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5 Must Watch Comedies With Surprisingly Powerful Messages

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For many of us, movies are a central part of our lives. We can relate to them, they make us laugh, they make us cry and they offer us an escape from the trials and tribulations of daily life. As Jeff from the CE team eluded to in a recent post entitled 10 Movies That Could Change Your Understanding Of Life, movies can also seek to answer profound life questions and address themes we are curious to explore. In this list, however, I’m going to talk about 5 movies one would likely never expect to learn life lessons from, but yet offer wonderful food for thought.

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Before starting the list I would like to give a spoiler alert. The core themes/ message of each of these movies will be mentioned in the write-up of this article, so if you prefer to keep it a surprise simply make a mental note of the title and skip onto the next one. I’d also like to note that these 5 films are comedies that were marketed as comedies, so films that were centered around powerful messages or heartfelt stories that also had comical bits to them were not considered (ex. Forrest Gump, Patch Adams). Here are 5 comedy movies with surprisingly powerful messages:

1. Don Jon

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The 2013 film Don Jon was Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s writing and directorial debut. The comical story centres around a typical New Jersey male whose main priorities in life are his family, his friends, his faith, his body and “hooking up” with as many women as possible. On the surface this certainly doesn’t seem like a film to offer much deep meaning, especially when you add in his addiction to pornography, but the film very effectively delves into the unwanted side effects that regularly exposing ourselves to porn can have; effects such as desensitization, the setting of unrealistic expectations and an inability to connect with someone at a deeper level.

The experiences that the main character ‘Jon’ go through throughout the film are incredibly funny yet relatable at the same time, and offer us the viewers something to think about it when it comes to what we do and do not expose ourselves to regularly.

The potential side effects of regularly watching pornography is a subject we’ve covered a number of times here at CE, be sure to check out all of the following 3 articles to explore it further: LINK 1, LINK 2, LINK 3.

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2. Mr. Destiny

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The 1990 classic Mr. Destiny centres around Larry Burrows, an unhappy and unfulfilled married family man, who is given the opportunity to see how his life would have transpired had one key event gone differently. The film is both comedic and lighthearted throughout, but it offers quite a bit of food for thought surrounding the theme of regret. Much like the old adage ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’ alludes to, the film effectively shows how our mind can make anything other than our current reality seem optimal.

Using the concept of alternate timelines and a mysterious/ spiritual guide character, played by Michael Caine, Mr. Destiny is much more than your average comedy. It gives us a reminder to better appreciate our lives for what they are and to choose to live in the moment, rather than bog ourselves down in regret.

3. Yes Man

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Starring the hilarious Jim Carrey alongside the adorable Zooey Deschanel, Yes Man follows the story of a depressed divorcee in a dead-end job who finds new life in a seminar he stumbles into by chance. The seminar introduces him to the concept of saying “yes” to everything in life, the polar opposite to what both Jim’s character and so many of us are used to doing in our daily lives. Although the end results are absurd and unrealistic at various points throughout the film, it serves as a great reminder for us as the viewer to step outside of our comfort zones. It effectively shows that we are more in control of our reality than we often give ourselves credit for, and that we further harness that control when we open ourselves up to more than just what we are used to.

As with most Jim Carrey films, the movie is incredibly funny, the bonus is that it will more than likely leave you wanting to try something new in life. Given Jim’s close relationship and admiration for the teachings of Eckhart Tolle -who regularly speaks on embracing life -the underlying message of the film is not overly surprising -but I could just be making an unnecessary link here.

Jim Carrey has become a recurring face here at CE, be sure to check out some of the other times he has made an appearance: LINK 1, LINK 2, LINK 3.

4. Click

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The 2006 film Click, starring Adam Sandler, follows the story of a man that discovers a universal remote that gives him the power to pause, fast forward and rewind through his life. What starts off as a comedic venture through time ends up touching upon -and quite profoundly I may add -the lack of appreciation that we tend to have for the less colourful and more mundane aspects to our lives. The film also serves as a social commentary on how much of our lives we spend on auto-pilot, when really every given moment is something to behold, and has the potential to be as profound as any other moment that we for one reason or another choose to cherish and value.

Like all the other films on this list, the movie manages to remain lighthearted and comedic throughout but really drives home an unexpected powerful message in what my opinion is one of Adam Sandler’s best performances. The message presented at the end reminds me of the powerful message in the article The Top 5 Regrets of The Dying, you can read that by clicking HERE.

5. Shallow Hal

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The 2001 film Shallow Hal follows the story of Hal, a stereotypical superficial male in his thirties who, thanks to the help of Anthony Robbins, is given the ability to see women for their inner beauty rather than their actual external appearance. With this ability Sal finds himself incredibly interested in a series of women that based on societal expectations any superficial male would never have any level of interest in. The comedy delivers a powerful message on the importance of inner beauty and offers incredible social commentary on how superficial and judgemental so many of our minds have been programmed to be.

The concept of redefining beauty is something that we at CE have touched upon on numerous occasions, including the articles: Why Do So Many Cultures Idolize The Western Caucasian Image Of Beauty?  |  Why We Can’t Let The Beauty Industry Shape Our Children  | It’s Time We Retire The Statement “A Real Woman”

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Do you have any other suggestions for comedies with a surprisingly powerful message? Feel free to share them via the comment section below! Also be sure to check out another list I put together back in 2012 of over 80 films with truth or consciousness within them.


Ready to change your life today? Get my FREE eBook on 5 Quick Daily Hacks for a GENUINELY Happier Life sent straight to your inbox within 48 hours by signing up here. And for more brutally honest personal development content designed for those who actually want to change, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and to follow me on Facebook.

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Health

An Indigenous Perspective About Being A Vegan

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Below is a video from of Margaret Robinson, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, talking about indigenous culture and its relationship with animals.

  • Reflect On:

    Have we been mislead with health, an desensitized to cruelty?

Indigenous wisdom is something that resonates with many people. Despite the fact that this way of life was almost completely erased all over the world by the ruling class, it lives on today, and there is a big movement to grow it and share its vital message, which necessary for the preservation of our planet.

This kind of cultural genocide began during the Roman Empire, when Roman culture, institutions, and beliefs were pushed upon the citizenry, and consequences were doled out for those who didn’t follow them. The aristocracy controlled the people, and went on a global mission to conquer other parts of the world. Through this conquest, many cultures, beliefs, and wisdoms were lost, all so the ruling power at the time could assimilate others into their way of life.

Moving forward, we saw this type of ideology pushed by the Church, which condemned those who offered new ideas, science, and alternate views about the nature of our reality. Despite history moving forward, very little had changed; the powerful group of people who control politics, finance, and most aspects of our lives today were still pushing a certain way of life upon the citizenry.

And it remains so today. The destabilization of many countries, especially in the Middle East, and the whole process of globalization in general, is proof of that. We now live in a corporatocracy, which thrives on making the “American Dream” the primary focus of all global citizens. War and corrupt politics are the main tools used to carve out this new way of life for others.

As far as indigenous peoples go specifically, scholars have estimated that, prior to the ‘discovery’ of the Americas by Europeans, the pre-contact era population could have been as high as 100 million people. In very recent history, indigenous assimilation, forced by church and state, has continued, as the residential school system in Canada makes clear.

And because these cultures pass down beliefs and teachings orally, a lot of wisdom held by the elders was lost. Fortunately, some remain to preserve it.

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The world has changed a lot, but much of their teachings, meant to serve as a guidebook for a way of life that respects and honours all beings, still applies today. One great example would by the modern day food industry. Several different cultures within the first nations of America preach deep respect for all life and the animal kingdom, and a recognition that all life is connected. Imagine travelling back in time and showing footage of modern day factory farms — animals being raised and tortured en mass, in the billions, solely to be killed for our increasing greed.

I would be surprised if you could find one elder today who wasn’t appalled and heartbroken, or an elder in ancient times who would allow their people to participate in such barbaric acts.

There is no question about it — the modern day meat industry and the way we eat meat today would not have been accepted by the First Nations of recent history. But don’t take my word for it.

What Would Indigenous Wisdom Say? 

Rita Laws, Ph.D., published an article explaining how among her own people, the Choctaw Indians of Mississippi and Oklahoma, vegetables were the traditional diet, and homes were constructed of wood, mud, bark, and cane — not skins.

“The principal food, eaten daily from earthen pots, was a vegetarian stew containing corn, pumpkin and beans.”

She explains how meat in “the form of small game was an infrequent repast” and how their clothing was even derived from plants.

Perhaps one of the most interesting revelations shared by her experience and research is the fact that “more than one tribe has creation legends which describe people as vegetarian, living in a kind of Garden of Eden. A Cherokee legend describes humans, plants, and animals as having lived in the beginning in ‘equality and mutual helpfulness.’ “

She goes on to explain how “the needs of all were met without killing one another. When man became aggressive and ate some of the animals, the animals invented diseases to keep human population in check. The plants remained friendly, however, and offered themselves not only as food to man, but also as medicine, to combat the new diseases.”

Laws also points out how many other Indian tribes were like hers, subsisting primarily on plants, but those who did hunt did so sparingly and with care. A special bond existed between them and the animals whose lives they took, or, according to many legends, these animals who offered themselves freely. The animals were also seen as a gift from the great sprit, spiritual warriors who were there for the protection and well-being of the people, to provide in several ways, almost like guardian angels.

“In the past, and in more than a few tribes, meat-eating was a rare activity, certainly not a daily event. Since the introduction of European meat-eating customs, the introduction of the horse and the gun, and the proliferation of alcoholic beverages and white traders, a lot has changed.”

Laws also explains how meat consumption was not revered, and there was nothing ceremonial about it. It was always plants and fall festivals centred around the harvest that were most celebrated.

Meat-eating was a rare activity, certainly not a daily event. Since the introduction of European meat-eating customs, the introduction of the horse and the gun, and the proliferation of alcoholic beverages and white traders, a lot has changed. Relatively few native peoples can claim to be vegetarians today.

“What would this country be like today if the ancient ways were still observed? I believe it is fair to say that the Indian respect for non-human life forms would have had a greater impact on American society. Corn, not turkey meat, might be the celebrated Thanksgiving Day dish. Fewer species would have become extinct, the environment would be healthier, and Indian and non-Indian Americans alike would be living longer and healthier lives. . . . Now we, their descendants, must recapture the spirit of the ancient traditions for the benefit of all people. We must move away from the European influences that did away with a healthier style of living. We must again embrace our brothers and sisters, the animals, and ‘return to the corn’ once and for all.”

You can read her full article here, where she goes into more detail and gives many more examples. It definitely gives you something to think about, doesn’t it?

An Excellent Video Discussing The Topic In More Detail

“If, as our Mi’kmaq legends suggest, animals are our siblings, then how can we justify their treatment as objects within the hunting, fishing and agricultural industries? What alternative do Mi’kmaq legends offer to the Christian colonial models of stewardship and domination, in which animals are our property? This workshop examines Mi’kmaq cultural values as an indigenous grounding for vegan practice while offering a critical standpoint on issues such as the indigenous fishing industry.”

Below is a video from of Margaret Robinson, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.  She’s a member of the Lennox Island First Nation. You can learn more about her and view some of her publications here.

In the lecture, she brings up several points regarding food and indigenous culture, and the current issues that surround the modern day perception of a vegetarian/vegan diet according to various indigenous cultures. She focuses primarily on the barriers for aboriginal veganism.

Personally, I believe our world is experiencing a dramatic shift in various areas, and compassion is one of them. As a result, along with all of the health benefits outlined in the articles linked below the vide, this is precisely why more and more people are switching to vegan/vegetarian diets.

 
Related CE Articles:

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Awareness

Some Doctors Claim Babies Should Share Their Mother’s Bed Until The Age Of 3

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A study involving 16 infants monitored the babies while they slept in their mother's bed. It's not the only study examining the benefits of close contact between mother and child shortly after birth.

  • Reflect On:

    How much of what we do today in a conventional way, especially with regards to childbirth, is the best way to do it?

When it comes to parenting, everyone seems to have an opinion, and rightfully so, especially if you are yourself a parent. But what about controversial topics? Is there a right or wrong way to raise your children? Are there certain things that you should or should not be doing? Of course, some things are more important than others. But new advice given by a paediatrician suggests children should sleep in bed with their mothers until they reach the age of three. 

Dr. Nils Bergman, from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, argues that for optimal development, healthy newborns should sleep on their mother’s chest for at least their first few weeks. After that, he believes they should stay in bed with mom and dad until they are three or even four years old.

Because there has been a lot of fear propaganda created around the risk of cot death — the notion that a parent might roll over and suffocate their child — co-sleeping is generally not advised, and in fact, a recently published British study found that almost two-thirds of the cases of SIDS occurred when the bed was being shared.

But, according to Dr.Bergman, “When babies are smothered and suffer cot deaths, it is not because their mother is present. It is because of other things: toxic fumes, cigarettes, alcohol, big pillows and dangerous toys.”

A study involving 16 infants monitored the babies while they slept in their mother’s bed. It found that the baby’s heart was under three times as much stress when he or she slept alone. While sleeping in a cot, they had a more disrupted sleep and their brains were less likely to cycle and transition between the two types of sleep, called active and quiet.

In the cots, only 6 of the 16 babies had any quiet sleep at all, and their sleep quality was much worse.

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Dr. Bergman continued to explain how changes to the brain that are brought on by stress hormones can actually make it more difficult to form relationships and close bonds later in life.

Another study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry monitored results from 73 premature infants receiving Kangaroo Care, or skin-to-skin contact with their mothers, and another three premature infants received standard incubator care. The subjects of the study were monitored over a 10-year period, and the results were as follows:

KC increased autonomic functioning (respiratory sinus arrhythmia, RSA) and maternal attachment behavior in the postpartum period, reduced maternal anxiety, and enhanced child cognitive development and executive functions from 6 months to 10 years. By 10 years of age, children receiving KC showed attenuated stress response, improved RSA, organized sleep, and better cognitive control. RSA and maternal behavior were dynamically interrelated over time, leading to improved physiology, executive functions, and mother–child reciprocity at 10 years.

The National Childbirth Trust supports bed sharing provided the parents have not been drinking, smoking, or using drugs, or if they are obese, chronically ill, or suffer from chronic exhaustion, all of which could cause them to roll over onto the baby or otherwise impact their health.

Overall, it’s a very controversial issue. Many swear by bed sharing, and it certainly used to be standard practice before cribs became so common and affordable. There are many upsides to this, but it is also important to be aware of and consider the potential dangers.

We all know babies need to be snuggled and cuddled and given love; they need to feel safe and secure, and how could they possibly feel this all alone in another room in a crib? When you actually think about it, it seems pretty backwards.

Every parent is just doing what they feel is best for their baby, but the opinions of others tend to get in the way. We’ve all heard those comments like, Oh you shouldn’t pick up that baby, you need to let them cry, they are going to have attachment issues, how are they going to develop their independence? Well, they are babies; they can’t care for themselves and they need to be taken care of. It is a natural urge for the mother to take care of her child.

What are your thoughts on this? Did you co-sleep with your child? Did you ever feel it was unsafe? Do you prefer your child to sleep in a crib? Let us know!

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Awareness

Yale Study Reveals 1 in 3 Drugs Have Safety Issues Even After FDA Approval

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association conducted by a team of researchers from Yale University discovered that nearly one in three drugs that the that the FDA tests and approves ends up having safety issues.

  • Reflect On:

    Are prescription drugs as safe as they're marketed to be?

In 2014, Harvard University stated that prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death, yet pharmaceutical companies continue to hide behind their profits and promote their products as safe. Doctors and even their patients are willing to turn a blind eye to many of the adverse side effects of drugs, opting for the “bandaid” effect they provide instead of seeking alternative treatments and preventative methods.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and conducted by a team of researchers from Yale University studied the effectiveness of the FDA’s drug approval process. The team discovered that nearly one in three drugs that the FDA tests and approves ends up having safety issues.

Research Finds Serious Issues With FDA Drug Approval Process

In order to establish whether or not pharmaceutical drugs are safe for consumers, the FDA implements drug testing and clinical trials. These trials typically test fewer than 1,000 patients over a short timeframe, usually around six months or less. The Yale researchers suggested that safety issues could only truly be detected if more patients were studied over a longer period of time, speaking to the ineffectiveness of the FDA’s testing.

To identify how to effectively determine any safety issues with pharmaceutical drugs, the Yale researchers studied data on new drugs approved between 2001 and 2010, with follow up through 2017. Their findings proved that approximately 32% of new drugs approved by the FDA had notable safety issues.

A shocking 71 of the 222 drugs approved within this timeframe were withdrawn, had a “black box” warning regarding the side effects, or required a safety announcement to the public about newfound risks. This begs the question: Why are these drugs being approved in the first place if they warrant so many safety concerns?

“That is very rarely a drug withdrawal, but more commonly a black box warning, or drug safety communication issued by the FDA to let physicians and patients know that new safety information has been determined,” explained Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health Dr. Joseph Ross, who led the research team.

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The researchers also specified characteristics of pharmaceuticals that were more likely to pose a higher risk of safety issues to patients, including biologic therapies and drugs that were approved through the FDA’s accelerated approval pathway. The accelerated approval process often uses surrogate endpoints, which means that the researchers measured a factor other than survival, such as tumour size, to figure out whether the drugs should be approved.

“This [finding on surrogate endpoints] has the greatest relationship to policy today,” Ross further elaborated. “In the 21st Century Cures Act, there’s a push to have the FDA move to further support the use of surrogate markers … [but] they’re more likely to have concerns in the post-market setting.”

“While the administration pushes for less regulation and faster approvals, those decisions have consequences,” Ross stated. The Yale team’s previous studies exposed that the FDA approval process for drugs is much faster than that of other government organizations in Europe, which is interesting given the nature of the business in both countries. Prices of drugs are far higher in America than they are abroad, and Americans take a lot more drugs, meaning U.S. pharmaceutical companies make a lot more money.

The timing of this study is interesting too, as the FDA has been facing increased pressure lately to quicken the drug approval process. “It shows that there is the potential for compromising patient safety when drug evaluation is persistently sped up,” said Ross. “At the very least, the study should inform ongoing debate about premarket drug evaluation,” the researchers concluded.

Dr. Caleb Alexander, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness, weighed in on the study, commending the researchers for their work. “It’s important to keep in mind that the post-approval safety issues cover the spectrum from relatively minor to serious,” Alexander said.

“A good next step would be to dig into the extremely serious safety problems, determine whether the FDA could have flagged them sooner and how they might have been missed,” he continued.

“All too often, patients and clinicians mistakenly view FDA approval as [an] indication that a product is fully safe and effective,” Alexander explained. “Nothing could be further from the truth. We learn tremendous amounts about a product only once it’s on the market and only after use among a broad population.”

Dr. Alexander makes a great point: Just because a drug is approved by the FDA, doesn’t mean it’s safe. In an ideal world, FDA approval would mean that the drug is entirely safe to use, but the reality is that the testing is not extensive enough to even determine the safety of the drug, let alone guarantee it.

Far too often, people place their doctors and health care practitioners on pedestals and fail to conduct their own research. Though I am not qualified to professionally advise anyone on their health, I certainly do not trust everything that my doctor recommends, which is largely because no doctor knows everything there is to know about health. It’s up to you to figure out your own health, not your doctor.

Though doctors can provide wonderful advice and can help immensely when diagnosing and treating illnesses, they can also drastically hinder your health. However, that’s not necessarily their fault, it’s often yours. The onus is on you to conduct your own research, get multiple professional opinions if need be, and ensure you are making informed decisions.

Further Proof of Misconduct at the FDA

In journalism, embargo refers to a “back-room deal” in which journalists and their sources agree not to publish an article prior to a specific date or time. The FDA goes one step further by implementing a “closely held embargo,” which gifts the organization complete control over all new FDA information privy to exposure for the American public.

The FDA’s use of the “close embargo” reveals that the institution likely wants to prevent reporters from leaking information. The biggest concern seems to be that, when officials begin giving the go-ahead for this special access, it makes it much easier for the agency to prevent stories they don’t like from being exposed.

The FDA hinders the public’s right to know about scientific fraud and misconduct as well. In an article for Slate wrote:

For more than a decade, the FDA has shown a pattern of burying the details of misconduct. As a result, nobody ever finds out which data is bogus, which experiments are tainted, and which drugs might be on the market under false pretenses. The FDA has repeatedly hidden evidence of scientific fraud not just from the public, but also from its most trusted scientific advisers, even as they were deciding whether or not a new drug should be allowed on the market. Even a congressional panel investigating a case of fraud regarding a dangerous drug couldn’t get forthright answers. For an agency devoted to protecting the public from bogus medical science, the FDA seems to be spending an awful lot of effort protecting the perpetrators of bogus science from the public.

You can read more about that in the following CE article:

FOIA Investigation Unearths Documents Showing How The FDA  Manipulates Media & Science Press

The FDA also works hand-in-hand with pharmaceutical companies, which you can read about in the following CE article:

Merck & The FDA Caught ‘Fast Tracking’ The Approval Of HPV Gardasil Vaccine Without Scientific Approval

To make matters worse, pharmaceutical companies also hold close ties to doctors, which you can learn about here:

This Website Tells You How Much Big Pharma Pays Your Doctor To Prescribe Drugs

To be clear, 128,000 people die every year in the U.S. from drugs prescribed to them, which is being done under the approval of the FDA and doctors. The reality is, drug companies make a lot of money from selling prescriptions, and so do those involved with them, including doctors.

At the end of the day, the medical industry is a booming business, one that thrives off sick people. These companies actually benefit when their drugs cause adverse effects, because they then have additional reasons to sell you even more drugs. The system is designed to help you in one way, and then disadvantage you in another. In essence, they want you healthy, but not too healthy, and until we educate ourselves and take control of our health, we will continue to perpetuate this cycle.

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