Regarding The Educational Imperative

It is commonly understood in the Zeitgeist community that education is the means by which we can move into a transitional economy, which will evolve into a transformed society that respects and advances each person’s well being. By educating people, we intend to promote the value shift that becomes necessary to survive on this planet—the shift we have all experienced through recognition of certain vital facts that dismiss outdated understandings of human nature and faith in the monetary-market regulating paradigm. After being disabused of these cultural myths, and comprehending a unifying perspective that twines the seemingly disparate strings of planetary suffering into the rope and noose of a core social danger, we are compelled to share with each other. Such is the sensible response. Like the sentinel meerkat warning its playful clan that danger threatens them all, we cry out in hopes that we will be heard and our clan will act.

Our clan is stubborn, though. Many will not listen, and some will react violently. The pugnacious status-quo defenders already notice that something is “wrong with the world,” but their ideological helmets constrain the expansion of their perspectives. They’ve already committed themselves to this battle, so deeply entrenched in a worldview where war is the only means to resolve the problems. To peer above the trench is not an opportunity to see if the war is worth fighting; it’s just a risky move that will end with a bullet to the head. To be exposed to the body of evidence gathered under the Zeitgeist library beckons the inner skeptic, anthropologist, and psychologist to lay bare a history of woe and a “self” identified with that woe. Make no mistake! Even those who have been most advantaged by this system have at least some awareness that their profit has come at the cost of their conscience. Wounded are we.

Those that do not listen because they “have better things to do” are generally too busy “keeping their heads above water,” not realizing the forces that conspire to drown them. Or they have an artificial divide between their lives and the rest of the world. This lack of awareness may be natural in the sense that we are not born with a mature understanding of the complex relationships that exist in, around, and between us. It does not mean that no effort should be made to displace that ignorance. Humans are not born literate, but we make considerable effort in educating people to become so because it provides them with unceasing access to useful and entertaining information. Similarly, every effort should be made to foster people’s understanding of the ecological framework in which they live their lives, and the ways in which nature circumscribes our behavior. When we have a better grasp of what limits nature sets, we actually gain more freedom from what our minds conceive as “the limit.” Nature is a much bigger thinker than we are which is why scientists discover unimagined life forms, cosmological marvels, and invisible realities. Charles Darwin recognized this when he stated, “We are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only with truth as far as our reason permits us to discover it” (Descent of Man).

The goal of the Zeitgeist Movement to educate is necessary and logical. We cannot create a new, sustainable, and emergent society without a comprehensive education to allow the maturation of ecological perspective (I use the term ecological in the broadest sense possible, inclusive of the interconnections among earth, society, and psyche). The predominant conception of “education” needs to be examined. When people discuss education, there is a somewhat narrow view that it means sharing written or verbal intellectual information that will stir one to question their own ideas and revise when reasonable. We intuitively know that this isn’t always effective, but we persist anyway. The Zeitgeist Media Festival and Media Project are addendums to the educational campaign that seek to connect emotionally with people.

Ultimately, the movement is concerned with accelerating a value shift, and my purpose in writing this article is to encourage members to embrace an omni-directional approach to “education.” Some people will be moved by the plentiful intellectual output, and some by the artistic output, but for this movement to reach critical mass, it will need to reach a very diverse population of different motivations. A common conclusion is that either people wise up or they will have to deal with painful bio-psycho-social disasters. Various forms of protest, so-called “sustainable community” projects, and cooperative farming are seen as outside the scope of the Zeitgeist Movement. Alternative currencies like time banking or community-based “dollars” are properly criticized as corruptible and inadequate for accomplishing the lasting change we need.

I understand and appreciate these criticisms and they serve to remind us—repeatedly—that we should not lose sight of the bigger picture. However, such community-based initiatives can be seen as a learning tool to show members of our communities that we can and should work together. Strengthening social bonds and social responsibility will give us pause before rewarding behavior that is loyal to the prevailing “golden” rule: profit over people. Rampant misguided individualism, ideologically driven by “freedom from society” and “my property” are colossal barriers to the value shift that is necessary for a new society to take root. Scientific evidence will compel a definite segment of the population to overhaul its value system, but as we can see with religions, reasoning alone will not suffice. Direct experience in real situations that challenge people’s beliefs regarding human nature and social systems requires them to reach beyond their conditioned reflexes and ideas. Protests, community projects, and alternative currencies may provide those challenges at different levels of meaning for a greater variety of people. There are, no doubt, many other forms of situational challenges, but it is important to ask if a particular situation can serve as a transformative educational tool. So, let’s not get stuck in confined paths of “education” and be open to a broad, multi-layered approach. Besides that, people will want to be activists in various ways, and that is the promise of a resource-based economy: people contributing in ways that fulfill them with an understanding that social interest and personal interest need not be in conflict with one another. When we help each other, we help ourselves.

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Sa, 02/11/2012 - 9:35PM | Great post. (Ergebnis: 1)
Di, 02/14/2012 - 4:25PM | Well written and convincing! (Ergebnis: 1)
Di, 04/10/2012 - 4:51PM | Agreed. Education should not (Ergebnis: 1)