It was 6 years into the filming or Resurrect Dead before I actually understood the meaning of the tiles and the movement The Toynbee Tiler (TTT) was trying to start. That’s not because it’s a complicated or densely layered, multifaceted argument. Maybe I’m just slow, but I’m guessing that most of you will need a little push to understand exactly what TTT’s goal is.

The tiles can be taken literally. At least in the early days, TTT’s sole motivation appeared to be the establishment of a human colony on Jupiter. The ultimate goal of this colony would be to “build heaven in space” and physically resurrect the dead on a planet large enough to accommodate that staggering number of humans.

And this is the point where you need to understand the philosophical worldview of the tiler to truly grasp his intentions. TTT didn’t believe in an automatic afterlife. He believed that if one was going to exist, that it was up to human beings to physically construct it. So basically, the plan goes like this:

Step 1: You drop dead and rot away. Your consciousness goes with it. Step 2: Humans decide to build heaven in space on a planet suitable to house everyone who has ever lived. Step 3: Terraform Jupiter Step 4: Find a way to recombine the pattern of molecules that made up your physical body. A perfect replica brings rise to the consciousness that was and always will be you. And voilà, afterlife.

It’s a purely materialist worldview, not all that different than a Star Trek transporter, with a little Law of Complexity-Consciousness thrown in.

TTT claimed he came across this idea by combining a passage from Arnold Toynbee’s autobiography Experiences with the movie 2001 by Stanley Kubrick. In short:

IN MOViE 2001

New York Times Critic’s Pick
Roger Ebert: #5 pick, best documentary 2011

Directing Award, Documentary: 2011 Sundance Film Festival

Strangeness is afoot. Most people don’t notice the hundreds of cryptic tiled messages about resurrecting the dead that have been appearing in city streets over the past three decades. But Justin Duerr does. For years, finding an answer to this long-standing urban mystery has been his obsession. He has been collecting clues that the tiler has embedded in the streets of major cities across the U.S. and South America. But as Justin starts piecing together key events of the past he finds a story that is more surreal than he imagined, and one that hits disturbingly close to home.