Archive for the ‘movies’ category

What the bleep do we know?

March 2, 2008

So, I’m in the midst of watching this movie and several things have occurred to me. Obviously it’s a silly movie, with silly, new age thinkers that really take advantage of quantum mechanics, but what surprised me the most was how trite and conservative most of their opinions were. For example, they keep talking about how consciousness creates reality and how there are all these unrealized possibilities that consciousness creates. For various values of ‘create’ and ‘reality’ this strikes me as being almost trivially true. When I choose to do anything I am actualizing a possibility (assuming I am not a determinist). If it weren’t possible for consciousness to influence reality, then how would the human race have gotten anywhere? Does consciousness create reality? Well, when I build a box, or hammer together a bookshelf I am putting a bookshelf into reality that could not have been there without my consciousness. Now they do mention that if I believe that I can walk on water, then I can walk on water. This is obviously ridiculous, and leads us into the movie’s second strange aspect.

I think what I found most surprising was the new age thinkers encouraging Cartesian dualism. According to many of these thinkers the world ‘out there’ is only real when it is in my mind. Thus when they say that consciousness can create reality that is not because consciousness relates to reality or structures reality, but rather that reality is in the mind. For most of these thinkers esse ist percipe: to be is to be perceived. I think that what I find most amusing about this is that they are positing Berkeley’s subjective idealism as a radical new hypothesis and that it is only because of quantum mechanics that this great insight could have been made.

Hopefully when I finish the movie I will have some better formed thoughts on the subject, but right now I can’t help thinking that what these people desperately need is a phenomenologist! Luckily there is one in the house and he is open for business.