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Eine Kleine Zeitgeist April 19, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Life Balance, Sustainable Living.

220px-Pig_roastbeefApathy is inertia in action ~ nothing goes anywhere.

Those suffering from extreme cases of apathy sit around like blobs of Play~Doh, commiserating with each other about the state of the world.

When challenged to do something to change the world for the better, they shrug in resignation at their “fate” and go back to doing what blobs do best.


Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can be aroused by two things:  first, an idea which takes the imagination by storm; and second, a definite, intelligible plan for carrying that idea into action.

~ Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975)

Now, I am NOT admitting to being an apathetic blob of Play~Doh generally, but Saturday morning, when Chad shot the link for The Zeitgeist Movement my way, my general physical and mental functioning resembled “apathy in action,” with certain Play~Doh like characteristics.

Since my analytical brain would have spent its time criticizing and nit-picking every little point with which it disagreed, I just turned that half of my brain off ~ easy to do that morning since it was still sound asleep from Mad Hatter’s Almost Eco-Friendly Tea Party.

I proceeded to read The Zeitgeist Movement with my creative brain and discovered, to my surprise (and Chad’s), that it was the “shot in the arm” that I needed that morning.  The creative vision for the future “took my imagination by storm” ~ acting as an antidote to my apathetic countenance.

In short, I was wowed by the idea of living in a world with no currency, no corruption, no greed, no property, and no politicians . . . especially since the planners promised there would be liberty, equality, and abundance for all.  More on this subject in future posts.

Yesterday, my initial burst of enthusiasm deflated rapidly like a tired balloon because . . . the analytical side of my brain is decidedly less enthusiastic about the project than my creative side.

Paramount of those reasons ~  The Venus Project does NOT have “a definite, intelligible plan for carrying [the] idea into action.”  Instead, it vaguely envisions all countries simultaneously (1) replacing current governments with computers to oversee things; (2) building new robotic cities while leaving the old cities as empty shells; and (3) abandoning money as a unit of exchange, and nationality as a symbol of pride.

Absent some colossal brain-washing scheme, I don’t see that happening even if (a big if) everyone on the face of the planet became convinced that  implementing the idea would be in everyone’s best interest.


Because we don’t trust one another enough.  We have been socialized to compete, not cooperate.  That distrust is unlikely to evaporate in a single puff of compassionate Zeitgeist smoke.  Especially since some of that competitiveness is hard-wired into us ~ in the reptilian portion of our brains which pre-dates civilization by a wide margin.

The authors of The Zeitgeist Movement disagree, insisting that we are the products of our environment.  They argue that, once we change the environment from greed-based to need-based, we will follow suit.

They are convinced that nurture (i.e., socialization), not nature (i.e., genes), has the most influence over our development.  In support, they cite a few articles, and toss a few treatises around.  But they rely on anecdotal evidence, rather than hard science to support their hypotheses that “human nature” will change in significant measure.

The more my analytical brain considered the issue of getting from here to there, the more stumbling blocks it ran into.  In many ways, it doesn’t really matter whether nature or nurture is responsible for who we are (and how we act) right now.  The fact remains . . . we are who we are.

Even if (another big if) we ALL wanted to change, our egos are not likely to step aside and allow us to change overnight.  Among other things, ego is unlikely to enthusiastically embrace the idea that computers and robots can run things better than we can.  More on this subject in future posts.

In short, the antidote to apathy offered by The Venus Project is not fully developed yet.  There is much work still to be done to complete the second half of the equation.  A creative idea is a wonderful start, but it’s not enough to sustain people’s interest for long.

To achieve our dreams for a sustainable future, we must allow creative ideas to fire our imagination with enthusiasm ~ and then rein in that enthusiasm long enough to create a workable plan to bring our creative ideas into being.

To be continued in Eine Kleine Zeitgeist ~ part 2.


1. Loreen Lee - April 19, 2010

Quite a utopia here. Entirely unrealistic as far as I am concerned. I would prefer religion to another ideology, like Communism. and the National Socialism. At least all the major religions recognize the need for individuals to change themselves, if they don’t call it repenting, that is transforming the self through recognizing our faults, they have the Buddhist sense of reflecting on the ‘seeds’ of our karma. Don’t mean to offend, but I’d go with the religious before giving allegiance to anything that strikes me as a ‘false promise’, or even ‘false profit’. grin grin.

2. nrhatch - April 19, 2010

I find religion entirely too divisive ~ people argue, fuss and fight over which religion is the “one true religion.”

Wars are fought over it.
Families are divided over it.

Rather than being a unifying influence, it pushes people apart . . .

If we want to create a sustainable future for this planet, we need to find a way to bring people back together ~ to let go of their allegience to religions, nationalities, cultures, and other divisive mentalities long enough to recognize our unity.

One people ~ One planet ~ One future.

3. Shane Nolan - April 23, 2010

nrhatch – your lucky you didnt get sucked into that cult because thats what it is- a cult and nothing more.You can simply google
“zeitgeist is a mind heist” by anticultist where ex members spill the beans on the bullying,intimidation,ignorance,shady financial practices and outright lying carried out by most of the members and even the three leaders of this group(who have threatned genuine groups with legal).I mean they actually believe in a “end times” that will make all the of the world abandon the worlds cities and live in spacy hippie colonies that look that something out of a very bad 1950’s movie.

A blog by anticultist for ex-members who left or were kicked out

Analysis by a former supporter

Here is one critic who after being berated for politely wanting to debate the points made by the group was pushed to banning all the bullying and finally snapping(although he was been forced to use langauge – be warned)

nrhatch - April 23, 2010

Thanks for the links.

Most ideas (both good and bad) have proponents and opponents ~ all of whom are convinced that their view of the world is the “best and most correct” view of the world.

Generally, they are mistaken.

Truth lies most often not in fields of black and white but in shades of gray . . . between the diametrically opposed viewpoints.

4. Shane Nolan - April 23, 2010

I might seem like im personally attacking the group but the fact remains there are serious problems present in the group that they are unwilling to address that could bog down the movement such as lack of transparency regarding funds, the cases of bullying etc(as they would leave the group easily open to attack from politicians,pundits and journalists etc.).Id like to see an RBE as proposed by the group come true but as you presented in your series of blogs there is no solid evidence either in terms of science or sociology that gives weight to the claims made(not to mention the “transition”). If they had any sense they would get these problems sorted out before attempting to go mainstream but unfortunatley the way its been handled now is similar to what happened with Al Gore and the environmentalist movement – five years down the road all the flaws they could have sorted out beforehand will turn against them and with society saturated with their rheoteric they’ll slowly dissapear and become nothing more than the group that could have changed the world for real .Its a good idea but they’re making the same mistakes all over again.

nrhatch - April 23, 2010

Shane ~

That’s my point.

Why waste time attacking or supporting “the group” ~ how does that advance the ball?

Why not discuss the ideas ~ and build upon them ~ until we have something that not only sounds good on paper . . . but is implementable in real life.

5. Shane Nolan - April 23, 2010

Yeah I know I admit I can be a bit over passionate and everything but i’ve tried(alongside others) to engage in proper debate. It can be easy to share and discuss ideas as well as constructive criticism with the members lower down in the hiearchy but trust me when you try and adress this with the fanatics in the higher levels of the group(who have very little people skills and no scientific background at all) you either are going to be ignored or just outright banned(as far I know one of them was kicked out for outgrowing this fanticism). As a science graduate student,environmentalist and anti-poverty campaigner this group has really tested my patience to the nth degree. As I said JF,RM and PJ are going to have learn to listen to people who dont entirly agree with everything they say or else this is going to fail(Jacque seems stubborn with regards to the designs and the “science” while Peter still keeps defending conspiracies despite what he has publicly stated). If you yourself or anyone else at this blog encounter such problems by yourself you should check out the rbefoundation.com its a group of mostly ex members who had no choice but to leave an have already solved the problems – there are other splinter groups such as theresourcebasedeconomy.org that have been formed due to the inaction of this “activist group”.

nrhatch - April 23, 2010

Thanks again, Shane.

I’m just in an information gathering mode ~ not looking to join any groups. So, I’ll give your links a look:


6. Shane Nolan - April 28, 2010

I just thought you should have the information to allow you and your readers to make an informed decision .

7. nrhatch - April 28, 2010


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