The Thinker

Review: What the Bleep Do We Know?

The movie What the Bleep Do We Know is hard to describe and even harder to review. Ordinarily one would judge a movie on things like the quality of the acting and direction, not by the content of the material or the number or lack of talking heads in the movie. So this won’t be so much a movie review as it will be a discussion on the merits of the arguments that the movie presents. It’s unusual enough a movie that it merits placement both in my Entertainment and Metaphysics archives. I think I can truthfully say you have never seen a movie like this before. It is in a league of its own.

What the Bleep is part story and part documentary. The thesis of the movie is right out of The Matrix movies: that what we perceive as reality is in fact just a simulation of our consciousness. But before you laugh and jump to your next bookmark please know that the movie is full of talking heads, most of whom are very learned scientists steeped in the science of quantum mechanics. You can’t dismiss them out of hand.

Regular blog readers of mine will know that I’ve been fascinated by what I have been learning about quantum physics. I have read Brian Greene’s book The Fabric of the Cosmos, which is all about the nature of reality. In an earlier entry I even speculated that quantum physics might be coming tantalizingly close to merging physics and metaphysics.

At least these physicists seem to be acknowledging that reality is not what we think it to be. The thesis of the movie is that we control the nature of our reality and experience through the direction of our consciousness. On one level we know this to be true. If we drive our car into a brick wall at 60 miles an hour we will likely end up dead. But the movie is suggesting that much like The Matrix that existence is not real because reality is nothing more than consciousness.

It makes you wonder if all these classically trained physicists have been smoking weed. But I truly think they are on to something. I didn’t find anything in the movie inconsistent with what I learned about quantum mechanics from Greene’s book, and Greene is no flake. That is not to say that their speculations are necessarily true, but the more I learn about quantum physics the more inclined I am to believe in the movie’s central thesis.

Alas though the scriptwriters don’t spend much time explaining quantum physics. After a surface overview they throw you right down the rabbit hole. (They use this term enough that they should at least pay some royalties to the producers of The Matrix movies, or maybe the estate of Lewis Carroll.) Deaf actress Marlene Matlin plays a photographer named Amanda who seems to lead a life that gets quantumly challenged. Reality begins to skew more and more. She seems to perceive the reality of pure consciousness behind our “reality”. The story frequently is inter-cut with snippets from interviews with their quantum mechanic experts. (One lady interviewed though is not a physicist at all, but seems to wear the label psychic.) Along with the story and the interviews is a lot of computer-generated imagery that attempts to depict how what we perceive is real may actually be an illusion. The CGI is good but often goes a little overboard in being cute. Yet it does so in a way that gets the vision of the film across.

Yes, this movie is a mind bender. There are certain people who might as well stay away from the movie. If you are a devout believer in any mainstream religion just stay away. You won’t be happy because a number of those interviewed reject the whole assertion of God as an external entity. The thesis seems to be that we are God and consciousness is our reality. In fact if you are fixed in your opinions about anything you might as well stay away. This movie wants to be taken seriously and you have better things to do with your time and money than have your convictions challenged.

For me their thesis is an idea that has been growing in my mind for many years. For now it is a concept I embrace. I add the caveat “for now” because I am always learning new things. As I learn new things what I believe tends to change. As a computer geek I sometimes ponder machines and the nature of software. Like lots of people I can write software that makes computers do things. But what is software anyhow? It is something completely intangible. It is virtual. It is not real. It is really an expression of an idea encoded so that it can be interpreted by a piece of hardware we call a central processing unit (CPU). If software itself is not tangible yet it can make tangible things like computers do useful work then why cannot our consciousness be just as real and alive yet intangible?

And just what is reality anyhow? This film at worst makes for intriguing speculation and at best makes a solid case that nothing may be real but all of existence may be wholly virtual. And if like me you get into the weeds on quantum mechanics and you learn that things we call solids are vastly empty entities comprised of vibrational strings pulsating at different energy frequencies … that really everything that can be perceived is pure energy … and you ask yourself just what is energy anyhow … then consciousness as the force that directs and shapes energy, which in turn forms matter, which in turn forms the boundaries of what we perceive to be reality … it no longer becomes some madman’s fantasy but something with breathtaking possibilities.

So this is not a movie for Joe Sixpack. This is not a movie for anyone set in his or her ways. This is not a movie for the devout. But this is a movie for people who want to stretch their minds.

This is also not a movie for those expecting stellar acting. I was a bit annoyed at times by Marlene Matlin’s acting (although my wife was impressed by her). I was annoyed by bit characters like the young African American lad who wants Amanda to join her in a game of quantum basketball. The special effects were sometimes overpowering and a bit too cute. But this is a movie about making you think and expand your horizons, not a movie out to win Academy Awards. On this level it succeeds very well.

Finding What the Bleep may not be easy. We found it at the Cinema Arts Theater in Fairfax, Virginia. I suspect the reason it is there at all is because after this review in Salon I sent an email to the theater asking them to show the movie. (I didn’t feel like going all the way into Georgetown to see the movie.) It’s on its second week at this theater and seems to be doing well. Eventually it will be released on DVD with lots of background interviews that should allow me to appreciate the breadth of the ideas presented. For now you will have to depend on a little less than two hours of show time to get your high on metaphysical speculation.

I won’t give this movie a rating. All I can say is that I enjoyed the movie. And if any of this sounds interesting or intriguing to you then you will probably find your time in the theater well spent.

 

7 Responses to “Review: What the Bleep Do We Know?”

  1. 6:16 pm on October 3 2004, robert said:

    Definately go see the movie. Keep an open mind though as to if you are seeing a peice of propaganda or not. The following are so far undisputed facts about the film and participants. 1. In addition to the films three directors, there were actors and others involved in the production who are long time “students” of Ramthas’ School of enlightenment. 2. A disproportionate amount of time was given if voice and film to Ramtha, Dr. Joe dispenza, and Miceal Ledwith. 3. Dr Joe Dispenza and Miceal Leadwith are both long time students and “appointed teachers at Ramthas’ school of enlightenment (RSE) 4. Dr Joe Dispenza (the one who creates his day) has gone to court and testified that his teacher (ramtha) has told him that terrible times are coming and that he needs to protect his family. He also invested over $10,000.00 in an infamous scam that infected RSE and was touted by Ramtha as a vehicle to gain fabulous wealth and many of the schools membership lost substantial sums of money. Some lost their entire life savings. This is the person who teaches the brain science in RSE. 5.Miceal Leadwith a clergyman with a rather dubious past (see http://unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?ca=36&si=770458&issue_id=7565) is the one chosen by the film makers to be the theological spokesman. He is also the theologian in residence of RSE. He also has been marketing several products within the school and its followers. Guess that could not have been done to easily in the Catholic church. 6. The following persons in the film have all spoken at RSE and sold books there. Fred Allen Wolf Dr Candice Pert Amit Gotswami John Haglin Joe Dispenza Miceal Leadwith and of course the big guy himself, Ramtha 7. One of the scientists who was in the film and had never appeared at the school is Dr David Albert Professor and Director of Philosophical Physics at Columbia university. He has stated in several venues that his views were totally misrepresented in the film. He claims that in over 5 hours of interviews he explained to the film makers why their concept of how Quantum Physics works has virtually no support in the scientific community. He even called in to a radio program the director was on to discuss this and was cut off. The host of the show said this was done because it was “negative” so much for no good or bad, that is unless it is convienent. 8. To date, there has been no response as to where the information which lead to the story about the indians not being able to see the ships of Columbus originated from. There appears to be no evidence to support this claim. In addition, the film mentioned “clipper ships” which were not even in existence at that time. Perhaps that is why they couldn’t see them. There were many more, but I will leave them for others. If anyone has any information to refute any of the facts laid out here, I will be more then willing to retract them. They are relevant because of the deliberateness on the part of the film makers to keep certain facts unknown (ironically, it is I making the unknown know) and misrepresent others.

  2. 9:41 am on March 29 2005, David said:

    I’m not a fan of JZ Knight (Ramtha) who I think is a load of crap. Dr. Albert’s views should have been shown. Dr. Tiller is highly qualified and has done some remarkable research, and there are several Nobel Prize winning physicists who would agree with much of what was presented, Bohm, Josephson off the top of my head. Also, as far as the non-locality research, look up the experiment conducted by Alain Aspect in ’82 which violated Bell’s Theorem.

  3. 3:17 pm on April 15 2005, Greg said:

    I just saw the film on DVD last night. As a filmmaker i though the film was indulgent, immature, and wasteful in its decisions of what to fill 2 hours of screentime. The acting was often weak, the script was poor, and the interviews were so cut up that they felt out of context without even seeing the raw footage. However, some of the concepts in the film were interesting and thought provoking especially on the topic of psycho/biological addictions and the examination of god. Despite my reprimand of the filmmakers, i recommend their film. I am just left with an anger that its subject and subjects couldn’t have been handled in a better more substantial manner.

  4. 1:29 pm on May 1 2005, mark said:

    great blog.

    Also, a great review of the movie. I am living in London and am still waiting for the launch of this movie – expected at the end of this month. Like you i have also read a lot about quantum mechanics, pyschology and philosophy. Very interested in NDE and the accounts of people that claim to have had experiences that sound 4/5 dimension like. For example, a sense that they are expanding…taking in all of the information in the room at the same time…and then, as Jung described it when he had a NDE, being in a state where the past present and future are one.

    Not that I am interested in one access point into this area, but Kabbalah made interesting reading…in the book The Power of Kabbalah, the author links quantum wisdom with the text of the Zorah. He goes on to explain what the universe/life actually is. They claim Kabbalah is dangerous in that it can make you go a bit mad…I certainly had a few anxiety flashes reading some parts of the book. But it was worth it. Wouldn’t go to one of the cetres though…the amount of water I drink – it would cost me a fortune.

    Anyway, hope you enjoyed reading this email from yourself…you wrote it. In fact these words are appearing now from your unconscious – you are creating them. You even know what’s coming next – it’s coming from deep within you….

    Goodbye

  5. 9:24 am on May 30 2005, Leah said:

    This movie is a load of crap. Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment is borderline to a cult. My personal belief? If you have to tell people you are not a cult, there is significant reason to believe you are a cult! DO NOT BELIEVE ANYTHING THIS CRAZED WOMAN SAYS! She tells you that after placing a pyramid on her head, she became enlightened, and claims that she died…. HUH?!? Visit ramtha.com for more information.

    SHES CRAZY!!!!!!AHAHHHHHHH!!!! RUN AWAY!!!!

    Of course, the movie raises some big points. But the directors (all three!!) are members of the Ramtha School of Enlightenment. Suspicious? YES! Watch the movie, but don’t take it as serious fact.

  6. 10:10 am on October 21 2005, Sergio Cagasort said:

    Cult ? Are you kidding. Our society is a cult, our institutions, media, government and corporations are the real cults. We are constanly bombarded with propaganda to control you like a sheep to buy into our product driven culture….ie the drug companies. What the bleep is enpowering, freeing and honors the indiviudual….wake up from your slumber, you have been conditioned not to belive in yourself so you can be controled and manipulated by outside interest…free yourself

  7. 12:28 am on August 29 2006, Katt said:

    Borderline…cult? Grab your dictionarys……definition of cult ….”a system of religious worship or ritual”…sounds a lot like Christianity don’t ya’ think?…..Am I a member of a cult? I’m pretty sure I am…Episcopalian here and we do follow a ritual every Sunday and it is a good thing! Any word can be misused to make a point. Just takes a better person to stop and look at the overall picture.

Leave a Reply

Switch to our mobile site