Saturday, May 10, 2014

Introduction to Meta-Movieology

The word “movieology” is traditionally defined as the study of the movies. Meta means “beyond” or “greater than” and Meta-Movieology refers to an approach that goes beyond the mere study of movies to a practice of using the viewing of moving images in all their evolving forms for personal growth, transformation, and evolutionary development.

 Meta-Movieology practice is effective because of the moving image’s unique capacity for affecting multiple aspects of our being. Movies can make us think and feel deeply; they can give us new perspectives on self, other and world; they can immerse us in other worlds and give us rich and deep embodied experiences. In fact, recent research has revealed that immersive and virtual moving image experiences can actually produce the same neurological and biological responses in our brains and bodies as actual lived experiences.

Another factor that makes the movie image a potential tool for transformation is the complex connection and communication between creator, moving image work, viewer, and world. Since all human-made works are the partial product of the human imagination, the imaginary is embedded in all human-made artifacts including and especially, the moving image (2005a). Because humans imagine through imagery (mental images, dream imagery, etc.), and the moving has the unique capacity to concretize or reify imaginary dimensions, in a sense doubling the inner image with an outer image, the moving image is inextricably and uniquely bound with the human imagination. This produces a complex symbiotic-metamorphic web of interaction between the inner images of cinematic creators and viewers and the outer cinematic form, which makes the moving image a potential catalyst for individual and collective evolutionary growth and development (Kaplan, 2013; Morin, 2005a; 2005b).
By means of the [moving image] machine, in their own likeness, our dreams are projected and objectified. They are industrially fabricated, collectively shared. They come back upon our waking life to mold it, to teach us how to live or not to live. We reabsorb them, socialized, useful, or else they lose themselves in us, we lose ourselves in them. There they are stored ectoplasms, astral bodies that feed off our persons and feed us, archives of soul. – Edgar Morin, 2005a, p.218
I have developed the Meta-Movieology practice over the last several years during my research into the application of Integral Theory to cinematic theory and practice. During these explorations I discovered this profound and fun approach to using the power of movies to help us see, feel, and viscerally experience the integral and evolutionary perspective to produce personal transformation and growth. This approach includes special viewing practices to help us experientially observe Integral and evolutionary frameworks within any moving image work and extend the profound theoretical concepts and perspectives of the Integral-evolutionary approach from the mind into our emotional and energetic bodies. These experiential perspective-taking exercises help us make the abstract concrete and make it easier for us to extend these perspectives into our everyday lives.

I discovered that this practice is not just for those of us who watch movies, but for media makers as well. While it is true that you cannot teach someone to have talent, but beyond mastering the craft of media making, I believe that through this practice we can develop the structures of consciousness that are common to all creative masters, and that is the capacity to see multiple aspects of reality with a deeper and more expansive view.

I am teaching an introductory course in this practice sponsored by MetaIntegral Academy. In this course we explore the basic practices related to the Integral framework elements of HOLONS, QUADRANTS, LEVELS, LINES, STATES and TYPES. In the follow-up advanced course we explore the advanced Integral perceptual frameworks of ZONES, ALTITUDES, ENERGIES, METHODS, COMPLEXITY, and ARCHETYPES.

You can find out more and sign up for the introductory course at:


Kaplan, M. A. (2013). Integral cinematic analysis: Mapping the multiple dimensions of the cinema and the co-evolution of cinema, consciousness, culture, and society. Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, 8(3&4), 255-276. Available at:

Morin, E. (2005a). The cinema, or the imaginary in man. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Morin, E. (2005b). The stars. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press

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