Essay 03 - Mindwalk

 21 September 2000 


The idea that nothing holds meaning except in its relationship to other things is an interesting and powerful one. The poet illustrated it beautifully with his example in music. Sound related with sound over time gives us melody, sounds with each other at the same time harmony. One note alone in time and 'space', its place in the range of frequencies, means little or nothing. Add just one note or the same again in time, and it ceases to be a sound and becomes some form of music.

This idea of relationships holds everywhere, I think. Perhaps the world can be reduced to its parts, but it is incredibly difficult to do so on a higher level. Why? Because of the huge number of relationships each part has with other parts around it. It is not so difficult to understand one part of a system, but one part of a system can never mean as much as the system it is a part of. The incredible number of constant relational changes in the universe is what makes our universe so alive. As the physicist points out, it occurs even at an atomic level. This dance, so vital to the existence of our reality, is indeed like Shiva's dance, as the poet said.

While the characters in Mindwalk only spent a short time explicitly discussing relationships, their thoughts on relationships play the single most important role in the movie. Why is it filmed on Le Mont Saint Michel? The island has a unique relationship with the world, allowing the characters to think in an entirely different fashion from how they usually do. What about the physicist, who along with her daughter presents the only lasting conflict we see in the film? Their relationship comes up several times throughout the film, changing each of those times. If the three had not brought that relationship to light, would it have changed?

Pablo Neruda's wonderful poem, ending their day together, brought their entire time together into one beautiful set of thoughts, and for the physicist a conclusion. Would they have followed the course that they did alone? As I said before, they required each other to come to whatever conclusions they eventually came to, and probably to solidify their own thoughts as well. Without the relationship that they developed over the course of the film, each would have remained stagnant in their views and lives: a single note in a cathedral otherwise empty of sound.


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