What the Bleep Do We Know? (the movie)

This thread is about the film 2004 film What the Bleep Do We Know? starring Marlee Matlin.

First of all, if there has already been a thread about this, I’d thankee for a link (I couldn’t find one).

Second, while I understand why a mod might want to move this to CS, I truly belive it doesn’t belong there. I don’t what to discuss the acting or the directing or the score or the costumes. I want to explore the scientific and metaphysical aspects of the film. If you, a mod, have seen this movie, I hope you agree it belongs here.

That having been said, I ask the reader: Was this movie a profound insight into the metaphysical applications of quantum theory into our every day lives? Or was it some sort of weird cult indoctrination propaganda? Why?

My vote goes for Wierd Cult Indoctrination. Visit the wikipedia entry .

Interesting link.

I was really enjoying this movie until they did the part about Columbus’s ships. They lost me with Emoto’s water crystals.

But the ships – is there any evidence other than speculative that the Indians didn’t see Columbus’s ships because they were not conditioned to see them? Any documentation on this other than new-age feel-good tripe? When the Indians finally saw the ships, did bumblebees suddenly start falling from the skies as well?

No, no, and no.

There was a long thread on the business about the Indians not seeing Columbus’ ships maybe 6 months ago. The general feeling was that this was pretty ludicrous, since nothing like it exists in the surviving records of Columbs’ voyage (so where did the screenwrter get it?), and because almost no one here thought it was reasonable that the natives wouldn’t have seen anything.

There is some support for the idea people who have no experience of certain visual stimulae have no way to process it. For instance, people with no ability to see before a certain age then suddenly gain sight will never be able to process sight correctly. And people born in a world with little depth, such as a jungle, will never develop depth perception. Some of these phenomena are well-documented, and some more speculative. However, I know of no hypothesis that suggests that unfamiliar objects are rendered invisible. It seems like the film makers at the very least vastly misinterpreted something there.

I thought this movie sounded trippy and absurd when I heard about it, but this actually seems a bit sinister. That’s a documentary for you, I suppose.

That makes sense, but I’m sure it’s related to the brain’s development during childhood, not some psychological thing.

Except, of course, for the Somebody Else’s Problem Field.

Are you sure about this?

I have read the anecdote about various jungle inhabitants thinking that the approach of (or their approach to) a large animal on the veldt was the result of an insect being expanded by magic. However, these were always described as first impressions, not of permanent situations that were not simply “corrected” by further experience. (I am also aware of the anecdotal nature of the reports. I have always found it a bit less than wholly credible that a person could live in a jungle so dense that they never saw another person increase or decrease in size on a trail, that they had no villages in clearings where they could see the result of perspective (if on a rather more modest scale than suddenly being exposed to a treeless savannah), or that they never noticed that birds taking flight toward the sky appeard to shrink as they got farther away.

Nope. My GF the shrink told me about it but she says that in the psychological community it’s pretty apocryphal.

Hijack on the title -

My local video store has this in stock, and though I’ve never wanted to rent it, the title is noticeable. The one I’ve seen (transliterated, of course) is “What tHe bleer dth oS kpow!?” The Wikipedia article suggests that this may be the Australian version, and the picture shown there has #*$! for the third word. Is that the one in most other American video stores, or is it just a matter of confusion (mine or Wikipedia’s).

I don’t have it with me at the moment, but I think on the box the third word was “#$*!”, but on the Blockbuster take-home box it was “BLEEP.”

The thread in question, which was specifically prompted by the claim in the film.

I may as well take the opportunity to add a half-assed coda to that thread. At the time, I half-remembered, but did not mention, that there’s a similar story told by Carl Sagan in Cosmos. I have a fairly vivid memory of the sequence from the TV series, but didn’t - and don’t - have a copy of the book to check it in. At some point after the thread had died, I happened to come across a copy of the book and confirmed that there was indeed such a passage in it. Needless to say, sufficient time has since passed that my memory of the story is barely better now than when the thread was active.
But, IIRC, it’s in the context of him discussing how we might react to the arrival or discovery of a much more advanced extraterrestrial civilisation than our own. The story involved a European sailing ship arriving off the territory of, again IIRC, a native American tribe and them seeing it as a giant crow or something.

Sagan didn’t reference the story particularly well, if at all, and I wasn’t quite prepared to take his word for it as it was. But it did strike me as a possible alternative origin for the - still completely unconfirmed - mutation that the native couldn’t perceive the ships at all.
Presumably, there are plenty of Dopers who do have a copy of Cosmos to hand and so someone can post what Sagan had to say on the matter.

I have the book but haven’t read it. I may or may not still have that episode on DVR.

I should point out that while the invisible ship story sounds pretty ridiculous on the face of it, I am reminded of this.

Unless the Indians were concentrating on something else at sea, it seems unlikely that a similar mechanism would have been at play.

Maybe I’m dense, but I don’t get it: Is the point of this video that the basketball players, when asked afterwards about the the gorilla, said, “What gorilla?”

As for comments on the movie: (It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, so please correct any misrecollections) Even if one takes as true (and I don’t) some of the surprising “revelations” of consciousness vis-a-vis quantum mechanics, it doesn’t mean that “observation creates reality” means that “I choose the details of the reality made”

I did like, however, the visual representation of mood altering chemicals. There is value in recognizing that moods and biochemistry affect how life events are interpreted - sometimes creating self-fullfilling prophecies. Despite the almost certainly inaccurate story of the Indians and Columbus, the point is well made how unreliable perceptions can be.

Each of the panelists inteviewed come off as authorities. It’s no surprise they saved identifying them until the end - failed physicits, new-agers, that freaky J.Z. Knight channelling whazzhisname from Atlantis - sheesh.

On the whole, not a flick I’d offer in the fight against ignorance.

From page 303 in my copy of Cosmos, Chapter 12: Encyclopaedia Galactica

(More about them sending an old warrior to investigate. I’m not typing it all)

Sagan references this as from G.T. Emmons - The Chilkat Blanet

So a story of initial confusion, then further investigation to figure it out.

No, it’s that viewers, when asked afterwards about the the gorilla, said, “What gorilla?”

And it was misinterpreted by people who consciously tried not to look at it. It being the thing that was hardly invisible.

Not only does this movie play fast and loose with quantum theory (a popular New Age pastime), but it seems to me that including Ramtha for more than humor value eliminates it from any serious discussion.