Laurie Anderson embarks on a cinematic journey through love, death and language. Cantering on Anderson's beloved rat terrier Lolabelle, who died in 2011, the film is a personal essay that weaves together childhood memories, video diaries, philosophical musings on data collection, surveillance culture and the Buddhist conception of the afterlife, and heartfelt tributes to the artists, writers, musicians and thinkers who inspire her. Fusing her own witty, inquisitive narration with original violin compositions, hand-drawn animation, 8mm home movies and artwork culled from exhibitions past and present, Anderson creates a hypnotic, collage-like visual language out of the raw materials of her life and art, examining how stories are constructed and told - and how we use them to make sense of our lives.
The documentary 'The Knowledge of Healing' is an illuminating examination of Tibetan medicine, a practice which has developed over two millennia into a modern day successful method of healing that rivals western medical practices. Unlike Western medicine, based on biochemistry, Tibetan medical thinking (which is strongly rooted in Buddhist principles) views the human body as governed by an elaborately organized system of energies flowing through a network of channels. In the 12th century, the Gyüshi (Knowledge of Healing) was created, a text codifying this intricate system. The medications used comprise herbs, roots, minerals, etc. After flourishing for centuries, most Tibetan medical schools were destroyed by the Chinese in the 1950's and 1960's, and many physicians were executed. Speaking from exile, the Dalai Lama argues for the value of Tibetan medicine, while his personal physician Dr. Tenzin Choedrak describes the principles behind it. We follow physicians in India and Siberia treating patients for a variety of ailments from paralysis to heart disease, and meet researchers in Israel and Switzerland to see how western clinical studies are testing the effectiveness of Tibetan medicine.
We live our lives pursuing happiness 'out there' as if it is a commodity. We have become slaves to our own desires and craving. Happiness isn't something that can be pursued or purchased like a cheap suit. This is Maya, illusion, the endless play of form. In the Buddhist tradition, Samsara, or the endless cycle of suffering is perpetuated by the craving of pleasure and aversion to pain. Freud referred to this as the "pleasure principle." Everything we do is an attempt to create pleasure, to gain something that we want, or to push away something that is undesirable that we don't want. Even a simple organism like the paramecium does this. It is called response to stimulus. Unlike a paramecium, humans have more choice. We are free to think, and that is the heart of the problem. It is the thinking about what we want that has gotten out of control. The dilemma of modern society is that we seek to understand the world, not in terms of archaic inner consciousness, but by quantifying and qualifying what we perceive to be the external world by using scientific means and thought. Thinking has only led to more thinking and more questions. We seek to know the innermost forces which create the world and guide its course. But we conceive of this essence as outside of ourselves, not as a living thing, intrinsic to our own nature. It was the famous psychiatrist Carl Jung who said, "one who looks outside dreams, one who looks inside awakes." It is not wrong to desire to be awake, to be happy. What is wrong is to look for happiness outside when it can only be found inside.
Category:Culture Duration:31:56 Series: Inner Worlds Outer Worlds
In Bhutan, Palin finds himself back in the land of yaks for a last look at the high Himalaya. Trekking to Chomolhari base camp he meets a nomad with a penchant for yak songs before heading down to Paro to witness the Buddhist festival or Tsechu. In a bar in Thimphu, he discusses reincarnation and the pursuit of happiness with Benji and Khendum, two of the king's cousins, and en route to Bangladesh is taken by Benji to see the rare black-neck cranes. On his journey south through Bangladesh, Michael visits the ship-breaking beaches of Chittagong and grid-locked Dhaka. He meets a man who made a fortune in Birmingham in the poultry business, and a woman who lends money only to women. On a 1920s paddle steamer he is serenaded with the words of Bengal's Shakespeare, and he completes his epic Himalayan journey aboard a fishing boat that carries him out into the Bay of Bengal and a westering sun.
Category:Culture Duration:59:00 Series: Himalaya with Michael Palin
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