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.

Conscious Movie-of-the-Month - "The Matrix" - Live Call




Announcing the first Conscious Movie-of-the-Month live video call. This month we will be exploring this months movie The Matrix (1999).

At the end of the month, on Thursday April 25th 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 Club, you can still join us anytime by signing up for a FREE membership at the Conscious Good Creators Network.

If you are already a member, you are invited to watch The Matrix on your own and feel free to share your thoughts, reflections and musings about the movie in our group's online discussion forum.

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

The Matrix seems like a great movie for us to start with because this month is the 20th anniversary of the film's release and because it represents various different forms of what constitutes a conscious movie...

The viewing experience of The Matrix has given many viewers a consciousness raising experience, myself included. I vividly remember the first time I saw the film. I saw it opening week back when it was released in theaters in the Spring of 1999. It just blew me away and gave me a deep and profound altered state of consciousness. When the movie was over and I came out of the theater, everything seemed so much more real...the twinkling stars in the early evening sky, the subtle spring fragrances wafting through the air, the collective dance of the movie goers streaming in and out of the theater, and so much more...and at the same time I was contemplating deep questions about the nature of the reality I was seeing and the life I was living.

The Matrix was also consciously created to affect viewer consciousness. The Wachowski's studied Integral Theory before making the film and were attempting to apply the integral structure of consciousness to the narrative, visual, auditory and time-based expressive elements of the movie in order to elevate viewer consciousness.

The Matrix is also of major historical significance in that it introduced a more complex form of cinematic storytelling into pop movie culture, which has had an influence on collective consciousness by advancing the evolution of cinematic consciousness and helping to catalyze a shift in the co-evolution of cinematic consciousness and viewer consciousness.

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.

I will be sharing more on the film during the month in our groups online forum and on our video conference call on the 25th. I will also be sharing with the group a Conscious Movie Viewing Practice for members to play with if they feel so moved to do so.

If you are interested in joining me on this adventure...it's time to login, take the Red Pill and see how deep the rabbit hole goes...



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

The Conscious Movie-of-the-Month for April 2019 is The Matrix (1999).

The Matrix (1999)

Welcome to the first Conscious Movie-of-the-Month exploration.

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.

If you are already a member, you are invited to watch The Matrix 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 Thursday April 25th 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.

Thanks to group member Harry LeBlanc for suggesting The Matrix.

________________________


The Matrix seems like a great movie for us to start with because this month is the 20th anniversary of the film's release and because it represents various different forms of what constitutes a conscious movie...

The viewing experience of The Matrix has given many viewers a consciousness raising experience, myself included. I vividly remember the first time I saw the film. I saw it opening week back when it was released in theaters in the Spring of 1999. It just blew me away and gave me a deep and profound altered state of consciousness. When the movie was over and I came out of the theater, everything seemed so much more real...the twinkling stars in the early evening sky, the subtle spring fragrances wafting through the air, the collective dance of the movie goers streaming in and out of the theater, and so much more...and at the same time I was contemplating deep questions about the nature of the reality I was seeing and the life I was living.

The Matrix was also consciously created to affect viewer consciousness...the creators, The Wachowskis, studied Integral Theory and were attempting to apply the integral structure of consciousness to the narrative, visual, auditory and time-based expressive elements of the movie in order to elevate viewer consciousness.

The Matrix is also of major historical significance in that it introduced a more complex form of cinematic storytelling into pop movie culture, which has had an influence on collective consciousness by advancing the evolution of cinematic consciousness and helping to catalyze a shift in the co-evolution of cinematic consciousness and viewer consciousness.

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.

I will be sharing more on the film during the month here online and on our video conference call on the 25th. I will also be sharing with you a Conscious Movie Viewing Practice for you to play with if you feel so moved to do so.

Thank you for joining me on this adventure...time to take the Red Pill and see how deep the rabbit hole goes...



Announcing the Conscious Movie-of-the-Month Club


A Monthly Exploration of Consciousness and the Movies


Conscious Good Creators Network presents the Conscious Movie-of-the-onth 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.

About the Club 

Join fellow conscious media creators and media enthusiasts each month for an in-depth look at conscious cinema with host and facilitator Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D. Together we will explore how consciousness is expressed in and through the movies, and how we can use movies to help us evolve our consciousness.

As a member of the club you will have access to the club’s online forum and the entire Conscious Good Creators Network. At the beginning of each month we will announce the movie of the month for us all to watch on our own and then explore together in the online discussion forum. On the last Thursday of the month we will have a video conference call where Mark will share his reflections on the movie from a conscious, integral and transpersonal perspective. Participants will also have the opportunity to share personal reflections, questions and musings.

As a member of the club you will also be invited to experiment with some of the conscious media viewing practices Mark has developed over the years. These can help you to deepen and expand the viewing experience and help you develop your own transformative media viewing practice if you so desire.

About the Host/Facilitator 

Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D. is an award-winning filmmaker, transdisciplinary artist, media psychologist and researcher, and the founder and executive director of the Integral Cinema Project. As an artist and media-maker Mark has been exploring conscious art and media since childhood, attempting to use these creative mediums to help himself transcend his own communication challenges of being a severe childhood stutterer. He uses his conscious art practices to find his "voice" and use that voice to help raise the consciousness of himself, others and the world. He is considered by many to be one of the pioneers in the conscious and transpersonal media movements and is the world's leading researcher and theorist in the application of Integral Theory to the cinematic arts.

For more on Mark visit: www.markallankaplan.com, and to learn about the Integral Cinema Project visit: www.integralcinema.com.

Details

  • Dates/Times: 
    • Movie of the month announcement, first of the month, starting April 1, 2019 
    • Online discussions, ongoing 
    • Video conference calls, 7pm PST, last Thursday of the month, starting April 25, 2019 
  • Cost: Free (requires free membership to the network) 
  • Host: Conscious Good Creators Network 

About Conscious Good Creators Network 

Conscious Good Creators Network is a community-driven media platform for visual storytellers dedicated to raising consciousness. Conscious Good launched the Creators’ Network as a place where conscious creators and audiences can connect. It’s a place to interact with fellow conscious media tribe members, share resources, ideas and support one another.

SIGN UP FOR THE NETWORK AND THE CLUB

Conscious Media-Making Course Video and Presentation



In this introductory course for the Conscious Good Creators Network, Integral Cinema Project founder Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D. explores what is conscious media and conscious media-making, what are some of the different potential forms of conscious media-making, and how different states and stages of consciousness effect the media-making process. Mark also explores how these structures of consciousness within us are communicated between us, the works we create and the individuals and collectives that experience our works…and how this knowledge can be used to create deeper and more transformative media experiences for creators and viewers on the individual and collective levels. Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D. is an award-winning filmmaker, transdisciplinary artist and media psychologist and researcher. As an artist and media-maker Mark has been exploring conscious art and media since childhood, attempting to use these creative mediums to help himself transcend his own communication challenges of being a severe childhood stutterer and find his "voice" and use that voice to help raise the consciousness of himself, others and the world. He is considered by many to be one of the pioneers in the conscious and transpersonal media movements and is the world's leading researcher and theorist in the application of Integral Theory to the cinematic arts. www.markallankaplan.com & www. integralcinema.com Conscious Media Creators Network is a community-driven online media platform for visual storytellers dedicated to raising consciousness. Conscious Good launched the Creators’ Network as a place where conscious creators and audiences can connect. It’s a place to interact with fellow conscious media tribe members, share resources, ideas and support one another. Use the following link to join the network: https://conscious-good.mn.co/share/7i... This talk was presented on Sunday February 24, 2019 between 12pm to 1:30pm PST on the Conscious Good Creators Network as part of their "Stream of Consciousness" speaker series.

The complete course video is available at: https://youtu.be/A5P2DmRk23w

The presentation slides are available at: https://www.slideshare.net/markallankaplan/conscious-mediamaking-101




Conscious Media-Making Course



Conscious Good Creators Network presents an introductory course in Consciousness Media-Making 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.


About the Course

In this introductory course we will explore what is conscious media-making, what are some of the different potential forms of conscious media-making, and how different states and stages of consciousness effect the media-making process. We will also be exploring how these structures of consciousness within us are communicated between us, the works we create and the individuals and collectives that experience our works…and how this knowledge can be used to create deeper and more transformative media experiences for creators and viewers on the individual and collective levels.

About the Instructor

Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D. is an award-winning filmmaker, transdisciplinary artist and media psychologist and researcher, and founder and executive director of the Integral Cinema Project. As an artist and media-maker Mark has been exploring conscious art and media since childhood, attempting to use these creative mediums to help himself transcend his own communication challenges of being a severe childhood stutterer and find his "voice" and use that voice to help raise the consciousness of himself, others and the world. He is considered by many to be one of the pioneers in the conscious and transpersonal media movements and is the world's leading researcher and theorist in the application of Integral Theory to the cinematic arts. For more on Mark visit his website www.markallankaplan.com, and for my on the Integral Cinema Project visit www.integralcinema.com.

Details:

  • Date: Sunday February 24, 2019
  • Time: 12pm to 1:15pm PST
  • Cost: Free (requires free membership to the network)
  • Host: Conscious Good Creators Network

About Conscious Good Creators Network

Conscious Good Creators Network is a community-driven media platform for visual storytellers dedicated to raising consciousness. Conscious Good launched the Creators’ Network as a place where conscious creators and audiences can connect. It’s a place to interact with fellow conscious media tribe members, share resources, ideas and support one another.


SIGN UP FOR THE NETWORK AND THE COURSE




Covington and the Emergent Collective Intelligence (PODCAST)


In the latest TEHNC Podcast, host Jonathan Steigman and I explore the recent incident where a 16-year-old kid from Covington Catholic School faced off with a Native American elder on the Mall in Washington and how it unfolded on social media with amazing speed. Jonathan and I were struck by how the many different perceptual layers were quickly peeled back, and we unpack the event and surrounding social media whirlwind exploring how we may be witnessing a new collective intelligence being birthed, one that transcends centralized legacy media.



2018 Integral Movie and TV List Update


2018 was another challenging year for many of us and sometimes taking a break from all the challenges in these times is needed; sometimes we need an escape or release from the stresses and sometimes we need some distance on our lives and the world to see things from a different perspective. Great integral movies and television or streaming series can often do both at the same time. In addition, integral cinematic works can exercise our perspective-taking capacities, something that can only help us in dealing with these challenging times...plus we get to have popcorn while we are doing our integral cinematic workout...

So here are this last year's additions to the IMDb Integral Movie and TV List of cinematic works that tested positive for elements of the Integral structure of consciousness by the Integral Cinema Project. Some of these are new works released in 2018 and some are older works that have been rediscovered as integral gems from the past. For the complete list of Integral movies and series check out the full list at: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls074613980/


IMDb INTEGRAL MOVIE AND TV LIST UPDATES 2018


Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse (2018; Currently in Theaters) - This animated addition to the Spider-man movie series is an Integral game-changer, a truly extraordinary film that transcends and includes the evolution of comics, anime and superhero films, and so many other domains, worlds, dimensions, perspectives and realities and integrates them into a wondrous, fun, classic yet avant-garde, holistic, holonic, gestalt...integral masterpiece.

Black Panther (2018; Now On Demand and Disk) - Black Panther is a brilliant integral cinematic work that mirrors multiple stages of development in all aspects and levels of its narrative, visual, auditory and editorial expressions. It also shows both healthy and pathological manifestations of each stage and represents subtle ways that one can transcend the pathologies and evolve to higher stages of development. At the same time, this film tackles major psychological, cultural and social issues from primal psychological wounding to complex issues of race, class, oppression and isolationism in subtle and deep ways. And all of this is elegantly hidden beneath the surface of a wonderful and traditional superhero genre piece. Watch our Black Panther TEHNC Podcast series on this important integral work.

Wrinkle in Time (2018; Now On Demand and Disk) - Wrinkle in Time is a beautiful, rich and groundbreaking integrally-informed cinematic work that uses an advanced form of feminine-communion storytelling in its use of communion-centered editorial, camerawork and production design and its nonlinear spiraling evolutionary arc of both its characters and its story. In this multilayered work the shots and cuts are focused less on the action and more on deep and layered emotions, inner promptings and catharses, as the characters and story streams move the characters and us the viewer through various stages of development that evolve through a series of cycles back in and through each stage several times, peeling away different forms and levels of challenges in those stages that ultimately lead to deep yet subtle evolutionary growth. Regrettably this great work falters at the end with a small yet fatal flaw in the story and character lines of development at a peak transition moment. Still a great work worth seeing.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018; Netflix) - This feature length episode of the groundbreaking integral series from Netflix breaks even more new ground by integrating the interactivity between multiple storyworld streams and the viewer/player experience as we are given choices in how the story unfolds in real time. The integration of story, character and viewer experience even includes the main character starting to act like they can feel us the viewer manipulating their life. The multi-layered complex interconnections between the on-screen storyworld and the viewer/player reality produces a potentially profound experience of deep integral aperspectival awareness in us as we watch and play along. This integration leads us and the main character into intellectually, emotionally and existentially questioning essential aspects of free will, choice and the nature of reality, and potentially shifting us into the integral-Kosmocentric witness state in search of the "big picture" of existence.

Altered Carbon (2018; Netflix) - This Netflix original series explores the question of what part does death play in the evolution of consciousness, culture and society by transporting us to a sci-fi world where death has been eliminated by using technology to digitize consciousness and transfer to other bodies (sleeves). In the first season we see how the absence of death messes with the spiral of development in ways that causes us to potentially loose our humanity while increasing class divides and losing the gravity that draws us toward healthy growth and development and the evolutionary impulse itself.

Ugly Delicious (2018; Netflix) - Celebrity Chef David Chang's cooking travelogue series that explores the evolution of food, its co-evolution with culture and society and its relationship with different structures of consciousness. Special thanks to Jeff Salzman for finding this work...and check out his Daily Evolver podcast review of it - The Integral Practice of Pizza.

Childhood's End (2015; Syfy) - A flawed Syfy cable mini-series adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke's classic integral evolutionary science fiction novel that struggles to find its footing while still imparting the essential evolutionary trajectory of the original work. Even though it lacks the heart and spirit of the original story, one cannot help but feel the power of Clarke's universe and the tale of how the human race will ultimately transcend its limits (with a little help from some other worldly friends) and evolve into a Kosmo-centric species. There is also some of the wonderful archetypal power of the original's transcendent use of the demon/devil archetype.

Selma
(2014; On Demand and Disk) - Selma is a multi-dimensional and multi-perspectival cinematic exploration of an event in the life of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. that reveals the various individual and collective forces that moved all sides of this profound political moment in American history. During this exploration, Dr. King is revealed to be both a flawed human being on the personal relationship level and a masterful integral thinker with the capacity to see a greater depth and span in the events around him than those around him could see. 

Andromeda
(2000-2005; Syfy) - A brilliant, integrally-informed science fiction universe and series based on some unused material by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. This wonderful little series has a progressively unfolding Kosmocentric center-of-gravity at the center of a hybrid mythic, rational and pluralistic storyworld that includes a wondrously simple yet complex exploration of the involution and evolution of consciousness, and an expanded perceptual field of sentient life and all its potential variations of beingness and becoming. Special thanks to Mark Le Sueur for bringing this work to our attention.

Star Trek Universe (1966-Present; Various) - Starting with the original Star Trek television series in 1966, through many itinerations up to the current Star Trek: Discovery streaming series, the Star Trek universe has given us a cinematic example of what an Integral moral universe would look like. With its evolutionary-aware Prime Directive and its trans-species post-Capitalist worldview, the Star Trek franchise has been planting integral consciousness seeds for over 50 years. While the episodes of the original series and the many spin-off series and the various theatrical itineration's vary in terms of just how integral they are in form and content, the center of gravity of the Star Trek universe is decidedly integral and evolutionary in heart and spirit, with the most recent works starting with the Star Trek (2009) theatrical reboot up to the current Star Trek: Discovery streaming series becoming much more integral across all expressive domains. Special thanks to Corey W. DeVos and Cindy Wigglesworth for their major contribution to an integral understanding of this profoundly influential cinematic franchise; be sure to check out their work on the Star Trek universe at IntegralLife.com.

Andrei Tarkovsky's Collected Works (1962-1986; Russia; On Demand and on Disk) - One of this year’s major research breakthroughs was the completion of our testing of the major cinematic works of Russian filmmaker and theorist Andrei Tarkovsky. What we discovered was that Tarkovsky's unique cinematic style, which he calls "sculpting in time," pervades all of his major works and is a masterful integrally-informed capturing of experiential reality. With long simple yet complex poetically choreographed shots that allow for a multi-layed unfolding of each successive cinematic moment, along with subtle shifts between narrative, visual, auditory, and temporal dimensions of individual and collective interior and exterior realities, Tarkovsky miraculously appears to be capturing and expressing a lived experiential reality in a profoundly visceral way. In addition, he seems to have a masterful capacity to capture and orchestrate gross, subtle and causal cinematic energies to create potential transcendental experiences and deep witnessing states in the viewer. With the addition of Tarkovsky's films into the integral cinema historical/evolutionary timeline we can see the deep impact his work has had on the evolution of integral cinema in particular and world cinema in general. The works included in this analysis are: Ivan's Childhood (1962); Andrei Rublev (1966); Solaris (1972); The Mirror (1975); Stalker (1979); Nostalghia (1983); and The Sacrifice (1986). Special thanks to Eugene Pustoshkin for bringing Tarkovsky to our attention and for sharing his deep knowledge of this integral cinema master and his work. For more on the Energetic Lens see Integral Cinema Studio (Kaplan, 2012)

La Jetée (1962; France; On Demand and Disk) - An avant-garde short using all still images to explore the nature of time, memory, dreams, human nature, the impermanence of the world of form and the evolution of self, culture and world, and in the end touches on the Kosmocentric witness at the edge of life and death.

Wild Strawberries (1957; Sweden; On Demand and Disk) - Ingmar Bergman's deeply reflective film explores the evolution of one man's life through memories, dreams, interactions and self-reflections. Through this process Bergman shows us how generational patterns imprison us and cause evolutionary regression, and how becoming a witness to these greater evolutionary and de-evolutionary patterns can awaken us and help us evolve further.

The Razor's Edge (1946; On Demand and Disk) - Adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's classic tale of a young man in search of the meaning of existence and his evolutionary journey toward a higher and deeper level of being and becoming.

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As you can see this has been a groundbreaking year for integral cinema with several works going beyond what has been done before in terms of integral cinematic expression and storytelling. In addition, the discovery of several important integral works from the past has given us a much clearer sense of the evolution of the embedding of the integral structure of consciousness in the moving image medium. In a strange way it seems that as our everyday reality is facing profound evolutionary challenges we are given a banner year of moving image works that help us expand and deepen our evolutionary awareness. Perhaps the collective evolutionary impulse is sending us a message...




Integral Game-Changer - Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse (PODCAST)


Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse (2018) is an Integral game-changer, a truly extraordinary film that transcends and includes the evolution of comics, anime and superhero films, and so many other domains, worlds, dimensions, perspectives and realities and integrates them into a wondrous, fun, classic yet Avant-garde, holistic, holonic, gestalt...integral masterpiece.

Join me, Integral Cinema Project lead researcher Mark Allan Kaplan, and associate researcher Jonathan Steigman for a quick and spoiler-free rave review podcast on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/V2iTkZWJhhQ or on Vimeo at: https://vimeo.com/308143096





ONE FACE: A Collection of Interfaith Prayers and Poems

My collection of interfaith prayers and poems for personal and communal interfaith and integral spirituality practice is now available online for viewing and for download. Available at: http://bit.ly/2RaVD7W.

One Face by MAK (Mark Allan Kaplan)

Every faith
has a different view
of the same Divine Reality;
Every heart
has a different way
of feeling
the One Love;
Every mind
has a different way
of understanding
the One Truth;
And every face
is a different form
of the
ONE
Divine Face.

Structures of Cinematic Consciousness




My new Integral Cinema Project white paper on Structures of Cinematic Consciousness is now available for online viewing and download.

This paper includes a preliminary mapping of how stages of human development and the structures of consciousness that make up each stage are embedded in moving image-based artifacts such as movies, television, online and mobile video, video games, virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality mediums. These mappings are based on a meta-analysis of hundreds of moving image artifacts cross-referenced with research on stages of human development, structures of individual and collective human consciousness, human perception, creative expression, and cultural and social anthropology.

This research suggests that human beings project their structures of consciousness into their creative works. This in turn appears to create similar composites of 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.

Available at: https://www.academia.edu/37998059/Structures_of_Cinematic_Consciousness


"Integral Goes to the Movies" Slideshow



The slide show for the "Integral Goes to the Movies" presentation I gave for Bay Area Integral is now available for viewing and download... Topics include the embedding of structures of consciousness in the moving image; the co-evolution of the moving image, consciousness, culture and society; more fully understanding the power of the medium and how it can be used for transformative and evolutionary purposes; and what is Integral theory and what makes a movie "integral"

 

My Creative Process


Seva Gate (MAK)

Several people who have seen my art work recently have asked about my creative process. So, for those of you who are interested: I use an integral-transpersonal creative approach, going into deep meditation and contemplation on the multiple levels of being and becoming of the moment and then letting my hand move from that state of being. I feel guided at every step. First I digitally draw patterns as the creative flow moves me, and then when I get a sense of completion for that phase I take the drawing patterns and play with them with different filters and tools, again letting myself be guided by whatever is seeking to move through me. Finally I reach a point of feeling a sense of completion for the whole creative work. At this point, if I have not already had a title revealed to me during the process, I seek to receive the title with an inner guidance practice I have developed from my years of research into the experience of inner guidance. Finally, when it feels like the right moment, I send the piece out into the cybersphere with a meditation/prayer asking that it be a blessing onto others and the world.

Here is a short Art-in-Motion video I created that shows the different stages of a recent work I created:

Manifestation Gate - Art-in-Motion Video (MAK)

Currently and for the last few years I have been creating only through the digital art medium. This arose out of the need to not produce any directly physical works since I was nomadic and could not carry or store them anywhere.

For the last year and a half I have tried to create an art work every single day and share it, no matter how I personally feel about its aesthetic value. This creative process is therapeutic for me, and hopefully for others as well, as I attempt to capture and convey various states and structures of consciousness and patterns of being and becoming. It is also a political act for me in that I attempt to capture the inner and outer zeitgeist of myself and the world at any given moment. Because of this orientation I feel as though I need to put these works out as they are being channeled through me, no matter what I think of the final piece. This process has been affirmed to me by my discovery that the pieces that I feel the most profoundly affected by are not always the ones that most deeply affect others, and vice versa. I really do feel as if the creative muse is in charge here and my job is merely to be the channel and let go of the rest.

Compassion Gate (MAK)

For those who are interested in the technologies I am using: I am currently using an old iPad and stylus. I start with one of two drawing apps, ArtStudio and Sketchbook, where I channel the patterns coming through me using my stylus and the apps' various brushes and tools. Then I process the image further in the Paper Artist app. I then use Apple Photos app to view the variations I created for a piece and seek the guidance for which piece is the “one.” When the choice is clear I bring that image into the Instagram app and do some final adjustments to the work before sending it out to the world.

For more on my process, its origins and how I evolved into it, you can check out my blog post about the 45 day transformative creative expression experiment I conducted that gave birth to this approach...

My Transformative Creative Expression Experiment



For those who want to check out more of my recent works of art you can find them on my Tumblr blog or Instagram feed.

If you are touched by my work and would like a print of one of my pieces check out my Artpal page for print options. If you cannot find the piece you want on Artpal, you can contact me directly at arcofconsciousness@gmail.com and I will make it available for purchase on Artpal for you.

And finally I would like to express my deep gratitude for Mr. Lietso, my 7th grade science teacher, who threatened to haunt me after he died if I did not live my life as an artist; to Jill Mellick, who taught me how to use art for personal and collective transformation; to James Fadiman for teaching me about transpersonal and transformative storytelling; to Ken Wilber and Michael Schwartz for inspiring me to explore an integral approach to art and media; to fellow integral artist Jimmy Lusero for re-awakening the artist in me after years of creative slumber; to dear friends Jonathan Steigman and William Kueppers, and my amazing sister Mardi who gave me shelter and helped me through these challenging yet creative times; and to all my friends, family members, colleagues and strangers who bore witness to my journey and gave me their wondrous words, likes and emoji’s in affirmation of my art work along the way.

Black Panther Marks a Major Integral Cinema Milestone


Marvel's Black Panther is taking the world by storm, raking in over a billion dollars worldwide in its first five weeks of theatrical release, garnering rave reviews from critics and fans, challenging racial and diversity biases and boundaries in Hollywood film culture and beyond, spawning numerous testimonials about the films positive impact on individual viewers and minority communities, and eliciting glowing commentaries on how the film is a milestone in these and other various domains. After analyzing Black Panther and its impact on the individual and the collective, it appears that this wonderful superhero film is a major Integral Cinema milestone as well. 

Black Panther's Integrally-informed cinematic structuring beautifully and subtly mirrors multiple stages of development in all aspects and levels of its narrative, visual, auditory and temporal/editorial expressions. It also shows both healthy and pathological manifestations of each developmental stage and represents subtle ways that one can transcend the pathologies and evolve to higher stages of development. At the same time, the film tackles major psychological, cultural and social issues, from primal psychological wounding to complex issues of race, gender, class, oppression and isolationism, in subtle and deep ways. Most extraordinarily, all of this is elegantly hidden beneath the surface of a wonderful, fun and seemingly-traditional superhero genre piece.

In terms of Black Panther being a milestone in the history of Integral Cinema and the cinema itself, it appears to be groundbreaking in its advanced capacity to integrate and synchronize all dimensions of cinematic expression (Text, Image, Sound and Time) through all levels of storytelling (Textual, Subtextual, Metatextual and Transtextual). While this form of synchronization is at the heart of the cinematic expression tradition, dating back to Sergei Eisenstein in the 1920s and used by many filmmakers since, Integral filmmakers like Ryan Coogler appear to be creating an advanced form that also integrates the different structures of consciousness, culture and society (Archaic, Magic, Mythic, Rational, Pluralistic, Integral). Mr. Coogler's use of this type of cinematic expression in Black Panther is unparalleled in its depth and breadth and the sublime way it hides and integrates its complexity beneath its deceptively simple surface. This approach has the potential to induce subtle yet deeply immersive and transformative experiences in the viewer, transformation that could potentially extend to culture and society as well. This potential is hinted at by the cultural impact the film is already displaying.

From an Integral Cinema perspective, our research suggests that major advances in cinematic expression like those represented by Black Panther affect other creators and their cinematic works. These advances in expression create a major shift in cinematic consciousness, which is the collective way moving images in a given era communicate with the viewer. In turn, these types of advances in cinematic consciousness tend to entrain the audience to perceive in deeper and more expansive ways. In this way the moving image, consciousness, culture and society can be seen to co-evolve.

For more on all of this check out the new Integral Cinema TEHNC podcast series on Black Panther...


3 Keys to Unlock Black Panther (Short introduction to full-length analysis) - This special preview episode introduces you to 3 important keys you can use to unlock the hidden genius of Marvel's blockbuster Black Panther. This 5-minute summation by Integral Cinema Project research associate Jonathan Steigman is a sort of Cliff Notes version to whet your appetite for the full-length examination of the keys and how they manifest in the film with Mark Allan Kaplan, ICP lead researcher and the leading scholar of Integral Cinema.


The Hidden Genius of Black Panther (Full-length analysis) - Mark Allan Kaplan of Integral Cinema Project joins ICP research associate Jonathan Steigman to discuss 3 major keys that can help viewers discover the hidden genius behind the recent Marvel worldwide smash hit, Black Panther. Mark and Jonathan believe the film holds the potential to transform consciousness the world over and they unpack some of its secrets and point to why the film could transform cinematic consciousness as well. Filmmakers and others, take note!

Be sure to also check out Jonathan's short preliminary podcast on The Subversive Brilliance of Black Panther and Mark and Jonathan's short bonus podcast exploring The Previous Films of Black Panther Director Ryan Coogler.