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Zeitgeist Addendum Aug 15, 2010

Zeitgeist Addendum

Rating: star star star star star (5 stars out of 5)
Release Date: 2008
Cast: Jacque Fresco, John Perkins
Director: Peter Joseph
Writer: Peter Joseph
Genre: Documentary, History
Run Time: 123 minutes

PART 3: Venus Project

This part of the movie talks about the Venus Project, a proposed replacement to the monetary system, as presented by industrial designer and social engineer Jacques Frescoe.

Flawed System
First, he talks about the flaws of the current system. Because scarcity is a beneficial condition for industry (to keep prices up), we can never have sustainability or abundance for it goes against the very nature of the structure. Thus war and poverty will inevitably happen. Technological growth will remain stunted and human decency falls by the wayside since we're all essentially competing against one another.

Resource-Based Economy
Jacques proposes to replace the inherently corrupt monetary-based economy with a resource-based economy. This resource-based economy talked about abundance within the carrying capacity of our planet. To wit:

  • reliance on renewable energy (no fossil fuels) - geothermal energy, electric cars, MagLev trains, etc.
  • using technology to free man from the slavery of labor (machines doing most of the work)
  • revamping the educational system so that students learn from a broad spectrum (not just what they need to land a job)

Ignorance of the Natural Laws
Our social values resulting in perpetual warfare, environmental destruction, social stratification, oppressive laws, religious myths, and a despotic ruling class, reflect ingnorance in 2 natural laws that govern the order of things - emergent and symbiotic:

Everything in nature goes through a fluid and perpetual change - a metamorphosis. What we currently enjoy and see now have been a by-product of evolution - the social order, the computer, government, etc. We should open ourselves to change even if it threatens our comfort level. Holding on to outdated structures to preserve our identity does nothing for humankind. The monetary-based economy thrived in an era of scarcity. Now that technology can bring abundance, we should embrace this new social order - a resource-based economy.

Nothing in nature is independent - we are all connected. A change in one aspect of nature consequently reverberates and affects everything else - like ripples in a pond. Pollute the air and we get sick. Deplete the ozone layer and we all die. The bottom line is, we can't be ok unless we make the world around us ok.

   It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
-- J. Krishnamurti

Bringing Down the System
But to make this happen, we need to collectively bring the current system down in order to redesign our culture and values. It's not enough to reform the system because its underlying cornerstone is flawed and biased against human welfare. To accomplish this, he advocates any of the following:

  • boycott the big banks (Citibank, Bank of America, etc)
  • boycott mainstream media and rely instead on internet grassroots news programs<
  • never join the military
  • stay green - reject the big energy companies, get off the grid, drive the smallest car or get an electric or hybrid
  • reject the present political system - this outdated structure only perpetuates the status quo
  • join the zeitgeist movement

Ending Thoughts
I agree with most of what Jacques is saying. This current monetary-based system is inherently corrupt because the underlying hub is profit and not the uplifting of the human condition. This means everything else is subordinated to money. For as long as it's profitable, industry turns a blind eye to polluting the air we breath, polluting the oceans that support life itself and deforestation. This system fosters distrust because we're all working for money through labor...and there's always not enough of it. I look around me and I see glaring validation of what Jacques is saying.

As a species, we've accomplished a lot. We've sent man to the moon, we've gone beyond the atom, and our technological marvels defy comprehension from those who lived before us. But at what cost? Deforestation? Pollution? High crime? Erosion of human values?

My skepticism lies in his proposal to bring the system down. I can't see this happening unless we have a revolution from the mainstream - not just the grassroots. Try as I might, given my openness to this change, I can't see beyond what happens when you indeed bring the system down. How do we transition to this resource-based economy? The details were not presented and thus remain abstract and enigmatic.

From my perspective where 80% of the population live below the poverty line, it's mind-boggling to imagine how you jump from this to a utopian society using MagLev technology propelling you at 4,000 mph as a commute of choice. There's just a huge gap between reality and this next beyond - too many missing steps connecting the dots.

However, as an ideal, I can relate to the Venus Project. How we achieve that will be a matter of mindful evolution as we wean ourselves from the false tenets imposed to us by government, religion and society. Not in this lifetime, but I remain hopeful.

--- TheLoneRider


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