Kadagaya recommends: documentaries
An important part of our self-education has come from watching documentaries. A huge variety of documentaries discussing critical and fascinating issues such as science and technology, religion, society, the monetary system, holistic education, automation and more can be viewed and downloaded online for free (e.g., Videoneat and TopDocumentaryFilms). This list includes some of our favourites (in no particular order).
Kumaré: The true story of a false prophet
“Kumaré” tells the true story of Vikram Ghandi (an American of Indian descent) who is fascinated by gurus and the mysterious power they seem to have over their worshippers. He travels to India to experience the many flavours of guru, and upon his return to the U.S. he decides to undertake a social experiment to become a guru himself and try to attract some followers. He grows a beard, dons a robe, puts on his grandfather´s Indian accent and calls himself Kumaré. With his new look and “blue light” meditation routine he quickly attracts followers. This is a humorous look at the guru phenomenon which gets really interesting when Kumaré starts to feel guilty and reveals his deception.
American comedian Bill Maher takes a personal journey around the world to explore the Abrahamic religions, preaching doubt and trying to understand what he has been missing. The result is a hilarious ride through the Holy Land, the Creation Museum, a religious theme park, The Vatican, and the highly-religious Deep South of the U.S. as he interviews religious leaders, an ex-Satanist priest, fanatic worshippers, an “ex-gay” preacher, a Muslim rapper, and even Jesus Christ himself (two of them). Underneath the humour is a clear message and warning about the dangers strongly-held religious beliefs have on society and the future of the human race.
The Codes of Gender
The role of the media in defining and perpetuating our definition and stereotypes of gender is shown in “Codes of Gender”. What we consider as clearly “masculine” and “feminine” is challenged and the normality of the brooding, serious, strong male and off-balance, giggling, childish female is made ridiculous. It is a good analysis of the history and psychology of gender in the media that will make you look more critically at billboards and magazines afterwards.
Paradise or Oblivion
This is a short documentary made by the Venus Project where they introduce their motivations for promoting a resource-based economy (RBE). The current problems of the world and discussed, but the main thrust of the story is to provide possible answers and solutions. A good introduction to the enabling technologies for an RBE and the architectural and societal designs of The Venus Project.
Journey of Man; A Genetic Odyssey!
A genetic scientist travels the world, following the migration and evolution of the human race from Africa to the population of every continent. Through sampling the DNA of isolated groups in Africa, India, Australia, central Asia, Siberia and the Americas, he is able to conclusively prove the migration paths taken by our early ancestors. The adaptability, strength and pure good luck of these early humans to survive is fascinating. The issue of race is shown clearly to be only skin deep and the lasting impression is one of unity, that we are indeed all one big family.
Capitalism – A Love Story
Michael Moore has now made many successful documentaries highlighting various aspects of society that he considers to be flawed and failing (healthcare, the food industry, gun laws in the U.S. etc.). His films are very much focused on the U.S., but considering it is the birthplace and biggest advocator of capitalism, it is a very good scene for this documentary. Moore tells the story of modern capitalism, showing the role of the government, media and education system in perpetuating the “American Dream”. Along the way he highlights the numerous negative effects that this had on the average family, society in general and the environment. No solutions are proposed, but the viewer is left with a clear picture of the state of the problems.
Mind Over Money
This is a fascinating documentary about the psychology of money. Many scientific studies are shown, along with interviews of various economists and money experts to clearly explain why humans behave in such irrational ways when it comes to making economic decisions and how the collective delusion of money has come to rule the world.
“Earthlings” is a confronting and graphic exploration of the dirty world of factory farming, not for the faint-hearted or weak of stomach. If this shocking underground view of modern meat production doesn´t immediately inspire you to turn vegan, it will at least make us all think twice about the high level of modern meat consumption and where our food comes from. This documentary has a clear pro-vegan agenda and little exploration of the root cause enabling such an industry (i.e. a society were profit rules over the welfare of the animals, human consumers and the environment), but worth watching nonetheless.
The Forbidden Education
“The Forbidden Education” gives an overview of the history and development of the educational system and questions whether the current model is the most appropriate for the holistic development of children. The military roots of education are discussed, where the objective was to create obedient and uniform subjects. Children are still divided into age groups and expected to learn and progress at the same rate, and are fed a homogenous body of knowledge. This documentary interviews teachers and students about the current system. This is contrasted with alternative educational paradigms where the individuality of the student is valued, and self-discipline and self-learning are encouraged.
Redesign My Brain
This three-part television series explores the extraordinary plasticity of the brain. The host submits himself to tough mental and physical training in an attempt to increase his creativity, emotional intelligence and memory. His final test is a terrifying underwater Houdini-style escape to test “mind over matter”.
Will Work for Free
It is common these days to hear dire predictions of the future when robots take our jobs, but is that really a bad thing? This thorough documentary shows the capabilities of current artificial intelligence (A.I.) technology, including robots that replace factory workers, noodle chefs, vegetable pickers, and even doctors. The superior performance, cost efficiency and reliability of robotic workers makes it inevitable that such technology will replace many jobs (as has already happened in many industries). Instead of bemoaning job losses perhaps we should promote technologies that liberate humans from tedious, repetitive tasks that prevent people from exploring their full potential.
Can Eating Insects Save the World
In many parts of the world eating insects is considered normal and even a great delicacy. The host travels to Asia, where insect consumption is the highest in the world, to taste the local fare and confront the cultural revulsion of bugs. He meets insect vendors on the streets of Thailand, joins some boys on a barefoot tarantula hunt, visits a cricket farm, and is shocked by school kids who prefer a second helping of fried bugs to the ice cream van. In terms of the conversion of food and water to edible protein, insects are the most efficient meat source. They breed quickly, use few resources and have significantly less environmental impact than other protein sources. In a world of increasing population and finite resources, maybe we should be eating more bugs.
HUMAN (three part series)
Director and photograher Yann Arthus-Bertrand spent three years interviewing over 2000 people in 60 countries to answer the question “what makes us human”. Beautiful imagery is coupled with intimate stories of love, violence, joy, and everything in between that talk to the heart. We are inspired to find our own conclusion about the human condition while seeing the world through the eyes of so many of our brothers and sisters. The resounding aftertaste is one of connection and universality.