| 6 Oct 2004 @ 04:50, by Alana Tobin|
For more information, visit What the Bleep or Mark Vicente's Site
Image from theVertical Oracle Deck
The article below was featured in a newspaper 'The Edge,' Exploring the Evolution of Consciousness- Sept Issue 2004 from Mpls. MN, in the US.
I used to write for the paper back home for about eight years and knew many of the local contributers over that time. Tim, the editor is a great guy. You can sign up to receive the online update version to your inbox. See upper left corner of the the site Edge News Site
Ramblings of a Madman
Behind the scenes of the film What the #$*! Do We Know? by Mark Vicente
About three years ago, William Arntz, Betsy Chasse and myself found ourselves in a similar predicament: bored and dissatisfied with what the world had to offer. You're born, you're taught about a version of reality restricted to the narrow experiences of your parents, teachers, friends and then, finally, the media and popular culture, fed and designed by corporations. And then you die.
Pointless? Yeah, we thought so, too.
One of the great advantages of living an unorthodox life is that one develops an uncanny distance from the "normal" world. When that happens, we realize that we have been automatons subject to the whims of much smarter people. Those smart people are the people who make public policy:
--The ones who let us know what fashions are in and out and what to buy to make sure you stay part of the tribe. -- What you need to look like (skinny and 15 years old) and what to buy in order to fill the gaping hole of low self-esteem because of trying to live up to those standards and not succeeding. (And no, I am not ugly and old -- I am young and extremely handsome -- so it can't be sour grapes). -- What diseases you are at risk of getting this season and what drug will protect you. -- Who your enemy is and what they will do to protect you. -- What your place is in the universe and what your relationship to God is and how they will help guarantee you eternal life in Jesus because apparently you started off as a sinner and things aren't looking too good. -- What anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication will help you cover up the psychosis you feel because you are trapped in this Catch 22 neurotic box of conformity.
The proud and intelligent in our midst say, "No, I am not programmed. I live a life of free choice. I am my own thinker."
Choosing between two life insurance companies doesn't really constitute a choice in my book.
One of the great things that I loved in the movie The Matrix was that all the "Muggles" (to mix a metaphor) were blissfully unaware of the fact that they were part of a program of action and reaction, missing out on what was behind the curtain. People responded wildly to this film: the disheartened, cynical, disenchanted and strange people who never felt like they fit in, but knew there had to be more. And they're not quite as fringe as one may think -- this film made a lot of money.
Same goes for Harry Potter. Kids think we adults are, by and large, boring and narrow-minded, and they love Harry and his friends because they know that there's more to life than the Muggles' quiet, depressed collusion of a restricted and restrained reality. They are kind of like quantum physicists who have been talking about these things since the 1950s, and yet it still is not taught in schools. Why is that?
Because it's not good for business. Imagine the chaos if everyone had the confidence that they could interact with reality and change it by using their mind. People would be happy and no longer in need of something to fix the emptiness and weakness that they have lived with for so long. This does not bode well for people and companies that make their living off of the insecurity of others.
But do we blame the smart policy makers in the world or is there also another reason we don't incorporate the fantastic into our life? Perhaps somewhere along the way, when we lost our innocence as a child and bought into our parents' painful and struggling realities, we took all that was wonderful and filed it in the drawer in our mind called "FANTASY -- nice ideas but impossible to actualize."
This troubled me, for I realized that no matter how many "Matrixes" or "Harry Potter's" were made, it would all end up in the same drawer. Purely metaphorical, but not based on the real world. So all three of us were inspired to make a film that would popularize and make more accessible the bizarre and fantastical sciences that are currently out there that very few know about. And so What the #$*! Do We Know was birthed. We thought of it as: The Science of "The Matrix."
In our film, Jeffrey Satinover, M.D. (psychiatry), M.S. (physics) and author of "The Quantum Brain" (which explores the interface of neuroscience, computation, artificial intelligence and quantum mechanics) describes people's reaction to the bizarre findings of quantum mechanics:
"I'm not sure that people's jaws would drop about it because I don't think people really believe it. I don't mean that people say: 'Oh, you're lying, or that scientists are confused.' I think it is so mysterious that you can't even understand how amazing it is. And you know, people tinker in the lab and they get angry about things and they have lunch and they go home and they lead their lives, just as though nothing utterly astounding is happening. And yet there's this completely amazing magic sitting right in front of your eyes."
And this from a man who has completed a master's degree as a member of the Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics Group and Yale's newly established W. H. Keck Foundation Center for Quantum Information Physics. His area of research is in supersymmetric many-body theory as applied to quantum computation. A mouthful? Yeah -- but rather impressive nevertheless.
These down-to-earth scientists are doing research into areas that are so fantastic, it seems to those who haven't experienced it to be purely science fiction. Bi-location, objects in two or more places simultaneously, parallel worlds, Eleven dimensions, time running backwards and forwards, non-local communication between any two objects simultaneously, no matter the distance (i.e. faster than the speed of light -- more like the speed of thought), the observer (you and me) affecting matter with our attention or thought, and that our reality is inseparable from our mind, and that there is no real matter -- beneath the sub-atomic realms there is only possibilities or tendencies of consciousness popping in and out of existence giving us the illusion of a solid reality.
"Bull!" -- the protectors of our sanity (and their limited world view) say. This isn't real -- it's a fantasy concocted in scientists' minds. They are giving you false hope. We are carbon-based beings hurtling aimlessly through space on an inanimate rock. End of story.
Uh-Huh.... So why are AT&T and Monsanto, among others, spending billions of dollars on harnessing the processing power of Parallel Universe Computers. In other words, they know that a computer, as well as any other object, exists in a number of parallel slices of time or Universes simultaneously. So all they have to do is figure out how, so they can make computers so fast and efficient that it'll blow a single reality computer out of the water. Seems like an awfully large amount of money to spend on a fantasy.
So, we as filmmakers think that these extraordinary scientists are the heroes of our time, and we feel that they have so much more to offer than a fashion designer. They are profoundly smart people who have a lot to tell us about the possibilities of our reality and how, theoretically, we could change it. Because, if we are indeed the observer, then we must have some kind of power. Perhaps this knowledge may help us take our dreams out of the FANTASY file and put them in the ACTUAL POTENTIAL file. We love science because it is so much more reliable than the vagaries of new-age "vibes."
The problem with trying to get this information out to the mainstream is that, in the past, it has so often resorted to an airy-fairy, aura-fluffing experience. Where the goodness and light is so syrupy it makes you want to vomit. The new-age is a bit like the Democrats (I am one, as well): well meaning, sweet, but lacking power because they have equated goodness with powerlessness.
What we made is a film that comes from the point of view that is not religious or moral. It's information based on scientific principles. We wanted to take a refreshing look at the fantastic within the framework of something tangible. Science. Not classical, Newtonian physics, but the cutting edge of physics that says "We're not in Kansas anymore." The contemplation of quantum mechanics is putting the power of God back in the hands of the common man and woman. But it's not just some new-age, feel-good ideology. (Let's not forget Parallel Processing).
The enormous response this film has been having in Portland, Ore., suggests that something else is going on. In looking at the kinds of people that are enjoying this movie, these are intelligent, authentic people, with their feet well-planted on the ground. It seems the film is appealing to an audience jaded by proselytizing and prognostications of religious and new age fervor. They like it because the film talks about practical matters that have plagued us all at one time or another. And gives them a glimpse inside of themselves in a way never before done. I mean, the idea that we are junkies to our own feelings -- far out! But I suppose we always kind of sort of knew that, but didn't realize how pervasive it was in our own life.
So perhaps the greatest thing we can do is relinquish the strangleholds we have on our own minds. Perhaps we all need to go a little crazy -- and by crazy I mean thinking outside of convention and status quo. It only feels crazy, because we think we are alone in our thinking. But we are not.
What the #$*! Do We Know talks about a science that says that anything is possible, limited only by the one observing it, i.e., us. And then, of course, what is so great is that the film even deals with our doubt and disbelief. It suggests that we are neurally wired to reject information that we are not familiar with. Well, that puts a wrench in the works of the cynic. Perhaps the cynics are only right in their own minds, for their neurology doesn't allow them access to the fantastic.
So what are we missing out on? Fascinating stuff! Dr. Joe Dispenza quotes a fascinating statistic: There are 400 billion bits of information being processed in the brain per second, and we are only aware of 2,000. Yikes! That's frighteningly small. Makes it tough to confidently say we know for sure something is or isn't possible.
The three of us are not experts in the field of science, but we are human beings who have begun to apply these ideas in our lives with startling and dramatic results. None of this information is truth. It is a philosophy that is meaningless unless it is tested out. Only when we test it and actualize it, might it become truth, and then only to each individual. There are as many realities being created as there are people on this planet. Just because you don't have a degree behind your name does not prohibit you from experimenting and testing this out for yourself.
Go a little crazy. There's a whole world still untapped.
Mark Vicente, a native of South Africa, traveled the world and lived in such diverse places as Portugal, Brazil, Canada and the U.S. At age 14, he decided that he wanted to make movies. He got his first big break as director of photography on the musical, Sarafina, starring Whoopi Goldberg. In 1992, he shot a picture for Disney entitled Fatherhood, starring Patrick Swayze. During the next eight years, he shot another 14 feature films. In 2000, driven by creative desperation, began directing and shooting commercials and documentaries that gave voice to his rebelliousness and challenging sense of humor. His Rockumentary, Where Angels Fear To Tread, takes to task organized religion and the lengths to which human beings will go in the name of God to abuse minorities and women.