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General News    H4'ed 8/22/13

Beyond Divisive Corporate Rule: The Unifying Genius of Filmaker Peter Charles Downy

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Divide and Conquer is not a motto of documentary filmmaker Peter Charles Downy. Perhaps he might think about Unite and Prosper as his motto?

Downy is the director of two documentaries: Anima Mundi (2011) and United Natures (2013). He envisions a shift in how we conceive ourselves within Nature. He emphatically states:

A consciousnesses shift is what is needed as much as a change of law, industrial practices and societal excesses. Ultimately the decision is a simple one, humanity either changes now voluntarily or natural circumstances of peak fossil-fuels, peak food, peak water and climate change will force alterations upon us.

Yes, a consciousness shift is what is desperately needed. However, that means questioning the very foundations upon which our culture is grounded. How many are ready to do that?

The Native American Kogis were indeed right when they gazed upon the invading Spaniards and claimed us Europeans as "dead." Perhaps the joke is that our denial of death is actually a denial of a living process? Dead we are in our relegation to malls, box stores, apartment complexes, standardized housing and, now, internet shopping. It's all for the corporations' convenience. The McDonald's theme of have it your way is a literal joke. It is not so funny as one gazes upon the depleted landscapes consisting of what is jokingly called "McMansions," which are nothing more nor less than standardized housing for the well-to-do. We have commodified our lives, packaging them up in nice neat boxes (coffins?).

"Have it your way! Do you want your bathroom in pink or lavender?"

Why one day, in our tasteless and senseless world we won't have to smell, taste or see the person serving us; nor will we have to venture out of our little cubicle sitting by a computer designed for both work and play. Perhaps historic episodes such as war can be put on computer where the operator is alienated from the blood and guts murder he is doing?

Wait! This already occurs in our push-button "situation rooms". Oh my, Toto, we aren't in Kansas anymore!

Then there is the insane notion of cyber sex. Cyber sex means one doesn't have to engage in the smells, tastes, and nuances of one's lover. More important, one doesn't have to be responsive, or responsible to her or him! "You can't get hurt," cries the depressed and lonely Country Music fan mesmerized by the wine and dine mentality of the rednecks. Its a perfect world of misery and joy in virtual reality! But there is a personal cost for this. Its called alienation. We don't need to seek aliens in outer space for we are aliens unto ourselves! We are out of touch with Nature. OUR Nature.

What need have we for sunshine, rain, snow, etc when we can control it all with the click of a mouse? Not a real mouse! A clicking mouse that takes you to far away places in cyberspace. Dare we engage in the smells, tastes and textures of our world and reclaim our connection to Nature? Dare we to even question the grounding theology or philosophy we are inheriting and giving to our children that has produced this?

So what am I doing on this computer-thing talking to you on your computer-thing? I'm listening to crickets after having come in where I soaked up the sunshine while walking with the dogs through the woods. I'm here to urge you--and to continue my own work--of moving beyond alienation from Nature, from the Self. This is exactly the work that filmmakers like Peter Charles Downy want you to do.

Downy's documentaries lead us towards a return to the Spell of the Sensuous, as referred to by David Abram. Through his work, we can begin seeing how our conditioning has effected the methods by which we do business, conduct our science, and developed our worldview. Through his work, we can see how we have created the mess we are in. He provides a living example of how we can walk our talk. Downy is an independent, non-funded, homemade producer of movies created with an extremely low usage of embodied energy (the energy it costs to produce something), so his greenhouse gas emissions are also low. Downy states the following on his website for the movie United Natures: