Last entry we talked about psychobiologist and author David Jay Brown, who gave my approach to visualizing the dimensions a very positive mention in his recent textbook The New Science of Psychedelics. This time we're going to talk about a film released this year by Terry Gilliam, who regular readers of the blog will know I'm a huge fan of, and who I had the chance to work with when one of his stranger films, Tideland, was shot here in Saskatchewan in 2006*. Terry's new film, The Zero Theorem, is rooted in a mystery I've talked about many times with this project. Here's one of my videos about this concept: Imagining the 'Zeroth' Dimension.
In The Zero Theorem, Christoph Waltz puts in an electric performance as Qohen Leth, a worker for the mega-corporation Mancom, charged by Management with the dreaded task of proving the Zero Theorem. Here's some dialogue from the film, in which "Bob" (the precocious teenage son of Management) explains to Qohen one version of the solution to the Theorem:
this one-time-only big bang glitch.
if you really think about it.
just as it was at the beginning.
Mr. Leth. Nothing is for nothing.
A harsh conclusion? You bet, and this takes us back to another point I mentioned last time: there is a certain mindset which teaches that anyone who believes in free will is being tricked by the chemistry of their body into believing they have control, when in reality every outcome is inevitable. Looking back at our lives, do we see any evidence of multiple outcomes, of cats that are both alive and dead? No, there is only one reality, one possible version set in motion at the beginning of the universe and continuing inexorably to the end.
The counterpoint to that idea, for me, has always been contained within the fifth dimension - the dimension at "right angles" to our 4D space-time, where the multiple outcomes of Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics have room to co-exist. As I mentioned a couple of entries ago, the fact that Christopher Nolan's new film Interstellar also embraces the idea of a fifth spatial dimension (with the approval and support of a mainstream physicist!) is very exciting.
I believe that Terry Gilliam's film does a masterful job of showing these two viewpoints, and how accepting that there is something unchanging and everlasting from which our universe or any other is derived does allow us a certain peace, regardless of which viewpoint you subscribe to. Please watch The Zero Theorem and see if you agree.
Next entry we'll do a quick review of The Science of Interstellar, the new book written by Kip Thorne, the famed physicist who acted as a technical advisor to Christopher Nolan's challenging film throughout its creation.
Enjoy the journey!
*As I've mentioned before, my son Todd and I co-wrote a song that one of the on-screen characters sang in Tideland. My company, Talking Dog Studios, also was in charge of dubbing all of the daily location recordings from Dolby SR to a digital format.