What is consciousness? Is it in all living beings? Why are we predisposed for mystical experience? And what happens when we die?
After centuries of virtual silence, there has been an explosion of research into consciousness. Scientists are confronting the “Big Questions”, cutting a window into a realm previously held by philosophy and religion.
AWARE follows six brilliant researchers, each approaching consciousness from a radically different perspective, from within and without: through high-tech brain research and Eastern Meditation, by scientifically exploring inner space through psychedelic substances and by investigating the consciousness of plants.
AWARE opens as a science film but emerges beyond the explicable: While the origins of consciousness may well be unfathomable, the question often obscures an equally mysterious question: Why, from the scientific evidence, do we seem to be hardwired for mystical experience? What possible evolutionary function could this serve?
AWARE ultimately leads one on a voyage onto the ocean of consciousness, a contemplative, sensual meditation: the networks of consciousness are reflected in ‘grand’ cinematographic imagery revealing the vast interconnectedness of Nature – from the smallest organisms, to the world of plants and animals and on to the cosmos. It invites one to experience the awe and mystery as the researchers do, to dive in with them, returning to see the world anew, to review long-held beliefs and assumptions and initiate one’s own oceanic journey. Ultimately, to be aware one is aware.
MONICA GAGLIANO, Professor for Plant Behaviour & Cognition, University of Sydney,
CHRISTOF KOCH, Chief Scientist, The MindScope Program, Allen Institute for Brain Science,
MATTHIEU RICARD, Buddhist Monk, Molecular Biologist, Author, and Photographer,
ROLAND GRIFFITHS, Director of Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, Johns Hopkins University,
RICHARD BOOTHBY, Professor for Philosophy and Author, Loyola-University, Maryland and
JOSEFA KIRVIN KULIX, Mayan Healer and Therapist, Chiapas, Mexico
Special Guest: MINGYUR RINPOCHE, Buddhist teacher and author.
Music by ZOË KEATING.
Directed by Frauke Sandig and Eric Black. 2021. USA. 102 min.