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  • Understanding The Zeitgeist Movement Critics: Malicious Intent or Innocent Ignorance?

  • Hello, my name is Peter Joseph and this is a July 15th 2012 video essay.

  • I haven't done an essay in a while so I decided it would be about time.

  • This video is going to quickly address some persistent misinterpretations of the Movement

  • which originate from researchers and reporters

  • which, frankly, should know better.

  • Please understand that there are many people out there who oppose or object

  • to various issues brought up by the Movement.

  • But at least they do so in a way that actually has some basis

  • with respect to what the Movement is and does.

  • I have nothing but respect for those who oppose us with

  • general consideration and diligence in the process of their criticism.

  • As the old saying goes: "If we all agreed there would be no progress."

  • So this essay is not to denounce general critics of the Zeitgeist Movement

  • who have done basic, fundamental research of the Movement

  • and communicate their ideas and objections in a mature, respectful way.

  • That's amazing and great.

  • In fact, I want to bring on notable critics of the Movement

  • to The Zeitgeist Movement's global radio show

  • to speak with me and others directly about their objections.

  • Unfortunately a lot of people out there prefer to just criticize from afar.

  • And I'm sorry to say, if any researcher or reporter is not willing to interact

  • with those persons or groups they choose to criticize,

  • being open to change their disposition through new clarifying information,

  • their integrity is instantly void.

  • We live in a very different world today with the age of the Internet

  • and now everyone has the ability and freedom to present

  • their ideas and criticisms of the world.

  • However, as with all freedom comes increased responsibility.

  • And one-sided closed attacks are simply intellectually unjustifiable,

  • whether intended or not.

  • At any rate, if you would like to suggest somebody for our global radio show

  • please email media@thezeitgeistmovement.com

  • with the subject line 'TZM Objections'

  • and we will work to bring them on, so we can understand their criticisms better.

  • Okay, back on point.

  • The trigger for this essay was my recent discovery

  • of an apparently peer-review style article published in 2011

  • in the 'Journal of Contemporary Religion'

  • called 'The Emergence of Conspirituality'

  • by Charlotte Ward and David Voas.

  • I discovered this article by stumbling upon the current state

  • of The Zeitgeist Movement's Wikipedia page

  • which sadly undergoes constant edit-wars by some very persistent

  • and clearly anti-Zeitgeist Movement gatekeepers

  • that subtlely pollute and distort what The Zeitgeist Movement actually does.

  • You know as much as I appreciate Wikipedia's democratic platform

  • which is truly amazing in most cases,

  • when it comes to anything controversial

  • or seemingly subjective in interpretation,

  • you often end up with ongoing edit-wars,

  • and only the most persistent and aggressive will win.

  • In such a context, Wikipedia is not about truth and proper representation,

  • it is simply about aggression and persistence

  • and those with the most time, evidently, will win.

  • Anyway, while I never take Wikipedia seriously as a source on that basic level,

  • I am still very much amused by what surfaces in this sort of entertainment aspect

  • with respect to the ongoing debasing of The Zeitgeist Movement there

  • through deliberate misinterpretation and spin by its gatekeepers.

  • My favorite part is the current Criticism section,

  • not only because none of the criticisms actually have anything to do

  • with The Zeitgeist Movement's interests and intents,

  • but also because of how much it outweighs in focus

  • the other flimsy statements that appear to express

  • what The Zeitgeist Movement is,

  • actually providing no real information of relevance at all.

  • Just a hodge-podge of prima facie and trajections

  • that ignore mostly everything the Movement advocates,

  • harping instead on my personal unrelated artistic expressions,

  • the Zeitgeist film series,

  • specifically my first film,

  • which was made years before the Movement was even realized

  • and has no direct connection at all

  • with respect to the Movement's interests.

  • And for those familiar, it's nothing new,

  • we have endless 9/11 conspiracy relationships

  • from the first film highlighted,

  • which of course have nothing to do with anything we promote.

  • We have this very odd article by Michelle Goldberg

  • which suggests that the Movement is some type of anti-Semitic cult

  • along with some dubious claim about this German social network site

  • that banned evidently one of our groups because of anti-Semitism

  • which is completely absurd,

  • since there's no evidence that the group that was banned

  • had any official connection to our chapter network

  • and was not just some random page using our name

  • which has been prolific across the Internet.

  • And not to mention of course, The Zeitgeist Movement clearly

  • has no racial, religious or class bias,

  • and rather seeks human unification and support in general, not division.

  • But my real interest here is the noted article in the 'Journal of Contemporary Religion'

  • and the lapse - complete lapse - of academic integrity put forward by the authors,

  • which paints not only an incorrect picture of the Movement,

  • but an offensive and defaming one.

  • Let me ask you a question:

  • If you were a reporter wanting to learn about The Zeitgeist Movement objectively,

  • and you wanted to understand what it was, what it did,

  • what would YOU do? Would you go to Wikipedia?

  • Would you go to some random blog or YouTube video that comes up in a search engine?

  • Or would you go to the official site that actually made its points very clear

  • regarding what the organization does, its mission,

  • and review our official materials and lectures?

  • The Zeitgeist Movement's website has been up since 2009

  • with a very concise FAQ and enormous number of lectures by our lecture team.

  • It's very difficult to miss in fact, how obvious, what our mission is.

  • Sadly however, it appears the FAQ, the pdf guides, the lectures,

  • and the enormous amount of work put into this through radio shows,

  • and parallel websites, blogs and so forth,

  • our global event days, our town hall lectures, our media project,

  • the entire educational method and avocation,

  • apparently all of that is invalid

  • when it comes to the interests of some of those that wish to report on us.

  • Of course, to give credit where credit is due,

  • the New York Times and the Huffington Post reviews of Z-Day,

  • along with many live interviews and reports by Russia Today,

  • mostly got it right.

  • But the vast majority continue to embarrass themselves

  • with what appears to be simply lazy research,

  • or even worse, malicious intent.

  • In fact very quickly, an amusing article,

  • at least in gesture produced by the London Telegraph a few weeks ago,

  • without any noted evidence at all,

  • claims that an unfortunately disillusioned boy,

  • insensitively labeled as "Forest Boy" by the media,

  • was quote "inspired by the Zeitgeist Movement"

  • with the author going on to make some of the most egregious errors

  • I've ever seen in an article.

  • It said the boy "was inspired to travel to Germany

  • by the teachings of the Zeitgeist Movement

  • that aims to destroy market capitalism."

  • The Zeitgeist Movement has never published anything

  • about destroying anything, first of all.

  • Our disposition is simply that capitalism will destroy itself, in fact;

  • we are simply watching it go down and planning for the future

  • like any diligent group should.

  • As far as his traveling to Germany,

  • the author was forced to actually retract and remove

  • a claimed that I originated from Germany!

  • I, Peter Joseph apparently am a German citizen,

  • uh which ... of course I'm not,

  • amongst many amateur errors, that I guess that might add in well

  • with the argument that apparently I'm anti-Semitic

  • so I'm sure Michelle Goldberg appreciated that.

  • Nevertheless, it also refers to things like, it's a

  • "political movement that holds future generations will view Christianity as a fraud."

  • Actually, no, the Zeitgeist Movement respects all religions equally

  • as a course of human evolution

  • and has never published anything making such statements.

  • This is once again a deliberate misinterpretation

  • coming from my personal 2007 film

  • which had interests about comparative religion

  • and has nothing to do with the Movement itself.

  • If Michael Moore started a social movement,

  • does that movement mean it's going to have to be about say adolescent violence,

  • such as what was the context of his film in part for 'Bowling for Columbine?'

  • What about his movie Fahrenheit 9/11?

  • Does that mean his movement would have to be about 9/11 issues that was noted in the film?

  • No.

  • Even the premise that a whole non-profit social movement could be based upon

  • merely a film series is idiotic.

  • Anyway, moving on.

  • The article also refers to us as a protest movement,

  • which is really odd given that we've never protested anything and do not intend to,

  • for we don't believe in the efficacy of traditional protest.

  • Instead we work through peaceful educational projects

  • in the hope to bring about sound logic and reason regarding

  • new social possibilities.

  • So the public, once informed, can make up their own mind.

  • And if we transition we do,

  • if we don't, then we don't.

  • In the words of Buckminster Fuller,

  • a strong influence on the Zeitgeist Movement's intent,

  • "You never change things by fighting the existing reality.

  • To change something,

  • build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

  • Sadly, the Telegraph reporter is not alone

  • and this leads us to the noted article in the Journal of Contemporary Religion.

  • The context of the Zeitgeist Movement's inclusion in this article is presented

  • as related to a phenomenon perceived by the authors

  • called "conspiratuality"

  • which is defined as "a combination of New Age beliefs

  • and conspiracy culture" in effect.

  • Now, it isn't the scope of this essay to discuss the rather abstract linkage

  • the authors are trying to draw,

  • but I will say that the entire paper is based upon a series of self-defining

  • self-referring, extremely subjective, circumstantial presuppositions

  • that haphazardly and crudely categorize

  • a large number of counter-culture type groups in the world today.

  • Now, in some agreement regarding the subject of conspiracies as a theme

  • I will admit that I personally have lost a lot of patience with those

  • who rather than work to really consider the root causes scientifically of human behavior

  • oriented in a system like ours that rewards power consolidation and control,

  • they choose to just harp upon the symptom itself,

  • referencing the unseen "they" as it were.

  • The human blame game, no matter how exotic and creative,

  • simply bores me to death

  • as it actually isn't doing anything progressive.

  • And on that level,

  • I can share in the frustration of those who believe things

  • that really don't accomplish anything or could be erroneous

  • because they're not related directly to causality.

  • Yet, on the other hand,

  • to dismiss the very idea that human society historically

  • is and has been controlled by various power establishments-...

  • We can talk about traditional ones like kings and monarchs

  • to the age of feudalism; we could also extend that of course

  • to what the Occupy movement is fighting today with regard to financial power.

  • Those that seek and to preserve their self-interest over others

  • manipulating to their advantage dishonestly,

  • is not a profound, out-there, radical conspiracy nut-job notion, okay?

  • In a world today where 40% of the wealth is owned by 1% of the world's population,

  • anyone who thinks there is no structurally-based

  • self-interest oriented manipulation for upper-class advantage

  • is in an enormous level of denial

  • about the nature of our reality today.

  • And the use of the term "conspiracy theorist"

  • recently has served those in power quite well

  • by making all of those who realize such unfair social realities

  • simply appear like irrational lunatics.

  • So, as expected this article takes the establishment perspective overall,

  • painting the picture that any such realizations

  • are all irrational conspiracy theories

  • and is in turn painted, in their words,

  • as part of a "politico-spiritual philosophy"

  • when combined with the "New Age"

  • which they define as

  • "mystical individual transformation;

  • an awareness of new, non-material realities,

  • the imposition of personal vision into society

  • and belief in universally invisible but pervasive forms of energy."

  • Okay, all of that denoted let's step back and see how

  • they fit the Zeitgeist Movement into all of this.

  • On page 7 of the article extract,

  • a section entitled "The emergence of conspiratuality,"

  • they begin to discuss the Zeitgeist Movement by sourcing a singular statement,

  • very much out of context and in a very misleading manner,

  • from an old obviously cherry-picked introductory essay

  • called 'The Means is the End'

  • which can be found archived online.

  • They partially quote a paragraph which,

  • to one who is not read anything else in the essay

  • provides absolutely no info about what the Zeitgeist Movement is,

  • not to mention opening it up to large-scale semantic misinterpretations

  • obviously fitting their agenda.

  • The quote is as follows.

  • Open quote.

  • "The elite power systems are little affected in the long run