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The Revolver: Well-Kept Secrets Edition

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Life is always right in front of us but that doesn’t necessarily mean we know what we’re looking at. The best-kept secrets are in plain view.


I guess it’s possible that somehow you haven’t heard of PostSecret, and that you have not experienced the spike of empathy that comes with reading one of these homemade postcards. In 2005 Frank Warren created a self-perpetuating art project by asking people to decorate a postcard, on which they anonymously reveal a personal secret they have never revealed to anyone. Some of these are shocking, others hilarious, others might feel like you could have written them. I saw a few hundred of them in an exhibit at my local Art Gallery a few years ago, and suddenly strangers became a lot more interesting. Frank’s Twitter feed is also worth following.

Animal Minds

A fascinating National Geographic article on one ever-underestimated quality of animals: their intelligence. Again and again, scientists are surprised by the discovery of complex behaviors in animals that were once thought to be exclusive to humans. Animals can make tools, understand languages and even learn to lie.

Money As Debt

A light and entertaining animated feature about what money really is: debt created by banks on the spot. Amateur videographer Paul Grignon aims only to inform, and spares us the hysterics about international banker conspiracies that are so popular these days. It seems like something every citizen should understand, but I bet this will shock most of you.

Waking Life

Most people won’t like this bizarre film, so don’t try too hard, but a certain minority will never forget it. No plot to speak of, no character development, full of self-important philosophical talk, even banter about the meaning of dreams! Yikes! Not for everyone, perfect for some. It’s shot in a beautiful and maddening rotoscope format that I can’t stop staring at but will probably make some people throw up.


Photo of Chico the cat by David Cain

Brenda August 27, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Since we’re sharing, here’s a link to my take on Waking Life, written last year and featuring a comment by David Cain. http://betaphilings.com/?p=1209

T-Bird August 28, 2011 at 2:32 pm

My life has been a series of “passion into action” revelations lately. All I can do is say “yes” to all of these manifestations, since to say yes to one instant is to say yes to all existence. I am no longer living my life in fear, which I believe to be humanity’s most universal characteristic. Life is wrapped in a dream, and so is death. So death is nothing but a series of uninhibited hallucinations. No need to fear death, a new world is as likely as the old one… Collective memory, all these ideas come from Waking Life, an amazing, eye opening film. David Cain, you are a blessing.

David August 29, 2011 at 8:45 pm

I wish I could take credit for it

Chris Walter August 28, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Wow waking life! I am sitting down to watch it right now. I haven’t seen it in years. Back when I was a hardcore traditional catholic and dismissed it all as meaningless and something that could potentially lead me away from Christ.

And let’s see how it goes watching it now with the new eyes of an atheist.

David August 29, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Once you get some different eyes, it’s worth going around and looking at everything again, eh?

Vilx- August 29, 2011 at 8:42 am

Well, I don’t know about you, but the “Money as Debt” sure had a strong conspiracy-movie stench to me. The final (spoken) words even gave a rhetorical “is it a conspiracy?” question, using the C-word and all. It is an interesting movie, but I will want to think about it for a while before agreeing to it. Experience has shown, that slipping from truth to lies can be done imperceivably in a chain of logical arguments (even and especially inadvertently), and it can take a close scrutiny of the statements to find the point where a mistake has been made. It’s the same reason why scientists have peer-reviews and every proof is closely scrutinized by many other experts before it is accepted as a a truth.

David August 29, 2011 at 8:53 pm

I think we may get a bit hyper-sensitive to the idea of conspiracies sometimes. As George Carlin said (I’m paraphrasing) “Of course there are conspiracies. Don’t you think it’s likely that sometimes people get together and do something bad, and lie about it?” The C-word is not a bad word, or a myth, it’s just fetishized by some people sometimes. I think the film does a good job of avoiding that kind of indulgence.

In any case the fractional reserve system is a reality, and the implications are true: banks are vested with the power to create money, all money exists as debt, and fractional reserve-based economies can only grow the extent that they put more people into more private debt.

Larissa August 29, 2011 at 4:56 pm

I love Waking Life!! great movie!!!

Joel August 30, 2011 at 8:13 am

Till now the only movie i’d watched on debt was the ‘Zeitgeist’ trilogy but that movie makes no bones about trying to avoid the ‘conspiracy nut’ tag… ‘Money as debt’ does a good job of trying to factual and methodical. Will definitely share the movie around…

Meanwhile ‘Waking life’ man… Bliss! :)

sui solitaire August 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm

LOVE Waking Life. Still want to watch A Scanner Darkly.

I knew you were a man of good taste! ;)

sui solitaire September 4, 2011 at 3:32 pm

P.S. Have you watched Fast Food Nation? Not too great as a movie but a good adaptation of the book. :)

Philip September 2, 2011 at 6:39 am

I think I’ll not be far from the truth, when I’ll say that one of the goals of your blog is to somehow affect, expand or rethink one’s view of life. It was through this post that I found out about ‘Waking Life’ and I just want to say that it was mind-blowing in every sense. I once heard this saying, that the best books are the ones that tell you what you already know. Linklater’s movie was very much like that, like someone spelled out the thoughts I had for a long time; it was like epiphany which lasted for over an hour and a half. I read your blog from time to time, but I’m no constant reader – I have a different perspective on things; I’ve got rather pessimistic view of life (Woody Allen spells it perfectly here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yVPS8XBoBE ), but I still find many of your posts interesting. Anyway, congratulations for introducing one more person to the brilliance of Richard Linklater. Thanks again. And keep up the good work!

Hayk September 3, 2011 at 6:33 pm

The underlying message of Money as Debt is true: money is created by banks out of our loans and implications thereof. But then again the movies says nothing “positive” or even neutral about banks. After all, that same banking “revolution” is what accelerated the industrial age and brought about what many 21st century humans proudly call modern civilization. Yes, the means of doing it seem like a bitter pill taken in the night that will harm us in future, but its “short-term” (few hundred years) consequences cannot and need not be so bluntly dismissed as “bankers robbing innocent citizens.” If we look deeper industrial age caused and continues to cause as much damage on a same ideological level: turning humans into machines with narrow specialization, limited knowledge and narrow set of aspirations. This is a bigger damage, in my view.

The Waking Life is an intense but marvelous movie.

James October 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Written secrets by strangers in postcards are very interesting. Everyone is interesting if we just take time to know them. Even the most boring person can be very interesting if we ask the right questions.

Da Young July 4, 2012 at 7:29 am

Is the revolver still going on? I’d love it if it were!

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