Koyaanisqatsi has been a staple of Arkansas Governor's School for almost 40 years. For many students, it can be a bewildering movie--perhaps their first experience with a film lacking dialog or plot. If you are struggling to understand its meaning or significance, you are not alone. Here are some resources that might help put it all in balance.
This documentary explores the words between two commas in the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution that abolished slavery: "except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted." Within these words lay the path to the mass incarceration of Black people and other minorities, the explosion of our current prison system, and almost two centuries of slavery by another name. Netflix thought this documentary was so important and revelatory, they made it available for free. How did we get here and how do we, as a society, repair a criminal justice system built on such a foundation?
Contact pits science against religion and faith against fact in this science fiction film about the exploration of extra-terrestrial life. But is there really a divide? What does it mean to confront the unknown and the mysterious for people of science and for people of faith? Here are some signals from beyond the film to help guide your explorations.
The Social Dilemma takes a deep dive on how social media platforms are designed to addict and manipulate people. This docudrama weaves interviews with tech whistleblowers with a narrative drama of an average family to create a compelling story of how excessive social media polarizes our society, destroys self-esteem, and spreads conspiracy theories. While it is not unusual to see a documentary finger-point at social media as the root of all societal ills, this film goes a step further by exploring the nuanced ways technology companies have designed their platforms specifically to manipulate and addict users. After watching, do not be surprised if you want to delete your social media apps.