Technical Activism

This document is an attempt at spreading information about views on a development of the Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) to see if it catches interest and grows into action. Of course this is open for anyone to explore and be a part of, but since the suggestions that are brought up here are in the perspective of a transition from a monetary based economic model into a resourced based one – it would be necessary to understand why TZM advocates a resourced based economic model. For more information on that please visit our FAQs.

Many of us, who advocates such a model, might have a vision of a transition that we will spread awareness, reach critical mass and eventually build Venus Project circular cities. Though this might be possible, to get there, this long-term transition could be divided into sub-transitions. I personally think that it is time for TZM to step into another one of these roles, to add on while spreading awareness.

To help people understand how and why we humans need to move into a more sustainable future, TZM spreads awareness about alternative ideas to do so. We also recognize that the environment has a huge role on influencing people’s behavior, values, ideas, opinions and even emotions. So at the same time we inform people on how to technically change their lifestyle and behavior to shape a healthier and sustainable environment, we also have to technically change the environment into a more healthier and sustainable one in order for people to be able to understand and connect with these new ideas. It's the old ”the hen and the egg” dilemma.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
― Richard Buckminster Fuller

There are open sourced projects out there in the world today that in their own way and field makes the usage of money more or less obsolete. Here are some examples:

  • Torrent files sharing – spreading files and material, all the way from entertainment to education, for free over the internet. (Already established)
  • BOINC – a new way of super-computing where a network of individuals allows a specified amount of their own CPU-usage to do mathematical calculations for scientific research. (Already established)
  • Means for self-sufficient energy supply – solar-, wind- and hydro- power stations harvest the power of phenomenon’s in nature and generates energy.
  • Hackerspace Global Grid – a network of universities, hackers and basically anyone who wants to participate in building a global communication grid as an alternative to the internet we have today. The internet is by many considered held back in connection speed and availability; it is also censored more or less all over the planet. An independent grid stripped away from business and politics could be designed in a more sustainable way to ensure a working communication globally.
  • Means for self-sufficient food supply: Hydroponics, window farms and aquaponics makes it possible to grow different kinds of food like vegetables, root vegetables, beans and fish at home.
  • Open Source Therapy – Instead of paying lots of money to get narrow answers from one ”specialist”, communities online and in real life meet to get help from and help out fellow human beings in groups for free. Anonymous Alcoholics is an example of this format. (Already established)
  • 3D-printing – Machines connected to software that is able to recycle and print out materials in different shapes and forms. An individual may design an item however they’d like, upload the template for anyone to download.

So imagine a home that is self-sufficient in food-, energy-, recycling and 3D printing-, therapy-, communication-, entertainment and recreation- supply and availability. This home obviously has much less use of money than the average home of today. Things and services will still cost, though it is very likely more and more solutions are on the way to make more of them free as well.

I am not visioning this as a solution for eternity of course, it don't think that each home all over the world will be independent in all their needs and that we then will get together to optimize our resource based economic model and lifestyles in form of examples like circular cities. I do think though that this is one direction we could take to help detaching society from the monetary based economic model and bring forward environments in which it is easier to understand and connect to a reality that is closer to a society with RBE, and lay the ground for new directions, activities and transitions of different sorts.

I had the opportunity to meet Douglas Mallette in Stockholm and when I brought this up he said something like: ”Yeah it's about time ”Ziggies” (meaning Zeitgeisters) got up of their asses and started doing shit!” then he pointed out that if we start working with projects like the ones mentioned above, people would see what we could call our ”technical activism” and say to themselves: ”Those conspiracy theorists are now having workshops on how to install your own hydroponics for growing vegetables at home. Maybe I didn't get them right the first time, I have to check them out more thoroughly.”
And just maybe, people would start reading the mission statement for once!

Of course there are many different organizations working with projects like this for anyone to join open sourced. TZM should also be a part of it, think about the network of resources we have! Look at the effect the linguistic team is having as an example!

This is one way we could introduce this ”technical activism” into the TZM structure:

A. We decide on a new project by arriving at which one based on relevant information like: which is most important and accomplishable when looking at what resources we have, and other ways of reasoning with critical thinking.

B. TZM Technology Team thoroughly works out how to technically accomplish the project, what skills are required and what resources are needed.

C. They then send that information to TZM Education Team who will work out presentations, courses and material on how to learn and be a part of/ make your own project. Basically teach people how make these technical advancements.

This is an interdisciplinary work between the technological, educational and other activist teams as there's a constant dialog for whenever there are updates and new understandings. The idea would be to bring this knowledge out to the public, making it attractive through open sourced education. Very few individuals on this planet have access to universities and expensive education, but we can change that by bringing the education out in the public!

I will let this flow out there to see if there is any interest on what I just wrote. Please visit the Facebook group to post and comment.

Or find my email here in this document.

At the keyboard: Mikael ”Mikkiz” Lindberg (Swedish national co-coordinator)

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Sun, 02/05/2012 - 11:54am | I totally agree with what has (Score: 2 Interesting)
Denis Durmisi's picture

Denis Durmisi

Karma: 1

I totally agree with what has been said in the article, I just would like to suggest that instead of 3D-printing, a more proper designation would be Open Source Hardware which is somewhat novel field in the OS-culture but is growing increasingly. One particular project that I like is the OSE ( http://opensourceecology.org/ ) whose aim is to open-source 50 machines that would be needed to start a sustainable and self-reliant communities with modern day comforts.

Sun, 02/05/2012 - 3:42pm | Thanks for blogging this! (Score: 1)
Sun, 02/05/2012 - 4:04pm | I'm so incredibly glad to see (Score: 2 Insightful)
Isak Oqvist's picture

Isak Oqvist

Karma: 1

I'm so incredibly glad to see this kind of article coming from a fellow in the Swedish chapter, and to think I've never even talked to you before. This is exactly in line with the thought-pattern I've developed over the last few months. I feel this is an area where TZM's interests align with many other movements, and where there is already a lot going on. Check out this excellent article on how open-source might destroy capitalism.

In addition to the initiatives you've already mentioned I've also become very interested in projects like Hypothes.is, which will essentially work as a layer of peer-review on top of existing data already available on the internet in the form of blogs, videos, forum-discussions, etc. - turning the entire world wide web into a dependable source of free, high-quality information.

One of the great challenges with open-source development is coming up with new models for collaboration. Even though a community is capable of great achievements on its own it often requires a prime mover or a specific framework in order to be effecient. Platforms like Github and Bettermeans are a great start, but we really need more research in that area. I have noticed that TZM has struggled with this decentralized model of development, but I think we're learning as we go along. I'm excited about further discussions on this topic!

Mon, 02/06/2012 - 12:22am | Technical activism is a (Score: 1)
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 12:06pm | Well put, but I get the (Score: 1)
Mon, 02/20/2012 - 5:54am | Actually, if you re-read (Score: 1)
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 12:52pm | I really like the idea of (Score: 1)
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 12:55pm | I'm gonna go ahead and say (Score: 1)
Tue, 02/07/2012 - 12:22am | Good feedback guys! Yes (Score: 1)
Wed, 02/08/2012 - 2:57am | I like where your head is (Score: 1)
Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:26am | Cool Geoff, right back at (Score: 1)