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Zeitgeist Film: Your Life, Your World

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ZEITGEIST MOVING FORWARD: Your life, your world

IF you were offered an alternative society to the one we currently live within — one that could provide (not promise) a dramatic drop in poverty, a higher level of health care, a rise in education levels and a more functional society, would you fight for it? Would you fight for a self-sustainable system that supports recycling and renewable energy, and, most importantly, holds human concern in the highest regard.

Even if you currently live a relatively comfortable life at present, you’ll at least be aware of all the suffering and violence that persists in the world around us, the increasing levels of stress, illness, poverty, crime and the growing gap between the “haves” and “have nots”. You may even understand that poverty and inequality are the central causes of crime and aberrant behaviour.

Every human being does the best they can to survive and live the highest quality of life possible. The sad reality is that the highest quality of life currently achievable, in technological terms, is lived by a miniscule portion of the global population — less than one percent. This is an embarrassment for the human race which is capable of so much more. And you needn’t blame particular people for our current state of affairs, but you can certainly blame the dominant systems in place that influence such thinking and behaviour.

Zeitgeist Movement

The Zeitgeist Movement website identifies itself as ‘a grass-roots campaign to unify the world through a common ideology based on the fundamentals of life and nature’. It is a free venture that also offers ways that members can get involved. (Image: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com)

Every cultural paradigm is likely to assume that they are at the apex of civilisation. What’s more likely is that future­ generations will look back and cringe at the way we once lived.

Society is on the brink of revolutionary change, which I sincerely hope happens while I’m still alive to enjoy it. I have never been more convinced that the meaning of life is spending your time on this Earth, contributing in whatever way you can, towards improving it — creating a heaven on Earth so to speak. The attitude that “that’s just the way it is” and perhaps believing that everything will be okay when you die, is not only unhealthy, but painfully unproductive.

Every educated person should understand that we are in a continual process of social evolution; that the current state of affairs and systems in place are by no means finite. We are all simply doing our best to live within them. However, as global unrest rises, as inevitable economic collapse continues and as we grow increasingly fed up with our political systems, change, too, is inevitable.

Zeitgeist Moving Forward

Zeitgeist: Your life, your world

This belief system and these radical, almost­ utopian-sounding ideas, are portrayed in a simple manner by a film that is fast becoming a global phenomenon­. Zeitgeist Moving Forward is the third film by director Peter Joseph, who has been placed in the media spotlight several times in the past few years.

The film illustrates the current global state of affairs — the systems that govern our living, thinking and behaviour. But rather than just offering a bleak outlook on life as we know it, Zeitgeist­ Moving Forward proposes practical solutions to creating a better life on Earth for all to benefit from.

The central idea is that of a resource-based economy — one where resources, sustainability, technology and efficiency are at the forefront. It proposes that global stock-takes and surveys be undertaken to assess where the greatest needs exist and then acting on this information.

There is far more to the film that can be illustrated here. I can only encourage you to watch it for yourself and draw your own conclusions. It is being freely distributed on the Internet and the entire film can be watched on Youtube. Advocates are even encouraged to make copies of the film and distribute them freely.

Zeitgeist film stats and final thoughts

Since Zeitgeist Moving Forward launched on Youtube in January, it has seen over 200 000 views a day and has now passed the four million mark. Responses have been predominantly favourable and it is likely to break a world record as the most viewed film in the shortest period of time. With the amount of support that the movement is seeing, it would be erroneous to think that nothing is going to come of it.

We needn’t fear for the future. We can all collectively create a world where the relative success of a country is not measured by GDP, but happiness; a world where we do not have to worry about when out next pay cheque is coming­; where we are not divided by education or financial wealth and status­; and where self-worth is not measured by status and material gain, but rather by our contribution towards creating­ a better world in which to live.

Automated governance ?

AUTOMATED GOVERNANCE: Computer-controlled city centers

IT was predicted that in the year 2010 planes would consist of a single pilot and a dog. The job of the pilot would be to feed the dog; the reason for the dog is to bite the pilot if he or she touches anything.

artificial intelligenceMany people have developed a genuine fear that artificial intelligence could one day take over the world if it got too advanced and somehow became self-aware. Hollywood is largely to blame for this unnecessary fear. The Matrix trilogy is a prime culprit.

In truth, certain sections of society have become more automated or controlled by AI without many of us even being aware of it. Before, pilots used to quite literally guess what altitudes they were flying at, what the weather may be like higher up and use all their skills and praying power to land a plan safely. Today, we use machines to ascertain such information. No questions asked.

One could cite several examples of how our society is gradually moving closer to automated governance — where room for human error is becoming less of a worry. But why are we not making more use of AI forms of governance? We all know that power breeds corruption in governance. History has tried to teach us this for centuries. There is no need to point any fingers.

Automated governance: An artificially intelligent city

Future City

Computer-controlled city centres are the beginnings of an automated governance system

Image: CG4TV.com

Imagine, if you will, a round city that is built around a central computerized hub. In this hub would exist all forms of governance that keep the city running safely and smoothly. Citizens would be able to approach this AI hub and input questions to receive information, such as “how abundant is the city’s water supply”? If there is a water shortage the automated city-brain could offer calculated suggestions on how best to distribute what’s left.

A centralized, automated hub could constantly monitor the air, the earth and the water supply and gather all demographic information relating to a city, which could then be called up on request. Having a machine monitor the air and automatically eliminate contaminants is not new technology. We don’t all have to live in domes to experience the benefits of such. So why aren’t we making use of it?

The illusion is that AI could get dangerously out of control and start using our air and water for its own evil purposes (that is, of course, once a machine­ learns morality and the difference between good and evil).

A different argument is that a computer of that size and capacity would be very expensive to build. This is also not true. A lot of money is spent every year on sociological research — most of which could be saved by having a computer do the work for us. Quantitative research especially would also be far more accurate in an automated governance system.

Automated governance: AI for mayor?

This proposed form of automated governance is not as radical as you may think. It does not supersede all forms of human decision making. Rather, it suggests that we should no longer fear machines, but instead apply them intelligently enough to improve the standard of human living and create sustainable city life.

Sustainable round city

Sustainable round city

In such a city there would still be a need for a mayoral figure of some kind — a democratically elected person to take every citizen’s inputs into account and make the final digital commands. The rest is just paperwork really.

Of course, it would also be wise to start small when it comes to societal reconstruction. As creatures of habit, we are all set in our ways and many people fear change.

However­, I don’t see what’s stopping the powers that be from at least experimenting with such an idea. Perhaps their job security is at stake.

So if any of you are planning on building a city any time soon, please consider automated governance and understand how much better our cities of the future could be. And if that isn’t enough to make the public feel safe and secure, we could always have two guard dogs instead of one.

  • If you were intrigued by this article on automated governance, I would highly recommend giving the documentary film Future by Design a discerning watch. Alternatively, I have written five related articles based on the film, which you can find under A Resource Based Economy.
  1. Part 1: The power of the planet
  2. Part 2: A world without money
  3. Part 3: Incentive to work in a moneyless society
  4. Part 4: Future by Design
  5. Part 5: Smart Homes

Future by Design

FUTURE DESIGN: Applying technology intelligently for a better future

IMAGINE living in a house that is permanently dust free, driving a car that automatically repairs itself, traveling at two thousand miles an hour in absolute comfort, and having the chances of getting ill significantly reduced by living in a city that self regulates it’s air and water by design. These idealistic-sounding goals are more possible than you might imagine.

Future by Design is quite honestly the most inspiring documentary I have ever seen that illustrates just how possible and practical such things are. There is, however, a bittersweet quality to the film: on the one hand it shows how technologically advanced and capable we are – illustrating how the world could be today rather than tomorrow or in the future. On the other hand, it describes how behind we are politically and how future progress is painfully halted due to certain systems set in place.

Thomas Edison had to actually make an electric light bulb before anyone took him seriously and backed him up. The same scenario can be said of Jacque Fresco – the man behind Future by Design. Fresco has been a social and industrial engineer and inventor all his life. Now in his 90s, he still invents and implements his ideas for a new, re-designed society – focusing his attention on The Venus Project – a small 25 acre ‘futuristic’ society located in Venus, Central Florida.

Developed since the late 1970s, The Venus Project is a living model of how hi-tech and nature can co-exist. The small society consists of a scattering of dome shaped homes co-existing in a lush, natural environment. You cannot see one house when you’re in another and the entire project represents how sustainable communities could be created worldwide.

“The Venus Project has a vision of what the future can be if we apply what we already know to achieve a sustainable world civilization, says Fresco. It calls for a scientific redesign of our culture in which war, poverty, hunger, debt, and unnecessary human suffering are viewed as not only avoidable, but unacceptable. Anything less will result in a disastrous continuation of the problems inherent in today’s world.”

Jacque Fresco

Jacque Fresco

And it isn’t necessary for one to have studied science or design in order to understand Fresco and his working concepts. I found my jaw on the floor as he presented designs (in all fields) that simply made so much practical sense.

Even more appealing was the social philosophy behind each idea – that being to improve the standard of living for all people while simultaneously saving the planet. As an engineer, Fresco’s ideas are not part of his own view of how the world should be, but rather how the world could be today and what it takes to start progressing towards it.

Some Future by Design concepts:

  • A dome-shaped home requires the least amount of material to build and offers the maximum protection against the elements due to its shape.
  • By increasing the air pressure slightly inside the home, dust will not be able to enter it. Cleanliness will be a major factor in the future home environment.
  • There is a type of memory alloy that reshapes itself when heated. Cars made from this material will straighten out any dents when heated (assuming that accidents will even happen in the future).
  • Sensors installed in the front of vehicles can detect how far away other objects are and keep a constant distance between them.
  • Travelling underwater is likely to become the future of sea travel as it is far more economical than travelling on the surface of the ocean where one is confronted by wind and waves.
  • A long, thin boat that breaks the surface tension of the water by rapidly releasing air bubbles at the front while simultaneously drawing water towards the rear (propelling it forward) will be able to travel very economically at remarkable speeds.
  • Having computers and machines continuously regulate the air and water supplies of cities and eliminating contaminants will significantly reduce viruses and disease.

The real appeal of Future by Design is the idea of creating harmony between people and nature. The Earth is far more abundant that what we are made to believe and there are even ways of making the planet more abundant by improving nature and applying design technology intelligently.

It is a sad reality that we live in an age where more time and technology is devoted to destroying humanity rather than advancing it; where global equality is greater than it has ever been; where more resources are invested in making a bigger, better bomb rather than providing clean drinking water where it’s needed.

“Social designs must be based on the carrying capacity of the Earth’s resources, and not on the philosophy, desires, aesthetics, or advantages of particular people” – Jacque Fresco

The standard of living proposed by Fresco and films such as Future by Design is by no means perfect; it is just significantly better. After all, the blunt truth is that no one knows what the future might bring, only that we can do a lot better with regards to the intelligent management of the Earth’s resources for the benefit of all the world’s people and protection of the environment.

What can be accurately predicted is that the future of communication lies in 3D imaging, and I would therefore urge everyone to give Future by Design a watch. It should appeal to anyone who has an interest in technology, ecology, people, design and society, and the possible future of our civilization.

Related Articles: A Resource-Based Economy

  1. Part 1: The power of the planet
  2. Part 2: A world without money
  3. Part 3: Incentive to work in a moneyless society
  4. Part 5: Smart Homes
  5. Part 6: Automated governance?

For more info check out the following:

A world without money

IMAGINE: A society without money, laws, unemployment, pollution, crime and unnecessary human suffering …

John Lennon — the man behind the timeless classic ‘Imagine.’

John Lennon — the man behind the timeless classic ‘Imagine.’

I HAD my music player on shuffle mode the other day when it randomly came across the great sounds of John Lennon of The Beatles and played Imagine. There is possibly one verse missing from Lennon’s timeless classic, that being: “Imagine there was no monetary system, it’s a little hard to do. No hunger, greed or crime, humankind living as one.” I’m no lyricist, but I think trying to imagine a world where money doesn’t exist should be an important part of such a song.

For those of you who are not familiar with the great sounds of Lennon, he was basically trying to encourage people to realise that capitalist society is comprised of a series of complex systems that shape our beliefs and values and determine our behaviour. He then encourages us to use a little imagination and envision a world where such systems do not exist. Wise man was Lennon.

I firmly believe that we are a product of our environment. Our behaviour, ideologies and interactions are almost entirely based on the society we are born into, the experiences we have and the media we are exposed to. In other words, our customs, behaviours, and values are by-products of our culture.

No one is born with greed, prejudice, bigotry, patriotism and hatred; these are all learnt behaviour patterns – picked up from the society in which we live – Zeitgeist Addendum

This society has evolved over millions of years to incorporate various systems of control. Today we are bound by systems of law, education, transportation, religion and, most significantly, the monetary system. We take it for granted that these systems are there and find it difficult to imagine living any other way.

In reality, it is these systems that hinder our imaginations, freedoms and human ingenuity. But, we are now entering a new stage of human awareness — a stage which understands that several of these systems are outdated and are in need of serious reform if humankind is to prosper and live as one. And no system is more outdated than our monetary system.

Can you imagine what life would be like if money didn’t exist? Imagine there were no possessions; nothing to kill or die for. Let’s paint a little picture:

An Obsolete Monetary System
money gone forever, because it is no longer relevantThe money-based system evolved centuries ago as a device to control human behaviour in an environment with limited resources. Back then scarcity was something very real, but now we have the technology to produce and harvest an abundance of resources.

Today money is used to regulate the economy, and to say that things have gone a little pear-shaped is an understatement. In truth, all of the world’s economic systems (socialism, communism, fascism, etc.) perpetuate social stratification, elitism, nationalism, and racism, and are primarily based on economic disparity. In other words, so long as a social system uses money or barter, people and nations will seek to maintain the economic competitive edge.

As a result of the imperialistic spread of money-based systems, inequality today is greater than it has ever been. This is because our current monetary system is not capable of providing a high standard of living for ever­yone, nor can it ensure the protection of the environment because the major motive is profit.

Similarly, our outmoded political and economic systems are unable to apply the real benefits of today’s innovative technology to achieve the greatest good for all people, and to overcome inequality. Our technology is racing forward, yet our social designs have remained relatively static. In other words, cultural change has not kept pace with technological change. To make matters worse, science and technology today have been diverted from achieving the greatest good for reasons of self-interest and monetary gain.

The Earth is still the same place; it is just the rules of the game that are obsolete and create strife, deprivation and cause unnecessary human suffering …

So, what’s the solution? Should we simply burn all our decorated notes with a similar vigour as the bra-burning feminists of the sixties? This may be a little drastic, but let’s picture a world where money didn’t exist.

(The following is based on the aims and proposals of The Venus Project — an organisation that proposes a feasible plan of action for social change):

A resource-based economy
To better understand the meaning of a resource-based economy, consider this: if all the money in the world were destroyed, as long as topsoil, factories and other resources were left intact, we could build anything we choose to build and fulfill any human need.

This is because it is not money that people need; rather, it is free access to the necessities of life. In a resource-based economy, money would be irrelevant. All that would be required are the resources and the manufacturing and distribution of products.

Simply stated, a resource-based economy would utilise existing resources rather than money, and would provide an equitable me­thod of distributing these in the most efficient manner for the entire population. It is a system in which all goods and services are available without the use of money, credits, barter or any other form of debt or servitude.

Abundant Mother EarthThe Earth is abundant with plentiful resources. Today, our practice of rationing resources through monetary methods is irrelevant and counterproductive to our survival. Modern society has access to highly advanced technologies and can make available food, clothing, housing, medical care, a relevant educational system, and develop a limitless supply of renewable, non-contaminating energy such as
geothermal, solar, wind and tidal power.

When education and resources are made available to all people at no cost, there would be no limit to the human potential. Although it is difficult to imagine, even the wealthiest person today would be far better off in a resource-based society.

Today, the middle classes live better than kings of times past. In a resource-based economy everyone would live better than the wealthiest of today …

In such a society, the measure of success would be based on the fulfilment of one’s individual pursuits rather than the acquisition of wealth, property and power. Know that it is now possible to have everyone enjoy a very high standard of living with all of the amenities that a prosperous civilization can provide. This can be accomplished through the intelligent and humane application of science and technology. The choice is ours to make. We no longer need to imagine.

• This article was inspired by the documentary film Zeitgeist Addendum. To learn more about The Venus Project or to become a part of the movement visit: www.thezeitgeistmovement.com and www.thevenusproject.com

You can read the other two parts to this series below:
Part 3: Incentive to work
Part 1: The power of the planet
Evolve: A response by Wogan May