Political Sameness

politics-debate-iconWhile the debates fly between parties and their advocates, while heated political discourse flares between family, friends and co-workers; let's also remember that many things are going to remain the same after the election... For example: Prison rates will increase, inflation will continue, cancer rates will rise, pollution will worsen, stripping of natural resources will continue, wars will be waged, average reading levels remain low, water scarcity increase, social stratification increase, unemployment increase, waste & landfills grow, financial bubbles burst, major media conglomerates keep you exposed to filtered news, decline of the world's oil resource, Trillions in lobby money influence governments, and the myth that participation in the falsely derived duality of red & blue every four years is meaningful*..

Why do these conditions persist? If one takes the broad view it becomes evident that they are systemic outcomes... aka. produced by the social system itself..  Ask yourself this question: What are the overarching, established systems of social organization?... The largest one I find is presupposed as a given (like the law of gravitation) and put forth as "without alternative." I'm speaking of the monetary system in this example.  And the set of values that is reinforced by our system is to 'accept & support' (usually without question) establishments that are perceived as presupposed (i.e. church, state, banks, nations, money etc.)

So if it is found that there IS a connection to these outcomes and the systems we're in (social & economic systems); then the causal mechanisms to such unwanted outcomes will remain unnoticed, undiscussed and unconsidered. Therefore; what is it you expect to really change after November 2012?

A change of personality every 4 years is not change, it is establishment self-preservation of the way things are.


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Response to the "4-hour workday" Premise

Someone wrote me asking my view on an organization that pushing for a 4-hour workday.  This member emailed me a link to the TZM blog that speaks about it (click here)  Their specific question had to do with having TZM take up the cause of promoting a shorter workday...

Upon reviewing the materials I started writing a response and it turned into a blog post...  So here goes:

4thumbworkAs part of a transition strategy I can see how a reduction of work hours comes into play, not as premise (aka "the end itself"), but rather as an outcome of other monetary reforms which remove the mechanism of interest and stop the growth/consumption model.  Slowing the need for consumption to increase GDP, reducing the need for human labor (i.e. automation), stopping the debt/inflation machine known as the "monetary system"...  None of which I see in the work of the organization presented in the organization's website..

The other thing that jumps out at me is this claim: "The reduction in work time will be financed by increases in productivity. "

While the profit system is at play this is an assumption of largest order.  The trend of technological unemployment is the displacing human labor faster than markets can find new employment for that labor, on the basis of 'cost effeciency'.  Corporate charter (for the most part) is to exist at the profit of the shareholder rather than the hired help..  You may see altruism in pockets, but the reinforced behavior is the self-maximization of gain at the expense of "other".  Along with the physical problem of cyclical consumption that is still cycling in the background.  More can be said, but I'll leave it at that for now...

There is a thought exercise that one could engage in (which is purely a form of play on my part, rather than from any academic source): And that would be to break down the logic of our system from outcome to causality...

For Example:
Cause of most negative retroactions in society that we deem persistent? (i.e. crime, poverty, poor health care, etc)
-  There is a correlation of these problems in the economically wealthy countries in regards to economic stratification (aka income inequality). Finding this one might next ask:

- What makes a society stratified?
Class is an outcome of the market system, as implemented. By money being made upon money itself (interest earned on deposits) by taking in usury on those that cannot afford their means (aka loans/credit) who make the interest payments..
This inequality is built into the structure (or could be called "structural classism")

How do you address such a structure problem?
Find it's root. In this case it's a systemic problem..

What comprises "the system"?
belief, agreements, ways of thinking, doctrines etc. that keep the social order in place.

How do you address a value system that supports an established order?
Big questions like this are outside the scope of an email, but I hope you get my train of thought...

Mandates within the system will probably do little (as shown historically) to instigate such sweeping changes. It's going to take a combination of pressures on the system, on people, and certain failures of held doctrines to get people into problem-solving mode that is uninhibited by ego-associations (aka one's identity).

If I remember correctly Peter touches upon these topics in both his (very short) TEDx talk and also at more length in a couple of lectures. I can't get the show to link but go to http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/btr-tzm-global-radio-blog/id334102952?mt=2 and listen to 10/27/2010 "The Transition".

In the end, if you're going to go for a global mass awareness campaign (as this proposal states), why stop at patchwork, just go all the way and address the root-cause while you're at it....

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The Zeitgeist Media Festival - a response about "purpose"

I saw a facebook post (from a non-contributing third-party) that the 2012 Zeitgeist Media festival was "just a social gathering" and hence a waste of time.  Well the burden of proof is on the one making the claim and aside from the put-down such pejorative phrases really are, here is a response from someone who was part of its creation.

To people that criticize the Media Festival's purpose:

The media festival is an attempt to create an event where the larger media outlets will take notice. Since the media at large has been virtually silent on everything done from Zday's world-wide to the Moving Forward premiere, etc..  Off the top, to have an "opinion" about the purpose of the festival is irrelevant to those who contributed their time & resources, taking the idea from concept to accomplishment.  Those that share your view obviously did not participate.  And it shows up as somewhat idiotic to be persistent in "hanging around TZM only to 'object' about that which you do not support."

In addition, each event speaks to people differently. We find that art & music engage society at an emotional level which is a needed spark for new understanding. Which is just another form of education in contrast to a townhall or lecture presentation that TZM members are known for creating.

Personally I worked my ass of to make that event a success, so the bashing of it on Peter's page is a bit of an insult to the 200 people that gave freely of their time & resources.

Perhaps you should reconsider where you spend your time and efforts. The chapters are for awareness activism of all types surrounding the root-cause understandings to our persistent problems, engaging the social value system through awareness events and the advocation science as the problem-solving mechanism for social concerns.

"How" that's done is where one's creativity comes in. Some people hand out DVD's or leave fliers at a coffee shop. Some people create videos and put them on Youtube, some people table at larger events or speak at colleges, and some people create media festivals. 

In the end it's all part of the larger effort to reach people across borders, language barriers and differing value sets.

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I Don't Approve

I don't approve! Not at all.  And I shall continue not "approving" anything...

sam-the-eagle-i-dont-approveThat might sound a bit odd to some.  As a volunteer, when I read language used where "permission" is needed, or a chapter needs "approval" it shows up as a reflection of the time.  A mirror to the social structure through private or political means.  Where things are done via granted permissions or enforced laws.  Quite the antithesis of a volunteer structure.  But as a coordinator of a TZM chapter there are things I actually don't do, even though people may often suggest otherwise.  Some actions that I do not engage in are the following: bestowing titles, giving permission for projects, granting chapter formation, demanding standards or dictating terms.  No coordinator does these things since we have no such things to give.

It starts with being honest about what you support and where you place responsibility.  Is it on yourself or is it elsewhere? (i.e. politicians, groups, presidents, banks, gods, TZM etc..)  Look at it this way, as a volunteer coordinator I do not enforce "what you will be doing" via rules, police or employment when participating in anything... What's actually happening is this: You agree to, see the need for, and enjoy participating in what Chapters are already doing (aka our purpose).  That's a big difference, since the responsibility is now on yourself to be honest about what your stand for and wish to support.  And you may not agree with the Movement's train-of-thought (see here), and that's also OK!! There are many groups, organizations and companies engaging in all kinds of actions to help with the social system's failure we experience, and all needed!

On a personal level I encourage participation in all areas.  And it's done all the time.  I can participate in an Occupy meeting without trying to merge it with TZM or call it the same thing - which it's completely not.  I can participate in other groups without the need to collapse it all down into one large audience.

What's interesting is that I don't see Greenpeace trying to fix/change/derail Moveon.org.  I don't see Moveon.org trying to fix/change/derail the Red Cross.  I don't see the Red Cross campaigning to change the 1000 other foundations that want to help diminish suffering in the world.  But often I will see someone proceed to criticize what volunteers are doing as chapter members, hence side-stepping the reason why we exist.  I'm using "why we exist" as a shortcut since to write it out would take 100 pages.  But the "why" can be found in many places, on the global site, or in the Zeitgeist Film Series, or the many presentations on our YouTube channel, etc.  But to move forward with this post:  It may now show as wisdom to participate where you will be happy participating, and take actions that make sense for you.  (In reflection I have seen Moveon.org use 99% in its campaign to grab the attention of Occupy supporters for their political purposes - which is a good example of what we, as TZM chapters, are NOT doing.)

Sometimes a person claims to support TZM but then attempts to exert influence on the group's purpose.  Usually through debate or peer-consensus (aka voting, aka campaigning, aka politics, aka mob rule).  One will often expose their sense of personal responsibility (or lack of) by their language.  Often I hear the projection of what TZM is or isn't doing, or "should" be doing.  Or that "we're not doing enough" (I always wonder who the "we" is they're talking about, lol.)  All very nice presumptions & dismissals in order to manipulate the group by side-stepping the clearly defined direction that exists.  I don't think a person behaving this way is about to admit openly the following,:"I don't agree with TZM, you're all wrong, and you need to do my thing instead!"  That would be too efficient.

While some will engage in ad hominem attacks (aka character defamation) of members or coordinators, the ruse is always the same:  Call someone a name (you're a dictator!) and then act as a victim (He/She is blocking me!)  Usually cloaked with indignation and sprinkled with righteousness...  At times like these I see how young we are in our development as a people.

The most common presumption is that TZM is in need of defining, or our direction is lacking something "real".  Such statements usually fall under distortion, projection or misunderstanding.  The Zeitgeist Movement's direction is clearly defined.  There have been published guides, videos and lectures, produced by volunteers over the last 3 years to get this information into the hands of more people.  To understand TZM one can simply start with the Orientation Guide or visit the ZMCA homepage and start viewing the lectures & presentations there.

So at the end of the day I don't approve anything.  Why? Because you approve YOU.  To state one's support for what WE are doing is an a priori "vote" (for lack of a better term) that you agree with: 1. The Need to move out of a monetary paradigm, 2. How social problems are systemic (produced by the system itself), and 3. That the "whole" contains the earth-system and all in its biosphere, and you have a desire to advocate this information to new people.

It can be that simple...

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TZM Guide, Chapter Sites & other notes

CA Chapters have long enjoyed an easy-to-use, robust and free platform for chapter sites.  They have everything you could hope for to facilitate groups, events and awareness activism, with just enough social networking sprinkled in, and a nicely integrated calendar system.  As with all things to good to be true they've moved into a high monthly fee structure which will force most CA chapters to migrate to another platform this year.

I looked at Facebook (unwillingly I'll admit) to see the usefulness of their Group pages.  With the latest batch of changes (as of March 2012) FB has rendered a Group page useless with the removal of the "email group members" feature.  Currently, an admin has no ability to message a group's membership, which is a cornerstone in chapter communication.  I've seen more than my fair share of FB pages become drowned in noise.  With many a Wall becoming a free-for-all of posts centered around opinion, personal banner-waving and off-topic event advertising.  Because of its popularity FB makes sense as an addition to a group's efforts, but in no way facilitates group organization.

The TZM Quickstart Guide was recently published.  It's nice to have a guide published on the topic of Chapter purpose and how to maintain one.  I can say from first-hand experience that the Movement has had its share of growing pains as this body of volunteer organization has evolved.  Simply stated: The primary purpose is awareness activism regarding the train-of-though put forth in Moving Forward, the many Lecture Videos and the Orientation PDF published via the global website.

It's worth note that any group organization that is comprised of volunteers is... well, bound to run into human behavior problems along the way (that's a nice way to put it!)  As time progresses those few individuals that have persisted in their own agenda-pursuits or criticisms of TZM, projections, distortions or other prima facie complaints, eventually move on to new pastures after they have sufficiently ostracized themselves through their own actions.  It was proposed to me that the poor, unfortunate souls that spend their free hours of life posting hateful, abusive or attacking material of TZM, or its advocates (including myself and those I care about) is something to be celebrated in its own light.  One friend confessed that he could find no personal actions he had taken in his life that were of sufficient note to attract anyone's criticism.  A humorous & welcomed perspective to be sure!

As the movement continues the attempt of awareness in sufficient mass, it becomes self-evident for those actually engaging in actions, the disposition of those that "claim" support but then proceed with empty claims (i.e. TZM isn't doing anything, We need to be doing thus & so, etc.)  Now with the publication of the Quickstart Guide, this kind of disparity will lessen as there is now a language referent to help along the many volunteers that participate via ZM Chapters around the world.

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