The majority of the movie is a conversation among three characters: a Norwegian scientist, Sonia Hoffman, “the only woman in my department, the first in Norway doing quantum field theory”; an American politician and former presidential candidate, Jack Edwards; and poet Thomas Harriman, a former political speechwriter, as they wander around Mont Saint-Michel, France. The setting therefore makes this a little different than just three talking heads.
The Discussion is wide ranging starting with Descartes mechanistic view of the world and people’s behaviour which suggests that everything can be broken down into their component parts. Problems can be solved by addressing the issues of each part. But the discussion revolves around the concept that everything at from a macro to sub-atomic particle level, is inextricably interconnected. Fixing the bits only addressing the symptoms – not the underlying causes. However taking a holistic view is almost impossible in today’s partisan, take-no-prisoners, political environment where firm, visionary leadership with an eye on the wellbeing of future generations not just the present one, is seen as unacceptably autocratic.
However such political circumstances don’t change the truth of the underlying issues – you can’t do deals with nature as one of our members observed. Scientists are not held accountable for their discoveries eg nuclear bomb, but lose control when discoveries are handed over to the paymasters. How can we justify the aspiration for continual economic growth and increase in standards of living beyond that which the planet can sustain?
Not a very dynamic film with some heavy dialogue, but raised some fundamental issues which we are unwilling or unable to face up to.