Video Review – Zeitgeist: Moving Forward
By Bhavani Prakash
Zeitgeist roughly translates from German into “spirit of the times.” The movie Zeitgeist: Moving Forward, directed by Peter Joseph was released globally on January 25th, 2011 as a sequel to “Zeitgeist“(2007) and is available to everyone free for non-commercial use as a public commons.
I haven’t watched the 2007 movie at the time of writing, which I understand puts forth some radical theories on religion, the 9/11 event, and government and corporate propoganda. So I guess I got to view this one with a relatively unbiased mind.
The first half makes a cohesive analysis of the psychological, economic, social, political and environmental morass that we have created, and links all of these very effectively – this is where the strength of the movie lies.
Joseph connects the psychological imprints we get from our surroundings to various societal problems including drug addiction, aggression and consumerism. He strikes at the heart of the problem, namely the functionings of the market economy which rewards cost effectiveness and economic growth – a process that conflicts with human and planetary wellbeing.
Our current economic model is headed towards disaster on all fronts. It is also highly inequitable with poverty being the worst form of violence against humanity. Joseph also calls the monetary system a ponzi scheme, because the dollar is nothing but debt, and eventually a point will come when the Federal Government is unable to service the interest on the debt, leading to a systemic collapse.
The latter half of the movie, however, is less convincing. As an activist myself, I’m constantly looking for solutions to various issues, and these solutions need to be viable and practical – unless of course some kind of swift and dramatic revolution like the film proposes at the end happens.
Joseph doesn’t like the word ‘utopian’ but his vision of how we can overcome the problems is radical to say the least. He asserts we can do away with currency and markets with a centralised resource allocation ‘machine’ which can scientifically calculate all of human needs and decide how much to produce and what resources to use and conserve. Sound communist? The movie spends a good few minutes to refute this.
Who’d control such a supercomputing machine that Joseph suggests? The political path to this isn’t clear, and though I don’t agree with the computing idea, we could benefit from some kind of ‘supragovernment’ or a federation of nations, which can make decisions to the best interests of the planet as a whole and all its citizens, especially those with less access to resources. There are many, who support such a holistic view as espoused at the Bolivian Climate Change Conference on the Rights of Mother Earth held at Cochabamba, Bolivia in 2010.
I also prefer a more practical model like Contraction & Convergence that allocates emission targets to nations on an equitable basis, using the markets to penalise or reward those who are on either sides of this target. We also have ways to incorporate environmental and social costs into the market based system – such as removing incentives for and taxing fossil fuel intensive as well as socially destructive activities. We can also redefine laws that can penalise persons who hide behind the ‘corporate persona’ by making environmental crimes or ecocide a crime against humanity.
However there are some very plausible ideas in the narrative such as green transport, vertical farming and cradle-to-cradle design which could well become mainstream in the coming decades. I would have really liked the movie to touch upon one avant-garde idea that Jacques Fresco, the founder of The Venus Project (the ideological basis for the movie) has researched about which could break our dependence on fossil fuels – namely Zero Point Energy from vacuum. This is touted as the ” Forbidden Energy Science” that ‘energy cartels would rather you not know.’
We do have as a society, all the techonological and policy solutions for a sustainable world without necessarily having to go to the extreme of giving up markets or currencies – how we create political will and change is the moot question.
It’s a long and slow movie – 2 hours and 41 minutes, but do watch it, it has lots to tickle your brains with.
Video link here
Further links that may be of interest:
1. The Venus Project is the ideological basis for “Zeitgeist: Moving Forward” It was founded by Jacques Fresco, considered by many as “Leonardo da Vinci’ whose ideas are often ahead of our times. The project strives to create ” a bold, new direction for humanity that entails nothing less than the total redesign of our culture.”
2. The Venus Project Video with Jacques Fresco, the Founder of the Venus Project.
4. EWTT: Why We Need A Law On Ecocide
Short URL: http://www.ecowalkthetalk.com/blog/?p=5619
Subscribe by RSS Subscribe by email
|Connect with us on|