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What do the anarchists think of The Zeitgeist Movement?

0 votes
The Zeitgeist Movement (www.thezeitgiestmovement.com) is a rapidly growing social movement that aims to a moneyless resource-based society. Thus its ideas could be called anarcho-communistic with a strong emphasis on science and technology.

What do you personally think of this movement? Why?
asked Jan 10, 2011 by astikain (130 points)
just a hint: i wouldn't say "the anarchists". there are pro-technology anarchists (who would probably be more sympathetic to this vision).
I would be interested to see what someone from a pro-tech perspective has to say about Zeitgeist. Even the article I linked to doesn't address it one way or another.

1 Answer

+4 votes
It's been awhile since I checked out these people's web presence. Right off the bat: I remember in particular one aspect of their philosophy contrary to anarchy. The proposed system of jurisprudence was to let the computers do it. "No rulers" must surely include ethics calculation algorithms.

Personally, I think it's all a pie-in-the-sky techno-utopian pipedream. As with other techno-utopian notions or tendencies, the zeitgeisters don't seem to have the remotest awareness of the natural world upon which human life is (however invisibly) still dependent upon. For example:

"One, the human value system, which consists of our understandings and beliefs, must be updated and changed through education and thoughtful introspection. Two, the environment surrounding that value system must change to support the new world view."

Premise 1: OK, sure. Premise 2: Are you serious? Just because a person has come up with what they believe to be some super-refined theory doesn't give them the authority to go imposing this theory on all of the other living beings around them. This kind of hubris is destroying the world.

"We advocate automation to replace human labor in every social function possible."

A form of this has been a fantasy since at least the Hellenistic Era, and yet ever-improving machines has still not lead to less toil. This statement could even be interpreted to mean that inter-human contact should be replaced by machines, but I hope that's not what they meant.

"We advocate a technological unification of the planet in a systems approach."

Do I even need to comment on this one?

Zeitgeist takes the reification of science to its ideological extreme: scientism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientism)

Someone else's opinion: http://theanarchistlibrary.org//HTML/Anonymous__The_Problem_with__Zeitgeist_.html
answered Jan 10, 2011 by enkidu (6,110 points)
edited Jan 10, 2011 by enkidu
1. zeitgeist is not a utopia there is no such thing. it may be idealistic, but so what? so was MLK JR at his time.

2. Zeitgeist is not about imposing any value system. They are saying they want to create a more positive environment that will allow life to flourish. The semantics of it is what is giving you a bad trip. They are merely advocating an environment where a seed(humans) can get the water(resources) and sunlight(nurture) to grow. The claim is that under capitalism, people are constantly fighting for finite resources. Therefore at the most basic level there is scarcity. This kind of environment does not allow humans to grow. They propose solving our problems with readily available technology. Hydroponic skyscrapers, hemp technology, vertical farming, super greenhouses, etc. As a planet through tech(which is outdated) we already make more than enough to feed everyone. It is the spreading of the food that does not allow for that.

3. Are you an anarchist that believes in work? Many anarchists have some strong passion towards working. TZM is about replacing work with play. We have technology that can replace the boring 9-5 jobs freeing up human time to do whatever we want to without having to work because sustenance will be provided. This can be done(on a basic level) with a fraction of the war budget btw. You made some erroneous conclusion that machines will replace inter human contact.... That has nothing to do with tzm.

4. Technological unification of the planet through a systems approach. A systems approach has nothing to do with "the system" you are misinterpreting things. Systems approach is scientific: http://pcp.lanl.gov/SYSAPPR.html  In regards to world unification: what is wrong with a counter to current "one world government" known as artificial scarcity and money based on debt? It is a global voluntary collectivist system that is post scarcity in regards to necessities. any other questions? I will clear them up. TZM is an anarchist movement. It transcends anarchism in its own little way.
i wish i had found this response from atheistanarchorudi sooner. a protech voice here would be welcome.
seems like AAR could've answered this question instead of just commenting, which would have started more conversation.
but there seem to be issues with the reasoning. manipulating the environment is imposing a value system, most basically.
i hear that AAR is interested in an anarchist interpretation of TZM, but quoting some canon that backs up the interpretation would go further re: how valid the @ interpretation is.
and saying something is "scientific" is not saying that it is value-free or neutral. there are questions/responses elsewhere on this site re: science and problems thereof.
as for us loving work (most of the anarchists on this site, anyway), that is funny.
lol.
"They are merely advocating an environment where a seed(humans) can get the water(resources) and sunlight(nurture) to grow. "

continuing your analogy....  technology is one of the primary forces that have all but eliminated the seed's ability to have water and sunlight (let's not forget nutrients and microorganisms and oxygen and... ). like so many beloved authoritarian institutions, capitalism and technology/science have a mutually beneficial, co-dependent relationship. really hard to imagine one without the other.

i have to strongly agree with dot here:  "manipulating the environment is imposing a value system, most basically."  and here: "saying something is "scientific" is not saying that it is value-free or neutral"

i think that last quote is particularly relevant in this kind of discussion. the supposed "neutrality" of Science (i use the "big S" version because creating the idealistic world atheistanarchorudi refers to would absolutely require it) is a fundamental assumption made by proponents of the idea that technology is the way to "fix" this clusterfuck, and it continues to go unquestioned by them.  

if technology did not require the massive accumulation of "primitive capital" and extensive, devastating impact on others (i would include all of life, though many would probably only include humans) that have no say whatsoever, an argument might be made for it in an anarchist context. but realistically...?
capitalism is imposing a value system also... there is always a value system imposed, it is a matter of what value system nurtures the best human traits and helps eradicate those less admirable attributes...

It really is that simple, TZM advocates for a more nurturing and less destructive value system, I cannot see how that can be interpretted as a bad thing...
...