“My father says almost the whole world’s asleep. Everybody you know, everybody you see, everybody you talk to. He says only a few people are awake. And they live in a state of constant total amazement.”
– Patricia, from Joe Versus the Volcano
It seems that we now live in an increasingly polarized, disenchanted, fragmented, and incoherent world. In a world such as this, partisan one-sidedness, nonstop busyness, and unquestioned presumptions are all too common and all too easy. Quick argument and automatic conflict are therefore common. There is no time to give attention to any deeper or more meaningful realities behind our racing assertions of self and of party. Philosopher Charles Taylor calls this the “disenchanted” age, where we are no longer awake to the spiritual or sacramental realities that lie behind the material world.
Looking at the same idea from second angle, David Foster Wallace explained in his famous commencement speech of 2005 how we all tend to live and move through “default settings.” The problem is that we automatically assume these default settings to be true and in doing so we regularly turn out to be wrong and deluded, and hurtful consequences arise.
And yet, in the midst of such a world, a few voices such as Owen Barfield argue that it is possible for a person to experience a “felt change in consciousness.” In that spirit, and perhaps unique in the annals of film lists, Arts & Faith has now put together a list entitled the “Top 25 Films on Waking Up.”