Thought Moments (2004) by Michael Simon Toon. ‘Thought Moments’ is a Buddhist term for the ‘mental states experienced after a physical or mental object enters the mind’ (a physical object is something in the ‘real’ world that we can see, hear, touch or sense in any way. A mental object is something that is in our mind, that we can either remember or imagine seeing, hearing, touching or sensing in any way). This film records the answers to questions asked of people on the streets of Leeds, Birmingham, Bristol, London and Brighton. The questions are simple, but they seek to reveal our true nature: our loves, fears and desires.

“Between thought and expression, There lies a lifetime” – Lou Reed
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“Taste is not only a part and index of morality, it is the only morality. The first, and last, and closest trial question to any living creature is ‘What do you like?’ Tell me what you like, I'll tell you what you are.” – John Ruskin.


I read about ‘Thought Moments’ when I was a Theravada Buddhist monk in Bangkok, Thailand. I learned that the Buddha identified thought moments and their sequences, quite specifically, going so far as to count and name them. The next day, I read an article in a Bangkok Post (delivered every day to the temple) about a new technique in America for scanning the brain which showed the sequence of brain states during the thought process, even going so far as to count and name them. The frequencies of these thought moments described by both the Buddha and the scientists were remarkably similar.

Thought Moments is utilzed/reproduced by students, teachersamateur and professional film-makers, and NLP practitioners. In 2009, a repost of thought Moments was awarded Youtube honors for Russia – No. 5 top favorited (of all time) in education, No. 17 top rated (of all time) in education and No. 65 most viewed (of all time) in education.

Thought Moments is on Facebook. Watch an alternative version of this film with eye-tracking. Watch another short film co-produced with Dr Rachel Armstrong, of a basic physiochemical reaction containing just a few ‘ingredients’ which exhibits recognizable life-like behaviors,
remarkably similar to our own: Protocell Circus. Website and contents  by Michael Simon Toon.