The docudrama "What the Bleep Do We Know!?" stars Marlee Matlin as a photographer, Amanda, who is going through a life crisis due, in part, to her penchant for repeating behaviors and relationships that have not worked in the past. A sort of Greek Chorus of “top experts” comment on Amanda’s existential crisis. With the help of cutesy computer generated characters, over-the-top acting, and annoying loud high-tech sound effects they advance a cocktail of Neuropsychological/Quantum Physics, and Spiritual concepts as a paradigm of Amanda’s dilemma. With the right consciousness Amanda can “infect the quantum field” and create a different reality. By the end of the film, she miraculously does just that.
The film imparts interesting information. People can become addicted to emotions like anger and feelings helplessness which is driven by our neurotransmitters. The fourteen experts weave a “mind over matter” message: we can change the world with our thoughts, anything is possible, and we are each god. I took my own expert along, physicist Dr. Waleed Haddad, so he could help me assess what their experts say.
One of the problems with "What The Bleep" is that it has enough credible science, with professionals such as physicist Dr. Fred Wolf and theologian Dr. Miceal Ledwith, that it’s easy to get sucked into the film. But, if you pay attention, by the end you learn that the insidious goal of the film– it turns out – is to push the filmmakers’ brand of cultish spirituality.
The film is annoying, starting with the title, "What the Bleep Do We Know!?" In the beginning, the narrator states that throughout history people have operated according to the prevailing theories of their time and that later the theories are proven wrong. So you’d think that with this title and statement the film would offer all kinds of information as theories or possibilities which would lead to more interesting questions. Sadly, they present their overreaching ideas as the truth and act like they indeed do know something that no one else knows.
Our consultant, Dr. Haddad could hardly stay in his theater seat when the film started using science – and pseudo science – to imply conclusions that lend credibility to their New Age propaganda. He says it’s dangerous to artificially support these abstract ideas using scientific concepts, and calls it “a disturbing form of manipulation.”
If Quantum Physics and String Theory are of interest to you Dr. Haddad suggests the recently aired and scientifically accurate PBS three-hour NOVA special, "The Elegant Universe".
Possibly the worst part of What The Bleep - which gave me the creeps - is the scary New Age lady who pontificates about Quantum Physics, Neuropsychology and God - which all conveniently support the spiritual beliefs. If you follow the links on the film’s website you can see she is connected to the Ramtha School of Enlightenment. Later we find out what her qualifications are: Mystic.
© 2004 - Joan K. Widdifield, Psy.D - Air Date: 7/04
What the Bleep Do We Know!
U.S.A. - 2004