Movie Suggestion

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Movie Suggestion

Post by Speculum »

Last evening, Anna and I watched The Man From Earth. We enjoyed it a lot, enough that I'm thinking I will watch it again today.

Here are a couple of sentences from the description at Amazon: Based on renowned sci-fi author Jerome Bixby's final 1998 manuscript, Man From Earth is the long-awaited film adaptation in which Professor John Oldman (David Lee Smith) attempts to convince his fellow faculty members that he is 14,000 years old. Shot almost entirely inside Oldman's cabin as he's about to leave his friends and career, the film's dialogue consists of philosophical chatting about the possibility and ramifications of his alleged birth during the Upper Paleolithic era. As his faculty peers are all anthropology, biology, religion, and philosophy scholars, the conversation levels remain high throughout.

As written there, the story consists of a conversation among friends in a cabin. But it is a fascinating conversation! And it becomes all the more so when it turns to the principal character's experiences in biblical times.
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust
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Some afterthoughts ...

Post by Georg »

... after having seen this movie, too.

The tale of John Oldman creates a mirror onto which each of the other persons - except for Sandy - projects something of his/her own.
And all of them are hiding their projections behind some kind of "objective interest" or "search for objective truth"
(of course that is part of the story line, driving the discourse).

Except for Sandy - as she loves John, she is just listening and not in search for something "objective"
(and at the same time, she actually IS most objective, really attentive to what is happening).

And perhaps Dan - throroughly doubtful of everything he has lost touch with the "objective",
which gives him a chance to discover something.

There is some famous poem by the german poem writer Christian Morgenstern about this kind of objectivity,
it's called "The impossible fact" (Die unmögliche Tatsache).

In short (without the rhymes) - Palmström, some older guy, is being hit by a car, but he decides,
that this cannot have happened because cars are not allowed to drive where he walked.
Therefore he concludes that "there cannot be what must to be"
and therefore his car accident was only a dream and he just walks on.

This is what we do with reality quite often - we choose the option that "there cannot be what must not be",
it cannot have happened because we didn't expect it.

The more extreme example of this attitude is Edith - she is so relieved when "her truth" is restored.

I think the essence is that we are all "men and women from earth", carrying this history within us.
Where has all the unspeakable and unspoken experience of John Oldman gone and isn't a lot of it in us as "the collective subconscious".
And the speakable part - I find the thought intriguing that a man having lived so long has so little to say that we do not already know by history.
As Wittgenstein would say "there is little regarding reality that can be talked about".
"Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses" (Boethius)
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Re: Movie Suggestion

Post by zoofence »

Intriguing post! Thanks.

It is increasingly apparent to me that, quite literally, we observe and experience from where we stand, precisely because our reality is a projection of ourselves. The outer is the inner seen outerly. The only way to change what we observe and experience is to change ourselves; the projected reality will change accordingly.

For me, what that means is that none of us observes (experiences) the same reality, no matter how close or intimate or empathetic or compassionate we may believe ourselves to be in our relationships with others.

It also means that the reality each of us observes (experiences) is true ... for the observer/experiencer. That is, it is the "truth" of our current selves, because that is what we project outward, and observe.

It is not until we transcend the separative ego ("I am me, and you aren't me") and emerge in Self-Realization, that the Truth that is Unique and the Same Eternally is Apparent. But that is not a phenomenon (if that's the proper word) we can generate.

So, it is just as you say ...
This is what we do with reality quite often - we choose the option that "there cannot be what must not be",
it cannot have happened because we didn't expect it.
... except I would change your "quite often" to "always". So long as we identify with the separative ego, we are unable to observe and experience otherwise, no matter how hard we try.

You wrote,
As Wittgenstein would say "there is little regarding reality that can be talked about".
Precisely, because the separative egoic personality is unable to perceive reality, other than its own realty, which is, by definition, unreal!

I am in the process of reading Lost Christianities by Bart Ehrman which is a consideration of the competition among Christian sects in the first couple of centuries, their gospels and other written works, orthodoxies and heresies, and how we ended up with the "Christianity" we know today. It is an easy read and interesting stuff. The point here is that the group which emerged the winner in the competition among sects back then in effect manufactured "the Christian reality" that exists today.

Just so, the character in the movie suggests a different reality about Jesus than what has come down to us through history, in the Gospels and Letters of the New Testament. So, the question is, did the sect which "won" the competition among the early sects simply insist "there cannot be what must not be", and rewrite the "reality of Jesus" to reflect their perspective? And if so, did they do so not out of maliciousness (that is, not as a grab for power), but simply because that's the way they observed it and experienced it and perceived it because that is who they were on the inner. From their perspective, their view and report of the Jesus phenomenon (his life, his death, his resurrection, his teachings, etc.) was not "our view" (that is, it wasn't "personal"), but rather it was the "truth", because that is all they could perceive: their own perspective. We perceive what we are.

In one of the Seinfeld television shows, the character "George", while teaching the character "Seinfeld" how to pass a lie detector test, says, "It is not a lie if you believe it is true".

Thanks, too, for sharing the Palmstrom poem! Very cool.
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Re: Movie Suggestion

Post by Reinhold »

It appears that we do not see the world as it is but the way we are. And many people appear to be in a mess when it comes to the question "Who am I?"

There is a webcast posted on where Isaac Shapiro handles both aspects quite thoroughly.
At 1:34 hours he points Eddy towards his real self very in a very clear and direct way. Brilliant!

The most promising way to come close to reality is to stay in pure perception without any evaluation of the perceived and without any attachement to thoughts which usually arise during perception. Some meditations try to stop thought completely, which does not work in my reality. So sit in silence, let thought happen but do not identify with it. Thoughts are temporary anyhow so nothing to be concerned about. In the end: thoughts are not us.

More about how we are can be read in books or seen in videos by Anthony de Mello.

Recently I stepped across Jiddu Krishnamurti's talks with the theoretical physisist David Bohm "The future of Humanity". J. Krishnamurti proposes a look into the world from his point of view "I am the world". At first glance he comes to some strange conclusions as this perspective is not very common to most people who have been conditioned by family and society to feel as seperate, individual persons. Keeping in mind that J. Krishnamurti speaks psychologically only it becomes a little bit easier to understand him. He points into a direction that there is "mind" (intelligence which is unchangeable) common to mankind and that all psychological suffering is caused by the egoic conditioning of humans which is strongly supported by thought. J. repeatedly makes the point that mankind's common consciousness is mainly determined by common suffering around the globe, independent of religious beliefs and political societies.
According to J. Krishnamurti it is possible to connect with the "mind" by being silent (thought must be still) and receive deep responses through enquiring specific questions. This he calls meditation and this is also where love can be.

During the last weeks there arose the intuitive idea that Christ may have tried to combine buddhism with jewish beliefs
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Re: Movie Suggestion

Post by Georg »

Hello Reinhold,

I agree now that thoroughly asking the question "Who am I" is the shortest path!

And I have to admit that I was struggling with the german word "Bewußtsein" as a translation of "awareness", because it has the connotion of "consciousness", which implies some kind of "knowledge" and thefore a separation between the "knowing" and the "known". While probably any word is misleading in some way, I'd rather tend to use the german word "Aufmerksamkeit" now.

Because "my" mind is still liking theories, here is one about how man got into the state he is in:

Long ago, our ancestors started to use tools.
The use of tools requires some sort of planning.
Mind evolved as the tool for planning, "the tool of tools".
There are some important general aspects of planning the use of tools, these are:

time and space (which corresponds to building some abstraction of reality suitable as a model for planning the use of tools),
cause and effect (which corresponds to using memory to call up past experience and make it useable for planning),
subject and object (the "subject" being the "red line" keeping the planning process focused on the acting mind-body,
the object being the "target", usually food)

E.g. bow and arrow involve all of these aspects.
These aspects evolved as the general categories of mind and subsequently language (which allowed to share the planning).
And at some point the real self got lost in the planning (thinking) process and the categories of subject and object took over.

If you watch a baby growing up, it still has to "learn" these categories.
But with the acquisition of language, thinking somewhat starts to take over permanently.
"Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses" (Boethius)
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Re: Movie Suggestion

Post by Reinhold »

Hello Georg,

like your theory on how mankind came into the state it is in.
Yes, the brain is a phantastic tool to solve problems in the physical world and to do so it need to separate things and apparantly also to generate the illusion that we are separate individuals.

Your reference to the ("innocent") baby reminds me of Jesus, who said we should become like children.

Thorough perception of the present - without expectation, desire, judgement - is the entry door to the true self.

This moment is all there is. Past is based on memory and incomplete. Future is an illusion of the brain usually generated out of (incomplete) memory and projection.

In thorough perception of what is, thinking comes to an end, there is only this and we are fully in it.
And this is as god(!) as it can get. God and us become one in this perception.

But limited mind comes back with judgements, comparisons, and the story of a separate indivudual which feels to be incomplete - and the suffering starts.

Life happens with or without the story of a separate individual that live it.

Have a look at Tony Parsons videos on Google and have a good laugh, or, if you prefer it a bit more intellectual, have a look at Jeff Foster.