Stop telling your friends to watch Zeitgeist and What the Bleep Do We Know.
Mike Kawitzky is a a guy who made a documentary called. Cognition Factor
Mike Kawitzky was kind enough to let me up in his home office, Headspace Studios. He half-jokingly or half-seriously offers me a robe and offers me a seat.
I’m here to chat with him about the documentary he’s made, Cognition Factor. Most Google searchers seem to offer Zeitgeist and What the Bleep Do We Know as comparisons, which I suppose is fair in the sense that they’re both documentaries, but CG is a weird kid. It’s less about offering answers and more about asking questions - rather, asking you to ask questions. The central question is about COGNITION and AWARENESS, and what it is, and sets the ball rolling into the five sequential questions forming the structure of the documentary’s paradigm, which are:
1. What is consciousness/cognition?
2. Are we evolving as a species, or are we going extinct?
3. What do you understand as G-D?
4. Can the fusion of science and technology occur?
5. What happens when we die?
CG boasts within itself an impressive arrangement of speakers and minds, and they form a broad spectrum of thinkers, without necessarily coming from the same school of thought at all. Impressive featured speakers include Ralph Abrahams, Rupert Sheldrake, Ralph Metzner, Alex Grey, and notably, the late Terence McKenna, who was a self-described psychonaut and public speaker, mostly on the topic of awareness, existence and consciousness - and he had one or two things to say about the role of psychedelic drugs in achieving insight into said topics.
In any case, McKenna was a primary source of inspiration for Mike, who says he was inspired to meet McKenna the first time he heard him sharing his ideas over the Shamen’s Boss Drum album in 1994. They began emailing each other and met in 1996, when Mike, who was writing for Intelligence Magazine at the time, convinced his editor to sponsor at trip to meet McKenna, and ended up spending some time discussing life and consciousness in the Maluti Mountains. Their second encounter was in 1999, as McKenna was dying in Hawaii.
We deviate for a bit as I quiz him about writing for Intelligence Magazine and whether he’s a Believer, and we chat about UFO reports and claims. Like his documentary, Mike doesn’t try to drum a small collection of facts into a theory to try and convince me of anything – he lays out some cases and opinions, shrugs, and presents it as something to think about. I might add here that the film What the Bleep Do We Know has achieved some infamy for largely portraying pseudo-science as fact – amongst them the myth that we only use 10% of our brain (seriously, the almost the whole human brain is used for something, almost all the time. If you want argue that you can do without 90% of it, go ahead and demonstrate how good you are at using the bathroom and swallowing your own spit with your precious 10%).
Mike’s initial aim was to make a documentary using McKenna, although sadly had almost nothing to work with from his last encounter. He set to work in earnest on Cognition Factor in 2003 and effectively built the project from filmed opinions and talks from speakers he’d either approached, been approached by, or at times even sent him pre-recorded footage of themselves speaking along the lines of the five questions. Woven into that is a custom-built 3D landscape which swirls and pulsates to compliment original, specially-made compositions by, amongst other names, members of The ORB (namely Lx Paterson, Dom Beken and Phil Gonedic), Steve Hillage from System 7 - custom, powerful tribal trance and drum & bass. Played through Mike’s personal office sound system, speakers stacked on speakers stacked on more speakers, the sound from the Blue-Ray Disc is all-encompassing.
I ask him what he means by "a cyberpunk’s search for consciousness" which appears on the blurb of the DVD case and he shrugs - "I am a cyberpunk… But cyberpunk is dead, these days". Using the online handle Schwann Cybershaman, he’s cultivated his pool of collective thinkers and speakers – Mike is a guy who can see something over the tip of a fence most people don’t.
So, what is Cognition Factor? It’s a gentle nudge to recognize questions. It’s informative, but the aim and approach is an interactive one.
You’re not being presented with supposed facts, you’re being invited to think.
Mike Kawitzky’s Cognition Factor can be purchased from his website, which features a few free sneak-peak downloads: http://www.cognitionfactor.net/
And join the Facebook Group for constant updates on screenings and broadcasts: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/group.php?gid=3165800500
Take a look, and think about the questions before you accept any answers.