Thursday, August 12, 2010


Zeitgeist is a German word which literally translates as "spirit of the times". This movie has three distinct sections dealing with what it considers to be the main social issues present in our society. Those sections are:

1. Religion - this movie takes an atheistic stance and picks holes in all of the worlds major religions past and present.

2. Money and Debt - the movie explains our fractional banking system and puts forward the argument that society is built around debt which ultimately is a form of slavery.

3. Terrorism - this movie takes the stance that the powers that be (I.e. The United States Government) are responsible for the atrocities on September the 11th - not a small group of Islamic fundamentalists controlled by Osama Bin Laden.

Whilst this documentary is heavily biased towards anti-establishmentarialism it make some very good points about the world that we live in. Do I believe that there are evil puppet masters controlling every aspect of our existence? Forcing us to fight against each other. No, we are quite happy to be herded around with dangled carrots such as Iphones and faster cars keeping us at all times focused on our one goal - the acquisition of goods and money. In western society greed is very much seen as good.

I do believe that our governments exploit the darker aspects of human nature to keep us under control. Our individual obsessions with self gain and our preference to watch reality television rather than sort out the  pressing social and environmental issues make this job very easy. I also accept that a common enemy creates a cohesive society and that governments fully exploit our fears of terrorism and our inherent xenophobic tendencies. But, hey it's not just the governments that tell us what to fear, every day we tune into mainstream media to hear about terrorist acts, floods, earthquakes, rising crime and various flu pandemics. Each of us actively buy into this reporting every day and if we didn't the media would report something else. Fear or the unknown and a desire to preserve and protect your life, your possessions and your immediate environment are all perfectly reasonable human desires, we just need to learn to take what we read with a pinch of salt.

Do I believe that George Bush is directly responsible for September the 11th? No, however, he is responsible for the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan where hundreds of thousands of people have been left dead due to the conflict. The United States response to the attacks was somewhat disproportionate in terms of civilian debt.

The documentary has a sequel called Zeitgeist Addendum. It proposes solutions to the problems. Look out for a post coming soon about this film.

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