Written by: Sietske Bergsma © 2018
The following is an edited version of the original.
Me: ‘What a time to be alive!’… ‘what a useless waste of time to fight these idiots’. Who doesn’t want a holiday from this bipolar circus that we call ‘modern democracy’? I guess not me. As a Dutch columnist living in Berlin, Germany, I amplify whatever feelings are crawling around from ‘our side’ about our current political climate: loathing and disappointment towards elitists politicians, mob ‘justice’ and intolerant, left wing ideologies. Also the frustration about one-sidedness and propaganda in de mainstream media and the lack of confidence things will change under this political roof any time soon.
These ‘feelings’ of doom are not the fruits of our wild imagination (anymore). As you may have noticed, the ruling classes have been using virtually every propaganda organ at their disposal to whip up mass hysteria over a host of extremely dubious threats to “the future of democracy” and “democratic values,” such as ‘populists’, ‘racists’, ‘Russia’, ‘Hungary’, ‘Trump’ and the temperature on our planet. In Germany it is almost impossible to attend any public gathering involving art, music, sports, children, or having a hamburger in a ‘foodcourt’, without noticing the official stamps of moral approval on everything.
Newspaper stands remind me constantly of ‘our fight against those Hitler/neonazi racists’. Where it used to say “sunny” or “cloudy” on my phone, my weather-app now constantly reminds me “the air is unhealthy.” Mind controlling my sunny day means the hysteria will stop at nothing, I guess.
“Poels was personally targeted and harassed as a ‘climate change denier‘ after making a movie about the climate change.”
I talked to the Dutch, prizewinning and left-wing filmmaker Marijn Poels a lot about this issue. He was personally targeted and harassed as a ‘climate change denier‘ after making a movie about the climate change debate in 2016. “My life has completely turned around”, he told me the first time we met for an interview. “I have to figure out what happened,” he told me later. ‘What had happened’ turned into the second part of trilogy, called ‘PARADOGMA‘.
I was lucky to help out. We both recognized that our political views were ‘problematic’. So how could we share and test our ideas? How could we prevent falling into the trap of mental prisons of our own? How to approach difficult topics without pissing off even the ones you’d expect where on ‘our side’. The answer was: you can’t prevent the pushback at all. It has to happen.
And so we visited the controversial Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson in January 2018. Peterson at the time had just become well-known for his fight against ideological indoctrination at universities, his YouTube lectures on the Bible, Nietzsche and Carl Jung and his opposition against a Canadian transgender rights bill that was in fact targeted at free speech (in his opinion). Peterson, now a cult-like mega-star in fancy suits, was in Amsterdam for a few days and I was invited to interview him about his book ‘12 Rules for Life ‘.
“you can’t prevent the pushback at all.
It has to happen”.
The whole encounter became a starting point for PARADOGMA. Peterson was a canary in the coal mine, an pivotal figure in a much larger story, a story that Poels had been working on since the release of that climate-critical documentary ‘The Uncertainty Has Settled‘ (February 2017). PARADOGMA is about what happens when you wake up the political correct beast, about the consequences heretics face today.
Instead of being invited to tons of festivals (like Poels was used to) with ‘The Uncertainty Has Settled‘, he received threats — emails and phone calls, from Greenpeace and scientists — and many rejections from venues. Poels devoted himself completely to figuring out why accidentally tripping into a deeper layer of reality is so problematic, why people are being mocked and harassed in our ‘democracy’ for their ideas and labeled as a ‘Nazi’ and ‘conspiracy theorist‘. What makes these ideas ‘dangerous’? In PARADOGMA he talks to the ‘most dangerous philosopher on earth’: the Russian Alexandr Dugin. “It is dangerous to be human,” Dugin says with a smile.
In PARADOGMA Poels delves deeper into the phenomenon of denunciation: why are jokes more and more problematic, what is the mechanism behind the tyranny of the ‘majority view’. And of course the key to understanding the underlying behavior: the leading role of the corporate establishment that sends us constant messages. “You’re either with us or against us.” The message is, “we will tolerate no dissent, except for officially sanctioned dissent.” The message is: “try to fuck with us, and we will marginalize you, and demonize you, and make you go away.”
Much to my surprise, the pre-screening of PARADOGMA for journalists and supporters of the film in the German cities Stendal and Potsdam led me to the idea that we are less alone than we think. Entrepreneurs from the Netherlands flew over for the film, people from the cast were there, including the German stock exchange ‘guru’ and writer Dirk Müller.
Poels and his cameraman Volker M. Schmidt have succeeded in making complex themes –polarization, groupthink in journalism, intolerance for people with different views – more visible by taking the themes away from the darkish atmosphere of the alternative media, that have relished too long on their moral debt, their position as ‘responsible players’ in a debate that was never set on their terms. PARADOGMA opens up the idea that people can actually change their mind about things — because it is safer than we think, safer than we have been taught to believe. PARADOGMA has that potential to expand the discussion on how we got here and how we can move forward.
“that we belong to the world, not to corporations and governments. This is the real‘globalist’ view”
Poels made over fifty films, mostly about Third World issues and human rights violations. I believe it was this experience, his mastering the ‘closeness distance dance’ that made PARADOGMA suitable for a wider audience. After the screenings the public was visibly processing what they had seen. “Very impressed,” I heard. And: “I have to watch this with my friends. Maybe they will finally understand where I’m coming from. “
There is a craving, a need for returning to our senses — now. Because at the end of the day, all this talk about ‘sides’, narratives and propaganda is diverting us from the real issue: that we belong to the world, not to corporations and governments. This is the real‘globalist’ view, not some fake narrative. And all the creativity, energy and hope that comes from acknowledging this, is a sign we can find our way back. Through cinema, through sharing our ideas and finding relief in the idea we are not alone, not crazy and not ‘a side’.
More info: www.paradogma-film.com
In an interview with Friends of Science Society, while in Calgary, Poels talks about his unexpected journey when making “The Uncertainty has Settled”
Poels presentation at Friends of Science Society’s 15th Annual Event:
See many more video clips of Marijn Poels’ interviews on our YouTube (just scroll down).
Edmontonians loved “The Uncertainty Has Settled” – people want open, civil debate: