The Zeitgeist Movement
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Principle Basics
- 3 Train of Thought
- 4 General Observations
- 5 Activism
- 6 The Zeitgeist Film Trilogy
- 7 Culture in Decline
- 8 TZM Defined (book)
- 9 Useful Links
Founded in 2008 by Peter Joseph, The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) is a sustainability advocacy group that operates through a network of regional chapters, project teams, public events, media expressions and charity operations. The word Zeitgeist means spirit of the times or the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.
"We must become the change we want to see in the world." - Gandhi
The movement's principle focus includes the recognition that the majority of the social problems that plague the human species at this time are not the sole result of some institutional corruption, absolute scarcity, a political policy, a flaw of "human nature" or other commonly held assumptions of causality. Rather, the movement recognizes that issues such as poverty, corruption, pollution, homelessness, war, starvation and the like appear to be "symptoms" born out of an outdated social structure.
While intermediate reform steps and temporal community support are of interest to the movement, the defining goal is the installation of a new socioeconomic model based upon technically responsible resource management, allocation and design through what would be considered the scientific method of reasoning problems and finding optimized solutions.
Train of Thought
TZM is explicitly based on non-violent methods of communication with the core focus on educating the public about the true root sources of many common personal, social and ecological problems faced today. We understand the necessity to evolve as a species but at the same time realise we are being massively restricted by out dated, inefficient social systems which are detrimental for our survival and indeed our ability to live sustainably on the planet. The Movement recognises the following as critical symptoms of a social system which requires restructuring; wealth inequality, structural violence, technological unemployment, planned obsolescence, destruction of the natural environment, resource depletion.
Technical solutions are available for social problems but are not implemented due to the existing order. The train of thought points to the majority of the worlds people needing to see themselves as equal members of a global system rather than as members of nations, classes or hierarchies of power..
TZM recognises that technology is advancing at an exponential rate but our lives are not in harmony with this transition. The ever increasing wealth distribution gap is a prime example of a system which is currently malfunctioning.
In the view of The Movement, the society today has become increasingly detached from the physical world, with techniques of production, distribution and social ordering that have little to no relationship to the environment, or the current state of scientific knowledge with respect to public health and sustainability.
For instance, our use of a profit based, "growth" driven monetary system has become one of the greatest destroyers of the natural world and sustainable human values. The entire global economy requires "cyclical consumption" to operate, which means that money must constantly be circulating. Thus, new goods and services must be constantly introduced regardless of the state of the environment and actual human necessity. This "perpetual" approach has a fatal flaw for resources as we know it are simply not infinite. Resources are finite and the Earth is essentially a closed system. To assume the need for constant consumption to keep people employed and hence the market system going is eco-cidal on a finite planet. The true goal of an economy, by definition, is to strategically preserve and create efficiency. The system today demands the opposite.
The Monetary-Market Model is based upon money being treated as a Commodity and its origination from Debt; sold for Interest Income. This is a "Ponzi Scheme". Each time this Commodity (Money) is sold (Bank Loans) it needs to be paid back (Debt) with more money charged as a fee for profit (Interest). The problem is that the Interest Value required to settle the debt does not exist in the Money Supply outright. In other words, Bankruptcy and Default are not byproducts - they are inevitable – as there is always more debt outstanding than money in existence. This creates severe, offset monetary scarcity that oppresses many people on many levels.
The Value of Scarcity
Likewise, the intents inherent within the monetary system derive a strategic edge from scarcity. This means that depleted resources are actually a positive thing for industry in the short term for more money can be made off each respective unit. This is contextual to the monetary law of Supply & Demand and hence "Value" in economics. It creates a perverse reinforcement to ignore environmental problems and the negative consequences that create scarcity; not to mention reinforcing technically unnecessary human deprivation. This system does not/can not meet the needs of the many because it isn't financially efficient to do so.
Problems/Inefficiency = Profit
Similarly, the system also requires problems/constant consumer interest in order to work. The more people who have cancer or cars that breakdown, the better the economy due to the servicing of those problems. Needless to say, this also generates an inherent disregard for human well being and the environment. Sustainability, efficiency, and preservation are the enemies of this model.
Cost Efficiency & Irresponsible Obsolescence
There is also the Cost Efficiency mechanism that demands cutting expenses to remain “competitive” in the marketplace. Every single product created by a corporation today is immediately inferior by design for the market requirement to cut creation costs in favor of lowering the output "purchase price" to maintain a competitive edge automatically reduces the quality of any given item by default. It is impossible to create the "strategically best"/long lasting anything in our society, which translates into outrageous amounts of wasted resources and time. Likewise, this same mechanism is reinforcing the environmental disregard, depletion, and pollution that we see as a constant in the world today… among other issues.
Waste & Oppression of the Human Resource
As far as Occupations today, we need to ask ourselves what the point is of a given focus and why it is necessary. The fact is, most jobs today are not directly related to the actual necessities of life. Rather, most are artificial concoctions created in order to keep people employed so they can maintain purchasing power in an environment where our technology continues to expand exponentially, displacing humans from the production force.
It is a common statement in politics today to hear about "creating jobs". Well, in theory, an occupation could be created where people are paid to sit in a room and test chewing gum all day, everyday... but is that a viable use of the human mind? Should we relegate our mental capacity to simple any so called job due to mere "economic" reasons, regardless of what it actually contributes to personal and/or social development? This becomes even more bizarre as a train of reason when we realize that Mechanization not only frees us from labor, it is actually more efficient and productive due to the exponential advancement of science and technology.
On a different level, the very reality that each human being is required to be put in a position of servitude to a corporation or client in order to gain income to purchase the necessities of life not only perpetuates the waste of the human mind and human life, it is also a form of oppression – slavery. If we combine the aforementioned "Infinite Growth" point above regarding the Debt pressure that is build into this system, we see that the combination of the guaranteed Debt imbalance and the requirement to submit to Labor, regardless of its purpose/effect, in order to gain monetary income to survival – is a structural form of oppression against the lower classes (who hold the most debt and need for more period income).
As noted, advancements in science and technology have shown that we can automate a great deal. The more we have applied mechanization to labor, the more productive things have become. Therefore, it is not only negligent for us to waste our lives waiting tables, working at a bus station, fixing cars, or other repetitive, monotonous jobs, it is also entirely irresponsible for us not to apply modern mechanization techniques to all industries that it is possible for, apart from strategic resource management, this is a powerful way to achieve balance and abundance for all the world's people, thus reducing crime generating imbalances.
The fact is, the Market System cannot maintain itself with any viable integrity anymore for corporation will continue to save money through automation, displacing human labor- which also displaces purchasing power, continuing the inevitable loss of "growth" that defines this system.
In the end, today’s society now has access to highly advanced technologies and can easily provide more than enough for all of the earth’s people. This is possible through the implementation of an economy based on scientific resource management and applying modern methods. This is the purpose of The Zeitgeist Movement- to create a global awareness to thus transition into a new, sustainable direction for humanity as a whole.
TZM expresses itself through targeted, rational educational projects that work not to impose, dictate or blindly persuade, but to set in motion a train of thought that is logically self-realising when the causal considerations of “sustainability” and “public health” are referenced from a scientific perspective. However, TZM's pursuit is still very similar to traditional civil rights movements of the past in that the observations reveal the truly unnecessary oppression inherent in our current social order, which structurally and sociologically restricts human well-being and potential for the vast majority of the world's population, not to mention stifles broad improvement in general due to its established methods. For instance, the current social model, while perpetuating enormous levels of corrosive economic inefficiency in general, also intrinsically supports one economic group or “class” of people over another, perpetuating technically unnecessary imbalance and high relative deprivation. TZM advocates the implementation of a Natural Law Resource Based Economy (NL/RBE).
The Zeitgeist Film Trilogy
- Zeitgeist The Movie 2007 Watch on YouTube
- Zeitgeist Addendum 2008 Watch on YouTube
- Zeitgeist Moving Forward 2011 Watch on YouTube
The Zeitgeist Film Series is about examining the world we share, the values we hold, the problems we face, along with what we can do to make it better.
As the word "Zeitgeist" implies, we are dealing with the "intellectual, spiritual, cultural awareness of the time" and the goal of this project is to explore what makes us who we are, how we relate, what we are doing and what we should be doing if we wish to live in a peaceful, humane, sustainable and healthy global society.
Culture in Decline
In addition to the film trilogy and closely related is a six part, 30 minute per episode web series 'Culture in Decline'.
“Culture in Decline” is a satirical yet serious expression that challenges various cultural phenomena existing today which most of society seem to take for granted. Nothing is considered sacred in this Series except for a detached benchmark of fundamental logic and reason - forcing the viewer to step out of the box of “Normality” and to consider our societal practices without traditional baggage and biases. Common themes include Politics, Economics, Education, Security, Religion, Vanity, Governance, Media, Labor, Technology and other issues centric to our daily lives.
TZM Defined (book)
The Zeitgeist Movement defined: Realising a New Train of Thought. This book is the official, representative text of the global, non-profit sustainability advocacy organization known as The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM).
This tediously sourced and highly detailed work argues for a large-scale change in human culture, specifically in the context of economic practice. The dominant theme is that the current socioeconomic system governing the world at this time has severe structural flaws, born out of primitive economic and sociological assumptions originating in our early history, where the inherent severity of these flaws went largely unnoticed.
Compiled and edited by: Ben Mcleish, Matt Berkowitz and Peter Joseph.
Free PDF download here: The Zeitgeist Movement Defined