Zeitgeist: Moving Forward

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Re: Zeitgeist: Moving Forward

Postby Ryan » Sat Feb 12, 2011 5:22 pm

You know...? I believe that with the movie they spoke mainly about resource management or just economic aspects being controlled by a computer system... I do not recall any mention of judicial matters... however, with technology today, I do not see why people cannot vote on the "issues" at hand personally rather than having "politicians" do it for them. It is not like the politicians are experts on all the "matters" either... they have someone to whom they ask... or they simply read the "research" and base their opinion upon that... however it may be tainted due to payoffs, extortion, or blackmail... I believe that in the case such systems were implemented the people who are "informed" to any certain degree upon any given subject will feel more passionately about voting for or against any certain matter and that it would be a much more true form of representing the average opinion of the "community" than the current method... and therefore a much more true form of democracy...

So, in essence you wouldn't take anything out of the hands of the people and give it to the "experts", just the opposite, you would take matters out of the hands of only the "experts" and give it to the people completely... regardless of their knowledge (or lack of) they can all voice their opinion and the matter will be decided on that alone...
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Re: Zeitgeist: Moving Forward

Postby Azur » Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:55 am

hi thanks for your response

Here is some more ;0)

“I believe that with the movie they spoke mainly about resource management or just economic aspects being controlled by a computer system”

yes, but who runs the computers? And that’s my point – experts. And who appoints the experts ? Other experts. Having to run all the system, however mechanized, gives them the most important power position. That power is no longer legitimised by a democratic process, but by the fact that the are supposedly the interpreters of mother nature or whatever.

I am only saying that there has to be some counter balance or control, if only to avoid abuse. So if this zeitgeist ideal world is to exist there has to be some kind of democratic control. And let’s face it. People will always be organised in power groups

What you were mentioning is referendum. People directly voting without any representatives.
A referendum may be relevant at the end of a debate on major issues where no consensus can be reached. And it’s a very tricky method : it has to be yes or no. You can not run a policy with yes or no. The response to a referendum always depends on who’s asking and the answer may be just the expression of the approval or disapproval of that person.

So in my opinion I don’t really how we could get rid of politicians….however sad that is. Because in that case they would be a counter power to scientists and technicians on which our livelihood would depend on.”

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Re: Zeitgeist: Moving Forward

Postby Ryan » Sun Feb 13, 2011 4:59 am

I get what you are saying, but it seems you might be talking from the point of view of a world in which we exist today... where there is an individual gain or loss of some sort. To where power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely... In the world outlined in zeitgeist there is no such disheveled existence. Where everything functioning correctly for the whole is the only way for any one person to benefit.

If you watch the video here you will get a more defined explanation as to what the human tendency is and how in fact things would "naturally" function... that is... in a natural world/society... where we are all the same breed of animal regardless of the color of our fur/spots/etc... or in all actuality, it functions that way even now with things... as the video points out. Some of the most amazing technologies developed were create by individuals which gave it away to others to help develop it further and who happily provide it for use completely free.

I just see it that if we all lived in a big bubble because conditions of the world were so bad it would be the only way to survive and therefore the mechanical systems developed were to make sure the air, water, and temperature were sufficient enough to survive, then it is to everyone's advantage to make sure everything functions properly... they aren't scheming as to how the can come up with a way that they only get heat, and clean the air and water for themselves... and yes... those systems' functionality are dependent upon those who know how to program... but when 70% of all society's functions are automated... that leaves a lot of time for one to become familiar with such aspects... it would be kind of like farming, fishing, or hunting in most tribal cultures... just a way of life... everyone would know how. My grandparents couldn't set the clock on their VCR... but grandparents today surf the net... have Facebook accounts... and more.

What is difficult, and I have encountered this with myself... and others, is to imagine how such an existence changes the model of behavior to which we are accustomed. From my own experience coming from the US... I was used to passing through a guard shack in the mornings and afternoons, coming to and going from high school... or periodic visits from the state police and their drug dogs to sniff kids lockers... or to be walking around Wal-Mart to discover you are being followed around by plain clothed police officer because they think you might be stealing... etc. and then coming here to Austria, where shop owners leave merchandise on the sidewalk and nobody is out there watching it, or maybe even a baby buggy sitting outside the Tabak for a moment as the care taker goes in for a tram ticket or something... where when someone asks "How are you?" they are sincerely wondering if everything is well with you... it is a difference and genuinely affects one's approach to others and life in general...

But... as previously stated... I do not foresee any peaceful beautiful transition to this stage of existence which I believe would be more problematic in simply implementing such a system of management... however a catastrophic end to the current system would make the adoption of such a system much more feasible... in my opinion anyway. I simply look around at the growing number of people/communities trying to become self sustainable and more "in balance" with their surroundings and if things were to go really bad... some reason I see them being more likely to survive. I see the large cities becoming terribly chaotic and self destructive when and if there is a collapse of the civilization as we know it... where water and electricity are dependent upon large facilities and the majority of people have no idea how they function... where no food is grown and it's longevity is dependent upon electricity... Where the majority of people couldn't survive in nature... if their lives depended on it...

And yes, referendum is a form of direct democracy which Wikipedia states is "classically termed pure democracy"... and is no different than a bunch of members of congress or representatives voting on an issue... The issue to be passed will always have to be clearly stated in order for it to be voted upon... there is no need for debate. It simply gets voted upon as presented. It is either approved or declined... it can always be revised and resubmitted... everything is presented and voted upon in the order in which it is submitted... The only complicated part I foresee would be cross referencing the existing laws, bills, etc. and make sure there aren't any contradictions... but I do not see why that cannot be automated as well... simply if a discrepancy is found the submission is rejected for proposal/consideration and the submitter(s) are provided references with which they should study and take into consideration before resubmitting... If the submission doesn't receive any votes... or even below a certain percentage of the population it is declined simply due to lack of interest. The part to take into consideration on every aspect of this is that there is no more "me, me me" ... it is more about "we, we, we"... that is the hard part to imagine... it is like trying to imagine the infinite universe...
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Re: Zeitgeist: Moving Forward

Postby Azur » Sun Feb 13, 2011 4:13 pm

thanks for the thorough response Ryan

I liked very much the video about motivation, and I think it will help me to express my point more clearly.
I think that the conclusions of that video may as well apply to politics and politicians. Politicians as well as economic agents are not all corrupt and hungry for power whatever the consequencies. The problem is that today the representatives of the people simply have less power in comparison to large corporations and especially finance.

Once they are unmoored (i'm deliberately using the term from the video) from the profit based economic agents we can assume that they will genuinely strive to create an ever improving way to live together.

So what I'm saying is that however free and mechanized the system of exploitation and distribution of material goods would be, people will always need a political system to live together. Because people in order to live together need to have rules of conductor laws. And the best way to fabricate laws we have found out sofar is democracy as far as I'm concerned.

What I' m reproaching to the zeitgeist video (the proposal part in the end) is that in its attempt to break down the current institutions it throws away every human accomplishment except for the scientific and technical progress. And in my opinion democracy is an accomplishment that we should preserve and improve.

Without truly democratic institutions people just would have the impression that their destiny is out of their hands. Referendum can not work for technical reasons for the vast majority of the cases.
So I think we do need parliaments, senates, government but with a far larger consensus culture.

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Re: Zeitgeist: Moving Forward

Postby Ryan » Sun Feb 13, 2011 4:42 pm

I see, thank you... and I understand you better... we pretty much agree on everything except the need for political representatives. You think there will still be need for politicians and I think that people will be less consumed by a "menial every day's life", due to most of those tasks being automated, and therefore the people will be more informed, aware, and knowledgeable to make decisions for themselves. Correct?
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Re: Zeitgeist: Moving Forward

Postby mirjana » Sun Feb 13, 2011 4:53 pm

I enjoyed very much your exchange of thoughts. =0)
My thoughts are quite close to the last Azur´s explanation. When I think about Star Trek, which seems to be quite an ideal model of hierarchy, even they have levels and teams of responsibility. Still, captain´s word is the last as he is also the first one in charge for the ship. I see humanity like this, but with members of parliaments or other democratic institutions that have higher level of consciousness than it is the case now.
Yes, Ryan you are right about Austria. I agree. At least one can see how people can influence changes and how those changes effect daily life.
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Re: Zeitgeist: Moving Forward

Postby Sabina » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:16 pm

Star Trek is indeed a beautiful example of a functioning hierarchy, but that particular level of consciousness, as humanity's average, still seems good ways from now, doesn't it?

Some people could certainly nicely blend into the 24th century society as it is shown in Star Trek, but most humans would not, and so... I thought of Plato's proposal of philosopher kings... but who would or could guarantee that they would be such? And even if they were such, who could guarantee that they would remain that given the new circumstances (the power to rule)?
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Re: Zeitgeist: Moving Forward

Postby mirjana » Mon Feb 14, 2011 4:59 pm

Practical wisdom as the key to happiness

How to make a right choice? Or how to be a hero instead a follower.


I think that this video gives some very wise and practical answers as it explains practical wisdom, virtue that Aristotle considered as a master of virtues.

…"What we desperately need along or beyond the rules, we need virtue, we need character, we need people who want to do the right thing. Most of all we need the virtue that Aristotle called "practical wisdom". Practical wisdom is the moral will to do the right thing and the moral skill to figure out what the right thing is.
…"Often in dealing with other people we need to bend the rules.Dealing with other people demands a kind of flexibility that no set of rules can encompass.
..." Wise people now when and how to bend the rules, how to improvise and most important wise person does this improvising and rule bending in the service of right aims. If you do it just to use it for yourself, it is manipulation. So, you do this wise practice in the service of others and not only in the service of yourself.
..."So, both are important, the will and the moral skill of improvisation and exception finding. Together they comprise practical wisdom what Aristotle thought was the master virtue. ..like a jazz musician(you have notes to start, but then you dance around them coming up with the right combination for this particular moment or set of fellow players. This kind of flexibility is required in dealing with people.
" In the last researches in psychology about what makes people to feel happy , there are two things that jump out and matter most for happiness -love and work.
Love -managing successfully relationships with people who are close to you within the community which you are a part.
Work- engaging activities that are meaningful ,satisfying or fulfilling.
To love well and to work well you need wisdom. Rules and incentives do not tell you how to be a good friend, how to be a good parent or spouse or how to be good in that what you do, what your job is. They are not substitute for wisdom, because there is no substitute for wisdom. Practical wisdom doesn´t acquire acts of self sacrifice, but the will and skill to do the right thing for others, automatically gives us the same for us."

Although it seems that we all know this, how we incorporate that in our life is another thing.
There are some great examples in this video , showing Practical wisdom in action.
I can only highly recommend it to watch the whole video with patiently as every line is meaningful.

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Re: Zeitgeist: Moving Forward

Postby Azur » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:09 pm

To Ryan: Yes I do think we agree on a lot of things….But, I do not see how the mere fact that we could have at our disposal material goods for free would make us more informed, or aware or knowledgeable. There are a lot of rich people today for whom the material goods are not a problem and who are neither of that.

It is a matter of the society. If you have a society that encourages creativity, education, awareness, whatever… then you are more likely to produce such individuals. It is a two way track actually. The individuals make the society what it is and the society makes the individuals as they are.

I’m currently reading a book of a French philosopher François Flahaut who claims that the society precedes the individual. It’s even easy to comprehend intuitively because we are first aware of others before being aware of ourselves. He backs his theory with some of the paleoanthropological discoveries which were very nicely described in Mirjana’s “ Empathy “ video which I liked a lot thanks btw

Anyway I’m getting away from our original discussion but then again….

To Sabina : I think you’re very right when you say that humanity is very far from a level of consciousness of Star Trek. What can I say? We like science-fiction J! Zeitgeist is also a kind of science-fiction anticipation movie…As for the philosopher kings, why not, as long as they are legitimised by a democratic procedure…

To Mirjana: Great video, thanks! Still I would like to comment upon the example of the soldier. I am aware that he is using this example to prove his point which I pretty much agree with, but I can’t help thinking that he does not develop all of the questions raised by it.
For instance, why did the soldier wind up in that situation in the first place? Is it because the US army does not take good care of its vets? Why didn’t the army take care of his transition to civil life by giving him a chance to study, acquire skills and help him find a decent job that he could do from home? Further more, is it relevant that the minimum sentence for armed robbery is 24 months? Than he talks about that judge that created a special court for vets. Great, he did a good thing. But still I have two questions: Was it his job to take care of the vets? And if it worked why stop on vets? Why should they be treated better than any other guy who committed a crime because he had a tough life?

So why doesn’t this Schwarz guy develop all this? These are political issues: social care, repressive laws. So why not bring them up to the political level, have things discussed and changed?
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Re: Zeitgeist: Moving Forward

Postby mirjana » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:08 pm

...
Azur wrote:Great video, thanks! Still I would like to comment upon the example of the soldier. I am aware that he is using this example to prove his point which I pretty much agree with, but I can’t help thinking that he does not develop all of the questions raised by it.
For instance, why did the soldier wind up in that situation in the first place? Is it because the US army does not take good care of its vets? Why didn’t the army take care of his transition to civil life by giving him a chance to study, acquire skills and help him find a decent job that he could do from home? Further more, is it relevant that the minimum sentence for armed robbery is 24 months?
Than he talks about that judge that created a special court for vets. Great, he did a good thing. But still I have two questions: Was it his job to take care of the vets? And if it worked why stop on vets? Why should they be treated better than any other guy who committed a crime because he had a tough life?


For me all examples he gave was given only to show that it is possible to make a different choice and not just to follow rules, as his subject is practical wisdom, and this is about that.

As about your thoughts about vets and others, I agree about that, but it is further talk about something which as a change is a good idea and as a such could and should be applied much more than in such individual cases. That is exactly the point, as far as I understood it, because he wanted to point out that such kind of personal reactions that bend the rules are not a kind of common behaviour between people. And that is why we came where we are, having bureaucracy on all levels.
Azur wrote:So why doesn’t this Schwarz guy develop all this? These are political issues: social care, repressive laws. So why not bring them up to the political level, have things discussed and changed?


I hope that my answers so far answered partly this one too. The whole video the same as Aristotle's practical a d unique philosophy upon which the whole approach is based, (I am thankful to him to bringing my attention to Aristotle again), points the meaning of our personal choices in daily life which influence consequently our life. I consider this material as educational choice for each one who is open to imply it into the personal experience. From my not a short life,, I certainly know the difference between blindly obeying the rules or standing for something I consider as more valuable by finding the way in the practical wisdom.
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