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Those troublesome corporate logos

apple logo 2014Do you fixate on the laptop logo during a Zeitgeist Movement ZDAY presentation? It happens every time.  Someone thinks that "doing activism" equates to leaving a comment on a YouTube video about seeing the Apple logo on a laptop during ZDAY presentation videos..

In the words of William Shatner "Seriously, get a life..." Because it doesn't matter.  It has no bearing on the subject matter of the speaker. Some people use a Mac.  Some use a Windows PC, some use Linux.  Personally I use Keynote.  It's a great program.  It's on my mac laptop. I have a macbook because I'm a video editor and for me FCPX is unmatched in power and ease of use.  Disagree? WHO CARES! You don't edit my videos so I could really care less if you like my tools or not.

I will probably do all my presenting with Keynote for the foreseeable future because it works well for what I do.  That's the only reason I use it. Oh, and it's free.

The other thing that is obviously not considered with non-contributing commentary such as mentioned YT comments, is the momentous amount of work it takes to put on an event like ZDay.  The months of planning, organizing, researching, promotion and preparing a topic.  The stress of fitting it into a full time life. Dealing with the public, venues, graphics, etc.. And all the 1000 little things that have to come together to make a day go seamless for the audience.  The actual act of caring enough to get off one's ass to do something real in the real world. 

Q:"What did you do for activism today?"

A:"Oh, well, I left a comment on Youtube that had nothing to do with anything being said"

My 2cents - Maybe try discussing the subject matter instead.  Post it somewhere that might be of interest to a new audience.  I'm sorry if you hate seeing the logo. No, I didn't think to cover it because I was busy with 100 other things.  Why didn't you volunteer to mask it? When you start doing that you can start leaving comments about it.

The Big YouTube Copyright Scam

YT removedThe Big YouTube Copyright Scam is in full swing.  If I extrapolate out the amount of outright stealing that is happening on the TZM Official YouTube channel alone, there has to be millions of dollars being made off this infringement scam on the whole.  Because that's what it is, a scam.  An automated system that accesses a secret database while scanning YouTube for copyrighted material under the guise of "protecting intellectual property rights" through an all-or-nothing scheme.

So here is what's happening:

The database that is used is kept under lock & key and no one knows who submits the data to it.  Although it wouldn't surprise me to learn that it's supplied from sources like the RIAA or Apple, Time Warner, etc..

This auto-bot overlooks fair use of material. It overlooks non-commercial use. It overlooks non-commercial use for education. Instead, it treats even a few seconds of music (i.e. a non-commercial TZM video exercising fair use) with the same "piracy" paint as someone that is actually trying to sell a commercial work via theft.

So here's how you get exploited as an independent content creator:

What you do:  Create a 1-hour original work meant for non-commercial educational use only.  In this 1-hour piece you place 5 seconds of a popular piece of music because it helps convey a feeling or message that is widely familiar to the audience. Not for personal financial gain since your video is published for free under fair use.

What "They" do:  Refrain from submitting a formal copyright infringement take-down notice on your work. Rather, they choose the right to monetize 100% of your original work for themselves by placing advertisements on it. They can claim the whole work. You cannot remove the ads if they choose to monetize it for themselves and they keep all the revenues.

That is Part I of the scam...  Now for Part II.

There are alleged "copyright holders" who are not the real copyright holders.  I'll take a case point from our own TZM Official Channel. 

Who made the Zeitgeist Trilogy of films?  I imagine you already know that it was Peter Joseph. Who wrote the original soundtrack to the film?  Peter Joseph.  Who is claiming 100% monetization on Peter's film "Zeitgeist Addendum" on the TZM YouTube channel?  Tunecore.com

This company claims that several seconds of the soundtrack during the New York Times Square montage is owned by them.  They did not waive this claim, but rather they keep the right to place ads on it and keep 100% of the money for 100% of Zeitgeist Addendum.  (Tunecore.com you really should be ashamed of yourselves.)  There is no checks & balance system that I know of to deal with false ownership claims other than YouTube's internal litigation process.

I could cite many more examples from the TZM channel alone and these claims are difficult to fight. If you try and appeal more than 3 claims at once you run the risk of your entire channel being automatically banned from YouTube if all three parties refute your appeal (especially with fair use).  So with hundreds of claims on one channel it's nearly impossible to do much about it.

Youtube's automated copyright system is about a year old now and since its release I've seen some ad-hom criticism made towards the Movement about the hypocrisy of commercials on our published works on YouTube.  Let it be made clear now: We did not put them there.  The parties that hold alleged copyright claims through YouTube's system put the ads on there to monetize the whole work for themselves.

ZMCA - 2014 year end wrap up

2014 year in reviewAs a coordinator for a TZM chapter I often fall victim to the thought of "I'm not doing enough. I should be doing more."  While this could be cause for motivation to take on new activism & projects, it also creates a pattern of never acknowledging all the accomplishments I have completed so far. 

So at the end of each year I've held a year-in-review meeting to help wrap things up and put it all in perspective.  In my case I'm only looking at my efforts along with the California Chapter of TZM.  So this is only a glimpse into what's probably going on all over the world.

ZMCA Accomplishments of 2014:

- Active chapters in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Orange County/Laguna Beach, Long Beach, Humboldt County, Palm Springs, Riverside, San Jacinto

- Chapters in development: Santa Barbara, Sacramento

- zmca.org website maintained and online for all of 2014 with relevant articles, newsletters, resources and artwork for all of TZM

the site garnered 177,000 visitors with 96,000 of them being unique visits during 2014 (As of Dec 7th)

- host of major a Zday event for the 6th year in a row

- host of the 4th annual Zeitgeist Media Festival

- navigated the troubled waters of people that associate with TZM but then branch off to create new movements while ad hom attacking and spending time & effort to hurt TZM and the volunteers therein.  Kept the focus and have all grown wiser for the experience.

- hosted bi-monthly meetings for CA coordinators for most of the year.  All of which can be listened to by registered users HERE

Personal accomplishments:

- assisted the transition of USA Coordination from Jen Wilding to Reba Melfa

- put $400 towards the upgrading of ZMCA and the creation of a free & stable chapter platform www.zmcachapters.org which is being used by several CA chapters

- presented at the 2014 Los Angeles Zday along with producing/recording/publishing media from the day

- Core member of the production team for the Zeitgeist Media Festival and put together the technical teams for video/audio/webcasts

- recorded/mixed & published audio from the 2013 media festival

- Hosted/recorded/published media for several Los Angeles TZM townhalls during the year.

- host & publish all ZMCA meetings on zmca.org

- Mastered the Zeitgeist Movie soundtrack for publication

- Produced several TZM Global Radio shows during the year, as well has help monitor it's health & syndication online through iTunes, Tunein Radio and RSS.

- Helped the Orange County chapter publish their newsletters

- Helped reverse the an action of Orange County Parks shutting down the OC Chapter's activism, and got them permitted & reinstated through publishing the story online.

Ok, that should do for now.  So when I write it down and take a look at what's gone on during the year, I find nothing to support my opening thoughts of "Hmm.  Am I doing as much as I can?"  That is the wrong question to ask.  What we should be asking ourselves is "How well am I doing what I do?"  That's more on point with being a social activist and keeping the focus within a global movement.

In Solidarity,

Jason

Why Isn't This On The Global Site?

map-world-puzzleWhen the global events come around each year for the Zeitgeist Movement I usually do my best to get my hands on the graphics & artwork that get created and post them on the zmca toolkit page.  I do this so anyone can have easy access to the artwork to repurpose for their own TZM events.

I remember reading a comment in a google group that stated "Why isn't this on the global website?"

It was flattering to read and also made sense.  The global site is a hub and gets much more traffic than zmca.  I thought about it for a whlie and then realized it wasn't as much of a problem as it was presented to be.  What's important was that the information (in this case TZM event artwork) is posted and available on a TZM website.  In a way, all these sites are connected via the TZM main site and TZMChapters.net which make up a global network of related sites..

I know that it's ineffecient to have 100 different websites to visit and there are things to address there.  But with social networking and word-of-mouth, people looking for this info will find it, and I'll alway do my best to keep the toolkit updated.  Who know's, maybe someday there will be a way to have TZM as a cloud-type virtual space where the photos, graphics, articles and other created media can be databased into a library for the whole world to access..

We're getting there.

"How to Know What's True" - Clearing the air

us themThis is my personal response to a recent video that was posted online as an official TZM presentation:

Anyone that hangs out on social networking has probably seen all the noise that got stirred up from a recent video that was posted to the Official TZM Youtube channel entitled "How to Know What's True: Assessing Scientific Research", by Matt Berkowitz.

For anybody that was confused, upset, or otherwise had a less-than-positive reaction to his statements I want to clear the air.

1. I met Matt, he's not a bad guy.  I doubt he had any malicious intent in his appeal to the viewer to look at scientific consensus on controversial topics, and to research such information instead of forming opinions based on blogs and random wallposts.  And there my defense will rest.

2. Now, just for a moment put aside the specific issues he focuses on and look at the method in his communication style. The "side vs side" view on all the topics he mentions (mostly health & nutrition based topics) antagonizes the feelings of "Us vs Them".  Unfortunately such communication falls within a similar framework as traditional politics with two sides: a right side, a wrong side. It polarizes and divides the audience and alienates people that do not hold the "right" view.  And the labels clearly do not help.  Who wants to associate with the label of "science denialist"?  I'm sure anyone offended by the labels will never look into an NL/RBE from this point on, and that sucks.  And I apologize on behalf of the movement if you felt this way.  At the end of the day this communication style fails to help what TZM is trying to advocate and actually hurts our efforts.

3. Publishing personal views as TZM material is an action you'll never see me (CA Coordinator) endorse as an official chapter action.  Because that's not what the chapters are for and it's clearly stated so in our materials. That said, everyone is free to think/support/believe whatever they want (and they do),  but it's arbitrary to our efforts & goals as the Zeitgeist Movement since your personal views are most likely non-representative of everyone else. (For Example: Yes, you can absolutely advocate an NL/RBE whether you're vegetarian or not because it's not what we're trying to directly address even though it would be affected by the very structure of an NL/RBE model.)

4. We are all here for a common goal based on a common train-of-thought, for a common need, which stems from the fact that we all see the problems of the current monetary paradigm as a root causal mechanism to persistent social problems, and it must be transitioned away from towards a sustainable resource-based model for the health & well-being of everyone.  And TZM chapters are a vehicle for global cooperation in advocating this direction as a needed one.  Which is very different from what we do with our personal life choices.

5. Let's move forward with the wisdom gained from our communication successes and struggles, and keep making the difference we do in getting this train of thought into the social landscape.

 

In Solidarity,
Jason

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...

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....

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..

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

The Great Debate

User Rating:  / 0

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.

 

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.

*http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkwP9TXGfdI

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....

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.

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...

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.

Emotional Engagement

It was recently asked by a coordinator: "What kinds of tools, educational platforms, methods of teaching and activities  (aside from  changing our own values and leading by example, and calling attention to and educating about the faults of our society and the dysfunctional humanity that has and continues to be the result of a corrupt by design socioeconomic paradigm) would you suggest that can inspire people to embrace new values?"

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I read it a few times and noticed from the way it's phrased that it implies "outside of everything TZM does now", which is a lot!  And left me thinking what does the asker think "enough" is?  And what are the expectations at play that would imply glossing over the dominant social value system and education?  There's too much to skip over when considering communication for me to jump to "what else is there?".  The short (non-answer) in my mind is that there are many kinds of "tools, platforms & methods" that can be utilized. 

I will say there is a grander scheme at play, that TZM is just a part of.  But the larger picture does include global understandings that cross borders, cultures and language barriers. Which the movement IS accomplishing.  The ZMF premier of 2011 is a good example.  Along with the upcoming 2012 Zday events around the world, crossing those boundaries.

A short answer that comes to mind for the above question is this: Emotional engagement.  To elaborate: Peter's films engaged people on an emotional level, which is part of why they've inspired a movement.  Many people can "check-out" at the intellectual expressions (aka educational materials) since many of us never developed much mental capacity past being a "consumer of goods", or a "specialization-blinded professional", or you may have been subjugated to fixed world-views that inhibit new information..  Not on-purpose of course (as the word "lazy" would imply in our culture) but as an outcome of social stratification.  Which now can be measured as a product of the socioeconomic system (or "agreement") that is in place.

Biosocial Pressure is going to play a large role in what happens, and that's outside anyone's control.  When those pressures cross their thresholds of tolerance (and they will) where will people turn?..  To political personalities?, religion? the military? A scientific methodology via a system's approach that acknowledges our connection to the environment, with the intelligent management of our finite resources, minimizing waste and applying efficiency as best as our abilities can produce, to create an access abundance for all the world's people??
 
Nature won't care what we do.  But as a manifestation of the Social Immune System (which is what the Zeitgeist Movement is) I would suggest this:  Find ways to create that emotional spark in people so they want to "know" the information for themselves.  Just as happened with you.  Perhaps through artistic expression?  Peter's films are an artistic expression.  My townhall presentation on a System's Approach is my version of artistic expression.  A radio interview, a Chapter event, a song, a book, etc..  I think the above question can be put on the list with "What is the meaning of life?"...  Stuart Chase has a useful way of dealing with such questions in the Tyranny of Words...

Regarding "Reform"

As part of understanding the train-fo-thought the Zeigeist Movement puts forth, there's often a block for people around the idea of "monetary reform".  Many feel this is the avenue to take in order to "fix" the system. 

TZM expresses that 'reform efforts' will do little-to-nothing to halt the continued blockade of increases to the life-ground of human well-being, or stop the waste and pollution of our finite environment, or avoid the displacement of human labor via automation. 

It is the logic of our current socioeconomic system to retard our advacement as human beings and inhibit our ability to solve problems via the methods of scientific unfolding.  It delays or destroys the progress of helpful technology & cures since to have free-abundant clean water, or to eradicate cancer would collapse whole industries.

Our current economic system exacerbates stratification and negative impacts on education, healthcare, pollution (or evironmental integrity), crime, etc...  You can see the lecture on this phenomena: Click Here

These effects are built-in so we don't see it as implicit to the monetary system itself and is why it is often missed.  While this system continues these effects will continue their trends of getting worse overall.  This can be seen in the work of Wilkinson & Pickett pulished in The Spirit Level.

At the end of the day, as long as you have to defend your position in society with monetary gains, everyone collectively loses.

Our focus in TZM is 1. Root-cause understanding of these continued outcomes, 2. Identifying "what matters?" in regards to our ability to thrive and advance, and  3. Impact human-values on a global scale via activism, education and collective actions.  It's observable from statistics that our window-of-opportunity to move towards a sustainable social-model shrinks every year as we past peak of our planetary resources.

Waiting on No One

My phone rang a few days ago and I enjoyed a conversation with an old friend.  After catching up he asked me "What is the Zeitgeist Movement doing about Occupy Wall Street?”, to which I replied "What are your expectations?"
 
He offered, "Wouldn't it be a great opportunity for the Movement to engage people in an educational capacity regarding what the problems are and a resource-based economy?"  Of course I agreed with him!!

This brings up a point that I wanted to make with him.  I asked him why he was waiting and expecting this to be done for him? What are YOU waiting for?!?  And why?
Psychological complacency I can now understand as a by-product of the system we live in.  We are so decoupled from the life-ground* that we've been reduced to dropping pocket-change at the checkout of the grocery store, or hoping, or praying to the supernatural, voting for a "leader" to do it, or buying girlscout cookies (even though those peanut butter ones are pretty awesome)..

It is the disposition of "expecting someone else to do it for you" that is, most likely, what makes social movements "not work".  I said to 'wait on no-one' and perhaps go look up a chapter in your area and say 'Hello' (there is one btw, I know the coordinators).  I'm sure they'd love to meet someone articulate on these subjects and able to communicate it to others. I encourage him to just go and do it.  Wait on no "one" to tell you to do it.

Automatons make poor initiators from what I've seen.  Some of the best coordinators I've met are those that do not need to wait on instruction.  Add in being relevant to the subject matter, then you will find; The necessity to transition out of the growth/consumption (aka market) model, move beyond politics and faith-based belief systems, and the need for science, problem-solving and collaboration - is already upon us.  And if necessity is the mother of invention, once you recognize the necessity, wait on no one..

Efficiency is key

A text message I received recently eloquently stated the need to get out of  "The Black Hole of Other Shit."  Referring to a seemingly endless "to-do list" of projects, creative output (videos/lectures), administrative tasks and emails..  As a creative person and a chapter coordinator, I can empathize with this sentiment...

I have yet to meet anyone with the time-management and productivity skills that exceeds the founder of this movement.  Something I've learned as chapter's grow is that efficiency is as important as being relevant to the information.   Things like consistent web-platform.  Automated updates on information (ie RSS feeds), finding a core team, fielding volunteers for other tasks (ie meeting notes, or video postings, etc..) This all allows for an increase in efficiency as far a things getting done, which allows for more creative time.

The pending chapter sites issue will be a time suck.  The loss of the groupsite platform as a free platform is a technical setback, but like others, will be solved.  Designing a platform that will be similar in function will have the result of being efficient.  Since you don't "build" efficiency, it's an outcome.

Chapters, as organized, are part of increased efficiency.  No one person is "at the top" holding the keys to the educational imperatives. They're out in world, everywhere you go.  The network of sites & groups advocating the same imperatives: ecological sustainability, dynamic equilibrium, systems approach, natural law, reason, environmental influence on behavior, etc.  This creates the "hologram", if you will, of information without people depending on, say, just Peter or just a coordinator for instructions and information.

When I get caught in the Black Hole of Other Shit, it shows up as a bunch of incomplete tasks facing me and tasks not getting done well. This is when I stop and re-evaluate what I "want to do" versus "what I am doing".  And then either postpone or drop tasks, re-prioritize commitments and start again..

This is always something I give thought to.  How to make things more automated with the website, or easy-to-grasp presentations, or productive meetings, etc.. As I come up with workable applications to these questions things become more efficient for me, and hence, I enjoy more creative output.

"Occupy Wall Street" - Being an Ambassador for a Sane Society

I see a lot of dialogue flying around the internet on these events and I wish to re-emphasize a couple of things for the benefit of all.

The Zeitgeist Movement is not about confronting the system in a head-on us versus them way.  TZM is not a 'left' or 'right' movement. These old labels don't apply except in the minds of those who think in those terms.  And when this happens that person (most-likely) will not understand the Movement. You can observe this at play when such accusations are tossed out, such as “TZM doesn’t do anything” or “When are we going to do something?”

We are not a political movement and do not condone the use of chapters as a vehicle for traditional protest. To allege that TZM needs to engage in such activities is an irresponsible statement, for it is a gross misunderstanding of what the Chapters are and it puts everyone at risk through an association we do NOT want.  For many, after seeing the insanity of the market system a common conclusion one may jump to is to fight it.  Acts of violence, force or angry protest, on the part of the public, will mainly justify the use of more real force by establishment power.  When is the last time you changed someone’s mind, or an institution (i.e Wall Street) through force?  Fortunately, there are alternative courses of action to affect change.

So then what are we doing?  To over-simplify; we are engaged in an unprecedented attempt of global, critical mass in support of a resource-based economic model.  Enough people have to understand the “problems” of the current system as “outcomes” of the current system.  Said another way, it’s what the monetary/market system produces (i.e. stratification, scarcity, waste, corruption, greed, poverty etc.)   We are not looking for people to just get pissed off, feel powerless or robbed, and then run out to “fight the system” or rally for more security and additional laws.  Our goal is for people to see the necessity for a logical, sustainable social model, one that has the carrying capacity of the environment at its core, and applies the best methods of science and technology to the task of peak efficiency, conservation and an access-abundance for the world’s population - unrestricted by monetary economics.

If you are attending any of the Occupy events, please keep this in mind.  Go to observe and inform.  See it as an opportunity to educate people about WHY this is happening and HOW we can accomplish all that is necessary for the world’s population absent money.  In this way, you get to be an Ambassador for a sane society.

The Big Dismissal

--2 years, 5 websites, 100's of meetings, creation of many chapters, assistance with continuous projects, and a "self-directed course in economics, behavior, science and language that would make my college professor cry"-- later...   And I imagine it'll never end..

Even so my actions continue in support of making a positive impact on the Pale Blue Dot.  I came across a random blog post that criticized TZM specifically around the Townhall meetings, ending with a change in opinion about TZM..  It was the typical play --  Usually starts with kinda liking what we said.  Then didn't get an answer to her transition question (well, not one she liked!), then got frustrated and did the classic BIG DISMISSAL:  "We're a cult. We don't do anything.  It's just the same old shit.  When are we going to take action?.."

From my experience this reaction is fairly common.  And since I was at work with a minute to spare, I replied with the following:

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Definition of Cult from Wikitionary: “A group or doctrine with religious, philosophical or cultural identity sometimes viewed as a sect, often existing on the margins of society or exploitative towards its members.”

Usually the pejorative form is meant… I can assure you that my efforts to help webcast and speak at the Town Hall meetings in Los Angeles have nothing to do with that. I don’t worship anyone, there’s no church, and I exploit no one, and neither am I exploited. I volunteer, in my spare time, as I can, because I see the necessity of moving towards a different social model.

TZM is simply a group of people embodying the ideas of natural law and the necessity to base society upon such. This includes things like ‘dynamic equilibrium’. We recognize the biosphere (or world) as a single, holistic system. And needs to be considered as such through a systems-approach to management of our resources. We advocate the application of the methods of science to our social concerns (aka problems) and recognize the cancer-stage the economic system is in. Acting very similar as a physical cancer to the social system host (us).

There are more than enough technical possibilities available to us (current and real) to create an access abundance on this planet for the world’s people, starting with what we call Lifeground needs. Since about 80% of the world lives on less than $10/day and about 3 billion living in varying degrees of deprivation. This leads to a social value problem which is far behind our technical abilities.

So what we talk about isn’t radical, it’s not new, it’s just not in the thinking of most of the world. TZM has organized into chapters to embark on impacting social values globally so the possibility of a sustainable society even exists. There’s is no guarantee, just a group of concerned people making an effort.

Notes from a Townhall

As of this writing, I've helped put together 2 Townhall events with the Los Angeles chapter.  I arrived home last night just before 1AM, feeling wiped out, but also with a sense of accomplishment.  Tonight surprised me.  Our plan was to give more time to the Q&A and shorten the time of the presentations and speaking.  I turned my cellphone off and forgot about the time.  The audience dove in with their questions.  Some great ones tonight too.  After what I thought was "a little while" I leaned over and asked Jordet what time it was.  And he kind of lip-sync'd the words to me making hand guestures of 10-or something.  We were supposed to complete at 9 o'clock.  I guess the fact that it was that late wasn't registering so I asked him like 5 times because I wasn't getting it "what time is it?!?"

Anyway, we all got our wish, the audience had an extra hour for Q&A.

To rewind the evening a little, putting this all together took a team of people.  From scouting the location, working out a deal, finding people to help with the technical (lights, sound, webcast), someone taking pictures.  Plus keeping track of who's showing up (are they on the RSVP?, did they just show up?), etc..  A whole bunch of items.  The hardest I'd say has been the webcast.  A note for anyone wanting to do that: DSL will only barely get you by with the lowest quality stream possible since the bandwith is fairly low.  If your'e in a place with a slow connection (400Kbps or less), you're going to have limitations, and possible dropouts.  Cable modem or better will set you up nicely, and a DV camera will do just fine.

I often think of what the experience is like for someone new, who doesn't really have any idea what the Movement is about, and they walk into a Townhall as their first experience.  My hope is that they found value in the evening (and I think most did), and for some I could really see that frame of reference changing in their facial expressions.  People were engaged in the subject matter, some taking notes, and most listening intently to what we were all saying.

I do encourage other chapters to explore the possibility of having this kind of event.  It takes getting to understand the wide array of subject matter from economics, philosophies, technology, the different sciences, logical fallacy, sociology plus others.  Because it will all come up when there's a group asking questions, especially from different backgrounds.  That's the benefit of having a few people on the panel.  But this all takes time, and there are also a great number of alternatives within reach of most chapters: dvd's, local events, fliers, postcards at a shop, etc. are also all effective.  Along with being part of the larger, global events (ie. Zday).

It always amazes me what a group of volunteers can accomplish when the spark of collaboration has ignited.

Chapter attendance: Size & Focus


If you are coordinating a Chapter and you're frustrated with meeting attendance, a good question to ask next is, "What expectations am I having?"  If you're having expectations, you're measuring "what should be happening" against something else. And it would be helpful to identify “What are you using as a measure?”  If you're wondering why the attendance isn’t higher, or why people aren’t responding to your efforts, or things are just quiet, remember, that IS feedback.  And it's time to apply a combination of adaptability, learning, or trying-something-new.  It only takes a couple of people to make huge impact, and though large group attendance is exciting, it also brings with it other problems if you don’t have the organization structure in place to support it.  A room full of people with no direction is not a chapter meeting.

I want anyone who’s struggling with attendance (or chapter size), as some kind of measure, to ponder what drives the need to have 200 people show up to a chapter meeting? Or you’re not being successful to ask yourselves "Does group size matter if few people have a firm grasp of what TZM is advocating?"  If you answered 'yes', then TZM's goal is not being realized.  The issue is not about chapter size; it's about how effective you’re being in communicating the ideas to other people, that’s the fundamental premise here.

Let me clarify that this does not rule out a chapter being stagnant!  As in: no activity, website out of date, chapter purpose diffused (i.e. promoting other causes).  That is a different issue altogether.

As chapters our goal is to get RBE information out to the public

Initially, as a new chapter, this will be accomplished through passive activism (i.e. leaving a stack of postcards in shop or restaurant), then street activism and perhaps tabling.  Then it will grow into larger events for the public (lecture, Zday, etc).

Some might think that everyone who “signed up” to their chapter’s website will somehow come to every meeting and be active.  They might come out once but then not show up again.  As the one-meeting phenomena continues it can create the perception that people are dropping off, or create the “no one wants to do anything” mentality.  What's happening here is a filtering process that will create a core team.  And the kind of core members you will attract will depend on how 'relevant to the information' and organized you are.  As a chapter grows, a core team of about 7-10 people that have a good understanding of TZM's tenets and the ability to communicate these ideas to someone new, will show robust activity in their results.  As the chapter becomes larger, you may develop several "core teams" working in different areas of expertise to engage the public (Bannering, speaking events, media events, screenings, etc)

But at the end of the day: It takes only ONE person to do awareness activism, you will just cover more ground with a team.

Honoring the Spirit of ZDay

ZDay is about introducing people to The Zeitgeist Movement who are unfamiliar with the information.  Also possibly generating media attention to your local chapter and TZM through participating in the global effort.

I hope your chapter is honoring the day in with the appropriate goal in mind. If you are a well-informed TZM supporter and/or a chapter coordinator, I hope you are either hosting a ZDay event in your local community or doing street activism in your local community to increase awareness in your region. If you are traveling to another chapter’s event, I hope you are going to volunteer and not simply to be a participant.

If you are going to merely socialize with other TZM folks you are not really honoring the day in the way it is  intended and you may be occupying a seat that could have been used for someone new to this information.  This is an awareness day for the public and all efforts help in that regard.

An awareness event in your local area requires a minimum of one person - you!  Which eliminates many reasons for not doing something this weekend where you reside. If you have not secured a venue for this weekend, no problem. You can still spread awareness by doing street activism that might include handing out TZM business cards you’ve created, passing out flyers, handing out free dvd copies, or just sitting somewhere with a catchy sign and engaging others in conversation and wishing them a Happy ZDay (natural conversation starter). You could even passively distribute info among community boards in grocery stores, coffee houses, bars, libraries, schools, or community centers. Or you could even hold a private screening in your home and invite friends and family who have never really learned what you do for the movement.

As great as it is to network with other TZM activists, this weekend is the time to actively participate in what we are about: Awareness activism, because we are not a social club, we exist for a specific purpose.

Persistence of Top-Down ideology in a Bottom-up Movement

The most recent description of how The Zeitgeist Movement works was expressed by Peter Joseph, founder of the Movement, in his September 29, 2010 radio address about the Internal Structure and Processes of the Movement itself.

As things have evolved and the chapter structure has emerged over the past couple of years I’ve noticed the persistence of a particular mindset which I see, partly, as a projection of political and corporate structures onto a social movement, and in part as a fear some have come to develop that we have to enforce "safety" or "redundancy" to protect against corruption.  For the most part, TZM’s chapter organization mainly exists as a communications structure.  While global efforts (such as the theatrical screenings of Zeitgeist: Moving Forward and annual Zday Events) come from what you could call the “top” (the global coordinators), the interaction and creation of ideas in the public domain start from the bottom and go up.  An example would be when someone has an idea, like doing a lecture or creating a project (i.e. Ben McLeish’s lecture or the Banner Project.)  These get created from what you would call the “bottom” and then spread upwards to the top.

Ideas, projects, or events that show value or merit to TZM and its direction are picked up by other people.  Feedback is given, usefulness is self-evident, and ultimately they’re brought to the attention of the global coordinators either through results or feedback from others.

So communication flows both ways.

What TZM chapters are NOT:  A power structure or political hierarchy where the top dictates how the body (aka “the bottom”) will work.  There are no paper proclamations, dictates, mandates or orders which are imposed on the chapter structure or its members.  To create such things is to create the need for "enforcement" that does not work in a volunteer movement.  To consider one’s self a member in the movement is an expression of “Yes, I support these ideas and the direction advocated.”  Hence compliance is not something that needs to be imposed.  Cooperation is created around shared values and collaboration from common action.

An unfortunate situation that comes up from time to time is that there are people who claim to support TZM, call themselves members, and self-appoint to create such mandates, dictates and paper proclamations that ultimately would need imposition on the movement itself if implemented.  Honestly, I see no good to come from having to “impose” upon others in a volunteer movement.  Sadly, this is an example of how someone does not understand the Movement’s structure.  And if one’s ego runs amok this can spell disaster for the efforts of any member, coordinator or group to produce positive results in participation or understanding from the public.  I imagine this translates to many walks of life, not just this social movement.

My hopes and efforts are that people come to an understanding of what it means to take on the responsibility as an advocate/coordinator/member. One way to express this responsibility: To create the structure where people can contribute, participate and create social awareness of what TZM is about at a relatively high level (as ‘noise-free’ as possible).

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Leggo My Ego

In the last year of being a coordinator I've met many kinds of people.  As it stands presently, the coordinators for all the cities that have stepped up to participate in The Zeitgeist Movement make this experience a rewarding one.

That's not to say I haven't had probelms.  I've been called names, accused of stealing the movement from people (yes, really), been told to go fuck myself.  I've even had nasty PM's from people that support the movement that were of a derogatory nature towards me.  I suppose one way to look at it is if you're a coordinator and you haven't run into any of these situations, it's only a matter of time before you do.

Ego will probably be the hardest part of coordinating.  Before I go further, let's define that word. (defering to Wikipedia for general use)

The Ego comprises that organised part of the personality structure that includes defensive, perceptual, intellectual-cognitive, and executive functions. Conscious awareness resides in the ego, although not all of the operations of the ego are conscious. The ego separates what is real. It helps us to organise our thoughts and make sense of them and the world around us.  The Ego acts according to the Reality principal.

The reality principle is a psychoanalytic concept, originated by Sigmund Freud, that compels one to defer instant gratification when necessary because of the obstacles of reality. It is the governing principle of the ego and stands in opposition to the pleasure principle of the id.

That should suffice for now. 

People project their impressions and agendas (as do I) onto other people and organizations.  This could also be seen as the Ego acting up.  The best I've come up with so far is just to mindful that I do this myself and step outside my projecting as best as I can to minimize the unfortunate situation of just plain dismissing someone, or quickly making them "wrong", for their position (usually in regards to their objecting to TZM in some way).

As I've volunteered to take on this role of a coordinator it's becoming evident that the basics tenet of my role are clear:

1. create a place for people to go that support these ideas (tenets of TZM)

I heard Peter say something in a radio address earlier this year about creating a place for people to go (ie. the global website).  That made sense to me and was the primary movtivator to create zmca.org in California.

2. Any communication platform that we (movement coordinators, members, etc) acknowledge as "official" is THE place a person can go to participate in the most "noise free" environment concerning The Zeitgeist Movement.

 

And as a volunteer that is committed to the direction of transitioning to a global RBE, I take these two points seriously.  And since phase 1 is a global, mass awareness phase, the primary role of chapters at the moment is just that: awareness of this alternative to the current social system (aka monetary-ism)

I've stood in admiration of the communication skills of some coordinators that tolerate hours, even days, of criticism (of both the movement and themselves) to get a person to understand this direction and step outside their "box" of worldview.  Personally I have no such constitution for such a duration of criticism.  There is a member known as Roan that wrote a great article about "converting & convincing"  which I've also taken to heart. It allows me to apply myself to the projects and communication I want to be doing, vs stuck in debate with people.  To that I note the materials of the movement are all over the internet for free.  The information about The Venus Project is provided for free.  Peter makes feature-length documentaries as tools for understanding these ideas, all for free. I don't know of any movement that is as open, transparent, solution-based, and committed to communication as TZM.

The best I've been able to do with people that come to me with criticism, demands, attacks or other things of this nature, is to not take it personally.  Easy to say, sometimes hard to do.  I think a lot of people place their ego problems on coordinators and the movement in general.  Some looking for agreement, or attention, or an audience for their own agenda, or a title.  Personally I take on a concept known as "integrity", defined as: honoring one's word the same as one's self.  This could also be said as "doing what you said you'd do" and if you don't, make a new committment and take it from there.

With that in mind, it's the way I remind myself about the neccesity of the above points 1 & 2 as it applies to coordinating.  And makes dealing with egos a bit easier.

Mission Statement

What is the Movement's "Mission Statement"?

That's been asked a few times to me over the past couple of months.  Depending on who asks, I have a different list of thoughts.  If it's someone brand new to the ideas I have 3 or 4 versions of what the movement is based on how much time I've got to answer.  Everything from a one-sentence answer that goes something like:  "The Movement advocates a possible alternative to social affairs to we called a Resource Based Economy", to a 5-minute breakdown if I my audience indulges me so.

If it's someone who says they're in the movement already, I have a different list of thoughts.

My initial action was usually to refer the person to the TZM Knowledgebase article "What is The Zeitgeist Movement?"

Then more recently I became curious as to what was prompting this question?  Perhaps the person was having trouble explaining the movement to someone else?  Not sure...  Then I started to see a few possibilities behind this question of mission statement.

After thinking it over for a bit I came upon something that makes sense to me: a projection.  Some might say most things we think of are, but to define what I'm saying I'll first ask "What are mission statements used for?"   They're statements used by organizations and corporations and other groups & institutions to define their purpose.  Most of the examples I thought of in a few moments (Microsoft, Greenpeace, Red Cross, BP, and local charities, etc) all provide a product, service or both.

So then I had to rethink how I was responding:  TZM is not a service.  I know that "social therapy", if you will, needs to take place if we're ever to have a hope of seeing a resource based economy come into existence.  But we're not a therapy service (even though some people I meet would benefit greatly from some). There are educational materials that are free, nothing is sold. So we're not selling "products" in the sense of a marketplace. There's no monetary profit, differential advantage, trade, barter or power structure.  Hmm..  What are we?

As of this writing I think in this way, this movement is a result (along with many other) from the bio-social pressures created by the outcomes in our current social system (i.e. hunger, poverty, war, class, crime, etc).  It's a reaction to the problems becoming great enough that people are looking for a way to solve them since our social institutions are failing miserably to do so.  It's an early stage right now.  I'd say most people are hopeful that we'll keep on just fine for the decades to come even if things go to shit outside the US.  But the decay of society can only go on for so long, as in the problems can only increase so much, before the conditions impose themselves onto each of use personally and we have no choice but adapt, change, or (in this case) hopefully upgrade our social values inorder to transition to something better.

I don't know if that counts an answer to the original question, but then the original question, to me, is usually sourced from projecting the current corporate structure onto the movement.  And it clearly doesn't fit. There's no boss, no president, no employees, no vacations, no salary.  You might gain some ‘health benefit’ from participating in TZM since it'll certainly upgrade one's worldview to something that's of positive thought and action.  Solution-based thinking brings out the better parts of personality vs. the dark cynicism of ongoing complaint.

Maybe at this point the next time a member asks me that question I’ll answer with question of my own “What do you think is?” and take it from there.

books books reading reading

Wow, everywhere I wander in the movement adds a book to my bookshelf!  I can see that at some point I'll be iPad-ing it on some level since there will never be enough room on my shelf. A look back at the road of education I've travelled since I saw the first Zeitgeist film in 2006, it's far more than anything I've ever accomplished in school or in 4-years of college.

What's waiting for me to finish today?

  • Tyranny of Words
  • Trouble with Testosterone
  • The Spirit Level
  • A Testament of Hope
  • The Grand Illusion
  • Gerald Massey's works - vol I & II (which will take me the rest of my life to visit thoroughly)

My fictional fancies generally get met by my dvd player!

Why The Zeitgeist Movement is not a "9-11" Movement

Howard Zinn was asked to speak to a Jewish group on the topic of the Holocaust while he was teaching at Boston University in the 1980’s. The anticipated topic from the faculty was WWII and the genocide of 6 million Jews. Instead he ended up speaking about the US-supported death squads in Central America that caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of peasants in Guatemala and El Salvador, victims of American Policy.

There was an article published a week later that was a strong objection to extending the moral issue of Jews in Europe during the war to people in other parts of the world in our current time. The article claimed the Holocaust was a unique event and the author was outraged that since Zinn was invited to speak about the Holocaust, instead he spoke of other matters.

Zinn’s point is that the memory of the Holocaust should not be encircled by barbed wire. It should not be morally ghettoized, that is: kept isolated and separate from other atrocities in history. Why? Because to remember what happened to 6 millions Jews serves no important purpose unless it arouses the indignation, anger and action against all atrocities, anywhere in the world.

At the core of the memory of the Holocaust is a horror that should not be forgotten. But around that core, whose integrity needs no enhancement, there has grown up an industry of memorialists who labor to keep the memory alive for purposes of their own. Such as:
Preserving one’s identity, Zionist thought uses the memory to justify Israel’s war on Palestine. And politician can be seen in the course of history to use the memory for voter influence. When understood in this context, the awful event is truly ghettoized.

Now, replace the statements I’ve just written with 9/11 in place of the word Holocaust.

To build a wall of uniqueness around 9/11 (or the Holocaust, or Iraq, or Vietnam) is to abandon the idea that humankind is all one, that all people are deserving of equal rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If we are to take seriously any admonition that 9/11 was “Unacceptable” we must ask ourselves (as we observe other atrocities in the world around us) if we are using the argument as a beginning or and end to our moral concern.

This is why TZM in not a 9/11 movement. What happened to the citizens of the US from 9/11 (or the Jews of the Holocaust of WWII) is unique in its details, but it shares universal characteristics with many other events in human history. (ie. The Atlantic Slave Trade, the genocide of the American Indians, and the injuries and deaths of millions of working people who have been victimized by capitalist ethos, that put profit before human life.

The outcomes themselves, if taken as ALL unacceptable outcomes, then a question must be brought forth as to how can society create better outcomes? And that’s where the conversation from The Zeitgeist Movement, The Venus Project and a Resource Based-Economy comes in. We are not here to fight with the establishment, or to be anti-anything, but to encourage a bio-social pressure via awareness and education about the root-causes of the outcomes themselves.

Put Me In A Box

I attended a screening of documentary attemtpting to describe money, talk about alternative currencies, and then suggest that a time-bank is a community building project that the viewers should become part of.

Regardless of my views of this idea, the outcomes of my participation have been enlightening.  After the main event I engaged in a 2-part conversation with one of the members about the merits of such a bank (or lack thereof) to a broader solution concerning a monetary system.  That turned into a long discussion about a great many things, including TZM.  And for my part was very enjoyable since the conversation was one of ease and sharing by both parties.  There seemed interest on their part about concepts expressed in the Zeitgeist Movement (especially in organization) since they admitted the failing of a local transition idea they helped start and had an emotional attachment to keeping it going.  A desire was further expressed to take another look at Addendum and consider what Mr. Fresco had to say.

On part two of the discussion something happened that took me by surprise.  Many more ideas of world-view were being expressed by the other party, and during those moments I asked for examples and clarification so I could best understand the intent of the ideas.  (I’m being cryptic on purpose here for anonymity sake)  Then an air of defensiveness started to take place and it was stated to me that my world-view was very black & white.  And that science is a black & white world-view since it doesn’t allow for the “unknowable”.  Some mention of ancient traditions and healing methods were proposed as such beliefs that scientific method cannot allow for. (Personal note: in retrospect is that really a bad thing?)

When the adjunct “I hope this doesn’t seem offensive” was tact on, I took the opportunity to say that it was received as such since I don’t see a world-view where “everyone’s well-being is considered, and a regard for the environment and life’s processes is a priority,” as black & white.  The other party admitted that they felt challenged by the ideas I proposed and didn’t like the fact that they didn’t have the language to answer my earlier questions.  I imagine that put them in the position of feeling inferior.

Ultimately the exchange ended politely but I couldn’t help but notice the dance of identities and the battle of ego (including my own) that took place.  Afterwards, upon reflection, I saw that when challenged, the other party needed to find a way to compartmentalize what I was saying (and by extension, me) so I could be boxed & shelved without further discomfort.

In recognizing that I’ll call it a discussion complete without any further burden on my self esteem.

Noise

Signal-to-noise ratio (often abbreviated SNR or S/N) is a measure used in engineering to quantify how much a signal has been corrupted by noise. It is defined as the ratio of signal power to the noise power corrupting the signal.

In less technical terms, signal-to-noise ratio compares the level of a desired signal (such as music) to the level of background noise. The higher the ratio, the less obtrusive the background noise is.

"Signal-to-noise ratio" is sometimes used informally to refer to the ratio of useful information to false or irrelevant data in a conversation or exchange. For example, in online discussion forums and other online communities, off-topic posts and spam are regarded as "noise" that interferes with the "signal" of appropriate discussion.

Thank you Wikipiedia.

The last part of that definition is very relevant to how I see the communication/chapter structure of the movement.  There is a lot of noise out there.  Many beliefs, ideas, dogmas, fears, etc..

I've taken this concept and applied it to the chapters I help coordinate.  Simply put - an official TZM chapter is a place to go that has the highest signal-to-noise ratio about the movement, its tenets and the solutions proposed therein.  We are in a global awareness phase.  So maintaining a minimal noise level is a challenge that coordinators are going to have to deal with on an ongoing basis.

Individuals and orginizations have already started the process of trying to piggy-back on the Movement's momentum in size and it's ability to communicate to members around the world via the chapter structure.  Outside agenda's are projected onto the movement (ie. we should be doing "X" )  or (we are not doing anything).  Those are general starting points for a coming manipulation.

There are literally 1000's of places to go, groups to join and organizations to donate to that are doing their own thing.  As of yet I have found nothing that addresses the root causes of our social, monetary and environmental problems as TZM does, or provide a basis for sustainable human affairs on a global level.  In that I am gaining the ability to stay focused on the information surrounding the tenets of an RBE, the social therapy required to make trasition possible and keep THIS converstaion as "noise-free" as best I can.  If people bring in their outside agendas, attacks, criticism, etc. that's fine.  There is probably already a group, cause or political party in existence for pursing those ideas.  I encourage participation in those other groups based on one's interests.   But as far as an official chapter is concerned, that's not what we are here for which makes it important to keep it separate.  So don't be surprised to hear a NO if we don't fund your intentional community, support your NPO, provide resources for your idea, fight for your causes, or side with your political party.  We're not here for that. 

And it's not personal, it's just that here, it's noise.

Q&A - the most adventurous part of any screening

Technical failures aside, the most adventurous part of any event I've attended in regards to TZM is a Q&A (Question & Answer session).

I was part of a Q&A this past week after a screening of Zeitgeist Addendum.  It was well attended.  The organizer found himself surprised that the room was just big enough for the crowd that attended.  Which is always a great problem to have!

There were several observations on my part from listening to th questions asked, but first the phenomena that is common to all Q&A's I've seen done or attended myself.

The customary "Does anyone have any questions?" is of course humorous to me in retrospect since we're asking the audience a yes or no question at the start.  But of course raised hands signify the uniquivocal YES. 

Then the phenomena happens: The 'empassioned' need to express everything they know, object to, or believes at the mic

And this is part of every Q&A.  I was annoyed at this outcome at first, since without any moderation it will ruin the experience for everyone. Because once open permission is given by unlimited time for the person to go on and on and on, a Q&A will devolve quickly because the free-for-all starts.  And the degree to which this will happen depends on the number of agitated viewers and how strongly they were triggered by the film.  So moderation of a Q&A is necessary to actually get to a question to answer.  I finally stopped one person that was expressing her feelings in a constant stream of missing punctuation and interjected "What's your question?"  She responded "I don't have one" and the room laughed, thank goodness!  That broke the tension and was the agreement of the audience to move on.

My realization was to re-classified this phenomena as a good problem to have.  And this leads me to my observations of Q&A's in general.

First: I generally hear the same questions from new viewers of Addendum everytime. It comes as no surprise that the reactions and objections follow a few main themes: Transition, "Cannot be done", Conspiracy (ie. NWO), and Ownership/Property

The theme of reactions show up in statements like the Q&A I recently attended:

  • It's impossible, the people who own the means to produce will never do it for free, you're dreaming!
  • I can't see how you would get there (transition) from here, so how would you do it?
  • What about this (other idea I heard about that I like) are you partnered up with them? (thinks TZM is an npo)
  • How can this be done?
  • God will hate you if he exists.
  • What's with all the bells in the movie, is he trying to hypnotise me into believing the film?
  • computers will run our lives! / technology is evil

 

Second:

There were reactions!  It would speak volumes for these films if the audience was bored and had nothing to say and went home after the credits rolled.

But there was a range of reaction in the audience at the end of Addendum.  Some people related very well to the film.  They felt their heads full, and that's because Addendum does pack a lot of stuff in.  I could see how it would overwhelm someone with all the info contained.  But they saw the merit in what Peter said.

  • some people were angry or confronted
  • some people think it's imposssible
  • some were completely excited about the film and solutions proposed
  • some agreed with the problems and solutions but couldn't see how we'd ever get to a different social structure
  • some commented on artistic issues with the film itself (I love this one since it is a way of expressing that they get the film, understand the ideas and that the subject matter is so important, the film should be edited differently to reach more people)

Someone pointed out to me, after the evening was done, the value of the reactions people had.  Because the reactions existed was a sign that these ideas where making people think and confronting their belief systems.  I thought that was very insightful and put me in the mode of viewing objections and reactions as a positive outcome from now on.

Collaboration

I sat in on a Linguistics Team meeting and heard a great quote  "Collaboration trumps doing everything yourself".  And as we evolve into interdiciplinary teams to solve problems (Systems Theory Approach) the merit of this kind of organization around "how" we do things will become more & more self-evident.

 

As a coordinator this becomes a very useful tool.  Then we don't get burned out doing it all alone, which shows up as being 'at odds' with participation in a social movement!

Always Changing

Right when I think I might be able to move on to the next project things change.  I really want to get to a place where I can speak personally to each sub chapter coordinator monthly.  I'm not there yet. Free website widgets getting pulled offline, page updates, website security updates, egos, chapters coordinators changing.  It all adds up.

I put together a Coordinator-only meeting last week and it was the most productive meeting we've had.  Concerns, resources and ideas where all shared or created.  Committments established.  Better than I could have hoped for.  It made me wonder if we need the ongoing ZMCA meetings at all?  Maybe still for a little while yet.  But as subchapters develop I can see the regular ZMCA meetings becoming fewer.  For anyone with a "I like TZM meetings" itch to scratch, the US Chapter and International meetings are also public and open for anyone to attend.  They're great to listen in on.

Efficiency is always on my mind.  I really want to focus on the communication and coordination of the subchapters themselves (and more with just the coordinators) so our time is spent more effectively vs having meetings for meeting sake.

 

Cheers.

Terms

As a coordinator, a whole new set of terms have become part of my vocabulary over the past year. Such as: facilitate, moderate, coordinate, Resource Based Economy, Scarcity, Bio-Social Pressure, and many others.

As far as an education goes it's more than I took on in college.  Jacque's reading list is pretty extensive and the books Peter has mentioned in almost every radio address he's done has added up fast.  The pile grows faster than I get to it.

The new terms are becoming 2nd nature to me now.  I've read them, written them, and have spoken them so much over the past year that it's now normal for me to think in these terms.  Thinking in a new language has certainly changed how I see the world.  I can now see the outcomes of differential advantage and debt and the social stratification that results.  I understand the problem of profit and cyclical consumption and the waste, and the devastation it wreaks on the environment because of the decoupling effect it has on our relationship to the resources necessary for our survival.

I can only imagine what another year will bring.  With the next film coming out in that time I'm sure my book list is going to explode and more new terms come flowing in.

 

Conversation with an Environmental Solicitor

There was a loud knock at my door yesterday.  A young woman was standing there with a California Environmental T-shirt on.  She was soliciting monetary donations for her cause to "Fight Plastic Pollution".  Or something to that effect.

She was pleasant and exuberant and very much wanting my cash!  I imagined for a moment all the slammed doors or ignored doorbells she might have had so far today.  So I thought for a moment and sat down on my doorstep and asked her a question..

"Why do we pollute?"  She looked at me with a look of "I'm not sure what you mean."   So I asked her "Has your organization looked at why the behavior of polluting occurs in the first place?"  I could see it was a new question.  She picked up her pitch with how her group fights for legislation to stop dirty corporations from polluting.  She then brought up the Pacific Plastic Patch (a swirl of plastic goo 2x the size of Texas out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean)

I proposed the idea that if "fighting pollution" with money was a working solution would we see a trend of our environmental issues to get better (ie. problems decrease).  She agreed.   Then I talked about looking at the trends of pollution on the planet and realizing that the Pacific garbage patch and other forms of pollution were actually getting worse over time.

I finally proposed that "As long as polluting is a rewarded behavior it will continue to happen."  Meaning that as long as there is a cost saving attribute to dumping our problems vs. dealing with them the trends will continue to get worse.  I finally said "If it was no longer profitable to pollute, the behavior would cease."  There I asked her to wait a second.   I think she was under the impression that I was after my checkbook.  I came back with a copy of Zeitgeist Addendum and said, "If you really want to see the trend of pollution to reverse, check out this film.  It addresses some root causes of what you're trying to stop.

She was excited to get a movie, and I could see the pondering look on her face.  I thanked her for stopping by and she asked for some directions on my street.

I have no idea what will happen next.  But it turned out to be a great exchange vs. ignoring the knock at my door.  Maybe she'll turn up in the chapter here, who knows?

In Solidarity,

Jason

 

Welcome to "Coordinator's Corner"

Welcome to "Coordinator's Corner" - a blog of the trials & travels of Zeitgeist Movement Chapter Coordinator.  Check back regularly or subscribe to the RSS feed to recieve the latests posts!

In Solidarity,

Jason