Category Archives: 11. you tickle, therefore I am

f. David Bohm, Wholeness and Fragmentation


David Bohm, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
1990, 13 min 13 sec 

Excerpt from the documentary “Art Meets Science and Spirituality in a Changing Economy – From Fragmentation to Wholeness”. Artists, scientists, spiritual leaders and economists gathered in Amsterdam in 1990 to explore the emerging paradigm of a holistic world view and the implications for a global economy

David Bohm (1917-1992) was an American theoretical physicist who contributed innovative and unorthodox ideas to quantum theory, philosophy of mind, and neuropsychology. He is widely considered to be one of the most significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century.

In physics, Bohm advanced the view that the old Cartesian model of reality was limited, in the light of developments in quantum physics. He developed in detail a mathematical and physical theory of implicate and explicate order to complement it.

Bohm warned of the dangers of rampant reason and technology, advocating instead the need for genuine supportive dialogue which he claimed could broaden and unify conflicting and troublesome divisions in the social world. In this his epistemology mirrored his ontological viewpoint.

He believed that the working of the brain, at the cellular level, obeyed the mathematics of some quantum effects. Therefore he postulated that thought was distributed and non-localised in the way that quantum entities do not readily fit into our conventional model of space and time.

a. Thomas Nagel, What is it like to be a bat?


Thomas Nagel, Give me five
2020, 3 min 18 sec

This episode explore the philosopher Thomas Nagel’s famous paper “What it is lilke to be a bat?” which describes the nature of consciousness and rejects the reductive view of physicalism that consciousness just is the activity of physical systems.

c. Raymond Tallis, on tickling


Raymond Tallis, Johan Grimonprez, Shadow World Productions, LLC
2017, 7 min 53 sec

In this short film by Johan Grimonprez, British neurologist Raymond Tallis argues that consciousness is not an internal construct, but rather relational. Through the intriguing notion that humans are physically unable to tickle themselves, Tallis explores the philosophical notion that we become ourselves only through dialogue with others. Shouldn’t Descartes’ first tenet “I think, therefore I am” rather be: we dialogue, therefore we are? A view underscored by the observation that many sensations can only be triggered by others. Images of a heated television-debate on the war in Syria, during which two speakers angrily thrust a table at each other, illustrate that aggression, like tickling, requires two parties.

e. Andrei Tarkovsky, Solaris


Andrei Tarkovsky,
1972, 2hour 47min

Solaris is a 1972 Soviet science fiction art film based on Stanisław Lem’s 1961 novel of the same name. The film was co-written and directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, and stars Donatas Banionis and Natalya Bondarchuk. The electronic music score was performed by Eduard Artemyev; a composition by J.S. Bach is also employed.

The plot centers on a space station orbiting the fictional planet Solaris, where a scientific mission has stalled because the skeleton crew of three scientists have fallen into emotional crises. Psychologist Kris Kelvin (Banionis) travels to the station in order to evaluate the situation, only to encounter the same mysterious phenomena as the others. The film was Tarkovsky’s attempt to bring a new emotional depth to science fiction films; he viewed most western works in the genre as shallow due to their focus on technological invention.

h. Karen Barad, Troubling Times, Undoing the Future


Karen Barad, the Futures Lecture Series, Denmark
2016, 36 min 10 sec 

The indeterminacy of time-being at the core of quantum theory troubles the scalar distinction between the world of subatomic particles and that of social phenomena such as colonialism, capitalism, militarism, racism, nationalism and environmental destruction – all of which are entangled with nuclear and particle physics research. Quantum physics is a material-discursive practice with direct ties to the military-industrial complex, and while it gave birth to the atomic age, quantum physics disrupts classical Newtonian physics (which has its own troubled legacy in the service of war, colonialism, capitalist expansion, and empire building), including its foundational notions of space, time, and matter. In this talk, we will take up quantum physics’ immanent deconstructive dynamics, consider ways in which quantum physics troubles modernist conceptions of time, and ask whether quantum temporalities might offer radical political imaginaries for cohabiting this planet more justly by undoing the future.

g. Richard Feynman, Why


Richard Feynman, BBC, Fun to Imagine
1983, 7 min 32 sec

 Filmed as part of the 1983 TV program Fun to Imagine, the interview takes a rather tense turn when the interviewer poses what I’m sure seemed like a very simple question in his head: If you hold two magnets with the same poles close, you’ll feel a force pushing them away, and if they have opposite poles, they will snap together. “What I want to know is, what’s going on between these two bits of metal?” he says, as Feynman does little to mask his annoyance. “Why are they doing that, or how are they doing that?”

I. Isaac Asimov, Is the Universe a Simulation?


Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate, USA
2016, 2 hour

What may have started as a science fiction speculation—that perhaps the universe as we know it is a computer simulation—has become a serious line of theoretical and experimental investigation among physicists, astrophysicists, and philosophers. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium, hosts and moderates a panel of experts in a lively discussion about the merits and shortcomings of this provocative and revolutionary idea. The 17th annual Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate took place at The American Museum of Natural History on April 5, 2016.

k. Terence McKenna, Nature is Conscious


Terence McKenna,
4 min 24 sec

Terence Kemp McKenna was an American ethnobotanist and mystic who advocated for the responsible use of naturally occurring psychedelic plants. He spoke and wrote about a variety of subjects, including psychedelic drugs, plantbased entheogens, shamanism, metaphysics, alchemy, language, philosophy, culture, technology, environmentalism, and the theoretical origins of human consciousness. He was called the “Timothy Leary of the ’90s”, “one of the leading authorities on the ontological foundations of shamanism”,  and the “intellectual voice of rave culture”.