“No matchbook cover is going to spell out a message from the Elohim.”
–Philip K. Dick
Why YES Val, what DOES Superman III’s Gus Gorman, Philip K. Dick, and the Elohim have in common?!
For starters, let’s parse that starting quote from Philip K. Dick a bit.
What he is not saying is that you can’t glean a divine message from something as banal/trashy/ubiquitous as a matchbook cover.
What he is saying, within the full context of the passage from which I took the quote, is that to glean such a message from something as banal/trashy/ubiquitous as a matchbook cover is a two-part “unlocking” process.
Part 1: the matchbook cover
Part 2: that divine inspiration from within/without that allows you to “unlock” that message from the Elohim (or deity/entity of your choice).
According to Dick, the Elohim (or deity/entity of your choice) “hides” the Message in the matchbook cover (the “trash”) so the Archons can’t find it. Once the Archons find the message, they will use it/pervert it/exploit it for their own ends; so the message needs to be hidden from them as long as possible.
In the movie Superman III, Gus Gorman (played by Richard Pryor) literally finds the Message on the matchbook cover: it’s an ad to learn computer programming.
He felt like a loser and has just had his unemployment benefits run out…
…but in the process of taking this programming course he realizes he was a hidden genius all along.
Indeed, originally the character Pryor was going to play in the movie was classic Superman villain “Brainiac.” While that didn’t happen, Gorman did build the pivotal super-computer at the movie’s climax.
Where does Gorman write the plans for said super-computer? Again, we see the motif of the treasures/truth in the “trash”:
The equations & codes are written on used napkins and a Camel cigarette wrapper.
Additionally, the Camel has some rich symbolism as regards to abundance and wealth provided by God (or the Elohim, or the deity/entity of your choice).
Now, we can compare the gigantic super-computer from Superman III to that of the far more esoteric Hudson Hawk; the latter “fueled” by an actual Merkabah.
While Gus Gorman did side with the villains for most of the movie, he destroys his super-computer (though not before it creates a transhuman robot childhood nightmare) at the end and redeems himself. As a “reward,” Superman inexplicably flies him to a remote mining colony where he can finally get a “real” job.
Gorman refuses the “gift” and decides to just “walk home” without Supes (somehow navigating the hundreds of miles and whatever boundaries await him in the process).
Superman is supposed to be the hero of Superman III—but the Hero’s Journey is really Gus Gorman’s. As a comedian, Pryor was perfectly suited to play the savant-like Hero-As-Fool (a role that later Jim Carrey will be so known for).
Superman was supposed to be the “God” of the movie…but actually it was the unassuming matchbook cover. Hiding the “treasure” (deeper meaning about what it means to find your true calling) in the “trash” (the matchbook cover, the entire critically-panned Superman film).
The takeaway from all this?