Mind Field: Isolation

2017, Science  -  35 min Leave a Comment
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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