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SCIENTIFIC REASONS TO PUT A CORK IN THE WHINE

Poor, poor pitiful me.

There's nothing more annoying than a whiner.

Either you know one, you're related to one or, heaven forbid, you are one. Listen to a few rounds of the "my life's a mess and it's everybody's fault but mine" monologue, and you'll quickly realize some people just love to feel their own pain.

Many people believe we unconsciously seek out situations that will enable us to repeat familiar emotional patterns over and over again.

A fascinating new movie out on DVD suggests that not only are we addicted to our emotions, but also that our counterproductive mental habits affect our physical world as well.

The independent hit film -- officially titled "What the #$*! Do We Know?" but commonly referred to as "What the Bleep" -- explores the emerging convergence of science and spirituality. The film -- part documentary, part narrative drama and part visual hallucinogen -- demonstrates how people get stuck in emotional ruts.

Said another way: It explains the nutty behavior of humans from a woo-woo world and a scientific perspective.

I almost never talk about movies. While I can recite the entire script of Mary-Kate and Ashley's "To Grandmother's House We Go," like many middle-aged moms I find Oscar night to be a parade of skinny strangers thanking people I've never heard of for helping them make films I've never seen.

You can live a perfectly happy life without seeing the latest Hollywood blockbusters. But if you want to know why your pessimistic neighbor's car is always the one getting dinged and why servers can never get your complaining sister-in-law's drink order right, watch "What the Bleep" (www.whatthebleep.com). It will blow your mind.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie takes place at a large Polish wedding reception. Just as everybody's getting good and liquored up, a chubby bridesmaid swathed in a hideous lime green taffeta gown notices a good-looking guy across the room.

She turns to make eye contact, and we see an animated version of her brain cells repeating their well-established pattern of expecting things to go wrong. And then just as Mr. Potentially Perfect looks up, she bangs right into another guest who promptly dumps his red wine all over her dress. As the cheap merlot drips down into to her dyed-to-match shoes, she laments, "Why does this always have to happen to me?"

The scene leaves the audience to wonder, is she cursed with bad luck or does she create it?

First the scientific answer. "What the Bleep" combines hilarious cartoons representing gluttony, anger, lust, shyness and our bridesmaid's favorite -- victimization -- with commentary from top-notch brains from places like Harvard and Columbia to explain how our emotions create cellular patterns in our brains.

The more often our love neurons connect with our whiney ones, the better they get at it. The little receptors in our minds become so used to receiving certain emotions, they get as addicted to them as crack cocaine.

So, yes, a negative attitude can turn a wedding reception into a minefield. But can your mind make somebody else dump a drink on you?

This is the woo-woo part. The film suggests there's a quantum field hidden behind what we consider to be our normal waking reality. The physical world is not solid. Time is fluid, it goes forward and backward, and our minds directly affect our physical reality.

If that's a bit too much for you to bite off, think of it this way: The whiney bridesmaid puts out a negative vibe, the world listens, and the next thing you know, her ugly lace bodice is soaked with last year's grapes.

We've all experienced the phenomenon of being annoyed about something and slamming around the house until we stub a toe. Scientists are beginning to prove that experience comes from more than just bad luck or failure to pick up our feet when we're mad.

If you get angry on a daily basis or always feel victimized, your cells remember that, and they wire themselves together to create your identity. And once you start seeing the world from a certain point of view, a growing body of evidence suggests the universe responds to exactly the way you expect it to.

The idea of a self-fulfilling prophecy is hardly new, but the idea that your mind shapes the physical world is pretty out there. Yet whether you want to look at it from a spiritual perspective or a scientific one, it's the ultimate case for personal responsibility.

And as with every other bleeping thing in life, whining about it just makes it worse.

e-mail: lisa@forgetperfect.com