Coming of Age

A TZM coordinator's reflection on how we've changed as a social movement:

evo 2Several years ago when TZM was first forming the two places to connect with other like-minded people were the global website or Ventrilo (former online voice chat app).  It was a whirlwind of inspiration, conflict, debate, meetings, arguments, politics, personality conflicts, group organizing struggles, and all of it form-finding for what TZM Chapters were to become.

I've seen plenty of people burn out in this movement (and other advocacy efforts too).  The range of what attracts people to TZM is wide.  Most people are drawn by the Zeitgeist Films, especially the 1st movie, which was a personal art project turned video by the filmmaker Peter Joseph.  What ensued inspired a global social movement waking people up all over the planet, helping us realize that there is something fundamentally wrong with how humans are running around the earth, creating, using, consuming, fighting, polluting, wasting, expanding, etc..

The first 3 years of TZM were the toughest I'd say (so far).  Everything leading up to the Venus Project stating they were cutting off from their association with TZM in 2011, and took awareness & fundraising matters into their own hands.  The following year was a forming up period of people deciding where they wanted to go.  And the animosity coming from the TVP camp was especially hard for those of us that volunteered tirelessly to learn & advocate their work.  And further, the original TZM Forum that use to be on the global website was taken offline since it was overrun with trolls and personalities that had nothing but time to attack honest advocates, insult coordinators as dictators, rant and rave the same ad hom attacks, political views, cynicism and hopelessness that seems to be the soup-du-jour served up by the supporters of the status quo.  It was a hard time for a budding TZM advocate.

None-the-less, I took my cues from the people I saw accomplishing their goals: Holding events, creating videos, publishing media, doing Q&A, making websites, inspiring other people by their words & actions.  Eventually a core group emerged from the battlefield of opinion & ego and a structure for chapters was put into practice that was purely voluntary.  Support tools & methods for organizing groups of people were pursued, how to be efficient with a group's time was vital, understanding the need for a chapter's awareness actions to be focused on the train-of-thought, and seeing why the founding principal of awareness & education is the core influencer of social values..  It took a lot of courage to work together and form a network of other voluntary supporters that saw the same things. 

Fast forward to 2014:  I recently attended an online meeting for introducing new & prospective coordinators to the TZM Chapter network in the USA. During this introduction meeting there was a new person showing an unusually high level of enthusiasm about starting a chapter and carrying on with a new title of State Coordinator.  (let's call this person "Person X".)  Person X was quick to agree with all the aspects of what TZM advocates, and kept telling us how they understood our purpose, the train-of-thought, the need for awareness, and claimed they had finished TZM Defined within 2 weeks of its publishing.  (Red flag right there. No one new to this way of thinking digests that book in a week.)

During the course of the meeting it became clear that Person X intended to start introducing TZM to a gardeningranting-and-raving group.  The other state coordinators present would ask questions about the distinction of personal/patchwork efforts and the difference to an NL/RBE.  Things broke down quickly from there when Person X could not garner any agreement for the need of TZM to be creating gardening groups across the country.  Interestingly, the ultimate claim put forth was that the only way to save the world of economic problems was by growing our own food.  And since we didn't seem to agree we were simply "doing the wrong thing" with this awareness stuff.  Hmmm. ok.  Person X became frustrated and all the usual, related human behaviors played out from there.  Within 20 minutes Person X had insulted most of us, gotten very emotional about how TZM doesn't know what their doing, etc..  All from a person that was 120% in support mere minutes prior.  I could tell from their lack of interpersonal skills, high level of personal frustration, short temper, and not understanding what we were really advocating: all this was most likely a 'way of being' Person X brings everywhere they go which ultimately sabotages their intentions.

My point here is that the core group kept the focus, and got someone to see that being a TZM Coordinator is a lot more than a title, and something they actually didn't want to take on.  They were encouraged to pursue their desired gardening direction and given resources for many such groups already in existence (which came as a surprise to Person X.)  For those of us that hung around after the main meeting ended it was a moment of "glad that's over", but also a moment of accomplishment.  The sum total of all the experience and self-directed learning in the room came to manifest as a grounding guidance for keeping things on track with a breakdown of someone getting angry.  Meetings like this used to derail chapters before they even got started.  But the level of experience & communication skills from our group showed up as definitively matured as a volunteer group of social activists.

This is the direction to be moving in...  Join the largest movement for social change the world has yet seen...

Add Comment | Views: 1487

Dear website - I love and hate you at the same time

As much as I enjoy creating a web presence for TZM in the area that I live, I also loath updates and compatibility issues that are the inevitable end of all such work.  Software and content management systems (CMS) go out of date, get new updates and the all the plugins, extensions and add-ons that may have worked a couple of years ago, get abandoned or have no upgrade path.

It's a challenge to be sure.  I enjoy creating the content, but the web administration and dealing with all the links, SEO, and other such things can create an long-term project with successes and frustrations along the way.

It's amazing to see how many sites pop up when searching Zeitgeist these days.  Especially when there was really nothing before the film series and the Movement itself.  I think Google's Zeitgeist still came back as the first hit when I started looking around the web in 2006.

Of course some clever critics and conspiracy sites know how to position themselves to gain the attention that was created through TZM, that will probably not go away.  But the presentation of the information will always win out over crazed ranting, so I won't worry about it too much.

In any case, I'm glad something like Joomla came along since it gave me access to creating a site, but it's certainly no less of a challenge to keep everything secure and up to date.  My hope is that this get's easier (or someone with mad skills, supports TZM, and time to contribute raises their hand to help).

In a 2013 review of all the major TZM sites by someone that work's the google/youtube/yahoo/facebook world they had much to say of our web network that needed work and improvement.  The confusion of too many sites and the difficulty a person can have to find their local chapter.  My goal for 2014 is to improve upon that at least in California.

Again, for a movement of volunteers, it's pretty awesome to see what has been done to date.  I always remind myself of that when the criticisms flow in....

Add Comment | Views: 1828

Feedback vs Agreement

Silouettes-hearsaydoI spent more than an hour today in discussion with someone in the Movement about their idea of what was missing from TZM's advocacy.  I'll refer to this person as "Speaker A".

This long dialogue was prompted by a lengthy blog post Speaker A wrote based on his ruminations on transition steps towards a Natural Law/Resource Based Economy (RBE).  From the hints dropped in the first 15 minutes of conversation about "how do we get more people interested?", or by statements like "this is where I lose a lot of people after they agree to the idea of an RBE", it was clear to me Speaker A was stuck and it was having a negative impact on his experience as a coordinator.  His underlying desire (I noticed) is for people en mass to come into a working understanding of TZM's train of thought and hence facilitate some larger group action in making things better, sooner than later.  But as with all grass-roots volunteer efforts there are steps to creating any sort of group action.  And the first, most overlooked step is there being enough people that are both aware of what the actual problem is and what the actual solutions are.

The "what" of his argument is secondary to the over-arching dynamic I was experiencing in this extended discussion.  It could be ANY idea, so let's take a look at the structure of what happened because it can be applied to many situations...

Speaker A had an idea. The idea, he felt, was novel and missing within the understanding of everyone in the Movement and wanted our feedback during this meeting.  Along with the trouble such epiphanies usually precede, what seemed lost on Speaker A was that he was given feedback from the group, and lots of it!

At the end of 90 minutes Speaker A thanked the group and said he'd be looking forward to our feedback.  I made a half-joking/half-serious statement that "you've been receiving feedback for an hour and a half, how much more do you need to move forward or move on from this idea?"  He said he'd still like feedback, written or spoken, over the next few weeks and that this topic was probably long from finished in it's discussion. (insert sigh from me)

The point I want to express is a distinction between feedback and agreement.  The main element that kept the discussion going for so long was that Speaker A was not receiving "agreement" from the group and hence did not acknowledge what the group was trying to say as valid feedback to his idea.  In effect, I felt that anything that was not seen as "agreement" was not acknowledge as valid "feedback" during the course of this discussion.  And this is a common trait in the world of argument and something that wears people down whether intended or not.

I bring this 'agreement vs feedback' distinction up because it's a staple behavior exhibited by detractors and antagonizers from within the Movement itself.  Or sometimes by someone that honestly doesn't understand the subject matter but is earnest about wanting to make a difference in the world.  It's more problematic when the person does understand the subject matter but still exhibits this behavior.

When the person making a claim (or putting forth an idea) is not receiving "agreement" from the group, and then they persist and persist, and sometimes get louder & louder about their idea - all the while still waiting for feedback, then that person has lost sight of their ability to reason in this area.

Let's be honest here:  Someone who asks for feedback, then is waiting to hear "agreement" so it can register as "valid" as far as feedback goes has fallen into a mind-lock of their own opinion on the matter.  From what I've seen, people go after agreement like this so as to kickstart a political process of group manipulation by majority vote.  And then uses the "argument of numbers" to justify an "argument of authority" as the basis for being right.

What I witnessed was a series of logical fallacies playing themselves out.  A few of them being:

Argumentum ad numerum (argument or appeal to numbers). This fallacy is the attempt to prove something by showing how many people think that it's true. But no matter how many people believe something, that doesn't necessarily make it true or right in and of itself.

Argumentum ad nauseam (argument by repetition). This is the fallacy of trying to prove something by saying it again and again. But no matter how many times you repeat something it will not become any more or less true than it was in the first place. Of course it is not a fallacy to state the truth again and again; what is fallacious is to expect the repetition alone to substitute for real arguments.  Repeated statements are perceived as more valid than novel ones because repetition imbues the statement with familiarity, which can create the illusion of being true.

Circulus in demonstrando (circular argument).  Also known as Circular Reasoning. This occurs when someone uses what they are trying to prove as part of the proof of that thing. Circular arguments often appear in debate and are not always easy to spot, but are illegitimate arguments. The best strategy for pointing out a circular argument is to make sure you can state clearly the proposition being proven, and then pinpoint where that proposition appears in the proof. A good summing up statement is, "In other words, they are trying to tell us that X is true because X is true! But they have yet to tell us why it's true."

An example that I took from my long discussion today was that, "The essential problem with current economic system is how money is created, so we have to change how money is created."  X is used to argue X.

I realize another thing prompting Speaker A's idea was his expressed desire to find a common point-of-reference when speaking to other groups (such as Occupy supporters) in the hopes of getting them to take a look at what TZM advocates.  That's great, but in no way invalidates the need for advocating a sustainable social model.  And the whole time Speaker A was coming back to one of the main points of why TZM exisits:  Any larger-order idea is going to take a mass awarness, hence educational effort within the society.  So if you're going to take that on, why only take it on to accomplish a small step of reforming a piece of the current economic system? Especially when you realize that system is becoming obsolete in creating efficiency, meeting human need, and solving problems when compared to the application of the scientific method to social concerns..

Add Comment | Views: 1326

Power, Profit and Piracy

no-sharingMany torrent files are no longer working right now due to the fact that in 2012 the US government, with support of the RIAA, and similar organizations, took action with the Ukraine government to take down the free, public torrent site known as Demonoid. This site was developed for free as a way to share files world wide.  It was  breath of fresh air since the developers were able to create a file-sharing site that was (more or less) free of viruses, fake torrents and the usual nasty business that you find on an open, public torrent site.  Was there copyrighted content being shared? Yes there was. Was it hosted on Demonoid? No it wasn't. It was a private file-share from one person to another.  But regardless, Demonoid itself was targeted and destroyed.

Now what is not discussed is the following: Was there non-commerical media created for free distribution being shared via Demonoid? YES!! Including most everything created by the Zeitgeist Movement (and other public movements) to be shared for free.  But it goes to show how Power & Profits don't give shit about you or the benefits of shared public distribution.

The "piracy" argument is the rallying cry to justify these types of actions (aka corporate fascism).  The dogma involved with this monetary ideology is simple, effective and widespread.  But let's face it, it was a purely monetary motive to kill off this internet resource.  And by doing so they removed one of the largest, most used, virus-free, public domain distribution sites in the world.  A significant amount of content had been created by musicians, filmmakers, writers, authors, poets, bloggers, etc. and intended for free non-commercial distribution (including some of the files below). This sharing resource is now lost and the content non-downloadable via trackers created with Demonoid.  Years of work and resources created through file-sharing by countless volunteers ripped from the web.  New trackers will have to be created somewhere else.  If you have any of the original torrent files linked below, please re-post & reseed on a new torrent site and send us the link info so we can share it. 

Things will only get worse as draconian legislation (i.e SOPA NDAA, etc) work their way into existence from the need of power & profit, which manifest such outcomes in our current economic system.  It's one thing to notice the corruption, it's quite different to realize it's systemic.  Change the system or nothing will really change.

*Zeitgeist Moving Forward DVD: Dual-Layer NTSC

*Zeitgeist Moving Forward DVD: Single-Layer NTSC

*Zeitgeist Addendum DVD: NTSC

*Zeitgeist Addendum DVD: PAL

*The Zeitgeist Movement Orientation DVD: NTSC

*The Zeitgeist Movement Orientation DVD: PAL

*Peter Joseph DVD Lecture "Where are we going?" (Live Iowa Lecture - Nov 25th 2009) NTSC

*Peter Joseph DVD Lecture "Where are we going?" (Live Iowa Lecture - Nov 25th 2009) PAL

*"Where are we now?" Peter Joseph DVD Lecture (Live London Lecture - July 2009) NTSC

*"Where are we now?" Peter Joseph DVD Lecture (Live London Lecture - July 2009) PAL

Add Comment | Views: 3817

The Great Debate

yes noOften 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.

Some Do's:

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"?

Some DON'Ts

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.


Add Comment | Views: 3141