the passenger seat


no such thing?

The movie Donnie Darko has been sitting on my hard drive for a while but for some reason, even though I have been meaning to, have never been in the mood to watch it. Well, tonight I finally did and it blew me away. It’s a psychological thriller that mixes in ideas of time travel and alternate dimensions, and while this may seem weird or cheesy or… actually, weird is the operative word. But weird in a good way. In comparison to the last psychological thriller I watched, The Shining, this one didn’t have moments that left me scratching my head and thinking ‘what the hell just happened and why?’ or an ending that made me ask ‘what was the point of all of that?’ Rather, the movie progressed well and made me want more and the ending was surprisingly cathartic, albeit with some questions still to be answered. Of course, I carried out the mandatory check of the movie’s Wikipedia page that has become so common following puzzling films, and to my surprise the answers were all there, by none other than the director himself, a rarity with films of this genre. The film did have its scary moments – those jolting, ‘jump off your seat’ events that are a hallmark of the horror and thriller genre – but these images were repeated and eventually became understood as integral to the story. Unlike the continued appearance of the twins in The Shining (for the few that have watched it) that, to me, were seemingly used only for shock value (until I read the Wiki), the periodic appearance of the frightening image of ‘Frank’ in this movie soon became exciting rather than shocking. Overall, I’d definitely recommend it. If you’re a fan of thrillers or psychological films and you haven’t watched it, it should be the next movie on your ‘to watch’ list. Even if you can only handle slight horror, this movie shouldn’t be too frightening. And anyway, the catharsis is enough to assuage all fears at the conclusion of the film.

A weird coincidence that happened while watching this film was when Milo pointed me to an image post on his blog about ‘lucid dreaming’ and how to achieve it. Donnie Darko was based around ideas of alternate dimensions and ‘lucid dreaming’ can have the effect of the dreamer experiencing an out-of-body experience or the illusion that they are in an alternate dimension. In a nutshell, a ‘lucid dream’ is one where the dreamer is aware that he or she is dreaming and is able to manipulate or control the dream. This prompted me to think about my own dreaming experiences and in fact most of the dreams I have (or can remember) are lucid to an extent (read about one of these two posts down). After reading the Wikipedia page on the topic, I think I will definitely try this technique one day soon and see where I can go with it. I already know that I am able to lucidly dream (as many people are), so it shouldn’t be too hard I hope. It should be fun, and I’ll be sure to recount my experiences here.

How fascinating are dreams and how awe-some (and I mean that in the literal definition of the word, not the colloquial sense) is the human brain? The fact that our brain is able to subconsciously conjure up such imagery is amazing. What the hell goes on in there that allows this to happen? Why hello there, all you Psychology students.

One thing that occurred to me when investigating lucid dreaming was the thought experiments carried out by Einstein to test his theory of special relativity (which we learnt in HSC Physics last year). Could lucid dreaming be used as a method to discard certain rules of materiality while maintaining physical laws (though part of the point and fun of lucid dreaming is the fact that physical laws need not exist) to test these theories or to come up with new ones? Food for thought…

And on that very philosophical note, I will end this blog here. To anyone who I haven’t seen in a while or don’t see/talk to regularly (which, sadly, is a lot of people), I hope you’re all doing well, and to everyone else, as always, take care.

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