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zeitgeist movement/venus project

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/ www.thevenusproject.com

A friend recently recommended that I start learning about the Venus Project (of which the Zeitgeist Movement is the activist arm).

And as I've been exploring the concepts, so many things have been coming together in my mind. For instance, I now realize why, no matter how many times I've had it explained to me, I haven't been able to wrap my mind around the meaning of The Defecit. It's because our monetary system isn't connected to any kind of reality!

Jacque Fresco, the founder of this movement/project, started having questions as a young person growing up in the Great Depression. He saw that there was no change in the quantity of food and other resources that our country was producing -- but people were going hungry and living in poverty due to not having the jobs, to generate the cash, to obtain the resources for themselves and their families.

And it's this profit motive, which is inextricably-interwoven into the whole monetary-system, that holds back our technological development from truly becoming beneficial to our Earth and all its inhabitants. We have the technology, for instance, to design and construct buildings that function like trees (photosythesis, cleaning the water supply, the whole works -- I learned this watching "11th Hour") --

Only no one is going to get rich doing this. While there's tremendous BENEFIT in developing sustainable technologies -- there's no PROFIT. So it doesn't get done.

Lately I've been feeling really sad about how instead of getting excited over true progress (i.e. newspapers being online which means less trees being cut down to produce paper) -- many of us are forced, through our dependence on earning a wage, to view such developments with genuine fear.

Instead of feeling more free because of technology, many of us feel increasingly out-of-control, wondering when our current skill-sets are going to become obsolete and render us jobless, possibly homeless, and poor.

One thing I really like about Jacque Fresco, is that he keeps reminding us there is no such thing as utopia, or a perfect society. All of our knowledge is emergent, and therefore our main area of expertise needs to be openmindedness -- a willingness to keep listening, thinking, learning, and changing our minds (I don't have the exact quote in front of me at the moment).

Fresco asserts that we need to move from a profit-based economy to a resource-based economy, where everyone has access to the resources they need regardless of being able to pay, and where we can finally get moving on developing a way of life, and developing technologies, that put us into a symbiotic relationship with this planet, realizing that the health of the planet is also the health of you and me.

I'm coming to this as a believer in Jesus Christ, who also believes religion is largely man-made, and I'm a Universalist which means I believe God has already accomplished the salvation of the whole world, and as a loving Parent, does not require everyone to believe any particular set of doctrines about Him in order to be saved.

So I feel great about working with others of diverse beliefs, without feeling any compulsion to try to convert them. It still feels weird to be joining with a movement that seems to be basically Atheistic in its foundations.

And I'm hoping that others will be interested enough in all of this to join me in a discussion about it here!
post #2 of 5
I know this discussion was started a while ago, but i just found out about the Zeitgeist movement/ Venus project and it's just about the coolest thing I've ever heard of. I really like your post explaining some of your ideas about it and I feel the same way. I just wish there were a good way to get the word put. I saw their you tube video on their response to the oil spill in The Gulf which led me to check them out.
:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9tGy...=youtube_gdata

It was really good about the oil spill
post #3 of 5
I looked up the NZ chapter and read most of their very lengthy FAQ page. From what I've read, I'm not a fan.

The site was extremely vague about who would institute all these changes - it kept using the passive voice. "Resources will be distributed", "people with aberrant behavior will be helped" - by whom? Given that it was anti-centralised government, who is going to do all the distributing, helping etc?

It also said re religion that every man could believe his own religion, but not push it on others. Again, that begs the question of who would stop him doing so; not to mention what the movement considers "pushing". If mysteriously enforced, it could mean religions which included evangelism were forbidden, or forbidden in part; which is hardly the blithe live-and-let-live policy the movement pretends to have. Just another instance of "Our philosophies are right so we can push them on you, but your philosophies are repressive/backwards/infringe on other people's freedom/just plain wrong, so you have to keep them to yourself". Which would be OK, sort of, if they were upfront about it; but they're not.

It also asserted that all "aberrant behavior" was a result of societal problems, lack of resources etc. From a Christian perspective I obviously disagree (Adam and Eve's sin wasn't a result of capitalism or poor prenatal nutrition!), but even from a secular standpoint it seems to ignore genetic tendencies towards violent and aberrant behavior. So the view that people will be well-nigh perfect once technology and ecological consciousness advances enough seems highly debatable to me. It's very Gene Roddenberry, and well - most of Star Trek is spent deconstructing that idea, because it simply isn't believable. There will always be reasons for humans to be corrupt, desire fame at any price, dislike other people, sabotage well-intentioned projects and engage in self-destructive behavior.

I have no problems with some of their practical ideas - returning to a barter system, at least in part, sounds good and I'm all for eco-friendly housing and irrigating barren areas. But much of the philosophy seems partly naive and partly sinister - the kind of thing I'd be scared of if I thought there was a chance it'd actually work.
post #4 of 5
Smokering...

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone! I'm sorry it's taken me so long to comment. I'm really happy to see that some people are taking an interest in these ideas; it just took me a while to find a little time to respond.

Christamom, thank you for that link. It was great!

Smokering, I think everything should be approached with a questioning mind, and I can understand your concern regarding the "how" part. I realize that lots of idea-systems that started out promoting peace and non-coerciveness have turned violent and coercive (even Christianity at times).

I just think we are at a turning-point in history. I don't see capitalism as 100% evil. I think capitalism and the whole monetary profit system have actually played a huge part in many of the advances we now enjoy. I just think that in our current reality, the profit system is holding us back from transitioning into a sustainable society.

There is simply no short term profit to be made from building things to last, or from moving toward what William McDonough and Michael Braungart call a "cradle to cradle" life cycle for the products of technology.

I've just read an awesome article by McDonough and Braungart in the book, Sustainable Planet: Solutions for the Twenty-first Century in which they encourage the development of technological practices that parallel nature.

In nature, all waste becomes food for something else, and these men actually encourage people to move away from a "less is more" philosophy to something that I'll call a "waste is food" philosophy (they mean that technological waste is food for new technological developments -- not that we'll start eating our old computer parts, LOL).

Of course, for technological waste to become food, we have to start constructing everything with non-harmful materials. And the profit drive is seriously holding many businesses back from this sort of a cradle to cradle production cycle.

I see the Zeitgeist Movement as a very important conversation for people everywhere to be having. I hope you guys stick around so we can talk more!
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