Consciousness

Status Anxiety

"The past two hundred years in the West have seen staggering increases in wealth and economic opportunity, and yes, there have been no comparable increases in our level of happiness. Despite being so much richer than a few generations ago, we’re often more anxious about our importance and achievements than our grandparents were. I call this modern state of restlessness and dissatisfaction, ‘status anxiety’." We care about our status for a simple reason: because most people tend to be nice to us according to the amount of status we have (it is no coincidence that the first question we tend to be asked by new acquaintances is ‘ What do you do?’). With the help of philosophers, artists ...

Return of the Scorcher

"I think in a lot of different contexts, the bicycle is really a liberating type of vehicle. Historically, it was one of the first ways in which women ventured out to society on their own without men. It's a way the developing world, for people who can't afford an automobile, which is the vast majority of the population, a way for them to get around without having to wait around for a bus that may or may not come." -Marcia Lowe This half-hour documentary looks at bike culture and bike lifestyles around the world with beautiful and inspiring scenes of bike use filmed in China, The Netherlands, Denmark, and the U.S. In the 1890's, before automobiles ruled the roads, bicyclists were referred ...

How Does Your Memory Work?

"Remembering feels very simple, we just do it. It's like breathing. Just like you don't know how you breathe, you don't know how you remember." You might think that your memory is there to help you remember facts, such as birthdays or shopping lists. If so, you would be very wrong. The ability to travel back in time in your mind is, perhaps, your most remarkable ability, and develops over your lifespan. Horizon takes viewers on an extraordinary journey into the human memory. From the woman who is having her most traumatic memories wiped by a pill, to the man with no memory, this film reveals how these remarkable human stories are transforming our understanding of this unique human ability. The findings reveal ...

N is a Number: A Portrait of Paul Erdös

"I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay undiscovered before me." —Sir Isaac Newton A man with no home and no job, Paul Erdös was the most prolific mathematician who ever lived. Born in Hungary in 1913, Erdös wrote and co-authored over 1,500 papers and pioneered several fields in theoretical mathematics. At the age of 83 he still spent most of his time on the road, going from math meeting to math meeting, continually working on problems. He ...

Sacred Weeds

"In many cultures, distant in place or time from our own, there are special plants that give rise to strange visions and hallucinations. Experiences we associate with illegal drugs, that which for these other cultures, are thought to be a gateway to another world." Sacred Weeds was a four part television series of 50 minute documentaries investigating the cultural impact of psychoactive plants on a broad array of early civilisations. The series was filmed at Hammerwood Park by the producer, Sarah Marris, and her production company TVF. It was broadcast in the summer of 1998 on Channel 4, a British television network. The Reader in European Pre-History at the University of Oxford, Dr Andrew Sherratt, was the ...

How to Sleep Better

"Key brain functions, known as the executive skills...cover everything from concentration to reaction times and memory... Sleep researchers have found that it's these executive skills that are the first to go when we don't get enough sleep. Because there vital to everything we do, just one sleepless night could have serious consequences. Presented by Robert Winston, How to Sleep Better is a practical guide to the world of sleep. The programme explores the common problems, dangers and the mysteries that have puzzled scientists for years." One in five motorway accidents are attributed to a lack of sleep, which was also a contributory factor in disasters such as Chernobyl and the Challenger shuttle explosion. This programme looks at the dangers of poor sleep, ...

Zen: The Best of Alan Watts

"A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except faults, so he loses touch with reality and lives in a world of illusions. By thought I mean the chattering inside the skull; perpetual and compulsive repetition of words, of calculations, and symbols going on inside the head. For as a result of confusing the real world of nature with mere signs, such as money, stocks and bonds, title deeds, and so forth. This is a disaster. Time to wake up." –Alan Watts Alan Watts (1915-1973) who held both a master's degree in theology and a doctorate of divinity, is best known as an interpreter of Zen Buddhism in particular, and Indian and Chinese philosophy in general. He ...

Wisdom of the Dream, The

"Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism." First in a three-part series of films produced by PBS, on the life and works of the great thinker and psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung. Part 1: A Life of Dreams Part one provides an overview of the major contributions made by Jung in his long career. Born on July 26, 1875, in Switzerland, Jung became interested in psychiatry during his medical studies. He saw that the minds of mentally deranged persons had similar contents, much of which he recognized from his own interior life, described in his autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections. His lifelong quest to understand the workings of the psyche led him to develop the analytical ...

What We Still Don’t Know

"The Universe is still a place of mystery and wonder. As a cosmologist, I am exhilarated that we can make some progress towards tackling what seem very fundamental questions. These programs focus on: Was there a beginning? Whether we are alone? What's the future of the cosmos? What is the nature of reality? With each advance, new questions come into sharper focus. The key issue is what we still don't know." ARE WE ALONE? Sir Martin explores the possibility that life exists on planets beyond our own. He unveils an unsettling scientific debate that has startling consequences for us Earthlings. Do you believe in aliens? If not, a quick glance through these pages might change your mind! WHY ARE WE HERE? Everything you thought ...

What the Bleep Do We Know?

"Have you ever stopped for a moment and looked at yourself through the eyes of the ultimate observer?" Filmed in Portland, Oregon, What the Bleep Do We Know blends a fictional story line, documentary-style discussion, and computer animation to present a viewpoint of the physical universe and human life within it, with connections to neuroscience and quantum physics. Three directors are devotees of Ramtha's School of Enlightenment and JZ Knight/Ramtha.[7] Some ideas discussed in the film are: * The universe is best seen as constructed from thought (or ideas) rather than from substance. * What has long been considered "empty space" is anything but empty. * Our beliefs about who we are and what is real are not simply observations, but rather form ourselves ...