Friday, 13 July 2012

Political Perspectives #2: What is the Zeitgeist Movement? (Guest Blog)

This is the second in an occasional series of posts on the various political perspectives of those involved in activism in the Bath/Bristol area (Part 1 can be viewed here). The views expressed are those of the respective authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Standing Stone.


by Bruce Galliver


Understanding what it is The Zeitgeist Movement exists for can be addressed in many ways. One could take an intricate economic or cultural or scientific or ethical approach to giving information about the tenets involved that would lead to a better world overall. But as Einstein so profoundly stated, apparently: "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."So before I go into detail, I shall start very simply.

Simply put, the goal of the social system that The Zeitgeist Movement is working towards is: To maximise the health of the human species.

If you start at that very base level of what is that constitutes good health in a human being, it is possible to extrapolate a train of thought, completely derived from very simple truths, of how to build a healthy society. Unfortunately this is not a perspective that permeates the general public's understandings and most activist organisations tend to act from the rationale propagated by our current socioeconomic system, that is, to attempt to fix problems within the framework that presently exists. Such as more environmental legislation, harsher penalties for human and animal rights abuse, reducing the monopoly held by big business in favour of local community commerce, a "sound" money system, abolish the federal reserve etc. All of which do not address the fundamental core motivation for the vast majority of detrimental behaviour we see around the world today.

As has been cited in a previous blog post, we live in an overwhelmingly dominant system that makes the pursuit of profit the be all and end all of human endeavour. Although individual motivations may vary, it is the consistently reinforced method of achieving, as basically promoted by the mainstream educational structure. Hence many people define their self worth by their financial status, their identity by their employment and their respectability by how high up the proverbial ladder they've climbed. However, I expect that most of those reading this blog can recognise that as completely false representation of self worth, in place of relating to your environment and your fellow human in a positive way.

This is the kind of mental framework that The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) is attempting to shift the general "zeitgeist" towards.

So with these simple understandings of how to go about approaching social organisation with the goal of maximising health, we must begin with the lowest common denominators of human health, such as food, water, housing and clothing. With this understood, it is clear that these needs can be met from strategically managing our planetary resources. We currently have all the resources and technology to feed, clothe, house and provide clean water for everyone on the planet, but it has not occurred. We must recognise the underlying motivation for that, which as I understand it, lies primarily within the economic system, as unfortunately, sharing does not increase profit margins. This shift in perspective, I believe, is tremendously important to make. Moving from one of a monetary perspective, to a technical perspective.

Eliminating world hunger is completely technically feasible, but it is not monetarily feasible.

It is this simple but huge structural change in our social approach which tends to cause a bit of an identity crisis in those that have a vested interest in the continuation of this system. As mentioned before, many people have invested themselves (both monetarily and personally) in the current system, and for this simple truth to be heard can result in believing this new kind of economy would "take away everything I've earned" or "it's totally against human nature" or "nobody's ever gonna work for free" etc, you get the point.

Unfortunately throughout history, there tends to be a cultural lag behind our current scientific understandings. The acceptance of a heliocentric solar system to the emergence of renewable energy has been far slower than the speed at which they have become evident or technically feasible. The same goes for the construction of a sane and healthy society. It is this cultural lag that TZM is attempting to speed up. To quote Einstein yet again: "Our technology has surpassed our humanity." We have the technology to provide for everyone on the planet, and we also have the ability to cause a global nuclear winter. What happens is completely down to which way the dominant values in society swing.

This new globally, human family, health oriented social system that I'm hoping humanity can come round to, can be termed: A Resource Based Economy (RBE) (YouTube "Project Earth" for a more detailed visual and audio representation of what I'm essentially about to describe).

A RBE puts human and environmental well-being as paramount, and a society can be constructed around maximising these attributes in the most sustainable and efficient way. For example, say that hypothetically, this was understood by the majority of the population, we would locate the areas of land most suitable for agriculture, understand the fresh water supply and how to use and distribute it sustainably and recognise how much housing is needed for the population of the planet. We would also need to make sure we don't run out of these resources, and hence, the tracking of rates of consumption and renewability is necessary where relevant. Over time, we have developed technology, tools that can help us in our labour. Therefore, it makes sense we apply the best technological capabilities we have in the construction of these extraction, production and distribution methods.

All of the attributes that make up the standards of living for any person, are completely technical. Access to food, water, transportation, energy and housing are all technical aspects. Therefore, there is no need for human opinion or politics as it operates today, with regard to meeting the needs of the human population. There is no cultural relativism to the approach that a RBE takes. It is applicable to everyone. Visualising a society which no longer encompasses two teams of blokes dressed in suits on two sides of an old building barking and guffawing at one another may be hard to do, but I'm sure if you understand what I'm writing about, you wouldn't particularly miss that would you? I've watched BBC Parliament with a full house of commons, it's not pretty.

To give an example of this economic system's approach, in a given area, such as a city, there may be a population of say, 4 million people. With an understanding of the amount of nutrients and energy required by that population, agriculture can be locally constructed dependent on meeting those requirements. This objective method of social operation can be termed: The Scientific Method. Although this seems very simple, it is an approach completely absent in the economic system today, in which your access to goods and services is dependant upon your purchasing power. This wouldn't be a case of only allocating resources as they're needed, but assessing demand based on what is the most healthy allocation possible. If there was still demand for the equivalent of a happy meal, then production could adjust to such demands, but in a society such as this which would be far more in touch with the benefits of science and no such advertising, hierarchy and materialist tendencies, people would likely align themselves with what scientific understandings could do for them.

Within the current system, you are only as free as your purchasing power and so it's blindingly obvious to me that this system isn't designed to care about people. A RBE would simply attempt to meet as many human needs as possible. Essentially, we can work together for the common good, or destroy ourselves through unnecessary competition, as is intrinsic within the current economic system. 

So in order to help bring about this society, TZM functions on multiple levels of activism all over the world. However, most of it is an education and awareness approach, in the hope that as the simple truths and ideas permeate society, we can speed up the value system shift before there is total chaos on this planet. There was a global non-profit cinema release of an educational film: "Zeitgeist: Moving Forward" (Which you can find free online) which was shown in over 320 locations around the world, including one in my old hometown of Alton :) I'd encourage everyone to watch it, it's almost impossible not to learn something.

There are also 2 annual global awareness events on behalf of the movement, one is called: Zeitgeist Day, on March 13th which consists mostly of widely publicised lectures and the content of the event is mostly informative. Then there is The Zeitgeist Media Festival in early September, which could be phrased as "An Artistic celebration of Sustainability". In which socially conscious musicians, artists and the like come together to communicate this sort of message through the arts and show unity in an immaturely divided world. In general though, anyone who feels they understand this information well is encouraged to actively promote it in any viable way possible at any time. The Movement attempts to document all it's activism and so you can view hours and hours of fantastic lectures on the main youtube channel, which I'll list along with all other relevant links at the bottom of this post.

TZM is not an institution. It is simply a group of people that support this information that is scientifically derived from the world around us. By being a "member", you do not have to sign up to anything, but just understand and appreciate the information and have an interest to communicate it to your fellow man, or woman. (Although signing up to the Global and National E-mail list will keep you updated).

It is an educational process, and that's really the problem we're facing on this planet.

The movement is organised into groups of people in localised areas called "Chapters", such as The Alton Chapter that I have been co-ordinating back home for the last year or so, and also the recently started Bath Chapter for which I hope this will generate interest (See the link at the bottom of this post for the chapter group).

I'll now finish this post with the ending section of TZM's "Activist Orientation Guide" to summarise.

"There are many out there who would say that what we are describing here, that is the development of a Resource-Based Global Economy, would never happen. They would typically cite 'human nature', the 'power elite' or erroneous technical opinions in their defence. This cynicism has no support in view of humanity’s technical and social development throughout history.
We have come from a world of extreme superstition, abject slavery and extreme racism and social prejudice, to a slowly emerging world of race equality, scientific ingenuity and emerging values that desire to see humanity benefit as a whole.

We have gone from smoke signals to the telephone to electronic mail sent at near the speed of light. Everything that has once been considered impossible has gradually become possible. The Wright Brothers were told by “experts” that it was impossible to fly...years ago people who talked of traveling to the moon were dismissed and labeled as “Mooniacs”. To assume something is ‘impossible’ in this world is a failure of creativity.
If 120,000 people can come together to build a nuclear bomb, as was done with the Manhattan Project in the late 1930s, there is no reason why we cannot come together and use human ingenuity to accomplish incredible social achievements for the betterment of humanity. It is time we unleash our ‘Weapons of Mass Creation’ (WMCs) unto the world. It is time we take responsibility for each other and ourselves. We have the knowledge, means and initiative to devise an entirely new social architecture that can create a world we actually enjoy and flourish in.
Very simply, ladies and gentlemen, it is time to grow up."

Thank you for reading, if you got this far that is!

If you found this post interesting, please consider perusing the following links:

The Local TZM Bath Chapter Group - To stay updated on any local events and discuss relevant issues and media, all opinions welcome :) 

(Please only join if you're anywhere near Bath or it's fairly impractical, anyone outside of the bath area will find their nearest chapter listed in the “contact” section of the national website):

The Global Website:
The National Website:
The Main YouTube Channel:
The Global Facebook Page:
The National UK Chapter Group:
The Global Twitter Page: @tzmglobal

Or alternatively come knock on my door at 28 Livingstone Road for a chat! I make marvellous tea. 

Peace, Love and Sustainability



Political Perspectives Series

Part 4: Thoughts on Cambodia (Dave Stephens)


  1. Bruce, I enjoyed your post and will attempt to find a local TZM group in my area. One of the subjects prevalent in the liyrtature of TZM is of particular interest to me, Monetary Systems. Although the suggested system of ZTM is a free sharibg of resources, attaining a society devoid of economic value The use of money is an innovation that will likely be in use for the forseeable future. The big drawback to money in our current civilization is that it is not properly created or distributed in an equitable, fair or realistic way. I have developed a very involved and precise discussion on this subject in my book Heavenly Economics / Real Money available in Amazon Kindle format and in paperback from my publishing company. The book introduces my equation that can precisely correlate quantities and flows of money to quantities and flows of goods and services. The book contains a narrative that should make the processes comprehensible to most. This book introduces a primary first step that must be taken by mankind in order to create a more beneficient world. Some of the basic discussions included in my book can be viewed at my blog

  2. Hi William,

    Thanks for the comment. I've let Bruce know that you left a comment and hopefully he'll be in touch soon. I've bookmarked your blog and will have a read through later this week - sounds interesting!

    Best wishes

    Standing Stone

  3. Thank you Bruce. I am beginning to see the point.