|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.