The Observer Within: A Personal Reflection

While watching the movie “Dune: Part Two”, I found myself observing my own reactions. I was worried, my palms were sweating during the fight scenes. I felt something in my throat and warmth in my upper chest during the romantic scenes. I was amazed! Not by the feeling themselves, but the distance between the observer and the one who was feeling. The separation was clear.

Despite knowing that the main actor would not die and that the events on screen were fictional, I still felt these emotions. This led me to question who was experiencing these feelings and who was empathizing with the characters in the movie. After the movie, I told my girlfriend that I felt like I was observing an animal inside experiencing these emotions. I used the word animal, because I felt primitive, silly and/or naive for reacting like that. I also felt vulnerable because I could be controlled. I was not choosing what to feel at the moment. I could not control nor predict the next feeling that would arise in me. The best I could do was to notice and don’t “blend in” so to say. Few days later, when I returned to reflect on the experience, I realized that what this “animal” in me felt was empathy and it is a human quality. Perhaps, what I was observing was the human part of me.

This realization was shocking. If I was observing the human part of me experiencing human emotions, then who was the observer? I remembered about the observer was his/its attitude towards the feeling part of me. It was looking down on the feeling part, but not in a judgemental way. It was a mix of curiosity, amazement and acceptance. I was never a father, but at that moment, I felt like a father watching his child. Now I question the nature of the observer. Was it human or something else? It was certainly not a primitive animal or a primitive human. What is the nature of an observer? Is it observing from the inside or outside? Is it constrained by the boundaries of my body or extends beyond? If it is a part of me, how is it possible to have different parts within me that are so different in their evolution?

Movie Dune part two Oleksandr Tereshchuk