Mind Field: Isolation

Mind Field: Isolation

2017, Science  -   14 Comments
Ratings: 7.38/10 from 100 users.

In one sense, our global society is more connected now than ever before. In another, we've never been more isolated. This generation's devotion to social media platforms has given birth to a lack of person-to-person engagement. Meanwhile, our thirst for non-stop stimulation strips away our desire for intimate knowledge of the self. But what effect do these factors have on the health, development and vitality of our brains? Created by Michael Stevens, Mind Field: Isolation seeks the answer to this question through a series of bold experiments.

Our evolving human species is perhaps most allergic to boredom. Regardless of how mundane our activities might be, we feel the need to fill our time with as many sources of stimulation as possible. In one experiment featured early in the film, behavioral scientists show how people oftentimes prefer to experience an episode of agonizing pain over the possibility of being alone with their thoughts for more than a few minutes.

The centerpiece of the film takes place in a completely white isolation chamber devoid of personality, windows or modern comforts. The host discusses his plans to occupy this room for three full days. During this period of time, he will have no interactions with another person, no indication of time, and no access to outside stimuli. He will exist solely with his own thoughts. Psychologists have warned that the barren surroundings could lead to some degree of brain damage over these 72 hours.

Behavioral and health experts monitor him carefully throughout the experiment, assessing his cognitive and metabolic functions, memory retention, and the various tasks he engages in to keep his mind occupied. Some of their observations are surprising even to them. When the host emerges from his cocoon, he has undergone a profound experience filled with supreme discomfort, severe confusion, a scattered mental capacity, and perhaps some measure of self-realization.

The mysteries of the mind are vast, and the revelations they bring forth are constantly in flux as the world around us continues to evolve. Mind Field: Isolation provides a compelling indication of where we are now as a species when we are forced to abandon our daily luxuries and truly peer inward.

Directed by: Michael Stevens

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Ken Baird
2 years ago

A fascinating doco was well worth watching.
9 Star.

5 years ago

It's the dawning of the Age of Aquarius! How exciting, and awkward!

5 years ago

Contrary to what some psychologists say, it seems evident that some folks have no need of frequent "social interaction" after being brought up in a calm stable household where they had to entertain themselves often enough, prior to the era of video games and the internet. Or other circumstances that could make them prefer to not be bothered by those pesky and irritating human-like creatures who spend their lives trying to build their ego at other's expense. Case in point the "wonderful" creatures @M. Ebling mentioned.

If you go back in history a bit, some "mountain men" lived away from others for the whole year until they would come down into a town where they could trade their animal furs, gold, or other items for certain supplies.

It seems those who truly fear isolation and/or are significantly affected by isolation are those that have yet to deal with their ego properly. If you resist finding things to distract yourself and find a quiet place or one is forced upon you, the truth about yourself is bound to find you. It seems some or many people would rather go crazy than to have to look at the truth about themselves. That is the exact purpose of much of our entertainments, distractions, jjunk foods, drugs, etc. to enable us avoid the truth about ourselves.

With a proper guidebook and some adequate isolation, a person could work out a number of issues and a plan for things they need to work on and monitor; without the need of any psychologist, or worse, a psychiatrist, who seems to have the default belief that a person has an inherent shortage of very harsh pharmaceuticals missing from their system, when in many cases, it is an over growth of some microbes and possibly shortages of certain minerals and/or vitamins, which can be caused by that microbe overgrowth. It could be the attitude or mental state of the individual and subsequent poor diet may have brought on the microbes or allowed them to multiply. Typically pharmaceuticals, being synthetic, are toxic to the body and therefore cause more harm than good over the long term despite possible short term benefit. The over accumulation of certain industrial or other substances in the body could also cause harmful effects.

Contrast those who "need" constant contact with those who seem to need "isolation" and go to one of those floaty isolation tubes to relax. Not a bad idea until they can learn to deal with their stress properly or find a different job and/or some duct tape for their spouse. (yep just joking; truly, learn to deal with irritators properly) However if you listen to the comedienne Lynne Koplitz she describes that one purdy good.

It seems when you "need" something that you don't Really need, that is something that you ought to take a closer look at. There are all sorts of psychologists and doctors telling people what they want to hear, to make themselves feel better about themselves and to make a buck. You can even find books that tell people, some written by and for women, that claim it is natural for them to gain weight as they get older. A friend's wife had one of those books so felt empowered to be chunky... until she got diabetes and the next doc told her to lose the weight which she did by getting out and walking up and down hills.

In the end, depending on why, it may not be a good thing to sit in isolation and/or stuff yourself because you are bored and/or lonely or want a different life but don't feel like doing anything to accomplish that ...and like that kind of comforting of food. But is that really worse than being a social butterfly with a bunch of superficial "friends" (acquaintances)? Or being a jabber mouth like some I know who cannot keep from telling people things they shouldn't? Compensating seems to be what human only do too well but shouldn't.

M. Ebling
5 years ago

This is not that impressive. There is no such thing as damage from isolation. Psychologists talk about how people need to speak and hear thousands of words a day with other humans, but it is not true. Socialization is just one form of entertainment that the human brain can use as stimulation.

When I was in the military I drew the unfortunate roll of being the odd man out because of my race, religious views, and upbringing. There was a lot of stress so my other flight members bullied me basically. Constant racial taunts or comments about how I looked like a child molester, serial killer, ugliest face ever, putting them on my kill list, etc.

So when I was in I didn't socialize with anyone. I spent 4 years never talking to anyone on base except at work. I went off base six times in four years and talked to my Dad on the phone every couple months to keep me going. 2,970 miles from home is a type of social isolation.

I have camped out in the woods by myself before for a couple weeks. With no internet or social interactions. I do like reading though so maybe that can give a person a tolerance for isolation.

As they say -

A hundred universes,
A thousand worlds,
I close my eyes,
And be where I want to be.

Three days in a white room would be easy. Now something like 3 months or 3 years would be more taxing.

Nice idea though.

Russ Tul
5 years ago

Interesting but nowhere nearly as ingenious as the Migram Experiment

Ari Sabah
6 years ago

This documentary surely makes an attentive viewer reflect not only on the concept of 'boredom' but also the importance of interaction for the survival of our sanity and sense of reality as a whole. Aristotle remarked that humans are 'by nature social animals', and the word 'social' implies some sort of need of interaction.

Neuroscience, those who study the brain, deem it as a need for 'stimuli' to keep our brain active. Psychology deems it as 'social interaction', which is a reciprocal form of communicating and experiencing - that is you and I become part of the experience; yet, we retain our own experiences.

When you come to think of it on a more in-depth level, you will realize how harmful isolation can be, and the impact it has on our social lives. By a way, this can extend to how we treat others that may isolate them from society, which of course can lead them to become mentally unstable. It is almost as if you deprive someone of their natural features to an extent.

Frankly, I have to say that his documentary has contributed greatly to my knowledge of the importance of social interaction, and our dependence to a large extent upon it. Once again, the moderators of topdocumentaryfilms.com has done me a great service, and I'm sure others, by giving us access to these documentaries.

Thank you!

Notsoancient Submariner
6 years ago

72 hours in isolation???? hmmf, wow, whadda buncha simps, can't even go inside their heads for three days..... Sure beats submarine duty ;) bwahahaha >:D

("Whaddya mean we sink "on purpose"?")

Roger Andout
6 years ago

What did this reveal that wasn't already known?

Donna Thompson
6 years ago

oh and i forgot to say..sorry to have so many boxes but i feel this is groundbreaking work. The degree of tolerance to the cell and "the Room" is directly plus indirectly related to the current state, condition of human habitat or shelter builds,,,umm yes, condo unit with prefab furnishings. Would allow for an easier transition into ,,,,the blank room...in time. Human adapt,, a wonderful power when not mocked or misdirected. How do you want us to evolve.....i like legendary over compact, status quo.terra firma over space station for us to be whole ..but what do i know.

Donna Thompson
6 years ago

i mean,,,not contained or overly deprived in case i deprived you of sense with my erroneous skew of grammatical structure Sorry, Hoped for an edit button as thoughts are often furiously deep and frequent

Donna Thompson
6 years ago

Sensory deprivation as a type of spa or reflection space ..hummm, Yes, overstimulation is a factory..so sure,,but . I do not believe it is a way of getting in touch with yourself or our realities. I think sensory filters are great but floating in the dead sea, or on the lake, pool of water off the beaten path, surrounded by forest, nature... is the most in- touch, dream sequence experience you will ever have. Great if there could be times when the motors are not on the surface,,so people could,, ya know float, bouyant,, without a propeller or threat of being dashed by a boat. Snorkeling is one of the best spaces ...I have seen divers sit on the bottom and relax but rather weighted by equipment,,, I believe the spaces have to be big for humans not small and contained or overly deprived

Donna Thompson
6 years ago

Yk,, the cruel effects of forced solitude need not be understated or rationalized. The fact that one man plans to steal from a bank in order to secure a financial position and goes to jail and another man plans to make use of marketing, savvy biz , and manipulation of rampant consumerism to earn the same...well, that says a lot about the power of money. Next. What is being said about the isolation principal is quite accurate,,, great no animal testing,,,and showed also that Jamie did not know to self stimulate,,so the button in the room became the biggest source. Always stuff a pen or pencil in your pocket,, plenty of wall space,,,and shoes make cool balls. Nametags with sticky back,, pure fun.. Relying on environment there,,was prefocused towards the buzzer thanks to the earlier controls... Control lab enviro,, do often lead to expected behaviors. Sterility off the white room is a brave shot in the dark to the future to possibly show how harmful to our perfect humaness this type of habitat will be,,should we follow certain lines of thinking,,,as solutions to space saving, efficiency models etc ,,, Great ? Q,,, Could have been a choice not to check that as if it were locked,,, more to deal with for 72 hours, ,right ? Some things best left unknown ? That would have been the risk 50/50 chance

6 years ago

This is a freebie of a paid youtube channel so I am not sure it belongs on this website. Anyway, if i had paid for this I would want my money back ?. That black guy was in solitary confinement for 5 MONTHS and here we have some hollywood drama with crocodile tears over 3 days. Save your money and buy a book (e.g. soledad brother) you would learn more.

6 years ago

It would have been interesting to know what he thought when he opened the door and realized it was unlocked. How would he have reacted if it was locked???