Throughout history, traditional bullying in all its forms has destroyed millions of lives. Tragically, the international reach and instant, 24-hour accessibility of today’s internet and social media platforms makes modern cyber-bullying even more destructive.
This devastating plague of the digital age affects millions of people and is rapidly spreading, with increasing numbers of children, teenagers and adults being bullied online, both anonymously and by people they know, with often tragic consequences.
This has led to a gross coarsening of public dialogue, and sets the worst kind of example for our world’s impressionable youth, who are increasingly adopting these bad habits at earlier ages and becoming bullies themselves. This has strengthened prejudice and division in society and has resulted in a loss of kindness and unity.
In "The Principle", to be directed by Academy Award Nominee James Cromwell, a wise master is called upon to moderate between two teenagers - a painfully misguided cyber-bully and his tragic victim. In this confrontation, the master delivers life-changing teachings that alter the bully's and victim's destinies and have a powerful effect on the audience. This concise, 20-minute teaching film is perfectly tailored for classroom screenings and discussions.
"The Principle" is the second in the “films for peace” series by John Viscount. John’s first film for peace, "Admissions" is about the Middle East conflict and the power of forgiveness. The film has won 26 international awards, been translated into German, Spanish, Arabic, Italian, Hebrew and Farsi and broadcast to 80 million people worldwide.
Theme Song to The Principle - "Love Being"
- Love Being [04/05/2018] [Edited: 04/14/2018]
Debra Schiff05/09/2018The Principle: Donate $25 or more$25.00
Keith Mason04/17/2018The Principle: Donate $25,000$25,000.00
Joe Phelps04/17/2018The Principle: Donate $1000 or more$2,000.00
- What inspired you to create this project?
Throughout history, bullying in all its forms - from schoolyard fights to catastrophic international wars - has destroyed millions of lives. Tragically, the global reach and 24-hour accessibility of today's Internet and social media platforms make cyber-bullying an even worse problem than traditional bullying with increasing numbers of victims each year. With modern technology, bullies can now easily abuse their victims 24/7 to an audience of millions with just the push of a button. This has led to a great coarsening of the dialogue in society which in turn sets the worst kind of example for impressionable youth.
As a result, cyberbullying has risen to dangerous levels among adolescents and teens with many tormented on a regular basis. Often these young victims are too ashamed to tell their parents or ask for help, and can develop lasting psychological problems. Left unaddressed, some of the victims resort to suicide. Others become bullies themselves, and in their new role, create a new generation of bullies.
Cyberbullying is also very self-destructive to bullies. They can face serious legal charges, along with their parents, even when fake identities are being used. The online attacks teens post never disappear completely, and can do great damage to them later in life when they apply for college or a job.
Fortunately, one of the greatest ways to capture the world's attention and educate it about bullying is through film. One healing movie that goes viral can quickly impact more hearts and minds than one million classes on the same subject.
Creating The Principle screenplay has been deeply rewarding because it has reaffirmed how important it is to stay in our right mind and operate from a position of kindness. With this approach, our heart stays open and we can connect with a greater diversity of people that help us learn and evolve as human beings. My sincere hope is that the finished film will be as enriching to the audience as the creative process has been to me.
- How is your project empowering for the world?
Human interaction can seem terribly complicated at times. But in the end, it is helpful to remember that there are only two things that are ever really happening. People are either expressing love by being loving, kind and compassionate to those around them. Or they are crying out for love by being unloving, mean and aggressive, and sometimes, becoming bullies.
When people are expressing love, the perfect response is to be loving. When people are crying out for love, the perfect response is to be loving. This means that in every circumstance, the perfect response is to be loving and kind. This keeps things simple and empowers us to be a positive asset to ourselves and the world.
The Principle is a modern parable that addresses the destructive plague of the digital age, cyberbullying, with helpful perspectives that lead to the peaceful resolution of conflict. In the story, a wise master is called upon to moderate between two teenagers - a cold-hearted cyberbully and his tragic victim. In this unforgettable confrontation, the master delivers beneficial teachings that alter the bully and the victim's destinies and leave a lasting impact on the audience. The healing messages The Principle puts forth offer strong medicine for the harmful, us-versus-them thinking from which so much human suffering springs.
My strategy with this film is to deliver practical wisdom embedded in drama that offers lasting value and is delivered in a classroom-friendly, short film format that is easily shared and doesn’t require much time to watch. The goal is for the audience to walk away with enlightened philosophies that ensure their relationships stay positive and form the foundation of a truly rewarding life.
To increase the film’s impact, I will create an accompanying film discussion guide for schools and universities that will include information on organizations that help victims and bullies overcome their struggles. I have also completed a theme song for The Principle called “Love Being” which offers a similar message as the film but is delivered in the universal language of music.
- What is the message of your project?
During troubling, disempowering times, it is nice to know there is a safe haven we can retreat to where we can regain control over our life. No matter what is happening in the world, our mind is always our best refuge, because it is the one place where we get to call all the shots. When we choose to exercise this fundamental control that we all possess, we begin to wield our greatest power: the power to choose our reaction to the world. As we learn to think independent of external circumstance, we transform our life into a school. We can now utilize our experiences each day as teachers that allow us to practice being the love beings we were created to be. This way our time on earth becomes a useful study period in which we learn what thought patterns lead to unity and peace and which ones lead to separation and suffering.
When we see ourselves as love beings in training, it becomes clear that our greatest teachers are those human beings which we find hardest to love. They show us what we need to work on most in the wise curriculum we have chosen while living in our temporary dorm called earth. People and their different points of view can now serve as study aids that allow us to learn what other kinds of thoughts and actions lead to, without having to think or act that way ourselves. This enables us to save lots of time while also receiving an invaluable schooling about our own state of mind.
A good example of this is when we are confronted with a bully. If we are in a weakened state and are not feeling compassion for all living beings, we will know by the way we let bullies have a negative effect on us. But if we are feeling strong and react with Gandhian loving kindness, then we have transformed the bully into a challenging mid-term exam that we just aced. We have also demonstrated mastery of the transcendent skills of a healer, life’s most rewarding career.
Luckily, when we open our heart in this fashion, our vision improves and the positive way forward becomes clear. We see that bullies suffer most of all because they are soaking in the negative energy they put out into the world. What their victims experience periodically, bullies experience non-stop and, consequently, are in a perpetual state of pain and weakness. The best way to assist them then is to operate independent of their low vibration thought patterns, and give them a helping hand up, like the love being you truly are.
This is why in the final analysis, the world’s most powerful figures are not authoritarian heads of state or dictators that rule vast territories. The most powerful people of all are those that conquer their own mind and put it in healing service to the greater good, and get to graduate this world as love beings. Fortunately for us all, these inspiring folks are easy to identify. They are the ones who love being alive.
- Is there a social activism component? (If yes, please describe.)
The Principle is the second in my “films for peace” series. My first film for peace, Admissions won 26 international awards and has been translated into Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew and Farsi and broadcast to 80 million people worldwide. It continues to play all over the world including the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and The Ahimsa Non-Violence Conference at Cal Poly Pomona.
The produced version of The Principle will be plugged into the same channels as Admissions and will also join Admissions in my peace entertainment program for schools and colleges called “Pep Talk for Humanity.” The Principle film script has also been adapted into the first act of my play for peace called The Resolution. Both the play and my peace entertainment program promote the United Nations Global Resolution at PeaceNow.com which establishes peace departments in governments worldwide.