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A Quantum Fable: Fiction and Physics on Film – Versione Inglese e Italiana

Barbara Stahura - 01/01/2016
Su gentile richiesta dell'autrice ecco la versione originale in inglese di questo articolo, la versione italiana è rimasta comunque in fondo all'articolo. L'articolo integrale in italiano si trova sulla rivista Scienza e Conoscenza n. 10

English version:

If there was a movie--an entertaining movie, no less--that contained the real secrets for a happy and fulfilled life, would you see it? If this same movie told its message using beautiful animation, a storyline that many of us can identify with, and the latest cutting-edge information from quantum physics, molecular biology, and spirituality, would you see it? If this movie whacked you right between the eyes (in a good way, of course) in demonstrating how all human beings create their own realities, would you see it? If you do, you’ll be in good company. Such a movie exists and is gathering a huge following. It’s called What the Bleep! Do We Know?!, otherwise known as "What the Bleep." It was first released in the spring of 2004 in the western states and is slowly being rolled out around the country (see for information). It has been selling out theaters for months, which is an amazing feat, given that its subject is the nature of perception and reality, science and spirituality. But its enthusiastic reception is really no surprise to Will Arntz, the force behind the movie. He has been a research physicist, a computer programmer, and the owner of two very successful software companies. Along the way, he made a short, award-winning film with a friend, studied Buddhism, retired twice from his software companies with plenty of cash to show for it, and became interested in leading-edge science and spiritual inquiry. In the late 1990s, he started thinking about making his own film that combined science and spirituality. As he says, "I started getting a sense of the population out there, how there were just millions and millions, tens of millions, around the world who really are looking for this information. I got a real inner sense that this was true, and the thought dawned on me, if not me, who?" So he collaborated with Betsy Chasse and Mark Vicente to create "What the Bleep," financing the production with profits from the sale of his companies. Arntz has been surprised, however, at the sense of community that seems to be forming around the film. "It’s like a lightning rod for people who are interested in this type of material," he says. "People tell me, ‘I’m sitting in an audience of 300 people, and I thought I was the only one who thought this way.’ I get emails from people who tell me that driving home from the movie, they just burst into tears. They always thought they were alone. They thought they were crazy and there was no one else like them. And then they find there are all these people who love it also. "There’s a sense of growing community that people are hungry for," he continues, "and it’s quite amazing to walk into the midst of that. I’m not surprised that people like the movie, but what it seems to be doing on a cultural level is a surprise and quite wonderful." Shot in Portland, Oregon, the movie revolves around Amanda, portrayed by Marlee Matlin, a divorced, depressed photographer who gulps anti-anxiety drugs to help her cope with life. The beautiful animation illustrates the story on the microscopic and molecular levels, sometimes with hilarious effect. Finally, the documentary portions of the film--lively interviews with physicists, a molecular biologist, physicians, an anesthesiologist, and spiritual mystics, teachers, and scholars--provide the scientific and spiritual underpinnings to Amanda’s story, which is, of course, the story of humanity. So much valuable information comes hurtling out at the audience during a screening of "What the Bleep" that many people see it more than once. They’re already clamoring for the DVD, which Arntz says he won’t release until the theatrical release is complete, sometime in 2005. But the DVD set will be worth the wait, since it will include much more of the 60 hours of interviews the filmmakers conducted with the scientists and other experts in the film. Using cutting-edge research from quantum physics, "What the Bleep" demonstrates how human intention affects physical reality--a concept disallowed within the machine-like, Newtonian vision of reality that humanity has been following for several hundred years. The film also employs new research from neuroscience and molecular biology that shows how brain chemistry and function can, to some extent at least, be directed by conscious intent. In order to learn more about these concepts, I spoke with three of the scientists who appear in the film. Intention creates reality According to materials physicist William Tiller, Ph.D., the unstated assumption of science since Newton’s time is that "no human quality of consciousness, intention, emotion, mind, or spirit can significantly influence a well-designed target experiment in physical reality." However, rigorous experiments performed by Tiller ( and many others over the last several decades have "robustly disproved this assumption," he says. In fact, many such experiments clearly demonstrate that we humans truly are co-creators of our realities, not in some airy-fairy, new-agey way, but in a solid, concrete fashion, based on the most fundamental building blocks of physical creation as revealed by physics. "Intentionality is the path to creation," he explains, and since "nature is much more higher-dimensional than we realize, much more than just space-time, this underlines how we can learn to create. Everything we do in daily life, every single thing, is an act of creation." In fact, as he states in "What the Bleep," "I am much more than I think I am. I can influence my environment, people, space itself, my future." Expressing in the film his belief that "our purpose here is to learn the power of intentionality," he adds, "We are co-creating our future all the time, collectively, and if we really got that we are influencing our reality and applying our intentions to a particular direction of change and did it collectively, then, believe me, the world would change. Things would go flip very quickly." Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D., is also a quantum physicist, as well as a writer and former lecturer at the Holmes Institute ( He first became interested in physics when, at a young age, he saw a newsreel about atomic bomb testing. His early training in physics led him to quantum physics, "which leads me into the mind and consciousness because quantum physics is an integral part of it, the changing of probable realities into actual realities," he says, "and that effect is very mysterious and seems to be instrumental in everything from how we evolved to how we learn." He agrees with Tiller about intentionality, based on the theories of quantum physics, which point to "a subtle relation existing between mind and matter," he says. While the quantum physical effect on the world is "very difficult to appreciate in the world we see ordinarily, it most assuredly affects the ways we experience the world even if we cannot appreciate it," he says. "According to quantum physics, there is no reality until that reality is perceived" (my emphasis). This statement underlines one of the major points of the film. The main character, Amanda, undergoes a personal transformation as events show her how she does indeed create her own reality. She moves from being a self-hating, hostile person to someone who loves herself, truly understands that she has a choice in her experience of life, and then begins to make more loving, positive choices. The movie also examines the connections between quantum physics and metaphysics, a long-time interest of Wolf’s and a topic of interest to many followers of Science of Mind. He says that quantum physics is an objective way of exploring the physical world at its deepest levels, using mathematics and experiments, while metaphysics gets into the meaning of all that. "In other words, metaphysics is the overlying structure," he says. "If physics is the bones, then metaphysics supplies the tissue and meat and body." Yet despite all that quantum physics has taught us about the universe and ourselves, it’s still a mystery, and "the real trick to life is to be in that mystery," as he says in the movie. What does that mean? Wolf, who has written several books on these subjects, sums it up this way: "Being in the mystery is appreciating that we live in a world of paradox and utter confusion for human, limited intelligence if we attempt to rationalize all our experiences. For the world is a quantum physics universe where a thing both occupies a single place at a single time and occupies an infinite number of places at the same time. Yet there is an explicit order to the paradox. The problem is that we cannot reveal its entirety. We, who exist in the world of matter, can only disrupt that perfection of paradox by attempting to observe the pattern. We pay a large price for a material world. The price involves our sanity. We cannot make total order of our observations. There always appears to be something missing. This disruption of God's order appears to us as ‘The Principle of Uncertainty.’ Thus in trying to be in the know, we become helpless, feel inadequate, and long for the order we are helpless to create in the universe. All we can do is go along with it. "On the other hand, we are free to choose how we engage our lives. Our very helplessness to create a perfect order allows us to create. You might say that the Uncertainty Principle is a two-edged sword. It frees us from the past because nothing can be predetermined. It gives us the freedom to choose how we go about in the universe. But we cannot predict the results of our choices. We can choose, but we cannot know if our choices will be successful. "It all boils down to: Be in the mystery, not in the know." Brain chemicals do it all One of the most powerful themes of "What the Bleep" is the explanation of how our brain functions on a chemical level, producing neuropeptides and other substances that, quite literally, run the show. Our brain is the engine that powers everything we do, from breathing and digesting our food, to responding to anger and love, to deciding whether we want to get a degree in history or be a drummer in a rock band. In other words, our brain is the tool by which we pull our reality out of the quantum field of possibilities. And all that is done through chemical reactions. In "What the Bleep," this process is wonderfully illustrated with animation that reveals the lively action of brain chemicals of guests at a wedding Amanda is photographing. It is also explained in more depth in the film by Dr. Joseph Dispenza, a chiropractor and researcher into the relationship between brain chemistry and physical health. Part of what Dispenza and others explain in this scene is addiction. We’re all familiar with how people can become addicted to substances such as alcohol or heroin. But we usually don’t realize how we are all addicted to our own emotions, which at a foundational level are nothing more than chemical reactions in our brains. Whether heroin or emotion, both create chemical needs in our bodies that we then feel a need to satisfy repeatedly, which is the process of addiction. As he says in the film, "Addiction to emotions is not just psychological, it’s also biochemical." As we repeat an emotional process over and over, our brains create webs of neurons and nerves, called neural nets, that direct our behavior through their chemical functioning. Can’t keep a relationship? Enjoy running? Always acting as if the world is plotting against you, or bringing the good life right to your door? These are all patterns we develop based on our emotional experience, and they become ingrained into our neural nets through chemical action. As Dispenza says in the film, "Nerve cells that fire together wire together." This explains why we often do the same things over and over again, despite claims that we really do want to change. Fortunately, it is possible to create new neural nets, explains Dispenza. It’s all about making thoughtful, conscious choices instead of simply reacting through our old ones, usually made and embedded unconsciously. Make new choices often enough and strongly enough, and you’ll override existing neural nets and create new ones. This is the reason why affirmations and visualizations can be so effective: By consciously creating new thoughts and imprinting them in our brain, we build new neural nets. (To read more about how Dispenza does this, see This is how that process works in the brain: According to neuroscience, as explained in the film by Dispenza "The brain does not know the difference between what it sees and what it remembers. It calls up the neural net of past experience and uses that as a model of the present." Using functional brain scans, such as PET or SPECT scans or functional MRIs, researchers have peeked inside the brains of people who first looked at a material object, say, a plant. "So the person observes this plant, and the researchers see the visual cortex light up, and the brain processes, and there’s a certain pattern," Dispenza says. Then the researchers ask the person to imagine or visualize the same plant. "And the same regions of the brain light up as if the person was actually seeing it," he says. "It caused the scientists to back up and go, wow! We use the same exact machinery for perception as for what we remember." What this means, says Dispenza, is that we can "direct consciousness and energy to create a new reality." So, when we imagine something long enough and with enough detail and energy, we are causing our brains to "experience" it as if it were right in front of us, thus creating new neural nets. And, as Tiller and Wolf explain, this intention then shifts the quantum field to begin making this "something" real in the material sense. Very exciting news, indeed. And an entertaining movie with an improbable name is delivering that news to the world. Be sure to see it. Water’s Messages by Barbara Stahura A powerful scene in What the Bleep! Do We Know?! takes place in a train station. As the main character, Amanda, waits for a train, she is drawn to a series of posters, photographs of water crystals taken by Dr. Masaru Emoto, a Japanese scientist. Using a powerful microscope in a very cold room, he photographed water crystals and discovered an amazing thing: Water reacts to concentrated, specific thoughts directed to it. By essentially capturing water’s "expression" in his photos, Dr. Emoto has shown that thoughts affect physical reality. For instance, when a beaker of water had a paper with the words "love and gratitude" taped to it, the water formed beautiful, symmetrical crystals that look like snowflakes. Yet another beaker of water with the words "You make me sick. I want to kill you" taped to it did not form crystals at all. Instead, the water was an ugly jumble of incoherent shapes. As Amanda looks in wonder at these posters, a man comes up to her and explains that our bodies are 90 percent water and "if our thoughts can do that to water, imagine what thoughts can do to us." Dr. Emoto has published several books of his discoveries, Messages from Water 1 and 2 and The Hidden Messages of Water. They contain an explanation of his work and photos of various water crystals. In addition to words taped to beakers of water, he also exposed water to spoken words and various kinds of music. Interestingly, water exposed to classical music formed beautiful crystals, while water exposed to heavy metal was deformed and shapeless. For more information, go to and

Versione Italiana

Se esistesse un film – e questo film fosse addirittura divertente – che contenesse il vero segreto per una vita felice e appagata, lo vedreste?

Se questo stesso film comunicasse il suo messaggio usando una bella animazione, una trama nella quale identificarsi, e le più recenti teorie di fisica quantistica, biologia molecolare e spiritualità, lo vedreste? Se questo film vi colpisse in mezzo agli occhi (in senso buono, ovviamente) dimostrandovi che gli esseri umani sono gli artefici della propria realtà, lo vedreste? Se la risposta è sì, sareste in buona compagnia. Un film così esiste e sta ottenendo un grandissimo seguito. Si intitola What the Bleep! Do We Know?!, noto anche come What the Bleep. Proiettato nella primavera del 2004, dapprima nelle sale della parte occidentale del paese, si sta lentamente diffondendo in tutti gli Stati Uniti.[Il film sarà in Europa dal febbraio 2005 ndr] Per mesi i cinema hanno registrato il tutto esaurito, cosa assolutamente incredibile, considerando che l’argomento del film è la natura della percezione, la realtà, la scienza e la spiritualità. Quest’accoglienza entusiastica non ha, però, colto di sorpresa Will Arntz, la forza che si cela dietro al film. Arntz è stato ricercatore di fisica, programmatore e proprietario di due società produttrici di software di grande successo. Nel frattempo insieme a un amico ha realizzato un film breve, vincitore di un premio, ha studiato il Buddismo, si è ritirato dalle sue società, ottenendo in cambio un bel po’ di soldi, e ha cominciato a interessarsi ai più recenti interrogativi della scienza e della spiritualità. Alla fine degli anni ’90 ha iniziato a pensare di realizzare un film che combinasse scienza e spiritualità. Come lui stesso afferma: "Ho cominciato a sentire che le persone in tutto il mondo, milioni e milioni, decine di milioni di persone, stanno cercando questo tipo di informazioni. Dentro di me sapevo che si trattava di una sensazione reale, e intanto mi dicevo, se non io, chi"? Da qui è nata la sua collaborazione con Betsy Chasse e Mark Vicente che ha portato alla creazione di What the Bleep, di cui ha finanziato la produzione con i proventi derivati dalla vendita delle sue due società. E tuttavia Arntz è rimasto sorpreso dal senso di comunità che pare si stia formando attorno al film. "È una specie di parafulmine per tutte le persone interessate a questo genere di argomenti - afferma. La gente mi dice: “Sono seduto insieme ad altre trecento persone, mentre credevo di essere il solo a pensarla in questo modo” Ricevo e-mail da persone che tornando a casa dopo avere visto il film sono scoppiate a piangere. Avevano sempre creduto di essere sole, di essere pazze, che non ci fosse nessun altro come loro. Per poi scoprire tutta quella gente che condivide la stessa passione". "C’è un crescente senso comunitario di cui la gente ha un disperato bisogno, - prosegue - ed è assolutamente sorprendente entrarci dentro. Non mi stupisce che alla gente il film piaccia. Quello che mi sorprende, e che trovo meraviglioso, è ciò che il film sta facendo sul piano culturale". Girato a Portland, nell’Oregon, il film ruota attorno ad Amanda, interpretata da Marlee Matlin, una fotografa divorziata, depressa, che affronta la vita ingollando manciate di ansiolitici. La splendida animazione mostra la storia su un piano microscopico e molecolare, a volte con effetti comici. Infine, la parte documentaria del film – brillanti interviste con fisici, un biologo molecolare, medici, un anestesista, mistici, insegnanti e studiosi – fornisce la base scientifica e spirituale alla storia di Amanda, che è, naturalmente, la storia dell’umanità. Tutte queste preziose informazioni arrivano precipitosamente al pubblico durante la programmazione di What the Bleep, che molti hanno già visto più di una volta. E già la gente chiede l’uscita del film in DVD, che tuttavia Arntz non intende mettere sul mercato prima del 2005, dopo avere completato le uscite nei cinema. Ma dato che il DVD conterrà gran parte delle sessanta ore delle interviste degli autori con gli scienziati e gli altri esperti del film, varrà la pena aspettare....
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