On the flight on the way back from Europe I was able to watch two movies. One was “Hypnotic” about a sinister conspiracy to use the mind’s power to control others through the telepathic creation of “hypnotic constructs.” The other was “Corner Office,” which depicts a middle manager who could be extremely effective in his work and personal life—but only in the context of a dignified, comfortably furnished corner office that significantly did not have any windows. Alas, all his co-workers saw was him standing zombie-like in the hall.
Given that so much of today’s theater is so predictable—violent superhero blow-em-ups or Hallmark rom coms—I thought both of these were credible attempts to explore a serious topic in an unconventional way. Yes, I could see elements of “The Matrix” and the like in “Hypnotic” and “The Truman Show” in “Corner Office,” but there is a difference between “evolution” and “cloning.”
With so much attention given to Artificial Intelligence these days—even prompting government hearings to pre-empt “Terminator” like future scenarios (as if the government could ever effectively anticipate anything. Talk about science fiction…) and the always intriguing topic of human psychology, these movies have a ready-made audience. After all, even the most rational materialist has had some fantasy about, say, “The Power of Positive Thinking” or seducing unsuspecting partners in “How to Pick Up Women.” That the overwhelming majority of psychology majors get hired by advertising firms brings the subject to a more squeamish level.
For someone like me who sees spiritual implications in just about everything nowadays, I automatically think in terms of Hinduism and their idea that all of our reality is a mental creation of “God/Brahman” to relieve the boredom of eternal perfection. For that matter, maybe this is what the Bible has in mind (as it were…) when it says that “God created man in His image.” (Gen. 1:27) To be human is largely about being able to imagine—and then to actually change reality to realize that vision. Recent work in quantum physics and the power of consciousness suggests that process may be more science than fiction.
So there I was, waiting for yet one more time to use the airplane bathroom. I looked over my shoulder and saw all the passengers either watching some screen or sleeping—and wondering who was which. I mused about what I have just written and indulged a smirk or two as to how I was able to observe it all with a smug detachment that just had to indicate some degree of superiority.
But then I couldn’t help but wonder what my co-passengers thought of me—standing there, in the aisle, by myself, lost in thought…zombie-like…