My Problems with the Zeitgeist Movement.

Posted: November 24, 2013 in All kinds of blog posts, often with a very low level content., Society
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The Zeitgeist Movement is an organization with a progressive message. Even though I consider myself a progressive, there are multiple things in the Zeitgeist Movement that I don’t appreciate. Or let me be plain from the start: it stinks. In order to keep this post nice and clean, I’ll simply discuss their mission statement on the international and Belgian website. There is much more madness elsewhere, but even this post is a waste of time… (“Haters gonna hate“, but equally important believers gonna belief).

Firstly, the movement is more than a loose group of people. They are doing their utmost best to organize themselves and spread their message. Thus, the word “organization” seems a better fit. This isn’t only a matter of semantics. They explicitly claim not to be a political organization. The first sentence on the Belgian websites states “The Zeitgeist Movement is not a political movement.” Yet, they clearly have an ideology and work with structures similar to international political organizations.

Secondly, they have a clear enemy, namely, the current social structure. On the website you can read:

The Movement recognizes that issues such as poverty, corruption, collapse, homelessness, war, starvation and the like appear to be ‘Symptoms’ born out of an outdated social structure.

But what is this outdated social structure like? They refuse to use nationalities, classes and other categories, but even if these are abolished in their ultimate dream world, these categories still have a function in the analysis of the current world. Besides, how should we talk about this social structure if we can’t make any distinctions between groups of people? And, if we do make such groups, what should they be based on? And, where does this social structure come from?

The third and most problematic point for me is the rejection of politics and the complete belief in science and technology.  As if the study of science and technology won’t need anymore political decision-making. The website says:

“[…] the defining goal here is the installation of a new socioeconomic model based upon technically responsible Resource Management, Allocation and Distribution through what would be considered The Scientific Method of reasoning problems and finding optimized solutions. This “Natural Law/Resource-Based Economy” is about taking a direct technical approach to social management as opposed to a Monetary or even Political one. It is about updating the workings of society to the most advanced and proven methods Science has to offer […]”

Whenever a movement has a clear political ideology and programme, but refuses the concept of politics and is confident that decision-making don’t need politics, I feel a little shiver. It reminds me of the vile interpretations and terrible implementations of marxism with the ridicules use of the word “objective“. On the Belgian website they literally claim that their ideas don’t need a “subjective interpretation“. The world is clear, straightforward and simple. And, surprise surprise, the Zeitgeist Movement owns the Truth of how to organize the social structure.

Truth isn’t here something that you search and work for in dialog and struggle with others. Truth becomes something eternal, external and in the hands of the Movement. With these characteristics you can crush every opposition. Every action by men is condoned by the Truth out there. It’s fundamentalism at its purest form.

I could discuss their specific views on ethics, psychology and other topics, but in general, they are obviously lacking basic knowledge of political philosophy (in its broadest sense). Some “new” ideas are hundreds years old. But, more importantly, they are often extremely naive and simplistic. Those ideas have been criticized, improved and edited in the past. Unfortunately the Zeitgeist Movement hasn’t payed any attention to this. For example, the idea that we shouldn’t blame individual bankers and CEOs, but the structure of our economy and society as such. Yet, unlike Marx and others, they haven’t made a thorough analysis of this current structure. Or the Rousseauian naivety about the blank slate newborns, thrown  out on the internet in the most un-nuanced and ridiculous way. The Zeigeist Movement might be interesting to motivate 15 year olds. But I hope that they will quickly move to more serious things.

Ultimately, the Zeitgeist Movement is an ideology, it’s politics. Ignoring this clears the way for fundamentalism.

EDIT: “We have to stop delegating decision-making to people and delegate decision-making to a process of rational thought.” – Peter Joseph on TYT.

EDIT: The same comments in a youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTClaNxBkvM

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Comments
  1. […] My Problems with the Zeitgeist Movement. […]

  2. R. Coogan says:

    The main Zeitgeist dude is a puffed-up, adolescent clod, as his makeshift vocabulary illustrates. “Credentialism”? “Falsivity”? Stoned semi-literate foolishness. Wouldn’t hold the attention of a child, but for the graphics and hype (and weed).

  3. terra-ist says:

    My take on it is it is a techno-utopian fantasy media organisation. My problem with it is that, quite apart from whether you’d like to live in a society run by autocratic computers(!), as with other similar movements such as transition towns and permaculture, nothing is quantified. Only a small number of people could be supported in the way they envision and it would mean trading off a large proportion of the population and (depending on how much) most of nature. However, they are a nice bunch of well-meaning, if not terribly well-informed people. I go along because it’s nice to find a group of people who care about sustainability, they show interesting films followed by pizza and are checking out intentional communities.

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