On the subject of elevation

Have you ever read Roger Ebert's blog? You may have read his film reviews before -- his review are some of the only ones the boyf and I trust when it comes to finding out if a new movie is worthy of our time (and money!) or not.

Well, apparently he has a blog, too. The boyf clued me into this yesterday when he was discussing a particular post Ebert wrote on elevation. What is elevation? Glad you asked. Here's what Wiki has to say about it:

After several years of researching disgust, University of Virginia professor Jonathan Haidt and others studied its opposite, and the term "elevation" was coined. Elevation is a moral emotion and is pleasant. It involves a desire to act morally and do "good"; as an emotion it has a basis in biology, and can sometimes be characterized by a feeling of expansion in the chest or a tingling feeling on the skin. Haidt performed tests on subjects viewing a speech given by Barack Obama and found the politician particularly adept in inspiring this emotion in his listeners.[11]

I think it's so neat that there is a scientific reason why we feel this way. I have felt this feeling many times before, usually when I am inspired by art. It could be a song, a film, a book, or whatever, and it usually leads me to write something, anything. Most of my poetry has been created this way.

On the subject of elevation, Ebert writes:

I've been saying for years that I never cry during sad moments in the movies, only during moments about goodness. At the end of "Terms of Endearment," I didn't cry because of Debra Winger's death, but because of how she said goodbye to her sons. Now I've have discovered a scientific explanation for why I feel the way that I do, and there is even a name for my specific emotion. I wasn't seeking an explanation, and I'm not sure I really wanted one.

And, for that matter, I don't really cry, at least not in the wiping-my-eyes and blowing-my-nose fashion. What I experience is the welling up of a few tears in my eyes, a certain tightness in my throat, and a feeling of uplift: Yes, there is a good person, doing a good thing. And when the movie is over, I don't want to talk with anyone. After such movies I notice that many audience members remain in a kind of reverie. Those who break the spell by feeling compelled to say something don't have an emotional clue.

One film that really gave me that uplifting feeling was The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I truly think this is my all-time favorite movie. I struggle to accurately describe it, as its premise is insane. So I'm stealing the plot-line from imdb.com: "A couple undergo a procedure to erase each other from their memories when their relationship turns sour, but it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with."

Yep, that sounds about right. Told you it was insane. But it's also romantic and bittersweet and unforgettable. I loved it so much, the boyf even bought me The Shooting Script.

Some clips plus a trailer from this film are pasted for you below in case you've never seen it and are curious. Have there been moments in your life, or perhaps any films, books, etc. that have ever given you this feeling of elevation? I'd love to hear your opinions on this matter.


"Would You Erase Me?"

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