Let’s think through the Zeitgeist Movement: Is democracy an illusion? (and other interesting provocations)
During a creative action recently, someone asked me about whether i’d heard of the Zeitgeist films. Saying that i had seen the first one, and had put it on a flyer of mine, the person then suggested I see the 3rd film in the series (that the second one isn’t as important). I took a look (didn’t get through it all), and got bogged down on the economic coverage, most of which went quite over my head, so to speak. But skimming through it more, I came across several surprising insights and depth of an unusual degree (in my experience of critical thought research, spanning more than 10 years online now).
My feeling at this moment is that I can imagine such a movement becoming an inspiring example, by its inspiring example! (Like, how do they forsee this evolution of theirs coming to the fore?)
i for one would like to see a world where this project is allowed to happen, amongst many other visionary projects (i.e. your lifelong ideas about what such means). This is where my philosophy of bridge-archy comes in. Realizing the value of bridging to a multiverses of ideals, in ongoing processes of becoming (via such things as airing such on Dialogue Shows–rather than mere “talk” shows– and much more creative prime time tv), minus the propaganda (as Jacques Ellul articulates it).
(Do please ask what I mean! Or share your thoughts on Ellul here!)
i do wonder what indigenous traditionals and other anti-authoritarians would say!
Anyway, I took the liberty of excerpting a portion of the words from the Zeitgeist Movement webpage’s Orientation pdf ( http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/The Zeitgeist Movement.pdf ), and here is the part challenging traditional beliefs about our allegedly democratic society; in portions from about page 60 (with my comments):
“Of course, many people often ask, what about democracy? Is this system a democracy? How do I
participate in the system? Do we elect the Interdisciplinary teams?
“In a Resource-Based, Global Economy, where “industry” and “government” are combined into a
Cybernated System that incorporates advanced problem solving database computers, coupled with
vast planetary wide observation sensors, the traditional concepts of politics, elections and the like
have no relevance or basis. While this notion scares a lot of traditionally minded people, it must be
reiterated that our problems in life are technical, and nothing more.
“Democracy in today’s world is an illusion. It always was. People think they have “choice” in our
current system because they can press a button on a voting machine and put some pre-selected
person into power. Once that person is in power, the public then has no power. Did you vote for the
space program? Did you vote for the cabinet of the new president? Did you vote for the tax cut? Did
you vote for where highways or power grids go? Did you vote for the war in Iraq? No, you didn’t.
The traditional concept of a “participatory democracy” is a cruel joke. The game has been used to
give the public the illusion of control for countless generations, while the distorted monetary powers
at the top continue to do whatever they please. There never was a true democracy in any country in
history and there never will be as long as the monetary system is in operation and scarcity is
Yes, deep insights here! How about next?:
So how would a person participate within a Resource-Based Economy?
First, they would interact with the Central Database System program, which would likely come in the
form of an advanced Internet web page which every person has access to. They would then input
their proposal. The Central Database, with its historical knowledge databases and full integration of
all scientific fields, would then analyze the concept for its scientific and technical integrity along with
optimizing the materials required based on current understandings and availabilities. If the proposal
makes logical sense and the optimized resources to make it happen are available, it would be turned
over to the Interdisciplinary Teams that oversee the implementation of the new proposal and orient it
into the system.
Here, I can’t help but to think of Aldous Huxley and the automatonization of humanity. And the alienation perpetuated. And 1984 (the film). And, on science, Paul Feyerabend’s challenges (as well as other dissidents of the alleged “objectivity” of the scientific method, like Theodore Roszak in his book about the youth counterculture).
These Interdisciplinary Teams would be selected and organized by the Central Database Program,
based on what they have already contributed to the system. This is a true “election”, based on what a
person has done, not what they say they will do.
The problem then becomes about hierarchy: who gets to say what is valid, what is valuable.
Furthermore, the public’s fear of traditional “corruption” will have no basis, for there is no reward for
The Interdisciplinary Teams do not get “paid” in any way, for their worldviews have been
expanded to realize that their reward is, in fact, the fruits of the society as a whole and they
contribute because they want to! While this might be difficult to consider for those who have been
fully indoctrinated into the monetary based reward system and feel that money is the only
“incentive” there is, let it be known that every day, all over the world, millions of humans volunteer
for the greater good. In a 1992 Gallop Poll, more than 50% of American adults (94 Million
Americans) volunteered time for social causes, at an average of 4.2 hours a week, for a total of 20.5
billion hours a year!60 This is an incredible triumph for the collective human spirit, for even with the
sickness of self-interest generated by the monetary system, humans still strive to help each other and
give to society without reward.
In the future, those who choose to work in the Cybernated Industrial System will do so because it is
an honor to serve humanity. They will understand that it is in their self-interest to see to it that
humanity lives and works together for the greater good. The reward in a Resource-Based Economy
would be the continual improvement of society for all.
In the words of Margaret Mead:
” If you look closely you will see that almost anything that really matters to us, anything that embodies our deepest
commitment to the way human life should be lived and cared for, depends on some form of volunteerism.”61
In a Resource-Based Economy, participation is open to everyone, because all issues are fundamentally
recognized as technical. The degree to which a person contributes is based simply on that person’s
education and ability to create and problem solve. This is why expanded education is critical. In
society today, the public is always kept uninformed and as dumbed-down as possible. This way the
government can maintain control. In a Resource-Based Economy, the goal of the educational system
is to produce the most intelligent and aware human beings as possible. Why? Because everyone can
then become a contributor, greatly affecting our social evolution for the better and improving the
lives of all.
Summary of Chapter 5:
Who makes the decisions in a Resource-Based Economy? No one does. Decisions are arrived at by
the use of The Scientific Method, utilizing computers that gain real-time feedback from the
environment, along with a Central Historical Database of all known technical information, and
maintained by evolving Interdisciplinary Teams. This combination could be called the Cybernated
Industrial System. This reduces erroneous opinions and subjectivity. We don’t want people in control
of government. We want to utilize Scientific Methods for arriving at more appropriate decisions.
In the end, the only real issues for society in the natural world are (1) the production of goods and
services that are equally available to all, (2) research projects and educational systems to expand our
knowledge, understandings and applications, and (3) the constant monitoring of the earth’s resources
and atmosphere for feedback and possible environmental problems, enabling us to restore and
maintain a pristine environment. Without the wasted energy and resources from going to war and
other aspects of the monetary system, we could address true threats to humanity, such as unforeseen
variables like tsunamis, earthquakes, illness and disease. The only real problems in life are the
problems that are common to all humans.