Essay 02 - Mindwalk

 14 September 2000 

 

A close friend of mine once told me that you must get away from those that you love in order to continue loving them. He referred, I think, not only to relationships between people, but also to the relationships that we humans have with the world around us. Society, our views, our homes, I think that all of these things, if we live too much in them, lose much of their meaning without exposure the things that contrast with them.

William Blake, the poet that the less reductionist characters in Mindwalk liked so much, thought much the same thing. We experience best, most powerfully, those things that we constantly are reminded of being without. That is perhaps why this film, Mindwalk, takes place at Le Mont Saint-Michel. It is as much an island, as much a way to get away, as many can find in the connected world of today. True, tourists flock to it on a daily basis, but that makes it in some ways even further from home: this is a place that people go to be told what others who lived long before them thought of the world, to experience a world far different from theirs- and perhaps learn from it.

Certainly at least this getting away is the reason that the three characters in the film came. The physicist has been away a long time from her world. Long enough, at least, to think over all that ills it, and let the others know just how wrong it is. The poet does not speak much of his life, but I think that poets and artists always have a tendency and need to get away from their lives. That is perhaps why he brought the politician along. The two have such opposed views that talking about them offers him a fresh look at his own ideas. The politician, then, must have been surprised to find this 'outing' turn into such a thought-provoking discussion, as he is most likely used to spouting views that he has told himself or been told by others to hold rather than those views that he finds by looking deep into himself.

That, though, is the most important part of this journey for each of them. They have gotten away from their lives, come to one of the most beautiful places on earth to marvel in things beyond their ordinary conception, and brought with them the views that form their conception. By contrasting those views that the constantly reinforce with the things that do not fit them, they learn about themselves. By running into each other, they've been given a rare opportunity to examine themselves- to take a walk through their minds, if you will, and see what they have been so used to seeing that they have been blind to.

 

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