Trailer, Language of Spirituality
THE INTERSECTION OF NATIVE AMERICAN WISDOM AND WESTERN PHYSICS
Do the languages and cosmologies of Native Americans hold the keys to the mysteries of quantum physics and the nature of reality? That is the intriguing premise of “The Language of Spirituality,” a documentary about the intersection of spirituality, modern science and language, inspired by a series of dialogues between western physicists, Native scholars and elders, and linguists.
Back in the early 20th century at the dawn of modern physics, pioneering scientists like Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg were making discoveries that would overturn everything we thought we knew about the way the world worked as they developed what would come to be known as quantum physics. The field continues to intrigue, mystify, and in many instances, defy explanation to this day. For some people, that is.
Native Americans had developed sophisticated concepts of how the world works centuries before the breakthroughs of western physicists. What they also had, that western physicists didn’t, were verb-based languages suitable for describing the dynamic interactions within the world of quantum physics. It wasn’t too far into the 20th century that Heisenberg lamented the limitations of noun-heavy western languages in explaining physics.
Meanwhile, out on the fringes of science, a Yale man named Benjamin Whorf threw himself into the study of Hopi and other native languages. His work revealed a unique language structure quite dissimilar from Indo-European languages, but strikingly capable of describing the dynamic world of quantum physics. He eventually suffered the fate of one who was ahead of his time — i.e, the slings and arrows of others who put great effort, but little actual understanding, into trying to discredit him.
One of the most brilliant physicists of the 20th century, David Bohm, a colleague of Albert Einstein and Krishnamurti, upset the scientific apple cart when he moved beyond the Theory of Relativity and quantum physics to define a whole new paradigm of physics and consciousness, one that bolstered the theories of Whorf and mirrored the Hopi worldview.
It was near the end of his life when Bohm was able to complete the circle between modern physics and ancient knowledge. Just before his death in 1992, he attended the first ever meeting between linguists, western physicists and Native American scholars and elders. At that conference, it became apparent for the first time that Native America and modern science had a lot more in common than anyone ever dreamed. The meeting spawned a series of dialogues, now dubbed “The Language of Spirit,” that continue to this day.
This 62-minute documentary features interviews with participants in the dialogues, including Dan “Moonhawk” Alford, Fred Alan Wolf (“What The Bleep Do We Know?”), Bohm colleague F. David Peat and Blackfoot scholar Leroy Little Bear, who speak about the dialogues and the implications for the future. Read more at www.thelanguageofspirituality.com