Monday, November 26, 2007

Zeitgeist is an Intellectual Dead End

Online "doctumentary" lives up to its premise in the most ironic way imaginable

If you watch the online "documentary" film Zeitgeist closely enough, it isn't too hard to decode the film's central message:

Hey, you. Yeah, you. You're fuckin' stupid.

"The last thing the men behind the curtain want is a conscious, informed public, capable of critical thinking," the film's omnipresent narrator insists. "Which is why a continually fraudulent zeitgeist is outputted via religion, the mass media and the educational system. They seek to keep you in a distracted, naive bubble. And they are doing a damn good job of it."

Zeitgeist is broken down into three parts, taking aim at religion, 9/11, and banking.

In the end, however, the film falls flat on its face because of its premise: you, the viewer, are fucking stupid.

It makes this assumption, and quickly unravels in the intellectual grasp of anyone who isn't stupid: provided they bother to check the necessary facts.

In the first part of the film, entitled "The Greatest Story Ever Told", Zeitgeist takes aim at religion: specifically, Christianity. By noting a number of alleged similarities between Jesus Christ and various other religious figures throughout history.

Then, unfortunately, the claims fail to hold water. In particular, many of these claims are based on theological claims that remain largely unsupported.

In particular, the film claims that the Egyptian god Horus possesses all the characteristics of Jesus Christ. However, they have to rely on Harpur's un-anotated and unsupported work in order to do so.

The claims become even more contrived when the film claims the Greek god Attis, who castrated himself in a fit of passion and bled to death, is another Christ-tale.

Perhaps the film's producers believe they made a novel point when they relied on scholarly work that scoured the world's various religions and mythologies for figures that passed any spurious resemblence to Jesus Christ, then labelled Christianity as "plagiarism" and "fraud".

Then one remembers that what moderate Christians the world over agree is really important about Christ is his benevolent message.

Oops. Better pretend he never existed. (More on this later.)

In the second chapter of the film, entitled "All the World's a Stage", Zeitgeist portrays 9/11 as a "false flag operation" carried out against the United States by its own government.

The film predictably attempts to make the case that the World Trade Center was actually the result of a planned demolition.

Despite the persistence of these conspiracy theories, they have been consistently and chategorically disproven. Only those who are predisposed to insist that a malevolent conspiracy is the only plausible answer continue to believe them.

The less time wasted on these conspiracy theories, the better.

In the film's third part, "the Men Behind the Curtain", the film insists that central banking, and existence of the United States federal reserve, is part of a grand conspiracy theory to give international bankers control over the United States, and enslave its citizens via the distribution of currency.

In particular, the film accuses international bankers of warmongering, and various U.S. presidents (including Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt) of war mongering on their behalf, and dragging the American people into wars "they wanted nothing to do with," even insisting that the Lusitania was "sent" through German-occupied waters during WWI in a bid to force American entry into the war.

Essentially, Zeitgeist argues that belief in religion -- specifically, Christianity -- builds a foundation for people to believe the so-called "lies" the "establishment" feeds them regarding historical events.

The film concludes by raving over the so-called "North American Union" they argue is imminent, and claim that it, along with European Union, African Union, and Asian Union, will lead to a greater amalgamation, and "One World Government".

In the end, however, Zeitgeist can be reduced to nothing more than Michael Mooreism at its very best (or, depending how you look at it, its very worst). What the producers can't prove, they distort. What they can't effectively distort, they simply ridicule. What they can't prove with evidence, they simply make up.

Ultimately, however, the film finds its downfall in its online format. Thanks to the fact that the film must be watched online, every "fact" cited in the film can be checked through little more than a rudimentary Google search.

All too often, these so-called "facts" don't stand up to scrutiny.

For example, the film at one point claims that there's no evidence that Jesus Christ ever existed, noting that no active historians of the day took note of a man wandering about and performing miracles.

And certainly, this is true. If only it were the entire story.

Unfortunately for the producers of the film, there is a good deal of archaeological evidence for not only many of the historical events described in the Holy Bible, but also for the existence of Jesus himself (albeit indirect evidence in this particular case).

In the end, the film relies on the many similarities between Christianity and various pagan religions to disprove Christianity entirely. Of course, this falls intellectually flat to anyone who's so much as read The Da Vinci Code, who know that pagan traditions were adopted into and adapted to Christianity, and with good reason.

In another case, the producers claim the United States Federal Reserve is a private corporation with no culpability to the U.S. government.

False again.

The producers of the film fail to mention that the U.S. government maintains control over the Federal Reserve by appointing its Board of Governors. The board's seven members are appointed by the president, each serving 14-year terms. Theoretically, these appointments are made infrequently enough to ensure this board retains a largely non-partisan demeanor.

The chairman and vice chairman are similarly appointed by the president, to four-year terms.

The film sustains yet another factual black eye when it claims the pre-Vietnam war Gulf of Tonkin incident never happened.

Which, if you refer only to the second attack alleged during the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which would actually be true. However, the initial naval battle on August 2, 1964 did occur. This being said, the entire incident was demonstrably manipulated in order to support overt American entry into the Vietnam war.

For the average commentator eager to denounce American foreign policy, this alone would be enough. Unfortunately for the producers of Zeitgeist, they didn't simply need to demonstrate that the truth regarding the Gulf of Tonkin was twisted, they needed to pretend it never happened, so they could link it to what is clearly their prime target: 9/11.

Sometimes, the claims made in the film don't even stand up to the most basic scrutiny, such as the case wherein a 9/11 survivor claims that he felt a massive explosion from the World Trade Center's basement mere moments before feeling the impact from the plane hitting the building.

This despite the fact that the tower took more than an hour to collapse, making the implied theory that the so-called "basement explosion" was part of a planned demolition entirely untenable.

Perhaps the most telling image within Zeitgeist, however, is the constantly-displayed image of the Earth in a cage, suggesting Earth has become something of a Prison Planet -- one may draw their own conclusions in regards to this.

Zeitgeist clearly leans heavily on the half-boiled "revelations" offered by self-aggrandizing would-be conspiracy messiah Alex Jones. It's very plausible the film may be more than merely a convenient platform for his ideas.

Zeitgeist is a film so eager to cut away the so-called "fallacies" that it targets that it ultimately falls on its own sword. In the end, its own premise becomes its downfall, as anyone prepared to do even a precursory amount of critical thinking can quickly dismiss the film as sheer garbage.

"The more you educate yourself, the more you understand where things come from, the more obvious things become, and you begin to see lies everywhere," the film insists.

This is actually a very fitting quote for the film. The problem with Alex Jones and his breed of conspiracy theories is that they see lies everywhere, even where they don't exist. Worse yet, they aren't above a little dishonesty themselves in order to "prove" the fallacy of these so-called lies.

People used to agree that such dishonesty was a bad thing.

The convenient thing about dealing with ignorant people, however, is that they generally don't bother to double-check what they're being told. They accept it at face value.

The producers of Zeitgeist assume the viewer is stupid. As such, they make themselves easy prey for those who aren't.

4 comments:

  1. The fact that this comment will be reviewed for posting has me concerned as whether it is worth my time to express my thoughts on the "Intellectual Deadend" Post.

    In several ways - I was in agreement with the blogger.

    Without having done in depth historical research, I believe that Jesus the Christ existed... that the residual impact of the message is indicative of the power he courageously represented to the world. If his legacy "Even as I have done, ye shall do and greater!" were to be forgotten or manipulatively rendered ineffectual - then the tragedy of his martyrdom and the hopeful message of his resurrection would be effectively canceled out and whose agenda would that serve?

    Whether others believe in the existence of objective good and evil - or that there is inherent power in the pursuit of either - though of a very different nature... it is easy to see that negating Jesus would only advance the interests of any who act on their basest impulses for personal gain. It would also legitimize the cynical idea that we are alone in this life - abandoned to whatever irrational forces humans coalesce to impose - that all, including Nature is random and without meaning except what we arbitrarily assign.

    Obviously... What God is, will always be a mystery in the sense that assumptions are necessary to even consider the question of God's existence.

    The insights I have learned that are attributed to Jesus - have provided me with some of the most profound keys for understanding life, human potential, love, and grace and I am awed and filled with eternal infinite respect for the magnitude of that gift.

    I cannot participate in the desecration of this gift and even if I were able, "Zeitgeist" did not provide any compelling reasons to do so.

    The opening narrative regarding - essentially - the "power of NOW" was implied to be antithetical to the teachings of Jesus. Although I do not recall the exact passage - I do know - that Jesus said that we were not to live in the past or the future - that the present is all.

    Eckhart Tolle did NOT discover these ideas. His exposition on the subject, while valuable, is entirely derivative of what Jesus said more simply.

    So too, with "The Secret" did the new age community market the idea of manifestation - popularizing the consumerist possibilities without acknowledging the source of our insights about this metaphysical principle.

    I dislike that Zeitgeist presumes "intellectual authority" by opening with an unsubstantiated detraction of Jesus. Not only did it fail to make a credible case but the arrogance with which it disdained the existence of Christ indicates a shallow mentality on the part of the author of this pretentious videofile.

    In my opinion many of the criticisms of Zeitgeist by the blogger are well-deserved due to the cookie cutter editing of numerous excellent 9-11 documentaries into a hodgepodge of impressions without context.

    The blogger disbelieves there could be any alternative explanation for 9-11 even before watching Zeitgeist - and ZG butchers a substantial body of excellent work by other documentarians that do present their case as a coherent unit for consideration.

    ZG therefore does a huge disservice to all of the subjects it presumes to present in unobscured clarity.

    Zeitgeist looks to me to be - what some serious researchers refer to as a "vacuum" operation. It puts out a lot of red herrings... alludes to a lot of valid work by serious researchers as "source material" and then sucks it all into a black hole by associating relevant facts with unverified or unverifiable stupid conclusions - in order to place all of the material into the category of being unworthy of consideration.

    Until I know otherwise I am inclined to view it as a DISINFORMATION piece.

    I disagree with the blogger regarding Alex Jones also.

    Obviously Alex Jones has been one of the most outspoken on the subject of 9-11 and his conviction that it is an inside job so the blogger would rule out actually listening to Alex to hear what he has to say.

    If you listen to Alex you will discover that his arguments are lucid and cogent, his sourcing and documentation of facts is scrupulous, and his concern for the wellbeing of humanity is sincere and deeply felt.

    While I do not always reach the same conclusions that Alex reaches, I have confidence in his integrity - because I have listened to a lot of his podcasts. Alex is legitimately angry and passionate about the fate of humanity and he is often funny, humble and endearing in his disclosures of how the disturbing information he relays impacts him personally. He also has a gift for detailed description. He has moved me from heartfelt tears to laughter several times over the course of a given radio podcast. Each person will certainly decide for themselves on this matter yet I hope it will be made on the basis of taking the time to objectively watch at least one of his documentaries ( I suggest "Terrorstorm")) and listen to at least one of Alex's podcasts. It would be hard to deny that Alex pours about every available resource he has along with his heart and soul into getting out a message he has taken care to provide as truthfully as possible. In spite of the "scary" impression of his accurate depiction of world events - Alex himself - comes across as a sweetheart of a person - pissed off for all the right reasons and earnest in his hope that we will learn as much as possible and take action to protect freedom for humanity everywhere.

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  2. Jones' arguments are not cogent, or even coherent. They have been proven to be counter-factual, and are not even worthy of consideration.

    And I speak as someone who has already examined and considered his arguments.

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  3. Some people just don't get it,I guess. Go back to sleep; all is well.

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  4. Zeitgeist doesn't differentiate between different religions and ethnic provenances in Egypt's history. As anyone knowledgable in Egyptology knows, many already existent religions merged in various ways, making it often unclear what came from which earlier distinct religion. The "Egyptian" gods weren't all from one original set, but mixed and matched from different sets. They had opposing priesthoods and royal champions and locations and peoples involved. Jones obscures these absolute facts, to move into his groundless synthesis. Without inventing a single Egyptian system, he cannot begin! He is a liar!

    Egyptian is still unsettled as to modern understanding of its oldest known form. Did he himself make a specialized study of text preservation, etc.?

    He is also ignorant that the so-called Mithraic parallel inventory pseudo-witches invented in recent times, have all been discredited by the only actual specialists on Mithraism, who all agree that outside of Patristic reports of Mithraism, there is no written trace of its beliefs - thus the claims of knowledge of a thing he doesn't wish to trust the early Christian reports of, from some inside materials is a fiction and a complete impossibility. (Or does he possess the only extant Mithraic manuscript on earth?)

    Also, to pretend that there is any possibility that the 9-11 deal was a native-produced job, is to be ignorant of an islamic cause to the effect, that was festering and preparing for this and much more for nearly 1400 years of world history!

    And then there is the fact that the forces manipulating the US and Canada are anti-Christian, like him. Out of nowhere, men displaced the believers in the governments, and suddenly there were atheistic governing bodies forcing evolution on all young minds from that time on. What a moron he is!

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