(Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Am_%282010_American_documentary_film%29#/media/File:I_Am_documentary_2011_Poster.jpg)
I Am: How 3 Letters Make All the Difference
Browsing through Netflix on a typical Wednesday night, I came across a documentary titled “I am.” Because I was feeling something uplifting and “Beavis and Butthead do America the Movie” was not cutting it, I figured this would be a good documentary considering it was almost a five star rating on Netflix. My first impression, that the title sort of indicated, was that it was going to be a spiritual documentary about God. I was off. The documentary was about asking two very thought provoking questions: what is wrong with the world and what can we do to make it better?
Pardon me for saying this, but when you are sitting in a comfortable couch sitting next to your favorite person and drinking a couple of glasses of cheap but still good wine, there really was nothing wrong with my world at that moment when that question was asked in the documentary. It wasn’t until I started really paying attention that I was starting to get the point of the movie. So what is wrong with the world? The director answers “I am.”
Tom Shadyac, was one of Hollywood’s directors who directed many of the comedies and who was behind blockbusters as “Ace Ventura,” “Liar Liar,” “The Nutty Professor,” and “Bruce Almighty” created this documentary after getting into a bicycle accident that caused him to have a concussion. Unfortunately the symptoms of his concussion only worsened, causing him painful reactions to light and sound, severe mood swings, and a constant ringing sound in the head. He tried many different types of treatment at various doctors and healers but nothing worked for him. He suffered months of isolation and pain and finally reached a point to where he no longer wanted to live. As he pointed out that death was a strong motivator, he asked himself what would be his last statement? From this, the idea of the documentary was born. Miraculously, the symptoms of his concussion disappeared. Before long, he was able to travel and create the documentary.
With only a handful of people to help him, Shadyac interviewed a few people that have helped him shape his way of thinking. He interviewed scientists, psychologists, artists, environmentalists, authors, activists, philosophers and others more in his quest to find out what the “truth” is. These people gave their input to the best of their knowledge.
What Shadyac learned and shared through this documentary gave me new insights, as well as solidified some of the “basic truth” that I have always felt and that I think is intrinsic in every single person.
We are all connected and we coexist.
When I was a kid, probably about 2nd grade, my cousin and I were playing a game. I remember the moment when I had the epiphany. I was getting ready to pass him the rag that I was spinning around my finger so he can continue spinning it on his finger, I realized at that moment that we were breathing the same air. Whatever was giving him life was the same thing that was giving me life. Also, without my cousin, there would be no game at that moment in time. Those were two very important lessons that I learned at such an early age, but will not be revisiting until my late twenties and early thirties.
The truth is, when something catastrophic happens, most people will respond to help anyone in need but somehow we turn our heads away when a homeless child needs food hoping that he or she will go away. Since when did we become selective to whom we offer our help to?
The questions Tom Shadyac asked in this documentary were, what is wrong with the world and what can we do to change it? Many of the world leaders and their followers have sacrificed their lives so that we as human beings treat one another with love and kindness. The problem not just out there, it is also inside us.
He made a point to change the question. What’s right with the world? He said, “I am.” The change always starts within us. A famous artist once wrote a very powerful song that said, “I’m gonna make a change for once in my life…I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways…” (yes, I loved Michael Jackson’s music).
We are all connected. We coexist. It is true that we can’t waive a magic wand and it will disappear hunger, poverty and war, but we can start one person at a time. It starts with the man in the mirror.