I am a HUGE movie buff, whether it’s a new flick in 3D, or I’m sitting on my couch watching a film I’ve already seen 42 times, super excited because it’s coming on TV (again). I was blessed to be in Deepak Chopra’s company a few weeks ago. He brought up a movie he had recently seenand gave a strong endorsement around watching it. Surprising in and of itself since you don’t often find one of our era’s greatest spiritual thinkers yay-ing or nay-ing films Siskel-and-Ebert style (though I’m not sure why; the whole point of my recent movie-going experiences underscores #edutainment). Deepak Chopra recommending a movie is like someone telling me that eating birthday cake all day long constitutes an optimal diet. Wait, I can have my cake and eat it too?! I was amped and intrigued.
Back on the East coast and I finally got in to see Ex Machina. It played out in the most perfect way, on a rainy Saturday night with one of my best friends along for the ride. He and I work on the same plane of consciousness, asking similar questions about our existence and its meaning, and I knew he’d be the perfect companion to deconstruct with me afterward. As we sat down to watch this riveting commentary on artificial intelligence and what constitutes consciousness, I found myself floored (elevated, perhaps more aptly) by the questions it provoked. It was such a cool expedition into how exponentially quickly we invent machines, and how little prepared we are to handle some of the consequences. Like inventing computers and then putting them in the hands of hackers who can ground planes with a few keystrokes. It was also deeply disturbing, in a not-altogether negative way. It stirred up lots of brain-churning around where we’re going as a species, how human beings are evolving, whether computers and machines can ever really mimic human consciousness and what the consequences are if they do. Light-hearted Saturday night fun. A huge educational experience, because the best education doesn’t simply give you answers, it makes you think, and then find them for yourselves.
And it doesn’t always have to be such a heavy turn into our existential quandaries. I also recently saw “Inside Out,” a Disney-Pixar delight into the human mind of a little girl named “Riley.” It depicts in stunning animation the inner-most workings of the girl’s mind, replete with emotions with personalities, and memories represented by glowing balls stacked in our minds like marbles. It was actually a spot-on depiction of how we think, feel and act, how the qualities of these parts of our minds and bodies often feel so real they’re like people tucked inside of us.
I’m so impressed by the content making its way into big cinema these days, the sheer quality of the material and the patina with which it’s expressed. Learning and growing through movies? Keep it comin!