Indeed, it is an important lecture. However, and this is not a critique, I think it would be very useful for the Zeitgeist Movement to show more interest in how the universal human psyche manifests itself through an individual’s and groups’ use and distribution of natural resources. Furthermore, it would be useful to look at how the way individuals and groups of individuals distribute and share natural resources creates the institutions of power (government, military, leading media outlets, etc.) and how the institutions of power create or affect the universal human psyche.
Again, not a critique, really, not a critiques, just a friendly observation, I think the movement underestimates how many people, including the extremely wealthy, are aware that resources need to be shared and that they can be shared. Many people, I am not sure if it would be accurate to say most people, but many people know that they need to change their understanding of what it means to share, use and or distribute resources. However, the fact is they don’t know how to change their thinking and their habits. The problem is they cannot, from their point of view, find a viable reason to change their thinking and their habits, therefore they abandon the thought.
I think it would be very useful for the movement to make it clearer that there is a link between internal insecurities (in particular existential anxieties and so on, even sadism and masochism and so on, I like Erich Fromm’s works, such as The Sane Society, or his Fear of Freedom, the US version entitled Escape from Freedom, which he opens with ‘Talmudic Saying Mishnah, Abot: If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am for myself only, what am I?’) and how we imagine, design, create and control our environments in order to suppress, express or simply address our misunderstood internal fears and anxieties. I believe it would be fair to say that the above succinct saying motivates what we do with our bodies in order to manifest our psyche in the physical world. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that it dictates the nature of our civilization.
Our mind, and especially the mind of the wealthy elite, is trained to see our bodies as the tool with which to change the world that surrounds us into structures that would give a meaning to me, to I, to the I, not to us, in order for my life to acquire a meaning. The mind that is the self can make sense of the self only if it can create a meaningful physical construct by controlling the body. I think that’s a significant part of our problem.
We need to change people’s understanding of the self actualization process before we can ask them to change how they self actualize, that is how they use and manage resources to create their meaning.
Whenever the movement discusses the existing economic system it acknowledges that it is motivated and controlled by the self interest factor. However when it discusses new systems, or the new system, it talks about sharing. I guess the difference is this: in the old system that is our current system the self actualization process expresses itself through a number of wealth acquisition and creation practices and in the new system that wouldn’t simply change, it would be removed.
You see, I think, and this is obvious, the problem of changing the world is not physical in nature. It’s purely psychological for the right motivation is the ultimate problem. Or how to present the right motivation in an acceptable manner.
I think the problem of changing the world could be expressed as a form of existential crisis created by a number of problems caused by people’s unawareness and therefore misinterpretation and mismanagement of their egos.
I think, psychologically speaking, it’s impossible to talk about physical system changes without addressing their corresponding psychological and socio psychological motivations. For every major system change you want to create, you have to find the right corresponding psychological motivation. People will not accept the fact that the earth is flat regardless of how much evidence you supply until they are in the same frame of mind as you, etc. Complicated but primarily I think they need to share the same emotional state of mind or the same psychological and emotional motivations as the person who proposes the new theory.
To put it simply, it would be very easy to convince people not to set their alarms for six am and go to work if their jobs could be replaced with some other tasks. If they had somewhere else to be, but there isn’t and they cannot create it on their own.
I think it is safe to say that the individual’s fears of freedom and the individual’s fear of failure, which originate from the ultimate fear that is the individual’s fear of the unknown and undiscovered sides of the self, are greater than any fear that could be caused by external threats. They are greater for they cannot be eliminated except by getting to know oneself, totally and completely, which means accepting oneself (one’s potentials and limitations) for all that one is and that in itself requires knowledge and dedication. In fact, so much general knowledge as well as specific self knowledge acquired through insight and meditation that most people would not know where or how to begin (to acquire such knowledge) let alone change enough to learn how to accept themselves for all they are. So they don’t. They ignore the internal fears by refusing to deal with the self and focus on external threats.
I am not saying that the movement’s ideas should be expressed in terms of social psychology (rather than science and engineering). However, I think that any science and engineering changes must be introduced via some kind of socio psychological platform, rather than assuming that great new scientific and engineering and resource management systems and data associated with them will be so impressive that they will inspire people to accept them.
People cannot accept new systems until they can see and are ready to acknowledge, often internally, that such new system would help them self actualize.
Perhaps the question ‘what is wrong with the system’ is not as important as ‘what is it about us that is making us mismanage natural resources’.
I know that the movement has been trying to address psychological motivations as well as physical changes. You are doing it, I just think that the psychological component needs to be featured more prominently.
My main area of concern is empathy and our complete misunderstanding of it and therefore our underestimation of it.
Frankly, I think we need to create institutions that teach people how to increase their sense of empathy and how to love. The fact is people don’t know how to love themselves or others. So they don’t strive to make compassionate and caring decisions.
Out of deep compassion arises the need to preserve the natural world and all beings. So when empathy becomes our daily priority our motivations and therefore our actions and therefore our technologies will be designed in order to do just that, preserve the environment that is preserving us.