What the Bleep? Evidence of Elevating Consciousness

As though you needed more evidence of how the internet and Web is accelerating the connectedness of humankind, read The World is Flat, A Whole New Mind or this article in today’s New York Times (registration required).

To my amusement, the NYTimes article inadvertently presents evidence of a much more intriguing and powerful trend than “Hollywood doesn’t get it”: that there is a large and growing (and relatively unidentified) groundswell of seekers on the hunt for meaning, understanding, social connection, anchors, direction and legacy. Whether you deliver products or services — and are wrestling with how to adapt in this time when people are racing from traditional media to the internet — this group of seekers is elevating their consciousness and I’d advise us all to be watchful and in sync with this trend as it unfolds.

The article talks about the sequel to What the Bleep Do We Know?, a film called What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole.

“What the Bleep Do We Know!?,” – a quirky cinematic look at the intersection of science and spirituality – spawned worldwide study groups, a cottage “Bleep” industry and a coterie of fans who have been clamoring for a sequel since the film’s release two years ago.

That follow-up, “What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole,” is to open in theaters in New York, California, Arizona, Washington and Oregon next month. The first film drew gross revenues of more than $11 million, not bad for a film with no immediately identifiable audience.

But Hollywood still seems to be scratching its head over the little hybrid that combined a narrative starring Marlee Matlin, animation and interviews with scientists discussing how quantum physics, molecular biology and neuroscience can affect one’s everyday reality.

What is going on with people that a film like this has such a following?

As I said above, people are increasingly searching for social connection, meaning, anchors, direction and legacy. It’s the fuel that is attracting people to cluster in geographically disbursed affinity groups (just check out Technorati‘s front page “Exploring the Blogosphere” to see how they’ve clustered bloggers). It’s making MySpace, Facebook, blogging, podcasting and other participatory socialization activities and clustering de rigueur for anyone with an internet-centric life.

I could link to numerous articles that discuss emerging social networking concepts and offerings, but instead I’ll stay with the theme of this popular movie and its upcoming sequel. A few things in today’s NYTimes article leapt out at me as evidence of elevating consciousness and figuring out what the hell is going on isn’t simple:

  • Mark Vicente, another of the “Bleep” filmmakers, said he believed that “Hollywood may not have recognized the large size of the human potential movement and so they’re watching this emerging consciousness-inspirational film genre very carefully.”
  • William Arntz – a longtime student of metaphysical subjects who financed the films with profits from selling two software companies – is not.“Part of the phenomena is people realizing it’s not some weird fringe thing,” he said, adding that many viewers had told him they simply had their notions about how the universe worked validated, rather than changed, by the scientific information contained in the film. “It was a conscious decision to use the language of science which, by its very nature, is much more neutral. If you use the language of spirituality, everyone thinks you’re talking about religion.”

One of the most cogent analyses of the film and what it means is here:

“What The Bleep! Do We Know” tells us that life as we know it is really much more subjective than we generally think it is and asks the question, “who is responsible for my life being what it is today?”  The answer, of course, is you.  You are responsible for your life being what it is today because from a scientific standpoint (the mystics and scientists tell us), your life is purely what you perceive it to be.”

I have to admit that What the Bleep disappointed me since I’m a lay student of quantum mechanics, string theory and other aspects of understanding our universe. I read many books on these subjects but don’t have the requisite knowledge to fully understand all the nuances.

When the movie came out I eagerly anticipated that they would marry the documentary interviews with animated, conceptual models that would deepen my understanding of the mysteries of dimension, quantum theory and our universe. It was far too simplistic…but that was the point in order to reach a mass audience rather than geeks (and I should note that I just watched a trailer for The Double Slit Experiment in the movie and this is EXACTLY what I had wanted in the first one…so I’m enthusiastically waiting for this next film!).

What the movie did was hit a hot button for those seekers of elevated consciousness — people that had NOT read much of the science in these fields, weren’t scientists but wanted to understand more — and on that level it has succeeded wildly.

The point of the film (and wonderful aspect) to me is that there are so many people seeking. If you are building Web or internet-centric applications and are scratching your head over whether to add social connectedness and participatory aspects to it, just add ’em and make them core to what you deliver. If you’re wrestling with how to better engage with the thought leaders among us, find those who are building these types of applications or offerings upon which you can incorporate new and innovative methods of reaching these seekers.


  1. chris karambelas on November 18, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    hi there,

    just wanted to ask somting that im a little confused about. i love the movie what the bleep and understand it in great detail, but am not sure if the string theory fits into it. do the mystics and scientist from what the bleep believe in the string theory or do they disagree. they are refering to the smallest things in the world as waves of energy is this the same as “strings?”

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.