NOTE: This entry originally written in April 2011, and I had forgoten about the comments it generated…
Tom Shadyac’s documentary, I Am is based more on science than I expected, and that, if no other reason, makes the film well worth a viewing. The experiments filmed at the Institute of HeartMath were fascinating. I’m still skeptical, though: yogurt reacted to his emotions without any physical connection between one another? I wouldn’t expect the yogurt to change even if they had been connected! The point they make is that the heart provides a great deal of information, to our brains but also in other ways, to people and other living things around us.
Plus, the thought that deer vote on when to go to get water, suggesting they rule by democracy instead of by authoritarian rule (in the form of an alpha deer) – well, that’s just too civilized. But the study suggests that the deer would wait until 51% of the herd had indicated that they were ready for water to take off for the watering hole. I didn’t know deer could count like that, but Shadyac says somehow that knowledge is ingrained in them as it is in other species (see this New York times article.)
Finally, to Shadyac’s point made during the interview, it was refreshing to watch a documentary based on fact and science that actually gives you hope about the world. I’ve watched so many films in which young children are abused or deserted (or both), or in which the wealthy find new ways to exploit the poor – so kudos to the film, I Am. I may even be inclined to go back and revisit one of Shadyac’s earlier films….what should it be?: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, or Liar Liar?