sq_metropolis_agents“The Mediator between the head and hands must be the heart!”

— Fritz Lang’s Metropolis

A couple of years ago I watched The Complete Metropolis, the recently restored version of the 1927 silent film. The message that flashes before the viewer at the beginning and at the end of the film is “The Mediator between the head and hands must be the heart!”

I can’t remember if I’ve seen some previous version of Metropolis or not. I’m sure I’ve seen many of the scenes but I hadn’t seen all of them. I cannot speak for previous versions of the film, but this one was enjoyable and I’m glad I watched it.

Somewhat like the film Agora mentioned previously that showed the gulf between science and religion, this film details a fictional conflict between a technocratic ruling class and a subjugated working class. There is some religious imagery throughout and the epic battle between Freder and Rotwang even takes place on the rooftops of a cathedral.

Interestingly, the three elements of the epigram above correspond to three of the elements of Carl Jung’s Psychological Types: sq_jungHead with Cognition, Heart with Emotion, Hands with Sensation. What about the missing aspect, Intuition? I’ve placed Maria at that point because her meeting with Freder really initiates the plot of the film.

Actually I should have placed Grot, a worker foreman, at the Hands position instead of Rotwang. However, I think Rotwang is a more interesting character. Comparing these characters to those in The Tempest and Forbidden Planet, Rotwang is more like Prospero’s Caliban, or Morbius’s Id monster.

As evidence of his evil nature, Rotwang creates a robotic version of Maria and uses her to incite the workers to confusion and violence. Note that the spirit Ariel and Robby the Robot are also placed at Jung’s Intuition position.

Several of the images from the banner on this blog are from the movie, and are of the central tower and office of Fredersen. It is called “The New Tower of Babel” since it was inspired by Bruegel’s painting of the Tower of Babel.


For the “4 H Club”, the four H’s are Health, Head, Hands, and Heart. Probably deserves its own post!




3 thoughts on “Metropolis”

  1. It appears you removed your previous short post:

    by ee
    Also: a c & t’s mouth and c ⅋ t’s eye; a d ⊕ g’s nose and d ⊗ g’s eye.

    Interesting that you deleted it. I often wonder about what an artist or thinker leaves out in relation to what is finally presented, finished and polished, being harsh and scrupulous with my own work. I’m embarrassed by much of what I’ve done. It would be ideal to share the cream of the crop only, but frankly I have more dregs in me. I wonder to what extent I’ve been stifling myself and slowly killing myself by aspiring too high and too rigorously editing myself. It may be there are things in my sketchbooks far more interesting and refreshing than what I have chosen to share, or at least are a key to what I share, a deeper look into a thought process – Real thought processes are never neat and tidy. Anyway, I wrote a comment on your 1674 post, went to go post my comment, then found it wasn’t there anymore, so I’ll post my comment here. I like how you write when you elaborate a little more. You and I appear sometimes to ride similar wavelengths. But here’s my comment for the post you deleted:

    What happens when the fourfold root has been cut? Where do all the symbols go? Up and down, left and right are human conventions. This particular post is an oddity but of course still finds a place in the context of your entire project. Not as essential as other of your posited four-folds, but an essential inessential. A crack in a wall which lets air into of one of the many rooms within the larger epic structure, or a kind of anagrammatic graffiti in the essential place of ridding oneself of excess or waste, which every structure inhabitable by humans must take into account. In short, I detect self-parody in this short post entitled 1674. Maybe it suggests another direction for your blog, when you’ve finally run the gamut of four-folds, hecatombs and octagons, or a wing devoted strictly to correspondences which have no basis in conventional reality but, still utilizing the logic of the other four-folds, pays homage to the wondrous Absurd. A practicing of Pataphysics. What would you call a fourfold which acts as a propeller, four blades spinning around, which lifts one off and carries one away? (I write this in whimsical jest… I love your blog. It’s intellectually stimulating how you seek variations within a confine, like a poet who stays with the sonnet form, and the more he sticks with it, the better he becomes at finding the best word combinations and relations within that fixed form. I myself am fascinated by how self-imposed restriction can yield creative riches by way of intensifying concentration.)

  2. I had worked on that text to add to the bottom of a previous post ( and meant to delete it, but I accidentally posted it instead! I have no idea why 1674, except a random wordpress identifier of some sort. John Milton died? Not bad for serendipity (not that anyone’s death is serendipity, of course!)

    Your comment on my about page inspired me to work on Metropolis, which I initially thought of two years ago but wasn’t happy enough to post until now. Like an artist’s sketchbook, I try to collect notes until something gels or I just want to get it out. I think I can always return to it and polish it up at a later time. After all, this blog is a work in progress!

    Thanks for all your thoughtful and complementary comments here and on my about page! What would I call such a four-fold? Why, a mandala, of course!

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