The Zeitgeist Movement
Popularized in a series of films by Peter Joseph and critical of market capitalism, the films created a political movement that, according to The Telegraph, assumes future generations will view religious ideas as a misleading method of controlling society and embrace sustainable ecological concepts.
The name of the group comes from the German word Zeitgeist, which refers to the "spirit of the age" or "spirit of the time."
After the release of the first film, Zeitgeist: The Movie (2007), viewers began asking what to do about issues raised by it, and in a sequence at the end of the subsequent film, Zeitgeist: Addendum (2008), the Zeitgeist Movement was introduced by Joseph. At that time the Zeitgeist Movement described itself as the activist arm of The Venus Project, which was featured in Zeitgeist: Addendum and Zeitgeist: Moving Forward (2011). In April 2011 the two groups ended their association with one reporter describing their contentions as an "apparent power struggle".
The group describes the current socioeconomic system as structurally corrupt and in need of replacement with their concept of a system based on efficient use of resources and sustainable development. The Zeitgeist Movement advocates transition from a global money-based economic system to a resource-based economy.
The Zeitgeist Movement's ideas are presented through local and national chapters and online release of media. Zeitgeist holds an annual event, Z-Day, in March. Z-Day 2014 was held in Toronto, Ontario.
The New York Times and The Palm Beach Post have reported reactions to various aspects of the Zeitgeist movement, including utopianism and a 'wholesale reimagination of civilization', diversity in its attendees, and subscribing to 9/11 conspiracy theories in Zeitgeist: The Movie. The article in The New York Times noted that Zeitgeist The Movie may be most famous for alleging that the attacks of Sept. 11 were an “inside job” 'perpetrated by a power-hungry government on its witless population', a point of view Mr. Joseph said he "moved away from" (as of 2009 in an interview).
According to a film critic for the Sun Times (Bill Stamets) Peter Joseph’s movie Zeitgeist Moving Forward takes an imaginative leap at the end of the movie when a dramatized scenario for peaceful revolt occurs: 'citizens of Earth see the light and toss all their cash into fires outside banks'. The review goes on to say that 'the first two “Zeitgeist” films, spawned a grass-roots movement, “Zeitgeist: The Movie” (2007) and “Zeitgeist: Addendum” (2008).
In Tablet Magazine, journalist Michelle Goldberg criticized Zeitgeist: The Movie as being "steeped in far-right, isolationist, and covertly anti-Semitic conspiracy theories," and called the Zeitgeist Movement "the world's first Internet-based cult, with members who parrot the party line with cheerful, rote fidelity." She went on to write that the film borrows from the work of Eustace Mullins, Lyndon LaRouche, and radio host Alex Jones, saying that Zeitgeist: The Movie portrays a cabal of international bankers purportedly ruling the world. In an interview with TheMarker, Joseph stated that while the film does mention bankers it does not seek to place blame on any individual or group of individuals. He argues they are merely a product of a socioeconomic system in need of change.
- "TZM – Mission Statement". Retrieved April 2, 2013.
- New world re-order: The Zeitgeist Movement spreads to Ventura County, Shane Cohn, VC Reporter (California), May 12, 2011
- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/netherlands/9337209/Forest-boy-inspired-by-Zeitgeist-movement.html Retrieved April-29-2014
- http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/57732/brave-new-world Retrieved June 9, 2012
- Bill Stamets (February 15, 2011). "Art-house films: ‘Marwencol,’ ‘Zeitgeist’". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved March 7, 2011.
- http://orlandoweekly.com/news/the-view-from-venus-1.1217175?pgno=6 Retrieved May-18-2014
- "They’ve Seen the Future and Dislike the Present". New York Times. 2009-03-16.
- A dream worth having, Rhonda Swan, The Palm Beach Post, April 30, 2009
- Ward, Charlotte; Voas, David (2011). "The Emergence of Conspirituality". Journal of Contemporary Religion 26 (1): 109. doi:10.1080/13537903.2011.539846. Retrieved June 16, 2012.
- Goldberg, Michelle (February 2, 2011). "Brave New World". Tablet Magazine. "The first Zeitgeist documentary borrowed from the work of Eustace Mullins, Lyndon LaRouche, and Alex Jones to rail against the cabal of international bankers that purportedly rules the world."
- Discussion of the Zeitgeist Movement with Peter Joseph on YouTube, TheMarkerTV (Israel), Jan. 19, 2012. Interview conducted in English, following a brief introduction to Joseph and the Movement in Hebrew.