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Zeitgeist: Addendum - Part Three

Author: Edward L Winston
Added: August 16th, 2009

Peter Joseph (creator of Zeitgeist) believes that I'm mentally ill because I disagree with him. You can read all about it on his forums (linked from this forum post), with a blog-based rebuttal here. You better not disagree with him, or you'll be labeled insane next. Perhaps I'm crazy for pointing out his forum post?

This is part three of four in my series of articles on Zeitgeist: Addendum. Please refer to the introduction if you were lead to this page.

This part of the film does not contain as many claims as the first and second parts of the film; most of it is commentary and are my opinions. Actual discussion has sources marked with [#], otherwise it's probably an opinion.

Greed and Competition are not the result of immutable human temperament...greed and fear of scarcity are in fact being created and amplified...the direct consequence is that we have to fight with each other in order to survive.
Bernard Lietaer
Founder of the EU Currency System

This quote is accurate, though the part of a broader and very interesting interview with Bernard Lietaer and Sarah van Gelder[1].

[Jacque Fresco]
My name is Jacque Fresco. I'm an industrial designer and a social engineer. I am very much interested in society and developing a system that might be sustainable for all people.

When he says "social engineer" he means engineering new ways people interact and how society is structured, not lying to people. I mention this because on several different forums I've seen people say that.

First of all, the word corruption is a monetary invention, that aberrant behavior, behavior that's disruptive to the well being of people. Well, you're dealing with human behavior, and human behavior appears to be environmentally determined, meaning, if you were raised by the Seminole Indians as a baby, never saw anything else, you would hold that value system.

"Corruption" does likely originate as a monetary invention, first attested circa 1300 from "to destroy, spoil, bribe"[2].

And this goes for nations; it goes for individuals; for families, they try to indoctrinate their children to their particular faith and their country and make them feel like they're part of that. And they build a society, which they call "established." They establish a workable point of view and tend to perpetuate that. Whereas, all societies are really emergent, not established. And so, they fight new ideas that would interfere with the establishment.

Governments try to perpetuate that which keeps them in power. People are not elected to political office to change things,  they're put there to keep things the way they are. So you see, the basis of corruption is in our society. Let me make it clear. All nations then, are basically corrupt, because they tend to uphold existing institutions. I don't mean to uphold or downgrade all nations, but Communism, Socialism, Fascism, the free enterprise system and all other subcultures are the same, they are all basically corrupt.

Anarchists hold this belief as well; essentially that the state is an monstrous institution that is always corrupt[3].


The most fundamental characteristic of our social institutions is the necessity for self-preservation. Whether dealing with a corporation, a religion, or a government, the foremost interest is to preserve the institution itself.

For instance, the last thing an oil company would ever want is the utilization of energy that was outside of its control, for it makes that company less relevant to society. Likewise, the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union was, in reality, a way to preserve and perpetuate the established economic and global hegemony of the United States. Similarly, religions condition people to feel guilty for natural inclinations, each claiming to offer the only path to forgiveness and salvation.

Ironically the reason the USSR collapsed was due to it giving up power and its willingness to reform. These reforms were never implied to be towards capitalism, and indeed were meant to be ways to reform the state-socialist policies of the USSR. After giving up the monopoly of power, the various republics of the USSR began to believe they could follow the American model and elected officials that opposed the Communist Party. It was really the drive of independence of smaller non-Russian ethnic groups from the USSR that lead to its collapse more than anything else and of course said groups' knowledge that Moscow was no longer going to use force to uphold the status quo[4].

At the heart of this institutional self-preservation lies the monetary system, for it is money that provides the means for power and survival.

Therefore, just as a poor person might be forced to steal in order to survive, it is a natural inclination to do whatever is needed to continue an institution's profitability. This makes it inherently difficult for profit-based institutions to change, for it puts in jeopardy not only the survival of large groups of people, but also the coveted, materialistic lifestyles associated with affluence and power.

Therefore, the paralyzing necessity to preserve an institution, regardless of its social relevance, is largely rooted in the need for money or profit.

I think sometimes people are more interested in preservation for the sake of "tradition" than anything else - even during the great depression most people seemed to believe that reforming the system was bad beyond a certain point.

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