A Leaderless Movement
There is a popular demand within the Zeitgeist Movement: Horizontality, meaning the group's ability to participate in decision making both locally and globally. We all want to participate, and rightly so. From the outset, the movement declared itself as a leaderless one, without hierarchies. So why is it so difficult to achieve this? Isn't the way to go, obvious?
To answer, we need to understand the context of the statements, and define how any movement can function without leaders.
Like living organisms, social dynamics are also governed by certain unwritten rules, but are implied in the way society works. But first let's clarify the long abused term "zeitgeist". The word zeitgeist refers to the cultural and intellectual climate at a particular time in history; it is the original material from which the societal structures, which end up determining the human collective action and the effect they have on the environment and society, are built.
'The Zeitgeist Movement' refers specifically to the intention of guiding the zeitgeist towards change, transforming it into a different train of thought. Some might imagine this to be a certain set of crystallized ideas (like circular cities, or specific designs in the movies, or sustainable farming); but instead we could define it as a completely different way of thinking, with which we seek to replace the current one. In other words, we seek to repair the social DNA into something that generates a healthy, efficient, sustainable, peaceful and eco-friendly society.
Out of the features mentioned above, the one that is most often ignored is 'sustainable'. The issue comes not from people's intentions, but from their ways of seeking change. I will use a biological metaphor to explain why should we seek to repair the social DNA, rather than the intermediate structures in order to get a long-term change.
Like organisms, societies tend to replicate themselves, always emerging and re-emerging from the zeitgeist (the intellectual and cultural climate in a given time). People beliefs create social structures such as central governments, schools, universities, factories, currency. In turn, these structures generate a social dynamic that ultimately will have an impact on nature, and that also includes us, human beings. Here we begin to see how society operates very much like a cell or body, which, from DNA, generates structures: enzymes, proteins, ribosomes and many other things that help you survive in a given environment.
When a cell's DNA is corrupted, it only seeks to perpetuate it's own cell type, over the welfare of the whole organism, reproducing itself over and over again. This is called a cancer cell. This cell invades its surroundings, consumes the local resources, and moves on to start using the resources elsewhere. It's method is so efficient that it ends up being present throughout the body (this is called metastasis), until finally the individual dies, killing the oncogenic cell as well.
Usually there is a certain cell type which becomes carcinogenic, and the current medicine is attempting to isolate and target this specific cell group only, in order to allow the remaining healthy cells to follow their natural path. But our society is in a much more advanced disease state, and if we probe the social DNA, we see that it is almost entirely corrupt, and is generating carcinogenic characteristics in virtually every place on the planet. To say that we are plowing our way to extinction is not an exaggeration.
Focusing on intermediate structures (banks without interest, self-sustaining farms, demands for transparency, or to provide funds for "green" projects) really is ineffective, and insufficient in the long-term analysis, because in the same way as the healthy cell, this new structure will serve a determined life cycle, but will not be able to replicate if it fails to inject itself in the social DNA. It will simply be suffocated by the diseased structure, as with cancer.
This explains some of the talk in the past about the 'phases' of the Zeitgeist Movement, as it would actually correlate to the necessary changes in the structure of people's values. From there, their own thinking would subsequently generate healthy structures. However, this would only be perpetuated if the entire organism (or at least a great portion of society) heals.
The Zeitgeist Mutation
Here is where the Zeitigeist "Movement" comes into play, as a sort of 'immune response', created to help repair our social DNA, 'healing' the root cause of the problems around the globe gradually, in all people. It really should be expressed as zeitgeist mutation or change. In order to do so, critical mass is paramount, so a communication and activist group is something that consumes fewer resources, and has the greatest extent possible in the entire globe, always preserving the core objective. This is what defines the fractal nature of TZM where, regardless of scale (global, regional, national, urban, and personal), it reflects exactly the same train of thought, this new way of thinking: The global application of the scientific method to environmental and social benefit with a long-term perspective.
From this fractality, it follows that this is a movement without leaders or hierarchies, in other words, information must defend itself, regardless of the person acting as transmitter. This is the kind of true horizontality we are looking for, which is referred to in many TZM documents and media. The ability of any individual to influence within not only the organization but in the zeitgeist, the global, social DNA.
What if we want to change the organization? The Zeitgeist Movement is not an organization, such thing doesn’t exist. This confusion its related to the cultural baggage that we are part of. TZM is defined by its goal, to transform the social DNA, culture, values and mindset of the people to, once more: The global application of the scientific method to environmental and social benefit with a long-term perspective.
As expected, understanding this requires a learning curve, and within a society with as poor a level of communication as ours, this simply is not quickly understood. So the goal of healing the society has been sidelined in some of the social groups who feel a strong identification with the Zeitgeist Movement, from which beautiful projects with beautiful results emerge but, given the conditions of the current society, are unsustainable if this significant critical mass around the globe is not previously achieved.
Ultimately this is your decision, do you want to work to create temporary welfare or create the unshakable conviction that will perpetuate uninhibited sustainability and well-being?