Friday, September 21, 2007

So yesterday I cited the movie What the Bleep Do We Know as a movie that changed the way I look at the world. Last night I watched the movie again (my Dad gave me a copy, so I own it) and found I was disappointed. I spent some time on my bike ride to work thinking about what it was that I liked about the movie in the first place and also about what I didn't like about it during this most recent viewing.

What I remembered about the film was that it was sort of like a documentary, that there were scientists who talked about the universe and quantum physics in ways that were really interesting to me and changed the way I was thinking at the time -- helped me to get unstuck from some negative thinking patterns I was in. I also remembered that I thought the dramatization part of the movie was kind of stupid and annoying.

This time around I found myself really, really annoyed by the dramatization. I wished there was much more talk about the actual science and much less fluff. I was surprised at how little the movie actually addressed the concepts that interested me. I was also pretty annoyed at the limited and negative portrayal of organized religion. So, I guess I just remembered what interested me and forgot about the rest...

The concepts from the movie that still interest me are:

1) Do we see with our brains or our eyes? How much of what we see is based on our memories and how much is based on what is actually there? How much of what is actually there do we see?

2) Is it possible that we get addicted to feeling certain emotions -- that our brain cells get used to firing in a particular way and prefer to operate in that particular way out of habit?

3) Related to the two previous questions, how much of our lives do we live based on live information (what is actually happening around us) and how much do we rely on our memories to fill in the details, provide us with expectations, etc.?

4) What is reality?

5) Are there parallel universes?

(This reminds me of another movie that had a strong impact on me -- Waking Life. That had me wondering which life is my real life, my dream life or my waking life.)

What do you think? Have you seen this movie or another that addresses similar issues?

1 comment:

Jake said...

Yeah, I've seen What the Bleep, and I found myself of two minds about it. On the one hand, I absolutely believe that our perception of the universe is the universe, and that we do fill in the gaps with memory, for better and worse. On the other hand, the people behind the film believe in things that I cannot accept to be true, and they grossly misrepresent the science to make their pre-determined point. So, while I respect much of the message, my lips curling in frustrated contempt tells me more about how I feel about it.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind deals with similar issues in a romantic wrapper, and much more poetically, and Solaris likewise wraps the concept into a romance.

For me, I find it's a difficult topic to take head on, because such attempts smack of self-glorification rather than elucidation. The best way in I've found is through the mystics of any tradition. Sufis, Gnostics and so forth explore the same truth, but they remain anchored by a greater Truth, which sets them free.