Sunday, March 20, 2005

Apophenia Jones

I am editing the poo out of a previous post because I either presented a joke too sloppily or vastly underestimated the sophistication of my readership.

I got an email from a friend (which sort of got me on this subject) telling me I had to see a film called "What the Bleep do We Know?" He said, "Wow this film really opened my eyes." Ok, all systems go. I'll roll the dice. There is no fucking way I'd ever link the film and after reading this post, you'll understand why.

So it’s a tale of a photographer who is at an impasse in her life because her husband has left her for another woman. She’s really pissed off and bitter and I think she’s trying to figure out how she could have seen it coming (at least this is how I have stitched the story together within the context of the subject matter that surrounds this woman's journey). So, interspersed with the events in her life are different “scientists” discussing quantum physics and reality and how us monkeys can’t perceive "true" reality, la la la.

So there I am, watching this movie, descending slowly into uncomfortable silence. You know the kind: You're a little afraid that the person next to you is actually enjoying what you're experiencing as a preachy, Jesus-less but still frighteningly dogmatic onslaught. The first hint that it was going seriously off into the whimsical forest of "What the fuck...." was when one of the "experts" in the film claimed that the natives of the Americas couldn't see Columbus' ships approaching because “…it was so unlike anything they’d ever seen before. They couldn’t see it.” No, I’m not kidding. I am not kidding. This, among other gems, like the claim that the sub-atomic world is a fantasy concocted by mad physicists and um, the assertion that a camera "sees a lot more than what is here". Wait, if it's not there...what??

That’s when I began the old lady "quiet-but-agitated muttering". And the highjinks just keep getting higher. By the end, I was shouting at the television. I was also looking forward to seeing the credentials of the people who had done some of the commentary. I mean, if these folks were real scientists, what the fuck had I been studying for three years? As the list went on, I noticed one thing in particular. There was a name: J.Z. Knight. And another. Ramtha. And between the two names? “Channeled by”. Cock of the head, blink blink of the eyes, slow nodding. Ohhhhhhh....

I hightailed it to the computer and uncovered the tragic truth. J.Z. Knight has made lots of money by claiming that she can channel an Atlantean (yes, I said Atlantean) warrior name of Ramtha. Together, she and Ramtha made a movie called “What the Bleep do we Know?” with the help of some of their pals and a dupe from Columbia whose testimony was apparently “creatively edited” to back up their claims.
The pals? Well, where to begin. A rundown can be found here.

What's bothersome about all of this spiritual junk is that there are people seeking truth who turn to people like Knight (among others) because they talk a good game about viewing things from a different perspective. The truth about she and other con people/gurus is that they're like methadone clinics without the methadone.

So, this leads us back to the original post about bullshit.

Harry Frankfurt's book/essay is especially relevant at the moment given the inordinate amount of liars I've come across of late and the creepy acceptance of lying by the masses. Or acceptance of things they'd previously shunned. For example, one of my biggest pet peeves is that some of the former catholics that I have known, who've complained heartily about the Pope (among other "holy men") call the Dalai Lama "His Holiness" without question. If that's not the biggest crock! Remember the good ol' days when you had to stage an inquisition or at least take over the world for that kind of reverence? Now all you have to do is be super-nice and get exiled from your mystical place of origin to score a sweet title like that.


If a person can create a passive audience, he or she becomes their own celebrity. And in a culture where celebrity has become more relevant and valued than integrity, it makes perfect sense that scripted conversation would outweigh objective reality. Junk food for the psyche. Or, people are just so damned apathetic they can't even manage a conversation anymore. Pedestrian answers I suppose. I think the truth rests somewhere in the fact that many of my own peers have either raised themselves or were alternately abused and then given idle "grudge affection" here and there. A lasting bitterness with a desperate desire for validity has produced a generation of selfish beings who are somewhat lost and lack the understanding of how rewarding emotional maturity can really be.

The point of all of this is: Everyone one is trying to make sense of a reality that not only thrives on bullshit, but exists because of it. We're the products of the vast amounts of fertilizer that we create. Making sense of fabrication is difficult at best and some of the roads that one travels in order to sort things out are fucking endless. Now that deities have to tug the rope against shrink wrapped, pop-culture icons, the gettin's good at the id/superego buffet. Simply put, there are more people and lots more bullshit to choose from. Like "What the Bleep" and the Dalai Lama (tm).

I'm also irked that William Orbit let them use one of my favorite songs on the soundtrack of that crap movie.

*edit: This is a fun link...