The Zeitgeist Movement of California - 2010 in Review

I took a cursory glance over the past year to get an overall picture of what has happened here in California with The Zeitgeist Movement and started to see the accomplishments form into a remarkable list.  And with the culmination of the global release of Peter's 3rd film, Zeitgeist: Moving Forward,  it couldn't be more appropriately named.  We are certainly moving forward as noted below...

New Subchapters formed in 2010 (see the ZMCA Chapter Page for full list)
  • Sacramento
  • Long Beach
  • Monterey
  • Ventura County
  • Santa Barbara

Events (incomplete list!)
  • March 13th Zday events in LA, OC, SD, SF
  • Zday 2010  (approx 400 people attended) between 2 events in Los Angeles
  • More than a dozen venue’d screenings  of Addendum throughout the state
  • Several state-wide banner events (freeways, intersections, festivals)
  • Tabling events at colleges, beaches, Earthday & other festivals

Awareness Projects (ongoing)
  • DayZ (monthly awareness day)
  • TZM Banner Project elevated to a national effort (form)
  • 10 published Newsletters
ZMCA Chapter Stats
As of January 2010
  • 10800 unique visits to the homepage
  • 518 newsletter subscribe (PHPlist)
  • 415 ZMCA registrations
  • 30 active members (consistently participating in some manner)*

As of Dec 2010
  • 32000 unique visits to the homepage
  • 797/285 newsletter subscribers (Feedburner subscribe/reach)
  • 1200 ZMCA site registrations
  • 120 active members (consistently participating in some manner)*
  • Average hits per month to zmca.org approx: 250,000

10 Subchapters that participate in an official capacity: San Diego, Orange County, Monterey, Ventura County, Long Beach, Hesperia, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Central Valley  --  all total have reached 527 signups for active TZM supporters.

Further Developments
  • Development of subchapter website structure (mainly using groupsite)
  • Over 30 face-to-face subchapter meetings during 2010
  • 2 regional TZM social events: Northern Cal, Southern Cal
  • Several chapter-produced TZM videos posted on youtube from Ventura and Los Angeles
  • artwork contributions from almost every chapter.  Major contributions from Ryan Reeves to the Mediaproject site.
  • Several chapters participated in some filming for Zeitgeist: Moving Forward in Los Angeles.  Look for your silver-screen debut!!
  • 11 Chapter-hosted Zeitgeist:Moving Forward screenings announced & planned : Sacramento, Richmond, San Fransisco, Ojai, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles (2), Long Beach, Monterey, Redlands, San Diego  (see zmf.zmca.org)

And 48 ZMCA meetings in Teamspeak and a successful Joomla website experience for the coordination of all of the above..


When looking at the past year it’s remarkable how much a group of volunteers have been able to accomplish through action, contribution, creativity, art, music, communication, and a desire to make a difference….

In Solidarity,

Jason Lord
CA Coordinator
The Zeitgeist Movement
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Facts

"Facts* are the central exhibit of the scientific method.  They are obscured by mystics, spellbinders, theologians, spiritualists, Herr Goebbels, the pain and beauty advertisers, the formal logicians, the backers of the tortoise against Achilles.  Around the fact the fakers throw their verbal smoke.  But ultimately the fog lifts.  It must lift.  We are creatures of a world of stubborn and unyielding facts.  On their recognition and correct interpretation depends our existence as a species.  We cannot live on lies, fantasies, and propaganda"  - Stuart Chase

The above quote is one of the most valuable paragraphs I've come across in my travels as a coordinator thus far.  It's from Jacque Fresco's reading list, of which I wonder if I'll ever get through.

I find the language valuable because I've sat in on meetings where the Ad Hominem attacks fly.  I see conclusions based on assumptions without referents on a daily basis.  I've done it myself (what!?!).  I see other coordinators and members be subject to criticism and character assassination, their words willfully misunderstood or twisted by egos and private agendas.  Essentially people that volunteer to participate because they've come to find the merit in the ideas of an RBE, or found something valuable from what Jacque said, or a film Peter made.  And some asshole claims entitlement to exercise verbal abuse or cause emotional stress because they "think" they're right about how someone else has it wrong.  (us vs. them)

On the flip side, when language is based on referents, when cooperation is used over self-interest, when the merit of an idea considered over personal, emotional projections, the results are very different.  And I have also seen the positive impacts from people coming together in this movement around the tenets on an RBE and the possibilities for improving the outcomes from the social problem by addressing root-causes.  In this environment things get done, community is created, and the gaps in understanding are bridged.


* a "Fact", generally speaking, is an event subject to operational verification (ie. testable, falsifiable, measurable) and does not include any high-order abstractions such as "the eternal" or "the truth" or "all time" since such things have never been observed.

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Impossible to Possible

In a blog I read recently it was noted "When discussing TZM with people, there is often a reaction against it because it entails such a major transformation that simple actions to change things are no longer meaningful."

This shows how disenfranchised people can be from being able to contribute to others in a meaningful way.

For those that are certain the kind of change the Zeitgeist Movement advocates (Resource Based Economy) is impossible, or will never happen, etc. have failed to see the progression of society throughout history, which stands part of the evolution that has got us to the point we're at today (ie. monetary economics, political systems, religious institutions, military build-up, etc.)

In the course of history massive changes have taken place (woman's suffrage movement, Ghandi in India, America's split from England, worker's rights, Civil Rights Movement, etc.) and if you look farther back, the evolution out of the Dark Ages and the discovery of the methods of science.

From this view the progression over time is clear, showing that there's no 'fixed' social system. Once someone can see this, it takes the possibility of the Venus Project from the impossible to the possible.  And when learning of the merits that resource-based economics has over monetary economics, that a systems approach to resource management has over private/market approach, what the 'methods of science' applied to social concerns has over political opinion, and the benefit of coorperation vs self-interest on human behavior...  The possibilites become clear on the kind of world we could have if the culture (value system) orients towards such a socially positive direction.

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Nonviolent Resistance

In participating in the Zeitgeist Movement the education I've laid at my feet is endless.  A book was brought to my attention that TZM has foundational similarities to, and is a resource the founder of TZM references as inspiration in regards to action.  The book is called "A Testament of Hope", it is the essential writings of Martin Luther King Jr. during the era of what we refer to as The Civil Rights Movement.  And I take from it excerpts here, since they are what made the Civil Rights Movement what it was, and are also part of the direction of the Zeitgeist Movement.

Martin Luther King Jr. on Nonviolent Resistance

Nonviolent resistance is not a method for cowards.  It does resist.  The nonviolent resister is just as strongly opposed to the injustice to which he protests as is the person that uses violence.  His method is passive or nonaggressive in the sense that no physical violence or other violence is used.

Nonviolent resistance does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding.  For example, noncooperation / boycotts are means of (nvr); the ends are reconciliation and community, (and justice).

Moderation (the criticism King received)

King was criticized for moving too fast, or causing problems that were too big, too fast in the social mind.  It affected the status quo in ways that made people uncomfortable.    King defined moderation as “A moving forward with wise restraint and calm reasonableness.”  Not as capitulating to the whims and caprices of the guardians of the status quo.

About this method:

“Passive Resistance” often gives the false impression that this is a “do nothing” method in which the resister quietly and passively accepts the injustice at hand.  This is false..

While one is passive in the sense that he is not physically aggressive toward his opponent, his mind and emotions are always active, constantly seeking to persuade his opponent of his error.

The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide.

The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.

The way of nonviolence leads to redemption and the creation of new community.

Now we must say that this struggle for freedom will not come to an automatic halt, for history reveals to us that once oppressed people rise up against that oppression, there is no stopping point short of full freedom.  On the other hand, history reveals to us that those who oppose the movement for freedom are those who are in privileged positions who very seldom give up their privileges without strong resistance.  And they very seldom do it voluntarily.  So the sense of struggle will continue. The question is how will the struggle be waged?

Three ways oppressed people have generally dealt with their oppression:

1. Acquiescence.  The method of surrender.  That is, the individuals will somehow adjust themselves to oppression, they adjust themselves to discrimination, to segregation, to colonialism or what have you.

2. Rising up against the oppressor with hatred and physical violence.  This method is known in Western civilization because in a sense it has been the hallmark of its grandeur, and the inseparable twin of materialism.  But there is a weakness in this method because it ends up creating many more social problems than it solves.  I am convinced that if we (referring to black America) succumb to the temptation of using violence in our struggle for freedom and justice that the means will be preexistent in the end.

3. Nonviolent resistance, which does not seek to beat the opponent, but to bridge the gap in understanding and reach reconciliation (in King's words: redemption and a beloved community)

Ends and Means:

King advocated that the (Civil Rights) movement is based on the philosophy that the ends and means must cohere.  This has been one of the long struggles in history, the whole idea of means and ends.  (Militarism/nationalism/Monetary-ism) goes under the philosophy that the end justifies the means that are used in the process.  This is where the Zeitgeist Movement breaks with traditional systems (i.e. political, national) or any other system that would argue that “the ends justifies the means.”  For in the long run we must see that the end represents the means 'in its process' and the ideal in the making.  In other words, we cannot believe, or we cannot go with the idea that the end justifies the means because the end is preexistent in the means. So the idea of passive resistance, and the philosophy of nonviolent resistance, is the philosophy which says that the means must be as pure as the end, that in the long run of history, immoral, destructive means cannot bring about moral and constructive ends.

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The Department of Credentialism

Credentialism is a term used to describe a primary reliance on credentials for purposes of conferring jobs or social status.

In some cases credentials do help protect society, as in the case of the requirement for an M.D. degree to practise medicine or a B.Eng. degree to become a civil engineer and build bridges and dams.  In cases such as these a degree of expertise is absolutely desireable.  But this is one aspect of attribute in the whole social order.

I witness many outcomes in the general discourse of communicating the Zeitgeist Movement to the public. And this entry is a look at the tendency to be dismissed due to "credentialism".   This tendency seems to show up more when one starts talking of the ideas of the Venus Project, or a Resource-Based Economy in a monetary system with people that are firm in their positions on politics and economics.  It's a common reaction since speaking outside of an established order generally ruffles feathers.  I see how the religious-based thinking inside established structures self-preserves.  And one weapon that self-appointed guardians of a status-quo use (that paralyzes people in discussion) is the attack of 'not being qualified' to speak about something, or to be taken seriously.   Who hasn't heard "Well, that's just your opinion".?  It's a form of Ad Hominem attack since it not only dismissed the person, it is a direct cut-down of a person's character (or a hit it to there sense of confidence) which has nothing to do with what's being talked about.  Ultimately a manipulative tactic to "shut you up."

The alternative to an 'established mode of thought' is the 'emergent mode of thought' - thought & behavior which originate in the interaction of a person with one's environment.  In this mode, human values emerge from ,and exist in a dynamic environment rather than being a construct or copy of something that already exists (ie. fixed worldview)  It may seem kind of fanciful to see this as possible inside so much established thinking (political, religious, monetary)  Although, in the end I fear, it will be the environment that will dictate the ultimate outcomes of our current social behavior on this planet. (increased resource war, poverty, social stratification and environmental destruction).  It doesn't have to go this way, and that's why I'm here.

I do not have a degree in economics or psychology, so people could easliy dismiss my words using the excuse "you don't know what you are talking about".  What I find remarkable about this is how many people speak as if we cannot educate ourselves, and communicate intelligently about any topic.  In this case I note the effects monetarism has on human behavior, the environment, and the real possibilities that are available to solve problems and increase the quality of life for everyone.

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