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The Language of Spirituality

Dan Alford , Leroy Little Bear , Anthony DellaFlora  |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Dan Alford, Leroy Little Bear, Fred Alan Wolf, F. David Peat
  • Directors: Anthony DellaFlora
  • Writers: Anthony DellaFlora
  • Producers: Anthony DellaFlora
  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Studio: Taos Communications Empire, Inc.
  • DVD Release Date: February 23, 2009
  • Run Time: 62 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001TOE8KY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,954 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Do the languages and cosmologies of Native Americans hold the keys to the mysteries of quantum physics and the nature of reality? That is the intriguing premise of "The Language of Spirituality," a documentary about the intersection of spirituality, modern science and language, inspired by a series of dialogues between western physicists, Native scholars and elders, and linguists.

Back in the early 20th century at the dawn of modern physics, pioneering scientists like Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg were making discoveries that would overturn everything we thought we knew about the way the world worked as they developed what would come to be known as quantum physics. The field continues to intrigue, mystify, and in many instances, defy explanation to this day. For some people, that is.

Native Americans had developed sophisticated concepts of how the world works centuries before the breakthroughs of western physicists. What they also had, that western physicists didn't, were verb-based languages suitable for describing the dynamic interactions within the world of quantum physics. It wasn't too far into the 20th century that Heisenberg lamented the limitations of noun-heavy western languages in explaining physics.

Meanwhile, out on the fringes of science, a Yale man named Benjamin Whorf threw himself into the study of Hopi and other native languages. His work revealed a unique language structure quite dissimilar from Indo-European languages, but strikingly capable of describing the dynamic world of quantum physics. He eventually suffered the fate of one who was ahead of his time -- i.e, the slings and arrows of others who put great effort, but little actual understanding, into trying to discredit him.

One of the most brilliant physicists of the 20th century, David Bohm, a colleague of Albert Einstein and Krishnamurti, upset the scientific apple cart when he moved beyond the Theory of Relativity and quantum physics to define a whole new paradigm of physics and consciousness, one that bolstered the theories of Whorf and mirrored the Hopi worldview.

It was near the end of his life when Bohm was able to complete the circle between modern physics and ancient knowledge. Just before his death in 1992, he attended the first ever meeting between linguists, western physicists and Native American scholars and elders. At that conference, it became apparent for the first time that Native America and modern science had a lot more in common than anyone ever dreamed. The meeting spawned a series of dialogues, now dubbed "The Language of Spirit," that continue to this day.

This 62-minute documentary features interviews with participants in the dialogues, including Dan "Moonhawk" Alford, Fred Alan Wolf ("What The Bleep Do We Know?"), Bohm colleague F. David Peat and Blackfoot scholar Leroy Little Bear, who speak about the dialogues and the implications for the future.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ancient Wisdom meets Leading Edge Science September 27, 2009
The Language of Spirituality is a fascinating documentary film that emerges out of an ongoing dialogue between Western scientists and Native American elders, initially begun in 1992, when Blackfoot elder Leroy Little Bear approached physicist David Bohm, exactly five hundred years after Columbus had set foot on this continent. It represents the first time in the post colonial era where Indigenous ways of knowing and leading edge science meet on truly equal footing. The film reveals little known parallels between Indigenous world views and quantum theory, such as the recognition that everything that exists vibrates, and that "process and relationship" underlie reality rather than discrete building blocks of "things." Native elders Little Bear and Joseph Rael are featured in the film, along with physicist Fred Alan Wolf, physicist/author F. David Peat, linguist Dan Moonhawk Alford and others. The film is dedicated to Alford, who was invited by his mentor, Sakej Youngblood Henderson, to participate in the original 1992 dialogue and was the driving force in helping set up annual dialogues now run by SEED Graduate Institute in Albuquerque [...]

Among many themes, the film explores the limits of Indo-European languages, such as English, which depend heavily on nouns to comprehend reality, and by definition, stop movement - and juxtaposes this with certain Native languages, which see the world as a fluid place of dynamic interaction and speakers can go "all day long without uttering a single noun." Alford describes himself as standing at the "lonely crossroads of Quantum theory, Native America, consciousness and linguistics.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Whorf Legacy February 26, 2010
This film explores a connection between the "new physics" of the early 20th century and the Native American world view in the spirit of Benjamin Lee Whorf.

For more on Whorf, go to my web site where The Legacy of Benjamin Lee Whorf CD-ROM is described.

Also, check my Benjamin Lee Whorf: Transcendental Linguist.

Whorf should be embraced as a real friend of spirituality; he certainly spent much of his life trying to show that really up-to-date science and religion were not in conflict.

Peter Rollins
[...]
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5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for any Truth Seeker October 26, 2012
This is not necessarily a film of the intellect, though it will leave you with a lot to think about..........I found it to be much more of a personal soulful journey; a journey that I'd characterize as a gentle awakening that has given me greater appreciation between the implications of language, my personal world view and experience of living. The previous reviewers comment about not expecting any fireworks is spot on but I don't take that as a negative. It's a positive. I recommend it.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good material, not so good presentation January 25, 2011
By gil
The concepts presented are intriguing and the sources are credentialed but....the presentation was not impressive. Not bad not great. Native American verb based language having relevance to quantum language, interesting but don't expect fireworks.
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