In the Beginning There Was Light

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In The Beginning There Was Light is a documentary film by Austrian director P. A. Straubinger on the subject of inedia. Straubinger visits several people who supposedly nourish themselves with "light" and tries to find possible explanations on how inedia might work. P. A. Straubinger worked on inedia for ten years. This led to the film’s production, which took five years. The film premiered on September 17, 2010, in Austria and Switzerland. "In The Beginning There Was Light" was shown all over the world and became one of the most successful feature documentaries of Austrian cinema history. [1]


P.A. Straubinger first encounters inedia in a television documentary about Nicholas of Flüe, a 15th-century ascetic who was reported to have lived 19 years without eating.[2] Later, Straubinger starts research on the internet and subsequently has the desire to meet people practising inedia. He travels through different countries and interviews people who claim to nourish themselves with light, vitality, Prana or Qi, among them Jasmuheen, Michael Werner and "Mataji" Prahlad Jani. Straubinger also consults different people from esotericism, medicine and science and looks for explanatory models for inedia. Straubinger conveys that for him, the materialistic world view of modern science falls short.[3][4]

Cultural impact[edit]

Due to it´s commercial success, especially in the German speaking countries, "In The Beginning There Was Light" was discussed in the mainstream media on a broad basis and received enthusiastic acclaim as well as harsh criticism[5][6] In the talk show "Menschen bei Maischberger" in Germany´s National Television Das Erste [7] and two TV-discussions in the Austrian National Television ORF critics warned that the film could motivate people to stop eating. [8] Director P.A. Straubinger explained that this would be a complete misunderstanding of his film. He repeatedly stated that he does not want to motivate anybody to stop eating but he would advocate eating consciously without asserting any particular nutritional ideology. The only goal of his film would be to question the predominating, mechanistic-materialistic understanding of the human body and nature in general, and to motivate scientists to open up and do further research in the field of mind-matter interaction[9] Concerning alleged misunderstandings, Straubinger points out that he shows in his film not only the tragic cases of starvation related to the so- called "Breatharian Process", communicated by the Australien author Jasmuheen, but he also features protagonists and experts who explicitly speak out not to make dangerous self experiments or try a breatharian lifestyle out of "spiritual ambition".[10] In Switzerland, according to the national newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, a woman who saw the film attempted to live on sunlight alone, and died in January 2012.[11] In reference to the Tages-Anzeiger article, the responsible state attorney, who investigated the death of the woman, stated that no third party could be made responsible for the death of the woman and an adequate causality between the film and the death could be definitely excluded. It was not even investigated if the woman actually saw the documentary. The Official Website calls articles that implicate a responsibility of "In The Beginning There Was Light" for the woman´s death, a hoax. [12]

Awards and Festivals[edit]


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  2. ^ Heath, Pamela Rae (17 February 2011). Mind-Matter Interaction: A Review of Historical Reports, Theory and Research. McFarland. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-7864-5668-0. 
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