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ZEITGEIST and The Huffington Post

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  • Wed, Mar 24, 2010 - 04:04pm

    #31
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    Re: ZEITGEIST and The Huffington Post

It seems to me that the ZM has a religious belief in the technology the ‘saviour’.  as opposed to politicians and governments.  Enjoy this next read. 

WEll put VF Wink

 

When we consider the relevance of our social structures and ideologies in society, very often we view governments, politicians and corporations as the guiding organizational and catalystic institutions responsible for the quality of our lives. This is, of course, true… but only to a certain extent. As time has moved forward, human beings have become more and more aware of nature, its processes, and thus have been able to derive inference about how to imitate nature in all its creative glory.

The result has been Technology, which is what separates us humans from the other species as far as functionality. We have the ability to create in very vast ways. If we don’t want to clean sewers, we can devise a machine to do it for us.

At the beginning of the Industrial Age, a great majority of people worked in factories. Today, automation comprises 90% of nearly all factories. This has displaced humans and created a large, artificial “service” industry in order to keep humans in employment for money.

This pattern is very revealing. The implication is that machine automation is constantly challenging the role of general human labor. This doesn’t mean that humans will have “nothing to do” as time moves on. Quite the contrary… this implication denotes the freeing of humanity from jobs which humans do not care to engage in, so they will have time to pursue what they choose to. As an aside, it is important to point out that society today assumes a very negative posture towards humanity, retaining the belief that if human beings were not “required” to do something, they would just sit around, be lazy, and do nothing. This is absurd propaganda.

The notion of “leisure” is a monetary invention, created because of the oppressive, fascist basis of the employment institution itself. Laziness is, in fact, a form of rejection of the system. It is a quality that only exists due to the oppression and required servitude.

In a true society, there would be no such thing as the separation of “work and “leisure”, for humans should be allowed to pursue whatever they feel is relevant. To put it a different way, consider the curiosity and interest of a child. He or she doesn’t even know what money is…Do they need to be motivated by money to go out and explore/create? No. They have a personal interest and they pursue it without reward. In fact, the greatest contributors to our society, such as Einstein, Newton or Galileo, pursued what they did without any regard to money. They did it because they wanted to. The act of doing and contributing was their reward.

The point here is that money is not a true incentive for anything and to think as such is to assume that humans are inherently lazy and corrupt. Laziness and corruption are products of the conditioning our social system creates.

Now, coming back to technology, we find that our quality of life, as far as functionality, has been increased greatly by the benefits of the technological tools we create. From a lawn mower to a pace maker, technology saves lives and decreases the amount of time we need to spend on mundane, difficult or dangerous activities. In fact, if one steps back far enough, it becomes clear that Technological development is the most important institution we have and the pursuit of socially helpful technology(not weapons) should be the highest priority of the culture.

At the same time, technological development is brought about by a particular train of thought, or process… this could be called “The Scientific Method”. Carl Sagan was once quoted as saying something to the effect of “Society welcomes the gifts of science, but rejects its methods”.

This is very true in the modern age, for what the public fails to understand is that science is not just a tool… it is a near universal functionality which can be applied to society in ways many would not think about.

It seems obvious that technology improves our lives and serves as the greatest liberator of human life in the material realm… so why aren’t its methods applied to society as a whole?

Obviously, the scientific method is used constantly for isolated systems, but it has never been truly considered in the broadest ways. This is largely due to age old superstitions which battle the logic of science in favor of a dogmatic, outdated and highly romanticized world view.

If we had the option to rebuild a society from scratch, how would we do it to make it the most efficient, sustainable and humane? This is our perspective. Obviously, we cannot build a society from scratch but the point is clear. It is time we stop thinking about monetary concerns and limitations, and begin to think about the possibilities we have here on earth in the broadest sense.

It is this interest that has created the concept of a ‘Resource Based Economy’. The Venus project has been working on this concept for a long time and its foundation is very simple. We survey, preserve and maximize our use of planetary resources in conjunction with open information and technological development.

In this view, little is left to subjective interpretation, for it is a scientifically derived strategy for social construction at the very core. From there, the scientific parameters work themselves out as far as possibilities.

  • Wed, Mar 24, 2010 - 04:56pm

    #32
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    Re: ZEITGEIST and The Huffington Post

[quote=Vanityfox451]

 

What I’m trying to explain is that, there are many interpretation’s that people make of an idea that can damage the effectiveness of it. The last thing I want to see is the value of that idea being given words such as Religion, Cult or Socialism to it, when I fear there isn’t yet an old world term to truthfully describe what it is trying to be …

So, my question for you is: –

what “positive” rather than “negative” aspect’s could you describe of the Zeitgeist Movement?

Affectionately,

~ VF ~

Hi VF,

I am trying to comprehend what you just said, above. You put the word interpretations in itallics like its a dirty word. How can I ever do anything except interpret the ideas of others into a language that I understand internally and that is consistent with my world view? It is my duty to expand my world view vigorously indeed and have a flexible approach to things.

I can see the response to this statement from the Venus Project which might go along the lines of: “A computer wil not be limited in the same way as your feeble mind, Crash. Therefore it is more efficient to turn over your decision making power to the computer so we are spared the time waiting for you to get your meagre brain power in gear to come to a sensible conclusion about this idea. A conclusion which will, in itself be flawed because of your neccesserily miopic perspective”.(!)hehe

I was not using the word religious with frivolity. I meant it. It is a belief system which says “technology will save us”. This statement is not based on the scientific method. There is no evidence that technology will save us. It is a belief system, and the institutions which build up around belief systems are called religions. Like we have the religions of sport, money, politics etc.

I am a big fan of Michael Albert who wrote Parecon (Participatory Economics: life after Capitalism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participatory_economics) There are some similarities between Parecon and ZM. The biggest difference is that Albert is keen to include humans in his discourse. ZM talks very little of humans and that is why I am wary. Albert once said something along the lines of our institutions we use to manage the transition must reflect the society we would like to see at the end. This means that if we don’t have participation and horizontal structures of management built into our institutions now, then when they succeed in overthrowing or supersceeding the current system we will not be better off than before because the same heirachies will repeat.

It seems to me that the ZM does not seek to empower people, but make them totally dependant on a world run by machines. To be honest I don’t view that much differnent to today. Today we are run by organic robots running parliment, the senate, big business, banks etc. So ZM’s strategy is make them fully robotic. I don’t dig that, where are the safety mechanisms, the checks and balances?

JK121 said :

It seems to me that the ZM has a religious belief in the technology the ‘saviour’.  as opposed to politicians and governments.  Enjoy this next read.

This is typical of the by-rote response from ZM. It pits an objection to ZM against a statement which suggests I haven’t seen the obvious about the status Quo and therfore ZM’s interpretation is better. It is not a choice between ZM on the one hand and politicians and governments on the other. There is a very broad spectrum of possibilities.

“it becomes clear that Technological development is the most important institution we have and the pursuit of socially helpful technology(not weapons) should be the highest priority of the culture.”

This is a value judgement. It is not clear to me that technology development is the most important institution we have. This is up for debate. But not with ZM. That technology should be the highest priority of our culture is again up for debate. But not aparently within ZM

“In this view, little is left to subjective interpretation, for it is a scientifically derived strategy for social construction at the very core. From there, the scientific parameters work themselves out as far as possibilities.”

It seems a dangerous route to go down which cuts off one side of the brain and says, we don’t need that, its not efficient.

So. You asked me for one thing I could say which was positive about ZM. I think the most positive thing about ZM is its optimism. In my interpretation, ZM is missing some huge areas and is tightly framing the debate around its own agenda instead of engaging with other perspectives. but that’s just my interpetation, maybe a machine would say something different.

At the core of it I am for personal self-determination. ZM doesn’t seem to cater enough for that. Maybe I’m wrong. I am open to changing my mind at any time that seems efficient. I mean, prudent!

with kindness,

  • Wed, Mar 24, 2010 - 04:58pm

    #33
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    Re: ZEITGEIST and The Huffington Post

[quote=ao]

Fair enough.

I’m not sure what you mean by the following statement though:

“Interpretation of idea’s cannot be done inside of the bubble that is the United States to me.”

[/quote]

Crash and I are both based in the UK. Now, I can’t speak for ‘Crash’, but for myself I feel I gain a more rounded perspective of the United States than the average American, being outside of it, and looking in.

 I remember reading a (2005) book by oil geologist and author Jeremy Leggett called, Half Gone: Oil, Gas, Hot Air and the Global Energy Crisis. In a section of the book that made my hair stand on end, he wrote of a group called the BNP ( British National Party) – a far-right political party formed as a splinter group from the National Front – who were always sitting in on his Peak Oil lecture’s. As a political party, they are ‘Very Up’ on Peak Oil, as opposed to the Labour or Conservative Party, or say, the Republican or Democrats in your neck of the woods.

 I’m sure by looking back, you understand my meaning when I say, ‘Media Driven Nationalist Fervour’, if you think of the political climate in America, after the Twin Tower’s were destroyed in 2001.

 You’ll also gain better gravity in my thinking by looking in on post #52 of the Daily Digest March 23rd, where if you dig into the underbelly of the information surrounding it, you begin to see just how very deep Alice’s rabbit hole really goes …

… put it this way, I have a feeling that Alice got so deep down that rabbit hole she now talks fluent Mandarin …

In other words, it seems that any and all interpretations in the US have to go through the media-sorting house before it is allowed mainstream appeal. That means that the idea first has to go through the fiery hoops of the political corporatocracy first …

~ VF ~

  • Wed, Mar 24, 2010 - 05:10pm

    #34
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    Re: ZEITGEIST and The Huffington Post

“When we consider the relevance of our social structures and ideologies in society, very often we view governments, politicians and corporations as the guiding organizational and catalystic institutions responsible for the quality of our lives. This is, of course, true… but only to a certain extent. As time has moved forward, human beings have become more and more aware of nature, its processes, and thus have been able to derive inference about how to imitate nature in all its creative glory”

jk121

I appreciate your passion and your vision however I beg to differ on human beings becoming more aware of nature. It is true that science has in many ways been able to do things like decode dna and splice genes etc., yet it has not had the wisdom to see the consequences of its actions.

Human activity is driven by many different forces most of which are not fully understood. Philosophers and psychologists have struggled for many years to understand human behavior and to this day there is no consensus. I do not believe technology is in any way going to change basic human nature.

As for humans understanding nature I would suggest you take off into the wilderness of your choice with the things you think you need to survive on your back and see how long nature will suffer you. Most people especially in industrialized societies have no clue as to what makes their bio region tick, what flora or fauna they share the space with. Humans have in reality become less aware of nature.

As Kurzweil said ” technology is a double edged sword” Ever shall it remain.

V

  • Wed, Mar 24, 2010 - 05:42pm

    #35
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    Re: ZEITGEIST and The Huffington Post

[quote=V]

As Kurzweil said ” technology is a double edged sword” Ever shall it remain.

[/quote]

I agree, V. Worst case scenario in ZM: machine works out that sector 5b (New York Central) has a population that is too large. All under 5s are poisened in their sleep, their bodies becoming feed for the rest of us. or

Machines discover that they can more efficiently utilise the resources of the planet by using human bodies as bateries. Now where have I seen that one before?

On a more practicle level, Chris Martenson talks aobut the technology argument in his latest podcast, two beers with Steve: http://www.2beers.com

Worth listensing to

  • Wed, Mar 24, 2010 - 08:34pm

    #36
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    Re: ZEITGEIST and The Huffington Post

Hello all,

I have been following the Chris Martenson community for some time, as well as the Zeitgeist community. It seems to me that both communities see the same failing systems (3 e’s – economic, environmental, energy), but differ in offered solutions. In terms of solutions, it appears that the CM community focuses mainly on reverting to some ideal historical period — abolish the fed, bring back the gold standard. But even if we were recreate the past, it would still be based on a money-based economic system. All the same inherent distortions of humanity would still be present (greed, competition, scarcity, separatism, etc.). The money-based economic system is not inherently evil; it has successfully served its purpose, for a while, and now it simply no longer works. It’s time we evolve to what’s next, a money based economy, as radical as that seems to people at first.

I’m involved in another movement, the integral movement, which relates to a philosophy of “integrating” all the partial truths in the world into more holistic perspectives. Integral philosophy recognizes that there are external aspects (science, technology, built environment, political & economic systems, etc.) but also internal structures (values, consciousness, worldviews, etc.). If we have too much external development (technology) without the same internal development (values, worldviews) then we can end up with terrorists with nuclear weapons. Although I think the Zeitgeist movement is weighted more heavily towards the external science and technology (which can develop into a type of fundamentalism called “scientific materialism”), I think that it goes a long way towards fundamentally addressing our values and worldviews, since they are in many derived by our economic system.

Integral philosophy also recognizes that individuals and cultures develop through the levels of egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric. Clearly we are a globally connected world, with global challenges, but we are still operating through egocentric and ethnocentric institutions and systems. Zeitgeist and the Venus Project are offering worldcentric solutions that can, perhaps more than anything, solve our global issues and break down the dualities (republican/democratic, christian/islamic, liberal/conservative economics, my country/your country, etc.)

  • Wed, Mar 24, 2010 - 09:03pm

    #37
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    Re: ZEITGEIST and The Huffington Post

Hi Crash,

No, interpretation written in italic is as dirty or as clean as you make it. It is only how the idea that is interpreted is seen by a majority, and not by an individual. If the idea is given poor media support that is bias in its reasoning, so, the idea becomes questionable.

Imagine likening this to meeting someone for the first time. They do or say something that you don’t particularly like. Would you agree that it would take ten times as much work for them to change your opinion of them because of the damage done at the beginning?

Zeitgeist has had its head on the chopping block right from the very beginning, with a film that went against every single facet of the things most American’s believe in. From Religion to the twin towers, Money and how it is robbed from their pockets. Media and how it lies through its teeth. Within its very design, it is built to provoke very passionate responses.

Notice how a thread that is provocative and argumentative has a flood of posts, and how the view count goes ballistic – compared to a thread with calm agreement to its core that gets 500 views and no more. Does that mean that the information within the aggressive post has more truth within it than the calm one? What if the calm thread had the most truth but gained no command with the information to a wider audience because of its calm. Does that mean that opposing argumentative views get more airtime, or that loud-mouthed bullies win more forum arguments with their quarrelling than those who use gentle persuasion?

I have a mind that Zeitgeist is going to rage on for some time now, because it has so many cutting and opposing views stitched and woven into it. Maybe it is also something you could describe as a vacuum, where, what it is in the process of destroying is the opposite of what it is trying to promote, and what it is promoting is the opposite of what it really is … Laughing… ???

Thank you for directing me to Micheal Albert by the way. I googled around, found and watched this lecture by him and thought it a very valuable addition for this thread: –

Remembering Tomorrow: From SDS To Life After Capitalism

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=3622753371052484817&ei=GlWqS7bKHZnD-QbL35zRBg&q=michael+albert+capitalism&hl=en#

Anyway, I read this sentence again and again from an earlier posting that someone else wrote and I thought it appropriate to finish this post: –

“We are only shocked at human behiour because we see ourselves as closer to the saints than of the apes”

~ VF ~

  • Wed, Mar 24, 2010 - 09:19pm

    #38
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    Re: ZEITGEIST and The Huffington Post

[quote=Vanityfox451]

Hi Crash,

No, interpretation written in italic is as dirty or as clean as you make it. It is only how the idea that is interpreted is seen by a majority, and not by an individual. If the idea is given poor media support that is bias in its reasoning, so, the idea becomes questionable.

Imagine likening this to meeting someone for the first time. They do or say something that you don’t particularly like. Would you agree that it would take ten times as much work for them to change your opinion of them because of the damage done at the beginning?

Zeitgeist has had its head on the chopping block right from the very beginning, with a film that went against every single facet of the things most American’s believe in. From Religion to the twin towers, Money and how it is robbed from their pockets. Media and how it lies through its teeth. Within its very design, it is built to provoke very passionate responses.

Notice how a thread that is provocative and argumentative has a flood of posts, and how the view count goes ballistic – compared to a thread with calm agreement to its core that gets 500 views and no more. Does that mean that the information within the aggressive post has more truth within it than the calm one? What if the calm thread had the most truth but gained no command with the information to a wider audience because of its calm. Does that mean that opposing argumentative views get more airtime, or that loud-mouthed bullies win more forum arguments with their quarrelling than those who use gentle persuasion?

I have a mind that Zeitgeist is going to rage on for some time now, because it has so many cutting and opposing views stitched and woven into it. Maybe it is also something you could describe as a vacuum, where, what it is in the process of destroying is the opposite of what it is trying to promote, and what it is promoting is the opposite of what it really is … Laughing… ???

Thank you for directing me to Micheal Albert by the way. I googled around, found and watched this lecture by him and thought it a very valuable addition for this thread: –

Remembering Tomorrow: From SDS To Life After Capitalism

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=3622753371052484817&ei=GlWqS7bKHZnD-QbL35zRBg&q=michael+albert+capitalism&hl=en#

Anyway, I read this sentence again and again from an earlier posting that someone else wrote and I thought it appropriate to finish this post: –

“We are only shocked at human behiour because we see ourselves as closer to the saints than of the apes”

~ VF ~

[/quote]

Hi VF,

the answer to your first question is yes.

I am not arguing with ZM becase it challenges my view of the present, I am pointing out that having a (mainly) accurate perspective on the problems does not always mean that your solutions are desirable. Money, twin towers, religion, media yada-yada-yada heard it all before. When I watch movies now I am keenly aware and on the look out for the solutions offered. In my view, ZM is lacking in concrete mechanisms for achieving its aims, is unrealistic about the resources it would take and falls down considerably on the human/spiritual side of the solution. At best. At worst it is opening itself way up for totalitarian nano-chip in-body mind-contol. But that is just my interpretation!!

You are right about the contentious issue, and you may have noticed that I kept quiet for some time before coming in on this thread because I did not want to jump in and cause controversy. I have failed at letting this thread drift to the abyss of page 2 on the forum! The wise man holds his tongue. Although I am glad to introduce another to Parecon, for I am a huge fan of the principles contained within.

Blessings,

Safe drive

  • Wed, Mar 24, 2010 - 11:00pm

    #39
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    Re: ZEITGEIST and The Huffington Post

(This response was originally written for the thread Resource Based Economy vs. Market Economy in the Controversial topics forum. But since there is more activity here regarding ZM I’m posting here.) I want to address the elimination of money issue that seems to be at the core of the ZeitGeist Resource Based Economy model. This condemnation of money seems to fall into the domain of religious zealotry and perhaps even righteousness. I pointed out how using multiple currencies in a society has major benefits. The primary being it can counteract the fragility that is inherent in a centrally controlled system like the dominant ones in the world. Using the example of Bali which has withstood the damage that most 3rd world countries endure when opening up their borders to tourism, I posted in the original thread:

[quote=sjmvideo]

Bali does it through both a centrally controlled currency and an community controlled currency. After a bomb attack in 2002, with many stores having windows and doors blown out. There was no looting, and no call for revenge upon the bombers. The assertion is that the design of Bali’s economy is a fundamental reason for their completely opposite response to what we have seen in the rest of the world.

By designing the currencies we use to support sustainability and the other things we desire from life, we can actually acquire them without the need for destructive systems.

-Steven 

[/quote]

[quote=JK121]

Competing currencies and other currency system will just end up giving you the same end result we see today.  It’s the mechanics of money coupled with the constant need for cyclical consumption that are inherent in any money based system that will repeat same old pattern of corruption and greed. 

  No problem can be solved from the same level of Conscience that created it.

[/quote]

It’s interesting that JK immediately assumed that 2 currencies used together would be competing. I wonder if that assumption is built into the ZeitGeist culture itself? If you read Bernard Lietaer’s paper on Bali, you will see how he posits that 2 currencies are actually necessary for a successful society. They are the yin and yang of energy flow in a community. I’m not going to try to explain it here. But it address what JK pointed out in his quote above. “It’s the mechanics of money…” But Bernard has concluded and can demonstrate that the mechanics of the money system are what lead to the drive to consume and greed based behavior. 

Now you have to be willing to expand your consciousness around money and currency. Get a little more abstract here for a moment. In order for life as we know it to exist there must be movement of some sort. A flow or current of energy, if you will. No flow, no life!

There will always be a need to control the flow of goods and services. There are web sites and groups designing new CURRENCY systems as distinct from money systems. (see New Currency Frontiers as an example)  Currencies can and do direct human behavior. We see that with our money system now. Again a quote from an interview with Bernard Lietaer. By the way Lietaer is the one of the few in not only person in the world who has seen money from almost all possible view points. He’s been a central banker, an economist and a currency trader. One of his most powerful conclusions:

[I]t is interesting that societies that are using different kinds of currency have also very different collective emotions concerning money. The generally accepted theory—dating back to Adam Smith—is that money is value neutral. Money is supposed to be just a passive medium of exchange. It supposedly doesn’t affect the kind of transactions we make, or the kind of relations we establish while making those exchanges. But the evidence is now in: this hypothesis turns out to be incorrect. Money is not value neutral.

Let’s return to the example of the fureai kippu that I was mentioning earlier, the elderly care currency in Japan. A survey among the elderly asked them what they prefer: the services provided by people who are paid in yen, the national currency; or the services provided by the people paid in fureai kippu. The universal answer: those paid in fureai kippu, “because the relationships are different.” This is one example of evidence that currency is not neutral…

Conventional currencies are built to create competition, and complementary currencies are built to create cooperation and community, and it’s important to be aware that both can be available to make our exchanges.

From my now limited exposure to ZeitGeist it appears that within the movement there is a very limited understanding of currency and therefore all possible forms of money are offhandedly rejected without a comprehensive understanding of currencies and their function. This is understandable since it is only very recently the exploration into currencies and their designs have begun. And I have found the work to be highly theoretical and potentially very hard to understand without putting a lot of time in to wrap my mind around it.

Those of us in the western word in particular and most anywhere since the 20th century only have one experience of a medium of exchange, one we call money. Our current money system is a relic of the days of the monarchs. It creates haves and have nots, serfs and lords if you will. Money needs to evolve along with our society. You can’t have a real Democracy with a Feudal monetary system.

Our modern world has brought us a variety of currencies that we don’t even know as such until it is pointed out and distinguished: Loyalty rewards points, frequent flyer miles, eBay seller ratings. And before someone points it out to me, I know, these are all designed to support more commerce. But you can see how that design is to elicit a specific behavior.

How does ZeitGeist propose to bring about the implementation of this RBE? In order to effect structural changes in society those on the frontier of designing new currencies understand that properly designed currencies can elicit explicit behaviors. A Resource Based Economy will have currencies, even if it doesn’t have money. Consciously designing the currencies (and perhaps monies) used may be the only way to have that economy work the way the visionaries would like it to. That is where bringing the higher level of consciousness comes in. You can throw out the word “money” but you can’t have society without some form of currency.

-Steven

  • Wed, Mar 24, 2010 - 11:34pm

    #40
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    Re: ZEITGEIST and The Huffington Post

 

Interesting view and information Steve.  I think what the ZM is trying to get through, is that money has been used many times over and over again in the past with similar results not benefiting the people.  Attacking the monetary system is primarily based off of the problems noticed in the U.S. and how it continues.  It would be great to have our currency work for the people, but that will eventually flaw out in time from technological unemployment.  

The first step to a RBE is simply getting the information out, and expand upon it.  They explain some of the steps in other presentations located at their website.  

Kurtzweil’s double edge sword perception on technology is something we see, but can also be tied into monetary byproducts, War.

Reward points and such, I see them as spending incentives to get a discount at some other point in time, leading to irrational spending, which I catch myself doing, so I can get gas points and so on.  Good idea but still makes me and probably others buy extra items not needed.

Gotta cut this one short.  Really like the responses.  Agree to disagree on some points, but that’s the point of this site.  

 

 

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