Leonardo DiCaprio’s Climate Change Documentary, ‘Before the Flood’ is a staggering journey. Both terrifying and quietly hopeful, it outlines the problem of climate change in a clear and easy to understand way. It explains why there is so much disinformation around about the issue (greedy fossil fuel corporations and the politicians they own). And it also offers some practical steps we can take now, if we want to avoid widespread chaos within the next forty years (or less, if some of the more pessimistic estimates are correct). Climate change is providing us with the perfect catalyst to transform into a sustainable world. Let’s take the necessary steps, before it is too late.
The best dystopian movies cause us to question current human behaviour, ponder trends in society, and think about where our world is heading. Because of this, these movies can be subtle yet powerful tools for awakening and change.
In this article I’m going to discuss what the best dystopian movies have in common and list my favourite ones. If you haven’t seen any of these movies, then definitely check them out!
Dystopian movies (and dystopian books) feature bleak and damaged worlds. Widespread environmental destruction, post-apocalyptic landscapes, highly controlled and dictated societies, and so on. These worlds have usually turned dystopian because of human behaviour.
More dystopian movies have been made in the last fifteen years than they were in the whole of the 20th century. This isn’t surprising, given that we now have more alarming global trends stacking up than you could shake a dodo at.
Things like environmental disaster, mass extinction, global surveillance and control of Earth’s citizens, dictatorship of life by all-powerful corporations/a global elite…even the creation of artificial intelligence. All of these are alarmingly plausible scenarios when you consider our current thinking and behaviour.
This is the sort of stuff depicted in recent dystopian films. Art tends to reflect the consciousness of its time. So is the increase in popularity of dystopian movies a sign that humanity is dreaming its last and dying dream?
On the surface, perhaps. But if you dig deeper, maybe something else is going on. Because at the heart of the best dystopian movies, is an inspiring story of awakening and revolution.
Indeed. Although the conditions at the beginning of the best dystopian movies seem irreversible, it’s not too long before we meet a main character who, in going through their own process of transformation, is able to create massive and lasting positive change for the rest of society. What’s more, is that they usually do this in a totally awesome, kick-ass way. This is symbolic of the awakening and transformation of the self. It goes something like this:
1. Conditions suck.
There is something horribly wrong with the story world. Whether it’s a mass surveillance police state, a post-apocalyptic world, discrimination or a dictated way of life, things aren’t too peachy.
2. There is a nasty powerful force…
There is someone or something at the top, making life miserable for everyone else. For example, a tyrannical Big Brother Orwellian-style government, an all-powerful/all-knowing corporation, a ubiquitous artificial intelligence, or even a covert extraterrestrial entity.
3. …who is controlling the story world.
The nasty powerful force is controlling the story world and the lives of the people who live in it. This is usually through the use of stimuli such as subliminal messages, mass media manipulation, drugs, propaganda, restricted freedom to travel, etc. Sometimes the nasty powerful force is able to control the story world to such a degree that the people living there actually believe it is a utopia.
4. And thinks they’re doing everyone a favour.
Whether because of some kind of God-complex or just complete delusion, the nasty powerful force thinks that they have the authority to dictate life and that their way is the right (and only) way.
5. But wait, there’s a hero…
Along comes a hero. At the start, they’re someone who is either unaware that the story world is being controlled to the extent that it is, or they’re someone who doesn’t think that anything can be done about it.
6. …who grows restless.
Restlessness, intuition and frustration usually coincide within the hero and he or she begins to realise that something is wrong.
7. The hero starts to awaken and deprogram.
The hero finally snaps and/or a catalyst occurs in the story world. This initiates a process of inner awakening. The hero realises that things need to change, and they begin to deprogram from the dominant paradigm.
8. In doing so, the hero must battle their old self.
The hero must battle their old belief systems, doubts and fears in order to transform. This is symbolised metaphorically in the plot, through the hero’s trials and tribulations.
9. And the hero must battle the nasty powerful force.
Someone usually dies at this point. It could be the hero, the nasty powerful force, or both. This represents the death of the old self and the old paradigm within the hero.
10. There is a revolution, and balance is restored.
Once the nasty powerful force has been vanquished, the hero is changed forever, and the dystopian story world can begin to heal. It might not happen overnight, but we know that conditions will eventually be okay again.
11. Thus expressing an inspiring message about transformation.
The best dystopian movies aren’t really about dystopia at all. They’re about transformation. They’re about awakening. They’re about the importance of thinking for yourself, having the courage to fight the good fight, and the power of the individual to make a difference. The best dystopian movies show that, even against all odds, change is possible.
Maybe there is hope for us human yet.
The Best Dystopian Movies
So, what are the best dystopian movies? I’ve listed my favourites below.
If you happen to resonate with this sort of storytelling, then you’ll enjoy reading my sci-fi fantasy/metaphysical novel, The Twelve Attunements. It contains many of these elements.
“For a few to be immortal, many must die.”
“When people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong.”
“You’re special. You have a very special purpose in life. You’ve been chosen.”
“Don’t ask too many questions. They lied to you. It’s time to learn the truth.”
The Truman Show
“We accept the reality of the world with which we’re presented. It’s as simple as that.”
The Divergent Series
“You’re different. You don’t fit into a category. They can’t control you.”
“In the late 21st century Earth was diseased, polluted and vastly overpopulated. Earth’s wealthiest inhabitants fled the planet to preserve their way of life.”
“It’s not the message that is important but our obedience to it.”
V for Vendetta
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”
The Hunger Games Series
“Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous.”
The Matrix Trilogy
“The Matrix is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.”
Inner work, spiritual awakening and global transformation aren’t usually topics we’re used to hearing about in the mainstream music industry, but musician Ben Lee has been rather open about them recently, following the release of his latest album, Ayahuasca: Welcome to the Work.
A collaboration with Argentine-Australian actress and musician Jessica Chapnik Kahn, the album is inspired by Lee’s and Chapnik Kahn’s experiences with ayahuasca, the powerful plant medicine administered by shamans to individuals in a ceremonial context for the purposes of spiritual awakening, healing and the expansion of consciousness.
But while ayahuasca has played an important role in Lee’s awakening, helping him become more comfortable with change, he’s quick to point out that the concept of the album is really symbolic of the process of raising consciousness, an undertaking that can be achieved through other methods as well as ayahuasca.
“Ayahuasca is simply one tool that can be used to amplify consciousness and help us identify our flaws,” he told me. “Meditation is another tool, music can be another. No tool is completely good or bad, it is dependent on the intention with which it is being used.”
Taking the listener on something of a spiritual journey and featuring tracks with titles such as, Invocation, I Am That I Am, and, Welcome To The House of Mystical Death, Lee says the album is an expression of gratitude for the expanded perspectives that come from inner work. “It’s a celebration of work that does not focus on changing the outside world, but work that is about radical transformation of the individual from within,” he said.
Lee says it’s precisely this sort of inner work that is required if we are to correct humanity’s current destructive and unbalanced behaviour. “We have already lived through many societal revolutions and have seen first hand that one corrupt system simply replaces another, there is no external change that can give us the answer we are seeking.”
I asked Lee if he thinks ayahuasca is illegal in western countries because of ignorance, or if he thinks there is a deeper government agenda behind the decision. “I can’t be certain why particular practices or plants are illegal,” he replied, “but I do imagine that they seem to threaten the stability of a society’s mechanical consciousness. In other words, they make people ask questions, which is never a good thing from the perspective of the collective ego.”
Stressing the danger of hoping for a quick fix to current global issues, Lee believes that a shift in consciousness isn’t likely to occur by itself or within a short period of time, but that transformation is something we must all work towards every day, by focusing on raising our individual consciousness. “Any change that occurs will be the result of our hard work, it’s not going to happen for us, without our immense effort,” he said.
As well as hoping we’ve developed a more sustainable relationship to the natural world and our planet in the future, Lee predicts we will be more open minded when it comes to spiritual practices. “I think some of the more fringe aspects of culture such as transpersonal psychology and shamanic practices, as well as more esoteric approaches to mainstream religion, might have made their way into our collective psyche in a more substantial manner.”
Honouring the energy of the album and proving that it’s possible to work for something other than financial gain, Lee has decided to donate all of the royalties from the album to two charities. “It was a decision made in an attempt to align the financial aspect of the album with the emotional and spiritual content and they are good causes to support,” he said.
“I donated 50% to the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies, as they are creating interesting dialogue around the potential uses of amplified states of consciousness within the medical and therapeutic worlds. The other 50% went to the Amazon Conservation Team. The Amazon can be considered ‘the lungs of the planet’, so it seemed like a good cause to support.”
Finally, Lee warns how unproductive it is to blame greedy corporations and government agendas for the issues stacking up in the world today. “The problem is internal, meaning we possess the same corruption, greed and hypocrisy within us,” he said. “When we realise this, we can address the problem with compassion and earnestness, rather than with an external ‘us vs them’ conception of things.”
In the end, it all comes down to love. Lee says that’s the overall essence of the message. “I’m speaking of a powerful love that we might fight for internally, to become worthy of emanating. It is this love that we came from, and it is this love that I believe we will return to.”
Indeed. You can get your own copy of Ben Lee’s higher vibrational album, Ayahuasca: Welcome to the Work, and do your bit to support the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies and the Amazon Conservation Team from his website.
Showcasing the best of Brand’s ideas on why we need a revolution in consciousness alongside a moving soundtrack, the video summarises everything from the problems of the current corporate and political elite system, to the philosophy of the Occupy movement, to the need for a spiritual awakening in which we all recognise love, compassion and oneness.
Blencowe tells me the reason he chose to focus on Brand is because he’s a great example of how people are starting to wake up and see the world in a different light.
“The fact that Russell Brand is already in the spotlight and is speaking out about this stuff helps people to accept it than if some random individual speaks of it,” he said.
Blencowe stresses that the revolution in consciousness isn’t about a sudden or violent overthrowing of tyrannical governments, but an incremental, vast shift and that it is already underway.
“We are moving from the animalistic mind which has been dominant throughout the course of human history to a universal consciousness that sees every individual as the one underlying source that is the Universe,” he said.
An interview I did with a filmmaker who produces short films with a spiritual message…
I love speaking to inspiring and enthusiastic people who are doing their bit to help with the planetary shift. Writers, filmmakers, activists and artists… there’s an ever growing movement made up of countless individuals all over the world who are working to raise collective consciousness in their own unique way.
I recently spoke with Isaac Blencowe of Tragedy and Hope Productions. Isaac is a filmmaker who produces short films with a spiritual message that document his journey from the realms of conspiracy theory to spirituality, a path that many of us who have opened the conspiracy can of worms can personally relate to.
“If you look through my YouTube channel you will see that it is basically a reflection of my awakening, starting out with conspiracies and politics and then moving into philosophy and spirituality, which I now believe to be the most important truth,” he said.
Indeed. Isaac told me the reason he creates his films is because he went through his own awakening process a few years ago and since then, he has been inspired to help others do the same. “There is far more to life than most people are lead to believe,” he said.
Isaac often likes to include the spiritually philosophical speeches of Alan Watts in his films. He says he does this because the knowledge presented by Watts is now more important than ever before. “I truly believe that we are going through an unprecedented consciousness shift, that will completely revolutionize the structure of our society and planet forever,” said Isaac.
Not only is this shift inevitable, says Isaac, but it has already began. “It will be incremental and take time, but it will be the most significant change in the history of humanity. It is my hope to contribute to this process, this is why I will continue to make videos for as long as I can,” he said.
I couldn’t agree more. You can check out all of Isaac’s films for yourself here.
More Alan Watts inspiration. In this wonderful video, Alan Watts talks about how we can wake up to realise we are the eternal experience of the universe. “Everybody is I, you all know you’re you, and wheresoever beings exist throughout all galaxies, it doesn’t make any difference. You are all of them. And when they come into being, that’s you coming into being,” he says.
Alan Watts was a British philosopher, writer and speaker who was influenced by Eastern philosophy and mysticism and made these accessible to Western audiences. He was a friend of Aldos Huxely and a populariser of psychedelics.
Neurons to Nirvana is a documentary that shows how psychedelics help with healing and spiritual growth.
Psychedelics need to be made available for widespread medicinal research. They can be extremely effective in the treatment of anxiety, depression and other mental disorders, as well as having a profound impact on spiritual growth.
That’s the overall message of the new psychedelic documentary Neurons to Nirvana, a film by directors Oliver Hockenhull and Mikki Willis and producer Giancarlo Canavesio.
Featuring a respectful cast of researchers, professors, psychologists and scientists, the documentary focuses less on the psychedelic experience itself and more on the wide array of evidence that shows how LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, cannabis and ayahuasca each have significant medicinal properties that could lead to a revolution in psychotherapy.
Exploring each psychedelic in turn, the documentary presents an accessible argument that will leave you wondering why artificial and addictive drugs like anti-depressants are so readily prescribed, yet naturally occurring medicines like ayahuasca that have been used for thousands of years have been made illegal.
Filmmaker Mikki Willis says this is also an important topic for the world because of the state of our planet right now. “It’s clear that there is aid that’s necessary to get us to the next stage of our evolutionary process,” he says.
Neurons to Nirvana is not meant to advocate psychedelics as an ultimate therapeutic solution but show how, when taken under the guidance of a well trained shaman or psychologist, they can offer an effective alternative to clinical drug dependancy. Not only that, but they can provide us with valuable spiritual teachings – teachings that are necessary if we are to combat the destructive paradigm that threatens our world today.
A timely, in-depth and mind-expanding production, Neurons to Nirvana is highly recommended if you’re interested in psychedelics, psychotherapy, the possibilities of consciousness and transformational media.