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Why aren’t there more black people in your movie?

January 21, 2011 2 comments


Friends,
I want to make a comment about a certain angle of critique I have come in contact with and expand this rather trivial issue into a more important cultural point which many out there seem not to get – even in this day and age.

During the premiere of Zeitgeist: Moving Forward in LA on Jan 15th, a very kind women politely asked me why there “were not more woman in my film”. I responded to the effect that “well – I have to go where the data is.” She, of course, related and I feel her question wasn’t as much that she was offended by there not being “more women” in the film, but more to effect that others might feel some sort of bias by the fact. Fair enough, given the culture today.

So, I jump on a plane and go to New York City for the screenings there at Tribeca Cinemas. After the film ended on Jan 17th I was asked a similar question:

“What aren’t there more black people in your movie?”

At first, I thought he was joking. In fact, I spent a good couple of minutes making fun of the question…only to find he was, indeed, not joking. He really felt the need to understand why, in his view, there were not “more black people” in the film. So, of course, I explained that race is an arbitrary factor on all levels and that I simply do not recognize race anymore and the idea of “politically correct media” isn’t a notion I care about for it is a contrivance which perpetuates a false need to be superficially “equal”… as though I should say to myself: “Hmmm – the film is good – but I think I need more woman, black people, native americans, middle easterners, jews, amish and handicapped people etc.”

That stated, I want to point out something: Data is data and the people who present it are arbitrary.

I’ll state that again:

Data is data and the people who present it are arbitrary.

It doesn’t matter who Peter Joseph is – what race he is or what his background is – what comes out of his mouth is DATA and each person must compute that data based on the merit of the data itself- not the machine (person) relaying it. The messenger is and will always be irrelevant. Humans are merely vehicles for information relay. They learn – they repeat / adjust based on the novel-ness of their life experience/frame of reference/understanding. Those who are biased against data because they don’t “like” the prima facie identity of the person or entity communicating the data are engaging in what I call “INTELLECTUAL BIGOTRY”.

For example, Let’s assume I do a movie on renewable energy and the featured person in the work who is discussing various mediums of renewables happens to be a Nazi… or a Scientologist or a Christian … whatever. Does that mean the info they state is now suspect or biased? Is a film which has a Nazi in it suddenly a “Nazi film” regardless of the context?

Sadly, this is how many people comprehend in this culture. They don’t want to think so they seek to isolate the person’s assumed character (race/background/job/whatever) and attack that… rather than listen to what they say. And yes, I know, I’m Peter Joseph, the “arrogant” , “satanist”, “communist”, “new world order”, “asshole” “megalomaniac”, “cult leader”, “conspiracy theorist.”… but hey – guess what: even if all those labels were true: IT CHANGES NOTHING.

Data is data and if there is anything the public needs to snap out of, it’s the belligerent bias of the “projected identity” notion that blinds people to actually listening/considering new information.

Now, with respect to the need for more “woman or black people” in my film I want to make a critical point: It is nothing but a racist/sexist disposition to demand that the vehicles of data transfer in a film or whatever are of a certain origin; in a “politically correct” context. Again – Data is data.
I call this “reverse racism/reverse bigotry”

Frankly, it is nothing but biased and racist for there to be “puerto rican day parades” or “Italian American day” It is nothing but biased and racist for there to be “black awareness month” It is nothing but biased and sexist for the idea of the “feminist” to exist in the arrogance it often does today. Aren’t we interested in equality? If so- it means that you do not promote your “institution” of gender/race/ideology above others- it means you recognize the historical bias against you and work for it to be “neutralized” – not elevated in a vindictive/ego sense.

I remember reading about Martin Luther King Jr.’s apprehension to the idea of “Black Power”. He knew. He understood that to try to make your race/sex or the like “outstanding” is equality as biased as the oppressive forces that started the sad trend of inequality we see today.

Is there a dire need to generate more equality across race, gender and class lines? Yes. But that doesn’t mean your race/gender/class happens to be “special”. We are human. Period.

– Peter Joseph, Director, ‘Zeitgeist: Moving Forward’

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The profit problem

December 18, 2010 1 comment


In the modern day, there is a great deal of public criticism in regard to “abuse” within the financial system. Toxic derivatives, CEO Bonuses, Madoff pyramid schemes, Goldman Sachs fraud, etc.. These near-constant occurrences are traditionally considered “anomalies” within the current order, tossed on to the front pages of our papers as though we should be surprised by these realities. What you don’t see on the cover of newspapers in regard to such “corruption” are those actions which are, in principle, equally as corrupt – but have been accepted as “normal” under the guises of “marketing strategy” and the “competitive nature” of the marketplace. These include various forms of dishonestly, such as the deliberate withholding of efficiency of a given good for the sake of reducing it’s “cost basis”, to the protectionist tendency of any company to preserve itself, regardless of social function or the advent of innovations which might inhibit a currently profitable practice.

It is important to point out that the motivations, and hence actions, of any human being within a society can only be a consequence of that society’s influence. Stealing, for example, is not a “genetic” trait. It is the product of a culture. Human motivation is complex and the study of human behavior should be at the forefront of criminology, with all relevant attributes of the social system considered as a possible cause. It is no revelation of human psychology, and hence sociology, that if a certain act does not offer a proper reward, then naturally there will be little motivation to carry out such an action. Likewise, if personal gain/reward can be attained through what society even condemns as an “unlawful action”, that distinction truly changes nothing if there is a level of desperation within a given person to require whatever that action may be.

Now, historically, the public assumes that certain actions are “moral” and others are not. Lying, for example, is considered “amoral”, both by common religious and legal codes. But what exactly are they referring to? What level of lying is “real”? The fact is, every single act of monetary gain is based on a form of dishonesty, only this dishonestly is simply re-termed as “competitive”. In the marketing world, everything is driven by “advantage”. The “competitive edge” is nothing more than a passive corruption where competing companies seek to “out do” each other in whatever way they can for the sake of market share. The very act of seeking differential advantage is to be engaged in the abuse of another person or group. Regardless, our social system at large chooses to collar this understanding and instead imposes punitive reactions to what the system defines as “socially offensive behavior” (or crime) while, in fact, ignoring the root causes of most of these so-called “criminal” actions – along with overlooking the other “accepted” forms of dishonesty present.

As an aside, the resolution of “offensive” human behavior can only come from an adjustment of the social system. There is no such thing as a “criminal”, as we are all products, and hence the victims, of the culture in which we are born into.

Now, before we begin, there is one more thing I would like to hesitantly point out. Criticism of the current financial order, and hence the profit problem, does not automatically mean the person presenting such a challenge is a “Marxist” or a “Communist”. Yes, the preceding statement is likely comical to those who are accustomed to thinking critically, but sadly, I need to point this out, for we can rest assured that a great number of people reading this article will simply try to find a way to reduce it to “Marxist Nonsense” – a thoughtless, capitalist catchphrase I have grown quite bored with. One of the greatest forms of imposed inhibition comes from creating associations that have been traditionally defined as “disproven”, “discredited” or the like. This is an age-old propaganda tactic to create uncomfortable, inconvenient and controversial associations in order to derail critical thought about specific “taboo” issues. Like a religion, the monetary system and the “theology” of the “free market”, is no exception. The high priests of our current economic model naturally come in the form of “monetary economists” which work in a field that is provably decoupled from any type of natural scientific order in regard to what actually sustains human life on this planet – which are natural resources and the scientific method. The only viable economic model that can possibly exist in any civilization must be explicitly based on resource management and preservation. The market system that currently exists in the world today is an utter failure in this regard and, in fact, works in a reverse capacity – perpetuating exploitation, pollution, and psychological neuroses.

Here are six problematic attributes of the market system:

1. A “Corruption Generating” Incentive System. It is often said that the competitive marketplace creates the incentive to act for the sake of social progress. While this is partially true, it also generates an equal if not more pronounced amount of corruption in the form of planned obsolescence, common crime, wars, large scale financial fraud, slave labor and many other issues. Well over 90% of the people in prisons are there because of monetary-related crime or non-violent drug offenses. The majority of legislation exists in the context of monetary-based crimes. Also, if one is to critically examine history and peer into the documented biographies/mentalities of the greatest scientists and inventors of our time, such a N. Tesla, A. Einstein, A. Bell, the Wright Brothers, and many others, it is found that they did not find their motivation in the prospect of monetary gain. The interest to make money must not be confused with the interest to create socially beneficial products. In a sustainable society, human motivation would be driven by contributions to society, and hence ‘themselves’ – not abstractly “making money”. The system would be designed to best facilitate the needs of the population directly. Yes, this is that dangerous phenomenon we hear so much about, with the image of blood engulfing the planet Earth, denoted as “socialistic”. God forbid society might actually be ‘designed’ to benefit the people which live inside of it. The fact of the matter is, the profit motive incentive, and hence our competition oriented system, is entirely “anti-society”. It is a pure corruption. The entire point of a social organization is to facilitate and perpetuate the well-being of its citizenry. In society today, the exact opposite is true. People are told they must “earn a living”, which perpetuates a form of superstition that only certain people deserve the “right of life” and others do not.

2. The need for infinite growth. Infinite economic growth is not only mathematically unsustainable, but it is ecologically detrimental. While people can debate the theoretical nature of “capitalism” and how it is “supposed” to function, one thing is historically clear. It perpetuates/requires constant growth and consumption. The entire basis of the Market System is not the intelligent management of our mostly finite resources on this planet, but rather the perpetual extraction and consumption of them for the sake of profit and “economic growth”. In order to keep people employed, people must constantly buy and consume, regardless of the state of affairs within the environment and often regardless of product utility and basic necessity. This is the absolute reverse of what a sustainable practice would require, which is the strategic preservation and efficient use of resources. In a sustainable society, a “steady-state” economy would be in order. This would mean that there is no pressure to consume, as labor is not linked into the feedback loop. While it is very difficult for most people today to imagine a world which does not impose the need for “labor for income”, it needs to be pointed out that the constant requirement for labor is nothing but detrimental in the modern day, especially in light of the growing efficiency of mechanization of labor across developed nations.

3. A disjunct, inefficient industrial complex which wastes tremendous amount of resources and energy. In the world today, with the advent of Globalization, it has become more profitable to import and export both labor and goods across the globe, than to produce locally. We import bananas from Ecuador to the US, bottled water from Fuji, Japan, while western companies will go to the 3rd world to exploit cheap labor, etc.. Likewise, the process of extraction, to component generation, to assembly, to distribution of a given good might cross through multiple countries for a single final product, simply due to labor and production costs / property costs. This is extreme inefficiency and only justifiable within the market system for the sake of “saving money”.

In a sustainable society, the focus would be maximum efficiency. The production process is not dispersed, but made as centralized and fluid as possible, with elements moving the very least amount, saving what would be tremendous amounts of energy and labor when compared to methods today. Food is grown locally whenever possible (which is most of the time given the flexibility of indoor agriculture technology today) while all extraction, production and distribution is logically organized to use as little labor/transport/space as possible, while producing the *best possible goods. (*see more below) In other words, the system is planned to maximize efficiently and minimize waste.

4. A propensity for “Establishments”. Very simply, established corporate/financial orders have a built in tendency to stop new, socially positive advents from coming to fruition, if there is a foreshadowed loss of market share, profit and hence power. It is important to consider the basic nature of a corporation and its inherent need for self-perpetuation. If a person starts a company, hires employees, creates a market and becomes profitable, what has thus been created, in part, is the means for survival for a group of people. Since each person in that group typically becomes dependent on their organization for income, a natural, protectionist propensity is created whereas anything that threatens the institution thus threatens the well-being of the group/individual. This is the fabric of a “competition” mindset. While people think of free market competition as a battle between two or more companies in a given industry, they often miss the other level – which is the competition against new advents which would make them outright obsolete. The best way to expand on this point is to simply give an example, such as the US Government and ‘Big Oil’ collusion to limit the expansion of the fully Electric Car (EV) in the US. This issue was well presented and sourced in the documentary called “Who Killed the Electric Car?”. The bottom line here is that the need to preserve an established order for the sake of the well-being of those on the payroll, leads to an inherent tendency to stifle progress. A new technology which can make a prior technology obsolete will be met with resistance unless there is a way for the market system to adsorb it in a slow fashion, allowing for a transition for the corporations ( i.e. the perpetuation of “Hybrid” cars in the US, as opposed to the fully electric ones which could exist now, in abundance.) There are also large amounts of evidence that the FDA has engaged in favoritism/collusion with pharmaceutical companies, to limit/stop the availability of advanced drugs which would void existing/profitable ones.

In a sustainable society, there is nothing to hold back developmental/implementation of anything, once it has been tested thoroughly. There could be no “Established Institutions”. New methods would immediately be implemented into society, with no monetary institution to thwart the change due to their self-preserving nature.

5. An inherent obsolescence which creates inferior products immediately due to the need to stay “competitive”. This little recognized attribute of production is another example of the waste which is created in the market system. It is bad enough that multiple companies constantly duplicate each others items in an attempt to make their variations more interesting for the sake of public consumption, but a more wasteful reality is that due to the competitive basis of the system, it is a mathematical certainty that every good produced is immediately inferior the moment it is created, due the need to cut the initial cost basis of production, and hence stay “competitive” against another company which is doing the same thing for the same reason. The old free market adage where producers “create the best possible goods at the lowest possible prices” is a needlessly wasteful reality and detrimentally misleading. It is impossible for a company to use the most efficient material or processes in the productions of anything, for it would be too expensive to maintain a competitive cost basis. They very simply cannot make the “strategically best”, physically – it is mathematically impossible. If they did, no one would buy it, for it would be unaffordable due the values inherent in the higher quality materials and methods. Remember: People buy what they can afford. Every person on this planet has a built in limit of affordability in the monetary system, so it generates a feedback loop of constant waste via inferior production, to meet inferior demand.

In a sustainable society, goods are created to last, with the expansion and updating of certain goods built directly into the design and recycling strategically accessed as well, limiting waste. You will notice the term “strategic best” was used in a statement above. This qualification means that goods are created with respect to state of affairs of the planetary resources and with the quality of materials used based on an equation taking into account all relevant attributes, rates of depletion, negative retro-actions and the like. In other words, we would not use TITANIUM for every single computer enclosure made, just because it might be the empirically “strongest” materials for the job. That practice could lead to depletion. Rather, there would be a gradient of material quality which would be assessed through analysis of, again, relevant attributes such as comparable resources, rates of natural obsolescence for a given item, statical usage in the community, etc. These properties and relationships could be assessed through programming, with the most strategically viable solution computed and output in real time.

6. The market system is driven, in part, by scarcity. The less there is of something, the more money that can be generated in the short term. This sets up a propensity for corporations to limit availability and hence deny production abundance. It is simply against the very nature of what drives demand to create abundance. The Kimberly Diamond Mines in Africa have been documented in the past to burn diamonds in order to keep prices high. Diamonds are rare resources which take billions of years to be created. This is nothing but problematic. The world we live in should be based on the interest to generate an abundance for the world’s people, along with strategic preservation and streamlined methods to enable that abundance. This is a central reason why, as of 2010, there are over a billion people starving on the planet. It has nothing to do with an inability to produce food, and everything having to do with an inherent need to create/preserve scarcity for the sake of short term profits. Abundance, Efficiency and Sustainability are, very simply, the enemies of profit. This also applies to the quality of goods. The idea of creating something that could last, say, a lifetime with little repair, is anathema to the market system, for it reduces consumption rates, which slows growth and creates systemic repercussions (like a loss of jobs, etc.). The scarcity attribute of the market system is nothing but detrimental for these reasons, not to mention that it doesn’t even serve the role of efficient resource preservation, which is often claimed. While supply and demand dictates that the less there is of something, the more it will be valued (and hence the increased value will limit consumption, reducing the possibility of “running out”), the incentive to create scarcity, coupled with the inherent short term reward which results from scarcity-driven-based prices, nullifies the idea that this enables strategic preservation. We will likely never “run out” of oil, in the current market system. Rather, the prices will become so high that no one can afford it, while those corporation who own the remaining oil, will make a great deal of money off of the scarcity, regardless of the long term social ramifications. In other words, remaining scare resources, existing in such high economic value that it limits their consumption, is not to be confused with preservation that is functional and strategic. True preservation, which must be strategic, can only come from the direct management of the resource in question in regard to the most efficient applications of the resource in industry itself; not arbitrary, surface price relationships, absent of rational allocation.

Peter Joseph

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