Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The Star Wars Saga and the Evolution of Consciousness

It's a Star Wars month for the Integral Cinema Project! Join us as we explore perhaps the most successful consciousness-raising cinematic work of all time, the nine+ theatrical film Star Wars saga, which finally completes its major storyworld arc with the theatrical release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Star Wars is unique in the history of cinema on so many fronts; that one cinematic work could have such a deep and expansive impact on individual and collective consciousness as well as major effects at the cultural and social level is truly mind-blowing. A small sampling of its impacts include:

  • The rebirthing of mythology for the modern and postmodern age; 

  • The introduction of numerous technological advances in both filmmaking and the movie watching experience, advancing the fields of special effects, animation, sound design, and theatrical projection and sound systems that all increased the capacity for more immersive and consciousness-raising experiences for all cinematic works;

  • The introduction of the “hybrid” genre, which integrates multiple cinematic genres into a meaningful whole and which has contributed to the penetration of an integral structure of consciousness into the popular entertainment domain;

  • And of course, the introduction of the idea of The Force and the exploration of the very nature of individual/local consciousness and collective/non-local consciousness and their intersection, as well as exploring various evolutionary dynamics of consciousness and its relation to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions of being and becoming.

The Rise of Skywalker is currently in theaters. We recommend watching the film at least twice, the second time with the intention of seeing any patterns of consciousness you had not seen before.

New Podcast!

You can increase the transformative potential of the second viewing experience by watching our new TEHNC/Integral Cinema Sessions podcast: Why The Rise of Skywalker is brilliant! (and why it matters).

And if you really want to dig in, you may want to check out our previous discussion: Unpacking Star Wars 1-7.

Conscious Movie-of-the-Month discussion is Saturday, January 25th at 1pm PST

For this Conscious Movie-of-the-Month event, we will be discussing the entire Star Wars ennealogy (9-film series). Please join us as we explore the transformative impact of this groundbreaking and historic cinematic work. As always, you are also invited to share your thoughts, reflections and musings about the movie in our group's online discussion forum. You can join the Conscious Good Creators Network for free and sign up for the Conscious Movie-of-the-Month discussion at the same time here:

If you have not seen any or all of the three major trilogies of the Star Wars saga you can still participate in this exploration by reading the Wikipedia overview of all the films. Serious fans of the work might also want to check out ICP founder Mark Allan Kaplan's two articles, My Cinematic Emancipation and Star Wars and the Tetra-Evolution of American Cinema. If you are really ambitious and want to binge watch some or all of the series in preparation for our CMoM discussion on the 25th you can now stream every major work of the saga (excluding The Rise of Skywalker, which is currently in theaters) on Disney's new online streaming service, Disney+ (a free trial is currently available).

Happy New Year and New Decade to all...and...

May The Force be with us all!

Friday, October 18, 2019

"Game of Thrones" Journey of Consciousness

Not everyone who has watched Game of Thrones realizes it is a deep and profound journey of consciousness because that journey was masterfully hidden under the surface of the series until the final season. Once we have seen the full arc of the storyworld we can begin to see that this series is, perhaps, one of the moving-image's largest scale efforts to viscerally capture a stage of individual and collective human development and take us on a journey deep inside it's structure of consciousness as it evolves to the next stage of development for many of the characters and for the society as a whole.

The following is a video podcast that Jonathan Steigman and I did on GoT where we take a deep dive into an exploration of this journey of consciousness and how it reveals itself in the series finale and how when we look back at the series after seeing the whole storyworld arc, the journey of consciousness reveals itself hiding just under the surface...a journey about the transition from the Mythic structure of consciousness and the end of feudalism...and the rise and fall of an authoritarian demagogue with the equivalent of weapons of mass destruction.

Why the Game of Thrones finale is BRILLIANT! (TEHNC 26) from TEHNC Podcast on Vimeo.


And don't forget to join us for our live virtual discussion of Game of Thrones on Tuesday October 22nd. Click here to find out more, register to attend and get the Zoom link for the discussion:

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

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.


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.

Friday, September 27, 2019

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.


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:

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:

Thursday, September 12, 2019

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 starting in early October, 2019. (I am a Contributing Faculty Member.) To find out more, please visit:

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:

Sunday, September 1, 2019

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:

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Media Ethics and "The Great Hack" - A Conscious Movie-of-the-Month Exploration

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.

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.

Brittany Kaiser in The Great Hack (2019)

This month we also 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?


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:

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.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

"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.

Monday, June 24, 2019

“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.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

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.


*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.


Breaking the Wheel: Reflections on Game of Thrones, Selma and the Great Transition, Integral Cinematic Arts Journal, May 21, 2019. Available at:

Thursday, May 16, 2019

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.



*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.