’s choice of using H&R Block to assist in preparing a tax return.
Why, you might ask?
As the commercials frequently state, there are a number of different deductions and credits that can be utilized to calculate your tax liability to the government of the United States of America. This can lead to different monetary liabilities due to the US government. However, the “optimal” solution lies with the choice of H&R Block, as their tax experts will calculate the least amount of tax liability for the taxpayer, which in turn generates the least amount of money a taxpayer will owe the US government. Aside from H&R’s resident tax professionals on staff, H&R block now employs Watson…so yes, you, the Profane, the masses…you’ll get the least possible tax liability humanly possible thanks to a supercomputer.
For those not familiar with the rat’s nest that is known as the US Tax Code for Individuals, a brief synopsis is included here. As my former tax professor often stated, the US Tax Code for individuals is an evolving, sprawling, and confusing set of laws that is predicated on two groups of wealthy people. The first group (and the finite minority) consider themselves to be patriots. This group is wealthy enough from investment interest income to pay what they feel is fair in order to finance taxpayer projects such as infrastructure, public education, defense, etc., and still feel they live a comfortable life, financially. Typically, they will fill out a tax return as the rest of us will, and agree to the tax liability that the current code generates.
The second group, and the vast majority, of wealthy people are not as willing to part with their investment interest income. This group of people employs tax lawyers and tax researchers in order to exploit the tax code, tax court decisions, and tax research journals. It is an aggressive tactic used to minimize investment income from finding its way into the hands of the US government. Once loop hole A is discovered and exploited, the US Congress will step in and attempt to shut it down with new tax code A. The group of lawyers and consultants then look for loop hole B…again, if seen as an issue by Congress, tax code B is put in place in attempt to prevent loop hole B exploitation. Now imagine countless loop holes, countless counter regulations, years and years of this repeated, vicious cycle, and you quickly get a sense of what the current US Tax Code is.
For the majority of the masses (me included), we’re in luck. We needn’t worry too much about the intricacies of the US Tax Code. We as a group:
- Make very little money
- Have very little investment income
- Have very little capital gains and losses
- Have very little complicated tax shelters and/or small business income we draw on
- Have very little qualified expenses that can exceed the standard deduction
- Would not be able to afford a higher end tax professional at H&R Block (nor would they want to waste their time with us)
With all that being said, the majority of the mass populace do not require the use of a ‘Watson’ to fill out a tax return. Most US citizens can fill out a free tax return, air mail or submit in online to the IRS, and either pay in or receive a refund from the US government. Easy enough, cheap, and not overly complicated once all the appropriate paper work is gathered ahead of the filing.
All that boring tax talk aside, let us return to the inquiry at hand. I would argue that at the first level of symbolism, the commercial Future, is for the Profane.
Most people think the US Tax Code and filing of taxes is an “arcane science.” The idea of using a supreme form of AI is appealing to the majority of us required to fill out a simple annual tax report. And if this AI can get us more money…why not take advantage of it? It’s a very solid marketing strategy for a company that competes to make money off the end user: the US taxpayer.
Yet at the end of the day, the elite and wealthy likely have no use for Watson. Nor should they. There are material, significant, and profitable reasons why a seasoned tax attorney at a prestigious, East Coast law firm easily earns seven figures in salaries and bonuses annually. Sure, sorting something complicated such as the Bock Saga or the Hatybov material is enlightening, but if you want to make the big money, get a degree in accountancy and spend your life sorting through the US Tax Code.
Lux E Tenebris : Symbols for the Consecrated
To paraphrase the Blazing Star:
As the Mason moves out of Darkness, into the Sunlight, and through the Sunlight up to the Sun, the Mason approaches the Cosmic Truth which envelopes all. For in the beginning, there is nothing but Darkness. Yet as the initiate moves step by step, from dawn until daybreak, the Mason learns to embrace the day. The day is filled with the beauty and the splendor of the Internal world, “for it is the chosen symbol of Light, and Light is characteristic of ‘the Temple not made with hands,’ and of its divine builder, ‘the Great Architect of the Universe,’ in whom is no Darkness at all.Y
So states the Speculative Freemason philosopher, Blazing Star, and thus begins the phase of this inquiry.
Again, illumination is seen as the transition from Darkness to Light. Darkness, per the philosophy of Freemasonry and other esoteric traditions, is the natural state of man (and female). It is the state of existence that is ignorant, uncivilized, and vicious. It is a confused and shapeless mass that existed prior to the organization of Creation. Darkness, as the stagnant and uneducated mind is, ultimately is death.
Light is the opposite of Darkness. The Rite of Illumination, or the passage to Light, is very ancient and included in many Mystery cult belief systems. The Rite of Illumination “marked the termination of the mystic pilgrimage through gloom and night, and was emblematical of that moral and intellectual light which pours its divine radiance on that mind after it has conquered prejudice, and passion, and ignorance, with which it has so long been struggling.”Z
Freemasonry has gone so far to state the Tower of Babel, built in absence of “the Light” of Masonic philosophy, too was symbolic of Darkness. Only through the Light of the Masons was Darkness restored to its place with the construction of Solomon’s Temple. Babel, the place where language was confounded and Masonry long lost, was representative of the Darkness of Chaos. Solomon’s Temple restored Darkness to its proper place: a state of preparation prior to illumination.
On a Return to the Cube
As previously discussed here, the cube form, in terms of Masonic philosophy, represents:
- Moral perfection
Analogous to these attributes, the cube is also considered to be a process of evolution; a process of illumination. Akin to moving from Darkness to Lightness, a Freemason’s journey can also be representative of the transformation of stone. The rough ashlar, or the state of free stone from a quarry, is “rude and unpolished.” It too, like Darkness, is symbolic of the natural state of man; it is ignorant, uncivilized, and vicious. As the chosen candidate to any good cult of Mystery soon learns, this natural state of man does not need to exist in its predetermined state. Through education, self-discipline, time, and energy, the candidate evolves to status of initiate. Similar to the rough ashlar being transformed into a polished, perfect cube with slow, steady work, the candidate too, through slow and steady work, becomes the initiate to a set of Mystery intellect. The six faced, perfect cube form is representative to that of the Sacred, ordained initiate.
The Cube of Illumination
Hitting on both key principles of transformation, we see a similar theme intended for the Sacred. Again, the commercial is ultimately not a communication to the masses, and it is most certainly not advertising tax return preparation assistance. The theme of the commercial is a repeat of a theme seen in the previously discussed Apple commercial : the natural state of human existence is imperfect. It is unconscious, uncultivated, and malicious. Per the Mystery religion perspective (again, not my personal perspective on such matters), it is the state in which the originator of Creation left us. The Monad or some Deity of Origination generated a return on the primordial abyss, and has since moved on to something else (presumably), leaving all of Creation in its wake and without further guidance.
It is only through some agent of change, some intervention, some rebellion, that illumination can occur. It is only through illumination that human existence and human consciousness can move from ignorance to knowledge. It is some sacred Mystery School that expounds upon and embraces this knowledge set of illumination
Who knew a tax commercial could have so much potential fun?
Round Three: Heavy Speculation on a Potential Divine Interpretation
The possible third explanation is most certainly only an opinion. Aside from it being very esoteric in nature, it is, what I think, a universal sensibility to the images presented. Again, the Divine interpretation is not unique to the Profane or to the Sacred, but to the aggregate of our species and manifests as an output of our collective unconscious.
The Gnostic Cube
To begin with, let’s for one moment return to an idea that was presented in the Hatybov material…the idea of a closed Solar System. The idea is highly Gnostic in origin: it is the idea that material world in which we exist is an artificial generation of a return on highly organized plasma. Better yet, it is the idea that some type of intelligence has generated a return on the primordial waters of the abyss (materialism). The rules of this return’s generation are a) only applicable within the confines of our Solar System and b) dictate manifestation of matter unique to our Solar System. If one could test the hypothesis, according to Hatybov, one could step outside of the boundaries of our Solar System and would immediately cease to exist on a physical/material level. The rules of our programming do not apply external to the parameters of the closed system.
As many people have pointed out in respect to the material of this alleged Soviet scientist, the work of Hatybov parallels the conceptual philosophical framework of the Gnostics. The Gnostics, for a lack of a better word, were a group of cults/philosophies of antiquity that ultimately looked at matter, and the material world, as being intrinsically evil. At a very high and oversimplified level, Gnostic belief held that the true God did not create the “evil” material world. God exists in the inaccessible light, the Plemora, and created two aeons/emanations from Its Being. From these emanations existed a schema of inferior spirits, of which the grand Demiurgus was party to. The Demiurgus was the God of the Old Testament, rebelled against the will of God, and fabricated the material world, imprisoned the human soul in the flesh of the body, and generated a set of rules that dictated material/physical existence. Human consciousness can only find true gnosis, or knowledge, upon death when it enters the divine Plemora. Ideas such as the resurrection of the Christ were rejected by the Gnostics, for a return to the wicked realm of artificially fabricated matter was not desired. Only a return to the Divine Light, the Plemora, was ultimately sought after.
With this framework in mind (again, a very simplified version), I have included a “cube” above. As depicted , we see the idea of the cube as it relates to the seven original planets or stars of antiquity per one group of Gnostic thought. These seven planets/stars represent seven corners of the cube. The eighth corner? The Solar Sun, in all its radiance and glory. The seven planets plus the Solar Sun are representative of our closed system. Again, the materialism that dictates our lives and existence is only applicable within the confines of this “cube.” The cube is the realm of matter and the realm of the Demiurgus, and through the Demiurgus’ rebellion against the will of God, it is the Father to our imprisoned existence.
Two Cubes for One
This “outer” cube and “inner” cube, seen immediately below, could very well be representative of the realm of existence and the Originating Principle, or Monad, respectively. From a Gnostic standpoint, let us suppose that the Originating Principle, or Monad, is the Grand Architect of the Universe: the Demiurgus.
For the purposes of the inquiry at hand, let’s assume that:
- The Monad = the Originating Principle = Demiurgus = The Grand Architect of the Universe = the Great Deity
All are one in the same.
The Outer Cube
The parameters of our state of existence, as we know it (our known Universe, as we observe it) can be thought of as the simultaneous movement and state of the Monad. As the Pope Clement I treatise, The Clementine Homilies, states, the shape of the God’s Universe is directed in six directions:
“For wherever He be, He is at it were in the centre of the infinite, being the limit of the universe. And the extensions taking their rise with Him, possess the nature of six infinites: of whom the one taking its rise with Him penetrates to the height above, another into the depth below, another to the right hand, another to the left, another in front, and another behind; to whom He Himself, looking as to a number that is equal on every side, complete the world in six temporal intervals, Himself being the rest, and having the infinite age to come as His image, from the beginning and the end.”CH
The Homilies, belonging to a summation of the work of Gnostic Simon Magnus the Sorcerer, equates the six extensions to the shape of a cube. The six extensions of equal value equate to the perfect cube to which existence is confined.
The idea of a cubic form of the universe is definitely not unique to the Gnostic perspective; similar speculation of the shape of the universe can also be found in the Sepher Yetzirah, as well as with a MIT paper (among other sources, undoubtedly) .
The Inner Cube
In the direct center of the “external cube” lies the Great Architect. The inclusion of this imagery is fascinating to me. The previously mentioned Homilies state that God is the centre, or heart of the universe. We see that imagery presented multiple times in the advert: the white cube centered perfectly within the confines of the larger cube. What could that possibly represent?
One possible explanation is that the white cube represents the repose, or rest, of the Heavenly Architect. It is the central point of the Originating Spirit; it is the “brain” of greater existence.
Another possible explanation could very well relate to the musings of Carl Jung in his treatise Mysterium Coniunctionis. On his section titled ‘The Paradoxa,’ Jung highlights the idea of the lapis Philosophorum. In alchemical terms, it is “cheap, immature, volatile,” yet at the same time “hand precious, perfect, and solid.” It is both base and noble, and a substance of little movement. The “stone” is named a thousand gods of the mystery religions, and is “one and all.” Despite the fact that the whole world senses it, perceives it, cherishes it, and experiences it, the whole of the world does not truly know it.
As a side note, it is interesting to note that the inner cube resembles a cube of salt. Hall, in his Secret Teachings, points out that the cube of salt was the “first created substance produced by the Schamayim which flowed out of God. In salt all creation is concentrated; in salt are the beginning and end of all things.” The Schamayim is the Divine fiery water or the Ocean of Spirit, within which all things are created and uncreated.
Again and again, we see the same pattern of symbolism. The “inner” cube is representative of: the heart of God, the lapis Philosphorum, the cube of salt, etc. It is the ouroboros, or the thing which aggregates the sum of opposites and has no beginning or ending. It is the Originating Point of Creation, for as it contains all, it also contains the code regarding the rules for its eventual separation. This separation generates the confines of the material world in which we all reside. This separation generates the material world in which our consciousness as a species lies.
This Originating Principle, the GAOTU, could very well be the Gnostic AI equivalent of the Demiurgus. I’ve included a diagram of whatever it is I’m attempting to discuss.
Examples of the Monad as AI, the Space in Which it is at Repose, and Program Outcomes of the AI
It is important to note that a) each image features an outcome of the Monad’s program on both the internal and external faces of the cube, b) each image features the Monad at repose, and c) both cubes are surrounded by Darkness, wherein the imagery of the cube does not exist. With that in mind, we see the following series of images and a possible interpretation per the commercial at hand:
Whatever the case may be, one must admit the imagery appears to have very little to do with tax return preparation, and much more to do with something very esoteric.
Returning to the premise of the inquiry at hand, let’s address the three potential levels of symbols attached to H&R Block’s commercial, Future. They include:
- Symbols for the Profane : The Cube -> H&R Block -> (Block = Cube) -> Cube -> AI (Watson)=> equates to tax return preparation assistance
- Symbols for the Consecrated : The Cube -> The Illumined Cube => multiple symbols representative of evolution from the natural state (ignorance and Darkness) of human existence to a state of illumination (intellect and Light)
- Symbols of the Divine : The cube both ->a) The External Cube => representative of the confines of a program that generates materiality and -> (b) the Internal Cube => representative of the Monad, the GAOTU, Demiurgus, or the AI that dictates the rules of the program in which we live
- Watson, as represented by the cube, is nothing more than a symbol of the larger AI that generates the rules of Creation
From taxes to illumination, from illumination to a possible glimpse of a representation of the AI/Deity/Monad/Demiurgus and its programmed construct that made all of this possible…Don Draper delivers once again!
Of course, the analysis provided above is only one interpretation of many. The cube shape is so rich in symbolism and materialism, and this write up is only one of many different interpretations. As always, I’d love to hear everyone’s opinion regarding the subject matter at hand and drop a line.
Y Review MV. Masonic voice review, volumes 66-68. J. Ernst.; June 27, 2007. https://books.google.com/books?
Z Sickels D. The general Ahiman Rezon and Freemason’s guide (1868). United States: Kessinger Publishing Co; February 1, 1998.
CH The Clementine homilies. Edinburgh: Clark; 1870.