A Machine to Die For: The Quest for Free Energy (Cerebellum Documentaries, 2003) DVD Reviewed by Susan Clare
Okay, so a machine that puts out more energy than it takes in violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Is it therefore impossible to imagine a machine that might do so? Think of the benefit to Earth! No nonrenewable energy resources being depleted, no resulting pollution. Such a machine might charge batteries of any size, output energy to other machines.
The scientists and inventors studied in this short but very well produced film think it might just be a possibility, and they’ve devoted their lives to its exploration.
The documentary does not propose that such things are viable. It rather focuses on the possibilities of imagination, on devotion to the quest. One inventor claims he received his inspiration and directives from aliens (I confess I smiled tolerantly during the brief presentation on his work), but most inventors have simply applied what they know of physics and science to a lifetime’s pursuit of the ideal machine.
Certainly, the message is not that this marvelous thing is possible. We are instead led to question, to open ourselves to possibilities we are denied when we forbid intellectual trespass on the physical laws we now embrace as true (why else call them laws?). This film inspires us to think, to imagine, to tolerate and respect those who do so in ways we don’t recognize easily.
A friend (whose opinions on sustainability for the Earth I respect) watched this film, and did not come out of it a full proponent of any machine documented. He instead worried that civilization might ignore a whole world of possibilities on a whole world of solutions because we were unwilling to give up the mental boundaries we so carefully maintain. He said, “I’m afraid we might fail for a lack of imagination.”
This DVD is not owned by our local library, but can be requested there, through interlibrary loan, and is available within the Minuteman Library Network (of which our library is a member).