Thursday, May 30, 2013

I Am...

The documentary I Am by producer Tom Shadyac is a marvelous summation of our class.   Below is my own summation of the movie and in parenthesis are all the ways that I see the movie related to sociology:  -->
This documentary was created by Tom Shadyac a writer/director of many Hollywood blockbuster films: Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, Liar Liar, The Nutty Professor, Bruce Almighty, Patch Adams, Accepted, and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.  After a serious injury, Shadyac confronts the truth in front of him and sets out to find more meaning in his life and in our world.  The film displays a number of ideas and themes that we have discussed throughout our class.

Shadyac asks, “What’s wrong with the world? And what can we do about it?”

“Humanity is going to require a new way of thinking if it is to survive” – Albert Einstein

Science is a story. It changes over time.  Part of the story of science, since the Enlightenment, is that people are like machines; we are made from materials and we are mechanistic.  We operate in the world under that assumption.  We compartmentalize each other and our world this way.  This way of thinking creates a separateness (individuality), a competitiveness and a materialism that pervade Western society, especially the United States.  (Culture)

“Be suspicious of what you want.”  -Rumi

Native Americans noticed this way of thinking when Europeans first came to the Americas.  They have a word called “wetico” which means a sort of cannibalism where one culture eats or destroys another culture’s way of life.  What we now know is that we are more than the sum of all of our parts and we are connected to much more than ourselves.  Each individual is connected to all other humans, not just in the United States, but in the world.  And each human in the world is connected to all living things.  And all living things are connected to the non-living.

One myth that has been promoted that prevents us from realizing this interconnectedness is the belief that essential nature of humans is to be competitive, instead of cooperative to dominate instead of subordinate, to seek kingdom over democracy.  This is a myth promoted inaccurately by supporters of Darwin.  Instead, the basis of nature is egalitarian, cooperative and democratic.  Darwin mentioned, “survival of the fittest” twice and “love” 95 times.  Humans evolved to cooperate.  Sympathy is the strongest human emotion.  We have mirrored neurons that help us have sympathy.  Our vagus nerve helps us to elevate us to compassion.  Desmond Tutu says, “We belong because we need other to make us human.” (Socialization)  When we serve others with empathy, love and compassion, it creates deep contentment that literally makes us healthier and nourishes our mind and body.  Anger makes us stupid.  It inhibits our thinking.  Our heart is our primary access point to our higher self. 

“Do something that makes your heart sing.”

“What was said to the rose to make it open was said here to me in my chest.” – Desmond Tutu

“There is only one way to eat an elephant; one piece at a time.”

“The sea is only drops of water that have come together.”

We can’t solve global poverty, but we can do something about that guy over there.  Each of us should do something and because we are all connected it all makes a difference.  (Sociological Mindfulness)

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