December 21, 2012

Noapocalyps

The world doesn't end. Not for a while anyway. Some 3 to 4 billion years when the sun runs out of fuel. Then we are in trouble. Unless we can transport the planet to another part of the galaxy.
"Always look on the bright side of life."

December 20, 2012

Self Appointed Guardians In The Spotlight


Reproduced from the TZM blog. Submitted by Dave Lucas.
We are familiar with Peter Joseph’s references to the self-appointed guardians of the status quo – those all-too-abundant, willfully ignorant members of society who seem to regard any criticism of the current system as an attack on their own dignity, self-esteem and social status, and who are all too ready with their belittling strawman attacks as soon as the RBE concept is introduced. We have all spent time sharing online resources helping to arm ourselves with various tips on how to cut through their logical fallacies and maintain a strong, credible position in any debate.
A key focus of TZM is to concentrate on the systemic root causes of problems rather than being too distracted in fighting the symptoms. If we can recognise characteristic patterns of thought in the minds of our critics and intelligently identify the psychological flaws that are manifesting these patterns, this will be an elegant way to shift the onus of credibility away from our own position and onto theirs.
A popular theme in TZM circles is the possible influence of psychopathy within institutions of power and influence in our ruthlessly competitive politico-corporate system. Dr Robert Hare is one of the world’s most recognised experts in psychopathy and author of the psychopathy checklist used by official sources in the clinical diagnosis of the condition. In the online film ‘I am fishead’, Dr Hare analyzes the workings of the corporate system and explores how they can create a career environment advantageous to predatory, psychopathic personalities. He looks at case studies comprising a few hundred individuals from the most successful one per cent of the corporate elite. His conclusion is that although there does not appear to be a higher per capita concentration of psychopaths in the elite group as compared to the rest of society, those in that group do show on average a significantly more pronounced degree of psychopathy than those in the lower rungs of society. Also, this film looks at drugs such as Prozac used as stress suppressants by individuals working in the commercial environment – and how the artificial removal of that stress (which is a normal reaction to a socially adverse environment) leaves a person in the same emotionally detached frame of mind as would be found naturally in a sociopath in the same environment.
But what are the characteristic personality traits we need to be ready to recognise and counter? And is it just psychopaths we are up against, or are there other higher-functioning personality-disordered individuals who will always be predisposed to react with a barrage of dismissive resistance to the concept of a fair, just and equal society?
Dr Hare’s psychopathy checklist is shown below: -
Factor 1: Personality "Aggressive narcissism"• Glibness/superficial charm
• Grandiose sense of self-worth
• Pathological lying
• Cunning/manipulative
• Lack of remorse or guilt
• Shallow affect (genuine emotion is short-lived and egocentric)
• Callousness; lack of empathy
• Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
Factor 2: Case history "Socially deviant lifestyle".• Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
• Parasitic lifestyle
• Poor behavioral control
• Lack of realistic long-term goals
• Impulsivity
• Irresponsibility
• Juvenile delinquency
• Early behavior problems
• Revocation of conditional release
Traits not correlated with either factor
• Promiscuous sexual behavior
• Many short-term (marital) relationships
• Criminal versatility
• Acquired behavioural sociopathy/sociological conditioning
As we can see, the traits listed under factor 1 are those that most obviously describe the kinds of people who are at home with predatory capitalism and who will most abhor the notion that we can flatten the social hierarchies, remove exploitation and achieve freedom and equality for all. There are many in our society who exhibit these traits to varying degrees but who are less inclined to show the more self-destructive traits listed under factor 2 - and who are thus likely to remain invisible to the criminal justice system. Their abuses may be more subtle, insidious and an integral part of our societal model itself. Their condition has a name of its own, and which merits greater recognition: Narcissistic personality disorder.
A prevalent component of today’s social conditioning is learning to attach one’s own social status to material possessions and to the prestigious career path, and hence income that gives one access to them. If related psycho-social pressures or traumas occur in a person’s early years (especially if coupled with a particular genetic predisposition), that person may be induced to develop coping mechanisms, including an irrational compulsion to strive for disproportionate levels of status and material wealth, supported by a disproportionate sense of their own self-worth and entitlement - irrespective of any commensurate achievements that might genuinely entitle them to such recognition and reward. Such a person will have a life-long compulsion to maintain their differential advantage over others at all cost. They will be characterised by a lack of empathy towards others, and will become expert in applying manipulative behaviours, false charm and deception to achieve their advantage and control over others. They are predators living most of their lives hiding behind a contrived, false persona that mirrors the artificiality of our modern commercial world. Their own, real personality has become deeply repressed and remains in an undeveloped childlike state of emotional immaturity. Hence they know only how to mimic the outward display of emotions they require to impress, convince and influence others – and not the genuine emotions themselves. They will tend to study role models, including TV and film characters, in order to perfect that mimicry. Their social charms can therefore appear staged and exaggerated – as of course was the case with a recently exposed narcissist, Jimmy Savile.
Some debate still appears to prevail in professional psychology as to the boundaries between the psychopath, the narcissist and the malignant narcissist. The narcissist differs in the fact that they are not usually driven to such high levels of extreme risk taking that one associates with say, a serial killer, coupled with the fact that they tend to prefer their victims alive and kicking so that can enjoy the emotional feedback (narcissistic supply) that they gain from their psychological control over the person. They want to be admired, adored, worshipped and obeyed, and if that person doesn’t comply then they deserve to be crushed into submission.
The malignant narcissist is characterised by a particularly strong suppressed self-loathing and denial mechanism, and their behaviour may also be characterised by additional factors such as extreme jealousy, paranoia, and the drive to try to compensate for their own weaknesses with systematic, sadistic emotional bullying. A slighted malignant narcissist will quickly escalate their haughty, arrogant and self-righteous stance into a full-blown fury rather than lose an argument with their target – often their partner, in private away from the public gaze. This is termed a narcissistic rage. In an abusive personal relationship it forms part of a repeating cycle in which it alternates with periods of pleading for forgiveness and promises that things will become better. A true psychopath, exhibiting factors 1 and 2 is believed to have a greater genetic component to their condition, chiefly a physiological flaw in the link between the cognitive pre frontal cortex of the brain, and the emotional centre of the amygdale.
There are two individuals in my own circle of acquaintances who clearly exhibit narcissism. Both of these have reacted with hostile dismissal towards my involvement with the Zeitgeist movement, whilst remaining wilfully ignorant of any of the substance of what our aims encompass. They have both tried to undermine the credibility of TZM and its aims using childish playground insults rather than structured, logical arguments. Terms such as ‘loopy’, ‘bullshit’, ‘oddball’, etc. are the only language they can muster. When invited to offer logical arguments, their response has been to try to isolate me using that classic trick of the abuser : assuring me that other people we know are voicing the same mocking derision towards me - arguing that they are only trying to save me from making myself a ‘laughing stock’ through my involvement with a ‘cult’.
I have responded by explaining that the financial industry (in which both work, naturally!) is based upon a belief system which itself has an increasingly tenuous basis in mathematical reality, and that they are the ones who are actually embroiled in a cult. Their response to that is just more strawman attacks against my character. Both consider themselves respectable members of the community, and see the police, courts and of course the banks as playing an important and role in protecting the social fabric. They will both be quick to put up barriers if these institutions are questioned, and manufacture pompous reasons as to why such questioning is simply too impertinent and antisocial for a sane and socially conscious person to consider indulging in.
The hubristic inertia that maintains the status quo for the rigid and increasingly obsolete institutions of governance, law and finance in today’s society bears many of the hallmarks of narcissism, with sociopathy - either natural or induced – doing its bit to keep the chain of command in operation. As the monetary/market socio-economic system comes to the end of its natural life, those individuals are becoming more conspicuous in their desperation to keep the system in motion. They will be willing to exercise ever more ruthless bloody-mindedness in the face of reason in their suppression of those who are ready to leave the game. The more people there are ready and equipped to expose them, the less places they will have left to hide, and the further our society will move toward critical mass, with a new liberating confidence to embrace the brave unknown of the planetary civilisation.
Needless to say, there are a plethora of eloquent and illustrative articles, videos and forums on the web waiting to educate you. Just Google ‘narcissist’, ‘malignant narcissist’ and ‘psychopathy’.
Happy hunting…

December 18, 2012

Newtown's Long Road


"No society that holds itself up as an example to the world should, as the United States does, brazenly shrug off what are clearly deep national character flaws when it comes to our love of guns or our celebration of hate politics."

-David Rothkopf
(January 2011, after the Jared Loughner shooting.)

December 8, 2012

December 4, 2012

Quote Of The Month

"Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell."

- Edward Abbey

November 22, 2012

Quote Of The Month

"People without homes will not quarrel with their leaders. This is well known among our principle men now engaged in forming an imperialism of capitalism to govern the world. By dividing the people we can get them to expend their energies in fighting over questions of no importance to us except as teachers of the common herd."

- J.P. Morgan

October 30, 2012

Zeitgeist Trumps Christianity

As you may know the Zeitgeist Movement advocates a Resource Based Economical model which basically means that you use science and technology and the available resources on Earth for society with efficiency and sustainability in mind. Not money! Oddly enough this is what the Bible has to say about money and those that have less or more;

1 Timothy 6:10 - For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Luke 18:25 - Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

Matthew 6:19 - Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves in treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Luke 18:22 - Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

Luke 3:11 - John answered, "Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same."

Proverbs 31:8-9 - Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

James 5:1-6 - Warning to rich oppressors. Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.


Why do people in the U.S. vote for these rich Republican people during elections while the Bible makes it perfectly clear that these people will have a hard time going to heaven? Seems to me that the Zeitgeist Movement is more in line on these issues than most Christians.

October 29, 2012

Zomney


Star Trek Economics

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
22nd October 2008


From Eric Hunting, you MUST read this:
The post-industrial wave is characterized by information technologies and global networking, flexible automation through machine intelligence, miniaturization and ephemerization of technology, and a return to renewable energy in more advanced forms. It’s dominant meme is demassification (reclamation of freedom, identity, self-expression, time, and quality of life through deconstruction of massified systems and the flattening of hierarchies) resulting in such ideas and trends as decentralization and personalization of production, global social networking and multinational peer-to-peer activity, deconstruction of nation-states and their financial systems, obsolescence of currency in favor of automated demand-driven resource economics based on global commons, reinvention of the family in non-traditional forms (gay marriage, multi-party marriage, non-related non-married family units, new tribes), reinvention of functional community and the reestablishment of community-based social support/service systems, etc.
More here.

October 22, 2012

Zeitgeist @ Centrum Emma

 Yesterday I visited a sustainability festival in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The festival itself was organized by people from the Occupy Utrecht movement and the place is called Centrum Emma. With another person I was there to promote the Zeitgeist Movement. Here are some pictures from that event.
 First we attended a presentation called 'Awakening the Dreamer' which even had a meditation session in it. When in Rome... and let it never be said that there isn't any spirituality in Zeitgeist. After that we had a table outside where we could do our business as Zeitgeisters.

October 5, 2012

Zeitgeist vs. Austrians - The (Un)Holy Market

Been a while since I brought up the mechanics between Austrian economists and those that support a resource based economy. Proceeding with matters that often come up with discussions between the two parties. One very peculiar matter, in my opinion, is that an Austrian economist will often say; 'This is not the free market.' Meaning the world that you see today is not an accurate reflection of what capitalism ought to be. It's understandable up to some point yet in a broader scope it's a philosophical act of sticking your head in the sand.

'This is not the free market' refers to government interference in the market place. Austrian economists blame the State for the shortcomings of the market. By regulating and protecting/privileging certain businesses an unfair market is created. This is also called 'crony capitalism' by a number of people. In essence Austrian economists are purists. They want no interference in the market place whatsoever and that the system itself creates an equilibrium over time. The assumption is also made that a pure free market works best and will provide for everyone (in various degrees).

While I can see that State interference in some sectors can be deemed unfair, from my perspective an arbiter is absolutely necessary. Lets not forget that the free market is a competition, a survival of the fittest. Letting a competition be fought out with no holds barred will come at a tremendous human cost, and honestly you can't expect everyone to behave and play according to the rules when the bottom line is money, commodities and profit. Corruption will creep in.

People will also have to submit to this system and while the word 'free' and 'freedom' is used quite often but you're only as free as your purchasing power will allow. Those dollar bills in your hand, that is freedom. And when you think about it, it is diametrically opposed to what those words really stand for. The more bills in your hand, the more freedom. Less or no bills, time to roll over and die because there wont be a State to help you out.

Austrian economists are also fond of using the word 'voluntarism' as if there are no controlling mechanisms. If you have no money, then you have to seek a job and acquire money that gives you access to the necessities of life. What's voluntary here? Can you go without money? No! You have to submit to the system. Money simply becomes another tool of control and enslavement yet this isn't in the Austrian lexicon.

While I don't want to see big government I realize that there must be regulation. Otherwise the market will implode under the weight of its own greed.  Lets not forget that a State is there for the wellbeing of its people. A corporation, which will be the dominant institution in a pure free market, is there to make a profit for its private owners. Yet lets take an honest, deep look at 'crony capitalism.'

Who influences the State? Who lobbies the State for favors? Right, corporations! So corporations try to influence matters and seek an advantage and what do Austrian economists do? They blame the State for handing out privileges and not the corrupt corporations who bribe the former! Yet in a pure free market this kind of corporate corruption wont happen? And they call Zeitgeisters utopianists! An Austrian economy apparently requires some serious mental gymnastics.

What you have today with "crony capitalism" and I take the phrase with a grain of salt, is simply a 'natural' evolution of the free market. Yes, the State can be influenced by big corporations and this is what you see especially in the U.S. Why does this happen? It's inherent to capitalism. If you have acquired a lot of wealth, money and property. If you run a big corporation, you'll simply try to protect your advantage that you have over others. And if that means lobbying the State which is allowed by the market than it's in your self interest to do that.

Why do Austrian economists want a pure free market? It's in their self interest. Why does the 1% try to control and influence the State? It's in their self interest. What's basically the difference between Austrian economics and the 1%?

Maybe it's time to start thinking about what really matters. In my opinion Austrian economists simply seek the freedom to manipulate everything else and there enemy isn't so much the State, it's those capitalists that beat them to the punch. The market isn't holy. Human life is.





Admire


September 25, 2012

Zeitgeist Window-farm


Some 10 days ago I visited a festival where the Zeitgeist Movement was present and doing its "business." Well, in this case there was a workshop 'window-farming' which is kind of an unusual set up. Plastic bottles are used which go into each other, the sides being cut open. You can put a potted plant in there and the whole system is watered by a small air pump. Liquid fertilizer is used to nourish the plants although I'm planning to do something with granulate fertilizer and see how that works. Haven't had time to build my own. Other repairs take precedent at the moment and I still have to figure out my own set up against the window frame. This is however a shiny example of what can be done at home and in cities. Vertical agriculture.


September 22, 2012

Pier Of Temporary Stone






Red


No cat was hurt during photography. Above is a bit of a weird shot but Red, the cat, simply 'miauwed' although the shot doesn't necessarily reflect that. He's one of the neighbor's cat from across the street and he visits practically every day. When you say something he "talks" back. Cute animal but sometimes he comes to close for comfort. Caught him twice already inside my house. One time he gained entry through a small window nearly 2 meters up and another time I had the backdoor slightly open when I was doing work in my garden and going inside I noticed Red lying on the couch. Cats.


September 21, 2012

Two Faced Franky


Ran across this marble today. It turns out Frank de Grave, a politician belonging to the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD - Conservative Liberalism), said some outlandish things during a session of the Senate of the Netherlands last summer. He said the following;

"There's one situation where it's ok for ministers or politicians to lie, even in this parliament. And that is when it concerns the coin (Euro). When we had the Guilder, a politician was allowed to say A, while the next day B was to happen. In emergency situations this must be possible."

In other words, when it comes to financial matters that are utmost important a politician is allowed to lie and to hell with Freedom and Democracy. Perhaps it's not surprising that Frank de Grave not only spend many years in politics but also worked in the financial sector. What you often see in the United States also applies to this character. He was minister of Defense and after that stint he rolled into the position of Chief Financial Officer at the DSB Bank. Smooth transitions between positions in government and corporations. What's even more interesting is that De Grave didn't spend that much time at the DSB Bank. After just 2 months he left citing "incompatible working relationships." Not long after the DSB Bank went bankrupt. Did Franky knew about the poor situation at the bank? He did have a private talk with the Dutch Central Bank but no information was released.

Why am I not surprised about Frank de Grave? Well, if you watch the first half hour of Zeitgeist Addendum you would know that money is created out of thin air by banks and also immediately becomes debt that can only be paid back by new loans which creates even more debt. It's economic slavery. Banks are the enslavers. Franky here probably knows this. In order for this pyramid scheme to work people have to remain oblivious yet keep the economic faith. That's why he thinks it's a good thing when politicians lie in front of the public in order to keep them confident in money and the financial institutions that provide it. Otherwise that whole house of cards collapses.

September 17, 2012

Zeitgeist @ Witte de With Festival 2012



Last weekend I went to yet another festival this time in Rotterdam and help promote Zeitgeist and a resource based economic model. The video is a short compilation of that trip. The local guys got their hands on a fantastic place owned by an artist if I'm not mistaken. Took part in a workshop called "windowfarming" and I hope to do some more with that in the foreseeable future. Just like in Haarlem 2 weeks earlier there were also people in Rotterdam who came up to me and knew all about the Zeitgeist movies. Fascinating to detect that the knowledge of the movies is so widespread. Unfortunately I couldn't stay all day but the guys had a program with lectures and other activities throughout the weekend. Well done guys!