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Zeitgeist Addendum

Some of you will have watched ‘Zeitgeist – the Movie‘. I don’t know about you, but I thought it was complete rubbish. I must confess I only watched about a third of it, as right from the beginning I started fact-checking as I went and found it full of holes.

Because of this I was reluctant to view the follow-up – Zeitgeist Addendum. But, in a moment of recklessness, I did, and was pleasantly surprised. It’s long, but well worth a look. Readers who enjoyed Money as Debt, and The Crash Course, will appreciate, in particular, the first half of this new production, as it delves deep into the money system that is shaping our societies and framing our unsustainable way of life. Productions like these are well worth sharing, as they’re helping more and more people to see the need for systemic change – not only at the grass roots level, but also in the entrenched, but failing, economic and political systems that are bringing us to the extreme edge of a viable humanity.

In the latter part of the documentary, the producer Peter Joseph tries to find solutions to the problems well outlined earlier on, but unfortunately however, in my view, he falls well short in this area. But, you guys are all grown ups, so will leave you to come to your own conclusions. Let us know your thoughts:

Zeitgeist Addendum

Drag the slider to 1:55 if you want to skip the long ‘arty’ intro


  1. Hello Craig,

    Interesting that you gave up one third of the way through it. Perhaps I can assume you just watched what it had to say about religion. I find different people have different views on Zietgeist depending on where they are coming from. Alex Jones for example, the great conspiratorial DJ from Texas, has no problem with the shows criticisms on capitalism and 9/11, but is furious, as he is a christian, about its assertions on christianity. Personally I have never investigated the claims on the similarities of various religions and Gods in middle eastern religions, apart from what I have heard, but I kind of get the point about the brainwashing that has led to the current spirit of our times, even if there are facts that are incorrect. For me though what Peter Joseph has put together about capitalism is well done and captivating. I do entirely agree with you, regarding the solutions he refers to through the Venus Project. It was at that point that he lost me and he in fact contradicted much of what he had previously said, by seeing the Venus Project as a way forward. The Venus Project seems to me to be more of the same and does not quite get it when it comes to the state of our finite resources.

  2. Not a bad summary of problems with the existing system, with a notable exception. It doesn’t mention resource constraints (peak oil, et al). It goes way off the rails at about 1hr 14m where it claims that technology based on renewable power (solar, wind, geothermal, etc.) can maintain and elevate our standard of living, without a fossil fuel cost, making human labour obsolete, indefinitely! I stopped watching after some of that as it got pretty ridiculous, like an ‘infomercial’.

  3. I seen the first Zeitgeist and found the first section completely flawed. I do understand the truth behind 911 and have studied the history of banking. These points are factual. I decided not to support the second film and so I have not even watched it. “Freedom to Fascism” and “Fiat Empire” are much better movies than Zeitgeist 1 and 2.

  4. Obviously it’s not flawless, but appearances like those in “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” I think, really boosts the film’s factual credibility. Although at times, I felt the impression this film tries to impose ultimatum upon us. “It’s our way or the highway” type of thing, specially in the second half of the film as it promotes the venus project. In light of that, all I can say is that Jaques Fresco’s work is equally impressive as it self defeating at times. That is not to say it should be dismissed as a whole, or at all. It’s full of amazing ideas though, but it’s not the blueprint for the solution to all our problems. It really turned me off as it fails to point of the unsustainable nature of agriculture and amongst other things, I could not help but to notice that in it’s design it takes food production for granted. As I looked closer though, there are many a useful things we can borrow from Fresco’s work. Therefore then, depending or how you look at this, it can either be a major flaw or a great solution waiting to happen…

  5. craig, you really should have watched the whole of the zeitgeist to make an informed opinion beifre you put it up on this website with your viewpoint. I found my ‘georgebush devoted’ friend couldnt get past the conspiracy about 9/11 yet if he had of kept watching it he would have realized why it was put in the too may have got stuck around there but if you keep watching you will see why it was put in there. There was a reason. I disagree with your analysis of zeitgeist but then if we didnt have freedom of speech we wouldnt be having this conversation.

  6. In my opinion a lot of what the Addendum says is valid, but I don’t share this complete trust on technology to solve our problems. They describe what I call the technofantasy future scenario, with technology working for us and humans just enjoying life. This is still a materialistic point of view. Among everything, life needs a purpose and an intentionality. This should be found within and not without. Technology is outside us, therefore it can’t be the purpose but just a tool, in the same way that money can’t be the purpose but just a tool too. Religion is nothing else than organised spirituality and it is OK if some people need their spirituality to be organised. I don’t need anyone to organise mine, but I understand that others do. This does not mean that religions are useless. To say that religion has killed so many people in the past is to forget that it is not religion that killed them but the political use of religion, something mainly done by the three religions of book. To put other religions like Hinduism in the same basket is not to understand that the word religion is a Western concept, that the word Hinduism is a western concept too, and that things can’t be analise too much with the head but they need to be felt with the heart too and with the power of intuition. This are just my thoughts. Thanks.

  7. sepratist! Here we have all of you crying about what you like and what you don’t like. what was too fanciful for your taste. some of you crying about religion. 1st I have investigated and found that as far as the similarities of the Moses’ and Christ like figures of other beliefs are true (and i am a Christian believer). 2nd for Tim and Mark, the Venus Project does not advocate complete dependability on machinary or technology for all human functions. It was stated that this would be to eliminate tedious labor, but if the individual desired to make such labor their own that would not be shunned upon.

    People please clean renewable energy is real. What everyone at permaculture is doing is real. We all need to stop worrying about what might now work and start pooling together everything that does. We all want the same things no matter our color, religion(belief system), and/or social status. I am a realist and a visionary at the same time. I beleive in humanity and a creator. I also dont believe in sitting around waiting for the CREATOR nor his agent(s) to come and fix it all while we lay around and do nothing till then. No matter your belief system they all share these in commom 1.Treat everyone the way you would like to be treated. 2. Help your higher power help you. (meet GOD,KARMA,NATURE half way).

  8. RHUEL,

    I didn’t say that renewable energy wasn’t real, just that our ability to deploy and maintain such infrastructure is limited. We permies are upbeat about what we are doing without resorting to pie in the sky high-tech revolutions. Continuous technical progress is a dangerous myth formed during the cheap energy era.

    As for eliminating tedious labor, David Holmgren puts it well when he says we can frequently eliminate the task altogether. Much of what we do is unnecessary. What’s left may not be glamorous, but it is meaningful and potentially enjoyable.


  9. I’ve watched the two films in their entirety, the second one just yesterday.

    I found the conspiracy theories in the first film very scary (especially the thought that so much power is concentrated in so few hands) but do not know the validity of the claims. I did find myself wondering why, if the world is utterly controlled by the Morgans/Rockefellers/Rothschilds, then why do they allow the richest people in the world to be folks like Bill Gates?

    Anyway, after watching Addendum I felt compelled to look up The Venus Project for more information. It was put forth in the film almost as though it was a fully blueprinted solution. What we actually see is that it is no more than a series of pretty pictures by talented graphic designers using 3D rendering software: there isn’t any engineering or science behind it. (As an engineer and a scientist this really got to me!)

    Several things really jumped out at me. First, food received virtually no mention. Second, material resources are assumed to be in infinite supply (once the renewable energy supply is secure, all materials will be forthcoming). Third, the technology shown in the pictures and referred to in the descriptions (such as intercontinental Mag-Lev trains) is totally unproven or in many cases not even invented yet. And there is NO WAY I would trust computers to go solo managing the world’s resources, politics and economy.

    But I’m most concerned that The Venus Project, with its spectacular 3D drawings, may be extremely attractive to people who have awoken to the magnitude of the crisis, but find permaculture too hard, and could be another justification for blaming the conspirators, and for doing nothing practical about it.

  10. I think we all need to remember that these are only 4 hours of footage, only so much can be covered.

    The Zeitgeist Movement, the activist front for the Venus Project is conceptual. It makes no claims other than “application of The Scientific Method for social concerns”

    That is what you (permaculture) and almost all other social/ecological organisations are doing.. No one WANTS to do the wrong thing and to determine the right path we must use the logic inherent in the scientific method.

    Getting caught up in the details is counter-productive.. i would direct your attention to what has happened since the two zeitgeist films.. A more in depth presentation as well as an Activist Orientation Guide that addresses many of the concerns people have. Also look up the New Z-Land Project.. it’s documentation goes into specifics of the design.

    As to the claim that it’s ‘Your either with us or against’ Peter Joseph is simply stating that the problems of ‘Cyclical Consumption’ and ‘Technological Unemployment’ are problems we HAVE to deal with..

  11. Nick, don’t embarrass yourself. Both Fresco and Peter Joseph have stated that the New Z-Land project has nothing to do with the movement or a resource-based economy.

    I think the films and the direction of the Venus Project over all is excellent. Look further into it, is all I can say.

  12. The movie talks about a fundamentally important idea which may be overlooked. That is be happy to be proved wrong! The scientific method is to investigate, ask questions, formulate ideas and solutions, then to put it out there for all to digest and grow with, challenge if neccessary, improve upon and re-test. Conclusions on the hypothesis come about this way. At heart there is sincerity in these programmes. No one is perfect, but some are brave.

  13. I am not interested in commenting on the first movie, nor the first two parts of the second. I wish to add clarity as to what it is that the Zeitgeist Movement wishes to achieve. I wish to impart further understanding as to what the Venus Project is, and it’s complete (and almost irrefutable) compatibility with permaculture principles, as I understand them. I must admit, I am somewhat surprised to see refutation on a permaculture site. I do however appreciate that a resource-based economy is big idea, and that us humans these days have a habit of wishing to label/catergorise things before we understand them. No worries. It’s going to be a while coming, but at this stage it is important that smart people (that’s you guys) understand what it’s all about.

    Firstly a quick explanation to the posters – Dean – TVP understands that we have finite resources and has developed a method of monitoring exactly what we have so that what we have is not going to be lost forever. In an RBE, if a resource is finite then utmost effort is made to discover substitutes that are not finite. Oil, finite. Therefore we use substitute products instead. Certain minerals, finite. Again, we use substitutes that are either found in abundance or artificially created (in the future this will probably incorporate nanotechnology). Using technology for the benefit of all.

    Gabriel – in a sense it is an ultimatum. We employ a system whereby resources are managed effectively and technology is utilized in harmony with nature rather than against it, or we suffer the consequences. This system benefits ALL people, not just a select few. It frees us, rather than sees us enslaved. Regarding how ZA “turned you off” for “failing to point of the unsustainable nature of agriculture and amongst other things, I could not help but to notice that in it’s design it takes food production for granted” – That’s like saying an organic brocolli turned you off for not tasting like an organic carrot ☺. There was only limited time in the movie to explain a complex idea, hence it couldn’t go into too much detail about all aspects humanity has managed to get wrong. In a resource based economy (or an RBE) you can rest assured unsustainable agriculture will not occur, nor will unsustainable anything else. I imagine in an RBE permaculture principles would be employed with the utilization of the best technology we know of. Is large-scale permaculture a possibility? I’m not sure as I’m no permaculture expert, but I don’t see why not. The cities would probably use vertical farming, maybe automated organoponico gardens, who knows. Automated mulching droids? Imagination is our only limitation here.

    Marc – Is it materialistic? We bring our own purpose and intentionality to life. I agree, these must be found within and not without. With the essentials provided via efficient use of technology we can have all the time in the world to do the things that bring us meaning, whether they be gardening, creating art, yoga, meditating, whatever. The purpose of the technology is to free us to follow our passions without the constraints we are subjected to in our current system (stresses about money, job security, lack of access to resources). Yes, in the current system we are able to bring spiritual meaning to mundane life, but with technology working for the benefit of all we have unlimited opportunity to explore our true potential both internally and externally.
    Tim – in response to your second post – AT PRESENT our ability to deploy and maintain such infrustructure is limited. Classic example of how the monetary system holds us back. We have the technological capability to utilize renewable energy and we have the resources to make the equipment and distribute it. An RBE is not a pie in the sky high-tech revolution – it is the evolution of our planet. It is an incredible, logical, plausible and reasonable long-term vision. Someone in operations doesn’t resort to strategy. He does his job in operations (and we certainly need upbeat permies, keep up the good work!). If he chooses to oppose those coming up with good strategy (we’re all in the same organization here) then that’s of his own volition, but it would serve him to try to understand this strategy.

    Dr Ward – Rest assured Jacques designs are based solely on engineering and scientific principles – he lives and breathes them and has one of the most impressive CV’s somebody interested in engineering and science could hope to have. Food, like everything else, will be produced by the best and most efficient means available. What is optimum food? Employing logic and reason, in a system not distorted via money optimum food would be (I imagine)
    1) as nutrient-dense as possible
    2) 100% non-toxic
    3) Sustainably produced
    4) As fresh as possible
    Plants would receive the most suitable nutrients (as dictated via testing using the scientific method), probably organic fertilizer (if required), would be grown locally and would be delivered using optimum distribution. Or you could grow your own if you were a passionate gardener. We are talking about the most efficient system available here. Re material resources, in an RBE (as mentioned above) resources used will be selectively chosen that are non-depletive or produced artificially.
    Mag Lev trains exist in Japan in antiquated form. Advanced versions have been invented and designed.
    Do you trust your calculator or a spreadsheet to calculate your personal economics? Why or why not? Technology can be wonderful, like anything it can be abused or it can be put to use for the benefit of all.
    An RBE is a long-term solution. Our present system is failing miserably and permaculture is of paramount importance during the transition to a system that utilizes technology to free humanity rather than enslave it. Permaculture is now. In the future, we can have this evolved version of permaculture that utilizes technology on a more grand scale if we choose to.

    Nick – brilliant post. The Zeitgeist Movement Activist Orientation is a downloadable PDF and explains fundamentals and minutiae far better than I possibly can. I encourage all permies to take a look.

    Brenton – not sure about the “don’t embarrass yourself comment” but yes, the New Z-land project is unrelated to TVP

    Glen – Good call mate, it does take bravery. It’s not easy to see anything other than doom and gloom when attempting to look into a crystal ball. Here and now is the only place we can take action, this is where we are empowered and this is what I love about permaculture. Permaculture is evolution on the small scale, getting chickens to work for us rather than against us, using companion planting to work for us rather than against us, using technology to irrigate. A resourse based economy is our evolution on the the grand scale.

  14. For a proper outline of the zeitgeist movement please watch the orientation guide. Both movies have their strengths and weaknesses. The orientation is much better. It is an outline of the aims and reasoning for the movement. The Venus Project is a permaculture future using appropriate technology for to aid decision making over the vested interest of our current corrupt political process. It is important to watch it all as the sections are interlinked and the final third offers solutions. Roll on a world without money!

  15. Good posts Nick and Michael. Permaculture advocates, the zeitgeist movement advocates the most socially progressive solution for humanity I have ever seen. Permaculture falls completely in line with the principles of the zeitgeist movement (a systems approach of integrating all of societies’ components in ways that maximize abundance, sustainability and efficiency for all.) Lets not put down technology permies…. if you use a shovel, a digging fork, or even this internet site you are a supporter of technology. This is not to say you are materialistic, but the fact of the matter is these are material tools used to accomplish specific ends. Ofcourse these technologies are for social and environmental concern which is exactly the aim of the zeitgeist movement. I disagree that technology is outside of us, it is an extension of human ability derived from human beings trying to solve life’s problems. Granted the atomic bomb and pesticides are technologies destructive to the planet, but the aims of these technologies are based on the perpetuation of global dominance, profit, and establishment power. The zeitgiest movement looks to design a world focused on human and environmental symbiosis rather than true detached aims like war, poverty, hunger, disease, and pollution to name a few. Please look into this for it is in the benefit of all who are serious about the health and survival of our planet and the evolution of mankind.

  16. I have been following The Zeitgeist Movement for about a year now and have been entirely impressed with the ideas it promotes of the The Venus Project. I also recently completed a Permaculture Design Course and am happy to say that I think they both fall in line with one another. The way I see it is: Permaculture is about empowering the individual to live in harmony with the land, producing food, harvesting water and energy and providing building materials as well –all the while the individual is giving back to the land in a sustainable and regenerative way so the process can continue. The Venus Project expands upon Permaculture by identifying that people living in an environment of scarcity (to which the money-based system will always be) are bound to be greedy, wasteful, stressed, or otherwise barred from, what Michael says, our true potential both internally and externally –thus, we need to change the environment (system) itself. Hell, I think PC is the the best thing I/we can do right now, but it only takes us so far in this system.

    The next step is integrating PC on a broad scale for the benefit of everyone and realizing that technology is our stepping-stone to get there.

  17. Oh, by the way, if anyone is interested in determining for themselves whether Permaculture is in-line with The Venus Project, this weekend on March 13th 2010 is ZDAY (check out for a venue in your area) where people will be watching the films and discussing its points. You would have an excellent opportunity to connect and share with others!

    I would highly recommend just taking a look to see if there is a venue in your area, as I believe they have a lot in common.


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