Discovering the Zeitgeist

While following up with an internet search on a comment someone made to me, I discovered the Zeitgeist Movement. In German, die Zeit means the time,  and der Geist means the spirit, mind, intellect or wit.  By putting the two words together, like German has a wonderful way of doing, we get “time spirit” or “spirit of the times” as the English translation.  Zeitgeist refers to social trends that occur during a specific time period.  It sounds like they are somewhere in the air we breathe or in the spiritual ether that affects souls.  Like during the 1960’s, for example, which was a time of social upheaval and change. 

The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM), according to Wikipedia, is a grassroots movement that focuses on increasing society’s awareness of the need for global social change for the good of the entire world.  They are peaceful, nonviolent and dedicated to spreading their message and mobilizing activists through technology.  Well, that’s all well and good, but what kind of change exactly?

The first concept TZM advocates is “no money.”  This really caught my attention, because it’s something I’ve been thinking about for years, and I play with it in the Perceval novels.  They approach this idea from a positive position about humanity, i.e. we can overcome how we’ve been programmed since childhood to need incentives to do anything so that we will want to work, earn money to spend it, work more, earn more money, etc.  They propose that this programming can be stopped or just not done in childhood.  Children, after all, before they know about money, are curious, active beings who do things simply for the pleasure and experience of it.  They follow their interests and talents naturally. 

So far, I’m with them.  This process could take quite a long time, which is what I’d been thinking myself.  We need to change our minds, our thinking, in order to abolish money.  But I was coming at it from the angle of needing to replace money, and maybe that’s an intermediate step.  They also advocate abolishing property, which I understand to mean as “ownership.”  Everything belongs to everyone.  This reminded me of Native American beliefs about land. 

Other things they advocate:

  • Automation — to free mankind from repetitive and tedious tasks.  This does not mean, I guess, that they advocate laziness but that they want people to do the things they love, i.e. create.  Creativity is a human characteristic that needs to be nurtured and promoted (speaking as a worker in the creative arts!).
  • Artificial intelligence — to make decisions objectively and to store and retrieve information.  This one makes me nervous — not the information part, but decision-making.  We have machines already making decisions for us, programmed by people, and they are far from infallible.
  • Technological unification of the globe — isn’t this already happening with the internet?
  • Scientific methodology — governing decisions made through the scientific method and not beliefs.  This excludes politics, religion and competition.  They make a point of excluding utopia and communism.  It also takes the notions of money and power out of the picture.  Their mission statement, which is fascinating, goes into more detail, but I wonder if this actually robs humankind of its essential humanity.  We are emotional beings with a psyche and intellect, and our behavior can be quite nuanced and subtle.  And the Zeitgeist Movement itself is a belief system.   
  • Sustainable city systems — creating cities using a unified systems approach for self-sustaining culture as a model for global unification.  I’m not certain what this means, and I wonder what they plan to do with existing cities and cultures.  Does this imply that nation-states with sovereignty will no longer exist?

This movement now has my attention, and I plan to learn more about it because of my own thoughts about the future for Perceval.  Their website looks comprehensive with numerous links to other information and suggested reading.  With humans, I think anything is possible, but when it comes to change, especially major change, humans tend to dig in their heels and lean back hard…..


4 responses to “Discovering the Zeitgeist

  1. Nice post, I like that your being objective and open about the movement and its ideas, it can be overwhelming at first to imagine such a drastic social change and even question if it can be even plausible but over time we can accomplish anything and it always needs to start somewhere! Cheers!

  2. Since writing this post, I’ve done a LOT of housework and cleaning. I’ve decided that “automation” would be a good thing, especially if in the form of a self-cleaning house or apartment, like a self-defrosting freezer. This would definitely free up humans to pursue more creative projects!

  3. Pingback: Would You Work in a Moneyless Future? | Anatomy of Perceval

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