Often we encounter people (both supporters and critics) that end up in debate about how things should be in the world, what we should be fighting for, or what TZM should be doing instead of activism, or why things should just be plain different. Well, what I can say is that if a Resource-Based Economic Model comes to fruition it will be because enough people know about it, understand what's possible and demand it. What is not realistic however, is the pitfall that often occurs in debate/discussion with an opposing party where they make a TZM advocate responsible for predicting the future and describing in detail how a such large social change is going to happen (i.e. a transition). This is unrealistic, and is a trap that we often fall into when answering questions about what such a social model entails and how it could ever work.
If you identify as a supporter of TZM, then as an advocate for the direction there are some do's & don'ts I've picked up along the way that will help in any conversation or debate about our train-of-thought.
A. Know what the Movement actually claims it can do. It's good to remember that our role is NOT to make an RBE happen, or predict what is going to happen. Often we do not have a good answer on the "how will we get there?" questions. Often the responsibility for providing the 12-step program to an RBE (so-to-speak) is often projected onto us. Yet a change in one's values & beliefs is an internal process rather than an "out there somewhere" phenomena. So the role of the Movement is to spread information on what an RBE model IS and how to get there (aka education, aka activism) as more of a social immune system response. And this is currently done through a myriad of awareness actions & projects.
B. Know your science terms. This is part of knowing the material enough to be able to defend it in a conversation with a compelling degree of consensus to back up what you say. If you're going to make claims about a technical attribute, or specific technology or trend, you must have some data to backup what you're saying. Using the reference of "Peter Joseph said this", or "Jacque Fresco said that", or "Buckminster Fuller said such & such" is not data, it antagonizes the cult of personality and allows people an easy way out to shut you down and dismiss the information.
C. In scientific terms, an RBE model is a hypothesis supported by Inductive Reasoning. This is important because it's important to know to WHAT degree we are responsible for proving the claims we make to the public. We are not responsible for directly proving an RBE can work. We will only "know" it will work once we see it action through observation. Therefore, what we ARE responsible for is showing that the Premise of an RBE is solid, that such a model can work.
This model is based on component ideas. For Example: NASA scientists were not responsible for showing that the very first rocket launch was going to work before they launched it. They were responsible for showing what the components ideas of the rocket were and that the overall idea of the rocket appeared solid before they launched it.
D. Be willing to define your terms. This may be something that you do early on in any conversation. Part of your responsibility for showing that the Inductive Reasoning is solid involves defining your terms when addressing observations of the current system, i.e.:
what we mean by "not sustainable"
Defining what IS sustainable
Defining what is "progress"
How do you get to "what is sustainable"?
A. Whenever an advocate get hits with a question they cannot answer they sometimes respond the wrong way by saying something along the lines of "Do you own research!"... If you have to tell someone else to do their own research, YOU are the one that has not done enough research yourself. Never tell the other person that they have to take the initiative. That is not the responsibility of the other person (or group) when you're debating TZM's train of thought.
If you're not prepared to answer a question, at least be willing to take the challengers contact info and say "I will look into that and get back to you." Saying "I don't know" is one of the best things you can do, because it helps show your level of honesty and it keeps the channels of communication open.
B. Do not go unarmed with your information resources. Be prepared to have citations to backup what you're saying. The new TZM Orientation Guide has many links & footnotes to data sources, references, journals & statistics, etc to backup the observations and proposals made.
C. Do not simply make claims about an RBE along the lines of "there will be no government and no laws". This is incorrect and confusing. You might have heard someone like Jacque Fresco (of the Venus Project) make a statement to this effect, but meaning something very different from the fanciful surface impression one will often interpret. You may want to make distinct that a "law" is presently used as a deterrent to certain behaviors in society. In contrast, as with TZM's train-of-thought, the aim is to reduce the propensity for police, prisons and laws through a system's approach to social operation and problem solving.
Or similar if you state there would just be "no military". Again, this is confusing and hard to think of in today's world. Rather, the aim would be that military would evolve into non-violent, problem-solving applications: rescue, research, engineering, natural disaster relief, etc..
D. When using the term "artificial intelligence" be aware that this is a youthful technology that has yet to see a widespread, practical application in our social landscape. What Peter [Joseph] is talking about when speaking about modern technology, especially computer systems used in industry today, is that he's referencing the current state of computing, not some projection of A.I. He also presents what difference there could be by having the current state of computing working in application today rather than the cost-limited, non-integrated, stratified application of technology that we currently have.
E. When talking about "abundance" be sure to define your terms. We are talking about strategic access abundance through a "non-monetary limitation" in providing for human needs. This is where thinking in Systems* can help.
Even with these tips, I generally don't go into debate since our current use of debate tends to be a battle for dominance with someone being right and the loser being wrong. I find little use for such means as tool for changing one's values or the values of others. I want to thank Christopher Gray (aka Tanoro) of the Louisana Chapter for presenting this conversation at a USA Chapter meeting which this blogpost is based on. To further your understanding of the Zeitgeist Movement's train-of-thought, please download and read Part 1 of the new TZM Orientation Guide. Your own personal understanding is of this direction, coupled with your ability to communicate it to others, is where the value shift takes place, and then grows from there..
*In this context the word "Systems" is used to refer specifically to self-regulating systems that are self-correcting through feedback. Self-regulating systems are found in nature, including the physiological systems of our body, in local and global ecosystems, in the earth's climate, and in human learning processes.