Monday, December 27, 2010


Tom Shadyac, an extremely successful Hollywood director, had all the toys and luxuries that money could buy but still wasn't happy.  Then he had a mountain biking accident which left him with post-concussive syndrome.  As he dealt with his injuries and continued to question, he set out on a journey that resulted in the uplifting documentary, I AM.  

I AM illustrates its message, "We're all connected" persuasively in scientific and straightforward terms.  It makes the case that cooperation, not competition, is far more important to the Darwinian world we inhabit and that the smallest of actions can have impact.  Rather than be paralyzed by the enormity of the problems, I AM encourages us to act with empathy and sympathy.

Shadyac did a Q&A session after the movie and I was impressed with the level of intelligence present in his discourse.  Some in the audience wished to take his message into the realm of new age spirituality and Shadyac did an admirable job of validating their views while still maintaining a grounded realism.  It seems to me that there is something to this idea that while we can't yet scientifically explain it, we are all connected on a physical, biological but mysterious level.  He uses an Einstein example of two spinning atoms separated by a great distance, each of which simultaneously mirrors changes made in the other's rotation.  We don't yet understand why it occurs, but we know it does.  The linear, rational being that I am appreciated Shadyac's well-reasoned argument.

I saw the movie, What the #$*! Do We Know, a few years back and left the theater feeling like I had just been fed a bunch of weird mumbo-jumbo.  It was just too over the top.  I AM strikes me as similar but much more plausibly presented than What the #$*! Do We Know. 

And taking its message to heart can't hurt.

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