This was a bad movie about really fascinating stuff! Too evangelistic for my taste, but a useful compendium of cutting edge theory in quantum mechanics, human biology and chemistry, and consciousness studies. I was fascinated by the whole neural net/nerve connection scenario in the brain – where repeated emotional experiences sortof install routine pathways that lead to a kind of “addiction” in which experiences that will stimulate those same pathways are sought….over time the biochemical pathways for other emotional experiences are impaired and eventually cut off. Its reparable – one can shift one’s neural nets – but requires concentration, deliberation, time, and repetition.
I had a couple of revelations while watching this movie – particularly around the notion of possibilities and that focusing the gaze “collapses the wave”. There is a scene in the movie when the protagonist (Marlee Matlin, not at her best) looks “away” while a bunch of basketballs and the wise kid (Rudy?) pepper and bounce about in numerous “places” – existing in all these spaces simultaneously. It’s the “wave” part of quantum mechanics – the energy of possibility. When she turns around – “looks” or focuses her gaze – the wave collapses into one “possibility”.
The ephiphany for me was that in this group dynamic that I sortof unleashed (dunno how else to describe it briefly), I “collapsed the wave” on a “possibility” that was an overlay of previous experience (the “past”) on this experience (the “present”). Here’s how I think it worked:
I sense the energy of the quantum wave. This “energy” is meaningful to me, potent, and “calls” me to engage with it. (There’s a tangent here about concentration of wave energy – the interactive part – that I think intensifies at given moments in a group: it was this intensification in particular that I sensed.) The energy is amorphous at this point – rife and ripe with possibilities. What does it mean? Where could it go? Anywhere! Literally – the possibilities are (were, sigh) infinite.
I respond to the call. I engage with the energy of the wave. I focus my gaze. And goddamn it but I “focus” based on previous experience and essentially “import” an interpretation into the group that has nothing to do with this particular, uniquely-configured, historically-situated and socially-specific group! The wave collapses. Possibilities vanish, evaporate. A chain of events is set in motion stemming from the things that my importation “calls” to in others. Who respond as they are “called”.
One keen observer who has pushed me hard on this noted that they found a problem with a “certain displacement in the lineage of your argument for change that appears problematic.” That “displacement” is, I think, exactly this “importation” or “overlay” of my neural net on the wave – which I can see all too clearly (now, painfully, in hindsight), and absolutely was damaging and hurtful to many, if not most of the members in the group.
It gets worse. Because I have now invoked a certain frame (race) it invites, more accurately “hails” others to interpellate me through the lens of race. And then, forthwith, all my entitlement and privilege as a white person becomes the most visible “cause” of “the problem.” Which leaves me, perhaps others, with little room to maneuver “out” of enacting an awful and painful pattern.
And – more humble pie – perhaps my entitlement and privilege as a white person IS embedded deeply in this scene because I felt “able” to bring my concerns to the group; I felt it was “allowable” to advocate for certain things that would benefit me and (I thought) others; and I felt it was somehow “ok” to do this generally, publicly, instead of privately.
I am working hard to reconfigure my neural net into an acceptance/belief in the possibility of a different (“new”) outcome (than me being “killed as the messenger” – which is the – my – historic pattern). [I do want the current race-based “hailing” to stop – to be “killed”; but I’m referring to the original “message” which was, most basically, about the presence of a concentration of energy…and THAT is another revelation!] The thing about the wave (the energy) is that it is fresh, new, untainted in each moment: it could be “collapsed” in a different direction at any point in time, however, this can only be co-produced through the interaction process itself, and if the train’s got enough momentum, it’s pretty dang tough to stop it in its tracks.