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Eternals 1: space gods are real

Kirby explains the gods this way: "outer space technology translated in terms of mythology." That is, take something we cannot understand and explain it in terms that we can.

Yes, I am still going on about gods as metaphor. I want to make this crystal clear. Kirby was talking about metaphors. If you are not comfortable with metaphors then you will not like the Eternals.

Aztec gods were real

The central image, the Aztec astronaut, is of course based on the famous stone sarcophagus lid, sometimes called the Palenque astronaut:

This was the lid of the coffin of king K'inich Janaab' Pakal. He was dressed as the maize god and his pose looked forward to being reborn as a child. The symbols at the edge of the coffin represent stars and planets.

Let's talk about the maize god. Maize was real. Respect for maize was literally a matter of life and death. The maize god was a metaphor for those values: a language, a way to communicate complex ideas in memorable ways. There is nothing more real than survival versus not survival. Therefore those values were real. Therefore the god was real, as he was nothing more than the embodiment of those ideas.

Perhaps some people thought the maize god was a physical person they could meet? Perhaps they had other false beliefs. False beliefs are false. But true beliefs are true. An abstract controlling message, that is, a god, saying "respect the maize or die"? That message, that god, was real.

Space gods were real

Note the stars and planets. These are at the edge, and the world tree was at the center filling the middle of the picture. he world tree connects everything: life, death, the ground and the stars. This is another metaphor for a great truth. If creatures have food they multiply. Maze is at the center, then growth and spreading (the world tree) then the stars. These things are absolute truths. They are real. Get the maize right and you will have no limits, you will even reach the stars! This cosmic message, therefore this cosmic god, was real.

Space is always a metaphor

"But wait!" you say, "the Aztecs did not know that the lights in the sky were other worlds!" And "our modern space program is not about maize!" That objection misses the whole point. For the Aztecs, and for modern man, space is simply a metaphor. We are really talking about survival.

Do we really want to live out there in a vacuum, or on a dusty airless rock? No, we want a planet like Earth. We only want to go out into space because we are afraid of dangers to what we really want, survival on Earth (or something just like it). We go to space in order to get away from space. We risk death in order to avoid death. Space is real but it is something nobody wants, except as an unpleasant journey to its opposite.

In short the space gods are real: they are our desperate need to survive, even though we lose the whole world.

Space is always cyberspace

Previously I linked space gods to cyberspace gods. Cyberspace is just space taken to its logical conclusion. Space is about the extreme of "out there" where even the Earth becomes nothing and must be replaced. Cyberspace is about replacing all matter itself. Taking everything to its most extreme form: the the state of pure information.

Science has proven this to be the case. If you take cosmology to its extreme you find yourself in the realms of theoretical physics, where only numbers exist.

The Eternals is Kirby's most advanced prophecy

All of this is to hammer home the point that the Eternals is a metaphor for survival against the greatest possible dangers. The Eternals is about exactly what it says: that which is eternal. That which endures when everything else is gone.

As Kirby's most abstract book I suppose the Eternals is also his most advanced prophecy. Ironically it is also his most concrete, as it is the only Kirby prophecy with a date, and that date is less than ten years away: according to Kirby, mankind will be judged in the year 2026. It is now 2017. We have nine years left.