I heard about the Zeitgeist documentary movies about ten years ago when the first one came out. A friend of mine at the time had seen it and told me about it. It was the kind of documentary that I was certain I would find valuable and affirming in my own beliefs and views, but due to my life situation at the time (no internet connection at my cabin and no movie subscription…and I gave up TV about 10 years ago just because it’s simply brain vomit garbage in my opinion and not worth my time or focus), I didn’t get a chance to see it.
Now, a decade later, I found three of the Zeitgeist documentaries on Netflix. And two more on YouTube. I haven’t yet watched the last two in the series, but the first three definitely met my expectations and gave me a lot to think about.
The main focus of at least the third movie dealt with the need for our world to go from a monetary based economy to a resource based economy. I loved the concept, but couldn’t fully envision exactly how that might work in all honesty. I’m still researching the concept and vision of how that looks. However, because I am SUPER clear about the inequality that the thing we call “money” creates in our society on all levels I am highly aware that only those at the top of this financial pyramid scheme truly benefit at the expense of the earth’s resources, human dignity and rights, cultural annihilation, and the eradication of the biosphere and countless invaluable species. And of course the material thing we call “money” is simply designed to create financial slaves of people through debt, once again benefitting the top 1%-3% in our world. Seems like insanity to me, so I am all in favor of finding and utilizing another sense of economy that is much more focused on equality and dignity in life, responsible access to all resources equally, protection and responsible stewardship of earths resources and habitats, and an equal exchange of energy from the recipients in another form (the people of Earth have equal access to needed things in life like adequate housing, food, etc. and in exchange they are required to give back and contribute meaningfully to their communities according to their skills, knowledge, and abilities). Though I deeply long for such a “utopian” society where mindless consumption of “stuff” is not the purpose and drive, I am also equally clear that the thing we call “money” is also used to gain power and control. And once “money” is removed there will still be those that seek power and control over others…because I cannot see how we can legislate morality, ethics, or the spiritual awareness of “oneness” and “interconnectivity” that we all have in the web of life. Therefore, even if “money” was eliminated from our world, how could we keep those who seek power and control from attaining it at the expense of human life and the environment?
I was 17 or so when I very first realized that imminently I would have to go and get a “job” and work for the next 40 or so years for a system I did not even believe in or want to be a part of. And I was pissed at this realization. What I had lacked good guidance in and did not fully understand at that time was that if I had been able to stay highly focused on schooling and college BEFORE having children, then I could have chosen a degree and field that at least would have created more options form me that were both personally fulfilling as well as more financially abundant than job options I would face without a degree. But hearing that you “should go to college because it opens so many doors for you” and truly understanding that truth without having any mentoring and true guidance in this are two different things. Instead, as life would work out (and as I would learn later, when I actually was able to attend college for a while, was fairly predictable given my socioeconomic background), I ended up having children in my very early 20’s, before attending college or training programs. And, with very limited skills, knowledge, education, and opportunities that had been available to me, I ended up becoming a slave to the workforce and society in ways I hated. All I could dream about was how to divorce the financial system. How could I find a way to “own” (even that’s a misnomer…if you don’t pay your taxes or the government decides they want your property, seems you are shit out of luck in that way) property, grow and create my own food supply, generate my own energy needs, make my own clothing, have free access to a clean water source, create my own comfortable and adequate housing, and create a career that was fulfilling and would meet any other basic financial needs I would have? How do I create this life without becoming massively financially indebted?? After all, I REALLY just wanted to work for myself and my community, I wanted to stay at home with my children and raise them and love them to the best of my ability, and I wanted to be able to comfortably (not extravagantly) provide for all their needs and cultivate within them an attitude of gratitude for what they have, and an acceptance or plan for attaining that which they do not have.
I’m almost 40 now. I started college when I was in my early 30’s because that was the first real opportunity I had to attend. I managed to get my AA degree without creating debt for myself in that way (the few benefits of being financially “poorer” than others). After I completed my AA degree, I started work on my BA Degree in Teaching although I wasn’t sure exactly how I would use the degree since I absolutely detested public education, not for the devoted teachers, but for the imprisoning, enslaving, and mind numbing curriculum and school system itself. I detested it so much that I couldn’t even get excited about the idea of being within the system to try and change it for the better from the inside out. So I started researching alternative educational methods. Homeschooling, online schooling, charter schooling, etc. I liked some of the private schools like Montessori and Waldorf, but I resented that they were elitist in the fact that only those with the right amount of money could attend…and I fully believed that EVERY child on Earth should have full access to the best educational methods available. And there should be full CHOICE in the learning process.
About a year into my BA degree I became so burned out and exhausted from the full time studying, a full time job, and balancing my family needs and my dance studies (dance was my passion and kept me sane in life), I finally just collapsed and quit my college studies altogether. After maintaining a 3.8 GPA for all of my college career, working my hardest to get the best possible grades and making sure everything was turned in on time if not earlier, I just QUIT. I stopped everything on the spot and ended up failing 2 classes from simply failing to do anything in them, failing to show up at all. I was burned out. I was $14,000 in debt for college so far, and even though my husband and I had managed to buy 20 acres of land that we finally paid off, it still needed a decent home (a single wide trailer would have been acceptable…so I wasn’t even shooting for the stars), and all the utilities. That amounted to a lot more debt if we had to borrow for those things. We ended up needing a decent vehicle when our old one finally gave out, so we amassed more debt by buying a reliable second hand vehicle. Then I thought I needed back surgery so after MRI’s and several trips to the doctor only to discover it was a deteriorating disc that was causing me so much grief, I walked away resolute I would avoid surgery at all costs and focus on holistic healing like yoga, inversion chair, core exercises, and Pilates to heal my condition. However, there was another $3,000 in medical debt. My plans for living debt free and divorcing the financial establishment were not working out as I planned. The only truly beneficial statement I could make about my financial situation was that I didn’t own a credit card and my husband I were resolute to never own one.
Now I have a granddaughter. A true Jewel in my life and I find myself struggling once again with the same issues and frustrations I felt 20 years before when I had birthed my first child and realized I had no way of financially being able to stay at home with that child. I seemed to lack the knowledge, skills, abilities, and education required to get a decent paying remote job that allowed me to work from home and still make my bills, and with a young child underfoot she required a lot of time and attention which meant whatever work I could do with her would require me working around her sleep schedule when she was with me. This isn’t a new complaint. I have spoken with many, many, parents over the years that came from similar socioeconomic backgrounds and most of them felt that same sense of hopeless desperation…wanting to be with their children and give their children meaningful experiences and education in this life, but instead were torn and ground up by the financial establishment forcing them to take sometimes 2-3 jobs just to make ends meet as many of them existed and lived in substandard living spaces. Meanwhile, parents of children that attended the Moms groups I took my granddaughter to I had observed were all in a higher socioeconomic status, and ALL of them were stay at home moms living in beautiful homes and not especially worried about their financial situations from what I learned. How could this inequality in life experiences exist and continue to perpetuate itself? How could this be fixed? How could this be changed?
I began watching the Zeitgeist documentaries. Along with documentaries on our food establishment, clothing establishment, financial establishment, and the inequalities across the world seemed stunning and overwhelming. And yes, in seeing documentaries that showed the lives of those working in sweatshops and having to leave their young children with other families, extended families, or barely older siblings just to try and earn a wage to support their families or pay medical bills or whatever, while living in squalor in a shack…yes, I didn’t have it THAT bad and neither did most of the mothers I spoke with that were in my socioeconomic stratosphere. So I was thankful for THAT.
BUT my thoughts persisted. How do we change the world? How do we create conditions for fair and dignified living for ALL? How do we ensure that every person on Earth has the ability to contribute meaningfully to their society without being slaves to it? How do we ensure every person on this Earth has access to clean water, food, and sanitation? How do we ensure that our Earth’s resources are highly protected, preserved, and used most efficiently and most sacredly and responsibly as though our very lives depended upon tis protection and stewardship…BECAUSE IT DOES. Destroy the Earth’s resources, habitats, biosphere, species, clean water, and ability to heal itself and I assure you we will all die as a result of that. How do we ensure that at least one parent/caregiver is ALWAYS able to stay at home with their children if they so choose without the demands of the financial enslavement system grinding them to death? How do we rebuild a true sense of community within communities, a sense of family within communities? IS there a way to change the system so that there is more equality for all, a sense of dignified living for all, the basic needs for all to be met, the protection of the Earth’s resources…WITHOUT forms of power and greed and corruption entering into the system? I worry that even if we eliminated “money” and a monetary based system, that even if we turned to a resource based system, somehow or another greed and corruption and power would appear again and we would be right back here.
I’m getting off my soap box now. I will continue to research home-based jobs that are meaningful, fulfilling, in service to others, and financially abundant enough to meet my current living needs as I continue to seek a way to stay at home with my granddaughter while her parents work. And I will continue to work towards my goals and dreams of divorcing the monetary system to the best of my ability. To those ends, I continue to research natural based home building (such as adobe and cob..my area has plenty of clay, sand, and straw in order to build with these materials), I will continue to research efficient and cheaper ways of attaining water, septic, and power on my property, and I will continue to work towards learning more about gardening, harvesting, food preservation, and food preparation. And I will continue to work towards building and supporting a more collaborative and unified “family” sense of community within my area. Here’s to dreaming and building towards a better future for all of us.