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Altered States (1980)

Altered States (1980). Spiritual Movie Review - Jacklyn A. Lo

The Altered States (1980), director Ken Russell,is a thought-provoking spiritual movie. 

A key phrase is a double choice for Darkness.

spiritual entities 

During his childhood, the protagonist (Eddie) had visions of Lights’ higher realm and spiritual entities, such as angels, saints, and even Jesus.

This proves that Eddie has a much higher consciousness than the average person.

the first spiritual choice

Those visions lasted until Eddie was 16. At that time, his father became sick and died. Shocked by his beloved father’s anguish, Eddie lost his faith in God; in other words, he made a spiritual choice towards Darkness. This was his first exam.

From that moment, he lost touch with 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 “normal” people, then on people with schizophrenia because they are closer to a higher realm, and finally – on himself.

transcendental experiences

He is committed to his intentions and invests lots of time and energy into his research, risking his health and even life.

On his path, Eddie has several transcendental experiences and revolutionary discoveries. Above all, he gets what he wants – scientific proof that a transformation of consciousness leads to the change of matter*!

Eddie’s wife

Eddie’s wife is a scientist, but she has a lower consciousness than Eddie and can’t understand his spiritual quest.

Unfortunately, the end of the story is disappointing.

the second spiritual choice

The protagonist, embracing his naked wife, makes his final statement: “There is no ultimate truth”. In other words, he prefers carnal pleasure rather than absolute truth.

This is Eddie’s second statement that he denies the existence of the Absolute. As a result, he faces the degradation of his consciousness.

In conclusion, we can assume that after this statement, Eddie, firstly, will not return to his research and besides, will likely accept his wife’s model of living – queuing up for a job and involving in “philistine” cares – an idea that made him sick not so long ago.

what if 

However, if Eddie would accept his father’s suffering and death as the will of God, he would, firstly, raise his consciousness to a higher level.

Secondly, he would experience the refinement of the physical body.

This would allow him to join the spiritual beings that “appeared” to him during his childhood, and most importantly, he would achieve the ultimate goal of people – salvation.


  • Note: This statement was well-known by the ancient alchemists. They realized that to transform metal to gold, one must change his consciousness.


Jacklyn A. Lo is the author of this movie review.

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