Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Theory Behind the "Cloud Atlas" film

Emily Eakin writes a somewhat arch but interesting article behind the film adaptation of Cloud Atlas, one of my favorite books. Her point is that Ken Wilber - the author of an ambitious effort to reconcile empirical knowledge and mystical experience in an “Integral Theory” of existence - provides us the proper framework to view the movie (and also, presumably, read the book). She details his thinking as:
"...reality is composed exclusively of holons, a term borrowed from Arthur Koestler to denote that which is simultaneously an autonomous whole and a part of something larger. Just as a brain cell is both a self-contained unit and part of a larger organ, so, too, a human being exists as a single individual and as part of a larger collective—a family, an ethnic group, the human race, all living things—in a pattern that extends indefinitely in both directions."
Sounds interesting! And she even includes some nifty graphics from his books to illustrate his points. It sounds a little complex and ratholeish to be my cup of tea, but it's always interesting pondering these things.

Eakin also details what sounds like what sounds like what might be the biggest criticism for the movie. SPOILER ALERT! She writes: "With these gestures, the directors made literal what Mitchell had left playfully ambiguous: characters in later sections are the spiritual embodiments—reincarnations—of those in earlier ones." Not sure I like things spelled out in this way but that's Hollywood for you.

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