Zeitgeist Information A Zeitgeist Movement general information site


Beyond Zero Emissions Advocacy Project

This is a repost from the Australian Atrium (Project Management) website and is aimed at Australian ZM members.

This is a proposal regarding the Beyond Zero Emissions renewable energy proposal. Beyond Zero Emissions is a group of engineers and scientists who have created a proposal to convert Australia's energy supply to 100% renewable energy within 10 years. It is primarily done using a mixture of wind power and concentrated solar thermal.

The Beyond Zero Emissions cause is very much in line with the Zeitgeist Movements aims and principals. We will need their help to prevent humanity from facing environmental and energy crises, whilst they need our help in order for the proposal to get traction.

We are interested in helping promote and champion the BZE emissions scheme.

In order to help us develop new project ideas we are working on a output centric approach.

1. You start off by writing the press release you would like to see.
2. You then write the FAQ.
3. If it's particularly complex you can even write a help manual. Only after you've gone through the above steps do you work backwards to find out what needs to be done/created and how.

Solar Concentrator Array

Solar Concentrator Array


“Survival of the fittest”, Well not quite


Survival of the Fittest

This is a great video which explains the true meaning of 'Survival of the Fittest'. It also does a great job of explaining some of the issues between Tournament and Pair Bonding Species.


Transition Ideas Team

This is a quick announcement of the creation of the Transition Ideas Team (TIT) a new ZM team that Scott Wrampler and Michael Kubler are currently helping kick start.

For those who are interested here's a recent Blog Talk Radio show regarding the team which talks about the organisational structure and some of the initial teams. It's only 30mins long.

Listen to internet radio with IZM Radio on Blog Talk Radio

The team will be split into 3 main groups :

  1. Admin
  2. Transition Proposals
  3. Proposal Analysts

The Admin staff will be a small group who run the website, organise the tools and help co-ordinate the other two groups.

The Transition Proposals group will be a collection of people who, working alone or together, come up with various transition models then propose them.

The Proposal Analysts are those who are knowledgeable within their field and as a group can analyse the proposal and undertake useful critical analysis and highlight potential issues and also make suggestions or reccomendations.


The process of submitting, analysing and refining a proposal will itself need to be developed and refined over time. One of the hardest parts of the process will be removing human bias, especially those which are predictable. An example may be that proposals are to be made anonymous before being presented to the proposal analysts. Once the analysts have provided feedback and the proposal refined the proposal can then be presented on the website for further analysis and discussions with the wider public.

It's possible that the team may itself change from being about transition ideas, to be a Transition Implementation team (or more likely, a group of teams).

If you have any transition ideas or suggestions then feel free to comment or email transition@zeitgeist-info.com

Thank you


Changing the Definition of Success

The change from the current monetary system to a Resource Based Economy requires changes to what we value, what the cultural and personal definition of success is, and the defaults.

The Definition of Success

According to Western media plus the types of people the average person would say has 'made it' or aspire to be, the current definition of success is how much financial wealth, power, control and fame a person has acquired.

What we would like to see is people valuing themselves according to their contributions to humanity and the environment.

Only then can a real change be made to the way humanity is going. When we value ourselves because of how much we've helped other people, our culture will no longer tolerate those who are greed driven nor corporations priority of profit above all else. We will enjoy working with nature, animals, trees and the environment, instead of destroying it to power our outdated fossil fuel powered trucks.

Contributions can be a wide range of things. Everything from helping someone up the stairs with their bags to curing cancer, planting 10,000 trees or organising a mission to the bottom of the oceans.


What values do you use to determine how successful you are in life?


Advocates of an RBE

As part of my previous post regarding the Constellation Model, I put out a call to find the various groups and organisations advocating a Resource Based Economy. Either directly or indirectly.
Having done so I no longer classify myself as a Zeitgeist Movement member, but an advocate for the RBE.

Here is the primary list which is still being actively updated (if you have a great description or know where to find a logo, do or don't think an org should be listed then please comment at the bottom or email contact@zeitgeist-info.com). Thank you.


Here is the current list :

  1. The Venus Project
  2. The Zeitgeist Movement
  3. Resource Based Economy Foundation
  4. Free world charter
  5. Tromsite
  6. Technate
  7. European Organization for Sustainability (EOS)
  8. Atlas Initiative Group
  9. We World Technologies
  10. RBOSE
  11. Planetary Skin

A detailed explanation of the organisations is below.


Governance Structures – Decentralised or Constellation model

As Zeitgeist Movement chapters around the world are increasing in size there are a number of them growing beyond the size that a single co-ordinator can handle. On top of this, the Venus Project is feeling like it has lost control. As this happens there becomes questions about information flow, decision making, and how to prevent the bickering and in-fighting which will prevent humanity from taking the correct path and is far more likely that civilisation will spiral out of control, instead of finding itself at the veritable oasis that is the Resource Based Economy.

What is needed now is a defined governance structure which allows everyone to have a say, but with weighting given to those who have a greater understanding. The two main models are the Constellation model, and the decentralised Starfish model.

The Constellation Model of Collaborative Social Change


"The Constellation model is a governance framework for multi-organisational collaboration. It is a way of organising a group of interested parties to meet a need without having to create a new organisation to 'hold' the issue.

It is a tool to help us recognise and become conscious designers in a complex ecosystem of organisational collaboration. This constellation model emerged out of a need to support a tight partnership of 11 organisations – the Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment. It has been emerging and serving since 2001 and is in constant flux as we iteratively adapt the structure to serve our vision and to expand our reach and more effectively engage our ecosystem." -- http://www.socialinnovationexchange.org/node/169


In mid 2010 I attended a Social Innovator Dialogues talk by Tonya Surman about the Constellation model of collaborative social change.

The concept is a hybrid centralised/decentralised approach to helping and handling bundles of self-organising teams based around a common 'magnetic attractor'.

In this case that magnetic attractor would be a better future for all humanity and the vision statement is the Resource Based Economy.

Using this model the Venus Project, Zeitgeist Movement, Resource Based Economy Foundation, Free world charter, Tromsite, Humanity test.org and other such groups would form different constellations. With representatives from each being a part of the 'Stewardship Group'. [Refer to the the framework diagram below]

Each group could focus on what they do best. For example The Venus Project can work on the technical/engineering answers. The Zeitgeist Movement is good at spreading the word and helping change peoples mindset, the RBEF has a more resource gathering focus, and Tromsite is a great educational resource.

I like to think of the framework as an expandable net around the group. If the casing is made of steel then whilst it is hard to break, it can't expand and adjust very easily. In this example the steel box would be a large corporation with all its policies, procedures and legalities.

On the other spectrum, completely unmanaged groups have nothing to tie them together so they fly off in various directions very easily and can't push humanity towards the magnetic attractor (the RBE). It is hard to keep such groups focused. Think of it like this, Boiling water will turn into steam, but without being directed and focused it won't be able to turn the turbines that create electricity.

The Constellation model allows the right level of rigidity and flexibility for the current stage of RBE transition. It allows all the groups to work synergistically. To work together collaboratively and co-operatively, just as everyone is advocating the rest of humanity do.

For those that need more convincing that everyone can't go it alone, realise that it is hard to gather the resources required. 100 groups individually trying to raise enough time, money, members and physical resources to implement a transition will mean that none of them will properly succeed, but 100 groups working together certainly can. We need a certain threshold of resources before we can really start. Something far easier if there is 1 main group which is gathering the resources for 100 chapters/sub-groups. An example is that a government or corporation can donate time, money and resources to a registered non-profit, but can't easily contribute to 20 groups of ad-hoc members who meet every couple of weeks. On the flip side, the 20 ad-hoc groups can get a lot of work done, especially when they are action focused teams.



[Diagram] The Constellation Model Framework

Constellation Model Framework

For more information, and an explanation of what the wacky diagram means, check out the PDF.


I personally think ZM is already using something very close to this setup with its chapter structure, so it is not a very big leap. We are really just expanding who we regard as friends.

The other 'non-pyramid' based governance model's I've come across are the Starfish (vs the Spider) model explained below, and also the Geodesic dome principal that World Mind posted a lot about.

Moving forward we should aim to use the most effective governance model for the situation. The Constellation model could be perfect for the moment, but later on we will likely transition to a more Starfish, decentralised basis, and maybe after the transition we can use the Geodisic Structure. Note also that different constellations will likely have different structures internally. Some projects may themselves use a constellation model.

Please, do read the PDF and discuss.

Links :


The Starfish : Decentralised Governance


One thing that business, institutions, governments and key individuals will have to realise is that spiders and starfish may look alike, but starfish have a miraculous quality to them. Cut off the leg of a spider, and you have a seven-legged creature on your hands; cut off its head and you have a dead spider. But cut off the arm of a starfish and it will grow a new arm. Not only that, but the severed arm can grow into an entirely new body. Starfish can achieve this feat because, unlike spiders, they are decentralized; every major organ is replicated across each arm.

But starfish don't just exist in the animal kingdom. Starfish organizations are taking society and the business world by storm, and are changing the rules of strategy and competition. Like starfish in the sea, starfish organizations are organized on very different principles than we are used to seeing in traditional organizations. Spider organizations are centralized and have clear organs and structure. You know who is in charge. You see them coming.

Starfish organizations, on the other hand, are based on completely different principles. They tend to organize around a shared ideology or a simple platform for communication- around ideologies like al Qaeda or Alcoholics Anonymous. They arise rapidly around the simplest ideas or platforms. Ideas or platforms that can be easily duplicated. Once they arrive they can be massively disruptive and are here to stay, for good or bad. And the Internet can help them flourish.

So in today's world starfish are starting to gain the upper hand.

How did tiny Napster cripple the global music industry? Why is free, community based Wikipedia crushing Encyclopaedia Britannica almost overnight? Why is tiny Craigslist crippling the global newspaper industry? Why is Al Qaeda flourishing and even growing stronger? In today's world to answer this it is essential to understand the potential strength of a starfish organization.

The Starfish and the Spider by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom, explores the phenomenal and unstoppable new power of the starfish organizations and will change the way you look at the world.

Links/Resources :


Factors Affecting Behaviour

Update: Dr Robert Sapolsky has done a TED talk which puts these factors of human behaviour into great context, focused around the timeframes with which they have an effect. Check it out

Below is an edited comment of what I posted to http://tacsi.org.au/family-by-family-prototype-week-1/
For the last few years I've had an active interest in Human Behaviour.
I've spent hundreds of hours hours reading books, watching recorded uni lectures (in psychology, neuro-biology and the like), some awesome TED talks, audiobooks, white papers, general social analysis and lots of conversations. From all of that I've noticed there are a range of factors affecting peoples behaviour.
In approximate order they are :
  1. Situation [Role] - The current situation the person is in. e.g being in a prison vs being at an office, a pool party or walking past a house on fire. Special mention should be given to 'normal' social situations and crisis situations.
  2. Environment [Resources] - Beyond just the situation, this is what resources someone has access to, e.g if you can already hear the fire fighters sirens, if it is dark and the guards aren't looking, or if there are nice windows with trees to look out at when stressed.
  3. Habits [Triggered/Automatic Responses] - Habits are usually those things which you do without really thinking about anymore. BJ Fogg lists this as the BluePath, doing a familiar behaviour from now on. An example might be brushing your teeth before you go to bed. At some point you had to learn the habit, but now you do the behaviour almost instinctively.
  4. History [Knowledge and experience] - How/Have you been trained to deal with the situation? Have you been in a similar situation, what did you do and did it work?
  5. Perspective [Time, Beliefs] - What is your Time Perspective (past positive/negative, present headonistic, deterministic, future oriented, afterlife). What is your religious and moral beliefs. Do you align yourself to an emo, punk, hippy, military or some other stereotype? This is very similar to the cultural expectations, but regarding the specific sub-group to the general culture.
  6. Culture [Expectations] - What the general expectations are for a person in that situation and environment. If your sub-group hasn't specified what it's stance is, then what is generally considered morally justified? Stopping CPR on the random homeless guy on the street after 4mins might be seen as fine, whilst stopping CPR after 20mins on a child who's drowned in a pool might cause outrage.
  7. Emotions [Mood] - Was the person happy or sad at the time?
  8. Hormones [Emotional propensity] - If you are a teenage male you are likely to have a surge in testosterone which will amplify the likelyhood of aggression (assuming the situation is one that involves violence or aggression). This can be thought of as shortening the 'fuse' so to speak. Pregnant women can be particularly susceptible to stress and may become even more irritable due to lack of food than normal... Drugs can also have a similar although usually more profound but short lived effect.
  9. Pre-natal [How birth affected you] - Humans are far more susceptible to conditioning during birth than most people realise. When your mother was pregnant with you, if she was heavily stressed then it can have negative consequences. If she was obese then you are more likely to be obese { http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNjlcGikW_0 }. A child after birth also needs the right amount of care and attention. They need to be held and touched and talked to.
  10. Genetics [Physical propensity] - There is barely a 0.5% difference in genetic material between humans and we are only 4-6% genetically different from apes. Our DNA is 90% similar to cats. Given such similarity it is generally said that genetics can cause a propensity for a particular behaviour or physical attribute, but it is the environment which which has the most impact. { http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25335 }

Different circumstances will mean the resulting behaviour is influenced by the factors above in differing amounts. Whilst normally the situation and environment will be the most influential  a strong enough culture and belief can over-ride that. If you want to change peoples behaviour you need to work out which are the most important factors involved or which other factors can over-ride those and you can try to change or at least deal with them.

An example is the selfish-gene concept. That humans are simply a mechanism by which genes can make a copy of themselves. Whilst this may be the default behaviour of people it is not the absolute only factor which affects our behaviour. Another important thing to note is that the concept of our 'kin' or family is very important in many cases. Who are people that we should help and be around, versus those that are against us. Our understanding of kin has grown larger over time, from immediate family to village, group (e.g religious group or work colleges) to nations and at the present rate will soon encompass the world. Doing so helps reduce the violence within our species. We will likely need to expand kin to include other animals and should we meet friendly alien entities it may have to include even them.

I do have a question. Are morals another factor which affect behaviour? Or are they a product of a combination of the above factors?

For a quick overview of social thinking, including the Stanford Prison Experiment, check out the video below :

If you enjoyed the above then some resources that may be of interest include :

More in depth resources :

Name : Human Behavioral Biology by Dr Robert Sapolsky.

There's plenty of other resources. If would like like more please comment below or email michael@zeitgeist-info.com

NB : Added Habits above History. Because habits can be done without thinking they are more than just memory recall they almost like muscle memory.. if you could call it that. - 7th Jan 2012

Note : Knowing that there is a different way of doing something and changing peoples values and mindset is one of the most important but usually hardest steps when moving forward.