Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality:

Click here to go to the next issue

Highlights Home Page | Receive the Nonduality Highlights each day

How to submit material to the Highlights

#3413 - Thursday, January 15, 2009 - Editor: Jerry Katz

The Nonduality Highlights -         






The Lives of Others.”  The nondual paradox is encapsulated in the very title itself.  This movie portrays what can happen when we imagine other people—those opaque figures that move and speak all around us—to be as maximally “other” as we can possibly make them.  It shows what can happen when an entire society (in this case, postwar East Germany) is constructed from that premise.  When people are seen as so extremely “other” that every person not yourself is perceived as a potential threat.  Brother, lover, friend, teacher—no one is exempt from that suspicion.  You never know.  They must be watched!


After all, they do appear to be living separate lives from you, don’t they?  Yes, even in “nondualism” we would not deny that a certain kind of separateness does seem to exist between people.  The life you are living is not the life I am living.  Lucky you!


And yet...  Even in the midst of the most extreme expressions of separateness, even when the molecules of fear are so thick, you can actually feel them rubbing against your skin (as you could, in the German Democratic Republic of the 80s)...something else might leak through.  Some sneaky sense of sympathy.  Of connection.


Not to give anything away (for those of you who haven’t seen the movie), but that’s what happens here: a subtle, unexpected turning.  A “leaking through” of something else, an infiltration of affinity that manages to penetrate even one of the most cleverly constructed edifices of separation ever conceived by mankind.  It’s just the first intimation of something far deeper—the nondual state of reality itself—but it makes itself known anyway, and the film’s protagonist acts on it. 


He doesn’t quite know what to make of it, this sense of yearning he feels.  He doesn’t have any great conversion experience, he doesn’t get all warm and cuddly, he doesn’t suddenly break into song and dance.  He doesn’t try to become something he is not.  No, he remains, outwardly, within the stolid conditionings of his birth.  Yet something inside has shifted; you can see it in his eyes.  And (we trust) he will never be quite the same. 


Neither will his antagonist, the so-called “other.”


~ ~ ~


Come and watch The Lives of Others 

When: Friday, January 16

What: Light Potluck at 6:15, movie at 7:15.  Discussion to follow.

Where: Anchorage, Alaska


For more details, visit

top of page