The Illusion of Choice

Film Recommendation

The Lottery of Birth (2013)

Profound Viewing

This is a deeply power documentary! While not long by film standards ( 1h 17 min), it packs quite a punch. The filmmakers present a number of speakers that challenge the audience’s worldview, and how it was conceived. They do this through interviewing a range of intellectuals, including writers, philosophers, historians and neuroscientists, to name a few.

These speakers make the case that much of our identities are shaped from birth and predetermined by where and to whom we are born to. They explain that many our convictions, and corresponding choices, are therefore predetermined. That choice isn’t necessarily all its cracked up to be given that many of the notions that make us who we are, are in fact established without our realization.

What Choice Do We Have?

As described by the speakers, we are each of us born into a country, culture, religion, and environment that has already begun to exert its influences from the very beginning. As a result, it takes a keen awareness and curiosity to see beyond it. We must therefore train ourselves to think critically and expand our the scope. This takes conscious learning and empathy. Something we can help guide in future generations (see the Baby Knowledge Starter Kit) as well as ourselves. Unless we actively question and challenge ingrained paradigms, we will simply continue supporting the status quo.

Vitruvian Man

What We’re Made of

This was a particularly poignant message made by the film. Being “politically neutral” as some would call it, isn’t actual neutrality. Rather it is actively supporting the powers that be, and the present system. Unfortunately, many might not even be aware of this premise, as the social conditioning has permeated so deeply. Some of the interviewers do try to bring to light the instances where the indoctrination had lapsed, and people had begun to question and protest. This in turn brings greater socio-political forces to bear.

Yet there is hope! Increasing one’s awareness, questioning the current state of things, asking why are things the way they are, and why can’t they be another way. This type of inquiry is crucial for growth and understanding. I would highly recommend this film to anyone looking for some enlightenment and ready to expand their mental horizons.

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