The young will indeed need to play a colossal part in saving the planet and healing the mess that has been created by past generations, as well as the current one. There are many powerful young voices speaking up. Their futures are at stake. One of my greatest reasons for starting the Conscious Media Movement is my deep concern for our next generation and where they are heading in the future with this planet. I can't sit idle.
What frustrates me is that an enormously valuable and necessary resource is being disregarded at this critical time. For a positive planetary shift of healing to happen, before it’s too late, we need to stop throwing away the people who could be of the greatest help, our wise elders. They bring wisdom gained from having lived many decades through countless experiences and life lessons. Of course, not every old person has learned their life lessons, and there are young people who incarnate with a wise old soul, so the key word we are looking for here is “wise”.
Because we live in a culture that reveres youth and fears aging, we blindly disregard too many of the people who have the most to bring to the table, especially in storytelling and film. This unrealistic fear of aging... is why so many of our films are made by the young. The power in story is that it reflects life, on top of entertaining us. So, story is a powerful tool that can be used to teach, it can elevate consciousness, fostering compassion, love and understanding...it can affect people’s behavior and perspectives. Why then is it being left to those with the least life experience? The problem can be exasperated when then storylines or marketing images are created that often make fun of older people, spreading unrealistic stereotypes and contributing to age discrimination.
In Hollywood the ageism starts way before someone is even considered a senior, especially for women, where older male actors still get exciting roles, but for some reason the female romantic partner they cast opposite him needs to be half his age in order to be acceptable to watch. So, there are older guys who do still work in front of or behind the camera because they established themselves, but they may or may not be wise.
Film/story is such an influential medium, imagine the good we could do with it at this pivotal time in history where a dramatic shift in consciousness is required for the planet and humanity to survive. A healthy balance in storytelling is what is needed. I won’t discount what both groups bring to the table, the young with their clever, fresh perspectives and the wise, older group with their life lessons under their belts, their insights and collected wisdom.
But the imbalance in the information we are exposed to every day doesn't stop there, women’s voices are disproportionately not heard, with only about 5% of studio film productions hiring women directors. So, for decades we have had a very skewed, out of balance world view. The understanding and insights media can foster can’t happen when great chunks of the population are not being heard due to gender, age or race.
I founded the Conscious Media Movement precisely because of the tremendous influence story, film and the media have. With its global reach it can literally raise mass consciousness to a higher level. Currently most of the media is accomplishing the opposite and is blatantly and subliminally destructive. In most cultures, it was understandably the wise elders who told the stories that the young learned from. Because of our youth culture I’m not worried about the young finding their place and being heard as contributors to this movement. I’m excited to have them on board. But we are not going to make any real progress until we upgrade what is being absorbed by the population through our entertainment. In almost all wisdom teachings and spiritualities, holisticness is a critical necessity for health, for the health of the earth and for the health of an individual, and that is why all citizens need to be represented.
Even with our best efforts, one of the biggest problems we are facing is who is in charge in the world right now. The corporations and the people at the top behind them, and many of the political leaders find it to their benefit we stay dumbed-down, so we remain unaware of what they are doing to our lives and our environment. This very problem is what kept the original raised voices from making enough breakthroughs and have enough impact to start healing the planet way-back-when, and this will also be the biggest challenge for those of us speaking up now, both young and old. Because, most of those in the highest positions of control on this planet are of the lowest in consciousness and they simply don’t care what’s going to happen us, to the planet and the next generation. Most, but not all, of the people at the top calling the shots are spiritually void, so of course the world is in trouble. Thousands of years of selfish, short-sighted choices are giving us what we are dealing with today. We need to find those that aren’t, and band together for change.
Anne Baring and Scilla Elworthy said it best in their potent little book, Soul Power, “First, we understand that the crisis of our times is not only an ecological, political and financial crisis but a spiritual one. The answers that we seek will not come from the limited consciousness that now rules the world.” We keep looking for the physical solutions and none of those will keep if we don’t come to the realization that we are all one belonging to the greater whole. We need to enlist the help of the wise elders and people of any age who have genuinely raised their consciousness. These are the people that need to be in leadership and the storytellers of our time. At this moment doors are shut that need to be opened to this group. The opportunities need to be given for them to help, and it needs to happen now. We keep electing leaders who are like the one who came before, or a change for the worse. We. keep watching stories that numb or harm our psyche.
There’s a well-used saying, “I wish I knew then what I know now”. Because no matter who we are and how smart, there is always something more to learn as we go through life. Life is full of joys, love, challenges, heartbreak, victories and loses. If you are open and/or have wise role models the path can become easier. The younger one starts on the path to awareness and higher consciousness the better.
This need for guidance was highlighted with the coronavirus outbreak. Near the beginning when it became apparent that the outbreak was escalating in pandemic proportions, we were told to stay home to reduce the curve which would spare countless lives. There were articles begging the young to respect the shelter in place order for the sake of their parents and grandparents and others who were seen as the most vulnerable and most likely to die.
In Italy people being interviewed said that in hindsight they would have been firmer with their young people about staying in because, they explained, it was largely the young groups spreading the virus. This age group felt safe because the coronavirus was “only” killing older people or those with a vulnerability, though we have learned differently since then. This again shows how little we value our elders. This wasn’t the case for everybody, but some of the young people didn’t seem to care or found it funny. One guy named the virus the “boomer remover”. Boomers are in their 60s. The average life-expectancy is 81 for women in this country, a little lower for men. But I know a lot of people who have lived into their nineties. Most of the young people making the bad choices were in their teens or 20s. They must feel like they have already lived so much, that they know so much. So, if that is true, if they packed so much into those years, then how is it OK to shave 20-30 +years left off someone else’s life, or...any years, period?
So, are these young people bad? No... they are young! We all remember going through the period of trying to establish our individuality and during that time having more of a self-focus. I don’t believe that they don’t care. Nothing remotely like this has happened in their lifetime. So, it is hard to believe/grasp the full gravity and consequences for their actions. They needed guidance. The sun was out, the beach looked good. How can anything really be wrong? There were ignorant adults out there too. If people would be physically shown the chain of their actions and the chain of contacts and possible horrible consequences they may have caused, I sense they’d feel differently. If they could be shown like Ebenezer Scrooge was by the ghost of the past, the cost their choices had, they’d feel remorse. If they saw that their activities created a domino effect that directly lead to the death of someone else, and the numbers show that many people have done just that, they would be devastated. If they were shown that person’s face and had to look in their eyes, they’d understand. Here’s a wonderful article written by a student that stood out as one to read: Appeal to Youth
A conscious person would understand from the get-go and not risk someone else’s life. Though some young people did have a stronger sense of responsibility, like the student who wrote the article, very little replaces life experience. Which is why we need to get more stories from the people who have had the life experiences and/or raised their awareness at any age. This awakened cinema could be woven into genres, whether comedy, drama, doc, fantasy, children’s, action...all genres. The exciting part is maybe we would get some new stories, instead of the same old stories rehashed with different actors, the way it is now.
We don’t know how this pandemic will play out and what we will find out about the virus, our response to it and what changes will have taken place in the world, once the dust settles. I just know that life won’t remain the same. And through many teachings, I’ve become aware that despite the tremendous loss and heartbreak...often during the times of turmoil and the greatest challenges, the greatest awakenings happen. It may get worse before it gets better. But this crisis can become a catalyst for a positive shift in our way of thinking and being, how we treat our planet and each other. It’s a good time to reflect on where we have been and where we would like to go.
Please checkout the Coming Soon Page for videos of spiritual teachings for filmmakers and storytellers and you can also sign-up for CMM updates. I’m planning to post my introductory video on April 23rd at 11:00, and will post a new one every Thursday at 11:00 after that.