The Spirit of The Age

by Dan Robles on 01/20/2011

I read the mainstream media headlines about how the Arizona Assassin was influenced by the Zeitgeist Movement and wondered, ironically, which of these four parties represents The Spirit of the Age?

The Future of Money

There are many people questioning the past, present, and future of money. For the first time in human history, there is substantial access to information and scalable social technology that can enable people to create, store and exchange new value in their communities.  I believe that the act of people building community, in itself, creates new value that may be exchanged through many forms called social currency.

Economics happens when people do things that are important to them.

I have encountered literally hundreds, (I am certain that there are hundreds of thousands), of people developing social currencies in increasingly creative and constructive ways because their community is important to them. People are trying to solve the great puzzle of  human division because their community is important to them. People are trying to resolve the constraints in natural resources and the limitations on our planet, because their community is important to them.

The New Value Movement

It is also increasingly clear that social-economic systems that may have once served well in prior times are operating sub optimally with today’s technology and social order.  What I do NOT see in the New Value Movement are people intentionally trying to benefit from the wholesale failure of others – regardless of whom. However, herein does lay the danger.

Disruption is good, destruction is not so good.

It is easy to form a utopian ideal where humanity’s presence on Earth is redesigned into the system of one group’s design. It is easy to say that all problems are technical or spiritual, and not political.  It is easy to call to action a confrontation of culture as a requirement for building future society in one’s own image.

The problem is when the urgency to realize a utopian vision can result in actions that are destructive to the support system upon which that vision must depend. As such, it should never become the best interest of one ideal to force the collapse of the old system in order to create the new system.  This is the nature of the same “competition” for resources that is clearly inconsistent with natural synergy.

This is the story of much of our human history, unfortunately with predictable results

I believe that it is precisely such a failure that can make the new ideal impossible to attain. To bring about the end of the old era before the new era is sufficiently developed is the great technical challenge we are faced with. No sustainable stage of human evolution has ever been brought on by the wholesale demise of the prior – there was always an integration of the tools developed in the prior paradigm that resulted in the new.  That is the discussion that we need to occupy ourselves with – this is our Zeitgeist.


Dan Robles January 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Brian, thank you for the kind words. There is cause for great optimism and there are many people who see that vision clearly. There are many things about the world that actually work quite well – that is what needs to be sensationalized. I believe that the answers reside in people such as yourself.

Brian Driggs January 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm

This would be the first time I’ve seen either the Zeitgeist or Arizona shooter topics broached in a way which was not seeking controversy or drama. You tie the two together deftly, logically, and genuinely to a righteous message.

As one seeking said Utopian vision, looking to help others spend less time focused on that which is wrong so as to have more time for focusing on making the world a better place, I appreciate the reminder. Whatever the vision, long term success requires scalability beyond the original social unit.

Thank you, Dan.

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