I had the privilege to watch “What the *bleep* do we know?” a few years ago, during my last year of undergrad, in an anthropology class; and I have to say that I simply loved it! It is part-documentary and part-story about Amanda, a divorced photographer, who finds herself in a magical “Alice in wonderland” type of experience. Her daily, boring and uninspired life suddenly begins to unravel as it starts to reveal a molecular world revolving around quantum physics, also known as the “physics of possibilities.” The film tries to illustrate that everyone has the ability to lead the life that they want to lead, despite all the obstacles that are surrounding it. It is the power in us that can make changes for the better.
The film talks a great deal about quantum physics, neurophysiology, and organized religion. Yet, despite any misrepresentations that these theories may propose, the only thing one should take away is that our thoughts create our reality. And many of us have this common belief that our conscience is created from our experience. This means that every single one of us affects the reality that we see. Our thoughts, alone, can completely change the body, for e.g.: if we accept that we can walk on water, then perhaps we would be able to do it. So, if we think of certain things, our realities can become more concrete. Reality is already there; it exists, but we have to CHOOSE experiences, through our consciousness, and then create our own reality from it.
Rene Descartes theory of mind-body duality assumes the existence of two distinct principles of being in the universe: spirit and matter; or soul and body. For him, there is no such thing as the separation of the mind and body. His famous quote “I think, therefore I am” states that our mind literally creates our bodily existence. Similarly, the film argues that the only thing great is not what we do to our body, but rather what we do to our mind. And we have the tendency to formulate what we want and become so focused on it that we suddenly lose sense of ourselves.
Thus, contemporary anthropology cannot exist without this idea of embodiment, which fuses the mind and body into a single being. It is argued that all knowledge is embodied and created between subjects and objects. Medical anthropology agrees that the knowledge of how to function in society is actually embodied. A good example of this is illustrated in the film where the Native Indians, during the beginning of Colonialism, couldn’t really see Columbus’ ship approaching. This was mainly because they had no knowledge in their brains that the ships actually existed. However, when the Shaman looked and looked, he finally saw the ships and then made everyone else believe that they could see it as well. This shows that the brain does not know the difference between the internal and external worlds. It is only when it is learned that the brain starts to realize and see the differences.
The ultimate point is that we, indeed, have the power and the ability to lead the life that we want to lead. Despite all of the ‘obstacles’ in our lives, the power is in us to make changes for the better.
As I said earlier, the film talks, in great depth, about quantum mechanics, neurophysiology, and organized religion (in such a way that scientists and religious folks are offended over feelings of misrepresentation); but despite any errors in presenting scientific data, the only thing one should take away from this film is that our thoughts create our reality. For example, if I say that I am a stupid person (or remain in an environment where I am consistently told that I am stupid or unintelligent), then I will depict actions and behaviours that would deem me as such. Additionally, if I call myself ugly, foolish, or a bad person (or allow myself to be called such things), then they will manifest and become true. If, however, I view myself as being good, compassionate, intelligent, beautiful, and successful – not in a half-hearted positive-thinking kind of way, but as a full-blown conviction – then I will see the changes in my life; as this is what I would have, in effect, created.
Thus, the film challenges us to explore the idea that we can control what most people think is uncontrollable, i.e.: finances, health, beauty, happiness, etc. It really does not take a quantum theorist to see how our thoughts and patterns of behaviour affects and creates our lives. All we need to know is that who we are is only limited by who we ALLOW ourselves to be.