My Thoughts on the Zeitgeist Film Series and the Zeitgeist Movement
I started the teamsiems.com blog in 2005 with the simple post, teamsiems zeitgeist defined. What I've done since then is to write my zeitgeist - my interpretation of the intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of the world. What I have written up until now was in no way connected to the Zeitgeist Movement, the Venus Project, Peter Joseph or Jacque Fresco. What I've written here are my thoughts, and they are for personal/educational use. The movies are copyrighted by Gentle Machine Productions LLC. The Zeitgeist Movement website says it is "licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License." The Venus Project website says, "The Venus Project operates within Resource Based Economy, Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charitable organization."
In 2007, Peter Joseph (he didn't use his last name of Merola for some reason) wrote, directed, narrated, scored and produced, Zeitgeist: The Movie, the first of three films collectively known as the Zeitgeist Film Series. In 2008, after the second film, Zeitgeist: Addendum, was released he started The Zeitgeist Movement. In 2011 he released the third film, Zeitgeist: Moving Forward. In 2012 a fourth film, Zeitgeist: Beyond the Pale, was shelved in favor of doing something different. [In September I looked at the website and it looks like something different is coming in mid-2022: Zeitgeist:IV.]
Zeitgeist: The Movie
The first film, Zeitgeist: The Movie, blew my mind. It talks about everything from world religions to 9/11 conspiracy to technology to the U.S. monetary system.
Part I - The Greatest Story Ever Told (0:13:12)
The first part is an interesting, intellectual dissection of religions. It explains why most religions have the same allegorical stories - stories that involve the zodiac and movements of the Sun. This part also introduces the idea of the religious myth as the most powerful myth in the history of human beings, and why it is the basis upon which other (i.e. political) myths can flourish.
Part II - All the World's a Stage (0:40:15)
The second part was all about September 11, 2001, aka 9/11, and the conspiracy theories surrounding the events that happened that day. It brings up the idea that 9/11 was a "false-flag" operation: the government acting against its citizens with the intent of deflecting blame and inflaming citizens to act against an accused.
It felt like the delivery and the message had changed from the first part. Maybe Peter was trying to invoke an emotional response after Part I butters-up viewers with intellectualism. Whatever his reason, he changed tack in Part II.
I think the point of Part II was to make the connection between the religious myth (most powerful, basis for other myths) and the power that governments have to perpetuate mythical misconceptions to mislead citizens away from the truth. I think the connection between the parts is too subtle. I didn't make the connection the first time I viewed it.
Part III - Don't Mind the Men Behind the Curtain (1:16:00)
The third and last part is very vague. It looked like it was unrefined, unfinished, and not well put together. It introduces the idea of the central bank and the flawed monetary system. (As a personal aside, you should watch The American Dream Film, by theamericandreamfilm.com).
Part III also introduces the concept of the "invisible government" (i.e. Federal Reserve Bank) which is behind the front government. It owes no allegiance nor responsibility to anyone. It consists of powerful international bankers that virtually run the government for their own purposes. Franklin Roosevelt acknowledged that a financial element has owned the government since Andrew Jackson.
It also spells out how Federal Income Tax - a tax that was never legally ratified by the states - came into being: the means by which we pay for the government's loan of money from the Fed.
One more concept introduced in the first film is that war is good for (bank) business because it forces people to borrow more money (at interest) plus the finance of military production. World War I netted an estimated $16 Billion profit.
In World War II, the United States only entered the war after we allowed Pearl Harbor to get attacked - if we look at it through conspiracy goggles - then U.S. companies (e.g. Rockefeller's Standard Oil) funded both sides of the war effort.
A final point of the film is that our government keeps us (the citizens) entertained and undereducated so that we don't stand-up or balk at its actions.
Peter says, "The last thing the power establishment wants is a conscience, informed public capable of critical thinking. This is why a continually fraudulent zeitgeist is output via religion, the mass media and the educational system. It is in their interest to keep you in a distracted, naive bubble. And they are doing a damn good job of it."
If this is true, then this blog is 90% rehashing of what I've been fed in the media. I don't think that is the case. I think (some) citizens know what's going on and they report it to blogs or the media or to anyone who will listen.
I thought the first film had a mixed message: religion is a myth and governments perpetuate fear against citizens. I don't think I understood the point or how it sets up or connects to the second movie.
I guess the setup is the last thing Peter says on the film, "However...if people ever realize the truth of their relationship to nature and the truth of their personal power to affect change...the entire manufactured zeitgeist that's preyed upon...would collapse like a house of cards."
The second movie, Zeitgeist: Addendum, drills down on the problems spelled out in the first film.
Part I - Institutions (00:06:45)
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
In the beginning of the second film Peter mentions the book Modern Money Mechanics. I think it is important to read this book before we make too many judgments. I also think you should know that Peter was a private equity trader before he became a filmmaker.
SIDEBAR: The Federal Reserve Bank was created in 1913, and the personal money-to-debt ratio has been dwindling ever since.
The book describes (and Peter summarizes) how money works in America - specifically it describes the fractional reserve system. The government borrows money from the Fed (a bank), deposits it into another bank, and distributes the money to the reserve banks. So money is created out of debt and debt is a form of slavery.
The fractional part relates to the reserve requirements of banks in this country: they must keep 10% of their total money in reserve and the rest is free to lend. However, Peter says, the government doesn't actually distribute the 90%, rather, that amount is created out of thin air. But, once received, the 90% "funny money" is loaned out to people and companies (minus 10%), and thus it trickles down to every other bank.
Part II - ()
All of this debt and interest and economic slavery lead to the creation of the "economic hitman." The hitman theory goes like this. International banks like the IMF or World Bank, arrange a huge loan to a country that has natural resources like oil, but the money goes to big companies to build the infrastructure. Then the country is left with repaying the debt. Of course they can't repay so then the big companies come and make deals for the natural resources at greatly reduced prices.
We've done this with several countries and thus we set up an empire. The emperor of which is the "corporatocracy" or the big corporations. They control the media. They control politicians. They maximize profit regardless of the social and environmental cost. There is a name for this and it is "globalization."
So the corporatocracy is doing the same thing to the world that the Fed does to America.
This made me think that America could be vulnerable to "reverse globalization." In other words we might lose social programs (health care) and other nationally vital infrastructure could be privatized - further enslaving us to other countries, like China.
Anyone who challenges this way of operation is labeled a terrorist, and thereby, they can be persecuted as such.
Part III - ()
Part IV - ()
Zeitgeist: Moving Forward
The third movie, Zeitgeist: Moving Forward, finishes the focus on the problem (a recap) and then spells out the solutions.
Part I - Human Nature (0:09:10)
Part II - Social Pathology (0:42:11)
Part III - Project Earth (1:30:05)
He starts with us assessing Earth's resources and tracking our use of these resources This leads to a global resource management system. After we know what we have and how fast we use it, how do we optimize production/refinement of these resources? This is what I call resource deference spectroscopy or quantifying the return on investment (ROI) versus the (health) risks of using one resource over another; he calls it avoiding negative retroactions.
Then he introduces strategies: strategic preservation, strategic safety, strategic efficiency (goods are designed to last, designed to recycle, designed to update). The implementation of these strategies leads to a global production management system.
After identifying resources and our rate of use to optimize their production, he asks what about distribution. Using the "proximity strategy" goods would be produced as close as possible to where they are needed. Do you see a pattern? That's right, a global distribution system which he calls a demand & distribution tracking system. This would insure needs are met.
Then comes the idea of strategic access or use of goods when they're needed. This is converse to ownership which lets the good sit idle when we don't use it; a waste.
All of this leads to a resource-based economy (see Jacque Fresco) or "the scientific method applied to social concern."
Next he proposes the city of the future. It would be circular with areas for food, production, residential, power, recreation, social, and education. This reminded me of EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) at Disney World.
How is the city made? Robots. Machines that make machines and service humans with a diminishing rate of failure.
Peter also "answers" the question of - "so what happens when people have nothing to do?" Will we turn into fat lazy blobs? "No", he says. Our curious, innovative being will reemerge. We'll do things simply for the reward of creating something new, of value, that helps society.
Part IV - Rise (2:12:09)
Some (most) argue that this - Zeitgeist Movement - is part of another political construct. It's communism, socialism, fascism, free enterprise, etc. He rambles on about what the Movement will be called. Then he shifts to talking about how politics is a business and votes are sold to the market and not earned from the people.
Then he talks about the two defenses of the current system: is the monetary-market system the cause of social progress and social bias for capitalism - all others are tyrannical. To the rhetorical question, he answers "no." He says there are two causes for the wealth we see today: science/technology and discovery of hydrocarbon energy. The latter being the basis of our socioeconomic system. Capitalism just rides the waves of the advances of both.
This is where he pulls it all together - in one frightening, doom-filled future. 2030 looks like the critical point: population near 8 billion, oil gone, arable land gone, drinkable water gone, the world's economy most definitely in collapse. This is a scary thought and it's the one shared by Alex Jones who (indirectly) quoted presidential candidate Ron Paul as saying (I paraphrase) "they have set the stage for violence." This quote was in reference to a bill signed by the present administration to convert abandoned military bases into shelter facilities. Alex says these places will be used to hold the people who riot when the economy collapses.
When I went back and looked at the Zeitgeist Movement website it reminded me of Scientology so I went looking for a comparison or contrast. Scientology, to me, is a cult that's not based on a religion - it is a religion; I grew up 5 miles east of their global headquarters. What I found was a blog doing a comparison which has since been removed. Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks the Zeitgeist Movement looks and acts like a cult.
I also saw a lot of anti-Zeitgeist Movement blogs, forums and videos. Interestingly, Mr. Merola, under the shield of his LLC, Gentle Machine Productions, has been shutting down several opposition sites. I guess because of copyright infringements? He has every right to protest it with Cease And Desist orders, but how does that look? To me it looks like you are trying to suppress the truth.
- A 9/11 conspiracy theory movie: Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup
- Skeptic Project Forum: Peter Merolas Incorporated Limited Liability Company
- Anticultist blog (from archive.org): Zeitgeist venus project conspiracies
- My YouTube playlist: Zeitgeist Movement
On the other side of the resource-as-currency concept is Jacque Fresco and the Venus Project. In the beginning, Venus and Zeitgeist worked together, but about 2008 they split.