Last week on Facebook, Marianne Williamson made a strong recommendation for Tom Shadyac’s new documentary, I AM, which prompted me to post about it on the PSI Seminars account, see if anyone else had seen it and had any thoughts about it. Gail Kelley replied, “It was great and felt like the director had just gotten back from PSI and decided to spread the word!”
On the strength of those recommendations and the trailer for the movie, I asked my wife if she’d like to go see it with me. When she saw the preview, she said that Shadyac was the guy she had been telling me about that she had seen on Oprah (full story) and that she’d love to. So we were off to a very serendipitous start!
Tom Shadyac is a multi-millionaire Hollywood director of blockbuster comedies including Ace Ventura, Bruce Almighty and The Nutty Professor. But a few years ago, he gave up the mansion, servants, fancy cars, and private jets, decided to simplify his life and moved into a small, but stylish mobile home. He also began filming I Am to explore two burning questions: What’s wrong with our world, and what can we do about it?
The film tells a little of his personal journey, but focuses primarily on his interviews with luminaries including Desmond Tutu, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Lynne McTaggart and Thom Hartmann.
One of the things that I love about the movie is that it appeals to both the left and right brain. In fact, not only does it appeal to both your heart and your head, it shows some of the ways in which mankind is really “wired for love”. Some of the findings he highlights in the movie include:
- Evidence that cooperation, not competition, is nature’s (and man’s) most fundamental operating principle. Even Darwin knew this, although he has been more popularly known for the concept of “survival of the fittest”.
- The heart is more than just a blood pump – it is, in fact, a sort of electromagnetic transmitter of our emotional state.
- Human consciousness and emotions can and do affect the material world – not in just some spiritual/magical sense, but in a scientifically demonstrable way.
- Humans are hard-wired for compassion and connection, including the Vagus nerve, which releases oxytocin when we simply witness a compassionate act, and mirror neurons, which cause us to literally feel another person’s pain.
All of this leads the film to a transformational conclusion – not what’s wrong with the world, but what’s right with it, and how that can continue to build to the tipping point of a global transformation in consciousness. We just need the 51st deer.
I’ll be posting some more in-depth discussion of the key themes from I AM throughout the rest of the week. In the meantime, check out the trailer below and consider finding a theater near you that’s playing I AM and making an evening of it. You’ll be glad you did.