Esoteric Online

In Stanislaw Lem's sci-fi classic SOLARIS, an expedition is sent to investigate a bizarre world with a living ocean whose telepathic waves create a place where reality and fantasy blend in incomprehensible ways. Upon returning, the team leader, Berton, is deemed insane simply for reporting the facts. An excerpt:


BERTON: It wasn’t an hallucination. An hallucination is created by one’s own brain, wouldn’t you say?


BERTON: Well, my brain couldn’t have created what what I saw. I’ll never believe that. My brain wouldn’t have been capable of it.

COMMENT: Get on with describing what it was!

BERTON: Before I do so, I should like to know how the statements I’ve already made will be interpreted.

QUESTION: What does that matter?

BERTON: For me, it matters very much indeed. I have said that I saw things which I shall never forget. If the Commission recognizes, even with certain reservations, that my testimony is credible, and that a study of the ocean must be undertaken- I mean a study oriented in the light of my statements- then I’ll tell everything. But if the Commission considers that it is all delusions, then I refuse to say anything more.  


BERTON: Because the contents of my hallucinations belong to me and I don’t have to give an account of them, whereas I am obliged to give an account of what I saw on Solaris.


Berton then tells the Commission what happened, with the following results....


PRESIDENT: After due consideration the Commission has reached the conclusion that Berton’s account bears no, or at any rate no appreciable, relation to reality.

BERTON: Excuse me, what does “no appreciable relation” mean? In what proportion is reality appreciable or not?

PRESIDENT: The answer is simple. “No appreciable relation to reality” means that phenomena actually observable may have formed the basis of your hallucinations. This verdict is in no way prejudicial to you, Berton.

BERTON: Although the Commission’s decision may not be prejudicial to me personally, it IS prejudicial to the spirit of the expedition itself.


The Commission is like the Conspiracy, reinforcing the Reality of the Matrix. I'm with Berton and the spirit of Discovery. Solaris IS the Apocalypse.

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Comment by Steve Prellwitz on July 28, 2011 at 4:52pm
Yes, the Clooney version is the most well known, but even better is the original Russian film from 1972. Neither of them, however, get anywhere close to the awesome majesty of Stanislaw Lem's original book.

Comment by Green Lantern on July 28, 2011 at 11:11am
funny thing- my alias name that i used for the gypsy carnival was ' Solaris' since everyone there was in character; it was more appropriate that way. I chose that name because of the latin meaning 'of the sun'. i think i've seen the sci-fi flick before but it's been a while. was that the film with george clooney?

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