Friday, August 2, 2013

Singularity 1-on-1 With Peter Joseph

Peter Joseph: A social critic and founder of the Zeitgeist Movement poses solutions. More solution-oriented than sceptical, he says. A realist who talks about what is possible in this time frame within society. So, where should we put our focus?

Here's the path that led Peter to the moment that made him want to make his first movie: little intention, a musician in NY, always with a general interest in religion and society, always bothered by having to make a living -- he worked in advertising and trading -- and always despising that lifestyle.

Zeitgeist, a performance piece, emerged as a catharsis. It wasn't a film originally, just a work of art. It created an energy and opened up a conversation around the world. His second movie was geared toward solutions and so he started the Zeitgeist Movement.

"We are all being forced into certain positions whether we like it or not. Nobody is wrong in their actions. It will eventually self-correct," said Joseph.

"There's nothing good nor bad, but thinking makes it so." - Shakespeare

He's not a specialist but a generalist, he says. We need to be more broad (or at least have a large cross-section of society that thinks and acts broadly).

It's very hard to conceive this future because we're all so locked into the present (and the past). Film can make the future more real and visceral, a look into what the future may hold. We have to begin to quantify the steps needed to transition into the future (a less scattered view, small points of basic understanding). He wants to create a road map for social change.

From here is where my opinion of Peter Joseph changes.

The end of the episode, the last 30 minutes or so, turned from a healthy dialogue to a jargon match. Peter Joseph, over all this time, hasn't seemed to learn how to resonate his position with an audience that speaks in everyday terms. I believe that what he's saying has a lot of merit, but I also can see that it doesn't resonate with the everyman. It's academic and general in its nature. As much as he talks, he doesn't provide a clear road map of how this whole thing will play out. He argues too much for this generalist viewpoint.

He does cover himself when he says that he is not trying to start an institution or a solidified group, but rather a change in ideology, a change in the view of reality that we people possess. I like this part of his rhetoric the best. He should stick with this. Why try to come up with scientific answers, even though he says that we're all deducing the world scientifically everyday? That was a bit of a contradiction, yes, but most of us agree that Peter Joseph's heart is in the right place.

In the end, I got the impression that he has been forced to defend himself so often, partly because of the controversies included in his first film surrounding religion and 9/11, and partly because of his anti-capitalist ideals, that he has built up an academic wall of language. Most Zeitgeist Movement fans, me included, are anti-capitalist only if it means we can support ourselves without capitalism. It is hard to see the transition from purely capitalist to purely resource-based without some confusion and struggle. And if you're a person in the developed world, why would you give up your comfortable life for an unproven system?

Peter Joseph would argue that you would give it up for two points: 1) You would risk it for a more sustainable world, a world that we can thrive on instead of die on or 2) Because you understand that you are earning more than you are putting in, that others on the other side of the globe (or just over the border in some cases) are putting in the grunt work. He, and the majority of his Zeitgeist movement, would argue for compassion.

Listen to the complete interview here.

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