TRUTHTELLER: mini-film on overpopulation and childhood trauma

I’ve been thinking for a while about branching out with my filmmaking and making films not just on recovery from psychosis or changing the mental health system.  So, I finally did it!  I made my first new film, a short film, called TRUTHTELLER.  The subject is my friend and colleague Fred Timm, a visionary in New York City who has very clear ideas on what’s going wrong with our species, what the consequences of this will be, and what we need to do to fix it.  (Fred’s website:  Fred also happens to be the most talented psychotherapist I know.

As per my concept of not spending months making a single film, I shot the entire seven-minute film in about 90 minutes and edited and created the music that evening and the following day.  So….here it is!


18 thoughts on “TRUTHTELLER: mini-film on overpopulation and childhood trauma

  1. What an interesting film !! Immediately struck me as a New York country mile apart & away from the usual flood of short flicks relentlessly clogging the discharge pipes @ Y-Tube , ya’ know… the ones comfortably slotted in the much beloved ‘it’s so-o-o- funny/ it’s so-o-o stupid ‘ genre category. The hyper-predictable stuff.

    Hell, in this thing we have no idea what our main character ,Fred , is going to say , or do… next!! Where is he going to go (… on foot , no less) ? ( *spoiler alert* – amazing sequence down by the East River …) Only seconds into this movie, we are in this gripping state of curiosity and rare wonder. After the credits roll, the lucky viewer is flush w/ possibility , like you’ve plunged into an icy, cold creek after running out of a sauna…whew !

    Congrats … this mini-film reminds me of a Japanese ink brush style , cut-to-the-chase version of the HBO drama, ‘The Wire’ … the compelling w/o the entertaining killing etc.
    You definitely want to see more.

  2. Very well done. One of the things to consider (and maybe a source of collaboration) is the article of faith among economists (I am one, but not part of the “mainstream” any more) and governments of the need for constant growth. At some point they seem to have embraced a Newtonian world where entropy must be battled with growth and activity. Public policies are all about growth. The push for immigration in Europe and U.S not about helping immigrants its about keeping growth going! More demand. You see my fellow economists and pundits in the matrix decry Japan or even Taiwan for zero population growth–in their mind its a bad thing! In my life I have seen the world go from 4 billion to over 7 billion. Its mind boggling. As a development economist I am solid with the movement of forget growth, forget big government programs, lets empower the individual. Empowering the individual–think how radical that is!

  3. “Collective and ancestral trauma” – by the time we grow to be of age, we look around and realize what we have inherited. I have been reading “Lies My Teacher Told Me, Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong” by James W. Loewen to my 15 year son who I have schooled unconventionally, in that he has had virtually no typical education, except for 9 months at age 8.

    Chapter 2 “1493 – The True Importance of Christopher Columbus”
    Chapter 3 ” The Truth About The First Thanksgiving”
    Chapter 4 “Red Eyes”

    Anyone who was subjected to US history must read these chapters.

    The author states in his first sentence of chapter 4 “Historically, American Indians have been the most lied about subset of our population”. He chose the title red eyes because that is what anyone will have after all the tears shed when reading about what really occurred on this continent.

    Your film introduced me to Fred, who has stood up to heal himself and share that healing with those of us still not well. Thank you.

  4. If he has truth I don’t want any of it. There is plenty of hope. Look to the Christ. Forgiveness heals many wounds. You can start afresh every day without the weight of the past. Every day is a new day and the wounds from the past do not have to dictate your future or put you into such a great depression you want to commit suicide as he says.

    • Greg,
      “the Christ” is not for me. my experience is that trying to find meaning that way is just dissociation — same, pretty much, as forgiveness. it’s splitting off from feelings, the painful feelings that are caused by trauma and that are required if we’re going to face reality. i’ve never seen “the Christ” saving anyone in any real sense…..much as they can feel saved. its a mix-up of dissociation and enlightenment.

      thanks for posting.

      • Hey Daniel,
        Do you mean that you don’t see Christ as saving anyone because of how you see christians acting?Or do you mean something else? Why do you see salvation as dissociation?

          • i guess i don’t see anything external as providing us salvation. i see salvation (if we want to use that word) as coming from healing our childhood traumas and in that way connecting with inner truth. i personally see the concept of christian salvation as a kind of fantasy. not saying that i don’t like some of the messages attributed to jesus—because i do. (it would be nice if more christians followed his ideas…) i’m just not into the christian salvation idea. -daniel

            • Cool thank you for your answer Daniel. You are always very respectful even when our views differ. Do you view faith and salvation through christ as a way of avoiding doing the inner work needed to heal? Is that what you mean by dissociation and fantasy?

              • hi sarah. thank you, and i appreciate your willingness to discuss these most personal topics. i do think faith and the idea of salvation through christ divert people from what’s really going on inside, or at the least muddy up the water. on the other side, i think faith and the idea of salvation can give people hope, something to hold onto, but i think it’s a limited and risky hope because it’s not built on a solid foundation. -daniel

                • Thank you Daniel, You cknsider truth more important than whatever makes you feel better. Yourresponse has ggenerated lots of thoughts for me…as yourresponses always do. Do you mind definingwhat you believe the Christian conceptof salvation actuallyiis?

                • hi sarah,
                  thank you for this discussion. i think you ask a fair question and i’m going to reply honestly. i had an urge to look it up on wikipedia and then answer you, but i felt that would be cheating. so here’s what i think it is. i think of the christian concept of salvation as relating to the idea that “jesus died our sins” — that he gave his body, sacrificed his life (or perhaps god, his supposed father sacrificed it) for the sake of the future people of the world, and that if they believed in jesus, that is, believed in what the bible says he represented — and maybe took a sacrament to bind that somehow (or is that only catholics?) — that these future people would have their sins washed away and would be pure and ready for heaven. that readiness for heaven, that purity, is salvation. basically, by believing in him and believing in what he did — that he died for us — that we get saved. yes, i think i expressed what i believe salvation to be… (i’m going to look it up after i’m done writing this.) and i guess the reason that i don’t believe in this is that 1) i’m not sure jesus lived at all, 2) i’m not sure how he died, 3) i’m not sure why he died, 4) i’m not sure what really happened or if a bunch of people who came a couple of generations later just made up a bunch of stuff about him to create a new myth, 5) a lot of the bible does seem to come from other sources and other traditions, and so the story of jesus might be a bit of a hodgepodge, 6) i don’t see my healing my traumas and becoming more pure (more self-actualized, more my true self) as being connected to jesus at all, 7) jesus’s story is an interesting tale to me, but never did i make the leap into thinking that it was every anything more than an interesting and potentially relevant metaphor, like so many other potentially relevant metaphors out there. and then, i must admit, i’ve met so many nutty and hypocritical christians who believe so many silly things and can also be so narrow-minded in so many others ways, that it has kind of prejudiced me against christianity in particular (though frankly, i don’t like any religions much, and in some ways like and know christianity better than most others) better than others, 8) when i was a kid i had christianity shoved down my throat several times, and i found that a turn-off, 9) i tried, out of total curiosity and also some loneliness and need for community, going to church for a couple of years like 15 years ago, and met some nice people but so many dissociated people who were so non-questioning. i tried a few different churches and ultimately found it quite a turn-off. i know you didn’t ask for all this, but this is what’s come to my mind!! also, my experience is that the more people seem to believe in salvation through jesus the less they seem to take responsibility for themselves and their own histories, their own inner world….and their own real perfection underneath it all. mostly people seem to get pretty lost in christianity…a lot of very lost people seem drawn to christianity (and other religions too) and generally it doesn’t seem to help them find their way out too well….. just my observations so far. that said, i have met some lovely christians — some who have really been wonderful to me, and who are also mature in some surprising ways — so i want to throw that into the mix too. thanks for the discussion, sarah. and i also hope that i am keeping it respectful. that feels good to me. daniel

                • Hi Daniel,
                  I’m responding here because the thread wont let me reply to your last comment.
                  Your comment is respectful and thorough, and very very challenging!! It has really had me wrestling with a lot of concepts that I thought I already understood. But it turns out that I don’t actually have as good of a grasp on things as I thought, and think I actually need to have if I am going to continue to call myself a christian.
                  Your description of salvation is a good one, and I appreciate that you didn’t cheat by checking wikipedia first. But since you have looked up the concept of salvation since you wrote this, is there anything you want to add or take away from your description before I respond?

                • cool sarah. i just have a moment now, but i did read the wikipedia page on salvation (the christian part) and what jumped out at me while reading it is that metaphorically i write about the concept throughout my entire website, but i don’t call it salvation: i call it healing or grieving. and i also write about sin metaphorically throughout my website, but i believe i call it by it’s proper name in such a way that it doesn’t blame the person: i call it trauma. when i refer to immature or bad behavior or acting out, these are just expressions of unresolved trauma, and i think the christian world refers to them also as sin…. so, my guess is that is the framework by which i’ll be considering these concepts if we discuss it more. greetings! daniel

    • Greg, I think you have misunderstood what Fred was saying about suicide. I may have misunderstood him too as it is a difficult video to fully understand….but I did not hear Fred saying that the only answer humanity had was mass suicide!…he also did not say there was no hope.
      Fred was pointing out the truth that we as humans ARE engaging in mass suicide! We are destroying ourselves, each other and our planet with a terrifying ignorance. Those who claim to follow Christ should be able to see this and what Fred says should resonate. What is also terrifying is that we as professed followers of Christ are engaging in this mass suicide but we rarely if ever acknowledge it for what it is! Even though we know the truth we suppress it. Denying what we are doing! Seeing what is going on and dismissing it by saying that Christ has forgiven us!! Yes there is hope in Christ and yes forgiveness brings freedom but the forgiveness and the hope in Christ must be true…not the false forgiveness that is currently practiced. In order for forgiveness to be real there must be true confession and repentance…full acknowledgement of what is actually wrong and a turning away from it to walk towards what is right. This is not what currently happens. The norm is to dismiss, deny, excuse. We avoid fully acknowledging what is wrong because it is too painful and then we lie and say we have forgiven or been forgiven! We claim to be “born again” but still continue to live in the old destructive way of living We allow ourselves and others to get away with doing things because repentance is not taken seriously or fully understood! We advertise a cheap grace to the world and allow its destruction to continue. Followers of Christ should see the horror that Fred points out and grieve and weep in agreement….not ignore it and then use Christ (who weeps and grieves over how we destroy ourselves) as an excuse to do so.

  5. Hi Daniel

    I like your new system of making short videos. It reminds me that you are out there doing good work.

    And thank you for introducing me to Fred Timm. I found myself agreeing with pretty much everything he said. It was good to hear him.


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