What makes a movie integral? Why are so many integral works science fiction or fantasy? Mark Allan Kaplan and Jonathan Steigman explore the Netflix series “The Diplomat” and how it reflects the Integral structure of consciousness
Posts by Mark Allan Kaplan
In this remarkable exploration, Mark walks us through all of the main elements of Integral theory—using some of our favorite movies to illustrate the basics of the Integral approach, while noting how each of these elements has shaped the cinema experience since the invention of film itself. Not only does this series offer a wealth of perspective and insight to film, filmmakers, and audiences alike, but it also brings more color, more sound, and more awesome explosions to Integral thought and practice.
The next integrally-informed lens we will be exploring is the ARCHETYPAL LENS. One way of understanding Archetypes from an Integral perspective is to see them as Primary Patterns of Being and Becoming that have their roots in the first forms of involution residing at the very edge of the Formless itself
We now enter the complex domain of tetra-enmeshment and tetra-evolution with what I am calling the COMPLEXITY LENS. On a basic level we could say that tetra-enmeshment refers to the complex inter-relationship or tetra-enmeshment between the four quadrants or “the subjective, objective, intersubjective, and interobjective dimensions of existence” whereby “all four dimensions arise simultaneously and tetra-evolve
We now shift focus to that space between theory and practice where we find the constructs, paradigms, and approaches used to examine and enact our world and the world of cinema, using what I am calling the METHODOLOGY LENS. With this lens we can attempt to look at what methodological constructs are behind how we look and how we act, what method or approach we are using at any given moment to comprehend and relate to self, others, and world.
Since art in general and cinema in particular communicate through the transmission of light and sound, which both operate through frequency spectrums that transfer energy through space, every moment of projected image and sound of a cinematic work can be said to essentially have its own particular energy signature. Some film theorists have explored the dynamics of what can be called cinematic or kinetic energies that are inherent in the perceptual reception of moving imagery.
When we look at a cinematic work and endeavor to discern if it is “integral” or not, what we are doing is attempting to use the term in an evaluative mode as a kind of typological categorization tool. One of the major ways of typologically mapping the Integral structure of consciousness is as a particular level or altitude on the worldview line of development (the Integral Worldview altitude).
We are now ready to delve into the more advanced integrally-informed cinematic lenses, starting here with the ZONAL LENS.
The Zonal Lens aids us in applying eight (8) indigenous human perspectives (zones) and their corresponding methodologies for gaining verifiable and reproducible knowledge to the realm of perceivable realities.
In addition to States, and developmental Lines and Levels, there are also various patterns of shared Characteristic Types or Typologies within all four Quadrants.
In a cinematic work, at the most basic level, these various human reality states can be captured and replicated to some degree through text, image, and sound. For example, we can visually and auditorily capture a storm (a weather state), and add the text/story of a person trying to get out of its way, including how this person is reacting (i.e., a fearful emotional state).
This time we will explore what I am calling the DEVELOPMENTAL LENS. The Developmental lens includes two separate yet intimately connected perceptual lenses: LINES and LEVELS of development.
This time we explore the QUADRATIC LENS. This lens helps us look upon everything we perceive as being made up of four distinct yet equal and interrelated essential dimensions of perceptual reality. These dimension-perspectives can be labeled in various ways to represent the form of existence we are looking at.
The first Integral lens I will explore is the HOLONIC lens. This lens helps us look upon everything we perceive as a HOLON; a whole that is part of another whole. Holons are the essential building blocks of our reality. A whole atom is part of a whole molecule, which is part of a whole cell, which is part of a whole organism
Defining characteristics of what may constitute an integral cinematic work are mapped out and developed into a set of evaluation criteria using the works of Dulac, Gebser, and Wilber. A test of these evaluation criteria with the viewing of several motion pictures is summarized; the results suggest that several past and recent films demonstrate qualities that could be said to constitute an integral cinematic work.
Grab a snack, turn off your phone, and enjoy this groundbreaking exploration of the cinematic arts.