Friday, June 29, 2007

What the Bleep Do We Know? – On Lives Both Lived and Imagined

The film What the Bleep Do We Know? presents diverse and often contentious processes of meaning generation. The ‘fixing’ and ‘crystallization’ of meaning and its modes of conveyance are inextricably enmeshed with the reception of meaning – the process of consumption. Meanings, no matter how esoteric and isolated, are ultimately shared, and its consumption must be examined within the context of sharing. Theodore Schwartz offers a conceptual tool that places Appadurai’s global flows and landscapes within the real of the individual, through his concept of the “idioverse.” From his main objective of locating where “culture rests,” he defines the idioverse as follows: “… this view of process and performance, of which units are total human beings in full psychological concreteness, not abstract, general sociocultural entities, but each … an ‘idioverse’ with his/her individual cognitive, evaluative, and effective mappings of structure of events and classes of events in his/her sociocultural field.” (Schwartz, 1978: 410) Furthermore, he presents that “… the notion of idioverse is a valuable one, for it postulates that ‘a culture has its distributive existence as the set of personalities of the members of a population, thus allowing for negotiation and dispute over what should be authoritative or legitimate in that culture, in other words, for social dramatic action.” (Schwartz, 1978: 423-424) The concept of culture as distributive and ultimately negotiated, and its capacity to effect manifest action, echoes what Carolan presents above as the endowment of greater agency on individuals in formulating the components of their lived and imagined lives, and in ascribing positions of authority to determine quality and authenticity. (Carolan, 2003) But in looking at meaning as a social phenomenon, as ultimately shared, it is necessary to examine the organization of the “idioverse,” which elements constitute conventions that are inherently normative. Idioverses make use of ideological frames of reference that are determined by a given individual’s maneuvering strategies through global flows and landscapes. But these individual maneuverings, given that they are motivated by the establishment of frames, are automatically influenced by the prospect of sharing at the end of the journey. This idea can best be illustrated through the examination of film as an artistic cultural product.

Any cultural product such as a film, artistic or otherwise, must be conceptualized in relation to a perceiver. The mind is never at rest, always seeking order and significance, always combing the world for anomalous instances. For better or for worse, cultural products “rely on this dynamic, unifying quality of the human mind. They provide organized occations in which we exercise and develop our ability to pay attention, to anticipate upcoming events, to draw conclusions, and to construct a whole out of parts.” (Bordwell, et. al., 1997: 23) But cultural products are human artifacts, and because a given producer lives within a particular history and society, s/he cannot avoid to relate her/his product to other products and to aspects of the world in general. Conventions consist of tradition, prevalent syles, popular forms, etc. that can situate a given product within an overall scheme. Even cutting-edge or revolutionary works are situated within the context of convention. In this light, a film’s explicit or implicit meanings are contextualized within a particular set of socio-cultural, political, and economic values. This sort of meaning that Bordwell terms as symptomatic, contains values that get revealed, and ultimately determines the ideology of the film. (Bordwell, et. al., 1997: 33)

Shea looks at film as an agent of political socialization, and proposes that cumulative indoctrination through this medium is profound because the message is often veiled. In any given film, political messages are often incidental, but their value cannot be downplayed. Audiences view films to be entertained. “It is when people think they are just being entertained that political messages have their greatest impact – beliefs are less likely to be preached than assumed.” (Shea 2002) But the ideology of film is not a static construct that is inert within the duration of conveyance and consumption. It is a seed that presents itself to scrutiny and transformation. It makes demands from its consumers, but its transformation is not subject to any notion of accountability. Audiences are not “passive cultural dopes,” but neither are they responsible ones. The consumption of film, and its ideology rests heavily on individual agency in the generation of meanings.

The role of individual agency in film consumption offers the possibility of skillful actors with a “toolkit” containing a wide array of images that they can use to do different things in different situations – “the pieces necessary for constructing different strategies for action.” Given that all cultures consist of diverse, often conflicting elements that can serve as agents of political socialization and effective mobilization, individual consumers are modeled as active and skilled users of culture. (Swidler, 1998) Furthermore, global flows and landscapes are effectively made a part of this “toolkit,” allowing an individual a degree of agency to change the composition of their lives as shared, as lived, and as imagined. The exercise of agency in an individual’s political socialization through film consumption brings forth the importance of the processes of negotiation and integration. An overwhelming amount of images assaults any individual at a given time and situation. The generation of meaning is not confined within specific “packets” of messages; it is fluid, conflict-ridden, but integrative in the end. The liminal stage, as a state on a threshold (limen) “betwixt and between” more established elements of the social process, (Turner, 1988: 75) provides an effective space wherein individuals can negotiate and integrate the components of their identity amidst nascent and constantly reformulated rules – a formative space of liminality.


Appadurai, Arjun, 1991. “Global Ethnoscapes: Notes and Queries for a Transnational Anthropology” in Richard Fox, ed., Recapturing Anthropology. Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research Press, pp. 196-224.

Appadurai, Arjun, 1992. “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy” in Mike Featherstone, ed., Global Culture: Nationalism, Globalization and Modernity. London: Sage Publications, pp. 295-310.

Bordwell, David & Thompson, Kristin, 1997. Film Art: An Introduction/Fifth Edition. New York: McGraw Hill.

Carolan, Brian, 2003. “Technology, Schools and the Decentralization of Culture”. First Monday, Volume 8, Number 6, October 2003, at , accessed 15 September 2003.

Schwartz, Theodore, 1978. “Where is the Culture?” in George Spindler, ed., The Making of Psychological Anthropology. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 419-441.

Shea, Daniel, 2002. “Why PopPolitics? A political science professor examines the influence popular culture has on politics, politics has on popular culture, and why it all matters”., at , accessed 9 September 2003.

Swidler, A., 1998. “Culture and social action,” in P. Smith, ed., The New American Cultural Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 171-187.

Turner, Victor, 1988. The Anthropology of Performance. New York: PAJ Publications.


Richard Henrick said...

We construct our own realities –this is the message that was imprinted on my mind after watching the movie “What the bleep do we know?”. Whatever it is that we have in our surroundings are just products of the vicious cycle of influence and reflection. Whatever it is that we conceived amongst ourselves regarding the way we want to live is something that we convey and negotiate to others, which then forms the surroundings that influence the way we think and reflect. Though it is a cycle, the critical point in this phenomenon will be us individuals who possess the capacity to change our surroundings. The movie tries to socialize us individuals into controlling our minds in order for us to achieve our desired outcomes. By possessing such control, our bodies are biologically, chemically and psychologically led into situations that will enable us to conquer possible obstructions.

Coming from the point of view of someone who is not so well-versed regarding scientific facts, I found the explanations of some of the “experts” that appear in the movie quite convincing. However, I must say that I was moved more by the explanations that involve biology and chemistry rather than those that involves philosophy and reason. Regardless of its validity, I must admit that I was made to believe those scientific explanations. I honestly find their explanation regarding controlling addiction interesting. According to them, what makes quitting an addiction hard to control is that it is not just psychological but biochemical as well. Our chemical attachment to that thing which we are addicted to is what prevents us into stopping from doing it all over again. However, if we will commit ourselves into quitting or lessening that addiction, we could really do it. As we lessen our engagement to that thing we are addicted to, our body’s chemical dependence to it will also decrease making the degree of want to that particular thing lesser. Even though the credibility of their statements was diminished for me upon knowing their credentials, I still find sense in their explanations. In fact, those scientific explanations made me more convinced that we indeed construct our own realities.

However, there are some claims that were presented in the movie which are not convincing enough. For instance, they say that the reason why natives were unable to see Columbus’ ships when he arrived in the West Indies is that ships do not exist in their reality. Upon hearing that statement, I immediately asked myself: is it really because of the absence of the concept of ship on the natives’ reality or is it because the ships are too far to be seen? Just because I don’t know how a tarsier looks like because it doesn’t exist in my reality doesn’t mean that my senses will not permit me to see it the moment it is in front of me already. There could be other answers to that but the mere fact that the movie producers chose the reality answer without considering other explanations already creates a hole in the validity of their claim. Another claim in the movie, which like other movie reviewers I found unconvincing will be the one about the decrease in crime rates in Washington, D.C. as caused by people who practised transcendental meditation. Is it really because of the meditation or is it because of other factors such as more security conscious citizens and more alert policemen in that city? While I could concede to their claim that it is because of meditation, they must first have established to me that it was not caused by those other factors that might have caused it. By missing those points, I found the logic of some of the “experts” that were interviewed in the movie problematic.

On these failures, it made me realize how the construction of reality is just limited. Though we perceive certain things to be real, it is just impossible for us have all of those “real” things come into our senses. Perhaps, this is the main reason why though God is real within ourselves, we still do not see him.

The utilization of the movie of elements of both narrative fiction and documentary I felt has a purpose. Since the subjects that they’re discussing in the interviews are not all easily verifiable through facts or common knowledge, they tried show to the viewers how those things happens in real life through the events in Amanda’s life. This idea is good because it makes the new concepts they’re discussing easily comprehendible. However, it is also misleading because since it is not a true story, whatever happened to Amanda in the movie may not happen in real life, i.e. people may still not recover from depression just out of positive thinking. Thinking about it, without the elements of the narrative fiction in the film, the concepts will be harder to digest and will even be more unconvincing. On the other hand, should the directors used only the elements of narrative fiction, they might have not succeeded in conveying to the people how positive thinking affects our realities. Had it only been a narrative fiction, it might make Amanda’s experience appear more exclusive only to her because there are no longer “experts” discussing how it’s applicable to every man. For me, the movie is a special type that can’t be grouped as either documentary or a narrative fiction. It is a combination of both, with elements of both types complimenting each other to make the film more appealing.

As written in the main entry, films being cultural artefacts are special tools that aid us in redefining our own life meanings. “What the Bleep do we know?”, I think has fulfilled this function. It influenced us into thinking that we are supposed to think the way we want our realities to be constructed. Obstacles might be in our way, but since we have the choice, we could do it if we conditioned our minds to do so.


alberto said...

Personally, I don’t watch documentary films. If I wanted a lecture, I’d go to a classroom.

On a more serious note: “Endless possibilities.” This is the idea that made the biggest impression on me. About us, as human beings, having limitless potential but still choosing the same old routines. We studied before in psychology the capabilities of the human brain. “Endless possibilities,” they said. We can remove half of it and still be able to function normally. We only use 10 percent of our brains, imagine what would happen if we were able to use the other 90 percent, the doors that would open before us, the things that we could discover. It makes you want to break out of your everyday routine and do something different, mainly because the “experts” in the movie say you can do it.

The message seems so positive that the only problem with it was in the delivery. At the start of the movie, everything seemed to be so scientific. We have the crazy looking, mad-scientist type of guy, arguing about the composition of matter. Everything we know is apparently made up of empty space. I have heard enough about this topic to know that there is a possibility this might be true. So I thought that this was where the film was headed, along the very confusing road of quantum mechanics, where everything wasn’t what it seemed to be. What we perceive as reality is only on the surface of what is truly real. We create our own reality, and if that is true, we can also be deceived by the reality we create, just like the example they mentioned about Columbus, the island natives and the ships. Scientific, right?

The idea of not “seeing” something because we have no prior knowledge of it whatsoever seemed familiar to me because of the idea of schemas in psychology. We have these “schemas” or ideas (more like categories) of where things are supposed to fit in. When we learn new things, we either modify the new information to fit into our previously formed schema or we modify our schemas to better suit the newly acquired information. In relation to the natives and the ships, the idea that the natives couldn’t see the ships just because they have no idea what a ship looks like may be an exaggeration but there may be a miniscule amount of truth in it.

And then we go to religion, which turned me off completely since this is one of the topics I’m really skeptical about. The fact that the producers would actually have the guts to include religion in a film about quantum mechanics took me completely by surprise. Two completely opposing forces in one movie, what a shocker. It’s like the Da Vinci Code, only non-pop-culture-ish.

On a whole, I guess the film combined elements of a documentary and a narrative fiction successfully. The interviews with the “experts” were quite convincing and the story of Amanda, her tumultuous love story, and the crazy wedding with the dancing Jell-O ladies saved the movie from being boring. I was enthralled by the idea of the molecules of water adapting to whatever word was stuck to its container. Too bad the comments of how that was really done ruined it for me. Another thing that ruined the film for me: the psychic lady. How in the world did she qualify as an expert?

me_delas_alas said...

Do We Really Know What We the Bleep are we talking about?

Films are regarded as nothing but entertainment machines. Obviously, the general public watching movies do so because either they are lonely and want to be entertained or they just want to be inside that air-conditioned theater, sitting lazily to watch anything being rolled from the projector, as long as it is worth the money, of course. Certainly, films serve this very purpose, but apparently, some form of implicit power relationship appears within that dark, cold, surround-sound filled space that most people may not give quite an attention.

Implicit power relation. Ive been encountering such concepts in my political science career, but nonetheless, I want to employ it to denote some sort of dual,two way relationship that both the film and the viewer are typically unaware of, but generates a substantial effect to both. Why is this so? Does this really happen when we view films?

What the bleep do we know? What a question, indeed. Most of us would not generally ask this to ourselves, moreso to others. But hey, isn't that a challenge to what we really know? I mean, yes, I am from UP, of course you are too, but does that equate to knowing every bit of idea this earth want to share to us? And suppose that we really know the bleeps that we know, do we really know what the bleep are we talking about? This is the central theme that I suppose the film first wants to embody within us.

Now onto the film. When news blurted out that the opening film for POLSC 167 is about quantum physics, my jaws literally dropped dead and my herat felt like it will implode anytime, a feeling similar to taking Math 17 exams, or worse. Oh my, I thought, and then the voice of a feeling housemate ranting "Am I doomed to fail?" will most likely sum up the emotion. Deep breath. But then, it was not about quantum physics per se afterall. It has a more profound idea, the idea of looking at life as something human being to have the capacity to control, and the strength of our belief in that ability. I remembered a line in the classic book of famous Brazilian novelist Paolo Coehlo, The Alchemist which says that the world's greatest lie is that we let the world control us, and we don't even know it.

One rarity for me was when I saw physicists, scientists and who-knows-who-they-really-are or someone from the scientific world who talked of something that seemingly is not within the realm of science we were accustomed to and stereotyped to be hard factual. That's when the first contestation arise in the discourse of the film: in the typical world (the term I use to describe the world everyone is used to) I thought, most science related discussions are presented in a documentary type project, like the ones we see at NGC or those that our professors in Bio1 or NatSci2 gives us to mock or react to. But the film seems to deviate from the typical world I was talking about, and of course without saying that it is the only one who did. The film has a sort of hard topic fitted to documentaries, a science thing, but then the way it was presented stirs up some doubts. It actually looked like a sci-fi film, with lots of animation, looks like there was no data to support the claims, and yes, it rattles the imagination.So is it really a documentary, a narrative fiction, both or neither?

In my belief, the film exhibits some sort of permeation within its boundaries that seem to have small pores where each of the characteristics of both categories comt together, and the best way to classify the film is not through one particular set of characteristics but through the borderline that separates them. However, that does not mean that it produces a non sense theme that bears no meaning. There is meaning, of course, but how it was genarated can spell how well we understand the film or not. This realtion, hence, gives us one role of political socialization, "the inculcation of values" (Lawson. 1985), in which the viewers interpret the film within the orientations in which their values were shaped, which then affects how one perceives the message. In short, the relationship of giving meanings define how well our expectations are met.

Speaking of expectations, I want to give a justification of my previous argument by how one expects what the film has to offer. Sure, everyone expects something if one watches a film, especially when we know what is it all about. But it is these expactations that clasiify the film into a special type case. When we hear quantum physics firsthand, we generally expect our noses to bleed profusely or our eyes to pop out like crazy, but then it turned out to be otherwise as the film progresses. Thus, our expectations, not only the categorization, affect how we choose to be socialized. If our expectations fail us, this does not correspond to us being dumbfounded, but failed expectations gives us a better understanding of meaning.

What meaning, you may ask. I do not intend to identify a meaning that is six feet below the ground, deeply entrenched that we lose sight of it. What does this movie want to tell us, after all? How does that dual relationship work in this context? The way I perceived the film is, in a way,my own view of the world. In one lecture, Prof. F. Landa Jocano from the Dept. of Anthropology-UPD, speaks of science as a cultural activity, and that what is science depends on different worldviews and is not always anchored on objective reality alone. It is ,for me, a subtle way of saying "hey, we scientists also feel those weird sensations and we also have the right to think outside the box!" creates a message that the scientific world is not separable to everyday life, its just that we have viewed science as an altogether different set of knowledge, because of the fact of our continuing socialization.

On a more concrete manner, can we say that the film successfully transmitted what it wanted?

If the aim is to let its viewers rethink science, then most certainly, it was achieved, at least within my point of view. Who would not be compelled to ask himself again after the "miracle of the water molecules" and be overwhelmed by the idea that what we see to be there isn't exactly there but because we want it to be there anyway that's why its there? This is not your ordinary science, this is a science that discounts impossibility as an option, because all is possible in your own reality.

What the bleep do we know? A question that seems to contest our empirical understanding of what is scientific, a challenge to our foundational beliefs, a test of what is real. But what is real? There is no absolute reality. Dr. Fidel Nemenzo, associate professor of Mathematics at UPD relates that every scientific idea is a socially acceptable truth. We know what we know now as science by virtue of the consensus within the society within diff. viewpoints. This idea supports the very essence of socialization and the power of meaning generation and reception to the realities we are trying to build.

To close, let me pick out a line from the film that left a lasting imprint on my mind, and may it serve as worlds to live by as we journey to the discourse on political socialization and film:

"If thoughts could do that to water, imagine what can it do to you."

Tephanie said...

Meanings are inherently shared. They are indeed processed within a context which therefore makes them impossible to be secluded with the individual’s environment, social conventions around his/her, and all the experiences of which that particular individual has undergone. Meanings are usually agreed upon and are socially constructed, thus, shared.

“What the Bleep Do We Know?” is a film tackling the issue of communality of meanings. It presents a whole new image on the often ascribed to as a very precise and crystallized worldview called physics, quantum physics to be exact. The film presents it as something dealing on both the lived and imagined life, as the article says.

In spite of the communal nature of meaning construction, it does not necessarily follow that individuals have no way of being able to create their own interpretations of the different social constructs around him/her. The film talked about the generality at the repetitiveness of the world wherein there is the feeling of having to do the same things, the same experiences, the same jobs, etc. however, within the perception of being trapped into the same history and environment, the individual as adequately described in the above article has his/her own ways of “maneuvering through global flows and landscapes”.

The film also delved on the very contentious concept of reality. What is real? How do you know if what you know is indeed real? These to me are very philosophical questions, questions I did not imagine quantum physics would be interested in meddling with. Surprisingly, the film which is supposed to be a film on the concrete, objective, and precise presentation of different matters in the world ironically exhibit some sort of uncertainty and subjectivity. In fact, there was a part of the film that says “…the more you look at quantum physics, the more mysterious it becomes…”

Reality certainly is one big issue which will most likely remain unexplained, at least adequately, in the near future. It is so complex that even the reality perceived by the senses, those which are supposed to be empirical is now also being probed. An interesting data being presented in the film is that in one experiment, it has been seen that the same part of the brain is being activated when a person sees something, as well as when that person imagines what the same thing s/he saw. One would therefore be curious, “how do we know whether or not what we deem as real is empirically perceived? Or is merely imagined?"

It is also enchanting on the other hand to know that even the most “abstract” human emotions such as addiction, hate, and even love could be explained by the minutest chemical imprints in the body. The power of the mind is also highlighted such that it is claimed that our body is essentially created by the processes occurring in our minds mind.

It’s not being in the know; it’s being in mystery, as according to the film. One of the speakers practically said that subatomic physics is a fantasy created to explain things also that instead of things, we should think of possibilities. It’s such a fascinating irony unintentionally cloaked in a very positivist field called quantum physics.

kat suyat said...

“What The Bleep Do We Know?” is an interesting story that attempts to discuss quantum physics in a lighter or somehow, “more friendly” approach. In doing so, the movie used professionals or, let’s just say, experts in this field, who appears once in a while during the whole duration to discuss the scientific facts and further give details about it through its application of our so- called “real” life. The story of Amanda (played by Marlee Martin), a professional photographer, who is aggravated by life and love, was the one used by the film in trying to show and illustrate how quantum physics could indeed be seen, felt and applied even in daily circumstances.

The movie employed a mix of the elements of a narrative fiction (not to add the funny animation) and documentary, which placed it in a not-so-fair ground. This undefined boundary of whether the film should be classified as a fictional story or a documentary brought about controversies and continue to do so. Personally, I did had a hard time in trying to classify the film. As much as I would want to look at it as a documentary, there are some parts of the film that stops me from doing so, the same way that there are some instances that hinders me from naming the film as a narrative fiction. I guess the confusion is brought about by the fact that the film did not have all the elements of either one of the genres, and only includes some of its parts.

The problem with classifying the film as a documentary is the detail that documentaries are supposedly reliable, meaning the facts are valid and so are the speakers. In pointing this out, I am not saying that all the given facts are invalid or all the speakers were unreliable. However, it may be worthy to point out (especially if you have read the reviews about the film) that there are some details in the film that could be proven wrong by other literature. Basically, it is not the facts that were wrong but it was how the facts were “framed” in the said movie. As skeptic as I may sound, but it would be really hard to believe that by naming bottles of water, the water contained inside would actually change its molecular structure right there and then, like as if water had feelings as that of a human being. Actually, if you would read or research about this, you would see that the results of the experiment were framed in the film in a different light, omitting some important details which could explain this strange occurrence. The selection of speakers for the film also brought about questions. The blond, strange looking lady is not that convincing right (especially if you’re talking about quantum physics!)? Again, pardon me for the skepticism. Another problem that I see if indeed we could classify the film as a documentary would be the use of Amanda’s life as an example. Yes, I know that it may be a possibility that they intended to do such in order for viewers to get a better grasp of the topic but I personally think that a documentary, even with such examples, do not need parts showing the character example having sex (implied!) or involving in activities related to it. These unnecessary parts of the film just add up to the thought of classifying it a fictional narrative.

On the other hand, classifying the film as a narrative fiction also has its own nuances. Just as discussed in class, the problem with the “full suspension of disbelief” is lacking in this film. It is inevitable that one would say that the movie is not entirely fictional since concepts such as superposition (and other quantum physics) could be explained by theories in real life. Now, stating both arguments, there is a question I would like to leave hanging. How would one classify films such as those based on a true to life story?

After pointing the problem with the classification of the film, I would like to continue the discussion with citing some concepts, or let’s say lessons, which affected me or had an impact to myself. The concept which greatly affected me was the concept of reality- which we could say, is the main theme of the film. It is indeed true that it is us who dictates what is reality or what we think is real. The inside should determine the outside, and not the other way around. The fact that we have full control of our lives is an interesting thought that this film has offered. It proves to us that reality is our own construct and we are not confined in a box created by other people. The film socializes us to act on our own will and desire.

Another concept which also had an impact on me was the concept of “water”. Although I may be skeptical about it, I do believe that there is something deeper with this experiment. I may not be at awe with the findings that with placing words of emotions to the bottle of water, the water would actually change it’s form, but I am amazed with the generalization this experiment brings. It is the realization that what we actually feel or our deepest emotions can actually greatly affect what we are outside, or how we are seen outside. In stating such, it may be said that we actually have to feel good in order to look good. Or in a lighter note, we have to think and feel positive in order to be positive. Again, the film socializes us to be positive with the things we do and with our lives.

Last concept that I would like to talk about is the concept discussed in class which was about female empowerment. I guess I would have to disagree with this statement. I truly do not feel that the film empowers women. Yes, it may have used a female as its main character but how the character was used is not really a manifestation of “empowering” the female race. Rather, I think it would be better if we would say that the film empowers people in general- this seen in the discussion about meanings and reality.

In sum, the film indeed served as an agent of socialization, perhaps not so- political but still, has bits of it. The fact that this movie raised questions and negotiations moves to show that its consumption had an effect to its viewers, which could in one way or another, bring about mobilization to the people.

Uy said...

“What do we have to offer life that life has not offered?”

“Believe it or not”… meaning!

Meanings are, indeed, the life of a culture. From meanings, we grow; from meanings, we live. Socialization begins with compromised and negotiated meanings which builds and shapes the community. This means that even if we have diverse and different ideas and beliefs, we are still bound by certain traditions and expectations that we view important. In a shared community then, we are both the makers and takers of a culture.

In the case of the film “What the Bleep Do We Know”, the meaning of the film should be an examination of both the reactions and meanings generated by the viewers, and also from the point-of-view of the producers. However, the intended and desired meaning of the film is based primarily on the producers’ and movie-makers’ purpose and objective. Therefore, it would be relevant to speak of the producer’s nature and role in the socialization process. First, the purpose of the film may range from money-making to radical and unconventional vision or even both. But we must consider that one objective is to attract and/or encourage people (the consumers) to view the film. Second, producers and movie-makers are actors/agents that are contained in the world system; meaning, they are produced within this cultural system as well (even if they may think differently). They are socializing agents wherein their views, beliefs and ideas may be used as the themes of their films. Third, they are “active” consumers wherein films are made and framed based on the consumer-style of embracing the ideas and beliefs, whether conventional or unconventional, that the producers want to impart. Movie-makers then consider how the viewers would relate and may accept the customs induced in the film. Lastly, unlike most consumers, producers have the capacity and capability to extend their various goals and objectives through films. Film-production may be considered an instrument that invites the audience/viewers to experience their ideas and thoughts of the world.

Without knowing the real intentions of the producer and the movie maker, I will say that the film is a reflection of the identity of the producer and maker of the film. It successfully created an environment of individualism and liberalism, highlighting it through self-actualization, self-searching and a life towards a world of possibilities. Thus, this individual-level concept has easily captured the principles and outlooks of many consumers/viewers. Moreover, some may view this controversial film as a challenge to the conventional and traditional beliefs and customs in society; but, others may see this film as an empowerment to one’s internal self-realization standpoint. As consumers, we consume based on our preferences and choices. Likewise, we establish reality based on our choice, based on whether you believe its real or not, based on whether you put life into it or not. And each reality we have represents a pixel of the picture – life. Anyhow, the point I want to arrive at is that we, the film customers (takers), are also producers – the makers of our own reactions, interpretations and our realities. And as consumers, we live in a spectrum of different levels of importance and different priorities that are based on our culture of meaning. Therefore, we examine every reality, may it be film, political, economic and social reality, at different angles based on importance and priorities.

Therefore, a film is a socializing technique that forms an indirect communication with the consumers of the cultural product – film. Furthermore, this cultural product is an expression of one’s purpose and may even be an expression of one’s reality. And from this meanings we grow in and from this “reality” we live in, there exists and resides consumed-producers and produced-consumers.

Believe it or not.

alejandro said...

When I watched films prior to taking the Political Science 167 course, I did not apply what I discovered in this course as "suspension of disbelief." I usually tried to formulate the possible ways on how a particular film would transpire. Anticipating what would happen in the next scenes was what I would call as my "participation" in watching movies. However, ever since we watched the film "What the 'Bleep' Do We Know?" (a 2004 movie directed by William Arntz, et. al.), I suddenly applied the suspension of disbelief and believed most of the issues discussed. The film actually made me think about its theme up to this day. As what Angela Felicia mentioned in class, the theme of the movie is that we have "limitless possibilities," and, as mentioned by Lester Tamondong, that we have control in our life. In other words, as mentioned in the film, “I create my own reality.” Yes, the film does talk about empowerment, and the film has been successful in making me feel empowered and making me start practicing empowerment in a more conscious level.

Aside from empowerment, the film effectively criticized our knowledge and understanding of reality. The film criticized how we perceive reality by asking questions such as "What is reality?", "Who are we?", "What do we know?", and "Why do we keep on recreating reality?". Out of all the questions brought up in the film, the question "Why do we keep on recreating reality?" is what I still ponder on. As mentioned in the film, the best answer to why we keep on recreating reality is because that is what we have been conditioned to do. In that sense, the film was an effective medium for political socialization, which, according to Heywood, is the process through which individuals acquire political beliefs and values, and by which these are transmitted from generation to generation (Heywood 2002). Indeed, through this film, the beliefs that we can create our own reality and that there are limitless possibilities can be transmitted from generation to generation.

Despite my above-stated positive assessments on the film, I must say that I had a hard time understanding its storyline. Various topics were discussed, such as quantum physics, addiction, emotions, beauty, illusions, and even god. The statement mentioned in the film that “everybody can be gods” made me feel that the discussion on “god” was out of the theme. Nevertheless, I know that the phrase only meant that all us can control our lives, and we need not depend on the notion that “god” is the only one who can control our lives. As a viewer , I felt that the storyline jumped from one topic to another. I think that there should have been a clearer continuity of the storyline. One possible reason for this is because I have been accustomed to watching Hollywood movies that have a very predictable storyline. Most of the time, my expectations on a particular movie are met. For a better understanding and appreciation of the films that we will be watching in Political Science 167, I really need to practice the so-called "suspension of disbelief.”

With regard to the narrative fiction versus documentary debate, just like most of my classmates in Polsci 167, I think that the film is a documentary, primarily because if I were to base my argument on the documentary films I know, the film showed interviews of “experts” (although not all of them seemed reliable, especially the woman who is said to be possessed by a god named “Ramtha”) regarding the themes discussed, and it conveyed an overt message to us viewers, even to the extent of provoking us to, as what was stated by Prof. Fernando in the course syllabus, “manifest political action.” Based on those reasons, I classify the film "What the 'Bleep' Do We Know?" as a documentary.

venven said...

“If thoughts can do that to water, imagine what thoughts can do to

This was the quote that was repeated for many times in the film, “What the ‘Bleep’ Do We Know?”. This sort-of narrative, documentary and cartoon-animation film centers its discussions on ‘quantum physics’ and ‘reality’ and their connection to the every day life of Amanda (Marlee Matlin), a deaf and skilled photographer who happens to question her perceptions.

This controversial film, directed by William Arntz, Mark Vicente and Betsy Chasse, was released in the year 2004. Basically, it points to a simple yet specific question of the human mind that is ‘what is reality?’. Scientists, such as quantum physics experts and other mentioned authors, tried to explain quantum physics in a way that could be as comprehensive as possible to an ordinary man. The film tries to relate these scientists’ explanations to a more visual way by using cartoon animation and by relating it to Amanda’s personal experiences.

Specifically, the film was presented in a documentary style with the narrative part serving as the visual representation of the ideas presented by the people being interviewed. Because of the film’s construction, it has become a controversial issue in that the documentary part tries to present the topic in a way that people will perceive it as factual. The use of the narrative, on the other hand, gives light to the discussions of the experts. Moreover, the film also tries to use cartoon animation in somewhat middle part; perhaps, to entirely capture the attention and interest of the audience. It was a good innovation, though, for this movie to use humor in this mind-boggling revelation.

In general, the film suggests that reality, perhaps, is just a preconceived notion. It argues that reality is just recreated and conditioned by the external world which is then absorbed by the internal world. However, the experts interviewed in the said film argued that the internal world is more important in creating realities than the external one.

Thus, the film tries to persuade us that "we" can also create our own reality and quantum physics can support this claim. One of the experts interviewed in the said film stated that quantum physics enables us to explore and think of all other possibilities. The film also discussed the idea of quantum superposition in which one can occupy two places at the same time. This leads to the idea that the human body as a composition of matter can also experience this kind of possibility. As a matter of fact, the film actually tries to persuade us that walking on water is just a matter of positive thinking. It sounds ridiculous at first, knowing that the properties of water do not agree with this particular claim. However, hearing this made me think of Jesus and how he convinced his apostles to actually believe that they too can walk on water. Could it really be the ‘Power of Positive Thinking’ that enables them to experience such miraculous event?

On the other hand, I feel that I do not have the capability to question the “facts” presented to me since I am not much inclined with the principles of quantum physics. However, as I have read the criticisms and comments, both pro and anti, I figured out that the ideas presented to me are just another way of interpreting the principles of quantum mechanics. Most of the comments I have read called this film a “pseudoscience”. In some parts, I agree. Perhaps, this kind of interpretation is a radical concept for those in the science community. I also agree that this movie is some sort of a cult trying to convince vulnerable people, who do not have that much idea about what quantum physics is all about. I, myself was guilty that in some way I have been manipulated or should I say enlightened by the ideas presented in the film.

There are certain experiments mentioned in the film that capture my interest. First, the film applies the principle of quantum physics in a larger scale while the data and experiments explaining Heisenberg’s Uncertainty principle are applicable only to the scale of the de Broglie Wavelength. Another example presented by the movie was Masaru Emoto’s work about how thoughts influence the molecular structure of the water. It was an amazing discovery in the field of science however; it was not recognized as science for no one has ever replicated Emoto’s work for verification. Until now, this study is still considered a pseudoscience by most people in the science community. Furthermore, another controversial example used in the movie was the notion that the Native Americans failed to see the ships approaching their land because they did not have a vision or a perception of what a ship looked like. Thus, the ship does not exist in their reality.

The use of these examples creates a commotion not only in the science community but also in the world of ordinary men and women. This film is more like propaganda to me in order to convince people that what they believed to be real is not reality at all. In fact, the directors and most experts interviewed in the movie are believers of Ramtha, a 35 000 year-old warrior king of Lemuria and Atlantis who has been using JZ Knight to channel his philosophy.

Given these debates brought by the film in the field of quantum physics, I can say that yes, even science, physics as it may, has the possibility to offer false judgments. I am not saying that the film’s ideas are all “facts” but it may perhaps be just another angle of how to view the world. The question then lies on the people whether they will believe this new so-called “paradigm” or not. It is easy to make a judgment; but in this matter, it is hard for even quantum physics is still debatable.

Besides, what the bleep do we know?

abeleda said...

What the bleep is movie magic?

In a graphic story called “Dream of a Thousand Cats”, post-modernist author Neil Gaiman depicted the struggles of a messianic feline bent on preaching the gospel of unified dreaming to other cats. Cats used to be the dominant species on earth and humans were mere playthings until a human successfully convinced other humans to re-create reality through their collective dreams. A thousand cats then must dream back the original reality once again. I was reminded of this tale as I watched the film “What the Bleep Do We Know”. The graphic story was conceptually magical but I find the film ultimately as pseudo-mystical at best. The magic simply wasn’t there.

Watching a film is like watching a magic show. You go to the dimly-lit realm of the magician and transfix your attention to the magician’s act. You go there to escape---no matter how fleetingly--- the mundane world; to feel something out of the ordinary. To be amazed! For a magic act to be successful the magician carefully sets up the spectators’ expectations and should be aware of the tacit agreements between audience and performer. The mentioned film, however, sets up the magic act but spectacularly fails to deliver. Thus, there is no magic: only a semblance of it. We are left with what appears like nuggets of wisdom we couldn’t really make much sense of---like making pre-historic man appreciate black gold.

Let us examine the film’s execution and content. First, I believed there was an overuse of computer graphic animation in bridging sequences. (I am tempted to compare this with “Citizen Kane” but of course, any film would pale in comparison to the latter.) I am not talking about the sequences wherein we were made to delve into the sub-atomic level but rather the sequences in between interviews of supposed “experts”. I feel there is no need to “swoosh” into cyber graphics every time an interview is inter-cut. It calls attention to itself as a film trick like a magician calling attention to the hand of manipulation. Thus, everytime I lose myself in the narrative (“suspension of disbelief”) the bridging sequence jars me back to fact that this is a man-made.

Why then do we believe the flying sequences of George Reeve’s Superman or Julie Andrew’s Mary Poppins despite its now-dated special effects? Primarily because the scenes doesn’t call attention to its manufacturing process but on the whole scene itself (“mise-en-scene”)---the soaring music, the realistic background. More importantly perhaps, we believe they can fly because of the characterization---something which Bleep lacks due to its threadbare narrative. As a young (don’t laugh) Filipino viewer, I invest something in watching the film for me to believe in Marlee Matlin’s character. But the dividend in that investment never materializes because everytime I start to empathize with her, we are ‘swooshed’ back to interviews with ‘experts’ who spews conundrums after conundrums. A certain amount of faith naturally precedes liminality but credence to the ‘experts’ even wasn’t fully given by the viewers because it was never established who they were or what they do in the first place. I look at my notes and I referred to the blonde woman expert as “Ivana Trump”. It turns out she was a woman channeling Ramtha, a spirit who lived in the legendary Atlantis 2,000 years ago. Ho-kay.

The message of the film, I think is that we have the capacity to change our lives through our thoughts. I have no problem with this (it’s edifying, truth to tell) but I have a problem with the way this film seems to contradict itself. The links to the movie provided by sir F (or should I say sir Fernando II?) already shows some but I would like to discuss something which was praised by sir F in class---the change in molecules of water.

For the sake of argument, I could concede that thoughts could alter reality. I could even believe collective thinking might lower crime rates. But changing the molecules (or sub-atomic particles, whatever) of water does not really support the entire premise on which the film is hinged because water has no consciousness to speak of. The water wouldn’t be aware that there is a handwritten note written in a certain language attached to it with a scotch tape. (By the way did the molecules of the scotch tape and the paper likewise affected? If thought is the only thing important than why the need to write it down? Or is it because we can’t write on water?) To think otherwise would be to believe in magic---of conscious thought affecting inanimate objects. But again, this is problematic because it goes against the message of humans empowering themselves to change their lives.

The film would then be about magic. But then it is not. Next, we have the problem of solitary thought versus collective thought. If one thought can affect an inanimate non-conscious object, then can I grow the Brooklyn bridge at the middle of EDSA? Can cats make milk out of water? Only Johnny Midnight knows for sure.

mimah said...


What is reality? How do we know if what we see is real? Can we trust ourselves when we say something is real? How am I sure I’m not living in an imagined reality? How can these people doubt that there is a God? Am I stupid for believing that there really is a God? These are some of the questions that kept on buzzing my mind after watching the film. The film, “What the Bleep Do We Know?” was able to stir my mind into rethinking and in some way evaluating how I perceived life as a whole, how I want my reality would be.

We define our reality. We have the power to choose what we believe is true. We have the ability to change the course of our lives. These are some of the ideas that the film wished to impart to its viewers. In a world with diverse cultures, beliefs and values, it’s quite debatable if one claims that there is a genuine reality amidst other claimed realities. As said in the film, what matters is our internal world not the external world. Our brain receives million bits of information but it also filters this huge amount of information that serves as the basis of our reality. What is reality is mainly influenced by our experiences. So even though there are a lot of new ideas presented in the film, in the end, our mind along with our unique collection of life experiences, filter these bunch of ideas that help in constructing our reality.

As debated in class, whether the film is documentary or a narrative fiction, I think the film was a mixture of both. If it was purely documentary, I bet it would be harder to relate it to our real life experiences. But it made Quantum Physics, a much easier concept to digest. On the other hand, if it was just narrative fiction, the concepts, never heard terms and new ideas would be harder to absorb, and to be believable, and that the story of Amanda will only be another story of someone who has recovered from sadness and heartbreak. The filmmakers were wise enough to combine different elements.

At first, I was quite intrigued and amazed as to how Quantum Physics, a scary concept to me, can actually explain almost every aspect of human life: love, lust, religion, identity, etc. Adding to this effect is watching those so-called experts talking about Quantum Physics as if they studied it all their lives, only to leave me doubtful in the end when there was no any form of credentials presented in the said film. Also, by the way the film progressed with those effects as if the viewers are moving around and bumping into molecules, nerves and other unseen parts of our body, it made its arguments more realistic and reliable. I am more inclined to believe their discussions in the field of biology, physics and chemistry. Well, maybe because I’m not knowledgeable in the natural sciences. But it really captured my attention. I find it amazing that a ball could exist in different places at the same time. We chose to see a ball at a particular spot that’s why we see only one ball. I was also entertained when they discussed that lust is a chemically generated feeling. Quoting from the film, “It takes one thought for a man to hard-on.” This I believe is true. In addition, I love the idea that our thoughts can affect the structure of water molecules. The statement, “If thoughts can do that to water, imagine what our thoughts can do to us.” is a powerful one. It made me think that indeed, our thoughts affect how we see ourselves and how we relate to other people. I’ve been receiving advises from friends when I have problems that sometimes, it’s a matter of perspective, it won’t hurt to look at the bright side.

However, when the film touched the topic about God, I back off and became skeptic about the discussion. I just cannot believe they said that the concept of God is a blasphemy and that everybody is or can be a God. Being raised up as someone who believe that there is a God, someone we could run to in times of downfall and difficulty, I don’t entertain the idea that it is only through positive thinking that we could recover or reinvent ourselves. I believe that as humans, we are naturally weak and that we need God by our side. I don’t want to sound philosophical or someone who is close-minded. But if the film’s intention is to make me as a viewer, to believe their stand, it failed to do so. It did not in any point made me doubt my faith. Another point in the film that I don’t accept as true is that we cannot recognize a particular object as it is, if we don’t have any idea that such object exists. If I don’t have an idea what a laptop is, it doesn’t mean that I cannot perceive a laptop when I see one.

It is obvious that the film presented only the science’ point of view. It showed how this Quantum Physics with its empirical data, facts and figures tried to give holistic answers. My professor, Dr. Fidel Nemenzo, in STS or Science, Technology and Society said, “Science is a cultural activity. It is a socially accepted truth.” I find it amazing for someone who belongs to College of Science to say that Science is just one of the different perspectives of viewing the world. As stated in the main entry, a film is a cultural artifact. It is created within a particular period, a particular framework, and a set of values, and is presented to individuals, whose minds have the capacity to digest, to analyze and to absorb a film. In conclusion, we, as film viewers, have the choice as to what our reality ought to be and films serve as triggers for us individuals to rethink and to evaluate our lives.

vnus ambrona said...

During the first few minutes of watching “What the Bleep Do We Know?!” I already predicted the film was really up to something different. Its adherence to an unconventional film form accentuates the eccentricity of the subject it embarked upon, that is, quantum physics. Apparently the documentary-narrative mix served the purpose of a smoother projection of the message of the film to its viewers. If it were only a documentary on quantum physics, I would have only reacted to it the way I do with a boring textbook: I read and understand it and then go about my life as if nothing happened. And if it portrayed the said subject through the thin story line then I would never for a second appreciate quantum physics or the film itself.

The light-hearted fiction about the life of an impaired professional photographer played by Marlee Matlin side by side the gravity of the arguments of supposed-to-be experts was very telling. In its aesthetic sense, the film for me was just exquisite.

It’s a good brain exercise, watching the film. Never had a film goaded me into thinking more deeply and more open-mindedly than this one. It raised such thought –provoking questions such as What is reality? Is it what the brain sees or what the eyes see? Why do we keep recreating the same realities, the same relationships, the same jobs, etc. over and over again? Not only did it raise the most intriguing questions but it suggested rather sound explanations as well.

One claim I deem worth debating about is the statement that the eyes see more than what the brain can integrate and interpret. According to the film, the brain is receiving information constantly, only that it has failed to put all of it together and make sense out of every piece of information. Based on this assumption, they concluded that one couldn’t see what he/she has no idea of. They attempted to support this claim by citing the example of the West Indies natives who did not see the ships of Columbus because the information that ships exist was completely alien to them. The inverse of this argument is actually more plausible for me. I have this inclination to the theory about the power of consciousness; that once you truly believe in something the universe will conspire to cause that something to actually ensue. For the Christian perspective this might be almost equivalent to the notion that “faith can move mountains”.

There are two sides as to the issue of whether the film was empowering its viewers or not. Overtly, central to this new paradigm of quantum physics is the idea that a human’s inner being creates outward circumstance, that a human can by his/her own thoughts control reality. It appeared to be a more scientific, more concrete, and even a more romanticized manner of espousing positive thinking and being proactive. However, some may also argue that the film was actually disempowering with special reference to the narrative and the character of Amanda. Feminists may see this as a perpetuation of the social dictum that women are often dominated by male entities whether in office, at home, during parties, or whatever the social setting. Or maybe the fact that a woman was chosen as the main character in the film only enforces the stereotype that women are more reflective, more sensitive, more sentimental, and fainthearted than men.

Finally, I deduce that this film’s effect on its consumers would not be as enduring except for the possibility that the positive feel we can derive from its more pragmatic highlights on optimism in life may reside in our minds over time and somehow find its way into affecting our so-called lived and imagined lives.

mAc said...

I find the film fictitious in nature. The film integrates into itself various elements of a documentary film. Such documentary-style elements that were utilized in the film include a set of experts being interviewed, computer generated images that effectively picture hard-to-visualize phenomena and add a certain degree of substance to it, and more importantly, the incorporation of quantum physics, among others, which, in my opinion, was not the central theme of the film. Although these elements were integrated, the film was ill-effective in espousing an inquiry of the scientific for several reasons.

In the beginning, I had this pre-conditioned notion that the film will delve deep into how quantum physics works and can be used effectively to explain things like reality, emotions, God, etc. This notion of mine was further bolstered by the depiction of an animation of the human brain and of opinions of different people about what reality really is at the very start of the film. Such elements are what my experiences tell me the ideal of a documentary. However, as minutes passed by, such deduction turned out to be incorrect. Prior to watching, I have no idea whatsoever what quantum physics really is. After watching the film, I still had no idea what it is. I expected the film to at least explain to me in a grade-school-like manner what it is really all about. The film, however, denied me the privilege and went promptly in using it as a framework for explaining the physical universe and the human life within it. Further, the identity and credibility of the scholars in the movie credit questions of reliability and validity in my head. As a consequence of ungrounded analysis, I was forced to consume and believe what they were trying to imbue were facts. Nonetheless, it made me realize how powerful the director, producers, and writers alike are in utilizing different strategies to manipulate their audiences.

Another factor that discredit the film’s being a documentary is that much of the contestations entail an inquiry into the philosophical. Questions about spirituality, religion, consciousness, and metaphysics, among others, were the talk of much of the interviewees in the film. For example, what most of the interviewees claimed and explained through quantum physics that we create our own reality has already been addressed by Plato two millennia ago through his theory of ideas. For Plato, there is a reality behind the material world which he called the world of ideas; it contained the eternal and immutable patterns (or forms) behind the various phenomena across in nature. Philosophical inquiry requires more intricate and complex discussions since it is concerned with different questions regarding Being; questions of how one should live (ethics); what sorts of things exist and what are their essential natures (metaphysics); what counts as genuine knowledge (epistemology); and what are the correct principles of reasoning (logic), among others, are examples. There are a lot of philosophical doctrines, e.g. rationalism, scepticism, idealism, pragmatism, phenomenology, existentialism, etc., one has to understand very well whenever engaging him/herself with the discipline. On the other hand, scientific discipline deals with a relatively straightforward principle of objectivity.

In addition, one of the interviewees, JZ Knight, was identified at the end of the film as the spirit Ramtha. She claimed that she channels an ancient spirit into her body: she called this spirit Ramtha, a 35,000 year-old warrior spirit from the lost continent of Lemuria and one of the Ascended Masters. This assertion of hers raises sensitive religious issues such as the validity of reincarnation, the existence of spirits, etc. for which science cannot recognize. Simply put, science disregards these matters because it cannot explain objectively such phenomena.

Lastly, the film committed false claims in the stipulation of some facts. For instance, the movie says humans are made up of “90% water”; it's actually more like 75% water.

In conclusion, the film is a narrative fiction. In my opinion, some elements and methods attributed to a documentary-style film were effectively utilized. Only, the intent, conversations, and substance of the film contradicted its scientific-ness. Quantum physics is not the appropriate framework in explaining some of the controversies raised. Rather, a philosophical method of inquiry is more appropriate.


eva marie said...

Right after watching “What The Bleep Do We Know?”, I sent a message to my friend in Sta. Mesa to announce that I am coming over to retrieve my copy of Einstein's Dream by Alan Lightman (incidentally he is a physicist-writer). This is the closest reading I had done that relates to the proposition of the film about possibilities, co-existing realities (at least in my interpretation) particularly in reference to the myriad interpretation of time. Another author who talks of endless possibilities by going beyond the reality we are conditioned to accept is Richard Bach especially in his book Illusions. My almost involuntary reaction told me that if anything, the film piqued my interest and curiosity. I also sought these sources to recall the effect they had on me when I first encountered them and compare them vis-a-vis What The Bleep Do We Know. I asked myself which of the personalities and by what mode of presentation appealed to me in terms of absorbing the ideas presented.
“What personality”refer to the kind people who presented the product. Getting the idea from the point of view of fiction writers is one thing. I do not expect them to write based on facts. But hearing similar thing to quantum physicists and philosophers who are deals with facts derived from evidences is another thing. The latter is more effective in making the ideas more credible because I perceived the presentors to be knowledgeable in their field. That is, they are the “authorities”.
Yet, I recall Lightman and Bach and their narrative fictions and remember how they profoundly affected me even before my exposure to the scientific explanations of possibilities, realities and the power of the mind. I think that it must be backdrop of real-life situations that appealed to me because I could actually relate. In some ways it utilizes my tendency to search for something familiar. Putting it in the language of the class discussion, it is easier to conceptualize meanings if they can be readily integrated to previously established meanings.
What the film did is use elements of both documentary and narrative fiction to reinforce the film's convincing potentials. My impression is that people behind the production of this film really intend to get their message across. Yet I appreciate that it is veered towards the documentary mode to warn the receptive viewer that they are indeed espousing a particular point of view. That is why while I concede that while the film as a cultural product “must be conceptualized in relation to the perceiver” I cannot discount the potential of the producer to affect the setting wherein the perceiver will base his conceptualization.
As a consumer I become wary of the possibility of a specific view being advocated which in turn suspended my full acceptance of the explanations the film provided. But beyond this wariness I also actively assessed the kind of message it forwards and labeled them positive advices. For sometime, I feel the spirit of optimism high in my system and so setting intentions of producers and proofs aside, I have to admit the film brought me something good. To respond to a question posed in class, it may not be necessary that everything be certified facts in order to solicit manifest reactions from the consumers. Another important consideration is if the message somehow fits to the desires of the receiver. Of course, we would like to think that we could have more control of our lives and we seek for affirmation.
This is an effective film because it is able to integrate various convincing tools, made an otherwise technical discussion comprehensible and appeals to the interest, familiarity and hidden desires of individuals.


mvga said...

During the first part of the film “What the Bleep Do We Know?” I thought I will be watching a National Geographic type of documentary only it’s, to a certain extent, philosophical that what I thought of.

I cannot deny the fact that I had my own expectations prior to watching the film: to be entertained and to be, somehow, inspired. The movie is not that entertaining; well maybe on the part where some animations pop-out on the screen to illustrate neural activities it was, but I had a hard time letting myself be entertained because the film started with quantum mechanics, with which I am not familiar anymore. I had to re-read my highschool book and notes on Physics to get me acquainted with quantum mechanics again when I got home after watching the film.

The movie is not that inspiring however I agree with what Sir F said during the discussion in class that the movie is empowering. It did not stir so much emotion from me; maybe because of the “undefined” format of the movie I did not have the chance to fully react on Amanda’s story because I had to be interrupted by the documentary part. But as I said the movie is empowering for it gave me the impression that nothing is too impossible to be attained.

The movie presented interesting things to ponder on. One, is the idea of meaning. During the scene where Amanda woke up from her dream about the Indians, she looked out of the window and suddenly what seemed to be pieces of a puzzle began to construct a scene of a city. The movie further detailed that the “outside view” is always covered by the experiences we had. The meanings that we give to certain events are affected by the experiences we had. As an application in the analysis of the film, I had previous experiences that most of the knowledge that I get in documentary films are scientific, empirically based. Therefore, while I was watching the film, I took most of what the “experts” said to be true. I started to be influenced by the speeches of the so called “experts” interviewed in the movie.

Another, is the assertion that our thought life affects our reality. I am not a big fan of Masaru Emoto’s work, when I first saw it on the news I was skeptical about it. Can something like that happen to water? Can it, then, be applied to humans? I kept thinking about this water issue until I got home and I realize that this may really be true and be applicable to humans. What we constantly put in our minds may really affect us in how we behave and in how we look at ourselves and our environment.

Another issue from the movie that affected me was the issue about God. One of the so called “experts” said that we are God. I would agree with her when she just confined her statement that God is in us because I believe that part of being a human is having the image of God. But to say that we are God? That is just unacceptable for me.

Over all, the movie, I could say, at least on my part, succeeded in socializing me as regards to its ability to affect and influence me to adopt a positive view of thinking in life. I may not know exactly how long it will be retained in my memory but I could say that the movie kept me thinking about the ideas it presented until now.


roan said...

“Being-There” or Nothing

Parts of the film that really took my attention while watching the film were those that show images of a single body occurring at the same time – the woman seeing herself in that same place where she is, and the ball being in different locations at the same time. Some of the experts interviewed in the film say that things as we see them where they were may actually not there. In philosophy, "existence precedes essence", at the most basic level of understanding, is based on the idea of existence without essence. Something may exist, but its existence does not mean anything at least at the beginning, unless the observer puts meaning to it. This concept can be applied at the individual level as well. The value and meaning of this existence—or essence—is created only later. A human being's existence precedes and is more fundamental than any meaning which may be ascribed to human life: indeed we are only creating our own reality. This is one of the principles discussed by some existentialist and founders of phenomenology like Heidegger , Sartre, and Husserl. The film may also be suggesting that individuals must be more responsible for the choices they make since we are also the ones creating what we believe is true. The individual consciousness must be responsible for all the choices it makes, regardless of the consequences. Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.(Jean-Paul Sartre) “Being-there” is making essence out of mere existence.

On a larger scale, I regard personal responsibility as a national strength. Personal responsibility is something people have to choose... and when they do, they will be accountable. What I am talking about personal responsibility here in the film is the way the photographer is presented as a woman who always has her fears at the back of her mind although everything was done for her. Since she chose to get away from that bad experience of her, she must at least live her life far away from those feelings and thoughts. It may reinforce the idea that we have the power to change our lives, without letting go of the collective responsibility in taking our personal responsibilities. These are the values and the principles that people have to address in their daily lives, in their immediate neighborhoods, indeed in their own households. But they focus on things that are personal. Being personally responsible is doing the things that are expected of you by our society. Nations should also have that kind personal responsibilities for their actions. We’re so good at moralizing about how people have to accept responsibility for their actions, for what they do.

At least in my point of view, the film achieved its aim to make the viewers rethink of what is really happening, at least being informed that there are infinite possibilities, and how should they condition themselves to react at every circumstance. Whether it is classified as fiction or narrative it doesn’t matter. It has integrated a number of convincing tools for the purpose of familiarity of the topic. At least I may say that one could try looking himself on a mirror after seeing the movie. Somehow it might trigger the viewers’ minds to reassess what they have done in their lives, empowering not only the self, but also somehow awakening one’s collective responsibility and concerns. ---Gaspar

gaspar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dominic_barnachea said...

What the !@#$% do we know?!

To start, I summarize the film as a rather bold attempt to post-modernize the social perspectives of those who watched it. Seeing through the lens of quantum physics , the film basically criticizes what society has deemed the basic truths of life - time-space continuum and the concept of reality, sexuality and emotion, and even the fundamentals of religion. At the end of the film, experts try to further empower the self, with the concept of transcedentalism - to push ourselves to a higher level of consciousness , to acknowledge the possibility of multi-location and the irrelevance (or even non-existence) of the time-space continuum, become more bent to neural-schematic perception as opposed to visual perception, become open to the ideas of having an "inner god." Basically it explores the capabilities of the self, more specifically on the neural part of the body which controls the rest- as it [brain] exerts tremendous influence on its external environment, and not the other way around, as is normally perceived. Moreover, the film and all its assertions are said to be just the tip of the quantum mechanical iceberg - hence the optimal capabilities of the self are seemingly endless and are yet to be unraveled.

It is to my opinion that the film did a very bold attempt to explain such abnormal, out-of-the-box, radical scientific phenomena in lay men's terms. The film brought about considerable skepticism and raised debates, if not to every man who laid his eyes on the film, at the very least to our PolSci 167 class. The film has raised controversy regarding the concepts, statements and assertions that it presented. I had observed that there were some of us who were very much interested with the scientific advancements presented (I, for example, with the critique on the time-space continuum and the concept on neural perception), while the most of us (i think) reflected on the film with skepticism (particularly on the ideas regarding religion).

Also, the class saw some controversy beyond its contents, and more on the pre-production process. The rumors of an integrated scientific-religious movement allegedly produced the film for propaganda reasons. It is very much interesting to note the observation made by our professor, on the similarity of the quantum physics perspective with the ideas advanced by Buddhism, which created and air of uncertainty regarding the true intentions of the film's production. We can not as well ignore issues regarding the production process itself - the technicalities that largely affects the credibility of the assertions and statements presented in the film.

Not on only the pre-production qualms regarding the film, but the form of the film itself was debated upon by the class. The question of whether the film is mainly a documentary supported by a narrative or whether it was the other way around is very much interesting. Indeed, consciously or not, the film placed itself very near the thin border delineating the two forms, hence the true form of the film is highly dubious. One very good example stated in the discussion was in relation the production technicalities- the manner by which the film presents its experts on quantum physics. The backgrounds in which they were interviewed (that is if they were really interviewed at all and not just made to read a script)- at the library, in a sofa, beside a table with a lampshade on top- and even the intellectual- looking appearance of these people are very much a cliche of what an interview with an expert would look like, hence the possibility of grand-scale acting job is not far-fetched.

Yet, given all the skepticisms, the qualms, the controversies - and all the truths and the crap in between- the real question is: AM I MOVED? Am i motivated by the film to feel something, or do something, that i couldn't have otherwise felt or had i not watched the film? The answer is NO

For me the main factor by which the film can successfully motivate the viewer, either politically or something else, is not in the film itself. It is not found in the pre-production and production forms and processes, nor is it found in the film's content. Motivation, and eventually mobilization, can be successfully achieved when a single condition is met: the viewers perceptions or expectations of the film must be satisfied satisfied. Take the What the Bleep Do We Know as example. Personally, at the very start of the film, i assumed it to be a documentary, and my concept of a documentary is wherein credible experts provide hard facts to inform its audeince. Note that the criteria of the credibility of the persons and the facts they provide are very much dependent on my personal opinion. Hence it is up to my gutfeel whether or nor they are credible and the facts they feed to me are credibel as well. And in this case, something about the film just tells me there is something dubious about their appearance and the ideas they present. Maybe it's the rather cliche presentation of the interviews, maybe it's the rather unbelieivable assertions on religion, maybe it's the somewhat "I'm-super-duper-intelligent-so-believe-me" fishy look on their faces everytime they're interviewed, or mybe even the subjective, very soft, fictional narrative that supported the film's claims. I really don't know which exactly it is, but the fact was I DIDN'T TRUST THEM . Yes, i might be a little inspired with the concept of transcendentalism and going way beyond normal borders. But at the end of the day, Will you firmly, without a single trace of doubt in your heart, believe all the things said by someone you do not trust? Will you be motivated by them?

Steph said...

The fluidity of “What the Bleep Do We Know?” as a documentary and as a fictitious film is shown through the use of various characteristics of both genres. As a film, it is generally enjoyable, especially if the audience views the film to simply be entertained. The danger begins when one watches the film intently as a documentary; the film is a documentation of the film-makers’ opinions but it does not document facts of our world.

A film is a cultural product and is thus a result of a conceptualization in relation to a perceiver. With regards to this film, the first perceivers are the producers; in turn, they use the film as the avenue to advocate their perceptions of any chosen elements. Inasmuch as it is an accepted—or at least it is deemed a logical—argument that any given producer cannot avoid to relate his/her product within the influences of the particular history and society he/she has lived in, it is extremely dangerous that the producers of the film created a product largely about their personal beliefs based on personal, shared influences. The supposed “knowers” that were interviewed in the film are experts in their respective field yet the process in which their opinions were edited is highly dubious. A documentary must not be given that volatility if it is to uphold a sense of truth or reality.

“The consumption of film, and its ideology rests heavily on individual agency in the generation of meanings” (cited from the Main Entry above). This is a valid statement and further supports the argument that cultural products are results of a perceiver’s conceptualization due to the perceiver’s experiences. However, “What the Bleep Do We Know?” is offered in a documentary style and challenges its audience to accept the presented ideas as nonfiction. Documentaries are nonfiction films that document realities of our world. In contrast, “What the Bleep Do We Know” is more like a propaganda film, or a lengthy hypothesis captured on film. The fact that the audience generates a multitude of meanings with what the film presents shows that it leans more towards fiction than not. Since quantum physics is itself a highly disputed topic, even amongst (quantum) physicists themselves, a film on this matter is already ambiguous to begin with. Although films should be approached in the manner that the viewer must be in ‘suspension of disbelief’, it is extremely problematic to do so with this type of film

The fluctuation between documentary-style and fiction-style presentation is highly commendable—but only up to the point of entertainment. It is not to say that all documentaries lack amusing and enjoyable elements; however, the absurdity of how facts were presented contributed to the skepticism of the film as a whole. This is because the film’s audience is left with a sense of bewilderment as to which segments should be received as scientific and which facts should be noted as fiction. Although it is noteworthy that the “knowers” chosen come from a wide spectrum of experts—from the notable scientists to a spiritual leader, their views seemed edited from the very beginning, so as to ‘fit’ the desired storyline. The opinions of the “knowers” were taken out of context and this does not uphold the (admittedly flexible) criteria for a documentary.

The film succeeds in disturbing the mind with amusing thoughts—some of which we have already thought about in the past while others are completely new and overwhelming—however, what is special is that these thoughts are brought into the light of being explained in the scientific manner: specifically, through quantum physics. The film gives the audience that warm, fuzzy feeling that we all create our realities and that realities are subjective. It is hard to accept such argument when the facts are presented in such a suspicious manner.

Even religion, which many argue as subjective, can be presented in a more believable (even scientific) manner. As viewed by some that film is an agent of political socialization wherein cumulative indoctrination can be often veiled, “What the Bleep Do We Know?” can definitely be placed in that category. The film-makers have succeeded (and perhaps taken to heart) Shea’s (2002) argument that political messages have their greatest impact when the audience thinks they are just being entertained. Whatever the film-makers’ actual intensions are, it can be noted that they present their own realities (those that they have created in their minds) but not the reality of the world.

But then springs up the circular argument of “what really is real?”

(TAN, Stephanie L.)

Agpalo said...

Quantum Physics offeres us a whole new set of possibilities.It offers a totally different view of the material world and what composes it.It questions our understanding of reality and even the most basic things we always assumed to be true.The question on how the audience takes in these whole load of informations, to reconsider them, and or or to actually beleive in its claims is another matter.

Quantum physics is a physics of possibilities.
In a world, where science and technologies have shown the world of limitless posssibilities through new inventions and discoveries, how can we reject quantum physics?
However, how can something so alien and foreign challenge the prevailing ideas and values ofthe people?
How can our understanding of reality itself be questioned?
For centuries we beleived that what happens around us affects what happens inside of us.
The film however keeps on reiterating that what happens inside of us affects what happens in the outside world.
The film uses different means in order to achieve its purpose of convying this very message.

It started with questions that are frequently asked but still remain unanswered. It stirs the audience to ask the same questions all over again and implicitly shows how the prevailing sciences are unable to answer these questions, making the audience to subconsciously question the hard sciences claim of validity and truth while simultaneously makingthe audience a bit more receptive to the alternative answers that they are offering.

However the ideas that they will be showing remains to be foreign to the general audience hence making it hard for penetration. Its hard to persuade the audience to risk familiar ideas that gives human beings a sense of stability.
Thus, they showed them in a manner that the audience can associate themselves with their ideas. The makers of the film gave these foreign ideas a human form. By showing mundane situations, the audience can relate to the persona in the film. By showing funny scenes, the audience begins to be entertained, making ideas to have a greater impact.

However, can this film actually alter peoples views and perception of the material and spiritual world?

Socialization is a complex process that involves several factors. For one, the audience certainly must belong to a specific group and are subjected to pressures that they conform to. These affects how they would be receptive to new ideas and concepts. Primary groups which includes the family, classmates and even the professors have a direct influence on the opinions of its members. In this case, the tendency of course is to believe more on what informations the immediate people around the audience give.
This perheps is the reason why the film shows experts on the field to counter factors that are out of their control.

The film I beleive is a narrative fiction,but takes certain elements of a documentary film to make the audience take it a bit more seriously. The experts who were interviewed in the film were carefully chosen to project an academic aura to the film.

The film does not only face the challenge of proving the validity of its ideas. Apart from it, and I beleive more crucial to it, it also faces the fact that in every society,there is a certain pressure for uniformity of opinions among its members. People generally wants to be normal and thus they conform to what most of the population believes and to what society dictates to be normal.

Since this is a society wherein intelectuality usually means rationality and acceptability, every scene from the film, every interview that is shown, every background of an interview, everything an expert says in an interview are calculated to support the same intellectual image that the film tries to create in the audience mind.Because only by doing this can it somehow challenge the prevailing notions of truth and reality in the society.

jen asama said...

“You can do it Jen” – this is the line I wrote in my leg a few hours after watching “What the Bleep Do We Know”. Believe me, I really did. This does not imply that I was really convinced by the film on all the ideas that it fed me. But at least to a certain point, it exerted influence on me – it influenced me to do that action which I would have not otherwise done.

After watching the film, I did not really ask myself if the film was just propaganda. What really stayed in my mind are those empowering ideas that were portrayed in the film. I did not really come to question the “supposed facts” that were presented in the film. They had their “experts” talk; they had their supposed objective and scientific explanations on certain phenomena and mental processes presented. And as a person who know little about the natural sciences, they made me go “whoa!”. I did not have any violent reactions on their view about God, I listened to it because I was interested on what quantum physics has to say about Him. It was only after I read some movie reviews did I have doubts about the film’s credibility. Reviews say that there are a lot of factual errors in the film. I found out from reviews a lot of controversies on the interviewees, especially that of JZ Knight, who is said to channel Ramtha, a 35,000 year old warrior from Atlantis. Some interpret it as some sort of propaganda for JZ Knight’s (Ramtha’s?) school of enlightenment.

I understand that not all people read reviews, and not all people are critical about the movies they watch (perhaps that include me). I think the film really is convincing, and if it had told me that sodium is good for the spirit, perhaps I would believe it. Anyway what do I know about Quantum Physics? Who am I to question it? What the bleep do I know?

At the beginning of the film, I already had the idea that what I was watching was a documentary. It satisfied my image of a documentary – the experts talking, the narrator stating data, etc. And at least in my set of beliefs, documentaries are credible. And when I heard of “quantum mechanics/physics” as its subject, I had the idea that it has to be really scientific and objective. I forgot to take into consideration that movies are also instruments by people who are also pursuing an interest. There might be some angles of an issue that the film makers would not look at according to their biases. As human beings with emotions, they cannot be perfectly objective in making researches. I found out that this film was actually sponsored by Ramtha School of Enlightenment and the directors are actually members of this group. So it could also be that they are pushing us to believe not quantum physics per se, but quantum physics the JZ Knight way.

I thought of writing “study well” in my skin using permanent marker so my body water (which comprises a very big percentage of me) could make me studious. I don’t think I’ll lose anything if I’d try anyway (aside from a few units of energy used in writing). What I do not know is that if “I make it”, is it because I really convinced my internal waters to “make me make it”, or it was just my mental placebo taking effect. Or is that really the whole point of it – to think positively and you’ll make it? Honestly, I still do not understand quantum physics.

Staining my leg with permanent marker, I believe, won’t really cost me anything at all. But what if the film convinces me to do other things that are beyond what I can take to do? As we grow up, we learn a lot of things and develop our own sets of values. These values, especially those that have been with us for the longest time, cannot be changed overnight. That led me to reject the idea that “we are all gods” as the film directly projects. I’ve been believing in God's existence for as long as I can remember. According to Skeptico’s review, one of the film’s objectives is to convince more recruits for the Ramtha School of Enlightenment. One hundred twenty minutes of amazing visual effects and a showcase of statements from nameless personalities (their names were only displayed at the end) will never be enough to convince anyone to join that group, especially that a lot of critiques have already labeled it a cult. And from our conventions, cults are bad.

According to Richard Feynman, “If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics”. Subscribing to Feynman’s thought, then what seems to be the issue now? Is it quantum mechanics being explained despite its “impossible to understand character”? Or is it that the Ramtha School of Enlightenment tried to explain quantum mechanics despite the group’s lack of credibility? If quantum mechanics cannot be explained, then even the brightest scientists with the most credible researches and most amazing explanations would be criticized if they do a film on quantum mechanics.

It is easy to be convinced by a film, especially if we do not have any background on that particular film. I think I will be reading a lot of movie reviews from now on. But I still have my own values, I am skeptical in my own way. I do not dislike “What the Bleep Do We Know” in its entirety. I like its empowering characteristic and that I think many agrees with. Regarding my favorite part of the film, the water experiment by Masura Emoto, I think I will be giving that the benefit of the doubt. I will be waiting for my permanent marker tattoo to work on me. :)

Ron S.R. said...

What the **** do we know?

Really, what do we know? As an advanced society with all the technology and all the science that we have, we are supposed to know a lot right? Well, from the film “What the **** do we Know”, it does not seem that way, it somehow says; Yeah! Sure! We know a lot but are the things that we think we know real? This is a question that fundamentally breaks every foundation of human knowledge for the question of reality radically changes every aspect of what we know—does that table exist or is it merely a construct of my mind shared by my fellow beings? Are my fellow beings real in the first place? A deluge of questions immediately overwhelm every brain cell of any thinking being when reality is questioned; in a way, such a question is provocative, captivating if you will. They even used The Matrix’s line—“how deep into the rabbit hole do you want to go?” to signify the films’ "exciting" quest into the world of Quantum Physics. Indeed the film makes good use of such a provocative question—making it part of the opening sequence, thus immediately capturing the attention of viewers (even me with such a short attention span). And in the title and the subject (quantum physics) of the film; for the curious fellow in all of us, who would not want to watch a movie with a censored word in its title? And who would not want to learn about quantum physics explained in such an easy (though vague) manner?

Evidently, the movie and the production of it were well thought of. As one would watch the movie, one would be blown away by the many ideas that were presented in the beginning, especially in the possibilities of quantum physics. It is so fascinating that one could neglect to take into account that what they were talking about were the general concepts of quantum physics. But hey, they’re supposed to be the “experts” so they should know what they are talking about, and I’m no quantum physicist so I’ll take their word for it. However, the point that this commenter wishes to raise is that, even within this film about quantum physics, in order to fully grasp what the experts are saying, one need to be adept at QP and hence, perhaps the possibility of manipulated ideas can be inserted within the film. The film is so general (lay man) in the presentation of QP that the lay man thinks he is fully grasping the concepts of QP even when he is not to the point that he takes in everything that is being presented even when the film sways to a whole new dimension; perhaps it is true that QP has various applications but the way in which the film shifted focus was, for me, quite sneaky and cunning for the filmmakers especially under the impression that this film was supposedly funded by a pseudo-religious organization.

The film established very well the impression that it was all about quantum physics that the shifts were hardly noticeable and viewers would eagerly receive the films’ claims, at least that was how it was designed but perhaps not the case with the 167 class (?) for we are supposed to be after a critical-intersubjective perspective of the film. Now, going back to the point; this is the dilemma posed by epistemic communities, they are the only ones who know what they’re talking about that the general public is left to accept what they say, hence, if they deem it necessary to manipulate the “facts” , they can and get away with it. Perhaps that is the case here in this film? Probably.

Now, moving away from the conspiracies and controversies that this film has, we now tackle an aspect of what we are here to do in 167; to link these films with politics. Within the scope of 167 are the political aspects that can be derived out of these films, particularly the mobilization that these films may invoke. And personally, indeed this film elicits a certain emotion that motivates me to do something; in particular, to think more positively—if I’m not mistaken, the point made in a certain portion of the film was that the mind can affect the world around us if we just think hard enough for it to happen. So now, I frequently sit on a chair and do the thinking man pose and think so hard for an SUV and a billion bucks to appear right before me. No, seriously, the film has indeed affected me in a positive manner and perhaps it did so for many of its viewers. Now we ask; is it necessary that facts be FACTS for a movie to be a good mobilization tool or for it to influence many? I do not believe so; facts are facts only when we perceive it to be facts, we make our own reality, whatever reality is or how un/real everything may be, as long as at the particular moment of thought processing we believe something to be real or to be factual, then it will be so, hence, if one were under the notion that what he/she was watching was based on facts, it is totally up to the individual if he/she allows the data presented to him/her to affect/influence the way in which s/he acts. And indeed, from my view, the film mobilized people regardless of how much of it they absorbed. Though not the kind of mobilization like that of the Flor Contemplacion movie but nonetheless, from my opinion, it did influence many to do something (mostly beneficial) and thus the movie, for me, was relatively a successful one in terms of its capacity to attract, persuade and mobilize people.

jizellie said...

Personally, there are two main purposes why an individual watches a film. First is to be entertained, and at the same time, to be educated. “What the bleep do we know?” hit only one; and that is the entertainment part. To justify this statement, i'd start off with the argument that one gets educated by learning facts. And the “facts” that were demonstrated in the film were up to date questionable.

However, i must admit that at the beginning, it really amazed me when the film displayed how the human mind possesses the ability to take control over the things that can and will happen in one's life. The “power of the human mind” made me suddenly remember the film “Matrix” which explicitly conveyed the same detail or possibility about the human mind and that the body cannot live without it. Moreover, the documentary-scientific presentation of the film made it also, at some point, believable but eventually, as the presentation of the details in the film develop, questions start to pop out from every cell of my body.

In order for us to have a better comprehension of what the film really talks about, which then will help us make a somehow better if not a professional review is to define what quantum physics is, which is basically the revolving idea in the film:

“Quantum physics is the place where physics and metaphysics -- and perhaps even science and religion -- begin to meet: a world of infinite possibilities in which the rigid laws of science and all our suppositions about the universe suddenly seem very shaky.”

It also touches issues of reality: why the present cannot affect the past but has the capability to affect the future.

“Or how, according to certain aspects of quantum physics, there's really no reason why we shouldn't be able to envision the future just as easily as we remember the past, since the past, present and future are all part of the same continuum.”

The dichotomy between good and bad which, according to the film is just a product of human emotions because even the concept of sin has no theological significance. The making of choices which is highly personal e.g., the preferred location of the ball and other issues such as addiction, love, and life. And the most sensitive issue of all, the issue about the reality of God.

“The God view suggested by quantum physics is more like the Tao, a force field in which we are all truly one, and organized religions that see a vindictive God removed from nature are, as one scientist says, a 'blasphemy'.”

Quantum physics, according to the film is the physics of possibilities. This “possibility” is entirely founded on the idea of a physical universe. The universe where everything exists based to the interconnectedness of the senses and of the human brain. So does this argument defy the notion that what one does not see, hear, feel, smell, or taste, automatically mean does not exist?

I took and currently taking several courses of philosophy and from that point of view i can say that there is an underlying connection between philosophy and quantum mechanics. And that definitive link that binds the two is metaphysics. Even in philosophy, the notion of a Supreme Being is highly contested. However, it does not claim that whatever does not exist in the physical world actually detest the notion of its existence.


Felicia said...

The controversial 2004 film “What the Bleep Do We Know?” is indeed an unusual production, provoking our very thoughts and shaking our minds silly. It made noise not only on whether or not it
belongs under which movie category, but even more so on the messages it sought to get across to its generally science-averting and unsuspecting audience.

Personally, a concoction of different reactions whirred inside my mind after seeing the movie. And the fact that it had initially presented itself as a documentary made most of its viewers surrender to it, like I admittedly had in the beginning. The filmmakers were also smart to introduce the movie with trappings made up of the daunting jargon of science, especially quantum physics, further keeping the viewers' guard down. However, with regard to the debate on whether it is exclusively under the category of documentary or narrative, I agree with what we had resolved in class, that these said categories were just two poles of a spectrum. The movie is not wholly a documentary nor completely a narrative; I would only be fooling myself if I even dignified that dialectic, because it definitely cannot be denied that elements of both the documentary and the narrative are present in the movie. Instead, I believe it is both a documentary and a narrative. To be more specific, I believe it is more of a documentary than it is a narrative (nonetheless it still possesses components of a narrative).

More importantly, this movie must bear a significant purpose for us as we go along this course, otherwise it would not have been the first in our line-up of movies to be reflected upon and discussed in class. The messages which it intended to spread by means of this movie are dubious, yet at the same time comforting. Perhaps the aspect that had made these messages appear dubious is the idea of religion coming into the picture. Religion has always been contentious and sensitive to discuss, and the idea of expressing a message with religious, or at least mystical, underpinnings indeed colors an individual's perception, interpretation and attitude towards that message. But then again, how is science any different from religion, just because it uses rigid methods of inquiry and investigates quantifiable data? Is it not just the same structured, hierarchical, capricious and maybe even dogmatic set of beliefs packaged to attract a massive following?

Personally, I choose to look at it this way: we can be our own gods in that we create our reality, decide for ourselves how our lives will be lived, choose whether or not to be relegated by our circumstances, and choose whether or not to acknowledge that we have such power at all. I found this idea liberating as it is terrifying. It is liberating because this said power to create our reality implies infinite possibilities; we can be anyone or anything we want to be anytime, anywhere. On the other hand, it is also terrifying because it implies full responsibility of our lives; we have no one else to give full credit to for the good things in our life, just as well as we have no one else to blame for the bad. Nonetheless, in spite of all the debate on the reliability of 'facts' presented in this seeming misfit of a movie, its overall empowering effect, which may even transcend power in the political sense, has had a considerable impact on me, restoring the sense of wonder within, which was once lost in this world of routine and cynicism.

odessawoods said...

What the Bleep Do We Know? William Arntz, USA, 2004.
Odessa Woods

What the Bleep Do We Know is a movie about finding one's self. Its goal is to haunt the audience with questions like, “Why are we here?”, “What is reality?” The main topic here is Quantum Physics, or the physics of possibility which tries to explain all of man's queries about the universe.
In the film, different scholars and professors were interviewed to give light on the matter. The perspective and point of view of what reality is and who man really is, served as the storyline and the ground for discussion.
I see What the Bleep Do We know as a documentary, not because what it cited were factual or actual references, but because I already have preconceived notions about quantum physics therefore i had expectations from the film. Some may question it reliability of source . But what I had in mind while watching was to just let it all in, take it as it is. Later then I was able to formulate my own thoughts. I have my own rules and meanings but there were times when I allowed particular scenes to somehow twist the things i already believed in.
Plus, the atmosphere while the people were being interviewed created in me a feeling of being in deep thought. The background gave a scholarly aura. In a way, this made quite believable what these people were saying. Like the old man who had Indian features, he looked like he really knew what he were saying, or the sociologist who even had a library and shelves of books as background. I would have compared them to Socrates: “You must know that you do not know in order for you to know”. What the scholars are basically saying is that there are possibilities around us, lots of potential. But first we must learn and understand and accept these.
For me, it's a valuable agent of socialization because of the kind of information it provides. After watching this film, I honestly felt that I had the power to change the everything, even control the future or what is going to happen. I have read articles about this topic but it was different when I saw it in a different medium: film. The way the storyline was presented is simple—it interviewed people who knew (or claimed they knew) something about the subject and had a fictional story woven for the audience to grasp it better. The character of the woman in the movie was also quite disturbing—she hated her job, she had a disability, her boyfriend cheated on her. Basically, she was one unfortunate and unlucky person. But when she met strangers who told her how much power she had, signs started showing the opportunities and possibilities that were there all along (like the kid playing basketball and manipulated the game, or the lady in the subway showing different pictures of the same droplet of water), she just had to make a choice, at the very least think wonderful thoughts and dream.
This movie tells how powerful our thoughts are. We can affect reality by the choices we make. And these choices are shadowed by the beliefs we have, the feelings we like to feel.
If I had to relate it to something more tangible (at least the effects), it would be education. Knowledge is Power—it is very important. You understand the system around you, you can explain why such phenomena occur, and even have a say on the process . In the woman's situation, she began to change her way of thinking, she struggled to feel better about herself and build a good relationship with people around her. People should know what their resources and possibilities are, and use these to its full extent. Also, responsibility comes in play, whether you use your chances in a way that would give you the best result or not. If we can apply these principles in the country, we'd be able to improve our situation (for example,the more the government invests in education, the decrease in the poverty rate will be in the next years).
They say history repeats itself. If only man could maximize what is given to him and build better relationships. If man had knowledge and understanding coupled with responsibility, he would never make the same mistake twice (“why do we make the same mistakes twice?”, “why do we keep falling for the same guy”). And that would make this world an easier place to live in.

odessawoods said...
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