What is Consciousness with Frauke Sandig & Eric Black

In the boundless exploration of consciousness, we find ourselves peering into the mysteries that define our very existence. Today, we are graced with the profound insights of Frauke Sandig and Eric Black, the filmmakers behind the extraordinary documentary “Aware: Glimpses of Consciousness.” This film delves into the depths of human consciousness, presenting diverse perspectives from scientific and spiritual realms.

Frauke Sandig and Eric Black embark on a journey that seeks to unravel the enigma of consciousness, starting with a fundamental question: What is consciousness? They humorously note that if even Albert Einstein couldn’t definitively answer this, they certainly have their work cut out for them. Their documentary, rather than offering a single explanation, provides a mosaic of perspectives, each contributing a piece to the larger puzzle.

One of the most striking aspects of their film is its inclusion of six researchers, each approaching consciousness from a unique angle. From the empirical studies of brain researchers like Christof Koch to the introspective practices of Buddhist monks such as Matthieu Ricard, the film presents a rich tapestry of insights. “Consciousness is mainly subjective experience,” says Koch, echoing a sentiment shared by many of the film’s protagonists. This subjective experience is what differentiates living beings from robots or inanimate objects.

The documentary also explores the consciousness of plants through the pioneering work of Monica Gagliano, who conducts experiments that suggest plants can perceive, learn, and remember. “Plants do have subjective experiences,” Gagliano asserts, challenging the traditional scientific view that has long dismissed plant consciousness. This revolutionary perspective aligns with indigenous beliefs, as represented by an indigenous Maya woman in the film who communicates with plants on a spiritual level.


  1. Interconnectedness of All Life: The film underscores the deep interconnection between humans, plants, and animals. As Gagliano and the Maya woman demonstrate, consciousness is not exclusive to humans but is a shared attribute of all living beings, fostering a sense of unity and respect for nature.
  2. Multiple Perspectives on Consciousness: By presenting diverse viewpoints, the documentary highlights that consciousness can be studied from both external scientific methods and internal spiritual practices. This dual approach enriches our understanding and appreciation of consciousness.
  3. The Power of Subjective Experience: The film suggests that subjective experiences, whether through meditation, psychedelic substances, or everyday interactions, are crucial to understanding consciousness. These experiences help us connect with something greater than ourselves, be it a higher state of awareness or a deeper understanding of our place in the universe.

Frauke and Eric also touch on the accelerating pace of technological and scientific advancements over the last few centuries. They ponder whether consciousness has played a role in this rapid development. The concept of interconnectedness is further explored through the idea that plants and other living beings possess a form of consciousness that has long been overlooked. “We need to see the world not as separate objects but as interconnected beings,” they suggest, echoing a shift in how we perceive our relationship with nature.

The documentary delves into the realm of psychedelic research, particularly the studies conducted at Johns Hopkins University. Roland Griffiths’ work with psilocybin demonstrates its potential to treat depression by altering brain connectivity and opening new pathways of perception. Participants often describe these experiences as among the most significant of their lives, encountering feelings of awe, interconnectedness, and even divine presence. “These substances don’t make you addicted because they help you see a different perspective,” Griffiths explains, highlighting the transformative potential of psychedelics.

As we reflect on the insights shared by Frauke Sandig and Eric Black, it becomes clear that consciousness is a vast and multifaceted phenomenon. Their documentary serves as a bridge between the scientific and spiritual, inviting us to explore the depths of our own awareness and the interconnectedness of all life.

Please enjoy my conversation with Frauke Sandig and Eric Black.

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Follow Along with the Transcript – Episode 015

Alex Ferrari 0:11
I'd like to welcome to the show for Frauke Sandig and Eric Black. How you guys doing?

Eric Black 0:16
Very well. Thank you.

Frauke Sandig 0:18
How are you?

Alex Ferrari 0:19
I'm doing great. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I really, I reached out to you because I saw your wonderful film aware, a glimpse into consciousness. And I felt that it would be a perfect conversation for the show and really wanted to dig in deep in your film is wonderful, by the way, and it digs into multiple layers of consciousness and asks a lot of big questions and answers, a couple questions. But you're also left with questions at the end of films, which are always a good sign keeps the conversation going. So I'll just dive in really quickly and just ask you what, in your opinion, is consciousness?

Frauke Sandig 0:56
Oh, that's an easy question.

Alex Ferrari 0:58
It's a fairly it's a fairly simple question. Let's just start that one off right away.

Frauke Sandig 1:01
It's the biggest mystery of the universe. And Einstein couldn't answer the question, but of course we can.

Alex Ferrari 1:08
But they told but they told me you guys were the best. Did they lie?

Eric Black 1:13
me a like, Alex. Yeah.

Frauke Sandig 1:16
It was one. One film fund in Germany rejected the proposal was exactly that response. The directors failed to answer the fundamental question, What is consciousness? But then I protested and say, said, Albert Einstein also didn't answer that. And in the end, we did that, get that grant.

Eric Black 1:40
One of the things you can say about the definition of consciousness is that it's the feeling of it's feeling, it's the feeling of being something or some thing or someone, or it's this inner inner life that we have, that it's, it's which differentiates us also from robots and other things is there's something there's a feeling to being me, rather than an object. And that's maybe that's the best definition in terms of just giving you the parameters of what people are talking about when they're talking about consciousness while researching the origins of consciousness. Why does it feel something? Feel like something to be Alex? Why do we have thoughts or feelings at all? Why aren't we just robots? Why? Why does this gray matter give rise to feeling?

Frauke Sandig 2:44
Well, that was was Christof Koch, our brain researcher in our film, press, his consciousness is mainly subjective experience. And I think most, most of our protagonist, most of the researchers would agree with this very simple definition. If it's the plant researcher, who's just a Monica karianna, who is claiming that also plants do have subjective experience, and that they're not just objects that they can feel and perceive. And I think with this simple definition, which of course, doesn't totally explain, much as this is, but but it's some some orientation we could live with.

Alex Ferrari 3:29
So you can see I mean, obviously, like, I was joking, this is like an easy question. But obviously, it's not a very difficult question. I mean, the concept of conscious and when we become conscious of who we are, from when we're born, because when we're born, we're just a bunch of nerve endings, almost essentially just trying to absorb as much stuff as we can around our environment. What do you remember? At what point did you realize when you were growing up that you like, um, I'm somebody, I'm like, the ego finally said, Hey, hey, hey, you are Eric, you're a frog. I'm Alex. Do you remember that? Is there that moment? And what causes that moment I get? I get another fairly simple question.

Eric Black 4:14
I'm not sure. No, I'm not sure. I know when I had that feeling. I mean, I can remember when I first well, memories, but that's not what you're asking. I mean, and I mean, to take off on that a little bit. I was just, I was talking to somebody else about this. My first memory had to do with music. And then I can remember, a Bach it was in retrospect, I know that it was a brought Bach Brandenburg Concerto. And I was looking at a chandelier. And it was late in the day, I was probably about three or four. I think, Why that? Why, what was why that I mean, I'm not sure that our film answers anything like that, but I find me Music as mysterious as consciousness really is, you know, things that connects us with, you know, music of the spheres are wide. Why does a certain vibration? Get to me? Or any other question is, why does it get to other people, but that's another thing that's in there. But we're not we didn't do a documentary about music, either. But it certainly was on on the periphery of this entire thing, also, that there are a lot of mysteries. But consciousness has, you know, was the problem, the hard problem was rather well, actually well defined by decart, right back in 1630. And we really haven't gotten very much further with that. Now we have MRIs and we can scan what the brain is doing. But we don't know why it's doing that. I mean, it's just, it's lighting up colors that indicate that there's activity going on there. But we don't know. We really do not know what consciousness is.

Alex Ferrari 6:06
Right. So with, can you you had six researchers in your film, and each of them, each of them going at this question differently? Can you kind of just quickly discuss the six researchers, who they are? And what's the angle that they were coming at this problem with?

Frauke Sandig 6:26
Yeah, I mean, our approach was actually the six blind men and the elephant. It's an old Asian parable where six blind men are going out into the night and trying to find out what this big being is, and everybody touches a little like the trunk, the food the year and describe it in a completely different way. And this was our approach to the film to find six researchers who have absolutely different perspective on consciousness and different approaches. And

Eric Black 6:59
in the story, you know, I mean, we all know the story, but just because it's an important part is that it's not until you come back and you have these six parts of the mosaic that the king or whoever it is, realizes this must be an elephant.

Frauke Sandig 7:15
And we also we also thought, that consciousness is the only topic or like object for research object, for research, that you can approach from outside as well as from inside. So you can approach from outside as a scientist and research a brain or a plant or an animal, but you can also research it from inside like a Buddhist who's meditating or you are trying out psychedelic substances. And would you also can research from outside and inside so we wanted both approaches. So here we have one plant researcher who is investigating the consciousness of plants, which is Monica Gagliano, wonderful, wonderful person also. And as a counterpart, we have an indigenous Maya woman, who is actually experiencing plant consciousness on a different level, like on a dream level and communicating with plants. So more from the inside. Then we have the brain researcher, famous brain researcher, Christoph cough from the Allen Institute for brain science, the shed, the director, or the chief scientist of the Allen Institute. And his counterpart is a famous Buddhist monk, Matthieu Ricard, who is the official translator for the Dalai Lama and lives in the pile. And his passion is to investigate consciousness from inside. And then we have a big, big topic in the film is psychedelic research. And we've Roland Griffiths, from the Johns Hopkins University, probably the leading scientist for psychedelic research, and has done mainly silicided research over the last years. And his counterpart from the inside is Richard boothby, who is a philosophy professor and a participant in the study. So we have always thought to present both perspectives from every topic and to approach it from all sides.

Eric Black 9:23
The other thing that's involved there is that we were looking for radically different perspectives. We and that's how we started are looking in the first place and with the idea is there is there anything in common when you come back and you put these things, put these viewpoints together that tells us more about what consciousness is, again, like like the elephant story, and that's why we really went all over the world and very, very different perspectives. Rather, it's Christof Koch and with 300 scientists working under him and are what we call material science to a Tibetan Buddhist monk who's researching consciousness, he would say scientifically, from the inside, he would say, that's the only way you can research it. So each of them has their own method, I would say angle and perspective. Yeah, yeah.

Alex Ferrari 10:30
What I found fascinating was the, the researcher had researched plants on a scientific standpoint, where they were doing the the research of, you know, how does the root find water, and they tricked the root with the sound sound vibrations, and then they were in the news, you could just see them going there. Like that is a level of consciousness. I mean, that is not just a brute object that just sits there like a, you know, a rock or something, that there's something there. But the question is, what is it and what is that level versus the level of an animal versus the level of a human because we are all aware, and I have some sense of consciousness, but at a completely multiple levels, like a plant might be able to hear, which that kind of proved that it it. It heard the sound of the of water, yet there was no water there. So it had some sort of it was fascinating to me, but I just was I was I thought that in the documentary where I saw, there's like, there's plants, there's animals, there's humans, and each have a different level of consciousness at at that level. But what is that? And what is it that what's the definition, not only for us, but for humans and for not for you, for animals and for plants, plants was never even in the conversation before?

Eric Black 11:53
I would, I'm uncomfortable with this idea of levels. I mean, watching you move your hand up and down where you say that. And I Well, let's say maybe more important than when I have to say, as Monica would say, well, careful right there. I mean, I mean, I think and I think your audience was probably gonna think a lot, some of them are gonna think this too. You know, our evaluation of their consciousness may not be valid at all. And then and we could add whales and dolphins and there's an open quit rather than not more intelligent than we are intelligent. Excuse me, I mean, conscious than we are. But I'm, I think I'm uncomfortable with all of those terms in terms of love. I mean, plants have been here a lot longer than animals have on this planet. And they're obviously doing something right. I think what our research into plants often says more about us than it says about the plants. I mean, it's only because you get in this case, Monica Galliano who is we call it the Jane Goodall of plants. What what Jane Goodall did back in 1961, is exactly where no one would have believed you weren't even allowed. She said when she was studying. Not sure if it's Oxford or Cambridge, that you weren't allowed at the time to even talk about the consciousness of animals it was it was taboo. And she said she would go home and consoled herself with her dog. But 50 years later, we have Monica Galliano applying basically, tests that have been being used for the last 50 years on animals and coming up with a lot of the same results. So it's not that plants have changed in the last 50 years. It's that we've bothered to look, I mean, that's what makes Monique who she is, because she bothered to look, I mean, she had an inkling, like, why don't we do this, and she started out as a marine scientist, and he she didn't want to kill any fish anymore. And she moved over to plants. And so she took a lot of the same experiments that she was doing with fish, or and applied them to plants. And that's why we know this is because we bothered to look.

Frauke Sandig 14:14
And there's also so much research recently been done also about the World Wide Web, about cooperation in forests, about horses, cooperate with each other. And I think it's now pretty mainstream to assume that there is consciousness in nature, even if it's not quite clear how it works, because Monica always says, Why should we measure plant consciousness from our human perspective? It's their plant way of perceiving and doing things. So why, why? Why would they have to accept our human system or

Eric Black 14:52
they haven't evolved to fit in the same niche? Why would they have the same consciousness and how on earth are we going to measure

Alex Ferrari 15:01
Yeah, it's just I guess, I guess instead of levels is just differences, because obviously our conscious is different than animal consciousness is this different than plant consciousness? And then the question is, you know, the entire ecosystem of the world like all of us working together that which is a good question, why do you believe that we, as humans, always look at ourselves as separate from nature separate from, from things, you know, in, in our environment, where we're, it's just so logical for anybody who has a brain to understand that we rely on, on nature, we rely on the world, we live our environment to live, but we're not separate from them. We're all connected, which then also goes to a larger question, why do we separate ourselves as human beings because we're all connected as well.

Frauke Sandig 15:50
Actually, this was the initiation for us was our last film about the Maya. In Mexico and Guatemala. It was a film about the Maya of today and their spirituality, but also their problems with the destruction of their environment. And there was called heart of sky out of Earth and actually aware it's a little bit of a continuation of the second part of the trilogy. Yeah, yeah. I mean, we remember both when Florrie Maya spiritual guide, in the interview, she was very upset with us, not with us personally, but with everybody in the West Western cultures. And she said, You white people, you always see everything, everything is separated, like, here's the house and here's the animal. And here's the tree. And here are you and, and we indigenous people, we have always seen everything as connected, and interconnected. And that was actually for us the first clue to investigate consciousness, and which finally, after many years now,

Eric Black 17:02
yeah, sort of Lori's question. Which is also to say that, you know, you, Alice, you're saying, I mean, I know, you know, that's not probably what you're saying, anyway. But when you say we, as the human race, or whatever that is, even then we're only talking about the last 12,000 years since the since since agriculture. I asked them our history, which goes at least back 250,000 years, we we were tribal people as well, we were hunter gatherers, and very much connected and very much have the idea that we are a part of nature, it's civilization. And, and, of course, at this point, it's, you know, our competitive corporate capitalism that has really pulled us completely out of the fold. It actually,

Alex Ferrari 17:53
no, I'm sorry, go ahead.

Frauke Sandig 17:55
Actually, Monica Galliano exactly what she says in the film, also, that we see the things as separate, and we see things not beings, and that is, this is the cause of our whole environmental crisis, because we see nature as something we can dominate and which is separate from us.

Alex Ferrari 18:14
Well, yeah, yeah, of course. I mean, there's a million, a million, you know, good and bad movies or talk about that. But I finally so I always find it fascinating that, and, you know, I have these conversations, these kind of philosophical conversations with my colleagues about, about, you know, you were saying 12,000 years since basically agriculture, but in the last 200 years, the advances that our, our species has had, is, is asked, I mean, it's astronomical, it's growing at such a rate, even in my lifetime, you know, I was born in the 70s. The world looks a lot different now than it did in the 70s. Let alone like my grandfather, before he passed, he lived through No, like no electricity, or barely the beginnings of electricity, no airplanes, no cars, no nothing. So all of this that what caused the speed up, we're talking about 250,000 years of being around let's say, and then last 12,000 years agriculture, then all of a sudden, in the last two 300 years, a major ramp up, I mean, at a level that our species has never had, which leads into his consciousness have a part in that? Like, is there something going on that just because did our brains change a lot in the last 1000 years? last 2000 years? I mean, slightly, I'm sure, yeah, evolutionary maybe. But overall, we're, you could pluck somebody out from the days of Christ and born, you know, and have them be born in this time period. And they would, they would go with we'd go with the flow, as they say,

Eric Black 19:53
well, as far as I know, the last genetic change to Europeans is the ability to digest milk. And that's, that's 12,000 years ago. So we haven't changed at all since then. I mean, as far as we can tell, um, and in terms of I mean, I would I mean, of course, there are a lot of things, but I think a lot of us would say, it's energy, that all of a sudden that you could put oil to work for us and have all of this energy, really transforming. This is I'm being simplistic, but it certainly is what put the power behind it, that you, all of a sudden, you can move things you can never have thought to move. I mean, it started with steam power, but it's, it's really the last 150 years of the history of, of energy. And you know, from burning wood to make steam, or to or to oil. And, and that's where we're also stuck. Of course, this is a long ways from consciousness, and maybe not the answer you're looking for. But I'm not at all sure. I mean, I'm not even sure how even to measure that. But I'm certainly not comfortable with the idea that we are more conscious than our tribal selves. Right. I and my tendency is, yeah, again, you're back to definitions. But I would feel very uncomfortable saying that. I am more conscious than my Mayan, tribal Mayan counterpart.

Alex Ferrari 21:28
Now why I would, I would, I would argue that I think that indigenous people are more conscious, because they're more connected to the planet than we are, we're much more detached. As a general statement, I'm being very general about this. But Western society is very, mostly detached from nature, we are nature, we are part of this planet, we are part of this ecosystem. So to be, you know, we are looking at our iPhones, we're not looking at a tree. And we go and we're going deeper down that that rabbit hole. And I think that's where there's so much depression, and so much all this kind of stuff in regards of that. And I think that's why there is a movement towards understanding consciousness understanding what's inside of us to go inside for the answers as opposed to objects of outside. Is that a fair statement? Well, no,

Frauke Sandig 22:18
just one word to the iPhone. Because to me, it always seems like a paradox that I think technically, the word world has never been more interconnected, because we're all so connected with everybody worldwide, with the Internet, and with our iPhones and Facebook, etc, etc. But on the other hand, I think there has never been so much loneliness, because every everybody is just busy with his little machine. And I think this is a paradox, which is very interesting, and which is, of course, different in societies who are still more connected with nature directly and with living beings directly.

Alex Ferrari 22:58
Now, what part the spirituality play in consciousness, and because there definitely was conversations about that, and your film, what is your opinion of that?

Eric Black 23:10
Well, there really in some ways, there are two parts of our film. But probably more than that, and then, and it's probably the thing that I least going back to the elephant story, and that, because this was it wasn't just for the film, it was also rather the way we approach to, as to human beings approaching consciousness as well. And what I least expected, was this quality of pure pure awareness or pure consciousness. I mean, these are words and they're, you know, they're, they're hard to define. But I'm someone up in Ohio, and, you know, in a working class neighborhood, I don't think I had any idea what consciousness was, I don't think I really have any. I mean, even now, I'm struggling with trying to understand what that means. I mean, and it's something Buddhists have been telling us about. It's something that tribal peoples have been telling us about. And I've always thought that it. I mean, it's been a very much of interest to me, but rather abstract the idea that you could be in a state where you can separate your own identity, your own ego, from a self that's in back of that is not something I ever expected to be talking about, or even Frankly, I am someone also grew up very uncomfortable with New Age jargon. And to be even taught like this. I really I have to sort of breathe first before I do. Even having been, you know, lived in San Francisco for a long, long time. It still makes me uncomfortable, that sort of hokey pokey, Hocus Pocus thing, but What was really fascinating about this film? I mean, one of the things that was really fascinating this film was getting to the essence of what is what is pure awareness? What is pure consciousness? And, and that's certainly what the studies of and Johns Hopkins are also about, even if it's not broadcast everywhere. It certainly is what the indigenous people are telling. It's certainly what Buddhism has been telling us forever, you can reach a state where you can meld with either a higher consciousness rather that means with the universe or rather it means with, in the case of Buddhism, it's the bodhisatta in us. Well, frankly, it's not something I ever expected to hear myself say.

Frauke Sandig 25:43
And it's interesting, because it's, again, a point where the indigenous approach and the science approach meet, because psychedelic substances almost all come always coming from from indigenous medicines, which have been used for 1000s of years. If it's been the magic mushrooms like psilocybin. pinotti Iosco, right, yeah. And now science is really methodically more and more trying to research what indigenous people have used and known as medicine for a long, long time, and they're coming to amazing results in especially, for example, the psilocybin studies at Johns Hopkins University, where they found that they get really amazing successes with healing of depression. And their studies at this moment. Well,

Eric Black 26:42
even if I can, let me inject this, because I think it's important to Alex is that, in these studies at Johns Hopkins, which I think a lot of people are very aware of now, because they've been going on since 2000. There have been over I think it's the last we count, it was 720, psychedelic trips, without one without one bad trip, by the way. But what is interesting about that, is that we're getting to a, what, what I'm trying to say is that all of this new what we call the new science and medical sciences, always calling itself new. But I think the other thing that really surprised us too, is how close this new science I mean, and not in every domain, but is merging with what indigenous people have been telling us forever. the consciousness of plants or animals, rather, it's the, the this the strength and possibility of touching on the divine yourself. These are all things that indigenous people have been saying, in other words, and we haven't been able to hear them. But they've been telling us for a long, long time. Now, again, I don't want to make that overly simplistic as though it's, you know, this is just what our film is about. But it it really struck us over and over. In the while we were researching this film is like, Hmm, this is very close to what the Maya had been telling us. Also,

Alex Ferrari 28:24
yeah, I've, I've I love I've studied the Maya as well, just for fun, and I've been down to Mexico and I absolutely just, I just love the culture and I mean, they were doing it scene math. While the Europeans are still was still crawling around their account, their calendar was more perfect than what we have in our computers at this point. It's always that I always I always find it fascinating when science or you know, current societies look back or even look at indigenous or look at past cultures like with like the stain, almost like Oh, look at those silly, those silly people, you know, pushing around rocks or something like that. But when when you when you dig deeper, you realize they figured stuff out that we're starting to just grasp now. Yeah, they didn't have an iPhone, but they did have one. Yeah.

Eric Black 29:17
Yeah. Well, they were working on it. But you know, and what is it the first thing that we I mean, Europeans did when we went to the Maya, we burned 20,000x. And we outlawed the use of Silla, I mean of psychedelic medicine. I mean, what they would call and what I now would call psychedelic medicine. First thing we did first thing we saw, who's the barbaric one?

Alex Ferrari 29:48
Who are the savages?

Eric Black 29:50
Well, even Cortez now that we're having the 500th anniversary of the Cortez invading Mexico, he was apparently asked if he would need it. Dr. from Spain he said basically said hell no, the Aztecs are much better doctors than the Spanish than the Spanish.

Alex Ferrari 30:08
It's It's It's, it's remarkable. The the the psychedelic experiments are going on and john hopkins, you were talking about that it really is helping with depression. Can they pinpoint what is doing that? Is it an inner peace that the that they're finding when they go on these trips? Because they're obviously I mean, what I think this is just my opinion, a psychedelic kind of is like a is like a is like a rocket ship or a or speed train to finding what might take meditators? Oh, my God. Yeah, exactly. Just it's like, it opens the back door quickly. And you go in there really quickly as opposed to maybe meditating for 10 years. I mean, that's just my my look at it. But I'd love to hear what you guys think.

Eric Black 30:58
Oh, well, ROM does is famous for saying that, you know, he was talking about LSD at the time. But he said that it it'll get you in the room with with Christ and Buddha for 15 minutes, but then you have to leave.

Alex Ferrari 31:14
That's not a bad ticket, if you can get it.

Frauke Sandig 31:18
Hold on Griffis says in our film, that meditation is the tried and true course to investigate the nature of mind and psilocybin is the crash course. And yeah, he explains it. in it. It's not simple, but it's also not so difficult to understand. He he says that, usually the our brain is in a default mode, where only like three points are always communicating with each other. And like screensaver. Yeah. And this is just to survive your daily life to get your food to, etc, etc. And under psilocybin are also under under a very long time meditation, this opens up and suddenly, many, many points in the brain are connected with each other and communicated with each other, and you have a completely different image. And he said, in a depression, usually this default mode is even stricter, you have almost no variation, you just have a very narrow way of communicating points. And so by taking psilocybin, if this interconnection happens, it helps, even if the patient even just sees one time he gets another perspective that there's another perspective possible, which takes him out of this narrow patterns. Yeah, I mean, this is how I understood it, it you could also call

Eric Black 32:55
ego, yeah, that your, you know, your ego, it's like being OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder, where you your world gets smaller and smaller. And that's depression is very much is now this is, as I understand it, and as documentary filmmakers with, you know, at the mercy of our subjects to know anything, but this is how I understand it from the studies in London and the studies in Johns Hopkins is that your world gets very tiny, and it's very restricted, and you sort of just, you're like a rat in a cage, you're just banging into things, and all of a sudden, on psilocybin and you can see this, this is what they're doing in the brain scanners, is that which our film also shows is that all of a sudden, every part of your brain is lighting up and talking to all the other sections of the brain. And the interesting thing is, it's it's also using less energy than when you're normal. And the other thing that looks like besides meditating Buddhists who had 4040 years of experiences or more with meditating and silicides and his small children who have not yet formed their ego have a very similar brain pattern or connections pattern in their brains

Frauke Sandig 34:16
all still everything is communicating and connected and not restricted before it's all shut down. And what is just one less thing to add. What is also interesting is that will increase as a researcher claims that these substances don't make you addicted from them because not like antidepressants because it's just the help of even just knowing that there is a different perspective possible.

Eric Black 34:49
Yeah. Yeah. Oh, well, I The other thing I mean, to answer go back to your question, Alex, like why would this make you less depressed? I think I mean, that's, that's very hard to say. I mean, and this is actually what I wanted to say before and when I lost my train of thought there, and that is that 40, excuse me, 79, or almost 80% of these of the people who have participated in these studies, these are people with no previous drug experience, which are hard to find in the US, I suppose. But 79% report this four to five hour session, as being one of the five most important experiences of their lives on par with the death of a parent, or the birth of a first child, I mean, that's the scale we're talking about. So, so from so it's not just that their brain is, you know, able to see every other part, they're having an experience, which I mean, the most common term that people use is, that's more real than reality. This is an expression which gets used, because everyone has to keep a diary that goes in there, the Psychonauts, as they're called, has to keep a diary, they are using this expression. And coming back, I think more than anything, and my my feeling about what I'm reading is that with a sense of awe and wonder, that, you know, to use language out of the 60s has blown their mind that they've seen something far greater than ourselves. And they've connected with something, again, nebulous language, but far greater than ourselves. And the last point I want to make here is that 40% of full 40% of the people who are involved in these studies say that it was the single most important experience of their lives 40%. Now something is going on there, that is hardly explicable in our normal date.

Alex Ferrari 37:04
So if I may use the analogy, you were saying a couple of points. So when you're depressed, you're basically in a game of Pong, which is a little dog going back and forth, hitting two bars, and then when you go down this road, it's like going into virtual reality. It's that extreme of a different experience. I mean, because as video gamers out there listening, play Pong, and then go into virtual reality. And your experience is going to be much, much more much different. But it's, it's interesting. It's interesting, though, that you were saying that they once they go in, they are connecting to something higher, a higher place or something larger than themselves, which i think that i think in a weird way, most human beings are always looking to be part of something bigger than themselves, that they're not alone, that they are part of a larger, and that could be family at a smaller level. That could be community, that could be the world that could be the work that they do and try and help other people. But this is again, the crash course, as you're saying,

Eric Black 38:11
I would say we're really hungry hunger, and I feel that in myself, I don't want to, you know, pull myself out of that. I yeah, I feel a real hunger for a connection to something bigger. And also someone who grew up very skeptical of Orthodox religion at the same time.

Frauke Sandig 38:33
But what I find still the most fascinating but also most inexplainable part is that so many people, I mean, as Roland Griffiths is at Johns Hopkins study experience, something they would call the divine for a higher consciousness or some something very benevolent, and they get the feeling that there is something that endures after death, that there is not really death. And there, there is some higher consciousness that is accompanying you. And this is a big percentage of people who would have claimed to be atheists before. This part important with his himself says he cannot explain it, but it's just a result of his studies that so many people report this religious or spiritual experiences.

Eric Black 39:26
They will they will, he said, Roland says that they really had no idea what they were touching on. They had they when people came back, he says, in fact, he says, when these people came back with saying, you know, this was one of the most important experiences of my life, he said, You know, I've worked in the halls of Johns Hopkins for 40 years. I haven't had a single experience here. That was one of the most important to my life. What these people must have really dull lives, but, you know, no, I mean, this is something that's going on again, with Normal as far as they can get normal, everyday Americans are having these experiences, which they are not expecting at all. And they, they're having to use language which they haven't used before, either. And I and I, and again, I'm one of them who's very uncomfortable with this. This language, I don't know how to use it. And I have to because I'm, this is the information that I'm getting through our film. But I yeah, it's Yeah, it's startling. It's really startling.

Frauke Sandig 40:37
Another experience many people have is an experience of homecoming, so that they come to a place, which they have always known, which doesn't even surprise them, because it's more like they always had known it, but forgotten it. So his homecoming experience is also I mean, it's it's a scientific study with hundreds of people, obviously. It's very frequent.

Alex Ferrari 41:04
Yeah. And I mean, a lot of the things you're saying Echo, you know, Echo gurus from India, and you know, the Bhagavad Gita and like, a lot of these concepts now that are now being just barely skimmed, in the scientific world. It's been in, in spiritual texts for for, you know, 1000s of years sometimes. And because we, as you're saying these things, I'm like, the homecoming got it, you're going back, you've forgotten all this stuff, which turns into the returns into the question I have now is, is consciousness. Basically, another word for looking for the soul? Is the soul. Can those two words be entered, you know, and exchanged? Because I mean, you did talk to a lot of spiritual people in your documentary, as well as scientific people. And like you're saying they're, they're, they're finding Happy, happy, medium ugra of common ground, which is fascinating. And these conversations, like, could you imagine these conversations in the 30s, or 40s? Like, people will look at you like you were crazy. But yet, now we're getting to that place where we're getting to that so do you think that the word soul or, or consciousness can be intertwined or exchanged? Probably not

Frauke Sandig 42:19
everybody would agree, but even Christof Koch, the famous brain researcher says he would know, he had been a materialist, but now he called himself a pan psychist, which means, actually, that soul is everywhere in nature, in, in this case, he use it. He, he uses it almost synonymously with consciousness.

Eric Black 42:43
Yeah. And this is really I mean, and I, it's, it's not that we talked to a lot of spiritual people, and a lot of scientists, what was interesting to us as well, four of our six protagonists are hardcore scientists. It's that they have another aspect to them, as well, as you find in a lot of very high powered scientists. It's not, they're not all autistic, that they, they're, they, you know, even even Christof Koch, I mean, I keep coming back to him because he's, he's in that position. He's got 300 scientists working under him. He was researching consciousness before with Francis Crick, the discoverer of DNA. I mean, these are this is high powered stuff.

Frauke Sandig 43:30
Yeah. And they, they are actually working now on making an atlas of the brain of human brain and mouse brain. So this is pure material at this level, goes further in his own philosophy and thinking,

Eric Black 43:45
and he would say that he now doubts, you know, and this is someone who has access to everything that's going on, in the, in this in the research in the scientific research into the neurons of the brain, that we're not going to find the origins of consciousness in the human brain. Now, that's quite a statement.

Alex Ferrari 44:07
That's, that's really from, from the one of the leading scientists on the planet in this video.

Eric Black 44:13
Yeah, yeah, that's insane. I mean, that doesn't mean that there aren't people who don't believe that we will find science, I mean, the origins of consciousness,

Frauke Sandig 44:24
that may add some go right. Now, just thinking that Christof Koch, often also quote, the famous novel Prize winner Max Planck, who is the father of quantum physics, and Max Planck said, already in the 20s, but for him consciousness is fundamental. And you cannot go behind consciousness and everything that is matter is derived from consciousness. Was this an absolutely revolutionary thing to say for a physicist

Eric Black 44:57
does consciousness fundamental and everything else Secondary. I mean, this sounds like right out of the bunk out of Hinduism.

Alex Ferrari 45:05
Yeah, the back of either Of course it does. And that's what it's so fascinating with with heart.

Eric Black 45:11
Bryant is I mean, I mean, it doesn't get more hardcore than Marx. You know, you amazing, amazing. It's

Alex Ferrari 45:23
no, it is. It's remarkable. And, you know, when you start delving into quantum mechanics and quantum physics, we're now they, you know, in please correct me if I'm wrong to my understanding, they've gone down now so deep into the cells that when they finally get to the deepest place, that can be the like, their space between the spectator to yours. Yeah, yeah. So now before they thought atoms were solid or something, but it's actually not, we're not solid beings, that everything is not solid on a quantum level. And then now we're going deep. So then it's like, well, what's holding us together?

Eric Black 46:04
When you will string theory, string, one, one of the possibilities, but just consider the fact that that's a possibility. There is no matter. It's just forces holding points which have no space to get in space. Well, I mean, even consider the Big Bang. I mean, how, explain I mean, never mind spirituality, just the science of the Big Bang, which is, I wouldn't want to say it's verifiable. But it's one of the most solid theories we have. Everything in the universe was originally smaller than the size of an atom. Well, you know, I mean, the mind, you can't even say the mind boggles, because you can't even go there. But it's just to say so so I mean, we know equals mc square. So it's all energy, well, obviously, but then you then you want to get behind. And I'm not even going to pretend to know, Alex, but you want to know what's behind energy. You know, and that's what, and that's what Max Planck is saying behind energy behind matter, is consciousness. I mean, this is pretty close to an idea of God, maybe with a small g instead of a big G. And again, it's these are terms I feel

Alex Ferrari 47:27
uncomfortable. I can see, I can see that you're uncomfortable say, this is what I find. So this is what I find so fascinating. Eric, is that you? I mean, you come from a place that is that like you said, You You didn't grew up thinking about that you grew up in San Francisco, which is I've been to San Francisco it is as as as free spirit in New Age as any place on the planet. I think they created the current the term New Age, I think it all started from Berkeley, back in

Eric Black 47:53
the 60s. So Cruz for as well. So you know, but I say just to correct you a little bit. Alex, I grew up in working class, Ohio, right. I didn't move until I went to Berkeley to to go to I was there as a child. But I Oh, mainly, I grew up in, you know, in Ohio working class. And we didn't talk about this at all.

Alex Ferrari 48:16
No. And, and but I find it so fascinating that through your own research and your own experiences, the facts that are coming to you from people who are, you know, some spiritual, but mostly hardcore scientists, who are saying, you know, there might be something else here, like what's behind energy? That is an insane question to ask. Because it's like what's behind matter? Like, what, what's, what's holding it all together? And then you start getting into these really deep rabbit holes of like, what's controlling? Like, what's holding everything together? Is there a higher power? Is there a higher energy? You know, and that's what I find fascinating about this conversation. That's why I loved your movie so much, is that these hardcore scientists, and I find that hard, the harder core science and then Einstein, me to Einstein towards the end of his career as well, his life was talking about these kind of ideas in a timely manner. Yeah, and although our time with quantum physics or of nature, yeah, yeah, he was. Yeah, he wasn't like, Oh, that's a tree To hell with it. No, he started like, because. And if I make if I may quote, Einstein, oh, there's a tree that hell with it.

No, but you could quote me on that. No, but um, but as you as scientists go deeper, deeper down that rabbit hole, the answers that they're getting is uncomfortable for them. And they're like, Well, wait a minute. If this is the case, maybe I've been wrong. And I've noticed that with harder Like people who are at a very high level, like you're saying top people in the world, in their fields are starting to find these quote like quantum quantum mechanics string theory. I mean, that's unheard of back in, you know, when, in the early in the early parts of physics in general concepts of physics, that some some people, you know, Boehm, for example, took off on this board Niels Bohr

Eric Black 50:26
took off. I mean, it wasn't to say any, but it what is amazing. And what verifies what you're saying, though, Alex, is that quantum physics has been around 121 years, it's not new. And it's one of the most verifiable theories that we have. We don't know why it works. But we know that it works. I mean, that's that. That's the killer. And it's, even now, though, we're having a hard time. I mean, it's only been recently applied to biology. I mean, photosynthesis is because of quantum physics. I mean, we didn't know that. We now know that birds orient themselves because of quantum mechanics. We didn't know that until very, very recently, because no one was even looking there.

Frauke Sandig 51:14
At Monica Galliano, the plant researcher says that there is still a lot of resistance in a traditional science against new ideas, for example, the clan are conscious, because she said, she made so many experiments with plants, which showed that they learn that they perceive, hear, see, interconnect and communicate. And she said, There is so many scientists calling who didn't even talk to her anymore, just because of these ideas. And she said, they never said that her data were wrong. They always said this before as

Alex Ferrari 51:52
they weren't, they were uncomfortable. They uncomfortable with the facts, which

Eric Black 51:56
they weren't there, but they weren't going after her experiments that was saying, they were saying you can't do that. You can cannot be possible, we're not we're not even going to talk to you. And yet, the type of experiments she was doing were like Pavlov's dog that you could train a plant, like to respond to a pea plant to respond to a noise, even when you took the impetus for to turn away away and only had the noise. The P turns around just like a dog is the same experiment that we do on dogs or, or the one with, you know, she's famous for doing that dropping the Mimosa plants, which are the plants that fold up their leaves fold up, when they we presume feel fear or feel threatened. And she would drop them six inches a whole bunch of time. And in a case. And, you know, after a very short while, they don't close up their leaves anymore. Not only that, you do that a month and a half, they still don't go back to closing up their leaves, they've learned that that's not a threat, whereas you jiggle them or do something else they'll close right back up. And so when you remember and they remember, they learn

Alex Ferrari 53:16
that like it makes my head hurt if I'm not gonna say I'm not a scientist, and I'm like, my God, I can't even can't conceive that a plants have these abilities, which I mean, you could just look at a sunflower, basic sunflower, it follows the sun. Right, it literally just moves during the day, that is not a blunt object. There's there's something there. What is

Eric Black 53:41
Previously, we would have presumed that that has to do with something going on in the heat and sure, you know, having with the sun, and I frankly, I don't want to get ahead of myself, I don't even know that that's not true. I mean, you may be able to verify that. But what the other things that we can show about plants definitely put a lot of emphasis on the fact that this is a conscious mean. We don't know in how its consciousness, we don't even know you know, we can show that the plants see we have no idea how this happens.

Frauke Sandig 54:17
But I do think that plants orient themselves to light that basic and I think that was actually the base of Monica's Pavlov experiment that the instead of the dinner with the dog gets the plants get blue light. And, and she associated with a little fan. And so always when the fan showed up and made wind and noise, they got the light and after a while the plants bent over, even when no light was there and there was just the fan. So the making an association and it's not really unexplained it It's not really explainable with the means the science has today. But he was just demonstrating that they're doing simple, very simple experiments.

Alex Ferrari 55:10
And, you know, again, we talked about meditation a little bit. And I've talked about meditation heavily. I'm, I'm a fairly heavy meditator on a daily basis as well, and it's changed my life. And apparently, according to my blood work has changed my blood work as well. Oh, meditate, I'll be right back. My, my, my, my nutritionist was checking my blood work the other day. And she's like, how is your this level? I forgot what it was just like, how is your level of this? where it's at? Do you take a supplement for that? I go, No, I don't take a supplement for that. She's like, do you meditate? I go, yeah, I'm a fairly heavy meditator. And she's like, that's it. It is, you're creating that chemical in you. And your levels are low. And it's like dropping the cholesterol. It's fascinating. And actually, in meditation is one of the most studied things for the last. I don't know how many years, there's so many peer reviewed studies. ranford. Meditation. Yeah, yeah, it's, it's fairly amazing. So my question to you is, What part? Did you find that meditation plays with finding that deeper part of yourself? That thing, whatever that thing is, in the experiments at john hopkins, that's the crash course. Can meditation. Meditation is that same path is just not as fast. But what did you What did you find in your in your findings? You're looking at me, I presume the guy, the guy, the guy from Ohio, who I promise who probably didn't meditate when he was 15? Right? Well,

Eric Black 56:44
I then I, then I have to be really honest, and say that, I've had a love of Buddhism, since I was probably about 20. And it's and it, you know, that means reading about Buddhism, I wouldn't say that I was a Buddhist, or let's put it this way. It's a little like Groucho Marx never belong to a club that will have you as a member. But it's sort of the opposite. Because I'm not sure that I would clap. I mean, qualify as a Buddhist, but I certainly, there are a lot of the tenants in Buddhism, and it's certainly also, it's with the way that it dovetails with quantum physics, for one thing is really impressive to me. But I have to say, I've been very frustrated with meditation, I think I'm, I was trying to describe it to myself today. It's almost like, I'm an OCD thinker, you know, that I've got so many thoughts in my mind. And I, meditation helps me without a doubt. You know, I often when I have problems, especially when I have problems, especially about four o'clock in the morning, I'll go meditate, and I'm able to sort of watch the thoughts go by, and I'm able to say, okay, that's, you know, we can deal with that or, but in terms of getting to the next level, in Buddhism or in meditation, I, I've been very frustrated with it. And I think that that's one of the things that really interests me, personally, although I don't have much experience with something like silicided is that once you've been as ROM das sit in that room for 15 minutes, you have a little idea where you're going you even to know that this is possible. And I wanted to get onto this too. So I'm going to jump back for a minute to what you said about connecting to something that's bigger. Well, I think that that's maybe the the set, as I said before, but it's a good time to say it again. What amazed me most was the fact that you can touch upon this something bigger. I mean, I'm not gonna say that I know what it is. I hope I never do. I mean, I hope that that sense of honor never leaves me. But I distinctly have that feeling. And I also am looking at it in the feeling of all of these participants to the john hopkins studies, not to mention meditating Buddhists who are all telling us that they're touching. I mean, again, language is a problem here, but they're touching on the divine there. They're hitting a spirit, something spiritual, something out there, pure consciousness, pure awareness, whatever word you want to use God. Again, these are these are words I feel very uncomfortable with. But obviously there's, as you said, something going on there. And I'd like to introduce another point too, and this is also coming from Ohio. What I'm also stunned with is, you know, I'm, you know, I I wouldn't have even considered any of These things until I'm over 60. How did that happen? That I didn't even know about this until I'm 60. I mean, I, what I mean is that, I think that we need to start talking about this ability, or this possibility of connecting to the vine as our birthright. And no one should be able to take that away from you. This is part of what it means to be conscious, and to be at least human, if not many other things. But But, and that has been taken as taken away from us. And we need to get it back. And I mean, I can say that for myself also, personally, I want, I want that connect, I need that connection, I'm hungry for that connection. And that's a lot of what our film is about, is not only these material sciences, doing their science and showing that these things that we thought weren't conscious before, and our consciousness, it also follows you into their own personal journey, spiritual journey, and to show you that they're frustrated with material science that they like me, they love science, they read all about it, they're obviously extremely well informed. And on the other hand, they know that it's a method and it's, it's limited what science can do. And it and it's, I think, it's like with me, I'm holding on to the handrail of science, because I somehow trust science.

But I want to go into that, that other thing that's much bigger than that, at least holding on. And that's what our film tries to do. It's a provocation. For people who never really thought people like me who've never really thought about this before, because we need it.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:59
More so I think, than ever before. Now, I'm gonna ask you a couple questions. I asked all my guests. What do you think your mission is here and this life? Again, we started with a simple question, we're gonna end with a simple question.

Eric Black 1:02:17
I'll start and then begin to give Fraga some time to think about that. I think I'm a warrior. I don't think I'm ever going to be enlightened. That's my I'm going to give that up. Because I'm going to sacrifice myself this time around. I I've noticed this ever since I was a little kid. And I think this explains how I became a documentary filmmaker really is that nothing gets me motivated more than injustice, no matter where it is, whether it's racism, sexism, whether it's the genocide of what we call Indians in Guatemala, or Chiapas, or, frankly, what's going on in an Afghan that we just botched in stand big time, that injustice is, I don't know how that is. But even as a little kid, I was the one who thought that Joey, who was a little handicap should be able to play basketball with the rest of us. in Columbus, Ohio, you know, where we don't let just anybody in, especially in football. I was always that way. I was always that way. And I have to think that that has something to do with my core and though and why I make films to this day is injustice and trying to get to what I perceive as truth. I mean,

Frauke Sandig 1:03:40
I, I think my mission is really to make documentary films to give ideas and people and stories, a room and have voices heard that might not be heard otherwise. And I I would try to pull myself pretty back. I mean, I never show up in front of a camera or my own films or so I just want to allow these ideas to get into the world. And of course, it's an incredible privilege also, to meet all these people I mean, to to live for years with a Maya for example, and to absorb these ideas and to have a chance to transport these ideas into a more public space. I really have to fearing that. That is my mission and I sometimes I also think it's not coming from inside me there is something also leading me which I could not tell you what it is. Sometimes also all sorts of strange coincidences happen which leads me to meet certain persons and follow certain stories and I couldn't even explain in the beginning why that is, but it always happens. So and even They're going big obstacles come across. Also this film they were was they were like 10 situations where we thought we there is no funding, we have to give up this bill will never be made. And then suddenly something very strange happened. And it went on so. So somehow I do believe that is also a mission that is a little bit bigger than I am. So it's coming from somewhere else and things that need to be transported. It's more like a medium, maybe in a not in a spiritual sense.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:38
Like it which, which again, goes back to the question, what's behind who's behind the door? Who's behind the energy? what's, what is guiding this, and I think everybody, I think everybody, regardless if you are from Ohio, or if you're from Berkeley, will will admit that there's moments in life that you're like, that was a hell of a coincidence. Like, I just ran into that person, and they Oh, that and like, it just, it's almost too perfect. And you couldn't plan it almost like it'd be difficult or impossible to plan meeting people like that. Like, if you would have told me, you know, 10 years ago, I'm like, oh, you're gonna be talking to amazing people on a daily basis through a microphone in your room on this thing called a podcast, I would have said, What are you talking about? And yet it's transformed my life and transformed everything that I've ever wanted in my life, basically, by giving back to my communities that I've chosen to give back to so it's, it is, you know, we won't we won't answer the mysteries of life in this conversation. So like, like the German grant people you did not answer. You cannot answer What is consciousness, so I cannot give you the grant. I don't give the ending away. To see the film like we say it. No, I mean, you're holding back because of that. Got it.

Eric Black 1:07:02
Back to you, then Alex, what surprised you most in the film you personally?

Alex Ferrari 1:07:07
Um, me personally, what I found the most surprising was the, the consciousness of plants. There's another movie called The hidden the hidden world of trees, I think it's called and it's it goes down this world of like, you know, there's like, almost like mothers and saplings, and they protect them. And if you start analyzing how, how they are laid out in the forest, like, that's how, folks Yeah, it's so that that world to me is really interesting when I saw when I saw that I forgot her name again. But that scientists when she did the P experiment. Oh, Monica, Monica, Monica. When I saw her do the P experiment. I was just like, what? Like, I mean, it doesn't surprise me. It's honestly not like, like, I'm completely blown away. But I am completely blown away. So it's kind of like like that, like when you're inside the room with Jesus and Buddha, you're like, oh, I've been here before. Oh, it's come. It's a homecoming. That kind of information to me was surprising at one level, but not surprising that another if that makes any sense whatsoever. And there was a lot of that in your movie where revelations that were coming up by talking to the scientist, were surprising and yet not surprising, for me at least. And that's how I approached when I watched the film, I saw that. But the plant the plant experiment, when I saw it, I was just like, that's, that's something I just hadn't seen before. I've never seen anything like that before. I never thought about it kind of like, like her colleagues are like, you can't, I don't even want to talk. No, I don't want to go, I don't want to go into that room. That's a scary room. Because if I go into that room, that means I'm gonna have to think about a lot of things that I just don't want to think about. And that's, I think, a reaction that so many people have to, to, might have to a lot of the concepts in your film, but also conscious of having conversations about consciousness, having had this conversation is probably going to blow a few people's minds. And when they watch your film will take them to another place. It's like, some people don't want to leave the room that they've built for themselves. They're scared to go outside that door. And they don't want to believe that there's something outside. That's why meditation in many ways. I mean, for me, it took me a long time to get into meditation. I was like you it just, it was it was hard. It was it just I kept bumping into walls. My mind was constantly and I tried meditating probably for the last 20 years. I like I try on and off, I try on and off. I'm like, that's not doing anything for me. It's just not for me. And then about five years ago, I went in, and then I went, I just kept going, and then I was like, oh, okay, this is how it works. And then it just started and I just kept doing it. And I just made a conscious effort of like, I'm going to Just keep doing it every day. And it started off at five minutes. And then I think my record now is three and a half hours in one one setting. You know, my goal is to do an eight hour stretch. But I have kids, so probably not going to happen the next day.

But, but maybe one day, I'll go on a retreat somewhere in Nepal, and do that. But, but and then I found the benefits of it and finding the and the thing that's always found you and you said this in our conversation, which is that when you have a problem, those problems, either go Go away, or answers come to you. And I've, in my meditations, when I have a major life issue. I'll go in, I'll ask the question. And the answer presents itself, whether in one or two sessions, and I know a lot of meditators who have that thing. And it's hard for people who aren't meditators to understand that, and it's scary. It's scary, because a lot of people were raised thinking that they were out that everything is outside of themselves, they have a really difficult as you use the term, I feel very uncomfortable saying that I have the answers inside of me, because that goes against everything I was ever taught, through my community, through my family, through my religion, whatever. It's scary to a lot of people. But once they open that door, it doesn't conflict with any of that stuff. It adds to it. And that's, that's what I tried to do with this show, is to try to give a lot of different points of view about spirituality, about consciousness about meditation about answering those big questions that I posed to you guys. Like, why are we here? What is the purpose of all of this? How are we moving around? Like, these are big questions? You know, is this all there? Is? is another question I asked constantly in this like, Is it just me working nine to five, for 40 years, and then you know, retiring, and then maybe get this, maybe I can get the 65? And then maybe last five years, go to a couple cruises? I mean, the old mentality is like, you know, you retire at 65, which now doesn't even make sense to me. And then you go off to a cruise. And then you know, maybe you die in five years, and you worked all your life. But anyway, that's the that was the that was the answer your question, but I absolutely adored your film. And that's why I wanted to have you guys on when I saw the trailer for like, I want to reach out to them. I'd love to see the film. And and and Funny enough, how did that trailer come across my path? Yes. I mean, you I mean, you're not Marvel, you're not Marvel, you're not spending $200 million on marketing? So like, how did how did that that come into my path? And then how did that trailer trigger me to go, I'm gonna reach out to them because I want them to talk about it on my show. And then then after this conversation gets released, what effects will it have on people listening, which is something I've discovered in my world doing podcasting for six years, you can never underestimate the power of a conversation, how it will affect somebody else's live halfway around the world, or completely around the world. It's remarkable. And the same thing with your film, someone who watched this film and live, their life will be altered, their life will be altered forever, after they watch this film. And somebody's listening to this conversation. And I've had these conversations with people like I meet them at events, and they'll look at me, they're like Alex, I, I, I, I listened to that conversation, or I heard you say this, and it changed my life. And that's very, very powerful. And that's what drives me to do what I do.

Frauke Sandig 1:13:41
Wonderful. Wonderful. Thank you so much. and invite,

Alex Ferrari 1:13:46
of course, of course, and where can when is the film going to be released in the US?

Frauke Sandig 1:13:51
The film will be released in the US by September 24. I think starting in Los Angeles in the lemlem theaters, yes. And it will go to New York, October 8. Village cinema. And we am looking most forward to the premiere in Baltimore because all our protagonists like Roland Griffiths with booze be Mary Cosima know of john table. They will come to this event on October 13. In Baltimore, but it will be theatrical released nationwide. Yeah, but grateful for that by the same people who brought you fantastic fungo Oh, yeah, same. Curt. Really? We feel very fortunate. Yeah, we also have a website it's just aware. Aware minus film.com you're asking me so if you don't mind is in English now.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:50
We'll put it we'll put it in the show notes so people can definitely find it and where can people glimpses of consciousness and where can people and where can people find your work and your other films?

Frauke Sandig 1:15:00
Well, you can find it on that website or we have a very small company. It's called umbrella films. And that's umbrella. films.org. Yeah. And then we have some information about our other films of sky heart of

Eric Black 1:15:14
Yoda first also the first in a trilogy. Yep, Sky, Heart of sky heart of Earth, which is a film about the Maya. We have spent three years with the Maya and that's,

Alex Ferrari 1:15:23
oh my god, that must I look forward to watching that film as well,

Eric Black 1:15:27
where only the indigenous Maya speak is no narration. It's just them speak. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 1:15:32
that's amazing. Well, listen, guys, I truly appreciate you coming on the show. It has been a wonderful conversation. I can't wait for this to go out into the world and see what good it can do. So I appreciate what you're doing and the work you've done. So thank you so much, guys.

Frauke Sandig 1:15:47
Thank you so much, Alex.

Eric Black 1:15:48

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