Monday, August 14, 2006

Who The Bleep Are They Kidding?
Recent stomach troubles have dictated a strict diet with very few of the foods I most enjoy permitted. Primary among these is, that old English staple, bread and cheese. Like Wallace, I am a cheese-eater through and through, and could happily have it with every meal if not for digestive considerations. No more. In the past month, the only cheese I have been enjoying has been at the movies, most copiously at the What the Bleep Do We Know? sequel, Down the Rabbit Hole, a movie that ought to carry a warning to lactose- (and lachrymose-) intolerant viewers: “Contains potentially dangerous levels of cheese.”
A quasi-documentary about “the fundamental truth of unity,” Bleep 2 is more New Age physics for lazy laypeople to ooh and ah over. In fact, it is more of a remake than a sequel, a compendium of stuff left out of the first movie, perhaps, and with nothing at all by way of upgrading in evidence. 2½ hours of ineptly staged dramatizations and waffling interviews with self-satisfied “experts,” and perhaps a half hour of original material to justify, however limply, its existence, Bleep 2 is a shameless cash-in on the first film’s success that suffers from all the failings of the original. Despite the larger budget and longer running time, the filmmakers have chosen not to develop their technique in any significant ways, revealing their utter complacency as “artists,” and betraying a smug simple-mindedness and appalling lack of imagination completely at odds with the “ground-breaking” nature of their material. I can only presume they considered the original formula to be already perfect and that, since it wasn’t broken, why fix it?

The first movie made money and seemed to spark interest and excitement in the most unlikely of viewers, viewers perhaps grateful that such ideas were getting air-time at all in a popular movie. Yet it’s hard to imagine a work whose style is so profoundly in conflict with its content, that juxtaposes such profound, challenging ideas with so daffy and clich├ęd an execution. The expressed end of the Bleep films appears diametrically opposed to the means employed. They propose to present a whole new paradigm by which to interpret our reality (and live our lives), a quantum weltanschauung if you will; yet the methods employed are so profane and uninspired that the result is rather to discredit (if not actually debase) the awesome concepts which these films are so gleeful to bandy about. By endeavoring to deliver the findings of cutting edge physics to the mass consciousness, the Bleep films are the quintessence of New Age reductionism. They present a lowest common denominated version of the Mysteries, selling audiences life-changing ideas in cozy, non-threatening forms, so that the masses can have their manna and eat it, feel “enlightened” without having to change in any meaningful way.

In a quantum Universe in which information determines the spin of each and every particle, the Bleep movies spin their information into one big, dull, self-satisfied blah. As with all things New Age, by focusing exclusively on a positive “spin,” they render the subject flat, two-dimensional. Throwing around words like God, eternal, absolute, infinite energy, consciousness, etc, with so little force or precision saps not only the words but the concepts behind them of power and vitality. The concepts may reach more people by being so diluted—thinned out—but at what price? This user-friendly, multiplex-tailored view of occult realities is as far from shamanism as art from kitsch (and kitsch is what the Bleep movies are).

Fuzzy-headed professionals talking about the power of the brain? People we would avoid like the plague at a dinner party holding forth on “avenues of reality, unborn” and “infinite tomorrows.” Please.

Words, words, words, but where is the spirit? Images that belong in a Gatorade commercial not in a movie about time and space. The magical Universe seen through the lens of the Bleep movies becomes the asinine universe. A supremely patronizing experience.


jake horsley said...

Keith Gordon wrote me this in response:

Gotta say, I agree with you on this one. Didn't see this one, but the first one drove me nuts. Didn't even make it all the way through (and I rarely quit on anything). A mish-mash of valid science, looney science, spiritual insight and shallow new age gibber gabber all mixed together with no way to separate anything out for those who haven't already done their own research. (And what the hell was the whole supremely embarrassing 'plot' in there for? Yeeesh!)


Percy the Gentleman said...

I concur!

Physics Professor at Caltech said...

The main reason why Bleep is a bad movie is not really because it is full of bad scenes and empty of essence. It is mostly because its content is all wrong. Most conclusions are either crazily wrong or unconsensual in the scientific community. No one believes that quantum mechanics gives anyone any power to choose anything. The only thing that quantum mechanics did was to throw away Newton's deterministic world and establish a world in which chaos rules. It is completely wrong to interpret quantum mechanics as a claim that we have free will and all we have to do is choose the parallel universe we live. Everything is product of chaos, including us and all our thoughts and actions. All quantum mechanics does is quantify mathematically this degree of ignorance about reality. That's it and nothing else.... Before Newton we used to be product of a determinist world, where the rules were determined. Now we are the product of a world without rules. It is even worse. It doesn't mean at all that we have any control. It means only that we don't even know what will happen and cannot possibly get to predict it...

Anonymous said...

Hey Jake,

Been reading your stuff for a little while now. Matrix Warrior got me into Castaneda, which got me into the Wheel of Time.

you probably get this a lot, but i'd like to send you something. Think it might be up your street. An essay I recently wrote. Trouble is, your email link on your page doesn't work (at least not for me). Any chance of publishing your email details somewhere?


Anonymous said...

What the bleep do we care as long as the shell of the old paradigm is starting to crack.Whether this film depicts looney science or not is ultimately un-importent. The message is clear.There is no god but man.
Once we begin to realise this, we can start to clear away the shit of millenia of astral and mental thought forms that have created the damage,the gods,the ghoulish spirits and all the rest of the crap that gouverns the doings of the parasite man upon this beautiful globe.
The simplicity of nature rules supreme but only while we are there to Percieve this as so.