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PETER JOSEPH and the Far-Seeing Emergent Zeitgeist- PART 1: “What really matters”?

By Bruce Lyons

Hollywood CA, 9/29/2012 (Hollywood Today) If you wish to discuss the global, “emergent Zeitgeist” with Peter Joseph – inspired documentary and “artivistic” filmmaker, skilled composer, life-long percussionist, spontaneous founder of the Zeitgeist Movement and chief curator of the gutsy, provocative and beautiful Zeitgeist Media Festival  –  be prepared to discuss everything, starting with truth, falsity and the world-wide problem of authority; who controls whom? Be prepared to discuss social decay and the arduous process of change, aesthetics and intellect, science and religion, evolution and creationism, the institution and the individual, “natural law-based economics” and “money-tarism”, The Federal Reserve Act (est 1913), Fractional Reserve Banking and the Constitution of the United States, empathic consciousness and Machiavellian wilfulness, health costs and bankruptcy, nutrition and commercial decadence, opportunistic medicine and preventive medicine, law and lawlessness at all levels of society – including government. Be prepared to discuss the systemic problem of debt versus human well-being, advanced technology and human labor, war and peace, imperialism and democracy, conformity and personal responsibility, fear and love, freedom and bondage, propaganda and the candid expression of fact, laws of nature and human free will, corruption and human goodness, bio-diversity and corporate homogeneity, sickness and health, genetic determinism and social science, the environment and commercial profit; executive privilege and the power of the vote, non-violent protest and unilateral government strategy, creativity and social decline, consciousness and social transformation, just to name a few ‘live wires’ that interpenetrate our daily lives.

The Zeitgeist Movement – and hence a conversation with Peter Joseph – touches everything and becomes a flowing mobius strip of factors that inform our existence and cannot escape us, because everything is connected to everything else and everything interacts with everything else, whether directly or indirectly – no matter how difficult it is to actually make secure the truth – let alone a jointly held consensus of truth that would make our world a better place to call home.

My partner Kely Lyons and I sat down with Peter for two and a half hours in Los Angeles on August 16, the excitement of the very creative 2nd annual Zeitgeist Media Festival still fresh in our memories. And I swear, during that two and a half hour dialogue, time stood still. The subject matter seemed that daunting and immovable. The spectre of some sort of “global crisis” looming on the immediate horizon kept us on our proverbial toes throughout. It no longer felt like anybody was ‘crying wolf’ anymore. Continued climate change, shrinking oil supplies, threatened water reserves around the planet, insufficient job creation, intractable unemployment, scarcity of cash, record high food stamp use in America, 1 in 12 US households without bank accounts, the extreme over-concentration of wealth, stratospheric debt that is dependent upon taxation and unlimited market expansion to reduce, global economic instability due to market glut and loss of the middle class, increasing automation – to improve efficiency – stealing human jobs, environmental degradation continuing unchecked, growing health care crisis – including mental health … health costs rising far faster than inflation itself, internal problems in the European Union, America, Russia, China, Africa, the Middle East, Australia, South America … But if I were only permitted to remember one thing that Peter highlighted during that two and a half hours it would be the following: “We have the technology right now to provide all the world’s food needs several times over. We can build a grid using renewable energy systems, from solar to geo-thermal (and others), right now, that would provide the world with all its energy needs. We have the technology to provide all the clean transportation that is needed. But our geo-economic system, based on the privately owned “central bank” and the principle of private ownership itself (the cornerstone of our economic belief system), is blocking these possibilities from being carried out efficiently. As a result, everybody is under such bio-social stress that health costs have now become the prime cause of bankruptcy. By 2030 it is believed that 60% of all nations will be bankrupt. That’s how big the ‘global debt’ will be. We have become so decoupled from the natural laws that govern the planet, that this bio-social pressure will at some point become unbearable. Collapse then seems inevitable, even though it is totally unnecessary. But to stave off collapse, the controlling interests who currently capitalize on our monetary system would have to agree to fundamental changes right away; or at the very least be willing to undertake a hybrid economic transition. The Federal Reserve Bank on its own cannot curb the spiralling debt. By its very nature, it can only add to it.”

In view of this picture of our immediate future, at one point Peter reiterated that perennial brain-stopper:  “What really matters to us?”

We are two years from the 100th Anniversary of the start of World War I. At that time, Europe was both heavily armed and bankrupt. Cash was needed to set the war machine in motion – a machine that profited a few but sent about 16,000,000 people to their deaths. That cash was to come from the United States even though the average American wanted nothing to do with the war in Europe. By the end of the war, in 1918, everybody claimed it could not happen again – ever. But exactly 21 years later, the Second World War throttled the planet with an estimated 60 million people killed. About 4 years after the end of that human debacle, the Chinese Revolution began a purge of its own middle class, killing another 60,000,000 people, more or less.

Two conditions tend to stand behind these sorts of violent upheaval – upheavals people always say cannot happen again, ever. Firstly, very difficult economic conditions precede the crisis. Banks then loan governments money, and/or dictators seize the money supply and begin to arm the country with money loaned from ruthless bankers. This tends to bankrupt the country and the banks then need to recoup on their investment. The best means of recoupment is war itself. As we start to look deeply at our own global economic situation – country-by-country – we can see that we must be very careful – especially as our ‘age’ transitions from a Carbon-based Industrial Age to a Communication/ Sustainable/Renewable age colored with profound factors such as the presence of nuclear energy, nuclear weapons and nuclear waste. Many countries are heavily armed and experiencing severe debt. We are in no position to say that a major war could not develop.

When a person comes along with a vision that looks beyond war, environmental disaster, mass poverty and unrest, to a completely different picture of human potential made possible by a complete shift in how we manage the world’s economy and the world’s resources – especially in view of the last 100 years of history and our predisposition for geo-economic warfare – it makes complete sense to pause a moment and take a look at such a vision. Peter Joseph has cut through the war machine and through reductionist notions of inescapable laws of human nature upon which we heap blame for war, violent revolution and cycles of tragic destitution, environmental crisis and so forth. He proposes a resource-based economy or what he also calls a “natural law-based economy” – which far too many people dismiss much too quickly, so caught up are they in the daily momentum of pursuing a living in a system that Peter calls “money-tarism”. Exposure to Peter’s films and his ideas of human potential – with technology as an ally – has set my mind in motion, irreversibly. Needless to say, the interconnected web of factors that make up the contemporary global situation cannot be properly represented in this small article. But given the steady increase in tensions world-wide, I decided to take a look at the situation anyway.

Peter employs the term ‘dynamic equilibrium’ often – in his work and when he talks. He insists that our global society is deeply out of equilibrium with terrestrial natural law and this is reinforced by inadequate education in science, generating a collective neurosis that is difficult to cure. Neurosis frequently fails to diagnose itself.  It is capable of many layers of denial and so the causes of the neurosis persist and, with time, deepen. Peter’s  mind does not think exploitatively; rather, he has a profound aversion to dogmatic exploitation simply because it degrades people and environments and breeds profound discontent. Right now I am noticing zero tolerance among most people toward any hint of exploitation everywhere that I go. Equality is now an existential fact of our society, so this is the opportune moment for change on many levels. But the current economic system is both hierarchical and self-concentrating and so naturally resists such change, pushing the world to a point of extreme tension between the need to expand markets and the need to safeguard the planet’s resources, including water – the very same resources that are required for people to live, for agriculture to thrive and for industry to operate.

In Peter’s well-considered view, the commercial index is at war with the human well-being index. The entire human race has to come to terms with this war before the bio-social stress reaches a critical threshold. We have the means to feed ourselves many times over. But we also have the means to destroy ourselves many times over. It is an unprecedented polarization of the human condition.

It became evident quite quickly in the conversation that Peter thinks interactively, dynamically, holistically and perhaps most significantly of all, empathically: creature to creature; man to his environment. He has harvested the very best of 20th Century thought – the silver lining, perhaps, of 100 years of so much violent upheaval, war and environmental damage – and has taken to heart the non-violent inspiration of Martin Luther King Jr., as an important example. This empathy is no mere intellectual conceit. It radiates from the soul of the Zeitgeist Media Festival itself, to which, he reminded me almost immediately, everybody had volunteered their souls and labor for the night of August 5, 2012, here in Los Angeles. An incredible accomplishment; void of sentimentality, but full of passion. “It lost money, of course”, he added with a subtle tone, “But, we didn’t lose as much as I thought we would.” Peter’s own creative piece: “Zeitgeist: Requiem for One” kicked off the 1st Zeitgeist Media Festival in 2011. I urge the reader to check out that intensely effective work of artivism. In this second Festival he was the chief curator. His sense of responsibility toward these events is archetypal in its breadth of feeling.

Peter is deeply convinced that the outmoded, social-monetary system we live under – formulated around 1910 – dictates human actions and behavior to an extreme degree. Extreme. Go back and look at photos showing the aftermath of battles undertaken during World War II. These images are extreme and capture the consequences of extreme behavior – what Woodrow Wilson, referring to World War I – called “economic rivalry”. It is no longer a question of “a necessary evil”. Peter insists the system must be changed fundamentally if the path we are on is to recover its equilibrium. So powerful is this system, that he has difficulty blaming individuals even for heinous crimes against humanity, despite the fact that he himself is unusually adept at calling a spade a spade; a gangster a gangster; a fraud a fraud and a swindler a swindler. Even as Nobel Peace Laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, as a crucial example, openly condemns the illegal “undeclared” invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the Bush and Blair administrations, Peter sees their actions as the inevitable expression of the logic of the system we are all living by and that we have supported. That is why he believes the system must be changed.

I confess, this dispassionate insight into our current geo-economic system and the chief players who both create and manipulate the rules of the game, compelled me to straighten my spine and school any presumptuous thoughts. Have I been naive to assume that individuals in power have retained the moral freedom to influence the system within which they operate? Or by submitting to the logic of the system, have they forfeited that freedom? In the middle of this very jittery debate Peter asks – lest we forget – “What really matters?”  How about a system that does not push the wealthy and the ambitious to illegally attack and devastate a nation in order to gain control over its oil reserves for the sake of centralized, financial profit and power? Remove the cause and the temptation of illegal, coercive geo-economic plunder is removed with it, assuming that “human nature” is not so intractable that it won’t just restore the system under a new name at the first opportunity? These questions are fundamental – taking us down to the complex well-springs of cognition itself and the profound relationship between ‘human nature’ and ‘systemic conditioning’. How rigid is human nature? How flexible and morally creative is it?  Not only does Peter believe in human creativity, he believes society is in dire need of it. His own dynamic collaboration and friendship with singer/violinist Lili Haydn amply demonstrates this conviction. But the geo-economic system that now runs the world is another matter altogether. It is so entrenched that only the most severe bio-social stress – if not all out war – will force us to contemplate a deeper change. Instead of seeing Iran, for example, as the next inevitable ‘war zone’, every nation on Earth worth its salt should be working overtime to find and implement an alternative solution that marks a turning point in our way of doing business. Rage is easy. Creative negotiation requires tireless ingenuity and far-seeing vision. The Zeitgeist Movement has been bold enough to uphold such a vision. The future is not distant. It is now. Can we avoid a pre-emptive war with Iran? Even during the course of this writing, the incendiary tensions throughout the Muslim world make peace increasingly improbable. But not impossible. The Iranian predicament may well constitute an historic turning point that will be measured in centuries.  Nothing is easier to trip on than hypocrisy. And nothing is harder to cure. Pragmatical necessity is a shared condition.

In the meantime, Archbishop Tutu has noted that more than 110,000 Iraqis died in the ‘undeclared, geo-economic war’ launched in 2003, while millions have been displaced. This translates into a universal condition that every last one of us on the planet can relate to: hellish human suffering. Moreover, the US has lost nearly 4,500 soldiers and more than 32,000 have been wounded. Peter reminded me that about 25% of all homeless people in the US are military vets from different wars. Tutu believes that the International Criminal Court is a universal court that applies to all nations on this planet without exception. The law is universal. Tutu’s convictions are a sign of the times. The logic of democracy has gone global and is challenging the logic of elitist geo-economics: the same system that runs the world and readily employs the services of the military. In fact they are two sides of the same, current, global- economic coin. But Tutu is standing on the shoulders of giants – as a matter of historic legacy – and he walks in the footsteps of a “new equality” introduced by Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr., for which our global path is forever the richer – at the very least, psychologically. Let’s call it the ‘psychology of universal hope‘.

“[But] we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt”, King cried out to as many as 300,000 hopeful protestors nearly half a century ago. “It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment … Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning … We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force … And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back … I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream … I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.””

These words are now more relevant than they were on August 28, 1963, because they now apply to all nations on Earth. Peter and the Zeitgeist Movement simply ask: “How do we live out the meaning of this creed when the inmost structure of our centralized economic system forbids it in advance?”

In view of this inevitable call for justice and global fair play in a global, democratic environment, Peter’s emphasis on the deeply corrupt nature of our geo-economic system has forced me to dig deeper and pay even closer attention to the systemic causes of the corruption that drive men and women to inhumane behavior in order to carry out a ‘pragmatical mandate’ dictated by the financial and strategic requirements of the system itself. One important hint presents itself immediately. Without continuous profit it is not possible to pay off the debt from high-interest loans that are the source of our actual money supply. The architecture of our entire system is founded on that debt. The whole system is indebted to the ‘central bank’, country by country: the Federal Reserve Bank here in the United States. The central bank prints the money out of thin air – literally – and loans it to the government at interest. The government uses the money as it needs, but ‘we the people’, must pay back the loan and its interest. Clearly “the new equality” and the bank-centric geo-economic system are in a powerful opposition to one another. This increases the tensions brewing on the immediate horizon world-wide, especially as more and more people literally find themselves without the means to pay back a debt that won’t stop growing. And we are talking about many nations, not just one. On a widening scale, basic human needs are not being met by a system that operates through the severe concentration of wealth and power – by its very nature. And this automatically engages the military employed for unilateral and undemocratic goals, commonly referred to as “National Interests” – which involves “pre-emptive warfare.” Global democracy faces a choice on a scale never known before in human history – as a consequence of its own inalienable logic. And yet, is it not better to face a gruelling choice than to have no choices at all? Change isn’t for sissies and neither are choices. The Zeitgeist Movement is profoundly concerned about the choices we make that will determine the living spirit of our own time.

And we have to make an economic choice that fits the changing condition of the planet as a whole. We have to make it now.

Peter places health at the center of civilization. In the highly efficient society he envisions, health is not just left to chance and cannot be manipulated by the profit motive, as the society would be moneyless. He sees health as the index of a system and as the measure of its success. He holds this view out of respect for individuals who suffer daily from illnesses that could have been avoided. He respects cause and effect and the self evident operations of natural law. He recognizes equality as a self-evident truth. He takes pride, like Martin Luther King Jr. once did, in being “maladjusted” to a society that he knows is harming the creatures of the Earth unjustly. He is alert to the limitations of intuition, maintaining by his actions an uncommonly high regard for science as a way of thinking and being. “What is so important about science”, Peter emphasized more than once, “is that it has a built in capacity to correct its own mistakes and reset its own premises when they prove to be false. If new evidence disproves a theory, science is flexible enough by its own methodology to change the theory to one that better suits the evidence.” He maintains the conviction that religion should do the same when its dogmas have been proven untenable or false. “It is unhealthy”, he insists, “for a society and the individuals within it to live under the confusing weight of strategic lies: whether religious, political, economic or military. Children are innately uncomfortable with lies. Lies are a burden to the whole society and contribute to the collective neurosis.” Children are uncomfortable with neurosis itself and if we would pay close attention to them we could readily detect what is wrong right at the outset.

When in discussion with Peter, one feels productive, energized and positive no matter how grim some of the subject matter may be. Having been raised within the Christian Church myself, I have to agree with Peter.  Lies carried by the “authorities” in a civilization for too long, are oppressive (i.e. 1,687 years has passed since the First Council of Nicaea). Lies keep us inflexible. They warp relationships between people. They may repress one’s true “self” beyond all recognition, keeping us chained to an infantile, self-centered matrix that fails to mature and so quickly morphs from neurosis to pathologies of many kinds – including a ‘me-me-me commercialism’. We can get so used to lies that have been imposed on us by intangible “authorities” that we all end up taking them for the truth without question: just from habit alone.  The propagandist starts believing his own propaganda. Moreover, it often seems that the longer much needed reforms are delayed, the more inevitable revolution becomes. Lies foment resentment. Resentment becomes explosive and dangerous. The Church should start profound reforms now, or go back to scratch and start over again with self-evident truths that do not make a mockery of the laws of nature that compose our life support system, but rather demonstrate an up-to-date faith in these beautiful laws that have been shaping the Earth for at least 4.5 billion years. If the purpose of religion is to set the spiritual compass of a man, woman or child, then it must allow truth to burn through every lie ever known so the right course can be navigated, allowing the fullest human potential to blossom in more and more people.

In Peter’s view – a view he shares with a growing number of creative personalities everywhere – our global social order has just arrived at an unprecedented crossroads. It could be called the greatest bifurcation point ever conceived. Probably every man, woman and child – Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Taoist, Sufi, pagan, Inuit, Aboriginal, Maori and atheist – from China to Argentina, from the United States to the historic cities of Russia, from the war-torn villages of Iraq to the water-scarce towns of sub-Saharan Africa, from the chilly skies of Scandinavia to the cultural havens of Europe, all yearn to see us get through the pass. But no one agrees on how we’re going to do it. We’re so swamped in commerce we can’t see straight. The wounds of history are still so fresh that the horizon directly in front of us is far too murky. We can’t even get to the bottom of our own U.S. economy, where the cornerstone institution itself – The Federal Reserve Bank – remains shrouded in secrecy. We are not allowed to audit it, or to know the names of its decision-making council, the Federal Advisory Council. Too many people are now caught up in a daily struggle just to find food money while the planet’s economic heart has become so clogged with debt, it is just about to stop beating. And though slogans, full of sound and fury – especially at election time – are quickly diluted by a hungry stomach, we keep thundering together anyway, toward the edge of an unprecedented precipice, still attempting to apologize for a litany of conventions (religious, economic, political, social, philosophical, psychological, dietary, etc.) – a vast and unwieldy ‘house of cards’ – long in need of either reform or replacement. Everybody knows it; everybody feels it, but we keep apologizing for it. Meanwhile we go on distracting ourselves by reaching for the “impossible”, so the “possible” itself  remains solely in the hands of a few.

Martin Luther King led his non-violent march into Washington D.C in 1963 in order to anchor the ‘impossible’ in the ‘possible’. That is the meaning of a ‘new beginning’. That was the seed sown in front of the Lincoln Memorial. It has now grown into a world-wide reality. But it has also just reached an impasse, a prime cause of which was manoeuvred into place under the ruthless guidance of select individuals way back in 1913: the creation of a permanent central bank in America, that had been absent since its eradication by President Andrew Jackson 75 years earlier.  But, is what was good for the industrial ‘robber barons’ at the end of the 19th Century still good today – or are we being urged to write a whole new chapter in human history – out of a new necessity?

Peter ceased apologizing for our system quite some time ago and so he frequently feels his “emergent vision” is wading against an intractable tide as if he already knew from a young age what  it truly meant to be happily ‘maladjusted’.  Meanwhile, I myself  cannot imagine when, in human history, mankind has ever been so divided within itself on so many issues as now: not at the dawn of the Roman Age when the mysterious grandeur of Egypt vanished like a genie into a lead-filled Roman goblet. Not during the Black Plague from 1348-1352 – that putrid dark hole from which the seed of the Italian Renaissance (1341-1550) sprouted as if by a miracle; not in that hotbed of conflict that characterized the Shakespearean dramas; nor the day in 1789 (13 years after the American Revolution) when France began its unprecedented struggle for a ‘New Enlightenment’;  not even that day in November, 1917 when the communist revolution got underway that pitted the people against the Russian aristocracy. There isn’t space here to enumerate the issues that divide us: we can’t even agree to protect our environment as an international priority but instead distract ourselves by making unforgivable mountains out of one forgivable molehill after another! In fact we can’t even agree that the environment needs protection. We are all sabotaging our own self-interests – including health itself – because we are too busy counting money every minute of the day; mesmerized by the growing storm cloud of debt that is blackening our shared horizon. And we are not asking ourselves where this debt is coming from. God? Uncle Sam? Yahweh? Allah? Where? Money as we currently know it is manufactured out of thin air by a private bank: the Federal Reserve Bank here in the US and other central banks around the planet. It is not manufactured by the government, by the people, for the people. In fact the history of the Federal Reserve Bank is a historically dubious one that could be swept under the carpet were it not threatening to topple the world’s global economy in such stark terms. I’ll return to this singular institution ahead. It is difficult for common sense to grasp the actual motivation for its existence. For one thing, it was not voted into being by the people. It was snuck in by industrial robber barons and powerful bankers under a guise of carefully calculated false appearances. Since this Institution controls our money supply and its vicissitudes, it is difficult for most of us to swallow this reality. We say to ourselves: “How can that be?” But until we can fathom its creation, we at least have to ask ourselves: “Is there any common ground – nation by nation – upon which we can secure the future other than an obsessive desire to shop, shop, shop, or ruthlessly compete, compete, compete; or compulsively exploit, exploit, exploit, or sell, sell, sell like automatons until even our collective water supply dries up?

Peter believes without question that there is a common ground that really matters. He calls it “human needs” which he distinguishes from commercially driven “human wants”. But he also believes the old system will not let go graciously. The privileges are simply too irresistible to give up: from power, to wealth, to fantastic adventure which includes the profitable theater of war itself. The ‘neurosis of money-tarism’ is too entrenched. It’s too much fun dividing the world up into a great game of winners and losers; of conquerors and the conquered.  It’s fun being the first to form a $1 billion dollar corporation by merging coal, iron, a railroad and a giant steel company as J.P. Morgan managed to do even as “The United States Steel Corporation” violated the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 and helped accelerate the biggest assault on the environment ever known. It keeps the adrenaline surging. It’s infinitely entertaining. And most importantly of all – at least for a few – it is immensely profitable. People fear your arrogance even as they look up to you as a savior when the market trips and falls. In this sense, behind Peter’s genuinely modest, congenial demeanor – in both appearance and personality – there is an uneasiness that disturbs his peace and is reflected in everything he does. He clearly respects sanity and well-being in a natural and sincere way. And the future of this planet is all too uncertain. Even Nature itself – the great ‘dependable one’ during the age of Romanticism, is now in real peril. To this day we are saturating it with an ever-growing array of dangerous chemicals – some of them like PCB’s – known to trigger epidemic illness such as Diabetes II because of the way PCB’s disrupt the fundamental function of the pancreas. It is incredible to Peter that a society that obsessively waves the banner called “Progress”, day and night, cannot let go of religious dogmas and economic policies so un-progressive that for many it has become a source of ontological humiliation while the rest of us believe it is all there is. To be fair: this system has had a history of distinguished critics: Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Paine, Charles Lindbergh, Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell, Henry Miller, Carl Sagan,  Al Gore, Krishnamurti, R.A.Schwaller de Lubicz and even Ron Paul to name but a smattering of people. It’s particularly strange to see President Andrew Jackson’s image on the front of the US $20 bill, the same man who, like Thomas Jefferson, did what he could to declare the central bank unconstitutional. Above his image today we read “Federal Reserve Note” instead of ‘He who declared war on the Second Bank of the United States in defence of the virtuous, plain people of our young nation’. He even shifted the government’s deposits out of the Second Bank back into state-chartered banks and by 1837, the conflict had deepened into a severe depression. Needless to say, since the rank and file are not fond of depressions, to date, neither Jefferson, nor Jackson, nor Lincoln, nor Madison, nor Garfield have been any match for the centralized banking system and the powerful bankers that created the system by 1913 through financial might and a ruthless perseverance motivated by titanic self-interest, employing at times anti-social tactics that hurt millions of hard-working citizens as if they were nothing more than a horde of flees: numbers on a cold-blooded balance sheet. “There will be no significant change”, Peter stated calmly at one point, “Until the bio-social pressure has become so severe that we no longer have any choice. Hopefully at that point it won’t literally be too late.”

We have heard this before, no doubt about it. But, a perfect storm of trends do seem to be reinforcing each other as we speak: mounting debt, depletion of carbon fuels; over-population; unemployment; automation, rising health costs, growing water shortages and water quality problems; growing militarism; severe concentration of wealth, environmental degradation, growing amounts of radioactive nuclear waste, etc. Do we have something in common, compelling enough, to safeguard us from the storm? We do. And it’s been around for billions of years. It’s well worth a moment of perusal. It possesses its own monumental ‘balance sheets’; its own ecological ‘databank’ worthy of the respect and admiration of all of us no matter what side of the fence we are standing.

Six years after Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963, science found a way to get Neil Armstrong and his team of astronauts to the Moon. When Armstrong first stepped on the lunar surface and looked back to where he had just come, some 384,400 km away, this is what he saw (see image below). One thinks of the prophetic words of Thomas Paine (1737-1809): “My country is the world”. Maybe Paine ‘anticipated’ the real meaning behind Armstrong’s iconic words: “one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.”  At last one of us had seen the Earth as a whole. In one giant step, parochial patriotism would never quite be the same again. It is now the greatest mandala we know. It should be made into a flag to be hung in every classroom on Earth – and so begins a new patriotism – or “Terrestrialism” – lest we forget what really matters.

“MY COUNTRY IS THE WORLD”     Thomas Paine

The emergent metamorphosis of this sphere is what concerns the Zeitgeist Movement. Its simple beauty inspires Peter in the purest and most persuasive manner. It urges discipline and gentle, non-violent steps toward a gradual and thorough transformation of soul-force – which perfectly describes the close of the 2nd Annual Zeitgeist Media Festival in LA.

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