ANTHONY DELLAFLORA Producer of The Language of Spirituality (www.thelanguageofspirituality.com)
Do the languages and cosmologies of Native Americans hold the keys to the mysteries of quantum physics and the nature of reality? That is the intriguing premise of The Language of Spirituality, a documentary film about the intersection of spirituality, modern science and language. Inspired by a series of dialogues between western physicists, Native scholars and elders and linguists, the documentary begins by exploring how language and worldview influence each other.
From this starting point, the late Dan "Moonhawk" Alford traces the evolution of Einstein's theory of relativity from its beginnings as a linguistic principle and its connection to the groundbreaking work of scholar Benjamin Whorf, whose study of Hopi and other Native languages in the early 20th century revealed a language structure quite dissimilar from Indo-European languages, but strikingly capable of describing the dynamic world of quantum physics, at a time when physicists were lamenting their inability to describe the subatomic realm in conventional language.
Whorf's theories, attacked by some, were bolstered by the work of noted theoretical physicist David Bohm, whose notions of reality and consciousness as expressed in his book "Wholeness and the Implicate Order," mirror the Hopi worldview. In 1992, it all came full circle when Bohm, just months before his death, was invited to meet Native elders at a dialogue in Kalamazoo, Michigan. There, Bohm was exposed to the Native worldview and found the dynamic, verb-based language that he had imagined.
Now, filmmaker Anthony DellaFlora captures this momentous meeting of minds and the beginnings of the ongoing dialogue in The Language of Spirituality.
Participants in the dialogues, including Fred Alan Wolf (What the Bleep Do We Know?), Bohm colleague F. David Peat and Blackfoot scholar Leroy Little Bear, speak about the dialogues and their implications for the future in this 62-minute documentary.