Z Day 2012 London
A year is a long time and a lot can happen.
Since Z-Day 2011, there has been the 'will they, won't they' of the Greek debt default debacle, Arab Spring uprisings, Bin Laden found and killed (allegedly), a million people marching through London's streets (with several hundred then camping there) with a riot reminiscent of the 1980's, a tsunami in Japan resulting in a nuclear episode, and of course the fallout between The Zeitgeist Movement's founder, Peter Joseph and The Venus Project's Jacque Fresco.
The rift between the two organizations has, I hope, healed somewhat, but I feel it has to some extent set back the good work done up to that point.
Z-Day 2012's main event was held this year in Vancouver, Canada (which was a bit further than my fraudster bank manager would allow me to go) so it was business as usual in London at Euston as people descended from across the country for their latest dose of 'what next?'
There were some exceptional talks, notably that of Cassie Earle and Myles Dyer, plus an interesting documentary called 'Economics of Happiness' which highlighted the problems caused by a society driven by globalisation and continuous growth on a finite planet. I am sure many the world over would be able to empathise with this film set in a quiet Tibetan town.
I feel very deeply about Cassie Earle's speech on the subjects of education and the importance of critical thinking and critical education.
What is it to be a critical thinker?
Critical thinking, I believe, is the ability to take in information, move around it and be able to look at it from another perspective, then question what you have been told. This is something that is becoming less and less prevalent in society today as the majority of the public blindly accepts what they are told at face value. 'Kony 2012' anyone?
In Cassie's speech, she pointed the finger at what she called 'critical education', the need for open dialectic conversations that challenge the status-quo - a process where we ensure all voices are heard on a subject; where ideology is not imposed. Wouldn't that be a grand world to live in?
Another important point was one of formal education as it stands. Today, society believes in something we call 'officially sanctioned knowledge', i.e., if you read it in a textbook and have the correlating diploma or degree, then of course you must be right and better than the next human.
As Cassie asked; "Is the shelf stacker in a multinational corporation that builds computers in their (his/her) spare time more or less capable or qualified than the graduate from a top university?"
Of course, it is difficult to say, but it could be assumed that the person who spends every spare minute of their own time working on building things because they love to do it may well be better qualified than someone with a piece of paper that has set them back £15,000. If you disagree with this viewpoint, try looking up 'Dan Pink - Drive' on YouTube.
Everyone is an intellectual. Our problem is remembering or believing this fact.
Our minds are capable of assimilating vast amounts of knowledge, yet generally we choose to waste it. As a society we must regain our sense of curiosity before it is too late. We damage our children by quashing their natural curiosity about the world for a quiet life when they ask 'why?' We should encourage each other to question everything. Question what I am writing, what the media tells you, what your employers and teachers may tell you and remember that formal or sanctioned knowledge is not the only knowledge.
Myles Dyer spoke about his exciting new Universal Solutions Project, which has the potential to aid activists in their quest to educate and inform the masses on a scale not necessarily achievable until now. I have always said, and people at work will confirm this, that people do not care about something until it directly affects them (fire service pensions being one example), but unfortunately it is usually too late by this point and people sometimes fail to see how interconnected these problems are. What Myles is hoping to create and achieve will get right to the heart of this problem and potentially blow it wide open, giving us the tools to help people connect the dots that others seem to do so effortlessly.
Myles' speech was an exciting moment in the day for me as I got a sense of frustration from some, myself included, that there are still a lot of people waiting for someone else to do the work. Last year at Z-Day, two important messages were conveyed; Firstly, there is no point in saving the world if you are not having fun, and secondly, if you were there, you were an activist and had a duty to get involved in spreading the message and attending chapter meetings, etc.
I do feel the second part, as I have mentioned earlier, has been affected in part by the fallout between TZM and TVP. However, this should have made no real difference as the problems we all face remain unchanged, if not more pressing, as the system teeters on the brink of collapse.
We must not wait for a leader. We have to get up and lead ourselves. As Jiddu Krishnamurti once said, "You have to be a light for yourself." We must be willing get our own hands dirty.
Since Z-Day 2011, I have doubled my efforts and commitments to learning, educating and achieving the goal of a better world. Following this year's event, I hope I can again double those efforts and productions, like a kind of Moore's Law, or not.
What will you do?