Friday, November 28, 2008

I watched the Zeitgeist films on the suggestion of a good friend. Although I have various disagreements with each of the conclusions the filmmakers arrive at, the films are impressive pieces of filmic art, coming from an independant, idealistic group with a well-defined vision. Most things that you come across on peer-to-peer networks which are ostensibly about ideas tend to be of the most ugly, right-wing type imaginable.

The most obvious observation to be made from the film is what other, competing groups have failed to do. Namely, they have failed to produce an effective, mainstream way of presenting their ideas. This film didn't take that much money to make. Meanwhile Ken Wilber's Integral Institute is now eight years old, and what does it have to show for itself? A subscription web forum and a series of interviews. A persuasive, watchable film like ''Zeitgeist'' could have spread Wilber's ideas to millions of people by now and opened up debate on Wilber's ideas from all quarters. Instead he, and the integral/transpersonal movement as a whole, remains relatively unknown. This continued obscurity reflects a clear failure of leadership on the part of Wilber, who has been the integral figure most dedicated to the popularization and mainstreaming of the integral movement.

Wilber's response would certainly point to a lack of funding, his constant complaint. But it is almost certain that Wilber has spent more money on his website and "spiritual centers" than this group spent on their film, which seems far more effective at disseminating ideas across the globe.


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