The Zeitgeist Movement and my involvement.
I wasn't sure where to post this so, I figured here works.
In my introduction, I was asked what I learned from being involved with this movement and I wasn't really sure how to respond to it and I'm still not sure, but I'm going to give it a shot and express what I think is relevant, what needs to happen and some things I find questionable.
First of all, I have a lot of respect for people that have ideas that suggest our culture is sick, improper, inferior, unsustainable and has proof to back it up rather than false claims to create fear mongering. Peter Joseph has done a great job, along with his hosts in the movies and on his radio show, in spreading awareness and creating a social system with this movement where people can address issues, create their own conclusions, add their own viable input and belong to something greater than ourselves without having to necessarily worry about contributing money or risk being kicked out; that's not how the movement works. The movement is a collective of minds utilized to educate and inform, not lord over others so, no one is the leader and everyone has a voice; even Peter Joseph has stated many times that he isn't the leader. What Peter has learned came from other people that have learned from others and so on; his greatest influence was from, of course, Jacque Fresco, the founder and creator of The Venus Project. Jacque perpetuates the idea that our world needs to undergo drastic social change without the crippling factor of monetary dependance and bring civilization up to speed with today's technology. He argues that everything we have now is being utilized in the worst ways for the worst intentions and that we are gradually sabotaging our future. All of the designs that The Venus Project has is a look at what our world can achieve if we cast aside the three core institutions as explained by Peter; monetary institutions, political institutions and religious institutions. Jacque is not aiming for perfection with these concepts nor is he seeking any type of utopia; what he wants is for people to see the possibilities and that we do have the materials to set all of this in motion. Up until a few months ago, Peter and Jacque were, so we all thought, on the same page.
...not so much.
Jacque has stated in a few interviews that Peter basically doesn't know anything and that what he wants conflicts with what TVP is aiming for. Roxanne Meadows, seemingly Jacque's protege, has created a huge barrier between TZM and TVP. As of September, TZM is no longer associated with TVP and to sum up an hour long Q&A on why, it boils down to this; Jacque and Roxanne feel that Peter is taking the reigns on the entire joint venture and creating a pedestal for himself that everyone will be following instead of putting Jacque on that pedestal because all of Peter's notions and ideas are just Jacque's coming through his mouth. It's a bunch of egomaniacal blather on their part. If anything, they should be thanking Peter for promoting their movement over the past few years, not asking for any compensation and giving credit to everything used in the movies as well as a huge list of seminar "thank yous." Regardless of all this, Peter snapped back at them, more importantly Roxanne who seemed to voice the most in light of all this, that her claims are ridiculous, she's creating problems and that the real issue here is that they want to be at the helm of it all when she doesn't seem to understand that there IS no helm or leadership. Even after all the back and forth talks, personal attacks and interviews, they still went their separate ways, but Peter wished them the best even leaving an open invitation if they ever want to be a part of the movement again. What did he get back for this gesture of goodwill and selflessness? Roxanne and Jacque asking if he would not use their designs or images in any future film endeavors and asked any chapters to not host movies where their concepts wold be shown. How kind. So much for "these belong to everyone." Some chapter members, including myself, have criticized Roxanne for trying to commercialize TVP even going so far as to make it more about her own personal gain once Jacque is dead (which is around the corner unfortunately). If you go to the website, their store is chalk full of all kinds of stupid swag like coffee mugs and stickers. As stated before, I have nothing but respect for people that deliver fresh ideas and methods that can be used to help society in a meaningful way and, more importantly, for the greater good of the planet; what I don't respect is people like Roxanne Meadows silently polluting the well of progress by back-peddling because a distant voice in her mind is still clinging desperately to current human behavior and motives. All that being said, Peter Joseph isn't completely right, Jacque Fresco isn't completely right, Roxanne Meadows CERTAINLY isn't completely right and both TZM and TVP aren't completely right; they just have the compass pointed in the right direction.
So, what do I think about it all?
We are aware that our current system is very broken. We aren't sure when everything will collapse, and it will, but we aren't exactly sure if there's anything we can do that will make a direct impact to prevent this. All this confusion and hopelessness leads to serious anxiety and stress which leads to violence and/or protests like the Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Oakland and so on. TZM is difficult at times because every member comes from different walks of life and has been conditioned in ways that have permeated the ages. Since this is a factor, even members are at odds with each other, just as many atheists are conflicting with different sets of morals and ideas that don't revolve around religious turmoil; more like an intellectual tug-of-war in place of faith. Since no matter what you believe, follow, have knowledge of or place personal understanding in, there will always be some sort of friction between what is right and wrong which is the underlying paradox in TZM. For example, I believe that religion is harmful and should be vanquished, the monetary system sucks and that politics are not congruent with what society should leaning towards, but if you talk to other members of TZM, they might believe that some religion is necessary for a more structured social order, the monetary system needs re-working and that politics need to go back to the roots of the founding fathers. From an atheist perspective, the margin seems to be much broader especially if one reverts back to religion or has political views that don't add up to what they believe. If you take out all of the social brainwashing our cultures have crammed into our heads, you're still left with questions that may never be answered, a longing that may never be explained and no amount of social re-wiring can cure. Of course, without the presence of neural inhibitors like religion, we could relieve those feelings through discovery. We could all sit back and use the Earth in a respectable manner.
So, what's the problem?
For one, war. I don't care how much technology we have, how much abundance or even if all ailments are cured; I mean I certainly care about those things, don't get me wrong. What I mean is as long as there is a scarcity of materials, gold and silver for a basic example, there will always be war. Unless we have a fail safe where scarcity wouldn't be an issue, alchemy or a really iron clad trade agreement, this type of issue is inevitable. Second, human behavior. This has been discussed in the Zeitgeist movies and how the current social circumstances create how we act towards each other, the incredible amounts of bigotry, racism, greed, violence and everything in-between. That being said, how is it we turn the mental clock back from, say, Cro-magnon? We are still operating on reptilian brains. Unlocking technology has only advanced some of our deeper understanding about the world, not created some sort of miracle to where we all magically bind together to create oneness and awaken to a new, better way of life. In our heads, we are the masters; even Peter Joseph has adopted this super-ego where everything he says is sound and dripping with the finest logic ever uttered which is pure bullshit because we all know everything he says is eloquent and very thought provoking, but it's not always spot on or what is necessarily best for all individuals. The same goes for major atheist players like PZ Myers, Richard Carrier, Christopher Hitchens and Dan Barker; all great minds I admire, listen to and take great note of because I believe they are much smarter than me in many areas, but a lot of their personal beliefs don't apply to me. What I'm getting at is each person listed has good intentions and wants what's best for the human race, but erasing millions of years of primitive, reptilian-like thinking is nearly impossible right now and what we're left with is JUST good intentions. That's why I belong to TZM, not because I think I can solely change how we exist, not because I think my morals can incite a revolution and it isn't because I think my insignificantly small voice will be heard all over the world; it's because I believe I have the right mindset to help ease people into this eventual change, not force it like so many movements have tried to do; it's because I believe I am on the right mental path along with millions of others involved that sees what's erroneous and false; it's because I see potential in what is being discussed, critiqued, envisioned and engineered with everyone involved. To put it as simply as I can, I believe in healthy change.
Any of you guys want to discuss any of this, I'll be happy to respond.
(mod edit: wording correction from Sage)
"When the majority believes in what is false, the truth becomes a quest." - Me