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.

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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...