in the spirit of a wintery day at home, make a cup of tea, watch the snow fall for just a little bit, (REALLY watch the snow fall…..) and retire in your most comfortable position for a delightful movie…….
Filmmaker Tom Shadyac interviews philosophers, scientists and others to find out ways — individually and communally – that people can improve the way they live.
The film is an account of Tom’s journey around the world, speaking to the ‘significant minds’ of today. He asks them two questions ‘what’s wrong with our world?’ and ‘what can we do about it?’. He receives a wealth of answers. It covers some topics that resonate strongly with the idea that giving can be a part of someone’s life, and one’s own personal wealth is much less important than we think, once our basic needs are met. It explains the sociological factors behind the attitude that has developed within (certainly British and American) culture that to succeed in life is to succeed on a material and financial level, and that the idea underlying a big part of this attitude is that ‘greed is good’.
We are conditioned to take more than we need and do it en mass as a society, so that it doesn’t even strike us as greedy or decadent, but just normal. What struck a chord was the presentation of this attitude in a single line close to the end of the film: “There is a word for something that takes more than it needs. We call it cancer”. I can’t fault the presentation of the problem. Associating greed with disease is something that will likely add a lot of strength to people’s perceptions that an overabundance of material wealth is a morally questionable idea.(4)
This takes us through (more or less) half of the film. The next half, while putting across a message that I think we should all take on board – that helping other people, no matter who and where they are, is a good thing.
The idea he gets at is that people are brought up to be self-centered and function as individuals, but are actually more interconnected as a species than we might have believed. Many examples are used to illustrate this. One of the wilder ones was the notion of quantum entanglement being casually introduced, to illustrate the fact that physical distance can make no difference to the close relationship between two such objects as electrons.
One of the most memorable points has Tom Shadyac sat in front of a petri dish of yogurt with active cultures, with a voltmeter connected to it, registering activity with changes in his emotions (i.e. when he considered calling either his agent, or lawyer). The message to take from this? Nature is such that we are all connected to things as random as yogurt, in ways that we don’t quite understand. So by extension, humans are connected to each other as a global species, on an emotional and physical level.
Prepare yourself for an unparalleled sensory experience. SAMSARA reunites director Ron Fricke and producer Mark Magidson, whose award-winning films BARAKA and CHRONOS were acclaimed for combining visual and musical artistry.
SAMSARA is a Sanskrit word that means “the ever turning wheel of life” and is the point of departure for the filmmakers as they search for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives. Filmed over a period of almost five years and in twenty-five countries, SAMSARA transports us to sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial sites, and natural wonders. By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, SAMSARA subverts our expectations of a traditional documentary, instead encouraging our own inner interpretations inspired by images and music that infuses the ancient with the modern.
WAKE UP! documents the multi-year journey Jonas underwent in an attempt to understand and come to terms with his ability to see “spiritual realities,” and he did not “go gently into that good night.” He resisted, whined, complained, and pretty much dragged his feet, kicking and screaming, all the way into acceptance. Eventually, he surrendered to his instructions, “Expose what is happening. Share it with the world.”
Talented director/cinematographer Chloe Crespi joined forces with producer Steven Hutensky and together with Jonas, who also directed, embarked on an incredible filmmaking experience. Steve and Jonas spoke with SuperConsciousness about how the film unfolded organically – each step of the journey connecting to the next, stream of- consciousness style. Ultimately they captured and edited over 400 hours of footage before they locked the final 1.5- hour documentary.
Jonas humbly admits that the film honestly depicts the discomfort of his early, inner confusion, but also admits he would have never been able to remain objective had he taken on the project alone.
A simple story about a young Indian Brahmin (Kapoor), based on Hesse’s famed novel. Kapoor goes searching for the meaning of life, falling in with holy men and eventually encountering someone who might be the Gautama Buddha. Kapoor becomes a wealthy merchant and finally finds peace on a riverboat after being introduced to sensual pleasures by a courtesan. This, a film of frequent lyrical beauty, was wonderfully filmed by Ingmar Bergman’ s regular cameraman, Nykvist. However, the film fails to capture the essence of Hesse’s book, try though it may. It is more a series of filmed events than an interpretation of the story. Shot on location in India by American director Rooks, this picture came to the screen at a time when Hesse’s book was still very much in vogue on US college campuses. Originally published in 1922, but not given an English translation until the 1950s, Siddhartha, its search for meaning, and its spiritual journey East spoke directly to the concerns of 1960s youth.
“WHAT THE BLEEP”
One of the key misrepresentations of quantum theory in the film is the line “quantum theory is the science of possibility,” directly implying that the discovery and development of quantum mechanics somehow allows anything to happen, such as walking on water. More accurately, quantum theory is the science of probability; although the distinction is subtle to some, it is very important. Quantum phenomena, at least in the Copenhagen Interpretation, are all about the probability that a sub-atomic particle will be found at a particular position (in general: not only in a particular position but in a particular state, which includes for example spin or polarization etc.). It is crucial to note that this is only applicable in reality at the sub-atomic level.
The basic facts of neurology and quantum mechanics presented in the film are correct. Facts such as the uncertainty principle, where an object cannot have its exact position and momentum measured simultaneously (sometimes explained as the quantum effect that observing something fundamentally changes what is observed) is also real with real implications. When the main character turns away from a basketball, the film depicts that it is now impossible to know its position because you’re not observing it, such as in the Schrodinger’s cat thought experiment. Of course, in reality, the ground is observing the ball every time it collides with it (there’s nothing special about human eyes when it comes to observation in this sense), and the sound waves generated also let a person with their back turned know fairly precisely where it is. (Although the main character is deaf…)
Such extrapolations of very real quantum phenomena into unrealistic conclusions are often the cornerstone of the modern New Age movement, which seeks to prove itself with science. These effects are certainly not observed in the macroscopic world. Other points raised in the film and presented as fact include that water molecules are influenced by thought, or that the brain cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality. All these points are either based on very unsound or fraudulent evidence, or distortions of real research