The Altered States (1980) is a thought-provoking spiritual movie with a double choice towards darkness.
The protagonist (Eddie) had a much higher consciousness than the average person.
During his childhood, he had visions of the higher realm and spiritual entities of light, such as angels, saints and even Jesus. Those visions lasted until Eddie was 16 when his father became sick and died. Shocked by his beloved father’s anguish, Eddie lost his faith in God (a spiritual choice towards darkness) as well as his connection to the higher spiritual world.
As an adult, Eddie becomes a scientist. His life script pushes him towards the next evolutionary step. Eddie investigates a correlation between changes in a human’s conscious and physical existence. His research proceeds slowly, but steadily. At first, he experiments on students, then on schizophrenics because they are closer to a higher realm than “normal” people. Finally, he experiments on himself.
He is committed to his intentions and invests lots of time and energy into his research, risking his own health and even life.
On his path, Eddie has several transcendental experiences and revolutionary discoveries. He gets what he wants – scientific proof that a transformation of consciousness leads to the change of matter*!
Eddie’s wife is a scientist too, but she has a lower consciousness than Eddie does and can’t understand his spiritual search.
Unfortunately, the end of the story is disappointing. The protagonist, embracing his naked wife (a symbol of carnal pleasure), makes his final statement: “There is no ultimate (=absolute) truth”. This is the second statement (since his teenage years) that denies the existence of the Absolute (God).
We can assume that after this statement, Eddie will not return to his research and will likely accept his wife’s model of living – queuing up for a job at a university and becoming involved in “philistine” cares – an idea that made him sick not so long ago.
Once again, Eddie faces the degradation of his own consciousness.
If Eddie had linked the results of his latest experiences to his father’s death, the plot of the story would have been much more positive from a spiritual progress point of view. Eddie could have made another mental statement, i.e., by accepting his father’s suffering and death as God’s will, he would have upgraded his consciousness to the higher level and experienced the thinning of his physical body. That would have allowed him to join the spiritual beings who “showed off” to him during his childhood, and he would have reached the ultimate goal of human beings – salvation.
- Note: This statement was well-known by the ancient alchemists. They realized that to transform a metal to gold, one must change his consciousness.