Transformative Media Creation and Reception Course



Announcing a new online course in 

Transformative Media Creation and Reception: 

Designing and Creating Transformative Media Experiences for Self, Other and World 

with Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D.


Starting the week of November 3, 2019


This is a course for aspiring and accomplished change makers who want to learn how to use media to extend and deepen their efforts to create transformation in self, other and world. It will illuminate the comprehensive toolkit for designing media to catalyze healing, personal growth and the evolution of consciousness on an individual and collective level.

Together, we will learn about the co-evolutionary relationship between moving-image-based communication mediums, consciousness, media, culture and society, and how these mediums can be used as a driving force for individual and collective healing, growth, and revolutionary and evolutionary change and transformation. We will also be exploring how to consciously create and receive moving image works as a transformative practice for self, other and world through the development of both individual and group projects. No previous media-making experience required.





For more information and to sign up for this course visit: 

Campus Co-Evolve: https://campus-coevolve.org/
Admissions: https://campus-coevolve.org/admissions/

Conscious Media-of-the-Month – October 2019


This month’s Conscious Media-of-the-Month is Game of Thrones (2011-2019).

During the month of October we will be having a special exploration of our first television or streaming series, the Emmy Award-winning internationally-acclaimed HBO cable series Game of Thrones. If you have not watched the series or need to review it again for our exploration and you do not have HBO, you can get a 7-day free trial of HBO Now for a quick review or pay for the full month if you are up to the challenge of trying to watch the whole series. You can also subscribe to HBO on both the Hulu and Amazon Prime streaming services.

We have chosen Game of Thrones for this month’s selection because we believe it is a groundbreaking series in the domain of conscious media and contains valuable lessons for conscious media makers and consumers. The series is groundbreaking because it represents the largest scale attempt at capturing a specific stage of human development and consciousness with the intent on taking us deep inside it and ultimately through it to the next human evolutionary stage. Hauntingly, the evolutionary turning point with which the series has ended also has profound resonance with the evolutionary turning point that humanity now faces in our "real" reality.

One of its most valuable lessons for us conscious media makers and consumers is to remind us that conscious media sometimes has to go into the darkness in order to wake us up. It is that intent for waking up that is the heart of conscious media itself. It is also important for us to realize that for media to wake us up or raise our consciousness, it first must meet us where we are at, and sometimes that means going down in the mud of life with us.

We will be posting various explorations of the series over the month and then as always have a live virtual chat about it at the end of the month. Please consider joining us on this profound exploration of a major work that has a lot to teach us about conscious media.

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If you have not already joined our free Conscious Movie-of-the-Month Group/Club, you can still join us anytime by signing up for a free membership at the Conscious Good Creators Network.

Conscious Good Creators Network presents the Conscious Movie-of-the-Month Club with Integral Cinema Project Founder and Executive Director Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D., for anyone who wants to use media to raise individual and collective consciousness.



Hacking "The Great Hack" - A Conscious Movie-of-the-Month Virtual Discussion


Please join us this Monday September 30th at 6:30pm PST for a live FREE virtual discussion of The Great Hack (2019), the recently released Netflix documentary on the Cambridge Analytica election hacking scandal and the role of Facebook in facilitating the mass data gathering that may have contributed to the passage of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.

Together we will explore how this documentary explores the relationship between our consciousness and our evolving media technologies. The Great Hack sounds an alarm that should be heard by all us conscious media makers and consumers. A war is being waged for control of our individual and collective consciousness, with our media, especially social media, being weaponized against us and used to tear our society apart.

We will also be exploring the nature of the new propaganda war on our consciousness and what we can do about it as conscious media consumers and media makers. This important conversation in our community will continue beyond this month’s exploration as we roll out courses to help train ourselves to answer the calling of this moment by using media to raise consciousness. Together, we can help win the battle for the hearts and minds of humanity.

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If you have not already joined our free Conscious Movie-of-the-Month Group/Club, you can still join us anytime by signing up for a free membership at the Conscious Good Creators Network at: https://conscious-good.mn.co/share/wPseacTS1JFJmxu8?utm_source=manual

Conscious Good Creators Network presents the Conscious Movie-of-the-Month Club with Integral Cinema Project Founder and Executive Director Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D., for anyone who wants to use media to raise individual and collective consciousness.

To find out more about this free event and register to attend visit: https://conscious-good.mn.co/events/hacking-the-great-hack-a-conscious-movie-of-the-month-virtual-discussion


The Big Picture of the NOW




Here, by popular request, is Mark Allan Kaplan, media psychologist and founder and Executive Director of the Integral Cinema Project, explaining why "All problems are problems of consciousness" as he unpacks the current global situation: how we got here, why it's unprecedented in world history, and why media in all its evolving forms may be the best and most powerful tool to awaken us into a new paradigm of being.




If you want to take a deeper dive, Mark will be teaching "Transformative Media Creation and Reception" for Campus-Coevolve.org starting in early October, 2019. (I am a Contributing Faculty Member.) To find out more, please visit: https://campus-coevolve.org/course/transformative-media/

You can also join us for our Conscious Movie-of-the-Month discussion group hosted by the Conscious Good Creators Network and stay tuned for our Conscious Media-making certificate program, also at Conscious Good. To find out more about these offerings visit: https://conscious-good.mn.co/


Media Ethics and "The Great Hack" - An Extended Movie-of-the-Month Exploration

Brittany Kaiser in The Great Hack (2019)

We are extending our exploration of "The Great Hack" into this month while we await news about a potential live discussion with the filmmakers. In the meantime we thought we would explore the ethics of media, with particular questions around the issues brought up in this movie and the ethics of conscious media in general, starting with the question: Where is the line for conscious attempts to use media to change people’s minds?

Some people believe that even if you are trying to have a positive impact on your audience, any deliberate attempt to manipulate people’s consciousness is an unethical invasion of privacy.

On the other hand, most artists working in most arts specifically intend to have an impact on their audience.

Many of us in conscious media are attempting to raise peoples consciousness itself, or to raise awareness around certain issues or ideas.

Some of us, myself included, feel called to use the power of media as a force for good, to counter those who are using media in such unscrupulous ways as trying to convince people not to vote, to fan the flames of hatred and division, to deliberately misinform for political ends, or to suppress knowledge or action on global-scale dangers for the sake of short-term financial interests.

The big data driven propaganda machines The Great Hack spotlights are a clear and present danger to democracy itself, and emerging media technologies like “deepfake” videos can accurately create a false visual record of any person saying or doing things they never said or did. We are indeed entering a new frontier.

A war is already being waged for control of our consciousness and behavior, as evidenced in this movie, and the technologies being weaponized against us are evolving rapidly.

How do we combat this...without crossing the line ourselves? The Great Hack eloquently explores the awakening of whistleblower Brittany Kaiser's awareness of having crossed her own ethical boundaries without realizing it. It raises the question: How do we keep awake, aware and ethically grounded in a world of so many blurred lines?

Join our discussion at: https://conscious-good.mn.co/posts/3776892

If you have not already joined our free Conscious Movie-of-the-Month Group/Club, you can still join us anytime by signing up for a free membership at the Conscious Good Creators Network at: https://conscious-good.mn.co/share/wPseacTS1JFJmxu8?utm_source=manual

Conscious Good Creators Network presents the Conscious Movie-of-the-Month Club with Integral Cinema Project Founder and Executive Director Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D., for anyone who wants to use media to raise individual and collective consciousness.


Conscious Movie-of-the-Month – August 2019


This month’s Conscious Movie-of-the-Month is The Great Hack (2019).


During the month of August, you are invited to watch the newly-released Netflix documentary The Great Hack on your own. This documentary covers the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the role of Facebook in facilitating the mass data gathering that may have contributed to the passage of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. If you have already seen it, we recommend watching it again with the intent of seeing any patterns of consciousness you had not seen before, including the patterns mentioned below. If you do not have a Netflix account or access to one you can get a one-month free trial at Netflix.com. You are also invited to share your thoughts, reflections and musings about the movie in our group's online discussion forum.

During the month we will also be having a Netflix Watch Party, where we can watch the film together and have a running chat discussion in real-time. At the end of the month, we will have a video conference call where we will explore the movie from a conscious, integral and transpersonal perspective, and you will have the opportunity to share more of your personal reflections and ask any questions. Details on both will be forthcoming.

There are many reasons why we have chosen The Great Hack for this month’s selection. It was recommended by one of our group members, plus we received several other synchronistic indicators bringing this work to our attention. Furthermore, its timeliness in relation to what is happening in the media world right now speaks to the challenge of this moment in human history and gives us a taste of a film attempting to tap into the current zeitgeist.

Together we will explore how this documentary explores the relationship between our consciousness and our evolving media technologies. The Great Hack sounds an alarm that should be heard by all us conscious media makers and consumers. A war is being waged for control of our individual and collective consciousness, with our media, especially social media, being weaponized against us and used to tear our society apart.

Join us this month as we explore the nature of the new propaganda war on our consciousness and what we can do about it as conscious media consumers and media makers. This important conversation in our community will continue beyond this month’s exploration as we roll out courses to help train ourselves to answer the calling of this moment by using media to raise consciousness. Together, we can help win the battle for the hearts and minds of humanity.

--------------------------------

If you have not already joined our free Conscious Movie-of-the-Month Group/Club, you can still join us anytime by signing up for a free membership at the Conscious Good Creators Network.

Conscious Good Creators Network presents the Conscious Movie-of-the-Month Club with Integral Cinema Project Founder and Executive Director Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D., for anyone who wants to use media to raise individual and collective consciousness.

Is Trump the Anti-Christ, and Marianne Williamson the Exorcist We Need


She has been called a New Age Guru and made fun of by political pundits and droves of online trolls following her performance in the democratic debates, but one thing is for sure, Marianne Williamson is stirring things up. The night she was on the debates she was the top trending candidate and many ordinary Americans who had never heard of her were suddenly curious about this best selling inspirational author, spiritual teacher and social activist.

While the powers-that-be tried to give her very little air time, she took those few moments and smashed open the Overton Window causing everyone to stop and take notice. For some, her words were too outside the box for them to grasp, for others, her passionate attempt to speak truth to power and to wake us up to the fact that the emperor has no clothes was at once jolting and refreshing.

And it was perhaps her assessment of President Donald Trump and what it will take to defeat him that was the most profound and most jarring. When she talked about how all our plans and policy ideas are great but they will not defeat Trump, the only thing many of the pundits could hear was that she was not into plans or ideas. And in her closing statement, she went to the heart of the matter, diving into the cultural and social dynamics of Trump’s hold on his followers, but the pundits, once again got caught focusing on her outside the box wording instead of the meaning behind them...

I’m sorry we haven’t talked more tonight about how we’re going to beat Donald Trump. I have an idea about Donald Trump: Donald Trump is not going to be beaten just by insider politics talk. He’s not going to be beaten just by somebody who has plans. He’s going to be beaten by somebody who has an idea what the man has done. This man has reached into the psyche of the American people and he has harnessed fear for political purposes. So, Mr. President — if you’re listening — I want you to hear me please: You have harnessed fear for political purposes and only love can cast that out. So I, sir, I have a feeling you know what you’re doing. I’m going to harness love for political purposes. I will meet you on that field, and sir, love will win. 

Now the love Miss Williamson is talking about is not some airy-fairy New Age love, she is talking about fierce tough-love. She is not here to coddle us or soothe us, she is here to wake us up and to help us use this fierce love to overcome the fear and hatred our President is using to unearth the dark shadows of the American heart and soul. She is not talking about hugging the President and forgiving him and thinking all is good; she is talking about the kind of love that loves and forgives while waking us up and not shielding us or the President from the affects of his and our actions, but making sure we get the help we need and take responsibility for our actions. We are talking about a tough love intervention not a New Age love fest.

President Trump is in many ways the personification of our cultural archetype of the Anti-Christ; a man who represents the opposite of the way we conceive of Jesus and how he lived and what he taught; a man who at the same time has gotten many devout Christians to support him even though he represents the opposite values of their own belief system. And if you have heard Marianne speak about all this before you know she recognizes that Trump is a symptom of a deeper problem, one that requires us to look deeply into our national psyche and work on healing it.

Taking all this into account, we very well could say that Marianne Williamson is the perfect match to take on and exorcise this powerful dark force that is infecting our system. Who better to take on a reality TV master manipulator who knows how to harness fear and hatred for political purposes than a best selling self-help teacher who knows how to ignite the human heart and the love within it…and who better to heal our national wounds and psycho-dynamic shadows than a healer of the soul.

Previously published on Medium.


"Avatar" and the Co-Evolution of Consciousness, Culture and Society


As we explore the movie Avatar (2009) as our conscious movie-of-the-month, we have the opportunity to use it to more viscerally learn about the different stages of human adult development and how the structures of consciousness of each stage co-evolve with human cultures and societies. We have this opportunity because Avatar masterfully gives us clean and clear examples of each stage and structure through the consciousness of the characters and the cultures and social structures that relate to each stage.


Avatar imagery representing Tribal or Magical consciousness, culture and society

First we have the Tribal or Magical structure of consciousness and stage of development. This is represented by the tribal characters, the cultural worldview represented in them and between them, and the very structures of their society in the film. This stage includes a magical sense of wonder and beauty and a deep connection to nature and to the tribe.


Avatar imagery representing Traditional or Mythic consciousness, culture and society

The next stage of development is the Traditional or Mythic structure of consciousness. This is represented in the human military characters, their cultural worldview, and the social structures and conventions of their world. This stage includes a black or white, right or wrong way of perceiving, being and doing in the world, a tendency toward authoritarianism, and the strict adherence to rules and regulations and a prescribed order.


Avatar character representing Modern or Rational consciousness, culture and society

The next stage of development is the Modern or Rational structure of consciousness. This stage/structure is represented by the business, corporate and politically-oriented characters, most notably the Parker Selfridge business leader character played by Giovanni Ribisi, and the cultural and social patterns of their reality. This stage is marked by an adherence to logic and reason, empirical knowledge, the discounting of anything that is not objectively verifiable, and an almost religious attachment to financial gain as the ultimate goal of human life and interaction.


Avatar character representing Postmodern or Pluralistic consciousness, culture and society

The next stage is the Postmodern or Pluralistic stage of development and structure of consciousness, represented most clearly by the Dr. Grace Augustine social scientist character played by Sigourney Weaver, and the cultural and social constructs surrounding her character. This stage includes a deep recognition and valuing of subjective experience along with an over-arching cross-cultural perspective and an empathy for the suffering of others.


Avatar imagery representing Meta-modern or Integral consciousness, culture and society

And finally the Integral stage and structure is hinted at in the final moments of the film when the main character leaves his human body that is dying and goes fully into his avatar body via a transference of his consciousness by and through the world tree. All we see are his eyes opening in that scene, but we get a sense that he has been to "the other side" and has seen the big-picture of the universe. This big-picture awareness is one of the hallmarks of the Integral structure of consciousness, along with the awareness of all the previous stages and their inherent value and limitations, and how the stages and structures evolve. The Integral structure seeks to see and understand as much as possible from as many perspectives as possible and then integrating it all into a big-picture understanding.

Individuals, cultures and societies tend to co-evolve through these stages and structures. Individuals at the leading edge create and innovate from the new emerging stage and structure, and in turn their creations resonate with the stage and structure they were created from, which then stimulates others in the culture and society to evolve to meet the new stage/structure patterning embedded in these creations. In Avatar while we do not see the various cultures and social structures co-evolving with consciousness, the main character evolves through all of them, which gives us a sense of the arc of development at the heart of this whole co-evolutionary process.


Our research suggests that this type of integration of multiple stages and structures in a cinematic work contributes to the potential success of the film, by giving the film a greater capacity to reach a wider population across the stages of development. This hypothesis is based on the results of an meta-analysis of the most successful films of all times revealing an unusually high percentage of these films having this quality.

Conscious Movie-of-the-Month - July 2019




The Conscious Movie-of-the-Month for July 2019 is Avatar (2009).

During the month of July you are invited to watch the movie Avatar on your own. If you have already seen it, we recommend watching it again with the intent of seeing any patterns of consciousness you had not seen before, including the patterns mentioned below. If you do not own a copy, you can stream it online or get a free rental from your local library. You are also invited to share your thoughts, reflections and musings about the movie in our group's online discussion forum.

At the end of the month, we will have a video conference call where we will explore the movie from a conscious, integral and transpersonal perspective, and you will have the opportunity to share more of your personal reflections and ask any questions.

Recommended by one of the members of our group, Avatar feels like a perfect follow up to our exploration last month of What the Bleep in many ways, including that both these movies were able to tap into the zeitgeist, both explored transformations of consciousness and its relationship to physical reality in their own unique way, and both were created on the cusp of an evolution in film technology. Exploring Avatar after What the Bleep is also a great way for us to get into the difference between tapping into a certain cultural stream (What the Bleep) and tapping into the full collective field (Avatar).

On its own, Avatar is also the perfect film for us to explore how to integrate multiple structures of consciousness in a moving image work, which it does masterfully. It also gives us the opportunity to explore how and why this pattern appears in the most financially successful films of all times and how this approach can enable us to potentially affect more hearts and minds. Plus, even though Avatar was released during the Christmas season...it is also makes a pretty good summer movie adventure.

“What the Bleep Do We Know” about Tapping into the Zeitgeist?

What the Bleep Do We Know (2004)

Exploring What the Bleep Do We Know (2004) as this month’s Conscious Movie-of-the-Month selection has made clear that one of the major hallmarks of this work is that it somehow tapped into the zeitgeist, or the spirit of the times. The historical data suggests that a media works’ potential to achieve financial success or major transformative impact is directly related to its relationship to the zeitgeist, or collective field at the time of its release. Even traditional entertainment industry watchers have recognized this issue, as reflected in this Hollywood Reporter article from 2015. This is a wonderful insight, to be sure, but it begs a larger question: Is it possible to create a media work with the intention of connecting with the zeitgeist? Or is this too subtle and complex a connection for us to work with on a conscious and direct level?

Using What the Bleep as a case study I think is valuable for helping us examine this question. What we have learned from the filmmakers William Arntz and Betsy Chasse, and one of the distributors of the film, Ron Laurie, during this month was that they were conscious of it happening on some level at some point during the creation process, and they attempted to ride the wave the best they could in each of their own ways and as a team. Exploring their distribution efforts, we see an example of using an integral approach to consciously tap into the zeitgeist wave and maximize the ride…which they did successfully.

I have been researching this potential to consciously tap into the zeitgeist, or as we say in Integral Theory, tapping into the “evolutionary impulse,” or the driving force of the evolving universe. From this perspective the zeitgeist can be seen as the current collective field within the evolutionary stream of a culture and society. The key to tapping into it is to become conscious of the evolutionary arc behind this wave. Becoming conscious of the evolutionary arc that has led to any given moment in the life of an individual or the collective has the potential to give us the capacity to sense the energy of trajectory of this collective wave, and in turn the evolutionary impulse behind it. While this is a very complex and subtle process our research suggests it is indeed possible to consciously tap into the zeitgeist and evolutionary impulse, and thus increase our chances of both audience reach and transformative impact.

To learn more about this process and how you can ride the zeitgeist wave yourself, be sure to join Trina Wyatt, myself and special guest, What the Bleep co-creator, Betsy Chasse for our live virtual chat on Wednesday June 26th at 6 pm PST.

Inside “What the Bleep Do We Know” - A Special Conscious Movie-of-the-Month Experience for June 2019


Our Conscious Movie-of-the-Month exploration for June 2019 is What the Bleep Do We Know (2004). This month we have a special treat for all us conscious media creators and fans, one of the filmmakers who worked on the film, our very own Betsy Chasse, will be joining us in our exploration along with some potential surprise guests from the production team, sharing some of their behind the scenes experiences and perspectives on the film with us both online during the month and in our virtual chat at the end of the month (date and time to be announced).

You are invited to watch What the Bleep Do We Know on your own and feel free to share your thoughts, reflections, musings and questions about the film in our group’s online discussion forum.

We chose What the Bleep Do We Know because it is considered by many to be a landmark work in the conscious media movement, being one of the very first movies about consciousness to penetrate the mass market. It was also groundbreaking in terms of visually capturing patterns of consciousness itself and creating what is now called the hybrid documentary style, integrating interviews with both compelling narrative and powerful visual storytelling.

This film was also created during the transition between analogue and digital filmmaking and was one of the first films to tap into the cultural creative field of consciousness. Because of this the film was traversing two major evolutionary convergence streams, technological and cultural, and is a great example of a work that was in synchronicity with the zeitgeist edge of the evolution of consciousness. We are blessed to have the opportunity to hear from the filmmakers themselves about what it was like to create a work at this leading edge, and while What the Bleep Do We Know is not an integral film, all of this makes it is a fascinating case study from an integral-evolutionary perspective.

Please join your hosts Trina Wyatt and Mark Allan Kaplan and our very special guests in this very special conscious movie adventure…

Breaking the Wheel: Reflections on Game of Thrones, Selma and the Great Transition

Game of Thrones (2011-2019) Final Episode

For those of you who have been watching Game of Thrones, this is a special week...the week of the series finale. For many viewers, outsized expectations combined with mixed feelings about the final two seasons make it difficult to see the finale in a clear and deep way. Many viewers online are expressing disappointment at how the show finally turned out, while others have decidedly mixed feelings. Part of this may be due to the show’s need to wrap itself up before the book series on which it is based has even been completed. While author George R. R. Martin told the creators of the show how his saga will end, the show runners have had to create the meat around the foundational bones of the story themselves, and do it in a shorter span of time.

After a deep analysis of the series it appears that the GoT finale and the show as a whole stands as a brilliant work of integral cinema, integrating multiple dimensions of being and becoming. The series arc depicts the evolutionary transition away from the monarchy system and into the stirrings of representative democracy. Meanwhile, it lays bare the full arc of Daenerys’ rise as an authoritarian demagogue, strongly echoing the current political situation and evolutionary transition we are facing today.

For those of us who loved the movie Selma (2014) who are also fans of GoT, we can find some very fascinating parallels and differences between the transformations of consciousness explored in these two works. Selma is, of course, a story about a real-life event and GoT is a fictional representation of real-life processes and patterns. Both explore societal transitions, and both have resonances connected with the structures of consciousness that support prejudice, bigotry and slavery...and the struggle to transcend these structures. One explores the process of attempting to create a better world where violence is used (GoT) and the other, where non-violent civil disobedience is used (Selma).

Selma (2014)

The transition explored in GoT is about the shift from the traditional (mythic) to the modern (rational) structures of consciousness, where violence has been historically the most used transitional catalyst. Selma, on the other hand, explores part of the transition from the modern (rational) to the postmodern (pluralistic) structures of consciousness, where non-violence tends to be the most potent choice. Both of these methods relate to our current situation since the transition we are going through includes a conflict between the traditional (mythic), modern (rational) and postmodern (pluralistic) structures of consciousness, all at the same time.

In many ways, these types of transitions between different structures of consciousness and the cultural and social systems that have been built up around them requires one to “break the wheel” of the old system in order to make room for something new to emerge like in GoT…while there are also times when all we need do is try to fix the wheel like in Selma, there are also other times when it seems like the wheel of the old system breaks down by itself as it reaches these evolutionary transition points, like this moment we are all facing in our world today...and stories like these can help us see clearer and deeper and more expansively where we are and what we are called to evolve through and toward.

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*Special thanks to Jonathan Steigman for his editorial assistance in creating this article and for his contributions to the research into the “Game of Thrones” series.

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Breaking the Wheel: Reflections on Game of Thrones, Selma and the Great Transition, Integral Cinematic Arts Journal, May 21, 2019. Available at: https://medium.com/integral-cinema/breaking-the-wheel-4fca74846a12


Healers in the Hood: Reflections on the Passing of John Singleton, "Selma" and the New Consciousness in African American Cinema


John Singleton at the Premiere of “Selma” (2014)

As part of the Conscious Movie-of-the-Month Club hosted by Conscious Good Creators Network, we are viewing the film Selma (2014) as our monthly selection. I was struck by the news of African American filmmaker John Singleton (1968–2019) passing away just a few days before we started. I noticed some synchronicities or resonances between our choice of film and the life, work and passing of Singleton. Selma is the work of African American filmmaker Ava DuVernay who is part of a whole new movement and consciousness within African American cinema that most likely would not exist without Singleton’s groundbreaking work.


Selma filmmaker Ava DuVernay pays tribute to John Singleton Twitter (2019) 
 
The history of African American cinema has been profoundly affected by the history of African Americans and their struggle against great individual, cultural, social and systemic injustices and challenges. The evolutionary journey of African American media artists and their works is like a creative mirror on our collective journey as a country. Because of this great injustice gap, the evolution of African American cinema is the story of many creative, cultural and social groundbreakers fighting against a system that was and still is in many ways rigged against people of color.

Every generation has had courageous individuals who sought to break some of these barriers and open the doors to those generations to come. John Singleton was one of the brave creative souls who raised and deepened the cinematic consciousness of African American cinema by unpacking the overt and covert effects of living within the shadows of racism. His breakout film Boyz n the Hood (1991), made when he was just 23, depicted the everyday lives and realities of African Americans, going deeply personal to tap into the universal.

Since his passing many African American film scholars, critics, historians and commentators have written about Singleton’s various contributions to African American cinema and American cinema in general, including: What Hollywood Owes to John Singleton, his Influence on African American Cinema, and how he Changed Black Culture on Film Forever.

My colleague Jonathan Steigman and I created a video podcast series called New Black Cinema for White People in which we take a deep dive into the new generation of masterful young filmmakers standing on the shoulders of John Singleton and other trailblazing African American media artists. One of the groundbreaking elements of the works by this new generation is their use of both subtle and extremely overt complex communication to pierce the veil of structural white supremacy. From broad satire to quiet drama, from big budget pop culture films to low budget independent works, these filmmakers are working at the top of their game and creating cinematic works designed to raise the consciousness of American culture and society to the hidden dimensions of racism and structural white supremacy. By exploring the personal and collective costs of the hidden dimensions of racism, these creators seek a way to transcend and heal them with love and compassion for all sides.

Ava DuVernay is one of this movement’s leaders, helping and mentoring others the way Singleton did. DuVernay and this group of the new wave in African American cinema are operating at an integral or near-integral structure of consciousness, integrating all the gifts from the previous generations of activists and artists. One of these gifts is the integration of Singleton’s collective through the personal stories approach with a higher, deeper and more expansive “big picture” perspective producing more complex and multi-layered storytelling.

In Selma, DuVernay unpacks the personal, interpersonal, cultural and social dimensions of Martin Luther King’s racial and social justice consciousness raising effort during the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights marches in 1965. So we have a film about the consciousness raising efforts of Dr. King and others on the individual and collective front lines, made by a filmmaker who herself seeks to raise consciousness even further around these issues through her works. In this, DuVernay and her cohort in this new generation are standing on the shoulders of those who came before them, including Singleton, and pushing the dialogue ever forward.

And so, this month, we take this moment to mourn and honor the passing of one of these groundbreakers as we explore one of the cinematic works that has sprung from the creative garden he helped seed.

References



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*Special thanks to Jonathan Steigman for his editorial assistance in creating this article and for his contributions to the research into this new movement in African American Cinema.

Conscious Movie-of-the-Month (May 2019)



The Conscious Movie-of-the-Month for May 2019 is Selma (2014).


You are invited to watch Selma on your own and feel free to share your thoughts, reflections and musings about the movie in our group's online discussion forum.

At the end of the month, on Wednesday May 29th at 7:00pm Pacific Time we will have a video conference call where I will share my reflections on the movie from a conscious, integral and transpersonal perspective and you will have the opportunity to share more of your personal reflections and ask any questions.

If you have not already joined our free Conscious Movie-of-the-Month Group/Club, you can still join us anytime by signing up for a free membership at the Conscious Good Creators Network.

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In an effort to be "conscious" of diversity as we embark on our second conscious movie exploration, we are feeling called for us to explore Selma by African American woman filmmaker Ava DuVernay, an amazing work that cinematically explores Martin Luther King's effort to elevate American collective consciousness. Selma includes one of the best montages of awakening collective awareness ever created, and directly addresses Dr King's conscious effort to affect the evolution of consciousness on the individual and collective levels.

DuVernay is a pioneer in feminine approaches to cinematic expression, as well as developing a synergy of masculine and feminine approaches, and this film offers a great representation of her contribution to this dimension of the evolution of cinematic consciousness.

Selma is also a major work from the new consciousness-raising efforts of a group of young and talented African American filmmakers that DuVernay is part of as well as being a leader for this new movement in African American Cinema.

This film is also an important work for us conscious media creators to study during these profoundly challenging times, for it gives us a glimpse of the consciousness it takes to raise collective consciousness through media and direct-action combined. And for all us media consumers it can help us viscerally connect to the process of media expression from real life events through the lens of media and into our own conscious fields.

I will be sharing more on the film during the month here online and on our video conference call on the 29th and invite you to join the conversation.

Thank you for continuing to join us on this adventure...time to get our revolutionary spirits awakened, pop us some popcorn and dive into this cinematic blueprint for elevating consciousness on a grand scale...




Conscious Movie-of-the-Month Live Discussion (April 2019) - "The Matrix"




This video is a recording of the April 2019 Conscious Movie-of-the-Month Video Conference Call - Exploring "The Matrix" with Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D. 

Date: April 25, 2019
Sponsor: Conscious Good Creators Network
Group: Conscious Movie-of-the-Month Club

Why I believe Marianne Williamson is the "real deal"


I believe these are serious times that require serious attention and action. I believe it is vital to help elevate the political discourse in the United States and around the world by getting alternative deeper and more expansive voices into the political and social spheres. We are seeing this happen more and more with the emergence of alternative voices speaking truth to power like those of politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from the US, teenage climate warrior Greta Thunberg from Sweden and historian Rutger Bregman from the Netherlands.

There are also several deeper and more expansive voices attempting to speak truth to power among those running for the US presidency in the democratic political field, including Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang. These two candidates are speaking on a different level than our normal political discourse is used to and I believe it is vital to get these voices out there, especially onto the stage at the democratic debates. To do that each candidate needs a certain number of contributors. I have donated $1 to each to do my part and I urge you to do the same.

Here I want to focus on Marianne Williamson and why I think her voice is vital and needs to be taken seriously, because I have a bit of inside information on the candidate and because much of the corporate media has been either directly or subtly discounting her as a "New Age Guru." I know Marianne. Not as a close personal friend but as someone who was in her congregation from the beginning; someone who has been inspired and helped by her on many occasions; and someone who has sat with her one-on-one in counseling sessions. She officiated at my wedding and sat with me and held my hand as I nervously waited for the bride-to-be who was running late. Back in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, I watched her minister to the gay community and sit with the sick and dying when most others were afraid to be near them.

Marianne Williamson officiating at my wedding (1989)
I can personally attest to her being the "real deal"...she is a deep and expansive thinker rooted and grounded in a spiritual and moral center of being, who puts feet to her spirituality. I can attest that she does indeed walk-the-talk! And I believe her talk these days is important for us to hear for she is talking about some of the deep underlying issues that are not truly and clearly being addressed, like the need for us to heal the deep wounds that are haunting us, from the shadows of hatred, slavery, racism, misogyny, corruption, poverty and American imperialism, to the loss of our moral center in almost every sphere from economics to the environment...and most importantly, how she is framing how we deal with the rising threat to our democracy and what we are being called to do to save this grand American experiment. She does not just give us spiritual salve, she is trying to help us see the truth, to feel the pain and suffering spreading around us and recognize the clear and present danger to our freedom and our moral center as a nation...but she is doing so in a way that attempts to help us face these dire issues with a fierce love that does not feed the hate but seeks to heal and transform it...to heal the soul of America...



"The Matrix" and the Evolution of Consciousness

Or, taking the Red Pill and waking up to the coming of Winter: Reflections on meta-perspectival storytelling, The Matrix, Game of Thrones and our current global situation



According to my research into the potential co-evolution of the moving image, consciousness, culture and society, The Matrix (1999) helped to introduce a higher form of cinematic consciousness* into mainstream pop culture. The foundation of this higher form of cinematic consciousness could be called meta-perspectival storytelling.

Meta-perspectival storytelling refers to stories that unfold through both major and minor shifts in perspective that often reveal whole new ways of understanding and experiencing the storyworld unfolding before us. Think of the red-blue pill moment in The Matrix, or the self-as-ghost revelation at the end of The Sixth Sense (1999), the shifting realities of a television series like Lost (2004) or the progressive, reality-shaking awakening of characters to the true coming threat of winter in Game of Thrones (2011). All of these works use meta-perspectival storytelling to drive their stories and characters to greater levels of understanding and capacities.

This form of storytelling has been around for a while in various forms but not until the release of both The Matrix and The Sixth Sense in 1999, did this form penetrate the pop culture cinematic language in a big way. Since then, more and more cinematic works have been using this form of storytelling, creating deeper and more expansive works with layers and layers of perceptual realities that hide and reveal themselves over time, guiding us and the characters to greater levels of understanding and revelation. Meta-perspectival storytelling is born out of a specific stage of development and structure of consciousness, often referred to as Integral Consciousness. The key to this structure of consciousness is the drive to understand all dimensions and perspectives of our reality and integrate them into a meaningful whole, a "big picture" meta-perspective.

I find it beautifully symbolic that this month is the 20th anniversary of The Matrix (1999-2019), the film that helped birth this expansion of cinematic consciousness, and the start of the final season of Game of Thrones (2011-2019), the series that helped to evolve this form of storytelling to new levels of richness, depth and complexity for a global scale audience that more easily and deeply understands, embodies and enjoys this form of consciousness and storytelling.

I also find it rather haunting and inspiring to look at how this evolution of storytelling and viewer consciousness coincides with the ever deepening and expanding deconstruction of so many of our individual and collective mental, emotional and perspectival constructs within and around us. This deconstruction has culminated in the whirlwind of reality bubbles, fake news, propaganda networks and "alternate truth" in which we currently find ourselves. I have to wonder if all these meta-perspectival stories feeding our imaginations these last twenty years are an expression of our collective consciousness preparing us to make some big perspectival transition, helping more and more of us to wake up to the coming of our own global climate change and political, cultural and social regression winter, and to individually and collectively search for the red pill that will wake us all up in time.



*NOTE: Cinematic consciousness as I define it comes from my research into the relationship between the moving image, consciousness, culture and society. This research suggests that human beings project their structures of consciousness into their creative works. This in turn appears to create similar composite structures of consciousness embedded in these works. In a sense these embedded consciousness structures create a kind of cinematic consciousness that lives within the constructed cinematic reality of these moving images. And this cinematic consciousness in turn affects viewer consciousness.