Social Question

silverfly's avatar

The Zeitgeist Movement... brilliant or just nonsense?

Asked by silverfly (4045points) April 9th, 2010

I’ve seen a couple different talks by Peter Joseph and am very intrigued by all the concepts presented. I just started watching the video on social pathology today.

It’s obvious that we can’t survive forever at our current rate of consumption, war, waste, etc.

What do you think about this whole movement? The idea that we could entirely eliminate our monetary system as we know it in order to create a sustainable and peaceful world is so compelling, but are we even ready for that kind of thinking? Are we even capable of eliminating all the societal structures we’ve grown so accustom to (religion, money, class, race, marriage)?

Let me know what you guys think.

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66 Answers

filmfann's avatar

It’s idiotic.

syzygy2600's avatar

It’s bullshit.

syz's avatar

It will never happen. Humans are too selfish, greedy, shortsighted and self involved.

Cruiser's avatar

If it ever got started it would end at my front door.

DominicX's avatar

It’s one of those things that works on paper, but not in real life. (Or does it even work on paper?) Not to mention you’ll have a ton of people opposed to it in the first place. People are just too different to have this kind of thing work.

I’m sorry, but this is about as likely to happen as Sarah Palin winning the Nobel peace prize. But then again, maybe it’s that attitude that’s preventing it from happening…

I still think it would take a 2012 apocalypse to accomplish this. :)

lloydbird's avatar

Those who don’t dare to dream it so, will tell you that it is crap.
Please try not to hold it against them. Because they are good people. But just afraid.
I think that he is one of the true visionary heroes for our age. Along with this great guy.
World wide peace has already arrived here on this planet.
Those who have not fully heard the news have yet to calm down.
But they will.

cockswain's avatar

Kind of reminds me of “Imagine.” I wish it were so.

silverfly's avatar

@filmfann Why?
@syzygy2600 Why?
@Cruiser Why?

It’s easy to bash it… Have you tried watching? Which parts don’t you agree with?

Thammuz's avatar

I don’t get this hatred towards the monetary system.

Not Only in Zeitgeist, but in general (My girlfriend often says we should go back to barter).

I mean, money, per se, IS barter. Only that instead of trading the goods directly, you trade objects which society agreed to have a certain value when it comes to trading goods.

Abandoning money wouldn’t undo poverty, wouldn’t change the fact that some people have more than others, it changes dick, all in all, it makes it only more difficult to obtain what you want, basically.

And even if we changed it, abolishing interest rates and whatnot, it would only end up fucking the system over until someone gets the brilliant idea to reinstate it as it was.

Economy is one of the few things that developed rationally in the course of mankind, not for the best, but rationally nontheless, its growth stages are as elementary as it could get, and abandoned to itself, given a big enough society to need this kind of infrastructure, that’s exactly where it goes, whatever the starting point may be.

If we want to solve the problems of our society that’s definitively not the problem, the problem is the use people make of it, and that’s entirely human nature’s fault.

The stupider, weaker and less prudent and often more selfless waste their money and end up poorer than the smarter, stronger, more prudent and often more selfish. That’s just how it is, and it would be even if we traded sheeps and goats. And there would be crime too, except it would be i the form of “give me your goats” instead of “give me your money”.

HungryGuy's avatar

There are two ways a moneyless society could be established.

One is Communism where a central authority owns all the means of production, everybody works an assigned job, and everybody is given just enough to meet their needs. History has proven that this won’t work. Those at the top will live in luxury while everyone else lives in squalor. And people won’t have an incentive to work and develop new technology if they can’t profit from their own creativity.

Another way is science-fictional in which robots and automation provide all goods and services, and everything is free for the taking. You just order what you want from your computer, and it’s manufactured on demand and delivered. Everything from clothes to home electronics, to houses constructed on-site by robot laborers is provided for free. Given the technology, this might be feasible, but how do we get from point A to point B, from here to there? Who owns the robots and the factories? Everyone equally, like a giant worldwide co-op? In the initial stages of such a society breaking out, will the wealthy just give away their shares of ownership in equal shares to every person? That seems unlikely without government confiscating all industry, which is appalling.

davidbetterman's avatar

The only real solution is to get the population under control.

silverfly's avatar

Humans have the mental capacity to solve these massive problems – as a whole – if we could just move beyond conditioned ways of thinking. People think we can’t create a new way of living, but look how far we’ve already come! The world offers endless possibilities. The world was once flat and it was undeniable, but now of course it’s ridiculous to think that it’s not a sphere. What if it’s not a sphere? I say question everything. Open up to possibility. There’s more out there than we can possibly understand.

Maximillian's avatar

Not a chance. The social system in the world is too…set, you could say.

Lightning's avatar

“World wide peace has already arrived here on this planet.” Dude, BARF! Read the newspapers? Iraq? Afghanistan? China and Tibet? Russia and Georgia? North and South Korea? The middle east? GET UR HEAD OUT OF THOSE IDEALIST CLOUDS BUDDY.

Yeah, like people will just rule over and smile at the coming of a classless, colorless society. BULL BULL BULL. IT WILL NEVER WORK. SURVIVAL OF THE FITEST does not allow for peace and eternal happiness. WAKE UP. It’s a greedy world out there. World wide peace doesn’t equal profit.

Zeitgeists are fools if they expect the entire world to welcome them and their fairy tale philosophy. People like self preservation to much to give everyone and the planet an equal chance.

phoebusg's avatar

I’m a member of the local zeitgeist movement chapter. I would say it is very easy to misunderstand the intentions of the movement and those associated with it.

That said, ZM has a few problems – it is an effort to wake people up. But the solutions presented are not viable right off the bat. Though a lot of the ideas, and discussions are thought-provoking and important to consider. That is the main purpose of the movement. Different actions are taken by different groups of people as to the activism part, or actually putting to action what is discussed.

In a summary, it is about people who want a more humane, united world, that is smart about resource management and sustainability.

Lightning's avatar

“In a summary, it is about people who want a more humane, united world, that is smart about resource management and sustainability.”

People are more concerned about getting enough to eat then enlightenment. :P

phoebusg's avatar

@Lightning or concerned that we all have enough to eat. Overproduction of food in one section of the earth and thousands dying of hunger in another makes no sense whatsoever.

Lightning's avatar

@phoebusg Alright. Here’s my main problem with the zeitgeist movement. You guys want the WHOLE PLANET. I’ve been to ur website and read it myself. I don’t want to live in a society like the kind ur rooting for….but you want the whole planet….we has a prrrrrroblem…..

phoebusg's avatar

@Lightning first of, there is no us guys. It’s a movement and not an organization. Wanting the whole planet is a far down the road vision, like much of the venus project’s ideas. They’re not about tomorrow, or 20 years from now. The ZM is talking about an ideal system – and it is important to consider. But remember, nobody in the movement says this is the one solution. It’s first off an awareness campaign, and discussion panel.

“We” don’t want the whole planet, if the planet does not want to join for its own reasons.

For the current situation the best approach is small communities that can become food, energy and otherwise independent, yet sustainable. This is important, for the survival of the species, whether you like it or not.

So for one, you have a much more absolute opinion that the ZM even does in its whole.

Would be cool if you actually spent some time to go through the videos. Easy to watch.

Lightning's avatar

@phoebusg The only survival I care about is MINE. I’m gonna live it up while I’m here.
I’m following my instincts. Why should I care about the rest of the planet? I’m not supporting something that’s against my happiness or freedom to decide.

YOUR movement is fine, as long as it and I never come into contact. :P

phoebusg's avatar

@Lightning I know you’re most likely playing the devils advocate or the position-chameleon.
But if that was to be your true position, it would be unwise. Every day you depend on others for your survival, so making sure others are there and still able to help you is directly to your benefit. So do you really care about your survival?

filmfann's avatar

I watched quite a bit of the films, but not all.
It misrepresents Egyptian and Christian religious beliefs.
It misrepresents facts associated with the 9–11 terrorist attacks.
It jumps to impossible conclusions regarding 9–11 issues.
i.e. it’s bullshit. It’s idiotic. People who believe this stuff should be beaten with used colostomy bags.

filmfann's avatar

btw, this question has been done to death here and on these

phoebusg's avatar

@filmfann have you taken religious studies? It’s part of the curriculum rather than ‘idiotic’.
To touch on idiot, comes from Ancient Greek – for owner. Some owners, while citizens, only cared about their land – which made them idiots. Because if you only care about your plot, and the town falls, your plot falls.

Discussion and different perspectives are not ‘idiotic’ they are beneficiary. Even if you disagree with certain parts, you can’t discredit everything. And I disagree myself with some of the things mentioned in the ZM films. It’s not the point, the point is what I summarized above. ZM organizers may not have done the best possible job at the presentation, which is what turns you away, and others that could be considering other ideas.

Lightning's avatar

@phoebusg I am self sufficient. I grow my own food. I have my own power. Solar. I live alone. The only part others play in my survival is entertainment, which is expendable.

The zeitgeist movement is to radical. Abolish everything that defines society as we know it? Dumb. That makes people nervous and opens the door for all kinds of possible, horrible outcomes. The Russian Communists tried abolishing religion and forcing people to share/work together. It didn’t work.

phoebusg's avatar

@Lightning so while you misunderstand half the points of the movement at least you follow some. Do you dependably grow all of your food? It’s hard to say you’re completely independent. That would be nice though :)

Lightning's avatar

@phoebusg I save seeds from last year. So yes, my food comes from own seeds each year. My concern for the outside world is nonexistent.

Cruiser's avatar

@silverfly Because I am not an automaton…I like to own things…I like to work hard for these things…I tend to work harder than most people I know and I know how to get things done. I would go insane having to participate in a shared resource base society with no identity of my own uniqueness. Milquetoast makes me nauseous.

Lightning's avatar

@Cruiser YES. Words of wisdom!

tranquilsea's avatar

I watched Zeitgeist about three years ago and it was intriguing. I have grave doubts as to whether something like that could ever work. Too many vested interests.

lloydbird's avatar

Disquiet…........................becoming…........... calm.

Lightning's avatar

@lloydbird THINK AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOUR TO SHELTERED!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS IS NOT A QUIET WORLD!!!!! NATURAL DISASTERS ARE NOT CALM!!!!!!!! MANKIND IS NOT QUIET!!!!!!!! GET WITH THE PROGRAM!!!!!!!!!! SONIC BOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SONIC BOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

lloydbird's avatar

shhhhhhhhhh…........nowwwwwww…..don’t worry. It will be ok.

Lightning's avatar

PROVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SONIC BOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lightning's avatar


lloydbird's avatar

Hey, you gotta give me longer than that!
Now come on….eh?

Lightning's avatar

@lloydbird Ok. I am going to eat more sugar. You have ten minutes.

faye's avatar

@Lightning very interesting that you are self sufficient. But do you have a stove, a refridgerator, a bed, all in a house, with lights and plumbing? You are dependent and would hate it if the outside world ceased.

Lightning's avatar

@faye As long as it doesn’t wear out, I’ll be fine, :P

silverfly's avatar

It’s interesting that this topic is so heated. Why is everyone so defensive of even thinking of alternative ways of living? It’s absolutely apparent that our current path isn’t working, yet we’re so quick to be dismissive of new ideas. It’s no wonder it takes us so long to change. It’s amazing we’ve come this far.

Thammuz's avatar

@Lightning You still use the internet, so in that respect you’re dependent, or that qualifies as entertainment? And besides you do use electricity, and even if you produce it you don’t produce lightbulbs you don’t produce solar panels, you don’t produce refrigerators. Don’t kid yourself, you’re not independent.

lloydbird's avatar

@silverfly Not ”everyone”.
I stand by what I said about Joseph being heroic. Especially with his intention and effort.
He may have hooked himself a little too closely to the ideas of Fresco (another of heroic intent and effort), whose main deficiency appears to be a lack of and reliance upon funding.
He also over focussed (needlessly in my opinion) on the inconsistencies of the official explanations of the 9–11 tragedy/outrage. He will have lost the attention of a whole bunch of people by including that in his first movie. And drawn attention away from his positive ideas.

But, on the whole, I say very well done to him. His revelations about the financial and banking systems are eye opening. The same goes for the political histories that he highlights. And there is some pretty cool music on his films too, which I believe he wrote (and played?) himself.

Someone else, in a similar vein, who is worthy of a mention is Ben Stewart the maker of
the Kymatica film.

Thammuz's avatar

@silverfly Don’t get me wrong, i love change. Seeing the sad state of affairs we are in now i’d love nothing more than change, only i don’t see zeitgeist as a durable and feasible alternative.

I’m an anarchist, so i’m the first to root for an utopian world with no differences, but i’m also a realist, and i know that no society this big can resist in an anarchic state.

We live in a society that is entirely too big for its own good. Changes towards social unity can’t work if you’re supposed to care about 6 billion people you have never met and don’t give a fuck about.

JosephMatthew's avatar

Darwin’s published work never said “survival of the fittest” as referring to physical strength or aggression; that little distortion is courtesy of the same propaganda that keeps you thinking there are not enough resources for everyone on the planet to live very well.

Instead “fittest” rather refers to THOSE MOST ADAPTIVE TO CHANGE (to use your device of all caps for emphasis).

So let’s see… our current systems are going down the toilet; those who survive will be… ? Hmm perhaps those most adaptive to change? As in change from the current system? Sound reasonable?

Such there are good things happening with the movement, and it would be nice if you could help your fellow humans instead of fear-monger over things you obviously know little about.

Thinking maybe you should wake up instead?

Thammuz's avatar

@JosephMatthew Actually to the best of my knowledge “survival of the fittest” means survival of the species that are best suited for the situation they’re into. If that situation is change then the most adaptive, if the situation is static then the best suited to that particular state.

JosephMatthew's avatar

@silverfly and others
To clear up obvious confusion here; the Zeitgeist Movement is not about utopia; there is really no such thing (instead our species constantly evolves).

In it’s simplest form, the movement is about recognizing that the planet’s resources are the common heritage of ALL people (without exception). Further it is about understanding the mechanisms by which we generate the results that we do (artificial scarcity), then choosing to generate different results (abundance) for the betterment of the species.

It’s clear that most people here deriding the movement have very little understanding of what it’s about or choose to “cherry pick” ideas and respond only to those; ignoring the whole.

The Zeitgeist Movement is not utopia, it’s not technocracy, it’s not any sort of ‘ism that has come before, it’s not about returning to grass huts, it’s not about forcing anyone to do anything they don’t want to, it’s not about limiting choice, it’s not about elitism, it’s not about some charismatic leader that only looks out for himself & his cronies…

No, taken as a whole, it represents something new to our modern world, and if you took the time to understand it, you’d probably agree that what it proffers is inevitable if we wish our species to survive this adolescent phase of “not sharing”

- People under monetarism: “Mine! waaaahhh! I shoot you!”
– People under a resource based economy: “Oh grow up! There’s enough for everyone :)”

Please, do your homework before espousing opinions on something you barely understand (again, as evidenced by the posts here). Here’s a good start:

JosephMatthew's avatar

I appreciate your desire to clarify, but it is a semantic argument at best.

Evidence: Show me a static species.

silverfly's avatar

@Thammuz “Changes towards social unity can’t work if you’re supposed to care about 6 billion people you have never met and don’t give a fuck about.”

I do agree that it seems almost impossible for something like this to work given the mindset of the current world population. However, obviously there are many people out there that share the same views. I think with enough time, a new system could be put into place. I also think that a major catastrophe is inevitable as well. The transition would certainly be anything but smooth, but it’s better than what we’ve got and it’s definitely something worth learning about and striving for.

JosephMatthew's avatar


Sorry, my longer post above was not directed at you Silverfly, but others who give opinions showing how little information they have.

I’m new here, so I misread the layout :P

lloydbird's avatar

@silverfly I’m curious to know as to why you ”..think that a major catastrophe is inevitable..” and why you believe that ”The transition would certainly be anything but smooth,..” (?)
@JosephMatthew Good points well put.
And welcome to fluther!

phoebusg's avatar

@Cruiser You can still work hard, on what you want to work on – what you enjoy most and likely to be most productive on. Ownership is transient. Do you even ‘own’ yourself? You live due to borrowed materials, you’re as part of this world as anything else. Is carbon ‘yours’, H2O? Nitrogen etc? Maybe temporarily as you go about your existence. But everything is re-used and re-cycled. Ownership is so temporary, but then if so why do we put such a huge emphasis on it? Is it so important to own your own transportation device – even at the peril of catastrophic environmental change?

You said you work harder than most people, good – keep it up. Teach others how to get there. You can only do so much, but if you can help improve efficiency then everyone can do more – and you benefit directly.

Who said there’s no identity or uniqueness to a resource based economy? What made you draw that conclusion? Would be interesting to see the thought process there.
Personal creativity will always be about in humanity, it doesn’t mean you can’t do things your way. It just means some consideration to sustainability has to be made.

@JosephMatthew great answer, well summarized – and welcome to fluther :)

phoebusg's avatar

@lloydbird that is one of the points of many ZM members that I fully disagree with. There is talk of watching everything collapse first for the alternative ideas and methods to be applied.

Instead I’d prefer establishing the alternatives bit by bit, to the best we can where we are respectively. Proving by use that they are most effective. Having self-reliant small communities being simultaneously created all over the place. Eventually you can connect the dots, but you can’t help it but start with them.

silverfly's avatar

@phoebusg and @lloydbird I think the only way to move into this kind of a system is to fully realize that the current one is not sustainable. And the only way that will happen is if it directly impacts the vast majority of the population. Sure, we have problems and we have recessions, but people still accept the way things are. I think things will continue to go this way until something big happens to wake people up. Why are we still arguing that we’re hurting the earth? It should be obvious, but most people ignore it.

phoebusg's avatar

@silverfly it’s not the only way. As said – you can also at the same time apply the alternative instead of sit back and wait for things to fail. But we’re almost on the same page on this.

The earth will be fine, it’s human survival that is at risk. The earth has been through a million changes before, and it’s still here, life even is still here. We’ll just wipe out ourselves and most multicellular organisms and clear the field for the more resilient organisms. Hopefully not, but that’s what it seems like.

Actually that’s part of the argument formulation that makes this harder to accept for a big number of people out there. It’s our survival that is at risk, earth going through big changes is pretty much normal. Whether it’s caused by earth’s core or the outer space effects (meteors etc). If people really digest that, their own survival, it would be easier to be on board. And again, if they saw a real life example, that they can go visit and experience, it’d be much more likely for them to learn by example and join in the effort.

silverfly's avatar

@phoebusg Yeah, I agree. There’s actually a really interesting example of this in the rainforest (can’t remember which one). Any time a species of insect population grows too large, a fungus (cordyceps) infects and potentially spreads through the colony and kills many of the insects. So, it could be that the diseases that kill us are nature’s way of handling our behavior.

phoebusg's avatar

@silverfly that thinking make nature as the actor, but nature is simply all. We’re also nature, the fungus itself is a life-form that wants to ‘make it’. Like every other life form, it’s not ‘punishing behavior’ it is just taking advantage of situations where it can.

Thammuz's avatar

@JosephMatthew Absolutely right, i was simply generalizing your definition. Our ecosystem is always changing, so ther is no “static” environment to speak of, there are semi-static ones though.

Thammuz's avatar

@phoebusg @silverfly: Just out of curiosity (and not to derail the argument so if you prefer you can reply to this on my page) By any chance as any of you two read (or watched) Watchmen?

silverfly's avatar

@Thammuz Nope. Is it good?

BabylonFree's avatar

Two words
atheist agenda.

phoebusg's avatar

@BabylonFree what about the non-atheist ZM members? :P

lloydbird's avatar

@silverfly I’ve just finished watching your video link about social pathology and I feel that I must say, that anyone who has posted a response on this thread- without first viewing this link (fully), can only speak from a position of uninformed ignorance.
What a superb exposition. And what a great educator.

silverfly's avatar

@lloydbird :) Yeah, it’s good stuff. The only thing that I think could be done better is to lay out small steps for us to start taking to work towards this goal. I guess “stop consuming” would be at the top of the list.

Thammuz's avatar

@silverfly it is, go wach it. It’s an order.

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