A Resource-Based Economy

December 16, 2010 5 comments

A Resource-Based Economy – Jacque Fresco’s idea of a system where all goods and services are available without money, credits, barter or any other form of debt or servitude – is a paradigm shattering concept. The idea changes the focus of how society works on a fundamental level, causing a ripple of profound implications to permeate all of society. For many, removing the corruption of the monetary system is a logical step, which will manifest our innermost hopes and dreams, revealing a beautiful ideal world. Yet, much of the vision of a Resource-Based Economy is in the future. Obviously, the implications of adopting a new society mechanism will take some time to propagate. However, the underlying aspects of these thought processes are very much relevant to the present. The idea of a Resource-Based Economy is based on logic and grounds itself in reality. Looking to the essence of a problem, the simplest and most effective solution is arrived at. This is not some futuristic goal. It is simply a way of looking at problems from a reality-based perspective. A Resource-Based Economy is simply an extrapolation of solutions arrived at by thinking in this way. We can all do this now, today. Using the scientific method and in accordance with nature, we can develop solutions to our problems that will exhibit efficiency and thoughtfulness. Working with reality is a lot simpler and more effective than working within the constraints of an illusion such as symbolic resources or falsely perpetuated scarcity. In doing so, we reach many incredible conclusions.

Jacque Fresco’s designs are the result of looking at a problem from outside the efficiency-crippling, profit-obsessed, people-manipulating, environment-disregarding corruption of the monetary system. Efficiency, simplification, and thoughtfulness are natural by-products of this way of thinking, which result in further benefits such as innovation, kindness, and peace.

So you see, a Resource-Based Economy is not some far off, futuristic notion. It is a fundamental shift of our focus that results in profound benefits. The amazing visuals of the technological wonders of the Venus Project, and the dream of a world without corruption and pain, are what the Venus Project can be.

However, we can individually achieve the ideals of a Resource-Based Economy today, without wondering how to achieve the incredible world that Jacque has already portrayed for us. All we need to do is become our own proliferation of rationality – crafting simplicity, efficiency, and kindness.

Stuart Dobson

The Scientific Method Exposed!

December 16, 2010 Leave a comment

I never thought it would really happen to me! I know it sounds cliché, but… really… I didn’t! I had already come to the conclusion that the rate of crime is simply overblown in the mass media… however, probability decided to drop in and pay a visit. A simple reminder of the nature of life in general, and that sooner or later you’re going to experience something that is so deviated from your normal expectations of this world that you can do nothing else but sit back and watch how it affects you.

My day started particularly well, actually, when I walked out my door yesterday on one of the first, real spring days in Houston, Texas. The air has a distinct quality in it when the real change occurs between the seasons here, and the extra electric nature of new life is more palpable.

I strode to my car, unlocked it, got in, and while tossing my purse onto the passenger seat, I noticed a rectangular-shaped ‘thing’ on the floorboard. Having no frame of reference for such a ‘thing’ occurring there before, my mind failed to grasp a definition. I sat up in a state of confusion, and saw my middle dash looked odd as well. It didn’t click at first… I actually consciously observed the few seconds of time-lag. Up until now, 100% of the instances where I’d gotten in my car, I had observed the same interior surroundings. I was now dealing with a new exception to the rule that my mind had created, which was “Every time I enter my car, I see the same scene.” Having a different scene before my eyes was, well, quite an education.

The measurable time-lag experienced occurred because my observation did not immediately yield a known conclusion, thus the synapses in my brain searched my databanks and linked together some kind of correlation that yielded a brand new determination. My conclusion, after LITERALLY not recognizing what I was seeing, was “Oh, wow, my center air vents are ripped out, and my stereo is about an inch more forward than it usually is… someone must have tried to rip it out!” Someone tried to yank my car stereo. ‘Tried’ is the operative word here, because it was obviously amateur night at the Apollo.

I’ve learned over the past few years to not panic, thanks in part to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, loads of meditative practice, and self-inflection, so I was able to actually observe the event from a 3rd-party perspective instead of immediately entering a state of shock. What I learned from this experience is fascinating to me, and hence led to the basis for this article on exploring the realm of science as the methodology which humans inherently use to learn about the world around them and their place within it. Yes, this methodology is emergent indeed, as you will soon see.

In short, everyone uses the scientific method every day, all the time. This is simply the process by which we intake data through our 5 senses from our environment, create databanks in our brains, and then use whatever critical thinking skills we learn from other humans to process/link this data… and, of course, draw conclusions. So, everyone is a scientist! Yes, even those of you too cool for school, deal with it. Most people don’t consciously run through the steps of the scientific method to make decisions in their lives. However, the method is simply the description of this process which happens naturally and, after a certain point in our childhood development, instantly for everyone. Most simply put, your environment shapes who you are by providing the type of data you are exposed to and, it is very important to note, the processes by which you use to make decisions based on the data you’ve gathered. These processes for decision making are also learned from your interaction and observation of other people’s processes.

We emulate those around us as we learn; we take on their processes. You can see this when two children are playing together, they will most likely take on roles of pretend which emulate the adults in their lives. One will pretend to smoke a cigarette like her mother does and the other will pretend to speak as his father does. My political science professor in college once gave us a lesson on logical thinking. She told us several stories about her mother attempting to protect her from physical harm, her mom would tell her things like “Don’t touch the light socket! Rats will jump out of it and eat your eyeballs!!!” Of course, most likely no one has ever experienced this event, but in the attempt to control my professor’s behavior as a child, her mom had also unconsciously given her a lesson in logic. My professor shared with the class how it took her years to figure out how to think rationally and retrain herself to respond to certain situations without jumping to abject fear of the irrational or unknown. She ended this treatise by saying “Please, teach your kids logic, let them know the truth, because simply aiming to protect them will cause misery.” I’ll never forget that speech.

Another valid point is that if we don’t know why and how people do things differently elsewhere, our data set is somewhat limited, thus we do not have the opportunity to allow that data to enter into our decision-making process. Ignorance is not to our ultimate advantage in a world where it is swiftly becoming more evident that the globe is truly so interconnected on many levels, ecologically and otherwise.
When I introduced these concepts at the ZDAY 2010 event, an audience member stated with a surprised look, “Interesting way to look at it, I’ve never thought of it that way.” Indeed, I can say with some confidence that not one person goes about their day in every moment consciously using the scientific method. Can you imagine how that would go! “Now that I have stated the hypothesis as ‘I need a volume of 8 ounces of water to fulfill my biological conditions.’ to address the question of ‘Why do I feel thirsty?’, owning that my research into the subject produces vast sources of data as studies have already taken place regarding water as a key element in the functioning of biological organisms. Thus I will perform the experiment of drinking 8 ounces of water and will record the results of this experiment every 2 minutes to determine if my thirst does indeed subside as theorized…”

As you can see, consciously using this process in EVERY moment is not the most efficient way of using the method, hence, the emergent nature of the methodology itself. Every time you drink a glass of water, and you are not thirsty any longer, you reinforce this conclusion without ever having to consciously think about it. Wow – right?!?!
The steps themselves are simple really. Step one is “Ask A Question.” Umm, done and done. Isn’t this mostly what we do as humans anyway? Step two is “Gather Relevant Research.” Okay, this is the biggie as far as I’m concerned, the one that got away. People tend to skip or glaze over this one quite frequently, even within communities where the scientific method is known and revered. Ego alert: you don’t know it all just because you sat through a few classes! Step three is “Construct A Hypothesis.” Easy enough, because you have already researched your topic you should have plenty of different ideas how to answer your question. Pick the one with the most research behind it to start. Step four is “Test Your Hypothesis By Doing An Experiment”. Duh!!! How will you know if your proposed answer is right if you never test it out? And the closer to real world conditions the better; experiments don’t just happen in a laboratory, that’s actually the exception. Step five is “Analyze Your Data and Draw (a) Conclusion(s).” Okay, so you ran your test. Does the evidence say you could be right or wrong? And finally, step six is “Communicate Your Results.” Tell other people, even if your experiment proved your supposed answer was wrong. Give others the opportunity to test out your theory as well.
All experiments are important, because they either rule out or leave open possible answers to our questions! Thomas Edison himself said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” How could he have been such a prolific inventor if not for ruling out so many alternatives, and learning from his failed experiments? This is how the scientific method truly works.
Okay, so now you know the method! However, how do we know how true or real a conclusion is once we’ve reached one? How do we know we’ve analyzed the data using the best statistics and methods? How do we know we didn’t start out with a bias built into our experiment which skewed the results from the start? Is there a better way to test the hypothesis? How can we trust previous findings within researched reports and previously gathered data? These are questions that scientists deal with everyday, and these are equally valuable concerns when using the scientific method in our everyday lives.
Yes, I do mean VALUABLE concerns. These concerns can shed valuable insight on conclusions embraced by popular culture and the mainstream ideologies, but don’t get addressed frequently enough by most of us. These concerns are truly the crux of the matter since the method is only as good as it’s implementation. Faulty or limited data = faulty or limited conclusions. It’s that simple. If you think that the sky is blue because your dad told you that it’s a gigantic mirror reflecting the blue of the oceans, and you have never heard or attempted to find any information to the contrary – this will be your conclusion. It’s very poetic, it’s a nice story, but is it true?
So, we need to check our results over and over. Ask different questions about our results and probe them from different angles. We have to make sure what we know is reliable, and when used, the scientific method allows us to move in the direction of greater and greater certainty. How cool is that!
To end, I’ll simply state that I am certainly glad I had another experience that shook my perception up a bit. After shoving the air vents back into the dash, I found out my car stereo actually still works! So, there’s no real harm done as far as I’m concerned. I relish these out-of-the-ordinary occurrences now, because I learn so much and they allow me to expand my views more and more. Encompassing as full a spectrum of understanding as possible has always been one of my main goals in my life, and I hope that I have encouraged this within you. Experience life… and know that the more you do, the more your banks fill with varied data. And the more you know about processing that data, the truly better off we all are on this shared planet.

Karen E. Siragusa

Where are we now?

December 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Welcome the first official issue of The Zeitgeist Movement’s Newsletter. I would like take a moment to review the history of The Movement’s developments during the short period since its inception in late 2008.

As most reading this document already know, The Zeitgeist Movement is a sustainability advocacy organization which is fundamentally built upon/ inspired by the social ideas of Jacque Fresco of The Venus Project. It isn’t the scope of this article to run down the vast and rather complex tenets of The Movement. However, I would like to give a basic overview here. Please go to our website and review our free materials if any of the below is not familiar to you.

The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) seeks to transition into a new social system, called a “Resource-Based Economy” which seeks to base social organization on Resource Management and Preservation as the initial starting point of all relevant earthly decisions. In turn, we wish to see Science and Technology be used liberally for the greater social good, including the scientific reorientation of Labor, Production, Distribution and hence Industry at large. This can be done through a “Systems Theory” approach to a global technological management infrastructure. “Politics”, as we know it today, is considered outdated in the view of The Movement, for it is an institutional by- product of ancient folkways of human relations that pre-dates the advent of modern scientific understandings. Politics inherently prefers “opinion” to “fact”. In other words, Government today acts in accord with vested interests, not objective scientific reasoning. This is largely due to the nature of the monetary system and how it has evolved since its early conception.

TZM sees the Monetary System of Open/Free Market Competition as the fundamental cause of the majority of the social problems that exist in the world today, including War, Poverty, Crime, Personality Disorders, Pollution and Violence. While the Monetary/Market system has served an important evolutionary role historically, our organization no longer sees the merit in these ancient, provably unsustainable traditions. The unspoken reality of the Market system is based, in part upon two fundamental flaws.

  1. The assumption of infinite resources and hence a system driven by wasteful consumption rather than conservation
  2. The idea that employment (Labor for Income) for each human being is an empirical possibility, when the exponential increase of technology is systematically replacing human labor through mechanization, driven by the need for employers for reduce their cost basis in order to remain competitive in the marketplace.

For more details on this issue, please read “The Profit Problem” printed in this newsletter. In the end, not only does the current economic/production/distribution system pose inherent limitations on our ability to create an “abundance” for all the worlds people, it is leading us down a path towards social failure, foreshadowing a series of crises which are likely inevitable if the current model isn’t adjusted.

As of late June 2010, TZM website has been viewed by tens of millions of people; We have over 412,000 subscribed Members from nearly every country; Over 43,500 Forum Users on the Global Site; We have 46 official country (international) chapters and over 200 sub- chapters internationally. Our two previous annual event days (Zeitgeist Day), which occurred in Mid March have had sold out audiences across the world, with the prior event day having over 330 events in 70 countries (see zday2010.org). We have had international recognition in both the independent and mainstream media, including the New York Times in America.

Needless to say, we are progressing very well. Just recently we launched an aesthetically driven project which introduces socially conscious media in the community, called the Zeitgeist Media Project (zeitgeistmediaproject.com). Likewise, we have numerous other projects in the works, all geared towards bringing awareness to this new social direction. Let is be known that we are in a preliminary phase in the Movement and increasing awareness is the most important step. After this is done, physical projects and larger, more targets actions will be taken.

We feel the current problems of pollution, unemployment, depletion, crime, poverty, war and general social instability are likely to continue and grow given the nature of the system and what it reinforces. TZM sincerely hopes that we can begin a move out of our current model before it is too late and that is the central role. The first step then, is mass global awareness of an alternative. We hope you will join us, if you haven’t already.

Peter Joseph