I Am Woman Woman

An unexpected and joyful event occurred last Saturday evening. I was watching the evening news, depressing as usual – something about big ears, hands, and dicks, when daughter Annah, soon to graduate from Fargo North High, asked me if wanted to watch a NetFlex documentary. Wow, “yes of course which one”, I asked.  She scrolled through the possibilities on her phone and after reading the description of I Am the documentary – she knew it was the one I would select. How did she know? – I suppose living with someone for 18 years it becomes apparent; and giving her Kerr’s book A dangerous method, watching the movie, and discussing it with her may have revealed my interest in depth psychology. A Most Dangerous Method is a “true” story of Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, and Sabina Spielrein, who was Jung patient, student, lover, analytical psychologist, colleague with Jung and Freud, and shot dead with her two daughters by an SS death squad. Sabina is a very important woman! Fannie another important woman joined us and together we watched the “I Am” documentary directed by Tom Shadyac.

A Dangerous Method – ‘Mistake’

The “I Am” film  poses two questions: what’s wrong with our world and what can we do to make it better? After a serious cycling accident, for Shadyac a near death experience, he awakens to the excesses of his Hollywood life style and sets out to find answers, which he says transformed his life. Confronting mortality, Shadyac asks, “If this is it for me – if I really am going to die – what do I want to say before I go?  What will be my last testament?” The website description of the movie says that “It was Shadyac’s modern day dark night of soul and out of it, I Am was born.

I have modified the following movie description taken from the I Am Website

   Shadyac was very specific about what he was after, wanting “I Am” to identify the underlying cause of the world’s ills – “I didn’t want to hear the usual answers, like war, hunger, poverty, the environmental crisis, or even greed,” he explains.  “These are not the problems, they are the symptoms of a larger endemic problem.  In I AM, I wanted to talk about the root cause of the ills of the world, because if there is a common cause, and we can talk about it, air it out in a public forum, then we have a chance to solve it.”
Ironically, in the process of trying to figure out what’s wrong with the world, Shadyac discovered there’s more right than he ever imagined.  He learned that the heart, not the brain, may be man’s primary organ of intelligence, and that human consciousness and emotions can actually affect the physical world, a point Shadyac makes with great humor by demonstrating the impact of his feelings on a bowl of yogurt. And, as Shadyac’s own story illustrates, money is not a pathway to happiness. In fact, he even learns that in some native cultures, gross materialism is equated with insanity.
Shadyac also discovers that, contrary to conventional thinking, cooperation and not competition, may be nature’s most fundamental operating principle.   Thus, I AM shows consensus decision-making is the norm amongst many species, from insects and birds to deer and primates.  The film further discovers that humans actually function better and remain healthier when expressing positive emotions, such as love, care, compassion, and gratitude, versus their negative counterparts, anxiety, frustration, anger and fear. Charles Darwin may be best known for popularizing the notion that nature is red in tooth and claw, but, as Shadyac points out, he used the word love 95 times in The Descent of Man, while his most famous phrase, survival of the fittest, appears only twice.
“It was a revelation to me that for tens of thousands of years, indigenous cultures taught a very different story about our inherent goodness,” Shadyac marvels.  “Now, following this ancient wisdom, science is discovering a plethora of evidence about our hardwiring for connection and compassion, from the Vagus Nerve which releases oxytocin at simply witnessing a compassionate act, to the Mirror Neuron which causes us to literally feel another person’s pain.  Darwin himself, who was misunderstood to believe exclusively in our competitiveness, actually noted that humankind’s real power comes in their ability to perform complex tasks together, to sympathize and cooperate.”
Shadyac’s enthusiastic depiction of the brighter side of human nature and reality, itself, is what distinguishes I AM from so many well-intentioned, yet ultimately pessimistic, non-fiction films.  And while he does explore what’s wrong with the world, the film’s overwhelming emphasis is focused on what we can do to make it better.
Watching I AM is ultimately, for many, a transformative experience, yet Shadyac is reluctant to give specific steps for viewers who have been energized by the film.  “What can I do?” “I get asked that a lot,” he says.  “But the solution begins with a deeper transformation that must occur in each of us.  I AM isn’t as much about what you can do, as who you can be.  And from that transformation of being, action will naturally follow.”

The I Am Trailer

Shadyac’s enthusiasm and optimism are contagious, it did excite me, however, this has been a path I have been on. After watching the movie the family talked some and then I went online, finding Youtube, Wikipedia, and Google “I Am” very different but related links like this AWOLNation song I Am.

I Am

Lyrics:
These friends of mine will come and go
I’m the first to leave and last to know
I’ll be swimming in a face of flames
For these friends of mine I’ve overpaid
And I guess I wanted, I guess I wanted
I just want you to know

All of these things made me who I am
Maybe all of these things made me who I am
Maybe all of these things made me who I am
And I am
Only looking up when my head’s down
All of these things made me who I am
Maybe all of these things made me who I am
Maybe all of these things made me who I am
And I Am
Only looking up when my head’s down

Veins are glistening
So thanks a lot for listening
I guess I wanted, I guess I wanted
I just want you to know

All of these things made me who I am
Maybe all of these things made me who I am
Maybe all of these things made me who I am
And I am
Only looking up when my head’s down
All of these things made me who I am
Maybe all of these things made me who I am
Maybe all of these things made me who I am
And I Am
Only looking up when my head’s down

Well I guess I wanted, I guess I wanted
I just want you to know

Yeah! Yeah! Ooh someone left the lights on
Yeah! Yeah! Ooh someone left the lights on
Yeah! Yeah! Ooh someone left the lights on
Yeah! Yeah! Ooh someone left the lights on

All of these things made me who I am
Maybe all of these things made me who I am
Maybe all of these things made me who I am
And I am
Only looking up when my head’s down
All of these things made me who I am
Maybe all of these things made me who I am
Maybe all of these things made me who I am
And I Am
Only looking up when my head’s down

Well I guess I wanted, I guess I wanted
I just want you to know
Hypnotized from the day you were born

Hypnotized from the day you were born

Then I watched Shadyac’s Talk at Google on his movie.

Tom Shadyac’s “I am” Talk at Google

Shadyac’s movie was shown at the Google Campus and then he appeared for a question and response session. Shadyac begins by pointing out the “good life” that Google has created for its employees and saying “you live in a bubble”, which I think was cutting right to the chase. He then responded to questions basically acknowledging their bubble’s existence and asking how to see and behave toward those outside the fishbowl they live in. We only need to remember that fish can not see the water in the bowl they swim in. In Pinky’s words, living in a capitalistic society, one can not see IT and this is what I took away from this exchange. I also thought Shadyac’s responses were shallow – learn to “love thy neighbor as thy self” without addressing how this is to be accomplished.

Whenever I hear this Christian suggestion, I ask “so, first one needs to love thyself” – tell me, how does one to that?” Shadyac’s responses did not address this deep issue but were broad in that he presented the same thesis as Erich Fromm in his book “To Have or To Be” – society needs to move away form its preoccupation with “having stuff” towards “being a person”. I felt Shadyac left the deep aspects of  “being” on developed, however, after his recovery from his accident, he moved away from “having” stuff – he moved from his $2 million Hollywood home to a $100,000 trailer park home, sold his cars, and now rides a bike. I do think making this movie is about this Being dimension , even if the deep specifics are fuzzy.  No one asked him what is current net worth is and what is he doing with it. We do know what Christ would say, “give your positions and money way then follow me.”

The last question is important: “What is your current relations to the Hollywood industry?” Shadyac’s response was lame, “I love them and let them live their own life as I live mine.” Shadyac seem not to have accepted that we are living in what Fromm has also written about in The Sane Society – its thesis that the US society in “insane”. Unless the insanity of “global corporate capitalism”, the military/industrial/political/media complex, is addressed, Shadyac’s message is not going resonate. After 2000 years of Christianity some suggest that the World is getting worse – what has and is Christianity getting wrong? Christ suggested an answer to the issue of “loving thy self” in saying “Don’t be concerned about your neighbor, until you first take the beam out of your own eye.” Again, ask a pastor what this means and see what the response is. This is Jung’s  “shadow work” suggesting that Christ is the first analytical psychologist 1900 years before Freud and Jung but going there takes a real effort – and more are to busy “having”. (See The Sane Society US?)

It is now 11pm before Easter Sunday and in my browser is the Christian progressive death metal band Becoming the Archetype  (Archetype is a Jungian concept and how used here needs study) with their album I Am – the first single from the album is The Time Bender. The video was released on the band’s You Tube channel and says it “makes references to Frank Miller’s comic book Sin City, which contains dialogue as a comic book as the band looks for their instruments hidden in a castle in order to keep playing.”

The Time Bender

After listening to this, sleep was disturbing but never mind in the morning, Easter morning, I continued watching depressing World news about killing, remembering “Kill your heros” music from AWOLNation. How appropriate, on this day celebrating the killing and resurrection of the Christ hero – his blood and body are ingested, how time bending is that.

Kill Your Heros

Lyrics:
Well I met an old man dying on a train
No more destination no more pain
Well he said one thing, before I graduate
Never let your fear decide your fate

I say you kill your heroes and fly fly baby don’t cry
No need to worry cause everybody will die
Everyday we just go go baby don’t go
Don’t you worry we love you more than you know

Well the sun one day will leave us all behind
Unexplainable sightings in the sky
Well I hate to be the one to ruin the night
Right before your, right before you eyes

I say you kill your heroes and fly fly baby don’t cry
No need to worry cause everybody will die
Everyday we just go go baby don’t go
Don’t you worry we love you more than you know

Well I met an old man dying on a train
No more destination no more pain
Well he said one thing, before I graduate
Never let your fear decide your fate

I say you kill your heroes and fly fly baby don’t cry
No need to worry cause everybody will die
Everyday we just go go baby don’t go
Don’t you worry we love you more than you know

Finally, this experience comes together in realizing it is all about Woman! Shadyac’s main point is realizing that matter also “lives”, all beings are interconnected and carrying for ALL especially Mother Earth is the collective awakening now unfolding! We are not only worthless without “woman”, we are dead! A spectre is haunting the land!

Woman Woman

Lyrics:
Last night I fell apart, broke from my swollen heart
Born in a simple time, raised with a simple mind

You may be a natural, woman
You may be a natural, woman
You may be a natural, woman
You may be a natural, woman

I may be worthless without you
I’ll never decide to replace you
Amen, the worst is behind us now
Woman woman

I may be worthless without you
I’ll never decide to replace you
Amen the worst is behind us now
Woman woman

You may be a natural woman
You may be a natural woman
You may be a natural woman
You may be a natural woman

Last night I fell apart, choked on my drunken heart
I may be worthless without you
I’ll never decide to replace you
Amen, the worst is behind us now
Woman woman

I may be worthless without you
I’ll never decide to replace you
Amen, the worst is behind us now
Woman woman

You may be a natural, woman
You may be a natural, woman
You ah ah ah ah

Who’s that woman woman
There’s that woman woman
Be my woman woman
Won’t you see me in the dark

Who’s that woman woman
There’s that woman woman
Be my woman woman
Won’t you see me in the dark

I may be worthless without
I’ll never decide to replace you
Amen, the worst is behind us now
Woman woman

I may be worthless without
I’ll never decide to replace you
Amen, the worst is behind us now
Woman woman

You may be a natural, woman
You may be a natural, woman
You may be a natural, woman
You may be a natural, woman

I Am an old man dying on a train and beside me is a natural, woman! Yeah ….

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2 Responses to I Am Woman Woman

  1. Geez, I guess I should be looking for a female life companion?…. Great material above. Brings to mind how cultures and individuals have a strong tendency to “improve” by gathering more facts and information, tie-in to being smarter and physically fit—all drawing away from feelings, which are often seen as a weakness in people, especially males. And, we certainly have much in the genes! Seems we need to balance our evolution with the feminine, the soft, the nurturing. Humans at their best are still weak in this area, one we unfortunately overlook or just don’t feel important enough.

  2. Michael, Always looking at female companionships. I like to collect and analyze bar scenes in most all Hollywood movies. The one I like is in Beautiful Mind where John Nash is in a bar with 4 classmates when five women walk in – one taking an interest in John. All the fellows were now looking at the one girl especially standing out. An idea then hit John and in it mind he pictured how if all the guys go after that one standout lady, none of us will get her. We then turn to her girl friends and none will want to be second choice. John then says “Adam Smith is wrong and says that it is not everyone for him/her self but you have to also do what is good for the group. I think Tom Sahnack’s move I Am as he says in one interview I saw. I also need to watch the I AM movie again. That said, I think the issue he addresses is about Energy. I then saw and read your Facebook post about Chinese Chi – I like it. I am still studying the Chinese Civilization and looking at my previous blog posts you can see the influence of Chinese thought. Carl Jung wrote the forward to Whilelm’s translation of the I Ching: Book of changes. I have been thinking about how is Tom measuring the excitement the movie is generating? I guess I was looking for a deeper aspect in the movie but what it is doing for me is seeing how a guy with four others living and filming the movie. Sounds like something I would like to do.

    I agree with you focus on Woman Woman. I am amazed living in this world how the Chinese idea of Yang & Yin moves and you have the movie showing this in living sound and color. So, what is the next image we follow and that is the never-ending-story. Will continue this dialogue, Shr

    Ling-yuan

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